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Unread 11th of July, 2004, 12:55
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Issue #2: I Love Treason, But Hate a Traitor.

The Centinel Building, New York City.
Main Conference Room.
4:07 pm, January 14th 2010.


The Debriefing

Just over 28 hours after she last held a meeting like this, Alicia Stone walks confidently in front of the assembled Centinels, but oh what a difference a day makes. One man missing and another added to the roster, two absent from the meeting with injuries, but listening in on specially rigged speakers.

Wreck sprawls on two seats, nursing the various bruises and scuffs he acquired in yesterday’s fight. Two bottles of Jager and a followup of malt whisky haven’t been able to cleanse the revolting oil slick taste that Viscid left in his throat, and he hooeek-ptooie’s into a wastepaper bin every few minutes. He’s been too busy to give the drinking and womanising a real go, though - maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow. That ten grand is burning a hole in his pocket... If only the damn Foundation medics and techs would stop prodding him and trying to take readings.

The Mechanic hunches over a laptop, reading up on the drone’s specifications before he begins to dismantle it. Currently, it sits in his workshop at RisSun ApTech, waiting patiently. He can almost feel his mouth water in anticipation.

Quantum looks up from Time. So, President Kerry lost the 2008 elections... some guy called Darringly’s in the Oval Office, now. Vice-president is Annette Norton, which is nice. Quantum remembers voting for her on Who Wants To Be A Senator? back before the accident. Man, that girl could sing... very important for a statesperson, these days.

Bolt and Osprey share a room in the Foundation’s medical wing, for now. Both have seen better days.

“Gentlemen, “ Stone intones. “Hardly an unqualified success, but... it could have been much worse.”

She beings to run through the fallout from yesterday’s festivities. “Our public relations group is in full swing, controlling the flow of information regarding the raid... I think we have enough material to work with that we will all come out of this fine. The car crash can be glossed over... and what’s more, you successfully interdicted a large shipment of highly dangerous weapons, stopping them from reaching the streets.” She favours you all with a thin, approving smile.

“More importantly, we’ve gained valuable insights into our enemies.” Information begins to scroll up the screen behind her.

“Viscid is, simply, a mercenary. Albeit a competent one. He made his living as a safecracker and vaultbreaker, flowing into sealed chambers and opening them form the inside, but now he’s hired muscle. So far, we haven’t found any trace of him at the warehouse or anywhere else in the city; most likely, he’s gone into hiding to recuperate and wait for the interest in his whereabouts to die down. The source of his transformation is unknown, but we’ve found a weakness that you may be able to exploit if he resurfaces: chlorine. If he’s exposed to it, it integrates... harmfully with his fluidic biochemistry.”

“Actinic is an unknown. She’s never come to our attention before. We know her name is Lara Hawkins, and we’re looking into her background. I’m assured that she is being cared for by our best medics, though, and will be rehabilitated as best we can manage. Now...”

The broad, ugly face of the East European teleporter appears on screen repeatedly. Here, he gets out a military limo in a grimy city along with a pair of Bosnia militia leaders. There, some kind of meeting with Chinese officers. Selling guns to fierce looking African guerrillas in a burned-looking jungle clearing.

“The ‘Port is a smuggler, and a very dangerous one. His name is Pieter Loschvuld, date and place of birth unknown... no-one’s even sure what nationality he is. He first came to the Vigilance Commission’s attention when he began providing arms and transportation to a certain very unpleasant Slovakian warlord named Klemek. His involvement in wars and troublespots all over the world is... extensive. Whoever hired him - and we’re certain someone did; he rarely enacts plans of his own volition - must have substantial resources; Loschvuld’s services never come cheaply. That he’s involved explains how those military drones and all the other weapons stockpiles got into the city without alerting any authorities... and makes the task of intercepting them that much harder.”

“I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that Mr. O’Malley and his associates are in holding awaiting a list of very substantial charges.”

Stone sighs and adjusts her glasses. “I think you should all be satisfied with what you’ve accomplished, but be ready to do better next time. For now, the Foundation is going to attempt to analyse the intelligence we’ve gathered, and deduce who is behind this, their objectives, and how they can be counteracted. We’ve made arrangements to fulfill the deals we made with you, regarding remuneration and so forth; I’m sure you’ll be satisfied.”

“When we know more, we’ll be in touch. Please, keep your communicators close at hand. In the mean time, our medical, training and archive facilities are open to you. Thank you.”

And that’s that.

Last edited by Dirigible; 11th of July, 2004 at 13:46.
  #2  
Unread 11th of July, 2004, 12:56
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The Centinel Building, New York City.
OnSite Medical Facility.
10:10 am, January 15th 2010.


Bolt

Dr. MacClough steps back from the MRI screen, and flicks the image up onto the screen. A semi-colour, threeDee map of your body from knees to shoulders appears. The hovering, rotating, translucent image of your package makes you rather glad that you and the Centinel’s staff doctor are the only ones in the examination room... and that MacClough wasn’t quite so flamboyantly gay.

Looking at your internal organs is never a happiness-inducing sight, especially when they’re so... messed up. The tissues around your intestines are swollen and distorted, and there’s a small, white sphere on the MRI. You grimace... every move tells you that it’s inside. The silver locket bounces on your chest. You felt more bereft than ever when you were forced to take it off before stepping into the MRI - and it was as cold as ice when you redonned it.

“You’re pretty lucky, all things considered.” MacClough flicks through a clipboard. “Looks like what this guy did... the ‘Port, was it? Lame name... What he did was teleport a ceramic bearing, ‘bout one centimeter across, into you.” The doctor looks up, grinning. “You should probably be thankful it didn’t actually intersect or try to collocate with any of your atoms, just pushed them aside, sort of... if it had, there would have been a, oh, two, three kiloton blast. Heck, if it’d even appeared in an artery, instead...”

His bedside matter fucking sucks. You mentally upbraid yourself for the swearing; Elizabeth used to hate it when you cussed. That doesn’t make you feel any better.

The morning after the godawful mess in the warehouse, the bruising set in. It was awesomely horrible. It looked like you were pregnant with a bouncing baby hematoma on the way, your stomach bloated and totally black and purple. Or that you’d had a big all-you-can-eat meal at the Steak Shack, and then gone a few rounds in the ring as Wreck practiced his low-blows. The thought of even trying to do a sit-up made you want to throw up.

MacClough stops grinning, and looks back at the MRI image. “Um. I guess, if you really want, we could put you in for surgery and get the bearing removed... but honestly, I don’t think that’d be worth your time. I mean, it’s right inside you, so we wouldn’t be able to go in via keyhole or layersect. Plus, it’s not going to get infected or anything, or harm you in any way. What I recommend, well, what I’m gonna do, is put you on a big course of anticoagulants, anti-inflammatory, painkillers and contusion reductors. And, obviously, you’ll want to take it easy for a while...” He raises his eyebrows, waiting for your input.

Osprey

“Aie! Stupid kid. What did I tell you about not standing in the way of speeding bullets?”

Your teeth glint like the shards of pink pearls in the little glass jar next to your bed as the late morning sunlight stains in through the blinds. As always, your tongue plays over the empty sockets in the front of your mouth. The bullet wound is actually less painful and inconvenient; luckily, your armour incorporates a spider-silk weave, so the surgeons could remove the slug by simply pulling the threads that had got tangled around it. The hole is plugged with organic plastics, a scaffold for bone, muscle and skin to regrow over, and laced with slow-release anesthetics. So in that respect, you feel pretty good.

On the other hand, nothing the doctors can provide will stop that simmering, sickening feeling of defeat and worthlessness. What good are you to the other Centinels? Do you even deserve to be on the roster? Your nowhere near the league of Bolt or Wreck....let alone the Flash or Superman. Eh, bad example. Superman had ethics... and Wreck’s no boyscout. No heatvision, either. All you managed to do in the warehouse was get in everybody’s way and bleed on Jerry O’Malley’s handmade Italian shoes a bit.

The Foundation came for you at some point when you were out of your mind on drugs and pain in the hospital. Apparently, they had you relocated and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Well, the medical facilities here seem top of the line, so maybe that’s not a bad thing. No medical fees, and apparently the staff dentist took a cast of your mouth while the surgeons were operating on the gunshot wound, and you’re supposed to have some false teeth fitted later today.

At the voice, you look up. Shuffling in behind a big bag of cotton candy, a balloon-on-a-stick and his cane is the withered, grubby-looking form of master Fong. “No, this not for you, kid,” he says, seeing your dubious eyes on the bag of candy. “You gotta take care of your teeth, eh?” He grins, exposing his gnarled, coffee- and nicotine-stained pegs.

Fong hops up onto a stool next to your bed, and holds out the GET WELL SOON balloon. “THIS for you!”

Wreck

“Whaddyou MEAN she ain’t here?”

Wreck isn’t used to people holding out on him when he uses his Big Boy Voice. The receptionist cowers back, but repeats himself:

“I’m sorry sir... but I can’t confirm or deny whether this ‘Actinic’ is here or not... maybe if you spoke to the Administrator...”

Last time you saw, the girl was being driven off in a Centinel ambulance, and a quick check of all the major hospitals in New York yesterday proved she wasn’t in any of them. So, she’s gotta be here, in the Centinel Building. If only people would stop making things so complex for you...

Quantum

It’s been an interesting day. More so than yesterday; Miss Stone, your new boss, apparently, was blandly helpful in telling you anything you wanted to know that she wanted you to know. About the arms deal, the bad folks you saw at the big fight, and about the team you’ve ‘volunteered’ for. Osprey didn’t have a whole lot to say for or about himself, being half-out on drugs and unwilling to open his mouth much. Bolt was at least able to fill in some of the details of the team from his hospital bed. The Mechanic, you haven’t had a chance to meet yet - he took off after the debriefing with one of those drones and a manic gleam in his eye.

This morning, you worked out with Wreck - well, stared in alarm as he lifted a pair of depleted uranium weights the size of dumptruck tires without too much effort. Tonight, he’s promised to show you some place called the Pink Pussycat - a name, he assured you, that is totally non-figurative.

Right now, your watching him give some poor schumck the third degree. You were able to see the wounded Centinels earlier, and your looking forward to catching up on some more history of the time you’ve missed. So long as the meathammer doesn’t bring this place down in a tantrum.
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Unread 11th of July, 2004, 12:57
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Rising Sun Applied Technologies, New York City.
Mr. Thomas’ Private Workshop.
10:10 am, January 15th 2010.


The Mechanic

Tuneless whistling emerges from behind the pile of components. A discarded drive shaft. A section of curved plating. A bulky, khaki battery. Rotors...Lockheed-Martin. Weapons... Samarkand MiliTech. Software...Katsuhama. Hull... EisenWerks. Yeah, its as you suspected. The drone is a vanilla, U.S.Army base patrol model, made by global contractors, assembled in Oklahoma - according to the serial number, stolen from a base in Kenya a year ago.

It’s the laptop that’s got you worried. About an hour after you first logged on to it, a hidden program called deathbeforedishonour.exe started running, and did a very professional job of purging the hard disk. Clearly, your skilled was no amateur. From what little was left, you’ve been able to piece together a little information. The drone-interface programs on the laptop definitely had Rising Sun software fingerprints on them. And, to be honest, they were beautiful bits of digital art. Not a line of code out of place, as sleek and efficient as a katana. As far as you can tell, it might even have been written and compiled on one of the computers in this building! Right under your nose! How utterly frustrating, and disturbing. Is there a mercenary hacker, or even a criminal, in your company?

Your personal assistant Keith Halwin and VP Kenneth Whyte waged their usual battle with you yesterday; Halwin trying to handle every crisis himself and keep your inbox pristine and empty, Whyte trying to force you to take a more involved role in the business decisions of the company. Documents were forwards and retracted like nobodies business.

As you sit and brood, fiddling with some accounts that Whyte patiently explained were vital to the corporation, the two-way plasma screen that dominates one wall of your cluttered office-cum-workshop flicks on, bypassing the usual caller screening mode.

Her glossy, dark hair sticking up from under her bandanna at odd angles, Chyler grins brightly down at you. From the look of the workshop behind her, she’s still working out the bugs on the new high-efficiency hydrogen engines that GeneralMotors/Hyundai ordered last month. The young, half-Filipino woman sweeps the cloth off her hair and shakes it free, then adjusts the off-centre camera.

“Rob, hi! She sounds cheerful and looks great. “How’s the autopsy going?” she teases you as she surveys the dismantled war machine.

“Hey, if you’re not to busy, me and some of the crew were going down to Oldburghs’ for an early lunch... you could come with, and we could toast your success.” She winks conspiratorially, acknowledging the open secret of your identity as the Mechanic. Hell, half the people in your company helped with designing, assembling and testing your gadgets. You haven’t had a chance to tell anyone what really happened, thus far, so she must be going off media reports, which the Foundation has engineered into a glowing victory of justice over terrorism.
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Unread 11th of July, 2004, 13:35
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Quantum

Quantum sits at a sparse desk, with a variety of objects scattered across its surface. His face is lined with a frown of concentration, and he occasionally mutters a curse. In one hand, he has the communicator he was given just yesterday, with his thumb fiddling with a pair of buttons. His other hand holds the communicator's user-manual open, though it seems like the contents were written in Brazil by a dyslexic Japanese man trying desperately to translate them into Swahili.

Giving up in frustration, he clips the device back onto his left ear -- Alicia did stress that he needs to keep it on -- and tosses the manual aside. Sliding a laptop back to within easy reach, he pulls up a news site, scanning the contents quickly. Half of it makes no sense to him, but he didn't really follow the news too well back when he was...

Normal. It's hard to think of it any other way.

Closing the laptop, he gives the other items on the desk a quick once-over. A trio of physics books, brought in from the labs downstairs. They're no help. A pen, levitating over its holder by some trick of magnetism. No clue. One of those annoying little five-ball clacky-toys that sinister corporate executives keep on their desks in the movies. Some wit included a Post-It™ note with "E=mc²: Not just a good idea; it's the law!" on it.

Everyone else at least has an idea of how they can do their thing. The Mechanic's smarter than anyone he's ever heard of; Bolt is just so fast that anything else is secondary. Wreck? Hell, you get that strong and tough, it's no wonder the rules stop applying. And Osprey... well, he's not sure about Osprey yet -- just that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. No doubt he's got some trick up his sleeve that'll make everyone else look like Plastic-Man.

Speaking of which...

He starts to reach for his communicator, then stops, sure that he'd end up paging everyone in Poughkeepsie instead. He steps out of his assigned room and makes his way to Alicia Stone's office.
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Unread 13th of July, 2004, 08:18
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Looking down at his bruised and swollen stomach, Ryan sighs as he holds the precious silver locket with his hand, as if making sure that its still there. He didn't like taking it off even for a few minutes, it almost seem like a betrayal of sorts. He would never forgive himself if he lost it.

He sighs again half listening to the doctor, he actually had a good day yesterday. Regardless of the fact that he got hurt, not that it mattered much, it was almost like he felt needed again, he missed that more then he even realised but yet the guilt and depression were back again. Waiting, always waiting, always on the fringe of his mind. A blackness that would swallow him whole and never let him see the light of day again if he let it.

Pain brings him out of his thoughts, he had been gripping the locket so hard that it cut into his skin. He could feel a few drops of blood on his hand as he let go of the locket and forces himself to concentrate more on the doctor.

Sure doc, what ever you think is best. How long am I going to look like this? He says gesturing to his stomach.
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Unread 13th of July, 2004, 09:25
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The Mechanic

"Hey Chyler." Rob replies hardly glancing up from the parts of the drone strewn around him and on his various workbenches. "Um... Food... That sounds good... hey do you know... oh.." as he glances at the time.... then the date, abruptly realizing he's been working on the drone and the computer for the better part of 16 hours, without stopping to eat or rest.

"Yeah... food... I think I can manage that." he says with a sheepish grin on his face as his stomach growls loudly... managing to pick up over the speakers in the transmission. Yeah... food.. then I should probably rest some... the gear will still be here when I'm fresh. Plus Chyler might have some insights to what was going on, might think of something I didn't.

"So, Oldburghs huh? I'll see you there in a bit. I'll just put some of these," he gestures at the HF Cutter and many of the laser welders and various other tools strewn around the room, "away, and be down there... Are we just all meeting at the bar? Or do we have a table."

He shortly completes the tasks of putting his tools away... but he can't quite leave all his work. Picking up his Palm device, and shorly thereafter the computer that he confiscated from the villians the other day he makes his way to his car and is shortly on his way to Oldburghs.
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Unread 14th of July, 2004, 14:52
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The Mechanic

Just before you pull your car into the parking spot, you catch a glimpse of something up on the roof of a nearby building. But, you learned your lesson yesterday - and keep your eyes firmly on the road. The aching bruise on your skull taught you that much. Stepping quickly out of the parked vehicle, you look around, but whatever it was - something big, gunmetal or red-brown coloured? - has gone. Shaking your head, a little uneasily, you hurry off for your early lunch break.

The bar and eatery favoured by most of the engineers, designers and managers of Rising Sun is a pleasant place that achieves a kind of European taste and culture and ambiance without really trying, and certainly without going gauchely over-the-top. As you enter the low-lit interior, the smell sweet tobacco smoke rolling from the pipe of an elderly chap at the bar, the woodsmoke from the banked fireplace, the aroma of roasting meat and fresh vegetables wafting from the kitchen and the undertone of quality beverages. You’re still not sure what kind of pull Oldburgh’s owner has with the city Public Health Council that he managed to get an exception to New York’s smoking ban for his bar. The wood paneling muffles the busy noises of the industrial park and traffic outside.

Looking around the empty set of tables and mostly empty barstools, you catch sight of your co-workers at a table in the back of the room. Chyler and Stephen, from Human Resources, half stand and wave at you. The other three have their backs to you, drinking LoAlk wine and laughing.
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Unread 14th of July, 2004, 15:22
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Bolt

As you fumble painfully back into your shirt, the doctor makes some quick annotations to his digital notepad in a sweeping hand.

“How long? Oh, I think you’ll see it start to heal in a couple of weeks. Until then, you’ll want to avoid anything to strenuous... any exercise heavier that walking, soyou might wanna keep your speed under, say, 50 kph; sex; brawling obviously...” He smiles disarmingly.

You close your hand around the locket, so as not to let the doctor see the blood as he ushers you to the door. If he did, he might try and treat that too, and right now you want to get out of here. As the door closes, Dr. MacClough promises that he’ll have the necessary prescription drugs sent to you.

Last edited by Dirigible; 14th of July, 2004 at 15:31.
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Unread 14th of July, 2004, 15:50
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Quantum

Making your way through the massive Centinel Building, you have to ask for directions a couple of times. Everyone’s pretty respectful, too: seems they know you’re one of the front line guys, now.

The place is big, bustling with activity on levels you can’t begin to comprehend yet. People do arcane things on computers in a dozen rooms; boxfiles are carried around on wheelietrays, some going to Archives, some going to the shredders. Admin offices and the cafeteria buzz with conversation, both everyday, the kind you’d hear around any water-cooler in corporate America, others discussing combat techniques, the latest weapon systems and the parahuman dimension of biophysics. Despite this, the constant plastic, glass, chrome steel and synthetic carpet feel of the place is starting to drag on you - it comes to mind that you haven’t seen a real, live plant since they woke you up.

Eventually, you go up quite few levels in the lift and arrive on the executive level. At the end of a hall is a faux oak door with a faux brass plate reading:

A. STONE
foundation representative
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Unread 15th of July, 2004, 05:47
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Bolt

Once outside Ryan will cover the small cut on his hand with his other thumb until the bleeding stops.

I'm going to look like this for a couple of weeks? And nothing faster then 50 K?Ryan thinks to himself heading slowly towards his quarters.* You can't even outrun a car at that speed.

Ryan makes his was to his quarters without saying anything to anyone. He enters without turning the lights on, the window is providing enough light for him to navigate by. He carefully lays down on his bed and thinks of the fight, what he did wrong, what he could do to correct his mistakes, he also thinks of Elizabeth of course. He quickly falls asleep.

His dream wakes him up, it's always the same dream. The night that she was murdered, but something was different about it this time. This time for a fraction of a second instead of Elizabeth it was someone else, but he couldn't remember who. Ryan tries to capture the dream but it fades out before he can recall anyting clearly. He shakes his head to clear away the cobwebs and looks over at the clock, he has been asleep for several hours.

She's probably working now. He thinks as he slowly leans over and grabs the phone and dials a number.

Yes, may I speak to Trisha Ling please...

*I am assuming that we have some sort of living space set up somewhere in the building.
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Unread 15th of July, 2004, 06:10
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Quantum

Quantum lets himself into Ms. Stone's office, reasoning that the risks he and the others had gone through should at least give them the benefit of access to their handlers. Inevitably, he's asked to wait -- like any government or corporate facility, a great number of people have "doorstop" in their job title.

Once he gets an audience with his local Foundation Rep (whatever that is), he asks one simple, straightforward question:

"Going under the assumption that we're supposed to be representing the Centinels, and working together as a team, wouldn't it make sense that we have some sort of uniform? Even if it's just a similar color-scheme or a badge or the like, it might help all of us if we have a visible identity, rather than just running around in our civvies."

Once he has an answer -- even if it's just "we'll look into it" -- he makes his way back downstairs. Time to get everyone together and do something that doesn't involve beating up on people or getting shot at.
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Unread 15th of July, 2004, 06:25
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The Mechanic

Rob smiles as he sees a couple of his staff at the table waving for him to join them... A quick stop to see his friend Charlie at the bar and he's on his way to join them.. a tall glass of water in his hand and his order from the "Secret menu" for the barmans' friends on it's way back to the kitchen.
Ahh... the benefits of being a regular. He thinks as he pulls a chair out from the table and sits with the others.

"Hey folks... Good to see you." he says, a broad smile on his face. "I take it those reccomendations on the new engine design are working out all right? How are the initial tests looking?" he asks his crew... the familiar look in his eye of gears and components flying together in new and differing combinations just behind his eyes.

Setting the semi-forgotten laptop on the table next to him he listens intently to the conversations around him. Enjoying the camaraderie and the free-flow exchange of ideas. I'll have to make sure I try and join them more often for these things.... I've missed this. Pulling a small sketch pad out from his pocket and a pencil, he sketches and makes notes on various new tools, he'd though of in his time with the Centinels crew.

Thinking of them a chill runs down his spine... the SWAT-like team and the "Reptilian" man have been causing him some nervousness... also concern over the injured members of his team. I'll have to call in... make sure Osprey and Bolt are recovering alright... maybe check on that Actinic girl. Not to mention finding out who that guy was with the clean-up squad last night... He's got me worried.

Putting those thoughts aside he puts himself back in the moment with his associates at the table.
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Unread 15th of July, 2004, 18:53
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Bolt

The room, though large and comfortable, smells of preservatives and is bleakly empty... perhaps it’s no wonder you have such troubling, depersonalizing dreams.

The phone hums in your ear. As tired as you are, it’s almost more than you can manage to fast talk your way through the electronic reception desk at the CrossMedia newspapers section. You manage it, though...

“This is Trisha.” Pause. “Bol- Mr. San- Ryan? Is that you?”
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Unread 15th of July, 2004, 18:53
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Quantum

You’re not entirely sure what you were expecting as you finally enter Stone’s office, but she certainly shapes her environment to herself. It is, of course, immaculately, even obsessively clean and tidy - the leather swivel chairs on either side of the sleek walnut desk gleam darkly and dustlessly. The circular, pebbled glass window allows light in while reducing the skyline to a blur of gray and blue. A tiny, sophisticated computer is built discreetly into the desktop, and Alicia Stone is entering data on the keyboard as you step gingerly on the spotless carpet. As soon as she looks away form the monitor it slides invisibly into the desk, leaving it bare except for a pile of documents. No Newton’s Cradle executive toy here, you note. Books of law, management theory, history and psychology line the chrome and oak shelves behind her.

The only personal touch in the entire room is a bonsai tree just under the window, sitting on a ceramic tray carefully calligraphied with Chinese or Japanese letters. Next to this, a plainly framed picture shows a grinning man in police uniform in black and white.

The room feels cold, impersonal - work is done here, not fun, it declares in every line - and Ms. Stone’s blue eyes do nothing to dissuade you from that conclusion.

“Mr. Forrester, good morning. I’m glad to have a chance to meet you, particularly given that your assignment to the team was so abrupt. How can I be of assistance?”

You offer your sartorial opinions, and she shakes her head. “Your team does not, and will never, be a disciplined, paramilitary team.” She sounds mildly amused. “A uniform would make you easier targets, and diminish the greatest advantage you have: your diversity and individual prowess. If I may use an cogent simile... parahumans function like knights on the battlefield; vastly superior to the throng of levies that stand in their way, challenged only by other knights. Each wears his or her own heraldry. However, if you wish, the Foundation is willing to provide you with any item of clothing you wish marked with the Centurion’s symbol...” She taps a nail on the letterhead of a piece of blank paper, indicating the stylized Greek helmet that serves as the emblem of the former hero.

As you go to leave, Stone adds: “As you’re here, I should tell you we plan to hold a news conference tomorrow afternoon, to inform the media of your recent success and let them see you personally. It will be held here, outside the Centinel Building. If it would be convenient for you to inform your colleagues of this, please do so.”

The wooden door closes of its own accord behind you.
  #15  
Unread 15th of July, 2004, 18:54
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Dirigible
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The Mechanic

There’s laughter. There’s good food. There’s the friendly ribbing of a half-dozen of the smartest people in the city lacing their conversations with high-level physics and engineering. There’s just enough drinks to let you all know that its too early to be drinking.

Just a Billy Walthers is retelling his infamous Dutch Fishing Trip story, your pocket computer bleeps. Excusing yourself, you duck into the hall and open it up. Yes. The software agent you set to skim through the Foundation’s less secure files has compiled it’s results. It’s the best you can do without getting your hands dirty with code, and it might at least give some direction to your search.

The - well, you assume they must be the cryogenics team you find under Long Term medical Research Staff. The description of the team and their role is deliberately vague.
Dr Edward Talbot, head of division.
Dr Marcia Geddens, microbiologist.
Dr Quentin Broekeist, thermochemist.

An accidentally unencrypted record mentions a thirty-five man team, the Defensive Response Force that the Foundation keeps on its payroll for ‘special security deployments.’

And there is Mr. Reptile. You identify him because he’s referred to as the one responsible for the DRF mobilization two days ago. No name, but a job description - Special Executive Assistant to the Senior Administrator. Which would make him, you guess, about equal ranking to Stone - they both report straight to the Administrator of the Foundation, Philip Mouse.
  #16  
Unread 15th of July, 2004, 22:27
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Wreck

One of the virtues of having a ridiculous amount of muscles is that you're rarely, if ever, refused something. Wreck passes it off as being due to their awe and admiration of him, but most people would characterize it as a survival instinct. More muscles equals more pain when you're punched in the face, it's practically a scientific law.

He leans forward, irritable from the results, and grips the edge of the receptionists desk. The wood creaks under the weight and pressure and Wreck towers over the other man, glaring at him. Slowly, inch by inch, he leans down until his face is but a foot from the receptionist. Muscles bulge and Wreck gets a cold gleam in his eye. Some people only understand violence.

"I wanna talk to your supervisor."

Slapping this guy around like he had that mafia guy wouldn't solve anything. Hell, they might even fine him for it. He wants to make sure the girl's still breathing, but he's not willing to lose some of his pay for it.
  #17  
Unread 18th of July, 2004, 15:40
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Wreck

Chemically-augmented muscles slither over each other like skined serpents as Wreck bends down. His nostrils flare; his fingers dig gouges int he desk without even noticing it. Just like at the car-crash site, Wreck isn't able to use his strength to it's greatest advantage, but it seems to be enough.

The man flinches back and pales further under Wreck's attention. "I... I'll..."

"Thank you, Mr. Naite. I will handle this."

Stepping from out of the glass door to the medical center comes the black-suited, immaculately gaunt form of the man subconsciously dubbed Mr Reptile. The fluro lights glint of his pallid pate as the receptionist leaves hurridly. Laying his briefcase on the desk, the cold-eyed man addresses Wreck in a slow, dry monotone.

"Mr. Wreck. I am informed you wish to see or speak to Ms. Actinic? Sadly, that will not be possible. She is in intensive care, the best the Foundation has available, and it would be inadvisable for her to be disturbed. Additionally, I can only imagine that you are the last person she would want to see after emerging from unconsciousness... given that you placed her in that state."

If there's any emotion in his voice, it's vindictive pleasure.

"I hope that provides answers to your queries. If not, allow me to restate myself in more suitable words: no. You will not be allowed to meet or observe Ms. Actinic in the foreseeable future. Absolutely not."

Picking up his case, he half-turns as if getting ready to depart.
  #18  
Unread 18th of July, 2004, 17:12
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Bolt

Originally Posted by Dirigible “This is Trisha.” Pause. “Bol- Mr. San- Ryan? Is that you?”
"What the hell am I doing, it hasn't even been two days yet. How much information could she have dug up in such a short amount of time." Ryan thinks to himself when Trisha answers the phone.

He shifts uncomfortably and he quietly grunts as pain shoots through his stomache.

Yea, its me. He says slowly. I was just phoning to, <pause> I just wanted to ask <pause> to be honest I don't know why I phoned. I'm sure you got a lot things to do then look for information that I need.

I'm sorry to have bothered you, it won't happen again.
  #19  
Unread 18th of July, 2004, 17:20
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Bolt

"No, wait. The information? I have, well, I've got most of it." She sounds a tad triumphant.

"Can we meet? You need to see this." She names an backstreet in a lonely part of town. "I'll be there, ummm, at, uh, about eleven. I'll see you there?"

*click* as she hangs up.

And a moment later:

*click*
  #20  
Unread 19th of July, 2004, 04:36
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Wreck

"So you're saying no, huh?" Wreck asks, folding his arms over his chest. "That's pretty funny, you know, 'cause I always heard yer not supposed to take 'no' for an answer."

There is something about this man that unsettles Wreck. He isn't afraid of him, but the man's demeanor, his appearance, makes Wreck's flesh want to crawl. He opens his mouth and scratches his cheek with one hand, feigning boredom with the conversation while buying time for his mind to think up something, anything.

Walk away, you big idiot, before you ruin any other gigs they might have for you.

Sadly, self-deprecation isn't likely to get him his wants. He should leave, hell, he wants to go right out those doors and hit the clubs or strip bars. Anything to unwind after the other night would be most welcome. Yet his feet don't move, not even an inch and he finds himself speaking to the man again.

"Look, I don't wanna talk to her, or even go in the room. I just wanna see how she's doin' is all. Just a kid. Shouldn't be doin' shit like this until she's older, wiser" --he grins-- "like me."
  #21  
Unread 19th of July, 2004, 12:26
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Wreck

The man stops, the hairless back of his head facing Wreck. Slowly, he turns, and looks the taller, much bulkier man slowly up and down; the phrase 'undertaker measuring a customer' crawls across Wreck's prefrontal lobe from somewhere. A fractional relaxation occurs in the muscles of the man's brow, and he flicks a mote of dust from his shoulder. Wreck gets the sensation of having passed some kind of exam, which is very new feeling for him.

"Very well. If the matter is of such interest to you, I can arrange for a medical status report to be forwarded. That is the best I will do." His pale, colourless eyes meet the meathammer's sqaurely, unblinkingly.
  #22  
Unread 19th of July, 2004, 13:00
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Quantum

Quantum steps out of the elevator, one arm arched up and back at a sharp angle. As he walks down the hall, his hand scrabbles furiously at his back. Figures, he thinks, the power to ignore the laws of physics and I still can't reach that spot on my back. I wonder if Plastic-Man has any spots he can't scratch?

As he reaches the intersection, he glances down it and spots Wreck, the human demolition derby, being stared down by a gaunt, balding tech. "Hey, Wreck!" he calls out. "C'mon, I owe you a beer -- let's get the others and see if they can hold down a few."
  #23  
Unread 19th of July, 2004, 21:14
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The Mechanic

The names ring faint bells in the back of Robert's mind...Did I see one of them in any of those medical journals I scanned over a couple months back??? Hmmm... that's when I was working on the Nanite repair system... I remember I had to refresh on some basic Biology when working on the OS.... Shaking his head and looking back at the Gearheads and maniacs he'd managed to gather together under his banner of Applicable science... he smiles to himself and figures....I'll likely have a little down-time... I'll start my systems working on it and piece the info together later. As he uses his palm based computer to give instructions to his core system in the secured and shielded area of his workspace. Telling the system to search public and government accessable areas for information on Dr.s' Talbot, Geddens, and Broekeist.
I'll have to look at getting more info on the DRF when I'm in a more secure location... There's something weird about that division.
Walking back to the table just in time to watch a slightly tipsy Walthers demonstrate the capsizing of his small fishing vessel using his chair... much to the amusement of the rest of the crew at the table, Robert re-takes his seat and quaffs the last of his drink. Enjoying the brief cameraderie with his fellow scientists... and waiting for... something...
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"Right... Now when am I again?"
  #24  
Unread 19th of July, 2004, 22:57
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Wreck

"Yeah, keep me, uh, informed...thanks."

He's amazed that his request is granted, albeit only partially, and that it didn't require punching anyone. Perhaps there's something to this non-threatening talking thing. Or maybe Lizard Man is just afraid of having his face made even uglier by Wreck's meaty fists. At least, that's what he tells himself. In reality Doctor Reptilus seems as immune to threats as he is sunburn. An awkward silence falls over the two but it is shortly broken by the man known as Quantum.

"C'mon, I owe you a beer -- let's get the others and see if they can hold down a few."

"A few? They couldn't hold one between all of 'em," he says, grinning and more than happy to take his leave of Señor Largato. Besides, it's high time he forgot about that stupid girl and got on with what's important in life: drinking.

"Beer, it's what's for dinner."

He isn't sure what he thinks about Quantum, but if the man is buying he can't be that bad. Wreck leaves with the man to find the other members.
  #25  
Unread 20th of July, 2004, 01:04
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[Osprey]

::meanwhile, waybackwhen::

Rob brightens up considerably at Danilo Fong's arrival, even managing to smile...almost. Still, he can't resist a lopsided, purse-lipped grin as the old man teases him about the candy and the balloon. It was an uncommon treat to see him so jovial, and Rob suspected that Fong's escouciance probably covered no small amount of worry and anxiousness; he would feel the same were the roles reversed.

After a momentary praising of powers that be, Fong leans forward on the stool and, with a nearly conspiratorial tone, asks: "So--what was it like?" Rob begins to detail the pain and fear of being shot at and hit, but his mentor interrupts. "No, not that part. What was it like to finally go up against the bastard?"

The young hero sighs and leans back with his hands resting behind his head. "Scary. And I mean white-knuckle black-pajama kind of scary. There's something about him that's just...pure evil. Face-to-face with him is like getting personal with something...rotten. I don't know how to explain it, exactly, other than--I mean, he's still just a man, at the end of the day, but at the same time he's more than that. Almost a...concept more than flesh. I don't know. I do know that even considering how it turned out for me, I wouldn't trade it for anything. This was the real deal. You should have seen it--a whole room full of us, on both sides. It was COOL." He smiles. "I wanna do it again."
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