[3 / an / cgl / diy / gd / i / n / out / p / po / qst / s4s / t / trv / vip / vm / vmg / w / wg / wsr / ] [Settings]
Board
Settings Home
/qst/ - Mitsuba Archive


File: great power.jpg (56 KB, 800x443)
56 KB
56 KB .jpg
All that was left was a charred skeleton, even the smoke was starting to go. The Hawk wind cut through the streets, sweeping up ash and blowing it down the road. What had been a recreation center, a home for the desperate and the unwanted, was now nothing but a husk. Remnant of a hate crime.

There was a guy pissing in the ashes. Big, fat guy wearing a tactical vest, rifle slung over his shoulder, with other big, fat guys watching out for him. The guys who had made raybans a hallmark of a certain kind of asshole. Start a fistfight in a Cracker Barrel with the staff kind of asshole.

Me I sat overlooking it burning with rage. I'd dipped from the Blackstone Hotel, racing my way down south to Queen Rat's hoping I was in time to stop things from going bad. I'd come too late, too late at least to save the building. I don't know where the cops or the firefighters were, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the assholes down there were hiding badges.

News coming down had it the Governor was in the ICU, his condition critical. Nemesis' tomahawk had split open his chest. If the man died who knew what might happen. Even if he lived, nothing good could come of it.

But that didn't mean nothing to these guys. The Humanity First Militia. They'd started their shit before Nemesis and his Vanguard Army had taken their shot at the Governor. Maybe their pipe bomb through a window is what set Nemesis off. I wasn't making excuses for the extremist, but knowing how I did that Queen Rat was taking care of kids, little kids unwanted by their parents, I couldn't deny my own rage.

I'd made a desperate call to Misfit to clear the place out, I didn't see her around. I didn't see anyone but the militia.

If there was anyone dead in the wreckage it was too dark to see and everything was burned to shit anyway.

They laughed about it. Burning kids out of their only home. The motherfuckers laughed.

>dive down and sort them out
>there are more important things, like finding Misfit and the survivors
>>
Previously on With Great Power Quest: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=With%20Great%20Power%20Quest
>>
>>4907855
>there are more important things, like finding Misfit and the survivors
>>
>>4907855
>there are more important things, like finding Misfit and the survivors
>>
>>4907855
>dive down and sort them out
if they're in the hospital they can't kill any paras
>>
>>4907890
>>4907870
locked in

(I don't like the new captcha)
>>
>>4907929
It took me like 5 tries to finally get a slider I could solve, but since I got the one they've been ok with no slider.

nvm it took like a dozen attempts to post this
new capcha suck
>>
These guys could wait, it was more important finding the survivors.

"-went into the sewers," heard one of the militia guys say, "We going in after them captain?"

"Soon as we get organized, we'll have ourselves a freak hunt," the captain said, sliding back the bolt of his assault rifle. The captain was fitter than the others, if I had to guess from the camel pack on his back and the desert camo boots he was just out of the armed forces, or pretended he was.

The sewers though?

Thanks for giving me directions.

I moved quiet across the rooftops, keeping low so my shadow didn't catch their eyes. They seemed a gang of fuck ups though, half of them were wearing sunglasses at night. But a few had the kind of discipline meant they could be trouble.

Ghosting around the wreckage I found a manhole cover, still loose. Must have been Misfits idea, evacuate the building, get them down in the sewer where they wouldn't have to worry about potshots or rely on a police force with a loose concept of protecting and serving.

I slid the lid open, took a breath, then plunged into the stinking dark.

Maybe there were guys who preferred getting around by the sewers, but I'm not one of them. Fact is I hadn't even been in the sewers before and it was for good reason. Mostly the stink, but also the dark, the feeling of pressure of being underground. I'm not claustrophobic or nothing, but I understood claustrophobia when I got down there, looking for my way in the dark.

Turgid waters moved in streams. Calling it 'water' didn't seem right. It was sewage, with all that it implied. I groped along the wall, keeping my boots dry, not wanting to risk a dip in the unerground 'river system' of the Chicago sewers. The smell was worse than I expected to the point it was a blanket on everything else, that I forgot about it over time.

In the dark there was no real way to know where they'd gone, but I expanded out my hearing far as I could, while sparing my nose the same heightened experience.

The scurry of rats, their titters in the dark, came all around me.

Rats in the dark. One scurried out, rising on its hind feet in front of me, nose up. A yellow colored rat. Lemonade, one of Queen Rat's favorite pets.

Lemonade squeaked, then turned its head, pointing.

"After you," I said. The big rat bound down the way. I followed.

It took me around a corner and further up, squeaking.

Then as I took a next step something streaked out of the darkness toward my head.

>roll 3 x 1d100+25 dc 70
>>
>>4907944
I know we're not an important board for 4chan traffic but I can't see this new captcha helping with participation
>>
Rolled 36 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4907948
>>4907949
Speaking of
>>
Rolled 73 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4907948

>>4907949
hopefully mook rolls it back soon
>>
>>4907969
Based. And don't bet on Gook doing it.
>>
Rolled 24 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4907948
>>
>>4907969
pass
>>
1- we need to use some of our boxing money to get some sort of bodycam or some shit, we need to show the world just how shit these people are, we're in the digital age so we literally have no excuse not to use it to our advantage

2-fuck this captcha
>>
I ducked. It whirled over my head, cracking the wall beside me.

"Back villain!" Pratfall's white painted face came out of the dark, bells on her hat jingling, club in hand. She stopped her next blow mid-swing, with the grace to look embarassed. "Oh poop," she said, lowering it, "Sorry Hotspur. I saw you coming out the dark and thought you were one of those Militia bigots."

Lemonade squeaked, climbing up her leg to perch on her shoulder.

"Well I'm not," I said, hands up, lucky to have kept my skull in one piece, "But good thinking keeping an eye out, they're planning on coming down after you guys. Finish the job."

"Merely following the Misfit General's orders," she said, "The Lady of Loud Explosions has made sure to keep our coordinates covered lest we be pursued."

"Is everyone shot?"

Pratfall's feigned playfulness withered, and Xiang's somberness emerged. "Queen Rat's been shot," she said, "While we were getting the kids out of the playroom. A bullet in the hip is nothing to jest about. Least of all a high caliber one."

Fuck.

"The sewer is a bad place for a bullet wound," I said, looking from the sticky walls to the sludge gurgling past us.

"It isn't a preference to be sure," she said, "But in such a rolling storm, any port can be considered safe harbor. Vibes is keeping her sedated."

"Vibes?" I said.

She shook her head, bells jingling. "Yes, you don't know him. A new arrival. He's an empath of sorts, as I understand it he can manipulate people's brain chemistry."

"Let's not tarry in such a loomy place," she said, "There are people who would want to see you."

"There's people I want to see," I said, following the jester deeper into the tunnels.

We crawled through a filthy passage. I tried not to think about what squished under my hand, and emerged into a larger area. A camp of sorts had been set up, standing guard was Boomer. An old man in a cardigan was no one's idea of a bouncer but I knew better. His face was taut as he kept watch over the refugees.

It wasn't all para-folk, it never had been. Some families had found themselves homeless in solidarity with their changed siblings or children, and had been welcomed into Queen Rat's place all the same. She'd kept an open house, not discriminating, knowing a scared kid coming into their powers still needed family around them. Now those desperate people were in a worse situation, marked by clear distress. All their worldly posessions had been wiped out by the inferno started by the militia. It was enough to make me forget about the Governor for a second.
>>
"Yo Spur!" Misfit got up where she'd been talking to a couple of guys outside a pitched tent. She had her skull mask on, and swaggered over. She went right in for a hug. "I was worried shitless about you, brother, you ok?"

"Fine," I said, returning the hug, "I saw Thunderchild. What the hell is he doing running with the Vanguard crew?"

She scuffed her boot. "Yeah, I tried talking him out of it, but Child's still angry you know. He been through some shit."

"Did you know what they were planning?"

She shook her head. "Not really, I figured it was something big though. Would have done something but I had my hands full with what was going on down here."

"Our comrade's anger has led him into violent company," Pratfall said, "Methinks the storm is just beginning with Nemesis on the hunt for revenge."

"If the governor dies it'll be even worse," I said, "How's Queen Rat?"

Misfit drew in a sharp breath. "Not great, Vibes is doing his best though."

She nodded to the tent.

Inside Queen Rat lay, her hip poorly bandaged. A slim Asian guy, maybe Vietnamese or something, held her hand. Her pupils had gone pin-prick small, she was smiling despite what had happened to her hip. The Vietnamese guy wore a patchy beard, he might have been in his twenties but it was a hard twenties. Didn't take a genius to know he was Vibes.

"She's sedated," he said, "Riding a high. I've turned off her pain receptors and switched on an endorphine rush." he looked up. "Oh hey, you're Hotspur. I've heard a lot of good things about you." He must not watch the news.

"It won't fix her though," he said, "She needs a doctor, a hospital."

Queen Rat's face had a drawn, gray tone. Despite her smile she was breathing hard, the ongoing trauma taking its toll.

"I can get her to a hospital or I can protect these guys," Misfit said, "I can't do both."

Goddamn it.

"Maybe one of us could go," Misfit said, "The other stay back, protect these people, maybe find somewhere safe to hole up."

>I'll take Queen Rat
>I'll stay back
>>
>>4908025
>I'll stay back

She's been holed up down here a while already, let's give her a reprieve.
>>
>>4908025
>I'll stay back
>Be careful.
I'm worried.
>>
>>4908025
>I'll take Queen Rat
>>
>>4908025
>I'll take Queen Rat
These people have heard of me but they trust you. I'm probably a little more discreet moving around the city than you, no offense
>>
>>4908022
>Is everyone shot
I don't know how this typo happened but it should be 'is everyone okay?'
>>
>>4908025
>I'll stay back
>>4908028 # >>4908032
>>
>>4908058
>>4908032
>>4908028
locked in
>>
"You get her to a doctor, I'll protect the fort," I said.

"You sure?" Misfit said.

I punched my palm. "Yeah, I'm pretty ready to split some militia heads," I said, "You be careful."

"You too," she said.

She squatted down next to Queen Rat. The old woman groaned as Misfit hefted her up into a fireman's carry, slinging her over her shoulders.

"You're with me Vibes," she said, "Keep the old girl comfortable."

"All right chief," Vibes said. We ducked out of the tent.

Mifit and Vibes hiked out with Queen Rat groaning, leaving the rest to me.

One look around told me these people couldn't stay here. Not just because it was a freaking sewer, but because they were isolated. If the militia swept through and gunned them down, who'd ever know about it? There was no getting a signal this far underground. Misfit had done the right thing booking out of Queen Rat's, but now if we stayed here we might as well have not bothered.

If only I had more para-folk good in a fight. There was Pratfall. Despite her goofiness I knew she could be relief on. From what I'd heard Boomer was solid as an emergency button, his super-sonic voice capable of blowing out the windows in a whole apartment block. The rest were a mix of kids or people like Vibes, their powers better for support than anything offensive. Aether, Thunderchild's girlfriend, checked on the kids, drifting across the ground a semi-transparent ghostly figure.

If Grit were here, or Shark. I'd even take the Vanguard Army's help. The Humanity First Militia weren't here to play.

The lion boy Owen and the four armed girl Jenny sat looking frightened in the arms of a woman trying to keep their spirits up while hiding her own fear.

It was a bad scene.

"Awaiting your orders oh Generalissimo!" Pratfall said, perking up straight with a snappy salute.

"We've got to get these people out of here," I said, "Any ideas?"

Pratfall swayed on her heels in thought.

"Somewhere on the surface where we likely will find help?" she said, "A lot of doors are closed to our kind, but maybe the University of Chicago? I doubt the militia would be much welcome there, or the city willing to let armed intruders invade its august halls."

"Not exactly a fortress though, is it?" I said.

"No," Pratfall said, "Perhaps we could find help in the...less than legal quarter?" she said.

I frowned.

"It's known the Outfit have one of our kind as a captain in their family," she said, "Maybe they'd be willing to help us?"

The fucking Outfit, the goddamn Italian Mafia.

It made a certain kind of sense though. The Militia was bold, but bold enough to run against a hard wall of wop muscle? Never mind Salamander in the bargain. It would make them pause in a way the University wouldn't.

But there had to be a better idea.

>go to the university of chicago
>seek help from the outfit
>there has to be a better option...(write-in)
>>
>>4908105
I forget his name but, what about asking our favorite Biker outlaw for that favor?
>Call our Ninja loving Biker
Was his name Billy?
>>
>>4908114
Sullivan
>>
>>4908119
Why was I thinking Billy?
>>4908105
adjusting>>4908114
>Call Sullivan, and see if his crew can help protect our group for a bit.
I trust bikers over the mob any day, but if that falls through.
>Call Ms. Grant
>>
>>4908121
>Why was I thinking Billy?
Billy Lonegran was the biker who betrayed Hotspur and Sullivan to the cartel
>>
>>4908105
Sullivan's the leader of his gang now I think, worth a shot
>>
>>4908126
THAT TRAITOROUS DUMBASS, now I remember why I thought of him. Thanks Bullpen.
>>
>Call Sullivan, and see if his crew can help protect our group for a bit.

trying to think if Sullivan would betray us for money, his being relaible before abd I cant came up with a lot of options.

Also,

>Call Ms. Grant
but mostly because of our personal doctor, it IS dangerous but if misfit can bring him safe maybe he can agree, cant blame him if he dosent want to
>>
>>4908105
>>4908143

Linking
(Also yay, new thread)
>>
>>4908143
If we get his word to help us, come hell and highwater he'll follow through on it. We may need to offer him a chance to beat the shit out of us for a few minuets to sweeten the deal.
>>
>>4908154
cant blame him, we have to remember to make a list of people we own. give them a fruit basket or something
>>
locking in 'go to Sullivan and the Stunt Crew MC'
>>
I bet the books will expect to be paid for help, that's kinda their thing. Better than dealing with the outfit though.
>>
>>4908182
Fuckin autocorrect, meant to say bikers.
>>
"I know a guy," I said.

I don't know how happy that guy would be to see me, but I knew him. Last time we'd had anything to do with each other had been at the madness of the New Year's Day War. We'd run against each other plenty of times, but helped each other too.

"If I wanted to get out to New Town, how'd I do it down here?" I asked.

"Leave it to me, sir, I'll find the way," Pratfall said, cart wheeling to a handstand and an upside down salute.

It was for the kids, her light-hearted antics. Before I knew who she really was I'd taken Pratfall for an idiot. Turned out she was a 'fool' in the original sense, working on a phD in a sober acadmeic life, using her antics as a way to bring some levity to the world. The kids could use some levity, and if her clownery did that I'd tolerate it.

I almost heard Ivy's voice behind my ear, 'You're a kid too, Eric.'

I shook out the voice. I had a job to do, and it was about keeping a bunch of innocent people from being ventilated.

"Aether!" I called the ghost-girl over. She drifted toward me, bright as a pearl but with clear black features. "Is it dangerous for you to keep watch? I don't want to ask anyone to scout if they aren't bullet proof."

"Bullet proof isn't the right word," she said, circling around me with a ghostly vapor trail, "More untouchable. Try for yourself."

I waved a hand through her and she giggled. It was like trying to snatch a handful of mist.

"If you're willing I could use your help," I said, "But if you think it'd be too dangerous, don't risk your neck."

"Keep look out for those militia types, sing out when I see them coming?" she said, "I could do that."

"Book when you do," I said, "We aren't camping here. Pratfall is working out the details, but I know a place we can maybe shelter."

"Sounds like a plan," she said, drifting off.

Half a plan at least. My guts cramped. I'd never been responsible for people like this before, and it had been a long night already. From the fine heights of Chicago's fanciest hotel to the literal stinking gutters, and the night wasn't over yet.

The little lion boy, Owen, stumbled over.

"Here," he said, offering me a juice box.

"Thanks kid," I said, tucking my mask down to have a sip. I was burning hard and burning out.

"Is Queen Rat going to die?" he asked.

I shrugged. No point lying to the kid.

"Are we?" he said.

"Not tonight," I promised. I pet the kid on the head. "You've got my word on it kid."

"Hotspur always keeps his word," he said, "Misfit always says so, and she's never wrong."

"I want to help," he said, "I can fight!" He bared his fangs and revealed thin claws from his fingers with a cub's growl.

I sighed. He was what, nine years old? Less?
>>
"You want to help me, you can look out for the others," I said, "When we start moving we have to keep together. Can you do that?" He nodded. "It's not fighting, it's more important than fighting. Keep everyone together and moving in the right direction. Don't let anyone get lost or fall behind."

"I will!" his tail swished in excitement.

"Okay, you go do that," I said, "I think Pratfall's almost-"

But the echoing bark of gunfire broke out.

Shit.

Aether came flying through the far wall, startled.

"They're..." she said, "They're here. Gave them a bit of a fright!"

I nodded, cracking my neck.

Good.

"Boomer!" I called to the old man, "Let's give these guys a reason to hesitate."

His smile was cold with a mean joy.

I crawled into the mouth of the tunnel, sliding over sewage, Bommer climbed up behind me.

We locked eyes.

"Ready old man?" I said.

He nodded. He was ready.

Time to fight.

>roll 3 x 1d100+25 dc 75
>>
Rolled 66 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4908209
Les fuck em up
Break my in 40 rolling streak pls dice gods
>>
Rolled 54 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4908209

Last post for my night, hope is a 100

(good thread op)
>>
Rolled 93 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4908209
fuck the captcha
>>
>>4908236
nice, there's a strong pass
>>
"Get everyone out of here, Pratfall, we'll be right behind you," I said before sliding out through the sewer mouth, Boomer right behind me.

We came down into some sludge. The old man was no warrior, I signaled for him to stay put while I moved ahead, listening for the Militia.

"Hey Caspar, where'd you go Caspar?" I heard the pig ignorance in his voice, calling out for Aether. "Come on, we just want to talk with you!"

Maybe they saw my shadow, maybe they saw nothing, but they let off a machine gun blast, scouring the wall, howling together. Must be at least four or five from the hooting and howling.

"Come on, freak, step on out," he said.

"Like a turkey shoot down here," another chuckled.

They howled and let off random machine gun blasts.

I came around low, running fast. Flashlights swept across me.

"Here we go!"

Poor choice of words.

Bullets tore through the air. I lunged out over the stream of gray water, boots landing on the wall. I ran up, up along the wall, up and over, bullets racing after me not bothering with 'lead time'. I was upside down above them. I crashed down onto a startled face, my fist crashing down on the dome of his head. As he fell I ripped the rifle off him and swung the stock into his neighbor's jaw, then rammed the barrel into the eye of the one behind him, right above his 'tactical' scarf.

A worse person might have pulled the trigger. Instead I ripped the barrel out, the mess of his eye coming with it. He went down screaming, grabbing at his ruined face. The gun I shattered over my knee.

Flashlights came down the other way. If they'd been seriously prepared they'd have night vision shit, if they'd been trained we'd have never seen them coming. But I guess they were a paygrade or two under someone like Houndmaster. They were a gang of suburban shitheads in love with their guns and with a hard on to use them.

Most of them at least. One came around the corner, and he took the corner the way I'd seen those black ops guys move. He didn't have a flashlight. I might not have seen him if I hadn't sharpened my eyes. He let a shot off and it nearly clipped my scalp. I moved fast, into the sewage, a controlled burst opening up where I'd been.

I landed in an unwholesome sludge. The stink by now had infected my costume, already foul with the stink of blood and cordite. I was up to my knees in sewage and I didn't want to risk touching my face.

It was the kind of perfume left a girl trembling.

He came up with the careful walk of a soldier, betrayed by the loud jagoffs following him.

I stayed low, waiting, knowing he was looking for where to shoot.

He raised a hand to get his guys to stop but they bungled in behind him.

The guys I'd left down groaned and whimpered behind me.

He cut his hand across his throat calling for silence. It took them a second.

They were idiots with guns but dangerous idiots, amped up on the thrill of the hunt.
>>
They were ready to kill anything they came across.

I saw the disturbance in the sewage before they did.

When it exploded up around them their cries of horror were well deserved. He crowded the tunnel, hulking above them, looking down with a fixed grin and doll black eyes.

Never expected to see a shark in a sewer.

He snatched a gun off a man trying to shoot him, pulled him forward into his biting maw. The scream didn't last long, but was taken up by his friends.

"Evil walks here," Shark said through gore-stained teeth, nostrils flaring.

Gun fire errupted and I moved. Now it was as much a matter of saving their lives by dropping them before Shark could get to them.

"The putrid stench cannot be disguised."

He grabbed the smooth operator. The operator lost his grip on his rifle, drew a knife and started stabbing at Shark. It did him no good. No kicking or struggling was stopping the bite which tore open his neck and shoulder. Say this much, it was quick.

And they found enough sense to run, shooting wildly over their shoulders.

I grabbed Shark before he could pursue.

"Shark, that's enough," I said.

"Fire-Bearer," he said, nostrils flaring, "There was great evil done in the city tonight."

"Like every other night," I said.

"They make war on the children of the falling star," he said.

"They're a bunch of ignorant shitheads, but they're running, Shark," I hauled his arm back, power burning hard enough to draw it away.

"They will return," he said.

"They'll find me waiting," I said, "Shark, there are kids down here. We need to get them to safety."

Now a chink in Shark's armor. He looked down to me.

"Before they get back," I said, "We need to get them somewhere safe. I have a plan."

Shark tilted his head, unsettling eyes upon me.

"Then lead, fire-bearer, show me the way," he said.

I don't know what he meant by that, but I had his attention.

"Okay," I said, "Let's get out of here."

The sooner we were out of the sewer the better. Here's hoping the stink came off.

back tomorrow
>>
>>4908254
AHHHH YEAH, SHARK BRO JOINED THE PARTY! Now we just need the rest of our crew and we can go Mini Avengers on some asses.
>>
>>4908403
Shark is pretty much the hulk of the setting.

Unbelievably strong and mostly tries to do the right thing, but they're a ticking time bomb that's way too dangerous to have around most of the time, he's great but just too much to handle
>>
>>4908254
shark pogging it

>>4908610
I dunno if he's as strong as all that, Semper Fi was beating him. Salamander probably could too as long as he isn't a bad matchup for her fire powers.
>>
Boomer was tight lipped when Shark appeared but I saw the shock in his eyes. Anyone would be shocked. Shark's chest was washed with blood, bits of meat still hanging from his teeth. I still wondered if it could be called cannibalism. Shark was so far from a human being now it was hard to know, if he ever had been human to begin with.

"The militia are gone for now," I said, "But they'll be back soon enough. We need to dip."

Boomer nodded. We climbed back through to the para-folk camp, where Pratfall was organizing the evacuation.

"Well there's a toothsome smile!" she said on seeing Shark, "Our selachimorphic chum has arrived in our hour of need to make chums of our enemies. Well we would be a churlish lot to refuse any help offered, even of such primeval directness. Is it in bad taste to ask if our friends from the Humanity First Militia taste as bad as their fashion?"

Shark gave a small grunt but no answer.

"Are we good to go?" I said.

She nodded. "A course is plotted and set, Sir Hotspur. We should emerge somewhere on 87th street. From there we will follow you to the roguish enclave and hope this den of thieves will provide us shelter."

Everyone seemed ready to go, more or less. Owen and Jenny held hands as Aether circled up the other children, the families gathered with their lives on their backs. It was more a scene expected out of a Middle Eastern conflict than in the underbelly of Chicago, but these were wild times.

"You get a head count on everyone?" I asked Aether.

"Counted twice, we should be good," she said.

I loosened my face mask, nose wrinkling on the sewage stink.

"Well then, let's go."

>roll 3 x 1d100+20 dc 65
>>
Rolled 37 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4909071
Boys
>>
Rolled 97 + 20 (1d100 + 20)

>>4909071
>>
>>4909076
WOOOOO!
>>4909073
Just noticed my bonus was wrong.
>>
this is looking good unless there's a critfail
>>
Rolled 24 (1d100)

>>4909071
>>
>>4909076
pass
>>
These bikerboys better help us, we have literally nowhere else to go.

Unless we deal with the mafia or...ugh, LIBERALS.
>>
>>4909100
Slow suicide and please just shoot me now aren't nice options. But Sulli does owe us a One. And even he and Baby Girl have enough heart an soul in themselves to not turn away the kids at the bare minimum. They're very justified derision of authority and the fact there is a low authorized state sponsored hunt for kids heads getting taken should move them.
>>
>>4909113
Do they owe us one? We did a favor for them, but I think that was repaying them for a favor they did for us first.
>>
We stalked through the grimy tunnels, sloshing through waste water. Literal shit and piss with a refugee train of frightened people behind us. If anyone tells me the super hero life is glamorous, I don't know if I should laugh or cry.

I had point, Boomer had the rear. Pratfall kept behind me while Aether circled around, making sure no one got lost. Shark walked hunched over among the people. Normally he'd terrify the shit out of anyone, but in these circumstances having a walking nightmare on their side was more reassuring than anything else. A few gun shots echoed down the sewer but they were distant, the ping far off. Shooting at shadows or just as a flex.

I wondered how Misfit was doing, if Queen Rat would make it. There was no signal down here but I had to remember to call when we got to the surface. There was plenty of trouble waiting for our people on the surface. I couldn't blame it all on Nemesis or the Vanguard Army, but I wasn't going to forget the part they played. Putting out fires with gasoline.

The twists and turns down here meant I started losing track of where we were going. It was a good thing Pratfall had her head on. Our flight for safety had dulled even her humor, becoming a slogging treck through the foul stink. Rushing water sent alarm through the train, but it was always somewhere off in the distance.

"Here," the jester said, coming to a service ladder, "Up and out and we'll breathe the fresh perfume of fair Chicago once more."

I lead the way, pushing up the manhole cover, pulling up onto a city street. A car swerved, headlights washing over me with a car horn blaring. It missed me but I caught the ugly snarl of the driver. Couldn't blame him. I reached down and helped Pratfall up. She gripped my wrist, launched herself out to do a hand stand flip. Never one to walk when she could twirl I guess.

We got the rest out.

Shark stared up at me from the base of the ladder, black doll's eyes bright. There was no way he would fit through the manhole, but it was clear he had no intention of coming.

"Our paths will converge again, fire-bearer," he said, "There is still much wickedness to fight."

"You know you're not the only one to call me that," I said.

"Others see the written truth with eyes unclouded," he said.

"What does it mean?" I asked.

"It's for you to decide. The stars are converging and a road will appear. We all must choose our path."

He was a cryptic cryptid.

"Safe nights to you," he said.

"And you, Shark," I said, "You're more a human than you think."

"I am a shark," he said, and was gone into the darkness.

I looked to the band of para-folk refugees and their family. They were waiting for me to give the word, to lead them. My gut churned up again.

But there was no one else.

I got out my phone and called Ms Grant. Talking to an adult, now that might help.
>>
"Hotspur?" her voice was breathless with worry, "Where are you?"

"Southside," I said, "In New Town, there was an attack, something I had to deal with."

"Word got back to me," she said, "The Committee are denying any responsibility but its bullshit. They've gone too far this time."

"What about the governor?" I said.

The pause on her end was troubled. "No word yet," she said, "Have you seen any of those terrorists since you left?"

"No ma'am," I said.

"Good, stay away from them. I'm not asking you to snitch...only stay away," she said, "This is a political bowl of shit. I can only imagine how much power the DPA will have tomorrow."

"Right now I'm dealing with a whole bunch of scared kids," I said, "Don't worry. I've got friends in low places can maybe help me out."

"Be careful," she said, "Watch your back. I'm doing what I can here."

"You too Grant," I said, "I'll let you know how things go."

"We're both ice skating up hill tonight," she sighed.

I hanged up, called up Misfit. It rang out. Sent her a text telling her where we were going and asking for an update. It had to do for now.

Starlight above was bright enough to get through the city gloom. It was a cold but pretty night, past midnight with frost slick on the streets. Everyone was cold eager to get warm.

Not far now, I thought, still uncertain of the reception we'd get.

The closer we got to the Stunt Crew hangout, the more the air started to thrum with heavy bass. Kelly's Bar was where I'd first met Sullivan and Baby Girl. It was where I was hoping to find them tonight. Hard club music boomed, underscored by the rev of bikes. Street lights and burning trash cans lit up the front of the bar. They lounged outside in their biker whites with groupies and hangers ons, Stunt Crew guys. Racing up and down the street, zippy little Japanese bikes buzzing like a mess of bees. Who knew what they were racing for. Money, bragging rights, whatever.

A lot of alcohol was being swapped around. Girls in leotards and gogo boots came out serving drinks, shivering in the cold.

Not a place for children.

I stepped forward onto the street, forcing a bike to veer off to the side, dropping out into a slide, the others circling back.

"Who the fuck?" a Korean with a peroxide cut said, getting up from his lawn chair throne scattering his girls. He drew a flashy pistol. "You got some kind of deathwish ass...hole..."

He saw me now in the light. I was spattered in blood and filth, maybe my bad mood was coming through too. He holstered the pistol.

Beside me Aether swirled up, pale and bright as the moon. Behind me the others circled up.

"Sullivan around?" I said, "Heard he was the boss these days."

"You want a word?" he said, all of a sudden a lot more polite. The other bikers looked on.

"I'm not looking for a whistling contest," I said.
>>
The Korean clicked his fingers for one of the underlings, sent him running outside. When he did outstrolled Baby Girl with her cat walk strut, sword on her hip, clad in black among all the white with her hair cut short and bleached blonde.

"Hotspur," she said, "And friends."

"We're looking for sanctuary, Baby Girl," I said.

"You must have this confused for a church," she said, "It happens."

"Be flattered Baby Girl!" his Southern drawl came out before him. He stumbled out with a grin, "Plenty of folks would like to pray at your altar."

He hooked her hip and pulled her close, grinning in a way wasn't full of warm Southern hospitality. More the grin of a Southern lynching. The music went down to a dull throb.

"Now what leads this peculiar band to our door at this midnight hour?" he said, scanning past me.

"You watch the news?" I said.

"I've more on my mind than the comings and goings of the political class," he said, "But I'm not ignorant. Let me rephrase. What leads you to my door expecting anything but a firm 'go fuck yourself' Hotspur?"

"Not a way to greet a friend," I said.

"Well that depends on the friend," he said, "I take it you need someplace secure to hole up your little band of para-freaks to keep them from being hunted down. Somewhere might give even a hardened killer pause. You think I and my brothers can provide this looked for security. My question is do you think it will be give out of the goodness of my heart, or out of some shared sense of comradery with you?"

"I helped pull your friends out of a government hole," I said.

"And got my other friends shot up in your little war," he said, "As I see it we're square."

"So what can I do," I said, "It's not for me, it's for my people."

He thought about it. "Your people pull a lot of heat," Baby Girl said.

"Well why don't we fight for it?" he said, "One of yours against one of mine. If you win, you're welcome to stay. If you lose, you move on."

"Fair enough," I said.

"So who will it be?" he said.

>I'll fight
>Pratfall can fight
>Boomer can fight
>maybe we can do this another way
>>
>>4909149
>I'll fight

wow ez pz

I was expecting to owe him another favor
>>
>>4909149
>I'll fight

I think I know what's going on here, we came here with a whole slew of super-powered people perfectly capable of destroying them, and asked for a favor, he can't exactly refuse but he also can't appear weak infront of the gang, so he's telling us to play along and entertain the crowd and show them that he's "incharge"

>add-on to vote
>don't completely humiliate whoever is sent out to fight, make it look good
>>
>>4909149
>I'll fight
>>
>>4909149
I'll back this>>4909160
>>
>>4909149
>Pratfall can fight
I bet he's got someone that can counter us
>>
>>4909180
Possibly? But there is a very small list of people that could, unless he got a tricky one that just showed powers.
>>
>>4909149
>I'll fight
No powers unless the opponent is a para
>>
>>4909149
Adding this>>4909191
to my vote>>4909164
We keep it honest unless the got a big gun.
>>
>>4909191
Fuck that, we can't afford to lose this fight. It's not about us.
>>
>>4909191
Yeah no way, this isn't a basketball game or a boxing match. We're still in high school and there are lives on the line. Powers are a go.
>>
>>4909191
I gotta agree, just make it look good we don't need to be honorable to put on a show
>>
>>4909192
We're in uniform as Hotspur. Keeping it honest is using our powers. We're not competing as Eric against normal humans. This literally makes no sense.
>>
locking in 'I'll fight'
>>
"I'll fight," I said.

Whatever Shark had maent by 'fire-bearer', if it meant I had to decide what it meant, this had to be part of it. Fighting for the innocent and the helpless.

"So is it going to be against you?" I asked Baby Girl.

She smiled, stroking the hilt of her samurai sword.

"Oh no, we've tango'd enough by now," she said.

"We got another guy for you," Sullivan said, and pressing fingers to his lips gave a sharp whistle, "Yeti! Come on out boy."

Yeti?

Then a stomp came which couldn't be the music, the crowd of bikers got excited, and he came out.

It looked like every gang in town was finding some big para-freak asshole to add muscle to their crews. It looked like Sullivan had found his.

It was a sasquatch in denim, with cowboy boots and all. I don't know if I could rightly call it a para-freak or Big Foot come out of hiding with the Chicago Explosion to thank. He towered over me, bald on top but otherwise covered in brown hair that merged his neck with his chest. He grinned square cut teeth and had bright blue eyes didn't seem right in his tan ape face.

The great woodland ape smiled down at me. He was almost as big as Shark.

"Hi there," he said, "They call me Yeti."

Then he snorted, wound back a long hairy arm, and loosed it like a cannon ball.

I leapt back. The fist drove into the cement.

Sullivan grinned, chin on Baby Girl's shoulder.

"Everyone's got a freak," he said, "We got our own now too."

"Kick his ass Yeti!" the crowd started circling, calling out to their champion, telling him to do all kinds of foul shit to me.

All right.

I squared up.

"Let's dance," I said, cutting toward him with a jab.

>roll 3 x 1d100+20 dc 80
>>
Rolled 61 + 20 (1d100 + 20)

>>4909215
Let's see if my our luck holds
>>
Rolled 87 (1d100)

>>4909215
Let's tango
>>
Rolled 98 + 20 (1d100 + 20)

>>4909215
time to critfail and doom all these kids
>>
>>4909219
Remember, make it look good!
>>
>>4909221
lmao not quite a critfail
>>
>>4909221
that's a pass
>>
>>4909219
>>4909221
And another one bites the dust.
>>
File: 1619623512778.jpg (245 KB, 571x781)
245 KB
245 KB .jpg
>>4909221
Nice critfail my dude
>>
>>4909228
thanks I tried really hard
>>
Rolled 4 + 20 (1d100 + 20)

>>4909215
Look this 100
>>
>>4909232
Thank you for only rolling now.
>>
>>4909236
Oof
>>
I can't seem to go a week without getting into a fight with some new asshole.

I weaved under the clobbering length of his arm and threw a jab at his chest. Big Foot was faster than he looked though, and swerved around my punch, roping his long arm around trying to catch me in a grip.

"Flew in from Oregon," he said, "You Chicago types sure are friendly. Got a job and a place to stay days after getting here."

Chatty too. I ducked under his arm.

"Back home I always got hunters chasing me, its good to be in a town no one bats an eye."

I butted my head into his belly. It was like butting a cement wall. Of course, I could crash through a cement wall, so it still drove the wind out of him, even if it left me dazed.

He went to a knee. "Life's hard for a sasquatch trying to get by," he sighed, then kicked both feet out to me.

I leapt over, landing the opposite side of the circle. The bikers flicked knife blades out, rattled chains, trying to rattle me as their big man got up to his feet.

"You expect me to believe you're an actual bonafide bigfoot?" I said.

He frowned. "Bigfoot is a slur," then he swung in with both hands wheeling down, leaving pot holes where I leapt back from.

"A sasquatch then," I said.

"Well I'm not your mama," he said.

The world was weird enough, not too weird for bigfoot, sorry 'sasquatch' to be real.

Still, whatever truth to the myth of the woodland ape, I couldn't afford to lose.

"You ain't no boxer neither," I said, weaving under a loose punch and driving in a hard right, took him in the chest. I closed in with a combination, ducking his counters. It was a wild brawny fighting style I could believe he'd built in the back woods of the Rocky Mountains. Problem was this is Chicago, where people know how to fight.

When my knuckle took his chin he straightened out, footing lost, crashing hard a felled redwood.

He didn't stay down long though, and as he got up there was wildness in his grin, blood leaking over his teeth. He hadn't been fighting serious or at least not to kill.

"Come on," I said, skipping back, giving him room to get up. I wasn't a chump. Yeti seemed fair enough, I wasn't going to stick my toe in his ear. He pressed up, swinging to his feet in an ape-ish way, scuffing his cowboy boots.

"You sure are a tough cuss," he said, "But I wrestle grizzly bears for fun!"

He stomped his fists on the cement, chest puffing out, grin growing bigger, eyes growing big too.

I stayed loose, ready.

He shot both legs toward me again in a double kick, then grabbing the ground flicked himself up and over mid-air, swinging those booted feet up to catch me in the chin. Whiplash snapped my head back, but whatever the hurt I didn't fall. Fire burning in me kept me upright, my duty wouldn't let me fall. He swung in clobbering at me with those cannonball fists. Any one of them could have cracked open my rib cage.
>>
But whatever strength he had his style was all loose. I swung in when the opening was there.

When he went down this time, he didn't get right back up.

The pain in my neck though dropped me to a knee.

"We done here?" I said up to Sullivan, his bikers pulling up Yeti, getting a shot of whiskey down his throat.

"Yeah, we're done," he said, offering me his hand. The outlaw pulled me up. "We'll look out for your people tonight, Hotspur."

"But only tonight."

He clicked his fingers for one of the waitresses.

"Get this man a drink!"

Despite my aching neck I hung my head forward.

At least now I could relax.

>time to head home, its past midnight, Dad would be worried
>wait down here until hearing from Misfit and Queen Rat
>let Ms Grant know where the para-folk were sheltering
>>
I'll be back in a bit, got to deal with something
>>
>>4909247
>wait down here until hearing from Misfit and Queen Rat
>let Ms Grant know where the para-folk were sheltering
No reason we can't do both
>>
>>4909247
>wait down here until hearing from Misfit and Queen Rat
Can't leave them without a leader. Calling Grant is a bad idea, phones might be tapped
>>
>>4909249
Don't go fighting any oversized monkeys
>>
>>4909247
>wait down here until hearing from Misfit and Queen Rat
>>
>>4909247
Seconding the miracle that is cellphones.>>4909250
>>
I like Grant and trust her but honestly the less people that know where we're hiding paras the better
>>
>>4909250
>>4909247
Support

(This captcha sucks man)
>>
>>4909247
>wait down here until hearing from Misfit and Queen Rat
>>4909250
why though? she can't do shit for the paras
>>
>>4909319
We need a more permanent lair for the rat pack. She might as well start looking for one.
>>
>>4909320
not exactly her area of expertise
>>
>>4909321
Do we know anyone whose it is?
>>
>>4909323
no but ms. grant isn't our fairy godmother who can solve any problem with the wave of a wand either, we can talk with the paras including queen rat and misfit when they get back about the next play, queen rat knows pretty much everything about the underground parts of the city through her network of rats and a very long time spent in the city. if she's worth a shit as a leader she's got a backup plan in case these awful things that were very likely to happen happened
>>
>>4909247
>Let mrs grant know

>>4909321
She’s the best fit out of people we know, hooked us up with a doctor and shelter. If she can’t do it herself she can probably find someone who can
>>
>>4909329
If there's one thing I gotta agree with the other guy on, it's that she's not very good at looking far. Her shelter was the house of a pet journalist instead of a rent made through several someone elses, her scientist was a guy she knew from uni, her doctor something similar.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

okay Eric is definitely staying but I'll roll for calling Ms Grant

1 you call her
2 you don't
>>
A girl in spandex brought me a glass loaded with ice and whiskey.

"Come on in and take a load off," Sullivan said, clapping my shoulder.

The refugees shuffled in. It was no kind of home, nothing fixed, but it would do for tonight.

I found myself at the bar, covering my face with a hand as I drank the whiskey through a straw. Honestly I'd prefer a can of pop but asking for something like that in a place like this? What the hell, I had nothing to prove. I ordered one.

Yeti climbed behind the bar, taking orders, fresh as if I hadn't cleaned his clock. He squirted coke into my empty glass.

"On the house there," he said, sliding it back. He had no hard feelings. Good.

"Are you really a sasquatch?" Pratfall asked, perching up on a stool next to me.

"Sure am," he said, "Grew up out over the Rockies with my mom's clan. It ain't like it sounds, just me and my full blooded cousins. We're a dying breed. One of the reasons I switched out was to find a mate. Had to come down from the mountains eventually. Got myself a haircut and some human clothes, washed the woods out of my mouth. Found plenty of prospects but nothing permanent."

"Your tale sounds false but your words seem true, hmm, tricksome aren't you?" Pratfall said.

He shrugged. "All I can say is I ain't like this from no star exploding," he said, "I learned English back in '87 when I met this one family, nice people. We got real close, close as family. I loved them to bits and they loved me. But they couldn't let me stay with them. Government started coming after me so they drove me out for my own good. Told me they didn't want me no more. It hurt because I believed them, I only realized later they did it to protect me. I'll never forget Goerge, Nancy, Sarah and Little Ernie. I owe them more than I can say."

"Oh bullshit, that's Harry and the Hendersons!" Pratfall said.

He grinned with a wink, pouring her a drink. "Got me on that one," he said.

The bass throbbed around me, bikers drinking. I was tense, how couldn't I be tense surrounded by people I'd beaten the shit out of time and time over? One of them was bound to hold a grudge. Half dressed girls danced on caged platforms above our heads. It was a wild place.

"You stink like shit," Baby Girl said, sliding in next to me.

"Yeah," I said, "Trying a new cologne, is it working?"

She wrinkled her nose. "Not on me."

"I heard your boy is the new boss," I said, "Weren't you trying to get out of the life?"

She sighed. "The life's like a fish hook, second you think you've got it out you find another barb to get hooked on. If we're going to be in it though, we may as well call the shots."

"Shots?" Yeti said, pouring one out.

"Do a body shot if you want," Baby Girl said, waving the shot glass in front of me. I blushed under my mask. "No you aren't that wild are you, boyscout." She chucked it back.

"So I was bouncing in the Pacific North West before coming to Chicago," Yeti was telling Pratfall. She was ears perked and paying full attention.
>>
"Backwoods watering holes mostly. Had to keep my head down on account of 'Bigfoot' hunters, right. When I heard about the Chicago explosion though I thought, hell, no one will look at me twice out there. Everyone's a freak in Chicagoland."

"Parafolk is the preferred term," she said, "Freak is what guys like the DPA call us."

"You know what I call them? Goddamn sons of bitches," he poured her another free drink.

A couple of the waitresses were cooing over Owen. "Oh he's so cute!" they stroked his mane, squished his cheeks. The kid hated it, having pretty, skimpily dressed girls pawing over him.

"I'm not cute!" he protested with a cub's scowl, which only made them gush more.

He'd kick himself for hating it later.

Baby Girl punched my back. "Sully's ready to talk," she said, gesturing up to the gantry above us. He stood drinking, looking down on the dance floor.

I hiked off the bar stool. "Thanks for the coke," I told Yeti. He waved me away.

We met on the gantry.

"You should know something Hotspur," he said, "I'm telling you this as a sign of good will."

"What is it?" I said, tensing up.

"After your little trap the big gangs have gotten to talking, setting down a certain arrangement. Something to avoid another head on collision like that happening again. Something to control the trade in Chicago, keep the peace."

"Yeah?"

"Some of the underlings are calling it the Council of Crime," he said, "Thing is, I've got a seat on the table."

"Why are you telling me this?" I said.

"Because I don't think a thing like that can last," he said, "Too many egos, too many divided loyalties. And I might have a seat at the table but its a small seat. Guess who has the biggest ones?"

"The Outfit and the Cartel," I said.

He nodded. "Our first official meeting is going to be out in a lodge near Nebo, end of March. Everyone who is anyone will be there."

"I'm telling you this because you aren't a cop," he said, "And because I don't like any of those motherfuckers. Most of them have tried to kill me one time or another. So what you do with this information is up to you."

It wasn't selfless. He was using me to hit his rivals. I appreciated it all the same.

I saw her duck in, masked up, pacing forward. Misfit. She'd gotten my text. She swooped around looking for me.

Rather than take the stairs I leapt down. The bikers cleared a space.

"What's the word?" I said, grabbing her arm.

"She's in surgery," Misfit said, "Lost a lot of blood but they're hopefully. I got worse news though. The Governor's dead."

"Fuck."

A bad night just got worse.

Misfit went to the bar. Not that alcohol did much for her. I slumped down next to her.

She didn't blink at the sasquatch behind the bar, she took a beer, chugged a beer, then took another.

"Another thing, man," she said, "It's been on my mind all night. All fucking week. I got to say sorry."

"For what?"
>>
"For what? Man, I made out with your ex. Dude I even did it after I said I wouldn't. Shit, I've been feeling awful about it all week. If you need to hit me or something to make up for it, go ahead. I got it coming. I just get dumb around pretty girls is all and...shit, I got no excuse. Do what you got to do."

She stuck up her chin, ready to take a hit.

>is that all? Shit Misfit, it's cool, I get dumb around babes too
>yeah, it wasn't cool you doing that, but I'm not gonna hit you
>go ahead and slug her
>>
>>4909374
>is that all? Shit Misfit, it's cool, I get dumb around babes too
Also, she knows she doesn't want to get hit by Hotspur
>>
>>4909374
>is that all? Shit Misfit, it's cool, I get dumb around babes too
Fucking captcha
>>
I'll be back in a couple of days
>>
>>4909374
>go ahead and slug her

>"don't really care about that, but if it makes you feel better"?
>>
>>4909374
>is that all? Shit Misfit, it's cool, I get dumb around babes too
>"Exes are a fair game, Fit"
>>
>>4909374
>go ahead and slug her
>>
>>4909374
>go ahead and slug her
>>
>>4909464
>>4909526
For what gain?
>>
>>4909374
>is that all? Shit Misfit, it's cool, I get dumb around babes too
this too
>"don't really care about that, but if it makes you feel better"?
>>
>>4909373
>Some of the underlings are calling it the Council of Crime,"
Holy shit this is the cheesiest name ever, and we must make fun of them for it with malicious intent.
>>4909374
adding
>Flick her on the forehead, while using a little of our power
to this>>4909564
>>
>>4909374
>>4909571
Flick her head!

Start doing this as a trade mark
>>
>>4909374
>>is that all? Shit Misfit, it's cool, I get dumb around babes too

don't punch her, she'll think we're actually angry
>>
>>4909464
>>4909526
>>4909571
>>4909680
I don't think she needs any more brain damage than she already has
>>
>>4909374
>is that all? Shit Misfit, it's cool, I get dumb around babes too

we know that misfits chad energy cannot be restrained
>>
Random thought: does this make Kaylee the only person in the city to fuck two of the handful of superheroes there?
>>
>>4909692
We just flick her forehead, it might bruise at worst when our power is added, but it will not give her brain damage.
>>4909806
I doubt it, the villain team seems like they probably fuck around more. And we don't know our friends love lives...except maybe Shark, and him not getting laid.
>>4909691
>>4909775
We must Itachi her.
>>
>>4909833
I was specifically saying "superheroes", not "parahumans". There's a whole of 3 or 4 heroes: Hotspur, Misfit, Semper Fi, maaaaybe Grit.
>>
>>4910352
Ah, well yeah, my point still stands though. I said villains probably fuck more, and baring Shark who, unless said otherwise, hasn't gotten laid, and we don't know about everyone elses love lives. And take Semper Fi off that damn list, she's lawful evil, not a drop of good in her. Grit might be neutral good though, he helps us out sometimes. We need to hang out with him more often.
>>
>>4909374
>>is that all? Shit Misfit, it's cool, I get dumb around babes too
>>
>>4909692
what if it fix her and she becomes booring? idk Im not a psicoanalist guy
>>
What was the vote that got deleted?
>>
>>4909374
Going support this>>4909680
>Flick her forehead.
>>
the vote is locked in but I'll be back tomorrow

life's got a little busy on my end
>>
>>4912661
Its cool, do what you need to man.
>>
Say bullpen How does Erik hide his scars in school barhrooms and such?
>>
>>4913903
I'm betting he doesn't go to gym, or uses a stall and changes before getting to gym. And passes off shin scars as parkour accidents.
>>
I raised my fist and flicked her between the eyes.

"There, we're even," I said.

"Aw man," she said, rubbing the spot.

"It's cool, I get dumb around pretty girls too," I said, "It's sunshine on my shoulders dude, don't sweat it."

"So you're cool if I call her number or something?"

I shrugged. "You do whatever, life's too fucked not to enjoy it."

"I hear that."

It was way past late. Dad had wanted me home by ten. It was closer to two in the morning by the time I rolled in. Busy night. No one was waiting up. I washed off the stink of the sewer, blood, and gunfire before crawling into bed. I don't know what tomorrow was bringing but it was nothing good. Best I'd done last night was prevent a bigger tragedy. Best I could do tomorrow was try to get through it.

When was the last time I'd gone to bed with some kind of hope for tomorrow? Had to have been not that long ago but whenever it was I don't remember. Maybe not since Mom's cancer had taken a turn for the worse.

I went to bed with Mangy on my lap, and dreamed of red skies and warm, gentle winds.

News broke the next day. Illinois Governor assassinated. Queen Rat's home getting burned out was barely a mention in comparison. The president weighed in, foreign officials too. America wasn't the place where government officials were murdered like that, not often anyway. People were scared. Nemesis' face and name was everywhere. So were his comrades, including Thunderchild.

Last time he'd been framed, this time Child was guilty. I don't know what I could do for him. I don't know what I could do for myself. How the news was treating Semper Fi was sickening.

She was a bigger hero than ever. Even the picture of her half-naked and covered in Pyrokine's blood was being touted as one of a heroic, tired avenger struggling with the weight of her duty. Me, I wasn't mentioned at all, which suited me fine. Chuck Hayward got the credit for evacuating the building and in my opinion, more credit to him.

The worst was the para-folk community. It was open season, the government was talking about mass detainment and no one was disagreeing. Rewards were being put out for the fugitives, who had shot to the top of the FBI most wanted.

Talk was they'd have a state funeral or something for the governor.

Dad was quiet at breakfast but Carmen was angry and nervous.

"How can they do this?" she said, biting her nail, "Collective punishment is a war crime. It's both unethical and illegal."

"When did the government ever give a damn about ethics?" Dad said.

"It's not the government, its the people," she said, "Are they so scared they'll let innocent people get hurt?"

The look Dad gave her was the first time their age gap became clear.
>>
"Some are," he said, "Others are burned out. You might be too young to remember, but protests didn't stop the Iraq war or change the banks. We tried, we threw rocks and started fights, we wrote petitions and we lobbied congress. It didn't work. We're so far away from the people who make the decisions, nothing we do touches them."

"But there has to be something!" Carmen said.

"We'll do what we can, when we can," Dad said.

I kept my head down, sucking up my breakfast, too tired to do more than get through the day in a mechanical, processed way. The only good news I got came in around lunch. Queen Rat had pulled through her surgery and was recovering. Doc Ramsey had her in care.

I sent Ms Grant a text. I needed a new costume after last night, or at least get the old one cleaned. I didn't want to carry the sewer stink around with me everywhere. I was on my way down to Luis' when I saw a crowd.

"It's time we deal with this menace."

He was a black guy in glasses with a suit and blue tie. He was literally standing on a soap box. A young woman was handing out stickers.

'Vote Alderman Bates For Mayor.'

"The para-folk have made a mockery of civil society. They endanger the lives of everyday people while tearing at the social fabric we take for granted."

Luis was hanging out the front of his shop, arms crossed and frowning, pork pie hat drawn low. Behind him D-Mark in a smock scowled.

"You see this shit?" Luis said with a point of his chin at the politician, "Rabble rousing crab bucket shit."

"Crab bucket shit goes a long way," D-Mark said.

"And this is the Democrat, you can imagine what the Republican is saying," Luis said, "Hey Rico, how you doing?"

"Good," I lied.

"Get a pop from the fridge, on the house," he said, turning back into the store, "I'm done listening to that jackass."

Unfortunately other people weren't, and the crowd was growing. Dignified church going grandmas in their sunday crowns and street types gathered together to listen to the firebrand scorch the earth of para-freaks everywhere with his rhetoric.

I chugged a coke. Sugar and caffeine helped me recharge.

"Late night?" Luis said, "You get laid or something?"

I sputtered the coke. "No," I said through the bubbles burning my nostrils, "I wish man."

He slid me a pack of twinkies getting to their expiry date.

"It's all fucked up," he said. I nodded, munching down. "But seriously kid, how are you holding up?"

>fine, I'm keeping it together
>honestly? all kinds of fucked up
>I don't know
>>
File: 1625336574117.png (697 KB, 600x640)
697 KB
697 KB .png
>>4914250
>honestly? all kinds of fucked up
>>
>>4914250
>honestly? all kinds of fucked up
My fuckin article is part of why Nemesis is doing this shit. Probably a great recruitment tool for him. Anything good deed I try to do bites me in the ass in and fucks up the world in new and exciting ways. Shoulda just stuck to protecting convenience stores from crooks.
>>
>>4914250
>honestly? all kinds of fucked up
>Like a child actor
>>
>>4914250
>honestly? all kinds of fucked up
not really sure I'm a net positive influence on the city anymore and my normal life ain't great either. tired of seeing people killin each other. I'm super strong and shit but lately I feel powerless
>>
>>4914250
>I just want to help people man, but everywhere I put a fire out 3 more pop up in its place, I don't know what to do next

Just vent and go back to the people, we need to talk to queen rat about how we're going to protect the people and make them look good
>>
>>4914276
>>4914270
>>4914268
>>4914265
>>4914252
I'll lock that in

I have to deal with something here so updates might be slow
>>
"Honestly? All kinds of fucked up," I said, "My fucking article started this shit. I handed Nemesis the perfect recruitment tool. Feels like every time I try to do good I fuck it up or it gets turned around on me. I might have powers but I'm feeling pretty powerless. I shoulda stuck to beating up crooks robbing folks instead. Every time I try to do more than that feels like I make the world worse."

Luis listened without judgement, nodding along. His cat rubbed up against my leg, purring.

"Even my normal life is kind of shit," I said.

"Things will work out," he said, "One way or another."

I tried to believe him.

"I'm serious, kid. There's a horizon to this stuff, but when you're in the shit you just can't see it, you get blinded by everything else. Keep going though, you'll find it."

"That's the thing about horizons though Luis," I said, "You can never reach them."

"Bad analogy," he said, "You know what I mean."

Maybe. I thanked him for the food then went out.

I had a lot to think about.

Coming out of the store I was surprised by who I bumped into.

Dane. Just about the last guy I was expecting.

"Hey," he said, "Your dad said I might find you down here."

"What's up?"

He looked nervous, of course he would be with everything going on.

"We can talk, right?" he said.

"Yeah."

"Not here though," he said. I followed him around the block, down to a park. It was still too cold for family's to be back out playing, but not too cold for a corner boy waiting under a tree for a customer. We sat well away from him.

"This about the news?" I asked.

He shrugged. "That too," he said. He took his time before he talked. "I stopped eating two weeks ago," he said, "It started feeling uncomfortable. Drinking too."

"Okay," I said.

"I haven't needed a hair cut in six months," he said, "And...I...this is weird to say." Whatever his powers were they didn't stop him from blushing. "I haven't jerked off in months. I started wondering if I was gay or something but...no, it's like I'm dead from the waist down. I don't feel that stuff anymore. I don't feel hot or cold, not really."

Not something I needed to know.

"Sorry if this is weird to lay on you," he said, "I tried talking to Ivy about it but I was scared. I don't think...I don't think I'm ageing."

"You're Ivy's friend," he said, "Maybe you could tell her, only...I don't want to break up with her. I still like her, I still like-like her, its just not...the physical part isn't there."

"Does she know you're a para-folk?" I said.

"She knows I'm something, I haven't spilled it all," he said, "And now with this crackdown, and everything else. I want to...I want to be with her, but I know she deserves better, deserves a normal guy."

"What should I do, Eric?" he said, "You know about girls and stuff. More than I do."

>you should break up with her
>you should talk to her
>I have no idea and no opinion
>>
>>4914305
>>you should talk to her
>>
>>4914305
>you should talk to her
Look man, all you can do is lay all the cards on the table and see what she thinks.
>>
>>4914305
>you should talk to her
>>
>>4914305
>you should talk to her
>>
>>4914305
>I have no idea and no opinion

Dane, I can't tell you what to do with your life, I can only say that people in relationships have expectations and needs, if you think you can be in this relationship without her or your needs being met...just do what you gotta do
>>
>>4914305
Switching>>4914324
to this>>4914326
>>
Also god damn that is a shit drawback for a power like his. At least he isn't a bloodsucking vampire?
>>
>>4914305
>>
>>4914341
shit forgot to post vote, fucking new captcha is fucking with me
>you should talk to her
>>
We should figure out what the fuel for his power is, we fuel with food, misfit is booze, firechick is cigarettes or something

What is Danes fuel and how do we starve him?

Because if we can starve him we can probably get him back to a semblance of normalcy, it'll be a miserable experience, but his weirdass powers are not a boon right now
>>
>>4914305
>you should talk to her
>>
>>4914346
Sunlight? At least in theory? He can run without tiring or sleep, so maybe he needs physical damage to try and dent his regneration.
>>
>>4914351
Too op, it's gotta be something that he consumes.

You ever play that game "infamous"?

Our powers (unless they're mutations and sometimes even then) need a fuel source to work, like in the game.

There's something that's fueling this guy that he's In constant contact with, we need to figure out what that is and starve him
>>
>>4914358
Idk man sounds kinda dangerous, his powers are like a passive "buff" while ours are active skills to put it in video game terms. I don't think the rules are the same. I don't think he should get hit with a few weeks of starvation and no water if we do manage to shut his powers off
>>
>>4914358
Plus we'd have to explain why we have such intimate knowledge of how paras work
>>
>>4914358
But he just said he stopped eating, for two weeks at that. Not even drinking either.

No, I had 360 at the time and played Prototype instead, I know the series though.

>There's something that's fueling this guy that he's In constant contact with, we need to figure out what that is and starve him
That is a bold assumption on how his powers even work. We don't even know what Thunderchild does for his, or Grit and Pratfall. We might not even be able to starve him. His hair isn't growing either, so this isn't even regeneration like we have, that's just a healing factor. Its like its, self staining?
>>4914362
He already said he is starving himself because he doesn't feel the need for it.
>>4914363
We might just need to do it, because he might get caught in this new wave of paranoia.
>>
>>4914362
His power is superstamina or to be more accurate from what he described "perpetuallity"

Meaning infinite, but nothing is infinite, we break gravity in our sneakers but we still need fuel, thunderchild breaks space-time but he still needs fuel.

This guy needs some kind of fuel, and it sounds like you're misunderstanding me, the fuel he has isn't food or water, it's something else we gotta stave him off of
>>
>>4914373
Maybe being near electricity?
>>
>>4914368
His powers seem to have put him in some sort of stasis. Not sure how he'd take in fuel. Maybe he's the exception?
>>
>>4914373
Nah I get what you mean, I'm saying what happens if we shut off his powers (which I don't think we can do) and then he's a normal human who still hasn't eaten or drank anything for two weeks? He'd die.
>>
>>4914376
From the symptoms, it seems his body is shutting down physical needs bit by bit. Whatever is going on, his junk shutting down might be reaching it's final stages...maybe he needs background radiation?
>>
>>4914382
>>4914376
Nothing about Dane marks him as so unbelievably special that he is completely different from all other paras, or his fuel source something that can never be avoided

I'm just spouting a theory, but I'm basing it on what we currently know about paras and how they work, you guys are going to some weirdass extremes with your theories
>>
We could ask him how he processes injuries, even small ones, like paper cuts. If he is frozen, he might be hard or impossible to injure but unable to heal
>>
We're getting lost in the weeds here guys, he's asking girl advice not para advice. He sits awake every night thinking about this shit, if there's a solution he has a way better chance of figuring it out than we do.
>>
>>4914305
>you should talk to her
>Tell her everything and let her make a decision. Trust her.
>if you think it might help somehow I could be there when you have this talk.
>>
>>4914407
He probably doesn't know most powers require fuel, since he isn't a part of the para community and doesn't take anything in. So yeah, combining our knowledge and his time, we can feasibly come up with a way to manage his "gift".
And he really needs it, because if he doesn't age, his relationship with Ivy is going to get weird really soon.
>>
>>4914407
Wrong!

Dane(good guy) is a dumbass teenager with no point of reference with other paras to figure out his powers, and he's so scared of being a "parafreak that he hasn't experimented with his powers, probably.

I mean, all the shit going on around him and this dude is still thinking with his unusable dick!(not that we're any better)

He's freaking out more about the girl than about how this shit will affect his life, his existence!
>>
>>4914414
At least he isn't a Shota.
>>
>>4914415
He tried working out going jogging and found out he can basically do it indefinitely if he wanted too. Pretty sure that was before he told us he stopped needing to breath, when he let us know he couldn't sleep. I don't remember if he tested if he had regeneration though.
>>
>>4914419
Still, being a permanent minor is a huge disadvantage. If he was in his twenties abs reasonably fit, it would be a blessing, otherwise it's not a great power.
>>
locking in 'talk to her'

sorry for the delay, got caught up with something took longer than expected
>>
I felt a chill down my back.

"Talk to her," I said, "Ivy's cool. If you 'like her' like her you should put your cards on the table, let her know what's going on."

"She's cool, yeah, but she can be tough too," he said, "She's not easy to talk to about 'real' stuff. I tried talking to her about her family stuff one time and I thought she was going to hit me or something. And this, I don't know if I want to put more on her after everything she's been through."

"She's tougher than you're giving her credit for," I said.

"She's scary," he said, "There's times I swear she's never had an awkward moment in her life, like she always knows what to say or what she's about. Then other times she's a brickwall, not like she doesn't want to talk but literally can't. Just shut up and quiet and not giving me anything. Shit I wish I was more like you, able to talk to girls."

"You know how I start?" I said, he looked hopeful for the answer, "By talking to them." I clipped him up the side of the head.

Everything else he was talking about, that was worrying too. I hadn't heard of powers like his, couldn't start to figure out what he was about. Didn't get tired, didn't need to eat or sleep, didn't seem to age. What the hell even was that? But I felt awkward probing his secret without sharing my own.

"Ivy likes you." I knew she did and kind of hated him for it. "You deal with her straight and she'll do the same back."

"I don't...I don't want to break up with her, not really," he said, "But I can't figure out a way we can stay together. It isn't only about the danger, but the sex too. She's...you know, active like that. Not even like she likes it but like she needs it. I don't know. I didn't know girls could be like that."

I swallowed. This was getting into private areas I'd rather not be involved with.

Dane needed to talk. For whatever reason he trusted me.

"But there's the danger too," he said, "Shit's getting bad. I don't know what to do about it. I want to be left alone. All I want to do is stay in my room and play Apex or whatever. But it feels as if lines are being drawn and I'm expected to be on one side or the other. I don't know what to do Eric."

>...I can introduce you to someone, a woman named Queen Rat
>I don't know but you've got your friends, we can help you
>>
>>4914482
>...I can introduce you to someone, a woman named Queen Rat

Para radicalization lets goooo
>>
>>4914482
>...I can introduce you to someone, a woman named Queen Rat
>>
>>4914482
>...I can introduce you to someone, a woman named Queen Rat
Maybe you can get your powers figured out. A life without food, sleep, taste, or sex would be fuckin miserable. And the fact that it's escalating is no bueno.
>>
>>4914482
>There's a wider community in this city, I can introduce you to them if you want. But they're in hot water and knowing them won't be easy. Being part of them even harder.
>There's also an easy way - to hide.
>It's up to you.
>>
>>4914482
>You have me, you have your friends, we can help you. But if you think it might get bad, I can introduce you to Queen Rat in the meantime.
I also just realised that if Misfit stayed down in the sewers, she probably would have accidentally set off a methane explosion.
supporting this too>>4914490
>>
>>4914489
>>4914490
lmao wtf I'm multitasking and on autopilot apparently
>>
>>4914494
It happens.
>>
>>4914482
>...I can introduce you to someone, a woman named Queen Rat
Is anyone opposed to telling him our identity? That's basically what this option is.
>>
>>4914493
>>4914482
Supporting this, the fact that he doesn't know the full aspect of his power is definitely worrying, there's someone like him (the ghost girl) that can give him maybe some advice about how to live without human needs.

It is, a dangerous choice with the time they live in, but who knows, maybe Dan can become a medium between paras and normies in the futures
>>
>>4914506
No need, maybe we can said it that we hear it from a third party, or just dont go into details.
>>
>>4914506
We can introduce him through Natalie
>>
>>4914511
He's not an idiot, he's gonna connect the dots anyway
>>4914520
Why give up her identity instead of ours? We know he's a para, it's mutually assured destruction if he suddenly does a 180 and decides to expose us for no reason. Also, fuck the new captcha
>>
>>4914526
He already knows her. And if we introduce him to the Rat pack, he'll meet her eventually, probably very doon
>>
>>4914490
>>4914487
>>4914506
locking in 'introduce Dane to Rat Queen'
>>
"I know someone who could help you out," I said, "She runs a shelter for para-folk on the southside. People call her Queen Rat."

"Yeah?" Dane said, "How you know her?"

I tried not to squirm. "The girl I took to the school dance, she's connected down that way," I said.

"There's a story at school says you're half on the street," he said, "You know I don't believe the stories about you being, you know, a prostitute or whatever. Sometimes though its clear you've seen stuff, done stuff. I don't know how to put it. Kind of a gangbanger or whatever."

"Man, I'm too lilly white to be much of a gang banger," I said, "I just know people is all, from lots of different places."

"Yeah! Kind of a freak too, right," he said, "You think she can help me?"

I shrugged. "More than I can. There's a bunch of folks down there who can do a lot of things. Maybe they can help figure you out."

"It'll have to be tomorrow, after school," he said, "After I talk to Ivy. Maybe I should pack a bag. My parents, you know they don't know either. I've been good at hiding it." He nodded to himself. "But I think I need to...come out of the closet I guess. Be myself in front of the world. Dumb analogy right?"

"Metaphors don't have to be perfect to make sense," I said, knowing some of what he was feeling.

"See you tomorrow," he said.

"Yeah." If he guessed who I was he didn't say. I waited on the park bench a while, contemplating my own situation.

Sometimes it felt like there was no helping the world. It was set on its tracks, driving to a dead end fueled by corruption. Anything I tried to do to set it right just felt like more fuel on a raging fire. But maybe I could help someone out. One person. A friend at least.

Maybe I wasn't that selfless and I was thinking about Ivy too.

My life was constant crossroads and I couldn't see the right path. One way seemed to twist to darkness as much as any other, with no respect for right and wrong, with only laughing jackals all around.

The corner boy stumbled out from under the tree. He didn't look so good, ashy and tired. Groaning a little, a bad extra from a zombie flick, he stumbled toward the street. I got up as he went to his knees in the gutter. Something thick and black welled up between his lips. A thick black vomit gushed down into the gutter. When he was done he stayed kneeling, groaning. I waited for him to say something or flip out all zombie mode, but he just stayed there softly groaning.

His eyes were glassy. He blinked them out, something like a thought seemed alive in there.

"You okay?" I asked.

He got up, swaying. He swallowed, licked the film of black vomit from his lips. Zombies didn't do that. He staggered away.

Maybe he was having a bad trip or something. I watched him stagger down the sidewalk, ignoring the people out and around.

Weird.

I got up. It was getting cold, and I wasn't in the mood for head busting tonight.

Dark thoughts churning.
>>
>>4914568
Oh god wait, is he planning on saying it out in school? Or just his parents? We may have fucked up here.
>That dude is either infected with zombie juice, or demon possession.
Shit, this is a bad day.
>>
>>4914583
Or Haitian is a para who can possess people
>>
I was looking forward to school.

My in-school suspension had been lifted, I was back in regular class with my friends. I had a plan to help out Dane. Rest had helped clear out some of the storm clouds in my head.

Until I got to school.

Squad cars were parked out the lawn, lights flashing, a big dark van parked out the front.

"What the hell?" Rufus said, coming up to join me, his girl Shonique under his arm.

"School shooting maybe?" Shonique said, a little nervous.

No. I saw him waiting by the front gate, his coat flicked back to show his badge, his vulture smile stretched.

Penderose.

Had he come for me?

No, not me.

They perp walked him out in cuffs. Detective Bohauer with a couple of cops. Bohauer had the grace to look ashamed.

Dane.

Coming up after them, shouting with a white hot fury, looking ready to start a fight was Ivy.

"Pig motherfuckers!" her voice was raw, her eyes burning with tears. Dane walked limp in their grip, head down. "He did nothing wrong! He's innocent!"

"Dane Malcheski is suffering paranormal affliction, and thus is being detained by the Paranormal Detainment Act," Penderose said with a self-satisfied smile, "The law was passed zero-six hundred this morning. The DPA has full authority to detain any and all paranormally afflicted people in Illinois pending a medical examination and registration. This is for your own good, Miss Chambers. Yours, his, and the for the great state of Illinois."

Dane didn't try to fight. If anything he looked dead around the eyes, beaten.

"Shit, they found out about Dane," Rufus said, looking ready to rush the cops.

They were getting him into the back of the van when Ivy tried to rush them. Penderose caught her under the shoulder.

"Dane, Dane, don't give up," she said, reaching over Agent Penderose for him, "Dane!"

The way she screamed his name tore at my heart.

>keep my head down
>fuck this, step in

I'll be back tomorrow
>>
>>4914587
Or the Haitian is a magician who specializes in voodoo shit, like the Red Wizard and all that
>>
>>4914588
>fuck this, step in
>"Penderose, you know what will happen if you give another soul to the meat factory, don't you?"
>>
>>4914590
Or that, yes
>>
>>4914588
sneak off, get in costume, tail the convoy, and bust him out a little further away from the school. then get him to the other paras.
>>
>>4914588
this>>4914592"
Also this>>4914596
We call him out, but don't jump him immediately baring slugging the bastard if he gives us an excuse, its a flimsy protection of our identity. But it will have to work.
>>4914590
Maybe? We never did find out more about Haitian's situation.
>>
>>4914588
>keep my head down

Go change quickly!

We can't do anything as Eric, but Hotspur won't hesitate to rip the fucking room off a cop car and run away with Dane!

DON'T BE EMOTIONAL, BE PROACTIVE AND ACTUALLY HELP HIM

IF "ERIC" INTERVENES WE'RE GOING TO JAIL, THIS IS A JOB FOR HOTSPUR

Fuck this captcha!!!
>>
>>4914588
I'll switch this>>4914598
support for this intervene>>4914592
to this>>4914609
>>
>>4914588
>keep my head down

I can support >>4914609
>>
>>4914609
This. Damn though, shit really is fucked.
>>
>>4914609
Shifting to this from >>4914592 too, it might be more useful.
Maybe don't even bother with the full costume, go for the old look in a pinch.
>>
File: 1495327337935.jpg (995 KB, 2250x2250)
995 KB
995 KB .jpg
You know what's fucked up, someone that he told snitched, now usually I would suspect Kaylee because fuck that bitch but she's part of our mystical flame pact or whatever so it couldn't be any of them without us knowing, it wasn't ivy for obvious reasons but who else did he say he was going to "come out to"...HIS FUCKING PARENTS!!!THOSE FAGGOT MOTHERFUCKERS RATTED ON THEIR BABY BOY TO BIG DADDY GOVERNMENT, FUUUUUUUCCCKKKKKKK!!!
>>
>>4914588
>>4914609
Support. Fuck this now is not time to be a spineless pussy, Dane is like the least dangerous parafreak we have seen. Some elite probably just wants to harvest his blood to stay young and in power forever.
>>
>>4914647
That, or someone listened in through the zombie
>>
>>4914248
>>4914250
You know who should run for mayor!?

DECORATED HERO AND LOCAL SUPER FIREFIGHTER CHUCK HAYWARD.

The position of mayor is open right now and I think that CHUCK HAYWARD (all capitals because he's a chad) should have it, ms.grant is already in office but let's face it, she's not a popular woman, she has a lot of enemies who will try to get in her way, but CHUCK HAYWARD is currently very popular, and though he might not be a politician current political climate and austrian bodybuilding superstars show that that shit isn't necessary to win the office.

When we next get the chance to meet our buddy CHUCK HAYWARD we should ask him to run for mayor, because if we don't put someone on that seat that's on our side than we're basically screwed.

There are 3 positions of government that a superhero NEEDS to be on friendly terms with to make a real positive impact on a city

1-Mayor

2-commisioner (currently impossible because cops are cunts here until proven otherwise, I hope we find an honest cop soon because we need to work with the police as a superhero, not against them)

3-district attorney

A successful superhero is tight with one or more of these people in power

CHUCK HAYWARD
>>
>>4914609
>>4914588
Supporting this 100% let's gooooo
>>
>>4914653
>>4914647
What if, and this is me just speculating, that dude rat dane out and got like that because of the fire thingy, maybe it affects people out of the path
>>
>>4914721
>fire thingy
What?
>>
>>4914721
If you're referring to the oath, I think it only applies to the people who swore it, not some rando corner boy
>>
>>4914721
this>>4914727
Why would it affect some guy we don't know? That doesn't make sense.
>>
>>4914647
He might have just walked in and told the principle, and they called Penderose on him on the spot.
>>
>>4914609
locking this in
>>
Fuck this. I wasn't going to let them drag Dane off to a gulag.

"See you in a bit," I told Rufus, dipping out.

I had to find a place to hide and clothes to switch into. My costume was all the way back on the west side, I wasn't going to be able to get there and back again in time to do any good. Luckily I saw Ayesha pull up in a beat up old Camero.

"What's up?" she said as I dived into the back seat. I pulled off my jacket, wound my scarf around my face.

"Loan me your jacket," I said.

"It's kind of girly," Ayesha said, slipping it off in the front seat. Didn't matter right now. All that mattered was I didn't bust Dane out in what I had been wearing. I popped up the white hood on the pink jacket, a cartoon bear flashing a peace sign on the back.

It really was girly.

"DPA snatched Dane," I said, "I'm breaking him out."

"Shoot," she said, then whipped a fearful look back at me, "Be careful."

I winked. "Never." And rolled out the other side.

Keeping low I ran across the road ducking into an alley. Then turning around measured the distance between me and the parked van.

I took a step back.

And leapt forward. The wind hissed around me, the street a blur below. I hit the roof of the van with a solid thud. It bounced on its chasis.

"Yo," I said, "Kidnapping children now Penderson? Maybe you want to take a shot at a real para-freak."

Penderose smiled up at me.

"Hotspur, good to see you," he said. The cops went for their guns. "No, there's no need for that," he snapped at them, "Our friend Hotspur has been granted a special exemption from the Paranormal Detainment Act for his valiant efforts to detain the terrorists who murdered the governor. You can thank me another time, Hotspur."

"You're a real swell guy, Penderose," I said, "Sorry if I don't write you a love letter."

Ivy looked up at me with hope and fear, held back by a cop.

"So are we going to do this the easy way, or the fun way?" I said.

"Obstruction of justice is a bad look," Penderose said.

"This ain't justice," I replied.

Penderose drew a deep breath, then smiled.

"Let's do this the fun way," he said.

The cops drew their nightsticks.

"Really?" I said down to the porky pigs circling the van, "Okay, bet. Let's do this."

-

roll 3 x 1d100+25 dc 60
>>
Rolled 86 (1d100)

>>4915869
Pls don't critfail
>>
Rolled 27 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4915869
>>
Rolled 90 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4915869
>>
>>4915885
pass
>>
CHECK HIM FOR WIRES OR SOMETHING BEFORE WE TAKE HIM TO THE PARAFOLK!

I'm sorry Bullpen but you've got me paranoid as fuck right now.
I love this quest but it's definitely beginning to get a bit "much"
>>
>>4915869
>"Obstruction of justice is a bad look," Penderose said.
Oh no! My stellar reputation! Anything but that!
>>
>dice when DC is effectively 35
lmao get fucked normie cops take a 90
>dice when fighting serious enemy and lives are at stake
best I can do is 60
>>
I dived down on the cop forcing Dane into the back of the van.

Detective Bohauer backed off, her hands raised.

"I don't need a concussion," she said.

The cop who took a swing with his night stick didn't agree. I swerved around the baton, drove a hard jab into his face, ruining his nose. grabbed him by his vest and shoved him into the cops coming up the other side.

If there's one thing I was learning its most cops don't know how to fight. If they can't reach for their gun or mob you, they don't have a lot to draw on.

Me, I know how to fight.

I leapt off the side of the van for a superman punch that left another knocked out cold. Swung a hammer fist caught another on the chin.

Power rushed through me as I drove my forearm into a cop's raised arm before he could bring the nightstick down. Drove my forehead into his.

Of course when a cop was pushed into a corner...

"Hey!"

The only thing kept me being shot in the back was the girl who grabbed the cop's arm before he could draw his sidearm. Ivy wrestled with the bigger cop until he shoved her off, drove a punch into her gut. She doubled over. He loomed over her, ready to give her another.

Rage was a nail in my head.

But before I could step over a black figure launched herself on the cop's back, wrapping his neck in a lock.

Ayesha breathed fast and hard, face bright with fear, but it didn't stop her locking her arms around his neck. The cop stumbled back, started to choke out, trying to whip the little black girl off his back. It wasn't any good, she cradled him to the grass, choking him out in a jiu-jitsu hold. She lay panting in terror under him, surprised at herself.

Training came in handy. I grinned with pride behind the scarf wound around my face.

So did mine. Distracted for a moment I almost got my head split but ducked in time, swung a haymaker around took the cop off his feet.

The lawn was littered with downed officers. Only Penderose and Bohauer were still standing.

"You need better goons, Penderose," I said.

"We're working on it," the vulture replied.

I grabbed Dane by the cuffs. He was shaking, paler than usual. Looks like his powers didn't stop him from feeling fear, or from sweating. I busted the cuffs from his wrists.

"You think you're helping him?" Penderose said, "All you're doing is making him a fugitive."

"Better on the run than in a torture lab," I said.

"You don't know what you're talking about," Penderose said, "We want to help the boy. We can help you Dane, help you figure out what you are, in a safe environment, with the best scientists and medical professionals in the world." He went from talking to me to appealing to Dane. Frightened, nervous Dane. "You can run, you can run a long time. Your life can be a race against every federal instution in the country. Living off the grid, living under hedges and in abandoned factories. Living with the rats. You can run but its a race you can't win."
>>
"Or you can come with us, get the help you need. You aren't a criminal, Dane, you won't be a prisoner. It's medical quarantine, for your safety and everyone else's. Until we can figure out what is going on with you, and when we do you can go home. Back to your parents."

Dane swallowed. He looked to me with large eyes, my busted knuckles, my disguise thrown together. He looked to Penderose in his coat and suit, his smile practiced.

"Back to your girlfriend," he said.

Dane looked to Ivy, her face bright with fear.

>don't listen to him Dane, the man is a liar
>maybe he's right, Dane isn't built for street life
>do what you got to do Dane
>>
>>4915923
>do what you got to do Dane
but talk to your fucking girlfriend first
>>
>>4915923
>don't listen to him Dane, the man is a liar
Please dane let the evil woman put her mind control worms inside you it's for your own good
>>
>>4915923
>don't listen to him Dane, the man is a liar
>I've seen his "scientists", I've talked to their victims. They torture you, they put worms into your body, they cut you up and then restore your body,only to repeat it the next day. Your body might come back to your parents and Ivy one day, but you won't.
>>
>>4915923
>tell him what you saw in the last place they were keeping parafolk. Tell him about the worms.
>>
>>4915928
supporting this
>>
>>4915931
>>4915929
>>4915928
>>4915927
locking that in
>>
"Don't listen to him, the man is a liar," I said, "I've seen their 'scientists', I've talked to their victims. They torture you, put worms in your body, they cut you up and put you back together, then repeat it all the next day. Your parents might come back to your parents, to Ivy, but you won't."

If he was scared of running he was more scared by what I said. Penderose scowled at me.

"I know people who can help," I said, offering him my hand.

He looked to Ivy. "I'll come back," he said.

"I know," she said. And to me her eyes said 'thank you'.

I grabbed Dane's hand and pulled him up onto my shoulder.

"Run and hide, you won't get far!" Penderose yelled as we took off.

Dane made a nervous squeak as we launched up into the sky, the ground disappearing under us.

We came down a block away.

I reached into his pocket, grabbed his phone, and threw it as far as I could, then padded him down for any kind of bug or tracking device. I found something, about as big as an earphone bud, tucked into his pocket. It joined the phone.

"How am I supposed to call my parents?" he said.

"You don't," I replied, "How'd the DPA find out about you?"

Dane shook his head. "I don't know, when I got to school this morning a teacher took me straight to the principal's office. They were waiting for me there."

"Who knew?" I said.

"Some friends at school but no one else," he said, "I'd only just told my girlfriend."

He frowned at me.

"Isn't that Ayesha's jacket?"

Ah.

"Hey do you...are you a student there too? Do I know you?"

He was getting angry. Who could blame him?

"I knew it," he said, eyes widening in realization, "I always suspected...its you isn't it Chad? Its always the nerd, acting like a nobody geek in class but secretly going around town fighting crime. Fess up. It all makes sense now."

>Y-yeah its me, Chad
>Chad? Seriously? It's me, Eric
>don't worry about who I am
>>
>>4916037
>Chad? Seriously? It's me, Eric
>>
>>4916037
>Chad? Seriously? It's me, Eric
>What am I? Chopped liver?
>>
>>4916037
>Chad? Seriously? It's me, Eric

Damn Dane, you really are stupid.
>>
>>4916037
>>Chad? Seriously? It's me, Eric
spider-man isn't real
>>
>>4916037
>Chad? Seriously? It's me, Eric
Come on, the scarf can't muffle the voice that much
>>
I'm having second thoughts now. He might be a mole or a sleeper. He'd have to be a hell of an actor for that but the DPA appearance doesn't add otherwise.
>>
>>4916037
Add on to my vote>>4916043
>How many other people think is Chad?
>Check his shoes and behind his ears for more bugs before saying our name.
>Ask if the put a chip on him too.
>>4916057
He's so in the dark on everything, I doubt he is a mole. On purpose.
>>
>>4916062
>>4916037
Support
>>
>>4916045
Changing my vote to

>>4916062
You see Bullpen, you see what you've done to us!
>>
>>4916037
>Chad? Seriously? It's me, Eric
Lmao what a guy
>>
>>4916062
supporting this
>>
>>4916062
Yep, changing >>4916048 to this
>>
>>4916037
>Y-yeah its me, Chad
chad thundercock, that is
>>
>>4916062
paranoidanon you gotta chill
>>
>>4916090
Are you implying Penderose wouldn't do that?
>>
>>4916039
>>4916043
>>4916045
>>4916046
>>4916048
>>4916062
>>4916070
locking in earlier than usual because I have to do something over here
>>
Penderose already knows who we are. Don't fall into the excessive paranoia trap anons, it'll make this quest way less fun
>>
>>4916101
It ain't for us, its for where we have everyone else hiding at.
>>
>>4916097
>>4916085
Can't blame him
>>
"Chad?" I said, "Seriously?"

I felt behind his ears and kicked at his shoes for any more listening or tracking devices. "Fucking Chad," I muttered, "Captain Overbite?" When I was satisfied I unwound the scarf from my face, enough to let him see.

"It's me, Eric," I said, "How many people think I'm Chad?"

"Oh," he said. "Eric, right." Then, "Oh, oh fuck you!"

He took a swing at me. It wasn't much of a punch.

"All this time you were a freak too?" he said, "I told you my secret and you just nodded along letting me think you were normal."

"Easy Dane," I said, "Look, I'm not just a parafreak, I'm a super hero too. I can't go blurting my identity out to everyone. You saw what happened down there, now add gangsters and terrorists to the mix."

"Whatever man," he said, then gave a sharp laugh, "You know, now that I think about it, it's so fucking obvious. Too obvious. I thought you were just one of the nicer jocks, maybe a bit rough around the edges, but you're a goddamn super hero."

"It isn't all its cracked up to be," I said.

"Bet your dick works though," he said more than a little resentful.

"You can thank me for rescuing you anytime you're ready, pal," I snapped back.

"Thanks!" he spat back.

We stood on the rooftop in an angry silence.

He sighed, the tension easing. "No, really. Thanks Eric," he said.

"Hotspur," I said, "Eric isn't a name you should be saying. Penderose already suspects me."

"Hotspur," he said, "Thanks."

"Don't thank me yet," I said, "Your life is about to become real uncomfortable."

"Yeah, so what's the plan. Same as yesterday?" he said, "Take me to this Queen Rat, have them put me up?"

"We'll make you scarce some how," I said.

>call Ms Grant for help, she had to have organized a safe house by now
>call Queen Rat's people, I need to check in with them
>left brain idea, but maybe Shark's island?
>>
>>4916114
>call Queen Rat's people, I need to check in with them
>>
>>4916114
>call Queen Rat's people, I need to check in with them

"There's is an Island with a shark monster you can go, but I guess that's no much your style"
>>
>>4916114
>call Queen Rat's people, I need to check in with them
>Call Ms. Grant too, see if our usual method of communication has been compromised
If Dane really has no damn clue how they found him, beyond Penderose being the sneaky fuck he is, then we need to check everything for bugs when we get home, our hideout, and let Ayesha and Ivy know to check their places too. We already found one bug on Dane. Who else might have one?
>>
>>4916114
Oh and this too>>4916132
>Let Queen Rat know about Shark's island.
It will be a motherfucker getting everyone over there, but it is remote enough to lay low at. Maybe even try and check in with Shark if he knows any other islands we can offload people at.
>>
>>4916144
Problem here is, you can't escape from it the way they managed to do in the city.
>>
>>4916165
Do we know anyone with boats? Or at least, do we know anyone that knows someone with boats? Maybe somebody Grit knows?
>>
>>4916132
Support

>>4916168
You'd need to make a freaking tunnel. And they need more than just space. They'd need food, water and supplies
Also, how big is this island even? It fit 7 small children, but might be too cramped for multiple families.
>>
>>4916171
We can raid ganglands for supplies to steal, because if we can get people out there or somewhere better, then sneaking out shouldn't be a problem. Really, anybody that knows how to fish could teach others too, and then all that's left is solving the drinking water problem. Since I can't imagine Shark "Friend of Children", wouldn't take at least some time out of his day to scope out a new spot if it was needed. Then just grab some tents and camping supplies and its set for at least a little while until the raids die down. Because I'm worried Ms. Grant's line has been compromised, or Penderose snuck something in, either of his own volition, or his superiors orders to find any lead on our group that escaped their "Protection Movement" teams.
>>
I can't update again today so I'll leave this vote open until tomorrow
>>
>>4916114
>call Ms Grant for help, she had to have organized a safe house by now

Dane's too rich to be slumming it with QR and the gang
>>
>>4916197
Maybe he'll learn how to stop being such a pussy all the time
>>
>>4916196
Good night.
>>
>>4916197
At least he doesn't have any needs anymore, so he'll be fine
>>
>>4916114
>call Ms Grant for help, she had to have organized a safe house by now
If not, take him to Rat.
What do you guys think the chances are the Supreme Court rules this unconstitutional? Not high enough?
>>
>>4916288
I don't have my experience with American law, but least over here the real issue would be the time they'd take to make a ruling. Courts are swamped, getting a case - even an important one - resolved will take too long to offer much comfort.
>>
Okay locking in setting Dane up with Queen Rat's people and going for a write-in with calling Ms Grant.
>>
I'm really wiped today. that thing I said might turn this quest into a single update quest (new day job) is taking its toll. I don't want it to become a single update quest, so instead I'm going to take a day and update tomorrow, see how I feel.
>>
>>4917615
That sucks man, but I know the feeling of a new job. Get some rest m8
>>
>>4917615
No prob


You know,guys, grit is basically an earthbender or some shit, maybe we could build an underground society with his help, one that doesn't smell like doodoo water since it's separate from the sewers, he's just going to need a lot of fuel for it
>>
>>4917628
Yeah, he could make a tunnel to the shark island and make a parahuman colony there
Also, we really should investigate the island of these days, since it appeared after the explosion. It must be connected to the source of the powers.
>>
>>4916114
>left brain idea, but maybe Shark's island?
He doesn't need food or water or sleep or get tired and may not be able to feel pain or even die. It's a perfect hiding spot.

[Spoiler]what the fuck is this captcha[/spoiler]
>>
>>4917628
We don't even know what he uses as "fuel", or even the extent of his Earth Abilities.
>>4917663
Or the impact knocked something loose and the island popped up.
>>
>>4918305
What impact? There was an aerial explosion and not even strong enough to break windows in the city like that russian one from 2013 or so did.
>>
>>4918315
Like in the spirit world, Red Mage was talking about shit being fucked from it. Maybe that island isn't even there? But it is?
>>
>>4918447
Speaking of mages, we gotta check in on Jimmy as soon as we deal with Dane
>>
>>4919301
Should we just bring him with us? No one knows, that wouldn't immediately slaughter him, mindbreak him, ect, and can tell the difference between Magic and Meteor bullshit, or even believe and care there is a difference. If that doesn't include the fact that magic stuff doesn't do stuff to his body.
>>
Yo Bullpen there's no shame in switching to daily updates, if your IRL schedule has changed then the quest schedule probably should too. I think we'll all just be happy the quest isn't dead.
>>
>>4920665
yeah I'm feeling it harder than I expected. trying to work on an update today but I'm all strung out and tired. Maybe a few more weeks of the gig and my body will adjust.
>>
"Just leave it to me," I said, clapping Dane on the shoulder, "This is what I do."

This wouldn't be easy, but it wouldn't be the first time I'd hid a friend from the government. Once I had him with Queen Rat I had to trust they could keep him safe, and I'd find out how he;d been stitched up.

We got down to the south side, staying to the tops of buildings, sneaking through the rafters. Cops would be looking for us. Dane wasn't used to this life. Maybe he didn't get tired but he still got scared, sticking uncomfortably close when we'd have to slip through a window to dodge a chopper whirling through the neighborhood.

I sent a text to Misfit for a meet up. Got a reply not too long later.

Out behind an old factory, the destitute industrial hub that had once made Chicago proud.

We came over the building, Dane slipping and scrabbling for a hand hold. I pulled him up by the scruff of his jacket, slung him over. Down in a yard abandoned but for litter, Misfit waited slouched against her bike with Pratfall sitting on the backseat, perked up with her knees under her chin.

We dropped down in front of them, gravel crunching.

"Yo, thanks for this," I said.

"Spur," Misfit said.

I pushed Dane over to them.

"Another little lost duckling for our flock?" Pratfall asked, springing up to a hand stand on the back of a bike.

"You heard about the Detainment Act?" I said.

"We heard," Misfit said, clasping a smoke in her teeth, "Goddamn fuckers. They shoot at us, we get arrested for it."

"Those are the breaks, both legs!" Pratfall said, tumbling from the bike to land on her ass with a sharp 'ow.'

"How's Queen Rat doing?"

"Awake, resting," Misfit said, "Your doctor did good. She should make it, but she'll need a cane from now on. Might need a goddamn walker."

"When she's strong enough I got to talk to her about something," I said.

"Hi," Dane offered Pratfall his hand, "I'm Dane."

Pratfall sprung onto her hands and offered him her foot.

"Nice to meet you Dane," she said. He awkwardly shook her foot.

"Been dragging the clown around with me," Misfit said, "Doing what we're doing now, going out to help frightened kids find a safe place to lay low. Queen Rat's got money, she's backing it up. Safe houses with discreet owners. You know the play. We're figuring it out as we go."

"Any trouble with the cops?" I said.

Misfit shrugged. "Blew up a squad car this morning," she said, "Cops about shit a brick when I did. So nothing out of the normal."

"I don't think its the everyday cops we've got to worry about," I said.
>>
"Yeah?" she said. I nodded. "Well I'll fight any motherfucker tries me. Semper Fi, FBI, goddamn Walt Disney and his Mouseketeers. I'll fight the whole fucking world."

"Not a lot of sleep?" I said.

She grinned around the smoke. "Enough for now."

We clasped hands and went in for a back clapping hug.

"Take care of him," I said pointing to Dane. "I need to make a call."

Misfit plucked her cigarette from her lips and waved a salute. Dane looked uncertain between her and Pratfall. He'd adjust though.

I bounded out of there, wanting privacy for when I called Ms Grant.

"What the fuck is going on?" I said when she picked up, hanging behind a Wendy's sign.

"A massive civil rights violation, what's new?" she answered, "I'm putting together an appeal to a district judge to try and get a temporary injunction against the arrests. A friend is taking it to the Supreme Court. There's no way any of this is legal."

"You think it'll work?"

"Christ, I don't know."

I hadn't heard her sound so tired, even after I'd pulled her out of an Outfit torture chamber.

"These aren't some goons," she said, "This is the federal government. Maybe we can get some congresspeople on side, a few senators, but after the assassination people are looking for strong action. I'm going on the Takanawa Affair tonight to try to argue against the Detainment Act, change some hearts and minds, but I'm not optimistic."

"Do what you can," I said, "But I'm worried we've been compromised."

She was silent for a moment.

"I doubt it," she said, "But we're due to switch burners anyway. My advice is to go hard, do what you can. I got you an exemption from the Detainment Act after you helped Semper Fi at the hotel."

"Penderose said he did it," I said. Grant's laugh was bitter and sharp.

"They can't touch you, Hotspur," she said, "Take advantage of that. Go do what you do best. Go do some good and bust some bad guy heads along the way. Fuck restraint right now."

"You're angry," I said.

"Aren't you?" she said.

Yeah.

Yeah I was.

I hung up and hung my head. Rage was a fuel stronger than most and I had my share of rage. I don't know if I walked with fire or danced in it, there were times it felt like the fire was going to consume me, burn me up and burn me out. Right now was one of those moments.

I had to focus. I had to figure out what I was going to do.

>pick a primary, secondary and minor action

>fight crime, do good, put some fear back in the crime world
>investigate the mysteries of magic with Jimmy Green
>focus on life and school, keep some balance in my life
>fight for the para-folk community, take it to the DPA and their backers
>look into Ixion more thoroughly, figure out where they fit
>pour everything into training, boxing, my powers, maybe pick up some jiu jitsu
>(write-in)
>>
I'll be switching to a one a day format for the next couple of weeks. hopefully once I adjust to this new job I'll have the energy for proper sessions again
>>
>>4921997
Primary
>fight for the para-folk community, take it to the DPA and their backers
Secondary
>pour everything into training, boxing, my powers, maybe pick up some jiu jitsu
Minor
>focus on life and school, keep some balance in my life
>>
>>4921997
Primary
>>fight for the para-folk community, take it to the DPA and their backers
Secondary
>>look into Ixion more thoroughly, figure out where they fit
Tertiary
>>focus on life and school, keep some balance in my life
>>
>>4921997

Basically this >>4922009 +1

We've had our prom and party but we're in the heat of it now, social life has to take a backburner for a while, we have to get stronger and we gotta deal with this fucking mess, the gangs are organizing but we can delegate

Write in

>ask pratfall and (if he agrees to the favor) grit if they can crack down on crime a bit while we deal with this bullshit, just please don't kill anyone, we can't be killing anyone at this point in time
>>
>>4921997
Primary
>fight for the para-folk community, take it to the DPA and their backers
Secondary
>pour everything into training, boxing, my powers, maybe pick up some jiu jitsu
Minor
>focus on life and school, keep some balance in my life
>>
>>4921997
>fight for the para-folk community, take it to the DPA and their backers
>pour everything into training, boxing, my powers, maybe pick up some jiu jitsu
>investigate the mysteries of magic with Jimmy Green
>>
>>4921997
primary:
>fight for the para-folk community, take it to the DPA and their backers

second:
>focus on life and school, keep some balance in my life

minor:
>fight crime, do good, put some fear back in the crime world
>>
>>4921997
Primary
>fight for the para-folk community, take it to the DPA and their backers
Secondary
>pour everything into training, boxing, my powers, maybe pick up some Karate
Minor
>focus on life and school, keep some balance in my life
>>
>>4921997
>>4922397
Adding this line too
>ask pratfall and (if he agrees to the favor) grit if they can crack down on crime a bit while we deal with this bullshit, just please don't kill anyone, we can't be killing anyone at this point in time
>>
>>4922407
>>4922061
I'd rather not ask Pratfall and Grit to help fight crime because they're already dealing with the parahuman community stuff even harder than we are. Unlike us they don't have an exemption.
>>
>>4922450
In that case>>4921997
Switching Primary to
>fight crime, do good, put some fear back in the crime world
We need to deal with the thugs taking advantage.
>>
okay so primary is:

>fight for the para-folk community

secondary is:

>train

and minor is:

>social life
>>
>>4923218
we're not gonna miss out on the council of crime meeting right?
>>
There's no way I could sit on the sidelines with cops snatching up innocent kids. I had to hit them and hit them hard.

Which meant getting stronger, training harder than ever before. Figure out the weaknesses in my fighting style and close them up best I could. It meant learning how to grapple for a start. No way I was getting tied into a knot again. It meant learning more about my powers and what I could do.

But whatever else I had until then, I had school.

Getting back was easy, sneaking in a little harder. I stashed the jacket I'd borrowed from Ayesha under a hedge, found my bag, went in with my head down. An hour late I slipped into Chemistry, Mr Nfume writing up some formula on the white board. My suspension was over, I was back with the school herd. No one was paying much attention though, and Mr Nfume's heart wasn't in teaching. Everyone was trying to figure out what had gone down with Dane.

And more than that...

"Ayesha got arrested for choking out a cop," Zeke said, "It was awesome."

I tensed. Shit.

"Yeah, you missed some wild stuff Eric," Rufus said, "Dane was getting dragged off by some federal agents when Hotspur showed up."

"Dane was found out?" I said. My acting wasn't great but no one raised an eyebrow.

"Someone must've snitched," Zeke said, losing his grin.

Rufus looked uncomfortable. "You know I'm not a fan of para-freaks, but this stuff is fucked up. There's no reason they've got to go this hard. Dane never hurt anybody."

No he hadn't. I guess now it was happening to someone Rufus knew it was harder to turn a blind eye or say they deserved it.

"How's Ivy holding up?" I said, chime ending our lesson.

"Ask her yourself," Zeke said, pointing to her down by her locker.

The only sign Ivy had been crying was the pink tinge to her eyes. Now she was focused on her books, angrily stuffing them into her bag. I came down to her.

"Yo," I said.

She didn't acknowledge me right away, just let out a heavy sigh. When she did it was tired, her face.

I checked to see the coast was clear.

"He's okay," I said, "With some friends."

She closed her eyes, a touch of relief softening her face.

"Yeah, I figured," she said, "But its not Dane I'm worried about now."

"Ayesha," I said. She nodded. Ayesha choking out a cop, I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it. All to help out Ivy and me, help out Dane. She should leave the heroics to the professionally stupid. "You could bet that cop won't live it down."

Ivy smiled then said, "It isn't funny."

"No, it isn't," I said, imagining her locked up, charged with who knew what.

"Did Dane...did he say anything, a message for me?" she said, a surprising insecurity coming over her. Insecure is not a thing I associated with Ivy. Or frightened. Right now she was both.

The truth was Dane hadn't mentioned her much.

>no, nothing
>he said not to worry about him
>he said he loves you
>>
>>4923365
>no, nothing
Not gonna lie to Ivy for this guy
>>
>>4923365
>no, nothing
Not going to lie to Ivy
>>
>>4923365
>>no, nothing
Should we mention that there was something he wanted to talk to her about last time we saw him? Before the perp walk, I mean.
It's completely unrelated, but I doubt they had the chance to get to it. I'm not sure whether it's a dick move to say or a dick move not to.
>>
>>4923365
>no, nothing
>I think he might've been a bit overwhelmed.
>do you know anything about how they might've learned about him?
>>
>>4923384
Yeah absolutely
>>
>>4923365
>no, nothing
>>
>>4923365
Man, we're going to sound like such a dick, and you can't blame the kid for not talking about ivy, he's a fugitive now

But he does want to have ivy in a kinda asexual relationship cause his powers broke his willy

...I don't know what to do, Eric isn't doing anything wrong but anything he chooses makes him a dick in this situation
>>
>>4923365
I'll second this>>4923460
pretty much only way to not seem like a total dick for the guy that has no working dick anymore.
Also

>Check social media, see if anyone was making claims to "catching" Dane, or if someone saw the person make the post.
I can't imagine Penderose would not have a set up to tamp down on any info leaks.
>>4923781
That's the shakes, dude was just focusing on his school life and his abilities, didn't really have a chat with Ivy from what we've seen, and more focused on his immediate problems. He never had to really think about that until today. But they're both gonna need to hear the truth, because Dane can't be in a normal relationship with Ivy, and Ivy doesn't need to be lead on by a guy that's going to be running for the foreseeable future until shit calms down.
>>
>>4923365
>no, nothing
IvyFags... the pieces are falling together >;)

>>4923781
I know what you mean, but is not like we can choose dialogs that 100% sit well with everyone, and personally, I'm not up to lie to Ivy.
>>
Definitely in our best interest not to be a jerk about it tho, we did tell him our secret identity
>>
>>4924201
There's no need to lie or even omit anything. See >>4923460
>>
>>4924539
Agree

>>4924201
>>4923460
Changing vote to this
>>
locked in
>>
"No, he...he didn't say anything," I said. I wasn't going to lie to Ivy, even if it would be a comforting lie. "He was a little distracted."

"Yeah," she said, finishing with her locker, "Of course he was."

"Did he...do you have any idea who might have called the cops?" I said, unsure how much to ask her. Did he tell you about his problem? Did he tell you everything about his powers? Did he lay his cards on the table and did you give him an answer? I had a lot of questions I wanted to ask, some of them made me a jerk. I bit my tongue though.

"No, I don't know," she said, "He said he told his parents, and he told you guys. He told me this morning, right before he..."

She swallowed, then let out a sigh.

"It's stupid, right? He's the one in trouble but part of me is so fed up with this. Fed up with life kicking me. I feel like a...like a little plastic cup caught in a flooded gutter. I can see the sidewalk but there's nothing I can do to get out."

"Selfish," she said, "Like I'm the only one drowning."

The bitterness on her face, a flash of self-disgust. I grabbed her arm and squeezed it.

"You've had it hard enough from everyone else," I said, "Don't join in on it."

"Ayesha's been arrested, Dane is on the run, and here I am acting like I've got problems."

"Shit Ivy, you've got more reason than most to be upset," I said, "And it's not a competition of who has it worse."

"There you are always trying to talk sense into me," she said, laying her hand on mine, "Look, I know you can't because of all the trouble you've been in, but I'm not staying for class. I'm going down to the precinct with Mr Carver to get Ayesha out. She's only in there for trying to protect me."

She laughed.

"You know I might be cursed," she said, "Everyone I love always ends up getting hurt or put in danger. Or maybe that's just me being selfish again. Or maybe I should start hating everyone, it might keep them safe. Maybe that's the trick. If I stop loving someone maybe the curse will protect them instead."

She smiled, her laugh dying down. She was tired, exhausted. Her head thumped against my chest.

"I hate you Eric," she said under her breath, squeezing my hand before pulling away.

What could I do but watch her go? She went with her head high at least, some of her pride coming back. Funny how that pride was the first thing I noticed about her, and hated it the first time I saw her in detention. But without it she...

I swallowed.

I had to focus. Focus on finding out who had turned Dane over to the DPA. Had it been his parents, or the school? Had it been one of his friends?

At lunch I found out Dane's attempted arrest wasn't the most dramatic thing to happen today.
>>
It started at lunch. We were sitting around wondering who might have snitched. Me, Zeke, Hunter, Rufus, Kaylee and Daphne, sitting in a group. Without Dane or Ayesha there the group didn't seem right, the circle broken. Rufus' girl Shonique stayed out at the edge.

"Maybe his parents?" Kaylee said, it was the leading theory.

"Maybe someone else found out," Hunter said, "Not from me but...you know, people are paranoid, maybe someone noticed something."

"It isn't someone here though, right?" Kaylee said. They eyed each other suspiciously. Daphne stayed quiet, her mouth small. I noticed it, for some reason. Daphne's small expression, her hard breathing.

"Daphne?" I said.

The big girl pitched forward and a thick red puke poured from her mouth, splattering over the table. Kaylee leapt back with shock. The puke steamed.

Daphne put a hand to her throat. Tears bubbled at her eyes as smoke rose from her mouth.

"What the fuck?" Zeke said.

She gurgled and pitched out another hot gush of steaming red vomit.

"Daphne? Daph?" Kaylee hovered around her, pale with horror.

"Call an ambulance! Get the nurse!" Rufus said, clearing back from the table.

Smoke rose from her lips. Her tongue was withered black, her lips starting to blister.

"I'm s-sorry," she managed before another run of puke. Her eyes rolled over, her breathing scorched and harsh as she collapsed.

'To lie is to betray all life.'

The thought wasn't mine. Daphne lay shivering, limbs convulsing.

"What's happening? What's wrong?" Mr Sack said, coming through the cafeteria with Mr Nfume behind him. Another couple of teachers crowded the doorway, keeping the students from looking in.

"She's having some kind of fit," Hunter said.

'To break faith with friends is to be the worst of traitors.'

Daphne struggled for breath, great wheezing breaths swelling her chest, her eyes staring white overhead as the steam rose from her mouth.

Kaylee pulled her head into her lap, sobbing 'no' while Rufus yelled into his phone at the emergency person on the other end.

'Deserving a traitor's end.'

I knew it before anyone else did, a cold pain went through me, as Daphne stopped struggling, as she went limp in Kaylee's lap.

She wouldn't hear Kaylee's crying. She wouldn't hear anything ever again.

And I knew who the traitor was, and the consequence for betraying a fire-bound oath.
>>
School was called off for the rest of the day.

Maybe a student being arrested wasn't a good enough reason to end the school day early, but a student dying in the cafeteria? In full view of half the school, no one able to stop it? No principal was that cold, particularly Principal Wrightson.

I hadn't known Daphne all that great. I don't know why she'd decided to snitch out Dane. If I'd known the 'oath' would have done this, I wouldn't have made it. I thought it would have...I don't know. Compelled the others not to say anything. It turned out I didn't understand as much about my powers as I thought, or the consequences of using them.

Now Daphne was gone. If the circle had seemed broken with Ayesha's arrest, Daphne's death had shattered it. No one knew what to do, we wandered apart. If the others guessed I was responsible no one said it.

Was I responsible? Was I...had I killed her? Maybe not knowingly but it had been a consequence of my powers.

She was dead. Her parents had lost their daughter, everyone had lost a friend. There was no putting this back together. Daphne wouldn't be there tomorror, or the day after, or the day after. All her tomorrows were gone.

I had to clear my head. I went to the gym. Working the bag might help. Keep me distracted. Hours disappeared in pouring sweat, trying not to remember the look of horror on Daphne's face but unable to see anything else when I closed my eyes. My fist driving into the heavy bag. Again and again.

There was more to my powers than just hitting hard and jumping tall buildings in a single bound.

A fire burned and burned but it didn't think. It didn't know mercy. It burned and devoured everything in its path.

I directed it. Me. But I barely knew what I was controlling. If I was really in control. There were times when I felt...detached. Not me but watching me or...part of something else. Someone else. Their thoughts becoming my thoughts.

Daphne. He'd killed Daphne. Not me. What did I know about oaths or oath binding or whatever high fantasy shit I'd done that day? Something had worked through me. And it had killed her.

God.
>>
Whoever is hitching a ride on Eric, he's pretty metal.
>>
The bell chimed. I don't know how long I'd been in the gym. I was coated in sweat, tank top seeped though, muscles aching. I looked up to see Ayesha in her gym clothes. She'd been bailed out.

Something good at least. The sight of her was a balm on the angry knot in my chest.

"Shouldn't you be home?" I said, voice raw, "You've been through a lot."

She sat beside me on the bench, lowering her gym bag.

"Everyone's been through a lot," she said.

Never thinking about herself.

"You looking for me?" I said.

"No, not really. Glad I found you though," she said, "Kaylee told me what happened. Daphne."

My guts squeezed.

"It was the oath, wasn't it?" she said.

"Maybe," I mumbled.

She took my hand in hers. "If it was, if it was the oath," she said, "It isn't your fault. Daphne...she didn't deserve it but...but she made a choice. She broke her word."

I tried to pull my hand free but she gripped it.

"It is not your fault Eric," she said, voice uncharacteristically stern.

"It has to be someone's," I said, "Daphne didn't deserve it."

"No, she didn't, but you don't deserve it either. The guilt."

"If I understood it better, I'd have never..." I started.

"So study it," she said, "Figure it out. Make sure it doesn't happen again."

"Easy to say," I said.

"Hard to do? Good, the harder the better," she said, "And if you need help...I'll help you. However you need it."

"I want to help, Eric," she said, "I need to."

>I could use your help, figuring this out on my own is going no where
>It's too dangerous Ayesha, I won't risk you getting hurt
>maybe you can help a different way, like teaching me Jiu-Jitsu
>>
>>4924793
>maybe you can help a different way, like teaching me Jiu-Jitsu
>but I can't risk anyone else interacting with whatever it is that makes these powers work

And we should meditate on the powers, like we did with the stone, maybe we'll reach the dude inside
>>
>>4924800
Addendum: ask her to search for Saoshyant
>>
>>4924793
>I could use your help, figuring this out on my own is going no where
She has to be careful. Eric would go fuckin nuclear if something happened to Ayesha again. But we can't be alone
>>4924812
It's some kind of savior figure in Zoroastrianism
>>
>>4924827
>It's some kind of savior figure in Zoroastrianism
That makes a surprising amount of sense with the whole fire thing. So I guess he's not really an extraterrestrial kind of alien.
>>
>>4924793
>I could use your help

Can we make Nemesis swear a no more assassinations oath or can we only kill friends with this
>>
>>4924790
This shit right here is why I said kung fu spiritualist stuff is required, not just Jujitsu.
>>4924793
>I could use your help, figuring this out on my own is going no where
>Ask Ayesha if she can find some Martial Art Master or Guru or something, hell maybe even an exorcist or spiritualist.
Jiu Jitsu is a stopgap measure for fighting, but it ain't going to help with our Meteor shit, just for training groundwork which we have, VERY, little time for. At most we can dabble in Jui Jitsu, but that might be worse. We need the Martial Arts Meditation Master fucking yesterday, before we figure out someone else dies. Did we make the Oath on anyone else?
>>4924833
Potentially, unless it's ancient aliens that turned native.
>>4924839
That is a damn good idea actually, get that idiot and his crew to swear the Oath, then they chose to fuck up, bam. But we don't know all the rules too it, consent to making the deal is pretty obvious, but what else? This seems like some kind of Justice or Law Motif going on, so we might need to disclose what happens when the Oath is broken, even if we don't know how it works. And if we don't, it won't activate at all.
>>
>>4924840
I don't see how martial arts helps us with that stuff, it's still kind of a reach. There's a Zoroastrian center in Chicago that we could go check out though. It's a lead that's more supported by that shaoshyant vision thing we had after Houndmaster nearly killed us.
>>
>>4924846
I think the idea he has is learning some qi gong or Tai Chi, because our fire seems to work in a manner resembling qi
>>
That oath power really blows, if it stopped them from breaking the oath that'd be one thing, but a delayed horrible death after the oath is broken doesn't really do anyone any good
>>
>>4924853
That makes a little bit more sense, but finding a Zoroastrian expert and asking them about our vision could help us find the fundamental basis of our powers and address the issue at the source. Maybe. I think attacking it from both angles might be a good way to get both understanding and control of our powers.
>>
>>4924854
Maybe it only activated after we got near her and realized what she did?
>>4924846
this>>4924853
Prior Red Mage was talking about our brand of weird being pretty weird. And with everything going on, drawing the line arbitrarily at this is the most asinine thing to say.
>>4924857
One or the other ought to produce favorable results. Or another lead at any rate.
>>
>>4924793
>It's too dangerous Ayesha, I won't risk you getting hurt
>>
>>4924793
>I could use your help, figuring this out on my own is going no where
>also could you teach me some jiu jitsu?
(Could we fused these two Qm)

Just, let her research things about our power, DEFINITELY not testing anything on her.

To be frank, I think the red wizard could help us out more with this. But keeping Ivy and Ayesha away if more dangerous cus they may do things on their own.
>>
>>4924762
This oath is no joke, holyshit
>>
>>4924793
>I could use your help, figuring this out on my own is going no where
>maybe you can help a different way, like teaching me Jiu-Jitsu

fellas I've been going through wikipedia articles on zoroastrianism. key takeaways:
>saoshyant is a savior figure

>druj, which has also been mentioned in the quest, is the "deceiver" or basically evil spirit

>there is also mention of "fire as the agent of truth" which has obvious ties to Eric's powers, with the untruthful being burned after a "hand-grasping" ordeal

I realize I sound like a schizo here but that's ancient theology of a half-dead religion for you
>>
File: 1552651452382.gif (1775 KB, 400x225)
1775 KB
1775 KB .gif
>>4924762
Damn, hoped it was Kaylee. Oh well always another chance for her to meet a gruesome end for being a shit.
>>
>>4925680
>zoroastrianism

Several of the Amesha Spenta seems to align with various people we know.
>>
>>4925423
>>4925680
>>4924840
>>4924827
>>4924839
locked in
>>
>>4926036
LET'S GOOOOOOO
>>
'I want to help, Eric. I need to.'

Something about the way she said it made my voice stick in my throat. Or maybe it was the look on her face. How could she still be so effortlessly warm, after every ugly thing I'd brought into her life?

It took me a second to get it out.

"I could use the help," I said.

She smiled.

"But nothing that could get you hurt," I said, "Just research or-"

"Whatever you need," she said.

I nodded. "Okay," I said, "There's some words. A word I can almost remember from out of a dream. It means something, something important. Saosant or, I don't know."

"Sacrosanct?" she said. I shook my head.

"Almost," I said, "Saoshant."

She tapped away on her phone, brow creased in thought. "Saoshyant? I think I'm saying that right."

A cold thrill ran up my spine. A dark echo of another voice, a presence I could only think of as evil lurching in my memory. My hands shook.

"What does it mean?" I said.

"Going off wikipedia its some kind of messiah figure from an old religion. Zoroastrianism? I've never heard of it before. But the language is super old, we're talking Ancient Egypt days. Well, Ancient Persia."

"We might need a better source than wikipedia," I said. Ayesha nodded.

"I'll look around," she said, picking up her gym bag, sliding away her phone.

"One more thing," I said, "Do you think you could show me some moves? The way you took down that cop..."

"Oh? So the student becomes the teacher," she said with a mischievous grin, "Tell you what, when you come over to teach me boxing we can take some time to cover the basics, do some rolling. Then if you're interested I can bring you to class and you can meet my instructor. He's pretty cool."

"I'm not going to have to wear a gi am I?" I said.

"Only if you're serious," she said.

It was past time I went home. Thinking as I did I wondered what it all meant. Was I a saoshyant or whatever? Some messiah of an ancient desert religion? If I was, what did it even mean? Was there more to my powers than an accident of an explosion? I didn't want to be any kind of 'chosen one'. For a start, chosen ones didn't take the bus or live in a west-side flat in a Chicago slum. Or maybe they did, what the hell did I know?

It might not even be about me.

Either way I had bigger things to worry about. First and most importantly was the crack down on para-folk going on. The news was crazy with stories of this and that, sensational tales of cops busting in doors to drag out kids with powers, and as many coming out going the other way, of cops busting in a door expecting an easy arrest only to walk into a shredder. Five cops dead in one day, two para-folk gunned down and dozens arrested.

The footage was brutal. Priscilla Takanawa stoically read through one after another.
>>
"-population will grow over time," a DPA scientist was saying, "Whatever energy released by the Explosion has only spread with time and we're beginning to see paranormal affliction beginning to emerge as far south as Missouri and up into Canada. The numbers are low in comparison to the Chicago cluster but the evidence is undeniable. At current rates we expected the spread to cover the continental US by mid-year and all the northern hemisphere after a year. This is becoming a global-"

Dad changed the channel.

"It's crazy," Carmen said, leaning over the back of the couch, resting her chin on his head, "The world is turning into a comic book."

"Where's Superman when you need him?" Dad said, switching off the tv.

When they noticed me they both gave me a look. "Carmen told me what happened at school," he said, "How are you holding up?"

Boiling with guilt but I gave a shrug.

"If you want to talk in private..." Carmen said, moving to the bedroom door.

"No, I'm fine," I said. It wasn't as if Daphne was the first person I'd watched die.

A cold thought. It gave me pause.

Mangy rubbed against my leg with a light pur. I scratched her behind the ear.

"Can we just have dinner?" I said.

Dad nodded. "We can talk when you're ready," he said, "Whenever you want to."

"Thanks," I said.

It wasn't easy focusing on homework. I gave up. Rubbed my face. Daphne.

Whether I'd meant to or not, I'd killed her. I had to make sure I never did something like that again.

It was going to take more than fighting to figure this out. There was a spiritual element to it. Like Jimmy Green's magic, but not quite the same. There was no chanting with me, no changing the real world or whatever. It came through me, it was me on some level. Or so my instincts said. This fire.

Shark had called me the fire-bearer. Maybe he understood this better than I did.

The night was dark.

I closed my eyes. When I had the stone it was as if it let me reach out and touch something. But I had no stone to focus on now. I breathed in. Breathed out. There was something inside me. A presence. I had heard it speak, I had felt it come over me. Something in the fire.

I reached for the fire. Grew it. Stoked it high.

Tried to reach the place I'd found through the stone. The blank state of mind which had made me...different.

Be careful.

Playing with fire can be dangerous.

My thoughts again.

Not my thoughts.

I opened my eyes.

Mangy sat staring at me. Purring. A slow blink.

I closed my eyes. Breathed deep.

Saoshyant, I thought. Saoshyant.

Saosh-

Mangy's hiss raised the back of my hair, her claw swiped out and sunk into my arm.

"Ow!"

I pulled back, little red drops falling from a slice in my arm.

"The fuck was that for?" I said.

The fluffy white cat swished her tail.

"Was that...can you?" I said, staring at the cat. The cat kept purring, eyes closing slow. "Was that you in my head?"

The cat was a cat.

"Maybe I'm going crazy."

Hearing voices.

Maybe I just...needed...sleep...
>>
>>4926199
>mangy, the psychic parafeline
10/10 sidekick
>>
>>4926199
I'm thinking that shark really is a shark, it's the animals who have this instinct of what we are

Also black heman maybe knew but he's dead and his grandson is too green to give us much help
>>
>>4926209
I'm 100% down to this.
...... wait a moment, there was a time when I thought Eric was talking to an inner voice (while writing the letter to Ayesha) it was after meditation with the rock, could be the Mangy the one of the voice or just our power again?
>>
>>4926212
>his grandson is too green
Ha. Nice
>>
>>4926219
It's pretty clear now that the power has a personality (or remnants of one) of its own. And it clearly comes with memories and experience, including talking to women.
It's probably some ancient warrior poet.
>>
We lay together in the depths of the palace. In the warm dark of our love bed, nestled among the cushions.

We lay together, her upon me, as we did most nights. Our bodies hot together against the dark.

"My prince," she lay against me, her luminous figure glowing. I stroked through her hair. "Tread carefully. He hears. He hunts."

I laughed. "Why should I fear him?" I said.

She frowned at me, the silver-light princess.

"Why stare at me so, beloved?" I said, tipping her chin. How beautiful she was. "You frown so seriously, like your sister. Is it not for this you wed me? I fear nothing. No azhdaja or any other serpent-spawn is my equal. Not in all the stars. I fear nothing the night can bring."

"No," she said, wild-eyed and not herself, "No, not you. Eric. I must speak with Eric."

"Who?" I said with a grin, "You babble nonsense. Should I send for your sisters to divine this?"

"My sister is dead," she said, "As are you, my prince. Doom came to us. He came with all his dread legions under the banner of Uncreation. He tore down the pillars of the world, broke the mantle and scattered us into the dark between the stars. He came, my prince. And you died."

The yearning fear in her voice.

I laughed. "Dead? Don't be foolish," I pulled her close, marvelling at the touch of her, "Do I not feel alive, my love? Do you not feel the thump in my chest? It beats for you. Across the dark nothing it will beat for you. Beyond Unmaking. Don't you...and now you weep. Ack, light. Defeated by my own words."

She wept silent tears into my chest.

"Dry your tears," I said, "Did you dream of my doom? Nightmares. A druj-dream. I live, your sisters live, and we are together. Have I not been a good husband to each of you? Am I not the best of warriors?"

"The best of husbands," she said, "The best of men."

I grinned, kissing her soft. It grew hot, her lips yearning to hold it long and longer.

"A druj-dream," she said, as if beginning to accept it, "A nightmare of the unmaking."

"A nightmare," I said, "And nothing more."

"And nothing more," she said, laying her head on my chest.

Oh Eric. Eric. Eric.

Her voice. That name.

Eric.

"Eric."

"Eric!"

I snapped up, mumbling, wiping drool from my face. The dream faded, the memory of the beautiful princess, the press of her, fading in my mind but lingering on my body.

"Wassup?" I said.

Ayesha and Ivy both were in my room, frowning at me. The cat sprung off my lap, running for the door.

I blinked. Sunlight crept through my window.

"Whateryoudoinghere?" I slurred at them.

They exchanged a look.

"We tried calling, but you didn't answer your phone," Ayesha said.

"So we kicked your door in," Ivy said.

"There's a problem," Ayesha said.

"Your friend, Natalie," Ivy said, "She got caught sneaking out Kaylee's window this morning. By her dad, you know, the cop."

Shit.
>>
"Officer Whitman tried to shoot her," Ayesha said, "So your friend, well, she 'returned fire'."

"Blew up half the house," Ivy said, "Now she's dragging most of Chicago PD down the highway at high speed."

Fuck.

"We thought you'd want to know," Ayesha said.

Hell yes I'd want to know.

"Semper Fi will be on her too," I said, kicking off the bedsheets.

Shit. Goddamn it Misfit. This was all we needed.

"Um," Ayesha had a black girl's blush, whirling away as I stood up.

Ivy grinned, looking right up.

"Ah!" I bent over to hide my tent, voice cracking with a squeak. Burning with shame.

"Out we go!" Ayesha said, pulling Ivy along.

Ivy flicked her eyes down before the door shut.

Christ. Stupid dreams.

I pulled on some proper clothes, calmed myself before stepping out.

Hopefully we'd all pretend that didn't happen.

Ayesha messed with her hair while Ivy whistled. None of us could look each other in the eye. Dad was up, eyebrows raised.

"So uh," I said, "I need to...go out for a while."

"Whatever you do," Dad said, very deliberately, "Be safe."

The way he said 'safe' made me uncomfortable.

"Kids these days," he muttered as I scurried out the door, the girls behind me.

Anyway, I had more important things to worry about.

Misfit on the highway with the police on her ass, Semper Fi in bound. A real clusterfuck.

>Better get those cops off her ass
>Misfit could handle a chase, Semper Fi was the problem
>>
>>4926238
>Misfit could handle a chase, Semper Fi was the problem
>>
>>4926238
>just fucking grab her dumbass and head underground for a while

Misfit, we're cool with you fucking our ex because we're friends, we're not cool with you blowing up her cop dad's house and making even more of a scandal for parafolk then their already is!!!

Seriously, Misfit fucked up here and if she weren't our friend I'd just leave her to whatever fate has for her.
>>
>>4926238
>Misfit could handle a chase, Semper Fi was the problem

Think our ParaGirl could take a call while running from the police? Try it anyways but don't get surprised if she doesn't pick up
>>
>>4926252
This. Get her and make the dumb idiot hide
>>
>>4926238
>Semper Fi round 3
>>
>>4926243
>>4926257
On what basis guys!? On what basis are we going fight semper fi and risk the minor diplomatic immunity we were granted that we're going to use to help the para community

MISFIT FUCKED UP, SHE'S AT FAULT HERE.

I hate semper fi too, bitch is a straight up psychopath but we don't have cause to fight her when all she's doing is chasing after a fugitive that blew up a cops house, it's not a good look and will bite us in the ass, focus on misfit instead
>>
>>4926272
Semper Fi will straight up murder Misfit, I don't give a fuck how it looks if we fight her to back up Misfit.
>>
>>4926274
Then get her the fuck out of the streets and hide her!

Hotspur is way faster and more mobile than any vehicle out there, remember that epic chase scene where we led the entirety of the cops by the nose all around town, and they couldn't touch us no matter what they did, do that again but holding on to our dumbass friend who is AT FAULT here, avoid the situation entirely, fighting isn't the only goddamn solution, it should be at the bottom of the list with all the shit we can do
>>
>>4926238
>Misfit could handle a chase, Semper Fi was the problem
>>4926272
PRanon, my oldest nemesis. Misfit needs our help. We already beat up cops trying to arrest Dane. If that didn't fuck up our immunity, then this won't either. Also, I don't really care about the immunity. Especially compared to the life of Misfit, even if she is being sorta dumb with Kaylee. It's less her fault and more Kay's crazy dad's fault that shit ended up this way.
>>
>>4926278
So your plan is to carry misfit to outrun the huge amount of cop cars chasing her, plus the one para that is way more mobile than us with her flight? And then just hide her somewhere? I don't see how that's possible
>>
>>4926272
Is what Heroes do anon, Not because is fair, but because is Right.

Also, I would lose an arm for Misfit cus she would do the same for us. (and when we get her safe we'll punch her face)
>>
>>4926290
Fine you know what I'll do it, I'll back down on the pr angle, but I ask for a favor from you guys >>4926243
>>4926257
>>4926279

Add on vote
>When we rescue misfit do a no holds barred slap to the fucking head on her, she definitely deserves it this time

Seriously, misfit is going too wild, she's already asked us to hit her when she slept with Kaylee but we declined because people are free to make choices, this time though she's not getting off the hook
>>
>>4926279
No one forced her to use enough power to blow up half of the house. She could've blinded him with a flash and skedaddled.
>>
>>4926295
>no holds barred slap
It would pulverize her head
>>
>>4926302
Not with our power obviously,just our regular guy strength
>>
>>4926238
>>4926257
>>4926295
Adding bitch slap her face when we get her back
>>
Good stuff as always Qm, Logging out for tonight.
>>
>>4926300
Actually, did she even do that? Could it be another frame job?
>>
>>4926238
>Call Misfit and leave her a message we're on our way
>Misfit could handle a chase, Semper Fi was the problem
>>4926257
>>4926295
these as well after we ask what the fuck happened
>>4926329
Considering what's going on, probably, unless she got into a fight with Kaylee, got overly emotional, then made a boom boom.
>>
>>4926295
>>4926319
Wtf is wrong with you guys? No slap, Misfit isn’t at fault here, officer Whitman was firing at her with a gun. As for PR anon, you really think a quick brawl with Semper Fi is gonna look worse than whisking away a “criminal” from under the noses of a dozen cops? You know it won’t even be that simple and we’ll end up fighting a few too. Cmon guys.
>>
locking in 'fight Semper Fi' and some write-ins
>>
Misfit could handle a high speed chase. A fight with Semper Fi? I wasn't so sure. Misfit was more a brawler than trained fighter, and while her explosives could do some damage I doubt they could dent Semper Fi much.

We walked fast toward my hideout, Ivy and Ayesha either side.

"So what are you going to do?" Ayesha asked.

"What I always do, bust a knuckle on a bad guy," I said, pulling open the broken chain link fence. They may as well follow me in, they both knew everything anyway.

"Your secret hideout is kind of a dump," Ivy said once we were inside.

"Yeah well, I don't exactly have Tony Stark money," I said, "You got a spare million I can borrow?"

I stripped off my shirt, down to the scars.

A soft kind of cough turned my head. Ivy was looking away. I covered the twisted knot on my belly. Yeah it was ugly to look at. My back was worse. I tried to cover the one on my shoulder too. My guts boiled with shame.

"Sorry," I said, "It's pretty bad. I'll remember to warn you next time."

Pink spots bloomed on Ivy's cheeks. "No, it's not...it's fine," she said, tucking back a stray hair.

"Okay, we'll be outside again!" Ayesha said, grabbing Ivy and marching her out.

I pulled on the spider-weave undershirt, zipped up my bullet proof jacket. Merriweather had cleaned it, stitched it up, perfumed it too so it had a wood pine scent instead of the gross muck of the sewer. I pulled down my jeans trying not to think of the pretty girls outside. Maybe I should have gone with something in spandex, quick and easy to pull on or that I could wear under my street clothes. But spandex couldn't hard stop a bullet and frankly I didn't like the idea of accidental bulge.

I pulled up my face mask and set my goggles.

Then I made a call.

Misfit's phone rang out. When I called again it wasn't Misfit, but another voice shouting into a fast wind.

"She's kind of busy right now!" Kaylee yelled.

Kaylee? Shit.

"What the hell are you doing there?" I yelled back.

"Running from the cops. We're uh...we're on the Kennedy Expressway looking for an off-ramp."

'We'.

"What the fuck happened?" I said, "Can you put Misfit on?"

"What the fuck happened?" Kaylee shot back, "Maybe one of my best friends died yesterday and I needed somebody to hold me. Maybe that's what the fuck happened Eric."

I ground my teeth. "You know what I mean," I said, "What happened with your dad?"

"Daddy caught Nat sneaking out my window at five in the morning and started shooting, that's what the fuck happened," Kaylee's voice was strained, from shouting over the wind and from the strain of her own emotion.

"Hey babe, is that Spur?" I heard Misfit yell, "Sorry dude, shit got out of hand! Hold on tight, chica, this parts gonna be-"

The phone cut off. Shit. Fuck. Other swear words.

I stalked out to where Ayesha and Ivy were waiting.

"Fuck!" I yelled at nothing.

"Crazy morning, right?" Ivy said with a tired grin.

"You've got this Eric," Ayesha said.
>>
What I had was a pair of idiots in a desperate highspeed police chase racing through the heart of Chicago. What I had was a psychotic government super bitch inbound, who would turn them both into a greasy smear. What I didn't have was time.

"I'll see you both later," I said, then muttered under my breath, "I hope."

Taking a step forward I bound up into the sky, slicing toward the blue horizon, cutting through the cold and toward the north side of the city leaving behind me a pair of girls who could only watch while I yet again put everything on the line for a friend.

A series of leaps took me up to the Kennedy. It was clear what was going on even from high up with the wind whistling in my ears. The roads had been cleared, road blocks set up at the O'Hare end. They were hoping to block Misfit off.

If they thought it would work they didn't know her. Misfit was a cannonball on a motorbike. Nothing was going to stop her unless it was going to stop her for good, and I didn't like Chicago PD's chances. Behind her she pulled a swarm of blaring squad cars, overhead helicopters buzzed. A news helicopter circled overhead, camera hanging out the side catching footage of the dramatic chase.

No doubt this would make the six o'clock news and a viral headline.

But I wasn't here for any of that.

I caught the bottom rung of a police chopper, hanging monkey like off the end, legs swinging over a three hundred yard drop.

Looking for something, hunting for it on the horizon.

There. A gold and white blur, the nickle bright flash coming fast, jetting toward the scene.

Semper Fi. The Official Hero of Chicago.

Any other thought was gone. Fading memories of strange dreams went right out of me.

I concentrated on that bright flash, adrenaline pumping alongside the bright hot fire within me. A sour taste filled my mouth.

Now.

I dropped into a free fall, straight down.

>roll 3 x 1d100+25 dc 80
>>
Rolled 91 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4927429
rollin
>>
Rolled 37 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4927429
>>
Rolled 79 (1d100)

>>4927428
K
>>
>>4927444
oh shit I rolled pretty well
>>
>>4927444
pass
>>
>>4927428
Oh, so Kaylee did something really god damn stupid like turn this into a hostage situation. We dodged a bullet getting dumped by her.
>>4927444
HERO! CHECKED
>>
>>4927474
"Best" part: Semper will make two corpses and claim Misfit killed her hostage if we let her anywhere near.
>>
>>4927483
Not if we have anything to say about it, and we do. Though I'm changing my vote to smacking both upside the head for turning this into a hostage situation with Semper Fi itching to kill our friends and fellow heroes. Speaking of, we need to check on Grit, we haven't heard from him in awhile.
>>
>>4927489
I vote against smacking on the head of any kind
>>
We hit mid-air. I slammed into her back, driving us both down to slam into the concrete. The shock of our landing punched through me. Cop cars veered out of the way, sirens blaring around us. I staggered back, shaking.

Groaning, Semper Fi pushed off the ground knuckles first, gravel rolling off her shoulders, showering from her golden hair. Blood ran from a cut on her forehead, washing down half her face.

"Hotspur, you little shit," she said, whipping back her half cape. It caught in the wind, fluttering heroically behind her.

Squaring up, I raised my fists.

"You think I'm going to let you go psycho on my friend?" I said.

She cracked her neck, vicious smile growing. "Guess I'll have to go psycho on you."

She lifted up and drove at me, a twirling spear. I grunted as she caught me around the belly. I drove hammer fists down on her back but it did little good. We slammed into a concrete wall, through it, to roll out onto a set of train tracks. I stumbled, dazed, body screaming in pain only to blanket it with burning fire. A murderous grin with blood stained teeth leered at me, a fist following.

I dipped under and drove a hard right into her perfect cheek, swinging her back. Ducked the kick she flicked at my head and came in with a left hook. We danced along the train tracks, back and forth. She caught me on the chin and my head snapped around.

"I'm going to enjoy grinding you down," Semper Fi said, "Crazy to think there was a time I thought we could work together."

"Save the rants for a podcast," I said.

She swung in fast, her leg a blur. Her heel caught me on the temple and took me off my feet. I hit the ground. She planted her heeled boot down on my chest, breathing hard over me. Pressing it down into my ribcage, trying to crack it open with sheer force, grinding my back into the train track. My chest burned, my spine protested. I gasped in pain.

"Squirm, little boy," she said, "Oh that's a pretty sound. When I'm done with you I'm going to crack open your little dyke friend next. Then maybe clean out that rat's nest one by one."

"Oof, I wish I could see your face," she purred.

I spat and swung a fist as hard as I could at her leg.

Snap.

I heard it, the saw it. Her leg went funny, like someone taking a step with a boot not properly on. Her eyes widened, and the shriek that came tumbling out of her as she dropped bit into my ears. I rolled out from under her, whipping up to drive a fist behind her ear.

She flopped to the ground, her leg out of place, moaning and trying to get up. Get into the air. A broken leg didn't mean as much if she was airborn. I grabbed her by the half-cape and swung, flinging her back to the highway. She skipped across the concrete like a stone across a pond, then lay still. For a second I thought I'd killed her, my heart thumping hard.

Then she groaned, rolling onto her back, blinking out dazed eyes.

"Problem with you bad guys," I said, stalking over, "Is you talk too much."
>>
I drove my boot down onto the side of her head, shutting her down before she could get up again.

Sighing I slumped to my knees, pain starting to wake up inside me. I had about as much time to catch my breath before an explosion shook the highway.

Looking up I saw smoke in the sky.

Taking a step I leapt up into the sky, fear pounding through me.

The barricade had been smashed apart, squad cars and iron barriers tossed aside with careless abandon. Misfit thundered down the highway through the ruin, flicking out balls of light around her, detonations rocking the soundwaves. Kaylee clung onto her tight, auburn red hair flying out behind her, wearing her motorcycle jacket. She tucked her head against Misfit's back, squeezing hard.

They couldn't run on forever. They'd have to stop eventually, find an off-ramp and a place to hide.

At least with Semper Fi off their ass they had a better chance.

I landed on one of the shattered road blocks, watching them race out of sight.

My phone buzzed.

"Nice, well done," Ms Grant's dry voice said, "You just beat up Chicago's most beloved super hero on live tv."

"Fuck the PR," I said, "She was going to kill my friend."

Ms Grant sighed.

Behind me the news helicopter was settling onto the road. Priscilla Takanaway leapt down, microphone in hand, a cameraman behind her. They raced toward me. How she ran in those heels I had no idea.

"Hotspur, Hotspur a question!" the reporter called. Sirens lit up the horizon behind her, flashing red and blue.

>no time for questions, time to book
>if Ms Grant wants PR, I'll give her PR
>>
>>4927504
I vote for a full dressing down of both of them. They need to know explicitly how and why they fucked up
>>
>>4927507
>no time for questions, time to book
>>
>>4927504
I'll give a pass for Misfit, but Kaylee fucking should know better than pull a stun like this, half the cops out there probably know her and think she's been kidnapped, which is honestly probably the sole reason Misfit hasn't just been shot.
>>4927510
Exactly. Misfit being dumb is expected, and in this situation probably because of Kaylee.
>>4927505
>Broke Socom Bitch's leg
Fucking nice! Bad PR, but that was a short lived thing not really talked about anyways.
>>4927507
>if Ms Grant wants PR, I'll give her PR
>>
>>4927507
>if Ms Grant wants PR, I'll give her PR
>>
>>4927507
>if Ms Grant wants PR, I'll give her PR

Yes
>>
>>4927510
What position do we have to chew them out? We gave misfit our blessing with Kay, and Kay isn't our girlfriend or even a friend anymore. You guys need to fuckin chill. We're not their dad.
>>
>>4927507
>if Ms Grant wants PR, I'll give her PR
>>
"paras everywhere can rest easy that they won't be murdered by that psycho GI Jane just for wanting to keep their freedom, at least until her leg heals up I guess. maybe I'll kick her ass then too"
>>
>>4927528
By getting caught by Kaylee's dad, somehow blowing a hole in their house, then starting a police chase with her dad issuing a BOLO for Misfit's head on a silver platter, probably escalating it to a kidnapping, then dragging the entire police force into a chase like they have his porn and blackmail stash on a hardrive. That is why we're going to tear into the two of them.
>>
>>4927528
We're not chewing them out because of their relationship. It because they were dumb enough to lead half of the Chicago PD on a high speed pursuit after blowing up an officer's home. Misfit could have thrown a flashbang instead, kaylee could've stayed at home. Worst she would've gotten was a grounding, now? Who knows. And Misfit is now legit guilty of an actual crime, we can't help here there.
>>
>>4927539
>>4927545
So we're saying this from our lofty position as criminal who just beat the fuck out of the city's favorite super? We're a criminal too. Nobody gets any benefit out of this chewing out you wanna do.
>>
>>4927507
>if Ms Grant wants PR, I'll give her PR
Bullet points:
- this is not a kidnapping, this is two idiot lovers escaping a crooked cop of a father
- I cannot condone property damage but even less I can condone an attempted murder by officer Whitman, a militarized chase of a lone biker and siccing a golden mad dog on them.
>>
>>4927552
Unlike her, we have the rep to defend ourselves while talking to reporters. Unlike Mistfit who as of this moment is considered a kidnapper.
>>4927555
TRIPS OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE!
>>
>>4927552
Misfit doesn't have Grant nor does she have the sort of goodwill we have with the city to cushion any fuck up.
>>
>>4927552
Being a superhero is always a hypocritical thing, we're going outside the law and beating up people for the good of others

Only difference between a superhero and a terrorist is in what their ideology is about, a terrorist will do these actions for a political stand whilst heroes do things because they are right but cannot do the right thing whilst within the confines of the law

The law as a whole right now is in the wrong for how they are treating this new brand of human known as parafolk but the law is not at all in the wrong for how they are treating misfit and Kaylee, who through their stupidity manged to turn the simple act of running away from your girlfriend's crazy dad into a case of a felony of kidnapping and blowing up the house of an officer of the law, I'm not defending the dad here but these two are definitely just as much to blame
>>
>>4927555
And in case we need plausible deniability: Hotspur and Misfit are known associates, so we've known about her relationship with Kaylee Whitman for some time (technically not a lie) from Misfit. We've also heard that her father threatened to kill her suitors and has actually attempted it now incensed by his daughter's lesbian relationship.
>>
I'm not really sure outing Kay and Misfit on live television is the play here, the less details about them the better. Especially with how it could lead back to Hotspurs identity as Eric.
>>
>>4927565
Same, best we can do is vouch for misfit and make sure they don't think she's a cop killer
>>
>>4927565
I'm just putting it out in case we need it. But yes, avoiding the names would be preferable.
>>
>>4927507
>if Ms Grant wants PR, I'll give her PR

I just got beat up by the Oficial Para Psycho of Chicago

Name a place and hour. I'll answer all I can, come alone Ms Takanaway.

(Hows about that for a PR???)
>>
>>4927507
>if Ms Grant wants PR, I'll give her PR
PRfags, now's our chance!
Say that Misfit committed no crime, but Semper Fi posed a deadly threat to them, as she has been known to kill people before. We of course never do that, which is why Semper Fi will be fine with a bit of medical care. Essentially, try to paint ourselves as more morally upstanding than Semper Fi.
>>
File: 1626262068493.jpg (31 KB, 800x450)
31 KB
31 KB .jpg
>>4927736
>Say that Misfit committed no crime
Not to defend Kay's shitty father but she did apparently destroy a good portion of their house, that's a crime in itself (Even if it was accidental and in self-defense).
She could have easily avoided this entire situation if she wasn't thinking with her girl boner and getting some at like 5 am
>>
>>4927563
>We've also heard that her father threatened to kill her suitors and has actually attempted it now incensed by his daughter's lesbian relationship.

Let's not blame the father of the girl who knows our secret identity.
>>
>>4928729
Making a big assumption she won't act like a cunt and try to expose us somehow out of spite.
>>
You alive Bullpen?
>>
Ms Grant wanted PR, I'd give her PR.

"You got questions, I got answers," I said as Priscilla Takanawa came to a stop in front of me, her camera man red faced behind her, hefting up his shoulder mounted camera.

"What happened here?" she asked, the pretty reporter shoving her microphone under my chin.

I wasn't used to talking to the press or being in front of cameras. I didn't know how to stand or what to do with my hands. I fumbled for a second, took a deep breath, and decided to tell the truth.

"A trigger happy cop took a shot at my friend this morning, and things spiralled out of control," I said, "Misfit's only crime was comforting her girlfriend after some bad stuff went down. Her girlfriend's dad has more to answer for, shooting at an unarmed girl in the dark."

"Hardly unarmed as it turns out," Takanawa said, "Misfit was charged with murder months ago before the case was dropped, is this kind of violent, anti-social reaction to threats typical for her?"

I didn't like the way she framed it, it put a kink in my jaw.

"Misfit is a hero going out night after night to keep the people safe from the worst Chicago has to offer," I said, "And the murder charge was false. It's a credit to her she's still as well adjusted as she is after everything she's endured, now add the DPA concentration camps on top of it-"

"Concentration camps? That's an extreme term."

"Well what would you call it?" I spat, "It's not legal, it's not moral. You've got the DPA rounding up innocent people on no charge and locking them up indefinitely, and you have the Chicago PD tearing up the city because one of their own got a shock this morning. Nothing about any of this is right. I shouldn't be out here helping my friend because a cop doesn't like his daughter's got a girlfriend."

"And do you believe it justifies the thousands of dollars in property damage this morning?"

Money, always about fucking money.

"I don't know about justifying anything but I know some bullshit when I see it," I said, "Does a girl in love deserve having her head popped like the terrorist in the Blackstone Hotel? You were there. Semper Fi is a killer with a long leash. Can the DPA justify her lethal force? Does she deserve a bullet in the back for putting a hole in the wall? Me, I don't kill, it's a choice I made doing this. Misfit isn't a killer either. The only killers I've seen are either wearing blue uniforms or gold capes."

"Strong words as usual," she said.

"The world would be better with less equivocating and more straight answers," I said, "Maybe there'd be more trust out there if we had less weasel words in every question answered, if the powerful stopped hiding behind lies and half-truths. I got no time for misdirection, Ms Takanawa."

"It sounds as if you're taking a stand against the government," she said.
>>
She made me sound like some kind of activist. All I was trying to do was the right thing.

"On this issue," I said, "Right now there are lawyers, good people, trying to stop the brutal and unneccasry attack on the para-folk community by federal agencies. They do it their way. I do it mine."

"But let me be clear, I'm not blind," I said, "You were there when we took down Ooze, me and the city fire department. You were there when I helped Semper Fi take down the Vanguard Army. I'll stop anyone, normal or paranormal, who tries to hurt the innocent. But I won't sit back when the innocent of my community, the para-community, are being attacked."

Priscilla Takanawa turned to the camera. "Strong words from Chicago's own Hotspur on a dramatic morning. This is Priscilla Takanawa, back to you Greg."

The camera lowered. Ms Takanawa sighed, rubbed her eyes.

"Great stuff Hotspur," she said, thumping the mic against my chest, "You sure have made this city more exciting."

"Good to know I'm keeping the press in business," I said more than a little sarcastically.

She grinned the kind of cynical grin of an experienced news reporter.

"It's hard to do good when you've got sponsors breathing down your neck," she said, "But we try."

Sure.

Another siren came blarring, an ambulance. Semper Fi groaned as she started coming back to conciousness. No doubt it would be a problem if she found me here when she woke.

"Always a pleasure," Ms Takanawa said as I stepped back. I vaulted away, leaving the news crew and the wounded Semper Fi far bellow me and rapidly disappearing from sight.

I had other people to yell at now.

We met in the woods on the outskirts of the city. Kaylee sat on the back of the motorbike huddled in Misfit's jacket, Misfit leaned against a tree dragging on a smoke. When I urst down onto a tree branch Kaylee gave a startled pip while Misfit flicked ash from her cigarette.

"Yo," Misfit said, "Sorry for all the pain we caused. Shit got out of hand."

I glared from the perch, not sure what to say.

Kaylee stared up at me all defensive. God she could be painfully cute.

"Did you have to blow up a house?" I said, "A flashbang would have done it."

Misfit slumped her shoulders. "Yeah, I over-reacted," she said.

"Daddy's exaggerating," Kaylee said, "She only blew out my bedroom window."

"And half the wall," Misfit said, "Nah babe, this is on me."

At least she was taking responsibility.

"What should we do?" Misfit said, "I'm not good at this kind of thinking."

>You should remind the city you're a hero, go take down a gangster or two
>Maybe keep your head down and stay out of Chicago for a while
>Do what I did, get your side of the story out there
>>
>>4930178
We should have told Semper Fi to stick to eating her bosses dick behind a desk.
>First we go get your story out by telling her dad you'll have Kaylee home in the next hour, on TV and the phone, then your going out with me to hunt some gangsters.
At least Misfit knows a critfail when she sees it.
>>
>>4930178
>You should remind the city you're a hero, go take down a gangster or two
>Do what I did, get your side of the story out there

She'd still die to a bullet, can't blame her too hard for a little panic reflex blast.
>>
>>4930197
>>4930178
>We can call it community service and have take the weekend to help repair it.
Forgot this.
>>
>>4930178
I'm not any good at this shit either, figure it out yourselves
>>
>>4930178
>You should remind the city you're a hero, go take down a gangster or two
>>
>>4930178
>first of all, Kaylee needs to get home, so they can't spin it as a hostage situation. I can do it but she might prefer you driving her
>after that, lay low for a day or two, then go do the hero thing, just don't be too close to blue boys and the DPA
>>
>>4930290
>>4930178
Supporting, but make Hotspur follow them, DPA is sure waiting for Misfit

(Also, hope you had a good friday Qm)
>>
>>4930290
This.
>>
I just had a thought on the Oath incident. When we first made it, we still had the Stone right? Was it effect from that?
>>
>>4930178
Oh, and this>>4930290
>>
I'll be running tomorrow. hopefully a proper session and not a single update
>>
>>4933174
Pretty sure it's just Saoshyant burning shit
>>
>>4933224
Based
>>
"You've got to get out there and remind everyone who you are," I said, "Take down some gangsters, shake up the streets. You're the goddamn Misfit, don't let them forget."

She raised the devil horns. "Fuck yeah I am."

"But first, you've got to take Kaylee home."

"What? No!" Kaylee said, grabbing Misfit around the shoulders, "I'm not going anywhere."

I sighed. "Look, its nothing personal. It's just right now you're giving Officer Whitman every reason to charge you with kidnapping on top of everything else. And Kaylee, you really aren't built for living the way we live."

"You don't know that," Kaylee said, but the look on Misfit's face told me she at least did.

"Chica," Misfit said, taking her hands, "You got to go home. I'll still see you around. We ain't breaking up. But Spur is right, I can't risk your pretty neck running from the law and from crime."

"But-" Kaylee started.

Misfit shut her up with a strong, slow kiss. Kaylee melted against it, helpless. She sat back on the motorbike, pouting.

Misfit pushed back her hair, turning back to me.

"I got some ideas of what to do," she said, "You want to ride with me on it?"

"What's the plan?" I said.

"Kick the shit out of a couple of Outfit crews," she said.

>sounds good, count me in
>sorry Misfit, I'm busy with some other stuff
>>
File: unknown.png (570 KB, 800x450)
570 KB
570 KB .png
>>4934232
>sorry Misfit, I'm busy with some other stuff
To quote a great man, no way fag
We should also checkup with the red wizard and ask for advice so we don't make another life-threating Oath
>>
>>4934232
>sounds good, count me in

Outfit? more like infit, amirite?
>>
>>4934232
>sounds good, count me in
>>
>>4934232
>sounds good, count me in
>You need someone to look after you, after all.
>>
>>4934232
>sounds good, count me in
gotta fight organized crime again for once
>>
>>4934292
>>4934290
>>4934277
>>4934244
locking that in
>>
"Of course I'll come, someone has to look out for you."

She grinned, flipped me off. "Fuck you Hotspur."

I grinned back.

Everything here was handled, for now at least. I'd kept my friend from getting her head scooped off or doing something even stupider. I bounded out of there, back home.

It was tiring, this super hero gig. It was always one thing after another when it wasn't three things at once. If I could split myself in two maybe it would be easier to handle. One of my to fight for Chicago, the other living his life. Or why not into three or four, get more done. If there was anyone out there who could do that I envied them. I was a candle burning through its wax.

But resting meant the bad guys got an edge.

So I had to be sharp as I could get. Which meant training, boxing, working out.

It also meant-

WHAM

I hit the grass, landing hard.

It was a week later. I was at Ayesha's in her backyard. We'd been training most afternoons. When I hit the ground I scrambled but before I could do anything Ayesha was on me, rolling with me across the grass, sweaty limbs trying to lock me up. We were both in work out gear well sweated through. I hooked my hand behind her knee as she tried to wrap her leg around me, going to an arm bar. Grappling had less to do with strength and more to do with technique and position. I could out muscle Ayesha easily but when we were both on the ground it counted for a lot less. Strength stil help some though.

I gripped her thigh, pushing her leg up, pushing her way. Rolling over on top of her, pressing her down in the cold grass in an awkward pin, her doubled over under me. The both of us breathing hard.

For a second I thought I had her, pressing down, then her hips rolled up, her legs locked around my ears. Her ankles laced behind my head. "Gotcha!" she panted. I pulled back. She grabbed my head and pulled me down to her chest, squeezing.

I knew she had me. Caught in a triangle, I tapped out.

When her legs unwrapped she lay on her back, panting fast, face flushed. I gasped on my hands and knees over her, sweat dripping down onto her shirt.

"Good," she gulped, "Good stuff."

I gasped, chest squeezing. "You...you think so?" I said, "Felt like I was pretty bad."

"No, you're learning fast," she said, putting a hand to her chest, "Another couple weeks and you'll be getting me to tap out."

I sat back, helped her sit up. She pushed springy curls from her face, her cheeks glowing with sweat.

"You should come to class," she said, "I'm running out of tricks to show you."

"It's helping," I said.

I got up then pulled her to her feet. She swayed for a second.

"I need a shower," she said, "You staying for dinner?"

My belly growled.

"I could eat," I said.
>>
Inside her parents were watching tv together. A disaster, an explosion down on the docks. Luckily it was already contained, and the workers had survived thanks to Grit. He'd been in the neighborhood, had thrown up a rock dome to protect a bunch of kids from falling debris, then used his geomancy to help the rescuers find survivors in the rubble. For every Ooze there was also people like us, trying to use our powers to do some good.

Still, the news was distressing. Images of a kid caked in ash and blood, crying his eyes out the image of choice to end the update on.

"Horrible," Mrs Carver said.

And whatever good Grit was doing, the next update was on another robbery by the Black Claw, footage of the cops trying and failing to gun him down as he escaped a high class restaurant, bullets pinging off his body as he jetted off in his jetpack, crow feather cape fluttering behind him.

The dude was a turd but a turd with style.

A DPA shill started going on about the seriousness of the para-freak situation and why guys like the Black Claw made it 'imperative' we be locked up and studied. Like it was only us who were criminals or shot up innocent people.

Ivy was out working. I had news on Dane. Queen Rat had him in a safe house out in the suburbs. Somewhere in Aurora.

When Ayesha came down all cleaned up, she did so carrying a book. We talked in the kitchen, leaving her parents to the horror show of breaking news.

"I looked into that thing," she said. "The magic thing, 'Mr Holmes'," she said, "He had a place he butchered his victims, custom built, custom designed. He put it together himself. Folks called it the Murder Castle."

"Is it still around?"

She shook her head. "Burned down under mysterious circumstances," she said, "There's a post office where it used to be, down in Englewood."

"I was thinking, and maybe I'm wrong, but a place like that might have some kind of mystical quality, right?" she said, "You told me he worked for these guys. Maybe this was part of it. Maybe he needed a set location to...I don't know, gather bad karma or whatever. Concentrate it in a single spot. I was thinking, 'wouldn't that be a good way to attract bad spirits?' Just a thought."

I shrugged. "Maybe," I said. I'm not a wizard, I don't know how this worked or for what purpose.

"The period is pretty interesting," she said, "Old Chicago. There were a lot of fights in the city between labor and management. Anarchists throwing bombs, unions organizing protests, riots, murders, all kinds of stuff. Chicago was a battleground. It's kind of where we got the eight hour work day from. They kicked up enough of a storm the bosses had to give them something. And you had this guy slaughtering women and children in the background."

"Crazy times," I said.

"Crazier than now?" she said.

Good point.
>>
"Also the other thing," she said, "There's a place we can check out, a Zoroastrian temple nearby. Maybe they can help us figure out what this 'saoshyant' stuff means. It's called the Zoroastrian Center of Chicago, its out in Burr Ridge."

"I got my driver's license too, so we can drive out whenever you want."

"You got your license?" I said, "Shit, you should have said something! Congrats."

"Hey, calm down. It's a provisional license so there's limits. Can't be drivng late at night or anything like that, can only have one passenger at a time," she said, "But it means if you need a lift some place, to investigate some thing, I'm a call away."

"So if you want to check either of those places out..." she said.

>the Zoroastrian center, I needed answers
>the place where the Murder Castle used to be
>maybe some other time, and not with Ayesha
>>
>>4934383
>the Zoroastrian center, I needed answers

ALL HAIL LORD MAZDA
>>
>>4934383
>maybe some other time, and not with Ayesha

We're grateful to ayesha but this is a job for the red wizard and his trusty companion Hotspur

Please guys, don't simp and make excuses, go with the smart choice instead of the girl choice
>>
>>4934383
>the Zoroastrian center, I needed answers
>>
>>4934394
Not all interactions with females are simping anon. The murder castle makes sense to check out without her but the temple is safe
>>
>>4934383
>the Zoroastrian center, I needed answers
The murder castle we better later check out on our own or with Jimmy
>>
>>4934383
>the Zoroastrian center, I needed answers
>>
>>4934423
>>4934436
>>4934402
>>4934393
locked in
>>
"The more I know the better, right?" I said, "Count me in for a drive down to this Zoroastrian place."

"Saturday?" she said.

"See you then."

We had dinner, a tofu stirfry home cooked by Ayesha. Her dad complained about the lack of ribs but a sharp poke in his belly from Mrs Carver shut him up. It was good, for vegan stuff. With the right spices I could imagine going vegeterian but vegan? I need butter, I need eggs, I need ice cream and milk. No way could I give those up. But I liked a good hotdog too much to go vegetarian either, outside my imagination.

Dinner with the Carvers had become routine, to the point they expected me to help with the dishes. I was happy to, it was the least I could do. We talked a little about school life and everything else, but nothing serious.

Before I left Ayesha could me at the front door. "You know Ivy's birthday is coming up," she said, "She'll be sixteen and looking to get emancipated."

"Yeah, I know," I said.

"She's been through a lot this year, too much really," she said, "She says she doesn't want a party but I thought we could do something for her. We're...we're the only family she has. You and me."

"Yeah," I said. It was true and it hurt to admit it. Ivy had no one, not even her boyfriend right now. She didn't have many friends, not at school at least, just a bunch of guys looking to hook up with the hottest girl in their grade. Not really friends, not ones she could trust. That left me and Ayesha, whatever it was worth.

"I don't want her to go," she said, "Move out on her own or with a stranger. I don't...don't want to live without her. It's selfish but I need her. But I can't keep her. You know she needs to do her own thing. You know how she is."

"Yeah."

"So when she goes she needs to know I love her," she said, "We love her, and whatever happens she's got a place here. With me, where ever that is."

"She's family," I said.

"Yeah," she said, holding her arm in a moment of awkward self-conciousness.

"You'll be okay on your own too, Ayesha," I said, "You're a lot stronger than you think."

"Strong isn't a word I'd use," she said with a self-depricating laugh, "I can't even...can't get to sleep on my own. I need to sneak into Ivy's room just so I don't see monsters outside my window."

Houndmaster. The scars he'd left were deep.

"When she holds me, everything seem alright," she said, "She's strong you know. And its like I borrow some of her strength."

Boy do I know it.

"It's...it's kind of the same with you too," she said, not looking me in the eye, staring at her feet, "When you're around, when I'm with you. It feels like that too. And when you go it feels like you leave a little bit of your strength with me. It's...so I'm not strong, not the real kind of strong like you two. You know I'm actually really weak. You know that, right?"
>>
Now she was smiling a sad kind of smile, keeping her eyes off me, still on her feet.

I didn't know what to do. Smile, hug her, say something. All I knew was she was wrong about being weak. But I didn't have the words to put to her.

"I'll see you at school," I said, feeling squishy inside.

"Yeah," she said, "See you."

"Let's figure out something for our girl," I said, walking backwards out the door.

Ayesha got her keys. She was picking up Ivy from work. Me, I had somewhere else to be. Once I was far enough away I took the quick road home, driving through the sky to my hideout.

Misfit had marked out a spot to make a stand. An Outfit run gambling house. A place for bookmakers, card sharps and dice hounds. A place to blow a week's pay on a game of chance, with maybe some lady company in the measure.

It wasn't glamorous, a hole in the wall in the near north side, a track suit wearing goon out the front. I recognized Bruno by the silhouette. That made this part of Frankie the Nose's turf. Good, fuck Frankie the Nose.

It was a residential with prairie either side, looked on the verge of being condemned. The kind of class made you think of Al Capone.

Misfit met me by a dumpster down the block, motorbike left behind, walking up in leathers with her ski mask down. Bruno didn't look like he was having a lot of fun standing in the yard while music pumped behind him, laughter coming with the bright lights.

"Had my eye on this place for a while," Misfit said, "Me, I don't care if someone wants to throw away some cash, but the Outfit could stand to lose some income."

"Agreed," I said, "Guy who runs this joint, Frankie? He tried muscling in on my neighborhood when I started out."

"Yeah, he's a capo new to the position," she said, "Probably trying to prove he's an earner with Rooster back in charge."

"You heard about the Council of Crime?" I said, "Some kind of planned alliance between the major Chicago gangs."

"Heard a rumor," she said, "Maybe some jagoff in there can tell us a little more. You take the top, I'll take the bottom. Meet inside?"

"See you there."

We bumped knuckles. Misfit jogged off while me, I leapt up. Whistled down to land on the roof.

It thumped underneath me from the force of the bass pounding within.

Time to spoil everyone's night.

>roll 3 x 1d100+35 dc 70
>>
Rolled 40 + 35 (1d100 + 35)

>>4934535
>>
Rolled 49 + 35 (1d100 + 35)

>>4934535
>>
Rolled 17 + 35 (1d100 + 35)

>>4934535
>>
>>4934547
passed
>>
I swung down to the nearest window, and drove my feet through the glass, tumbling into a bedroom. A woman kicked her way back from the bed, off a fat man, pulling her bedsheets up over herself while leaving him bare. Not a nice sight for me.

"Christ, a raid?" the fat man said.

"Yeah, but not the law," I said, diving to the door, charging through it.

I heard the pops through the floor boards, the crack of Misfit's explosions cutting out the bass. Shouting started up.

Looking down the corridor, a couple of track suit wearing goons came out with guns drawn.

"Fuck! It's Hotspur!"

They fired blind, dropping back the way they'd come, driving holes in the wall.

A real idiot stepped out of a room stuffing his shirt into his underwear, tripping his way toward the stairs. The woman inside had more sense, staying low and hidden.

I leapt down the length of the corridor, slamming my feet into the first goon to step out, smashing him back into the wall. The wall cracked against him, shaking dust loose.

"Frankie in tonight?" I said.

"Buh," was all I got out of him, too hurt to talk.

I ducked down the stairs. A card table had been kicked over, a roulette wheel spun aimless on its side. Misfit danced in the middle of the room with a man in a head lock, popping off flash bangs and shock waves at the goons popping off shots at her. Bruno lay face down, groaning.

A bottle of jack popped, raining whiskey down on a frightened bar tender. People were scrambling for the exits.

Misfit hauled her captive around and kicked him into his friends.

"Shit on me," Frankie said, hiding behind an over turned table, "Shit on me!" Not the cool kind of words you'd expect from an Outfit capo while he fumbled for his gun.

Misfit stuffed a stack of dollars into her jacket.

Frankie slapped a magazine into his gun, drew back the slide to loud one in the chamber, then popped up to put a bullet in my friend. He found the bottom of my boots instead, flicking his head back and knocking him down.

"Hi Frankie," I said, kicking the gun out of his hand, "Moved up from threatening little corner stores?"

"Fuck you Hotspur," blood dribbled down his chin, his large nose bent at an off angle.

"The Outfit must be struggling, making a guy like you a captain," I said, "Where did all the talent go?"

"In your mother," he said.

Misfit clicked her fingers, blowing apart a craps table and whipping back the guys hiding behind it.

Rude. I drove a punch down into his face, knocking him out cold. The music cut out, the gun fire settling.

Applause started from the back of the room. She sat in the gun smoke with a cigar clmped in her teeth, pin stripe trousers and a coat hanging off her shoulders. Salamander.

She rolled the cigar from one side of her mouth to the other.

"Boy do I love your destruction," she said, "From one freak to another, you guys got some moves. Boy I wish I could join in, burn it up!"
>>
From what I'd heard Salamander was a captain now too. She stood up to her full imposing height, shrugging off the coat, plucking the cigar out of her mouth to ash it on the floor.

"But responsibility changes a girl," she said, "And the boss would ask why I didn't do nothing about all of this."

"You a daddy's girl now, chica?" Misfit said, putting up her fists.

Salamander wobbled. There was a near empty bottle of whiskey on the table behind her. She struck up a playful Bruce Lee stance, skipping from foot to foot.

"I'm management now," she said, "Even if watching you both clown Frankie is hilarious, I got to put my own two cents in. It'll look bad, right? Boss won't like it, no sir."

"Truth is I was getting bored anyway," she said, "But now that you're here, let's have some real fun!"

I stood up from Frankie, fists up. Salamander raised her front knee, open palms forward with her muay thai shit.

"Come on buddy, let's dance," she said, winking at me.

>roll 3 x 1d100+30 dc 80
>>
Rolled 55 + 30 (1d100 + 30)

>>4934582
Let's show off some of our new moves
>>
Rolled 66 + 30 (1d100 + 30)

>>4934582
>>
Rolled 74 + 30 (1d100 + 30)

>>4934582
>>
>>4934605
pass
>>
>>4934580

>Misfit stuffed a stack of dollars into her jacket.

I mean it's one thing to fuck up but to blatantly do this while trying to prove she's a hero...goddamn misfit, you're getting to be too much.


I mean this is just my opinion, it's dirty money and these are criminal scum but this is very much not the actions of a hero, and I know people don't like to acknowledge the slippery slope thing but if we're let this go then what's going to happen later, is she going to stop a mugging and then take a couple dollars as fee for saving someone, is she going to stop a robbery and snick some bills when no one's looking because she feels she's owed it?

https://youtu.be/sqtf-jPgy4c

Look at the first 40 seconds of this clip, this is future misfit if we don't stop it here
>>
She kicked, a jet of fire whipping from her foot. I ducked. The fire sliced into the stairs, cutting through the hand rail and setting the wall behind it on fire. Smoke started to curl from the crackling plaster board.

I lunged forward, Misfit beside me. She clicked her fingers and a bright flash dazed Salamander.

Stepping back from my punch she drove her knee up into my chin, spun and kicked me aside as Misfit crashed into her with a brawler's tackle. Salamander grabbed her around the stomach, flinging her aside, throwing a stream of fire after her that cut across the back of her jacket and striking a wooden beam. More fire, more smoke.

I leapt onto Salamander's back, wrapping her neck with an arm, trying to lock it in as I wrapped her legs, working to bring her to the ground.

"Aw Hotspur, that wrestling shit don't work on me!"

She exploded up in a jet of fire, slamming me into the cieling. My grip slackened. The ground beneath us was scorched and smoking, the jets of fire driving us up, grinding me into the roof. I pounded a fist into the side of her head, over and over until we dropped back to the ground, her fire shutting off. She was dazed, the blows and her own drunkeness dulling her edge.

Misfit came in from behind with an overhand haymaker, drilling her in the back of the skull. It hit, but Salamander whipped her leg around, knocking Misfit over. I came in putting in a liver shot that buckled Salamander.

"Goddamn Hotspur, its like you're tryin' to hurt me!"

Her grin was blood stained. She swung a back hand, I dipped out of the way, ducking the flames. The house was filling with flames and smoke, the goons crawling for the exit, retching.

Salamander wobbled, alcohol catching up with her.

Misfit speared Salamander's legs, pulled her up.

Opening enough for me. I leapt up, driving a superman punch into Salamander's forehead.

The gangster flopped back over Misfit's shoulder, lights out. Misfit spun and flung her into a wall, cracking the plaster.

"Crazy puta," Misfit said, wiping blood from her nose, bottom lip all bloody.

The house was going up. Sweat built up under my suit, baking me in it. Misfit slapped my chest. "Les' go!"

She scooped up a beer bottle as we ducked out. People climbed from the upper story windows. Most were on in the yard staring up at their good time going up in flames. The high pitched whine of a police siren made them scramble though.

Me and Misfit ran down the street, half-laughing. It felt good to fuck up the mafia, to get some action in on a cold night.

We made it down the block before Misfit had to stop, coughing between laughs.

"Crazy!" she said, slumped against the dumpster, "Good to get out again though."

"If it didn't already know, now it knows. Misfit is back," I said.
>>
Down the way we came the house went up, the little gambling den. The fire must have found the gas line, it went up in a fireball. I hoped everyone got out in time. I doubt even a fire like that would put a crimp in Salamander's step though.

"Thanks man," she said. We bumped knuckles.

A tuft of those stolen dollar bills shoed under her jacket.

>mention something about it, it isn't right to steal
>let it slide, Misfit was homeless and needed the cash
>>
I'll be back tomorrow
>>
>>4934636

>mention something about it, it isn't right to steal

I already stated my reasoning >>4934620
>>
>>4934636
>mention something about it, it isn't right to steal
>Anything we do anywhere is going to be gone over with a fine tooth comb, we can't bring heat on us, and its still wrong regardless.
>>
>>4934636
>mention something about it
>"I get that you need the money, Fit. But don't let it drive you. Since we're bring heroes abs neither of us is Zorro material, be Robin Hood."
>>
>>4934656
>being heroes and neither
Fuck phones
>>
>>4934636
>mention something about it, it isn't right to steal
"Do you really wanna deal with drug money on you? You know how's the DPA trying to look for a fault on us"

Let's not be absolutist here, couldn't we try to hook her up for a side job? I know she's always busy with protecting queen rat and her personal matters, so at least Let's try to give her a way to earn something the clean way, maybe ask Rico (rico wasn't? The store owner) if he have something available.

Is easy to judge her when we have a free food and roof over our head
>>
>>4934638
Good stuff as always Bull
>>
>>4934664
>Rico
Luis. Rico is what he calls Eric
>>
Also, have Misfit always smoked? Or is it new?

>>4934668
Got it
>>
>>4934636
>let it slide, Misfit was homeless and needed the cash
>>
>>4934673
Always, yes
>>
>>4934636
this too>>4934664
lets set her up working with Luis, she can hang with us when not on the clock too.
>>
>>4934759
It's not a good idea. DPA knows who Hotspur is, so they'll be able to find her through Eric. At the moment she disappears the moment she takes off the mask.
>>
>>4934636
>let it slide, Misfit was homeless and needed the cash

I don't think this is a slippery slope, it's nothing like a saviors fee on a mugging.
>>
>>4934656
>>4934664
>>4934646
>>4934641
locked in
>>
I pinched the corner of the dollar and pulled out the stack.

"You serious dude?" I said, holding it up.

She had the grace to look a little ashamed.

"Hey, its not like I'm stealing from innocent people," she said, "If the cops ever found it they'd just lock it up in evidence. And besides, I got to eat."

"You could get a job," I said. She shrugged like the idea didn't appeal. "What's next though, taking cash from victims? Asking for protection fees from shop owners?"

"No!" she said hot, "Never, its nothing like that. So I roll a gangster and take his wallet, they have it coming. Taking their bread is another way of hurting them. And if it means I can buy a soda pop or a slice of za, so what? We all need to get by somehow."

"You're better than this, Fit," I said.

"Maybe you didn't notice Spur, but I don't exactly have a roof over my head."

I grabbed her arm. "You're better than this, Natalie," I said.

She gave me a look between wounded and angry.

"I get it, I do," I said, backing off, "But think about it a sec. Maybe the FBI or whoever has some of that money tracked. Maybe the DPA is keeping an eye out for any legit slip up we make to bring the hammer down. We got to be careful."

"And I got to go hungry?" she snapped, then sighed, "I get it Spur. I do. Big picture, right? Problem with the big picture is its hard to see it when you're stuck in a gutter. When you've been on the street the way I been on the street its hard to think past tomorrow, past the night. Where you're going to eat, where you're going to sleep. Cash helps fix those problems. Don't think I haven't been tempted to trick or turn a hustle. There's been a couple times..."

The look on her face was way older than seventeen.

"Dude," I said, squeezing her shoulder.

She shook her head. "But nah man, that ain't me. I ain't smart enough for hustling or tough enough for tricking. So I snatch a dollar from a gang banger when I can instead."

"If you need to eat, there's a guy I know on the west side could hook you up for a hot meal. Runs a corner store, he looks out for me. I bet he'd look out for you too."

Luis was a good guy. I couldn't imagine him turning Misfit away.

She snorted. "Some folks say they don't need charity. I ain't that proud. Sure, I'll hit him up when I can."

"And the money thing..." that was something I didn't know how to fix. I handed the stack back to her, "Be careful about it is all. Don't let it become a slippery slope."

"With you around to bust my ass about it?" she said, taking it back, "Nah, that won't happen."

"Before you go I got to ask," she said, "About Kaylee."

"Yeah?"

"Has she...she been asking about me?"

Seeing Misfit go from a world weary brawler to nervous girl was a real transformation, chewing on her bottom lip.

"Only the last time I saw her, was our uh, was our first time you know," she said, "And she ain't called is all. I think maybe I did something wrong or...I been with girls before but none as uh...she's something else."
>>
"We aren't really friends," I said, "Not any more."

Truth was Kaylee blamed me for Daphne. Truth was Kaylee was right. She hadn't talked to me since I'd saved them both on the freeway.

"You call her?" I said.

Misfit blushed. "Nah man, I don't want to be pushy."

"Call her," I said, "She's probably wondering the same thing."

I backed up and bounded off, leaving the smoking husk of the Outfit casino smouldering beneath me.

Fact is she was. I found that out the next day at lunch, with Kaylee sitting out our table, legs up on Ayesha's lap, anxiously checking her phone. When she got a text her eyes brightened. She slapped Ayesha's shoulder and showed her. Ayesha nodded, gently pushing Kaylee's legs off her lap. Kaylee nervously texted back.

Without Dane at school, with Daphne gone, things had got weird. Daphne's funeral had been on the weekend. I hadn't been invited. I was too guilty to go as myself, but I'd watched from a church roof as they lowered her into the dirt. The school was gripped by a somber mood. It got to the point we had a 'grief session' in home room, with Miss Flores talking us through death, our experiences, our feelings about Daphne and what had happened.

"She was such a good person," Kaylee said, "There for anyone when they needed her. Always brightening a room."

"She never had a mean thing to say about anyone," Zeke said, "And if you were talking trash she'd let you know."

"I didn't know her too well but she was cool when we hung out," Rufus said.

When it came to Annie's turn she didn't say anything. Let it pass to Ben. Then before Ben could speak cut in with, "We were learning how to code together."

Her face crumpled up. Annie, bitter about everything and everyone, started to cry. Chad had her on his shoulder before long.

It was the general vibe. It hit hard. I barely knew her but I'd killed her.

She broke her oath.

I frowned at the thought.

She didn't know what the oath meant.

Neither had I.

Didn't you?

I shook my head.

Protect your people.

At all costs?

At any cost.

No way. I shook my head. Invasive thoughts.

"Eric, are you okay?" Carmen asked. Half the class was eyeing me.

Not really, but I couldn't say why.

>I'm fine
>a little shook up is all
>No, I'm not okay
>>
>>4935791
>>I'm fine
>>
>>4935791
>a little shook up is all
Take a moment of the day to let it all out, but with close friends, like Ayesha and Ivy, class could start suspecting. Fuck it, if Ms Carmen puss we can talk to her in private, she's kind if our step mother
>>
>>4935810
*Push
Jesús
>>
>>4935810
>Ms Carmen puss
this isn't that kind of quest!
>>
>>4935791
>a little shook up is all

"Can I go to the bathroom"?

>>4935810
No way fag
>>
>>4935791
>a little shook up is all
>pay no attention
Technically it's not a lie
>>
>>4935814
Nah, you admitted she was a potential love interest initially. Don't play coy.
>>
>>4935791
>I'm fine
>>
>>4935791
this>>4935810
>>
>>4935814
Well.... if the anons vote for it.......(jk)
>>
>>4935846
>>4935834
I'm self-aware enough to admit a good 25% of writing this quest is dedicated to resisting my coomer instincts
>>
>>4935845
>>4935832
>>4935823
>>4935810
locked in
>>
>>4935860
Don't fight it in our time of need, its excellent to have it.
>>
"A little shook up is all," I said.

"Anything you'd like to share with the class?" she said, face warm with concern. Motherly concern.

My chair skidded back. "No uh, sorry can I go to the bathroom?"

I didn't wait for an answer. I snatched the hall pass from her desk and headed out. Someone got up to follow but I didn't look back. I was halfway there when I started shaking.

When I got in I went straight to the basin, running the tap, spritzing my face.

God. I looked up. Was there someone else behind my blue eyes? Someone who had watched Daphne die and said 'good'. The voice that wasn't my voice. Couldn't be my thoughts. I couldn't think like that. And Daphne. She was just a kid, barely sixteen.

An adult, by some standards.

Not mine.

"Not mine," I mumbled out loud.

The ancient ways, ancient oaths, are not lightly made. Woe to any who make them and don't know what they say.

"Shut up," I said to my reflection.

A liar deserves a liar's fate. To lie is to sin against all life.

Not my words. Not my thoughts.

"Who the fuck are you?" I snapped.

My reflection had no answer. Confused thoughts, mine or theirs. Or maybe just crazy. Maybe I was finally snapping. Maybe there was nothing in the voice but me. Seperated out. Not me but Hotspur, the me who could wade through rivers of blood without blinking. Or maybe not. Or...

The glass fractured under my fist, blades of glass standing out from my knuckles, blood leaking down into the basin. I hadn't meant to do it but it had happened. Hadn't been a thought or anything. I pulled my fist back, hissing in pain.

There was a knock.

"You okay?" Ayesha asked, standing in the boy's bathroom entrance.

I picked a splinter of glass out from between my knuckle.

"Fine," I said. Glass gleamed through the blood.

She stepped in. "Here," she took my hand, teased the glass out with her finger nails. "Still blaming yourself?"

"Who else is to blame?" I said, choking on a lump in my throat. Soft fingers squeezed mine as she slid the last shard out. She ran it under the tap, then wadded up a paper towel, pressing it to the cuts. Soaking up the blood. "We burned down a casino last night," I mumbled, "Mob run."

I don't know why I told her, someone needed to be told.

"Who does that?" I said, "Who goes out and picks fight with dangerous people? Why would anyone do that?"

"Eric," she said.

"I'm not right in the head Ayesha," I said, "Ever since the Explosion. It's not just powers. I do things and feel things...different to other people. Think things sometimes."

"Think things?" she said, "We all think bad things."

"No, its..." I breathed hard, "It's not like...it's not just bad things its awful things."

"Like what?" Ayesha said, "You can tell me, you know you can."
>>
"Things like," I clenched my teeth, my eyes shut, "Like that Daphne deserved to die!" I spat the words, "She made an oath then betrayed it, swore by fire and fire had its due!" Something dark and merciless snarled through me, "She was a traitor, a liar, and deserved a traitor's death! And I have nothing, NOTHING to feel guilty about!"

The shock on Ayesha was only matched by the miserable feeling in the pit of my gut, the revolted feeling swirling through my head. Dizzy, too dizzy to stand, I almost fell. Ayesha caught me, caught me in a hug.

"I'm sorry," I said into her curls, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry that's not me. She was a kid, she was our friend and she didn't deserve it. She didn't. No one does. I'm sorry. If I knew I wouldn't have. I know I wouldn't have."

Didn't I know? On some level, didn't I suspect? Could I have...

"It's okay," Ayesha said, rubbing my back, "It's okay. Things have been crazy. You're under a lot of stress. It's okay. You're okay. Shhh. It's okay."

Cradling me. Cradling me because I was crying.

What she'd said came back to me, about her being weak. She was wrong. So damn wrong. Needing to 'borrow' my strength, but here I was crying on her shoulder. Always there no matter what she was going through. Always there while I was falling apart. Always there for everyone else.

"Ayesha," I mumbled into her neck. Her soft, warm neck

She stroked my hair. "Yeah?"

>Thank you
>Kiss her
>>
>>4935897
>Thank You
she's still in a relationship
even if that's with obviously-evil-guy
>>
>>4935897
>Thank you
She's more of a sister Eric never had
>>
>>4935897

>Thank you

Hahaha, no way fag
>>
>>4935897
>Thank you
Imagine how Kay would react after hearing all that.
>>
>>4935910
Kay is a bitch, but she's not our problem anymore, she's dating another super and managed to not be the one to sell out Dane, so some modicum of trust can be there.

Hell, we're not even friends anymore, which I'm not complaining about but is just to prove that she's not our problem anymore, maybe we can lay off her and start a relationship as awkward acquaintance in the fuck, but she's gotta stop living rent free in our minds
>>
>>4935897
>Kiss her
Being different. Also we really need to see someone to look at our head.
>>
>>4935897
>Thank you
>>
>>4935897
>Thank you
Bros I'm not gonna lie I'm starting to think Ayesha has actually been best girl the whole time and the sisterfag coalition has pulled the wool over our eyes. Now's still not the time to act on it but the seed has been planted in my mind
>>
>>4935922
If there is a psychologist within the super community then yes, otherwise we're fully screwed because there's no way to help us without explaining that we can break gravity in our sneakers and dodge rapid-fire bullets on the reg

And I don't mean they have to have power, maybe the parents or family of one of the people is a psychologist

Also we should google what is going on in the country at large because it seems that people nowhere near the explosion are getting power now
>>
>>4935939
Maybe our Red Mage can do some magic to help us Inception ourselves. Because our PTSD is a problem, and that might boil over soon, but the bigger issue is our passenger.

Googleing what is going on sounds good too, or we can ask the nerds for a info dump.
>>
>>4935945
Doesn't seem like we have ptsd, infact it seems the problem is that we take this bullshit too well. Seriously Eric isn't normal anymore and that's what's freaking him out
>>
>>4935949
Well that's the question, is it him that's taking it well, or the thing happy our friend died for breaking an Oath we didn't know the effect of.
>>
>>4935897
>Kiss her

Let's fuck things up.

Also, fuck it guys, we getting the Ivy and ayesha ending. The starts are literally aligning to it!
>>
>>4935957
*stars

Goddammit
>>
>>4935959
Nah, you had it right the first time. And I voted just to be different, Eric might not be done with anyone unless the two drag him down for some TLC.
>>
something came up. I'll be back tomorrow
>>
>>4935922
Why? There's literally a different person with bronze age morality in our head. Psychologists don't deal with that kind of problems.
>>
>>4935965
Thanks for running
>>
Alright, here's my long argument and points to go for ayesha and eve.

>Ayesha is cute
>Ivy is cute
>is based

Anymore I need to show up?

( In all realness, the dreams, Ayesha admitting she loves Ivy and bring her comfort and our deep relationship with her. Our kiss at the funeral. We maybe connected to our spirit power thingy in more ways that we think.

And I say Eric is in need of comfort too, Goddamn, let the man be happy)
>>
>>4935973
Well get them to break up with their jackass boyfriends first!

Eric is based and doesn't do cheating, he's not going to just grab them and tell them to suck his cock while they're talking on the phone with their boyfriends about their 3 month anniversary or some shit.

I mean, we can tell ivy that Dane wants to be in a celibate relationship with her, but then we'd be lying because it's not that he doesn't want to do it with her, he's got reverse ED, it won't ever go down and he doesn't feel anything anyway. Anything that happens between them has to come out of them having an honest connection about their relationship

Ayesha on the other hand has absolute scum as a boyfriend but unless we get him to show his scumbag nature then we're fucked, on the outside he's a successful,smart, BLACK (Ayesha probably doesn't care but her parents are sjw's so they care) man who's treating her well, I mean some scumbag behavior has shown through because he keeps pressuring her to sleep with him but Ayesha still isn't wising up and I don't know what to tell her to do so


Although Ayesha×Ivy with Eric in the middle is my OT3,there are just too many circumstances right now that prevent that

I was down for that shit since ivy kissed us and Ayesha at the funeral, but it ain't happening without things entirely out of our control aligning themselves for us
>>
>>4935967
That's what I was implying, dealing with the second voice in Eric's head.
>>4935973
Still need to deal with the boyfriends problem, which may resolve themselves if we do end up crushing Ayesha's into the pavement.
>>4935979
Nooo, Dane can't get it up anymore, he told us he lost that when talking to us about his problems.
>BLACK (Ayesha probably doesn't care but her parents are sjw's so they care)
Her parents really aren't, Ayesha barely counts, but she's just oversensitive to race shit, as a upper middle girl is want to be. Her BF is scum, and its only a matter of time till he pulls a thug stunt with her and we need to put him in his place.
>>
>>4935973
Is Ivy even up for it still? Ever since we gave her a blessing to date Dane she's been drifting away steadily. We barely interact with her.
>>
>>4935991
She was pretty interested in Eric's morning wood and being shirtless.
>>
>>4935991
Every interaction we've had with her suggests that she still carries a torch for us

We're that guy that she'd go for if she wasn't already dating someone else

I mean we're kinda a backup plan for her, but not at the same time since we're kinda in 1st place in her heart,do you get what I'm saying?

Anyway I'm just saying my interpretation, I might be wrong and am perfectly willing to admit that I'm biased when it comes to her
>>
>not wanting a toxic para relationship with the not!catwoman character we met the other day
pretty cringe senpai
>>
>>4935997
You objectively correct, if Dane didn't take our advice and try, she'd be on Eric and Ayesha if given the chance.
>>
>>4936001
What part of "bronze age chadly demigod" do you not understand? Eric can and will get every bitch.
>>
>>4936001
She's for dirty "you filthy criminal" rooftop sexcapades, not relationship.
>>
>>4936012
Wrong, she is for rooftop spankings that make her Marble Cheeks crack.
>>
>>4936025
That might result in her butt being minced meat when she turns back. Not a good idea.
>>
>>4936028
Its on her for trying to avoid punishment.
>>
>>4936030
You might need to get your head checked.
>>
>>4936034
>Criminal gets caught and uses power to avoid punishment
>Get your head checked
Are you eating glue per chance?
>>
>>4936028
You're taking things too seriously, I'm sure what he meant was just that we would spank the shit out of a naughty girl, you took that assckracking comment seriously and now he's trolling you because making fun of dumbasses is fun

In conclusion, shut up You're both autists
>>