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In the lull following the professor's little speech, the sound of you slamming your fork down on the plate grabs everyone's attention and their eyes slide briefly towards you. Your wife touches your knee under the table, but you shift your body away. The human heart is an enigma--three times you've heard that now, once from your wife, the second time from the mysterious caller and now from Communion himself--a bastardization of a quote from Charlie Chaplin or some invention of his own--it doesn't matter, your wife parroting anything this monster said makes you sick.

"I'm fine," you say, your cheeks burning like candied apples. You clear your throat. "Fishbone."

A litany of home remedies quickly follows: "Eat some bread." "Drink some water." "Get him some rice, Bunny." "Lean forward and cough." "Give him one of the kaiser rolls." "Slap his back Vicks--no, no, harder than that, harder, harder, harder--you won't hurt him honey."

But it's over dessert that things finally come to a head. Bunny and the baby are upstairs, the rest of you are in the living room poking at big slabs of German chocolate cake. The atmosphere is relaxed, the adults are a little mellowed out by wine, Fae is curled up on your brother's lap with a stomachache, and even the professor seems at ease, almost relieved, like a bank robber after a successful heist.

As for you, images of swaying palm trees and warm sand are keeping you in check.

"Have you thought of names yet?" Yosef asks.

Vicky shakes her head, looking steadfastly at her slice of cake--sitting untouched on the coffee table; both of her hands choking the fork in her lap.

"I suppose it is a little early for that," says Yosef, glancing at you. "A tad premature."

"As long as he's born healthy," says Miriam.

"Yes," says Yosef, still looking at you. "The first pregnancy is always the hardest. Papa bear worries about mama bear--and why shouldn't he? So much can go wrong, even with our so called modern medicine. Doctors can make mistakes. Complications. Miscarriages. It's dreadful."

"I think we'll be OK as long as Vicky takes it easy," you reply, taking big crocodile bites out of your cake. "I was thinking of hiring someone to help around the house as we get closer to the date."

"Absolutely not!" says Vicky. "No."

"But why not?" says Yosef. "I agree with Richard and--at the risk of overstepping--I understand his feelings perfectly. He wants to ensure a safe and comfortable delivery, and to do whatever is necessary to protect his wife and child. That is his responsibility, as a husband and father, and to do anything less would haunt him--and rightly so. And, besides, as I understand it, you do not lack the means."

The two of you hold eye contact for a moment, like two dogs chained to opposite houses on a street. Then Frank asks, "What's he talking about?"

CONT.
>>
>>4974369
You turn to him and smile. "I got the promotion."

"What?" says Miriam, glancing at Vicky with a mix of joy and parental reprimand for not being told sooner.

"A few weeks ago," you say, quickly adding, to assuage the complaints that inevitably follow, "we wanted it to be a surprise."

"It's final then?" asks your brother. "What's-her-face signed on?"

"We've got some TV interviews next week. The position is mine to lose, I just have to make it to the end of the quarter, but the salary already reflects the promotion." Your last paycheck also included the bonus from last year, which you had deferred to take advantage of the considerably larger executive bonus. You've never seen so many zeroes on a check before. "I'm not sure how the professor found out about it, though."

"I told him," says Vicky, to her fork.

"Really?" You address Yosef, who suddenly doesn't look so relieved. "When was this?"

"Just a few minutes ago," he says, rubbing his throat. "You were using the restroom." His eyes flash at your wife--no one else catches it but you; it makes you want to feed him his teeth.

"I didn't realize you and Vicky were that close," you say, to no one in particular.

Yosef pretends not to hear you, then makes a big deal of looking at his watch, and says, "I wish I could stay longer."

It's then that Fae keels over and vomits all over the carpet. She starts crying, silently, into her chest, out of shame and relief. Your brother takes her in his arms and whisks her up the stairs to Bunny, with the urgency a house fire. Miriam and Vicky hurry into the kitchen for cleaning supplies.

"Oh dear, I hope she's alright," says Yosef.

"I told them not to fill up her plate like that. Girls shouldn't eat so much. But do they listen?" says Frank.

"She got some on your shoes," you say, to Yosef, gesturing with your eyes at his penny loafers.

"There's a hose on the side of the house," suggests Frank. You assure him you know where it is and then you and Yosef head to the driveway, alone. As you pass by your car you can't help but glance through the passenger window, at the glove compartment. Yosef walks ahead of you, the fingertips of one hand pressed against the side of the house, as if for guidance--though it's not that dark. Suddenly he falls forward and collapses.

You turn him over. His forehead is covered with a shiny layer of sweat and his breath comes ragged and slow. Eyes flickering open, nostrils flaring, he pleads weakly with you, "No hospital. Take me to the hotel."

>[continue]
>Write-in
>>
Previous thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/4913774/
>>
Welcome back, QM. Glad you haven't quit.

>>4974370
>Help Yosef to the car, even if our white-knuckled grip will give us away. Even if we're unable to be kind about it, he's probably responsible for what happened to Fae just then, at least on accident. Hopefully...
>See if we can get Vicky to go with us, in case Communion gets us angry enough to be tempted to drive our car off a cliff with him in it.
>>
>>4974394
Also, you might want to notify the /qtg/ that you're running again.
>>
>>4974370
>Tell him to give us back our memories

why yes, the beginning of thread 2 is the best time for risky plays
>>
>>4974370
>are you sure? You don’t look good we should call an ambulance, or a doctor at least
>>
>>4974370
Play it cool, ask why no Hospital?
>>
OP should probably get a twitter so he can notify us when he runs
>>
>>4974370
>[continue]
>>
Getting mixed signals here. The thing I really need a consensus on is whether you will reveal yourself right now or keep pretending. Seems to be leaning toward helping him, otherwise.

>>4974787
>>4974405
Neither of these has ever been worth the effort ime.
>>
>>4975055
Keep up the masquerade for now, even when it's physically painful. Only reveal ourselves when he says he knows to us, and even then, try to keep what we know close to our chest. The less he realizes we're plotting against him, the better, no matter how much we'd love to just slap him in the face with his old career.
>>
>>4974370
>Refuse to bring him to the hotel instead of the hospital out of concern for his well being.
>>
>>4974369
noice good to see you OP
>>
>>4974370
>Write-in
Pause for a moment then take hi to the car in the passenger seat and ask him where his hotel is, then head in and tell everyone we are taking Yosef back to his hotel as he is not feeling well and we will be driving him.

He's staying at a hotel?

See if we can get Vicky to follow by flying above us or something like behind the trees.
>>
>>4975096
also check the glove compartment if he messed with out "tool".
>>
Are we taking someone with us, because being alone with the guy seems like a terrible idea.
>>
>>4976276
That’s why I suggested having Vicky in the car with us, to keep us from committing murder-suicide.
>>
>>4974370
We shoot this dude and put his body in the woods.
>>
>>4974370
>Say he’ll get better care at a hospital and ask why he can’t go to one.
>>
>>4974394
I support this, let's try to maintain composure while assisting, and make sure Vicky is available.

I also have no doubt that he was never a neighbour, and he's been brainwashing others with that story to get a level of intimacy so I see bringing Vicky as essential to make sure we don't have the same happen again.
>>
OK, reading through the posts the consensus seems to be the following (feel free to add on if I missed anything):
1. Don't reveal that you know his real identity, keep playing the fool
2. Take him to the hotel but ask him why not the hospital (as it would be suspicious otherwise)
3. Take Vicky with you
4. Let the others know where you are going (nice catch btw, I would have exploited this otherwise)
5. Keep calm and carry on
>>
>>4976550
A small add -on, and pretty late too, but tell the family that we'll call back in an hour when we get Yosef to the hotel and let them know how he's doing. That way, if we get kidnapped, they'll get the police on the phone quicker.
>>
Op ded
>>
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lol ded
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>>4980605
>>4981073
>>4981424
He takes longer turns from time to time
>>
>>4974369
>>4974370
stay strong op
>>
>>4974370
This looks like a good chance to execute him, but he’s bound to have agents observing us that can rescue him, hence he’s trying to get taken to a hotel.
I don’t think he’s showing up again because if he ever does he’s fucking dead without a Vicky to save him after he threatened to abort the baby in front of the both of us.

What are the signs of him using his mind control that we personally we’d recognize. I’m getting a little paranoid that he just tried to discreetly abort the fetus via shutting the brain down.
Is Yosef planing on uploading his brain into the AI to control everything?

Overall I think perhaps we go to the hotel with Vicky and text 911 to do a check on him to undermine his request since ignoring it outright is too dangerous and might cause an extraction+mindwipe on us that gets us caught/killed.
This gives us the most plausible deniability.
Then we shoot him in the face when he eventually is dumb enough to come back.
>>
>>4982956
Pretty sure Communion was using his brain powers on Fae, anon, based on how excellent her vomit timing was.

>Yosef pretends not to hear you, then makes a big deal of looking at his watch, and says, "I wish I could stay longer."
>It's then that Fae keels over and vomits all over the carpet.

Plus, I'm damn sure that if Vicky even slightly suspects he did something like that to her, she'd know, and she'd be fairly obvious in her displeasure. Additionally, there's a lack of manpower at AM, and Yosef's probably angling to be our kid's adoptive terrorist grandpa so he can use them as muscle when they grow up.
>>
Communion overexerted himself mindraping OP across settings
>>
>>4983040
>"Yes," says Yosef, still looking at you. "The first pregnancy is always the hardest. Papa bear worries about mama bear--and why shouldn't he? So much can go wrong, even with our so called modern medicine. Doctors can make mistakes. Complications. Miscarriages. It's dreadful."
He’s already making thinly veiled abortion threats. While being suspiciously supportive of us getting a maid(spy to sneak birth control into her food) too?
Vicky’s mental blocks might gloss over that, but her previous reactions indicate she won’t completely ignore us bringing that concern up.
“Yosef” thinks we don’t know and is doing the standard villain thing if trying to be cheeky while he thinks we have no context.
>>
>>4983431
/+1BYBIj here.
He’s just trying to get our goat so he can get Richard to admit that he’s Communion. Causing a miscarriage is too risky for him now since because he’s mentioned it, we’ll now suspect him of causing it when something goes wrong. Additionally, chances are that if Vicky has one, she’ll want to be around Rich more than him, which will give us a chance to get through to her. And him merely mentioning hiring someone is enough to get us suspicious of hiring anyone now.

The worst thing he could have done if he had a plan to cause Vicky to have a miscarriage was to mention it out loud to us, because if he was planning it, he wouldn’t mention it to the guy he knows has been a thorn in his side, and who he suspects might have just relearned about his secret life, and just do it. Instead, now he’s got us worked up over that, and he’ll probably be doing something else against us that we’re not prepared for.
>>
>>4983469
That’s a pretty huge risk to be taking for such a small problem right when he’s at his endgame before taking over the world, we are not remotely worth losing one of his top agents and the take over the world project.

Vicky may pledge loyalty, sunshine and rainbows to him, but she does fear him on some level. I think the threats he’s sending to Vicky are to reinforce that fear while underestimating how easily actually killing us and the baby would take her off that leash.
For all he pledges about his terrorist organization being about making the world a better place, he’s a dictator with the appropriate personality problems like control issues and hubris.
>>
You alright, QM? Or has the Curse got to you, too?
>>
OP here. Sorry for the unusual delay friends, just needed some time to sort some things out. A nice, thick juicy update will be coming this Saturday. For now, a few answers to some posts itt:

>>4982956
>>4983040
>>4983431
>>4983469
>>4983803

Yosef did not use his powers in this scene. Fae really did just overeat. And it hasn't been long enough yet for there to be a fetus to abort. My hands are tied partly because I haven't yet followed up on the plan to get Richard anti-telepath tech, so it wouldn't be "fair" for Commie to use his powers now.

OK, now a couple of things about the next update, submitted for your approval:
- Since it would be suspicious to have Vicky come with you, she is going to follow on foot and keep herself hidden
- Yosef is going to ask you not to tell the others that he's hurt/sick--including Vicky--so you'll tell them that you're just giving him a ride to his hotel.
- The next update is a long one, but it will be two parts, to give you a chance to make a crucial decision in the middle. One that could change everything.

If there's any objections or addendums to the above, speak now or etc.
>>
>>4988688
Sounds good to me
>>
>>4988688
I think that we need a reason to not kill Yosef and the main thing I can think of is either we think it's a trap, or we calmed down just enough that we think killing Yosef might risk the AI still being able to go online while the terrorists resort to even more risky/deadly tactics to brute force the last step.
>>
>>4988854
Maybe we're not a cold blooded murderer? Could that be our reason?
>>
>>4989131
We'd cold-bloodedly murder a ton of innocents by inaction, so no.
>>
>>4989131
That fucker killed our parents and is about to begin an unending fascist reign of terror that mankind can’t escape from. It’s not cold blooded murder.
>>
>>4989230
>fascist reign of terror
really? I'd sooner expect something like yang'esque communism with a lot of thought control. You know, with mandatory and enforced happiness rather than fear and physical force.
>>
>>4988688
Glad to see you're back, QM. This sounds alright.

>>4988854
>>4989131
I was figuring we wouldn't kill Yosef mainly because we're the only one close enough to Vicky that has both the influence and the moral fiber to try to convince her not to kill innocents, and that by killing him, that would lead to a major setback in convincing her to go non-lethal, as well as her seeing us in a different light afterward.
>>
>>4989230
Yes it is.

>>4989214
The only way to prevent this is by killing him?
>>
>>4990930
The only way we are sure of.
>>
>>4990956
Except we aren't sure of it. Just look at >>4989530
and >>4988854
>>
>>4990930
At best it would be hot blooded revenge. We aren’t beholden to the comics code.
>>
>>4990956
We'd need to know more about the other members of AM to actually know that, particularly who'd be second in command if Yosef dies, and how much of a hardliner they are.

Which reminds me, we should try to see if there's a rogue's gallery wiki for supervillains out on the internet, particularly since there only seems to be an official one for superheros. Gotta do our research to see who might be the most likely to flip on AM if they were given the chance for some reason or other.

>>4991037
Hot blooded revenge would still be a bad idea, honestly, especially with how little we know on AM's memberships and internal workings. Gotta do more then to just strike at the head when you're fighting a hydra.
>>
You sling his arm over your shoulder. You're about a half-foot taller than him so you have to crouch a little or else you'll lift him off his feet. "No ambulance," he mutters again. The porch lights come on, detecting movement. Under it's baleful yellow glare, the front door's glass window turns reflective and shows the two of you halting toward it. Two streams of blood are flowing down Yosef's nostrils, staining his chest with bright red.

When he notices you taking him back to the house, he seizes your shirt, popping a button off. "No," he says, "It's nothing. I just need my medicine. Drive me back to the hotel."

"I need to call an ambulance," you say, in what you hope sounds like concern. "You're bleeding pretty bad. It could be a stroke or something."

"No," he says. "Please."

You pause. Real or a ruse? The blood looks real, smells like blood. "Alright." You drag him back to your car and load him into the back seat. "I have to get my phone," you say.

"Don't tell them," he replies. He's just barely hanging on at this point. "Don't tell Vicky I'm hurt. Please." He has the look of a wounded soldier abandoned in the battlefield, you might've felt pity for the guy--If he wasn't a mass-murderer. Then he says, "Do this for me, and I'll answer your questions."

Half an hour later you're doing sixty on the freeway, trying to navigate to the hotel on Yosef's sparse and vague directions, given twenty minutes ago before his delirium set in.

"Charlotte," he keeps muttering. "No, I beg you, don't hurt her. I'll do anything. I'll do anything."

When you get to the hotel parking lot, he's out cold but still breathing. You fish through his trousers for his wallet, half-expecting him to do the horror movie cliche of suddenly waking up and grabbing your arm. With his room key in hand, you head up to his suite. It's modest for a megalomaniac. Nothing the closet, no suitcases or luggage. The pills he told you about are a in little black bag inside the bedside drawer, nondescript, bright red, like over-the-counter painkillers but quite obviously something you can't buy at your local CVS. You smash two of them open with the butt of your gun-- which you had stashed in your pants before coming in--and mix the white powder inside with a bottle of mineral water from the minifridge. Six dollars a bottle. They'll put it on his card.

Going back down the elevator, the sizzling bottle in your right hand and the Glock 17 in your jeans, all you can think about is that look he flashed your wife, that sternness around the eyes that made her wince. And all that crap about the baby. When you'd gone back inside to tell everyone about giving Yosef a ride, your wife had pulled you into one of the many walk-in closets in the house. She was eerily calm, a total stillness inside of the cramped space but for the heat of the light-bulb overhead and the swinging of its pull-chain.

CONT.
>>
"It's just a ride?" she asked.

"I can't do this right now," you said.

"I'm coming with you."

"You're joking right? Yeah let's just reveal everything as we're about to be in the clear. I'll make a big heroic speech and you can stand beside your man--put on a united front--as he wipes my brain like a votes in a rigged election."

She pressed her lips together. She wasn't joking, but she was trying to hold back something--not fear, not only fear, but something else barely restrained, something you'd never seen before--or if you had, had conveniently forgotten--a feeling unique to her other self, to Redstar, in a word: rage. Such rage that it blinded her with tears.

"I'll be fine," you said, wondering if you should break your promise and tell her the truth. But then she'll have insisted on coming with and you couldn't have that. You wanted him alone. You can play this game as well as him. Better even.

"I won't let him hurt you."

"Again."

"What?"

"You won't let him hurt me... again. You already did let him hurt me once, remember?" She looked up--with surprise and pain--but what could she say to that? It's true. It's true and you wish now you hadn't said it, but not only did you say it, you kept going. "I'll be OK. He's not going to blow his cover now and neither am I. This doesn't end with him dead right? He's too smart for that? His people know where he is? They'll take us out in retaliation? And besides, it goes both ways: you won't let me hurt him, either. Right? Right? So follow us on foot like you're planning to do, to make sure I don't hurt your precious leader, but I can't let you in the car."

Back in the parking lot, as you pass a red Toyota Camry, your wife rings you.

"What's going on?" she asks. "What did he want?"

"I'm still at the hotel. I can't talk right now."

"Are you OK?"

"I'm fine. He just wanted to taunt me a little more. I didn't break."

"The gun was in the car."

"I know."

"It's on your person?"

"For protection."

There's a brief silence. You get the feeling she doesn't believe you. "Darling--"

"Look, I have to go, I don't want him getting suspicious."

"I want you to kill him," she says.

You stop dead in your tracks, gravel crunching underfoot.

"You heard him. You were there in the room with me and you heard what he said. I want you kill him. I want you to kill him." She's breathless. You can hear the sounds of traffic behind her. She's here, somewhere close by.

"What about the mission--what about--"

"I don't care anymore. I can't stand it, Richard. He threatened my baby--our little darling! He didn't have to do that. I understood from the very beginning--I understood everything--but to still say it in front of me... no, he doesn't get away with that."

"He was just waving the red cape. You said it yourself, he would never actually--"

"No!" she shrieks. "If you can't do it--"

"Take a breath, Vicky," you warn her. "Honey, take a deep breath."

CONT.
>>
>>
She pressed her lips together. She wasn't not joking, but she was trying to hold back something--not fear, not only fear, but something else barely restrained, something you'd never seen before--or if you had, had conveniently forgotten--a feeling unique to her other self: rage. Such rage that it blinded her with tears. But you didn't care if she was angry at you.

"I have to go," you said, wondering if you should break your promise and tell her the truth. But then she'll have insisted on coming with and you wanted him alone. You can play this game as well as him. Better even.

"I won't let him hurt you," she says.

"Again."

"What?"

"You won't let him hurt me... again. You already did let him hurt me once, remember?" She looked up--not angry anymore but surprised and grief--but what could she say to that? It's true. It's true and you wish now you hadn't said it, but not only did you say it, you kept going. "He's not going to blow his cover now and neither am I. This doesn't end with him dead right? He's too smart for that? His people know where he is? They'll take us out in retaliation? And besides, it goes both ways: you won't let me hurt him either. Right? Right? So follow us on foot like you're planning to do, to make sure I don't hurt your precious leader, but I can't let you in the car." You had left before she could say anything else.

Back in the parking lot, your wife rings you.

"What's going on?" she asks. "What did he want?"

"I'm still at the hotel. I can't talk right now."

"Are you OK?"

"I'm fine. He just wanted to taunt me a little more. I didn't break."

"The gun was in the car."

"I know. I have it."

"On your person?"

"For protection."

There's a brief silence. You get the feeling she doesn't believe you. "Darling--"

"Look, I have to go, I don't want him getting suspicious."

"I want you to kill him," she says.

You stop dead in your tracks, gravel crunching underfoot.

"You heard him. You were there in the room with me and you heard what he said. I want you kill him. I want you to kill him." She's breathless. You can hear the sounds of traffic behind her. She's here, somewhere close by.

"What about the mission--what about--"

"I don't care anymore. I can't stand it, darling. He threatened my baby--our little darling! He didn't have to do that. I understood from the very beginning--I understood everything--but to still say that in front of me... no, he doesn't get away with that."

"He was just taunting us, waving the red cape. You said it yourself, he would never actually--"

"No!" she shrieks. "If you can't do it--"

"Take a breath, Vicky," you warn her. "Honey, take a deep breath."

CONT.
>>
You hear her exhale on the other side. "I was wrong," she says, you can hear the tears through the phone. "Darling, I was wrong. I thought I could stand it, but now I know... everything's different. If there's even a one percent chance--I can't let him, I won't let them take my little darling away, Richard, not for anything. I have to love him. I have to love him."

>[continue]
>write-in
>>
>>4992962
We're still in the elevator, right? we haven't given him the medicine yet?
Call the front desk of the hotel pretending to be a passerby that saw him in a poor state through the car window. Make sure to use a slightly higher voice or something, we don't want him finding out later. If he does ask, say you were wtill getting the pills and it was taking longer than expected.
>>
>>4992989
ah, we're in the parking lot. same thing, just make sure he didn't see us.
>>
>>4992962
Oh god what am I doing…
>”Victoria, I get it. If there’s a person on this earth I’d feel justified to murder, it would be him. For the death of my parents. For forcing Philip to grow up quicker to raise me. For EVERYTHING he’s done to you, and for placing a millstone around our children’s necks for his plans. But if I do, I don’t know who’ll take over the reins, if it’ll be someone who’d try to complete what he’s got planned. And if it’s you, and something happens to cause the whole organization to fall, you’d take on all the responsibility for it if you did. At least if he was alive, I know I could find a way for him to face his karma, and to keep you out of it. I might not be able to help you in anything powers related, but trust me enough for this… please…”

If she goes along with this, should we tell her later about the mystery call we received, with that weird quote we keep hearing?
>>
>>4992962
Go along with it
>>
>>4992962
>Get him out of the car and into his room, put him onto the bed and let him die. Pretend he didn't manage to tell us about the pills.
>>
>>4992962
>Go back and confront him with your knowledge of his identity and plans, demand an explanation.
>>
>>4992962
>Don't tell him anything, but hint that he's in a pretty bad position.
>>
>>4992962
> kill him
The mass murderer who killed our parents and just credibly threatened to kill our unborn child? For most sane persons, it would be out of character not to react with extreme aggression.
>>
I am worried by killing him we let something worse get out or break free.

No way its as simple as kill him and we and Vicky get to live happily ever after.
>>
>>4996934
Agreed. There’s no way it’s as cut and dried as that.

>Calm down wife, and remind her that we got eight months to kill her boss.
>If she’s hesitant, let her know about the heist we pulled on Phil’s computer, and if there’s anything that could take her boss and any coworkers she thinks could come after her, it’s probably in there.
>After that (and whatever happens to Yosef), see if we can get her to think about who’s most likely to turn on AM, and for what reason.
>>
>>4992989
>>4992990
>>4992995
>>4993002
>>4993058
>>4994034
>>4994782
>>4996423
>>4996934
>>4997019

OP here. Update will come soon, but a few things need to be addressed with the suggestions given so far. There appears to be two diametrically opposed plans and to be completely transparent I'm including a rough idea of what will happen for each one:

A. Kill Communion or by inaction allow him to die: I can confirm that this option means Commie will be killed, that the resulting power vacuum will be filled (your wife doesn't care about this, she's literally shaking rn) and-- although you'll be able to get out of here safely--that Antimatter will retaliate later. And there will be no warning shots. On the other hand, you'll get closer to your wife (in more ways than one), it will deal a massive blow to AM and if you don't take this chance, you may not get another.
B. Save Communion and use this as leverage to get some questions answered, thereby breaking the pretense of ignorance: Commie is a man of his word and will do the usual supervillain thing and tell you his plans. He won't answer everything, just enough to try and convince to his pov. However, sparing Communion will seriously strain your relationship with Vicky. He cannot, at this juncture, mindwipe you--he's too weak and he needs to reserve all his strength for the CEO job--but having confirmed that you're "back" he will exploit this to keep you and Vicky in check.

Either way, this a major decision point in the story. I'd like to get a final tally, now that you have an idea of the consequences of the decision, before I start writing the update. (So far it looks like 3:4 in favor of option B--which is what I will go with if there's no change).
>>
I can understand not wanting to kill him, but why are you so set on revealing our knowledtge to him, anons?
>>
>>4997273
let him die
>>
>>4997273
> by inaction allow him to die
I didn't realize that this is an option. Can we be inactive/incompetent in a way that is not overly suspicious?
We might offer to bring him to someone we supposedly know to treats humans in secret. Then we produce a car crash, which he doesnt survive.
>>
>>4997273
Don't kill him.
>>
>>4997273
It is possible position ourselves or Vicky in place to take over or be in a more powerful position in AM or are all bets off after he dies and we get all the blame?
>>
>>4997273
Also how long do we have to decide?
>>
>>4997273
>Option B
Usually when the head dies whoever takes over is even more radical.
>>
>>4997273
Let him die.
>>
>>4997512
AM would know Communion was visiting Vicky when he died, so suspicion would immediately fall on you. Especially since you told everybody where you were going beforehand.

>>4997515
Update will be tomorrow night, so till then.

>>4997368
By this I meant basically not giving him the medication and leaving him to die in the hotel.
>>
>>4997853
>>4997368
With this option we can have some plausible deniability and claim we took him to his hotel room as he asked of us and he asked and pleased us to not call an ambulance.

The only other thing is, Vicky made a call to us so it MIGHT be possible AM might have the ability to trace it and even listen to a recording of it if AM has NSA levels of ability
>>
>>4983469
/+1BYBIj here. Just gonna tabulate the votes…

Live
>>4992995
>>4994034
>>4994782
>>4997019
>>4997476

Die
>>4993002
>>4993058
>>4996423
>>4997349
>>4997779

Needs clarification
>>4992989 (die, but call 911 to throw AM off our trail, maybe?)
>>4996934 to >>4998096 (possible switch to die)

If nobody else votes and we still have a tie, put me down for letting Yosef die.

Also, good job, OP. You got me staying up late at night wondering about if Richard’s making the right choice. And I’m still not sure. Now that’s investment!
>>
>>4992961
Let him die but feel really bad about it later. What if the mercy you denied a dying man, even a monster, is one that will one day be denied me? Seek atonement etc.
>>
>>4998552
Live I guess. I'm worried about what he's got chained in his basement getting loose or falling in the wrong (worse) hands, and AM retaliation.
>>
Quick thought, he specifically said no hospitals right? Which means him going to the hospital fucks up his plans as well as AM. Soooo.....call an ambulance.
>>
>>4998726
That's an idea.
>>
>>4998726
this is basically what I meant by
>>4992989
>>
>>4998726
>>4998730
>>4998732
I would say this is equivalent to option B without most of the (personal) benefit. You basically learn nothing of his plans and still strain your relationship with Vicky. However it will lead to a wholly different set of consequences when Commie's identity gets revealed.
>>
>>4997273
I'll stop lurking for this, put me down for letting him die.
>>
>>4997273
Let him live for now., or let him live long enough to talk then shoot him dead.
>>
>>4997273
Trying to break tie, let him die.
>>
>>4997273
Meant to update yesterday but fell asleep

Final tally...

>>4998552
>>4998677
>>4998858
>>4999502
>>4997779
>>4997349
Die

>>4997476
>>4998693
>>4999319
Live

As Carlos would say: the die is cast.
>>
Live - 6
>>4992995
>>4994034
>>4994782
>>4997019
>>4997476
>>4997689

Die - 8
>>4993002
>>4997301
>>4997349
>>4996423
>>4997349
>>4997779
>>4998677
>>4999502

Dang, well at least it was closer vote.
>>
>>4997476
>support
>>
Damnit, OP, we voted for Communion to die, not you.
>>
You shut your eyes. "I'll take care of it baby," you say, and, not allowing yourself even a moment's hesitation, you fall to task. Returning to your car, you stuff the gun back in the glove compartment. You won't need it. You feel around for the Dodgers baseball cap you keep in there and once you've got it, go around to the back to put it on Communion's head, titling the visor down to hide his face. You button up his coat to the neck to hide the rest of the blood on his shirt. You'll need the blood, it won't be believable otherwise. Then you hoist him on your back, arms over your shoulders, your hands beneath his thighs.

"Happy hour," you tell the receptionist in the lobby, giving her a sheepish smile. She nods at a concierge to help you to the elevators, but you wave him away.

Once in his room, you lay Communion carefully on the bed. You proceed to take off his shoes, his coat, the baseball cap and then you stand over him, watching his gently rising chest and stomach, his aged face--an illusion, you know, some kind of hologram like your wife's--and you grab one of the pillows and begin fluffing it. You fluff it for what feels like two hours before you finally press it down on his head. In the movies, they always show a struggle, twitching, flailing arms and legs, muffled screams, but there's none of that here. The body goes limp, like a wind-up toy spent of its last wind. And it's done. And there's no great thrill or change. No welling up of emotion, no satisfaction, guilt, not fear, not even calm, except for the calm of numbness, the emptiness of death.

Fluffing the pillow again, you place it underneath his head. You turn his body on its side, making sure he's facing the drawer. And then you open the drawer, and, pull the dead man's arm to it. His other hand you place over his mouth and nose, as though he were politely covering a sneeze. You open the bottle of pills and tip it over, inside the drawer. A few of the pills fall out. The water bottle, you empty into the bathroom toilet, then wash it, then fill it up with tap water and then put it in the fridge. You wipe both for prints.

Surveying the scene one last time, you realize something is off. His eyes shouldn't be closed. You pry open the eyelids. The unseeing eyes stare blankly back at you until you gently shift them with your fingertips toward the drawers. Surveying a second time, you find everything perfect. You stuff the hat down the back of your jeans and make sure to hang the do not disturb sign on the door before taking the elevators down into the lobby.

----

CONT.
>>
"It doesn't feel like murder," you tell your wife that night, lying together beneath the sheets in the guest room on the 2nd floor. You had found her waiting by window, all the lights turned off, the same untouched slice of chocolate cake sitting on the windowsill, a great, dark wedge in the moonlight.

There must be a wavelength or a scent common to killers, because she asked no questions. She had debated with herself--and with the version of you she kept in her imagination--on whether you really had it in you, on whether it would not matter to her if you did, and when she turned to see your face, there was no more doubt. And now that you were bound by common sin, by common destination, she built a place for you in her other soul. If she had loved you before, this was something still more fierce, more hungry, something frightening. Into her deepest darkness now sped hot new blood, now winked a star in the place she had forged long ago unalloyed with light.

She sleeps like a child beside you while you lie awake staring at the dark wedge on the windowsill. In the morning, plans are drawn, the official story is that Yosef had drunk a little too much wine and you drove him to the hotel and left him there. He's found a day later--by one of his own, according to your wife--and taken discretely back to base. News of his death does not go over well with the other villains and the mission to kidnap the CEO is aborted, pending an investigation into Communion's death. Suspicions fall immediately on you and Vicky but Ghost had known about Communion's sickness for some time and vouches for the possibility you had so carefully constructed in the hotel room. Still, Vicky has been put on leave (and not only because of her pregnancy). By the contingencies Communion had meticulously prepared, leadership now falls to Ghost. The show must go on.

But Ghost evidently lacks the subtlety of her forebear, as less than a month after your trip, news of CEO Scott Crane's assassination floods all the news outlets. More than his celebrity, it is the barbarity of the crime itself that captures public imagination. A car bomb. While he was taking his two little girls to school. People all over the country are bewildered and angry. Superheroes have been rallied to the cause, and it's only now that you see how clueless most of them really are.

CONT.
>>
You've started working late now, later even than when you were trying to get a promotion. When you are home, your wife dotes on you with a newfound obsession. She doesn't understand why you come home at 3 or 4'o'clock in the morning or not come home at all and instead sleep in the office, but she doesn't complain, she accepts your weak explanations--of trying to do good job with your first client, of trying to save more money for the baby--and only works harder to make the house and herself more inviting. All these efforts, and the baby, and the terrible secrets, make you love her in ways you could not before. But the more you love her, the later you stay in the office.

On Saturdays you take her to the obstetrician and hold her hand through the doctor's bored explanations. On Sundays you go to the gun range. There is something about the tight cause and effect of trigger and bullet, bullet and bullet-hole, which dispirits you now, but you go anyway.

All your extra work begins to pay off handsomely for Perihelia, who has recently become more focused and driven and who has by your efforts become more of a household name. Her book, not even published yet, has become trending on social media, but she seems unbothered by the pressure to deliver, utterly confident in her own talents. The one sore point for her seems to be Honorguard. No more daily lunches with him in the cafeteria. No more secret smiles. And the one time you brought him up she made an excuse and left the room.

You haven't forgotten your promise to him--Lord Justice is confirmed to be in attendance in the upcoming gala and you've snagged an invitation for Honorguard as well. Your wife insists on coming with you, despite the obvious risks and despite the unusual severity of her first trimester symptoms.

"The invitation says you have to bring a plus-one, darling," she says, kneeling in front of the toilet.

"It doesn't say have to."

"You just want to ogle all the girls. That's why you don't want me to come. That's why."

"Damn, you got me. I forgot that the Olympus 50th year anniversary gala is actually the senior prom. Now all I need is a corsage."

"That's why," she insists.

"Have you considered, mother of my child, that I might not want others to ogle you?" She looks up at you from dry heaving, her hair pasted to her forehead, tired eyes, a line of spit on her chin. "Beauty notwithstanding, it's going to be filled with supers."

"I'm not afraid of them."

"That's exactly what I'm afraid of."

>[continue]
>write-in
>>
Quick note: I have to retcon one small detail, for every previous mention of the super Nighthawk, replace it with Lord Justice. So Lord Justice is the one Ghost had an affair with. Lord Justice is also the one took out the trafficking operations etc. There is no Nighthawk, only Lord Justice.
>>
>>5005229
Oh boy, I hope we're still able to get some sort of heroic ending to this...

>Let Vicky come along if she promises to keep her chill; within reason, anyway.
>Before the party, let Vicky know that there's two supers that we'd like her to meet, and that we'd really want her to avoid killing them in the future after she has our child. Perihelia is one of them, for obvious reasons. The other is Honorguard, and if he comes without his helmet, she'll see why. Try to get her to see them less as adversaries and things to be crushed, and more as, well, people who can help us if we help them.
>At the party, see if we can get the whole story about what happened between Peri and HG, and offer advice to whichever we think is more receptive to it. If our wife wonders why, fib a bit and say it'll be good practice for us during the teenage years.
>Try to get HG that meeting with LJ. If Lord isn't interested, start working out plans to slip Antimatter information to Yusei anonymously.
>After all that, see if Vicky recognized Yusei. If she does and she mentions not knowing about Ghost's past, tell her that that's why we need her to let Yusei live.
>Finally, start moving up to shotguns and SMGs at the range. Maybe look into learning some sort of martial art?
>>
>>5005588
I'd rather we get some batman gadgets than can stun and disable a super, test on waif!

Anyone think its HG that knows our secret? Hes a ninja right?
>>
>>5005593
>I'd rather we get some batman gadgets than can stun and disable a super, test on waif!
The Batman gadgets will have to wait. Right now we need to learn if we can survive against an AM minion before we can try fighting a super.

Although, I do have an idea about working possibly with Phil, if he doesn't kill or renounce us if he finds out on a holograph disruptor, with four settings:
Flicker, Shutdown, Scramble, and Overload. Need to get the schematics for the holograph implant, though...

Also, no testing on wife. I don't want to find out if her improved damage resistance can handle an exploding holoprojector implanted in her neck.

>Anyone think its HG that knows our secret? Hes a ninja right?
Hopefully not yet. I kinda want Richard to be the one that breaks it, so we hopefully can start working with Yusei on breaking AM's back.
>>
>>5005613
...actually, might want to switch Scramble to Shock.
>>
>>5005588
samesies
>>
>>5005588
I just thought of something to add in:

>Buy mace, pepper spray, and protective masks that cover entire face.

Pretty sure super respiratory powers are a pretty niche power set that doesn't get much use in the big leagues, plus it's a good distraction against the inevitable unarmored mooks that'll come for us.
>>
>>5005588
Supporting except for the gun range stuff - there are better uses of our time than trying to become batman
>>
>>5007950
Thing is, the gun range we've been going to is the one frequented by Honorguard during his off hours. It's too good of an opportunity for slipping information to him to just stop, unless we try to steal him away from his PR guy, who's likely an official Superstar executive and likely wouldn't be happy about it. So keeping up the gun hobby gives us an alibi to see him often.

Also, modern Batman doesn't use guns.

...well, in canon, anyways.