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Unread 8th of February, 2009, 09:52
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Issue Five - Advice from a Catepillar

Starfire sits on the freshly turned down, burgundy colored, Egyptian cotton sheets trying desperately to keep herself from shaking. In the bathroom she can hear the shower running. Kat had offered for her to go first, but she had declined saying that she wanted to rest for a while.

The truth is that she didn’t think she could have kept herself from collapsing.

Anxiously she ran her tongue across her teeth, making sure for the millionth time that they are still there. She can still hear the whistling of the bat, taste the sickeningly sweet copper of her own blood and feel the gnawing of the shards of glass on her hands and feet. She blinks, seeing Jerry standing in the darkened corner of the room, a yard of blunt aluminum in his rigid grasp.

Breathe... she tells her self reassuringly.

Its not real.

You woke up.

You're safe now.

Her breath comes pantingly, as she blinks, trying to dispel the apparition.

Its not real.

She blinks again, remembering the flash of light that struck her eyes like lightning as Kat sliced through the cocoon that held her prisoner.

You woke up.

The flash of purple and they were in a abandoned warehouse - a man in a suit telling them that the students would be fine.

You're safe now.

A long trip to a hotel with a private elevator, and an even more private suite. Her friends were just a room away.

You fucking whore.

She can feel her sanity breaking as his venomous, rage filled voice washes through her like icy sewage. Through the suffocating panic welling up within her she can see his veined, turgid face quivering in front of her and feel his bony fingers cracking her larynx.

"Gabi?" The touch on her arm makes her jump. Kat is standing there, her eyes wide with concern and a towel hastily draped around her torso.

"Are you OK?"

Last edited by -J-; 9th of February, 2009 at 12:38.
  #2  
Unread 10th of March, 2009, 12:59
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She'll think I'm crazy, or stupid, or just weak, Starfire thinks.

"Sure, sure. I'm OK," she says, looking away and reflexively rubbing at her shoulder. She had felt the bone break. She remembers it vividly, not like in a dream. Even now her mind flinches away from the sickening crack of bone shattering. She moans softly, then shakes her head.

"I mean... I don't know how I am," she finally admits to Kat. "OK? Not OK? Totally freaked out?

"What happened back there... Was it really just all in my head? Because I don't understand how the Widow could do that. It was so real. As real as this." She waves her arm around at the plush hotel room, then looks up at Kat. "As real as you."

Kat flinched, this was all her fault and she didn't know how to make it better. Hell, she wasn't coping much better and she was the one who had freed everyone. But she had to try.

"As near as I can tell, she can. Her spell seems to effect the sensory parts of your brain so as to make everything seem as if its actually happening, making it completely indistinguishable from a real memory. This started with me; you all suffered because of me. I'm not sure it will help, but if I tell you what happened, it might make what happened to you make more sense."

Kat takes a deep breath and wills herself to continue, as she sits down next to Starfire on the bed. She wanted to forget this had happened, but she knew she couldn't and telling Starfire might help her understand what had happened. She shudders once, and takes another deep breath before she can begin.

"She found me some how. Her minion was using a demonic bell, so I should have run then, but I didn't. I kept thinking I needed to save my friends. I spent a very long time, you see, not being able to save anyone. I came into my powers so very recently."

Kat falls silent, wanting to make sure she was making sense; needing to take a break before she got to the truly horrible part of her own experience.

When Kat starts up again she tries for the detachment of a scientist reporting the findings of a rather mundane experiment. Speaking slowly and precisely, she starts to go over her experiences while under the Widow's spell. She shudders several times, however, as she goes over her initial torture and almost breaks down when she gets to what was done to Sam. She gets through it however and barely shakes at all as she goes over the uncertainty and futility of trying to break out of her mental prison. She does her best to emphasize the differences between her bloody and terrified condition during her torture session and her futile and yet bodily whole condition once the widow had got what she wanted; hoping to make Starfire and herself believe that at least one of the memories had to be false. She goes through her loss of self as quickly as she can, because it still makes her want to huddle in a corner and then focuses as much as she can on her path to break free of the spell.

While she feels a strange urge to linger on the her inital experienes during the memory spell, because it was the one calm part of the whole experience; she has to stop herself from rushing through the memory of what Polnoch did for her, partly because it shows how much of this is her fault, but mostly because it is this memory that makes her doubt her own experience the most. Amazing herself, she manages to keep going at the same detached pace as before and if her voice trembles slightly during the telling, she just hopes it is not too noticeable. Then after telling Starfire how she awakened to the blackness of her own cocoon and her subsequent fight to get out of it, during which she examines her bloody and torn nails; she moves on to how she broke the other cocoons and tries to detail the slight but profound differences in how each person had come back to reality: all in various stages of shock, but some accompanied that with fear, while others with self-disgust and others with emotions she wasn't prepared or able to classify.

Tears stand in Kat's eyes as she finishes and while she knows it can do no real good she finally blurts "I'm really sorry!" Then breaks down and cries with deep child like sobs.

"Don't," Starfire says awkwardly. "Don't cry. It isn't..."

It isn't your fault, she wants to tell Kat, but how can she say it when she doesn't understand what happened at all?

That whole story... Starfire knows that it was all Kat could do not to break down while she told it. That guy with the demonic bell... ( demonic bell? wtf?) Kat seems to think that she should have run away back at the beginning when he first showed up.

I would've run. Oh hell yeah.

But there is more to Kat than that. She's not the type to run or to hide. It's a crazy story, but Kat really stood her ground and didn't let the Widow get to her. She was tortured (tortured - oh my god!) and mind fucked and who knew what else. But she was the one who managed to break free, she was the one who rescued everybody else.

Why regret being strong? Why feel guilty about fighting back? What do you get by being passive?

You get the shit beat out of you.

Starfire can see Jerry's face again, contorted with rage, screaming at her that she's nothing but a fucking whore. It's so real... so real... he's going to kill her. Then everything goes red, filling her vision with fire. A white-hot, blinding flash of light... And Jerry's mouth opens in one final scream, his lips turning black and peeling away from the empty hole in his face, his skull burning though the melting flesh. And then he is ashes.

Starfire shudders.

Eventually the time comes to stand up and fight back. No guilt.

"You have to be who you are, Kat," she says gently. "You are a hero, a real hero. You saved us all. Don't be sorry for that."

Nikki and Lisa

Last edited by Kelemyn; 10th of March, 2009 at 13:07.
  #3  
Unread 10th of March, 2009, 15:08
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Hardball lies on the floor in the center of his suite, resting his head on a large, deep green pillow from one of the beds with his hands behind his head. The sound of Nick’s shower washes the otherwise silent room gently in white noise. Then the room is gone, and he’s back on his mountain, watching as the blazing sun sets on the blasted landscape. He dreams again of the expanding sun that will someday soon swell and consume the planet and, hopefully, him in its glorious, purifying blaze.

The water shuts off and the silence snaps him back.

He was so close.

Socrates: And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened: --Behold! human beings living in a underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.

Glaucon: I see.

Socrates: And do you see, I said, men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent.

Glaucon: You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.

Socrates: Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?

Glaucon: True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?

Socrates: And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would only see the shadows?

Glaucon: Yes, he said.

Nick emerges from the bathroom. He finishes toweling off his hair and throws the damp towel over his shoulder. He notices Hardball lost in thought and stops himself in the doorway.

“Dude?” Nick makes it a question.

Socrates: And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them?

Glaucon: Very true.

Socrates: To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.

Glaucon: That is certain.

“I’m good,” says Hardball, maintaining eye contact with a ceiling fan. “How are your hands?”

“They’re a bit tender.” Nick looks at his hands, still raw and red from trying to pry the acidic webbing off Starfire. “Still hurts when I touch stuff. Showering was an adventure. How about you?”

An intricate network of criss-crossed furrows cut into his massive metal body and up along the left side of his face. The marks run an inch deep in some places where the webbing ate through the deepest, and large patches of metallic skin appear to have melted.

“I don't know. I'm hurting, but not as much as it looks like I should be. I'll want to get checked out at some point." He gestures to the scarred metal across his body. "This can't be good for me, but Seigfried says we need to stay here for a while. So I guess that'll come later.”

An awkward silence fills the room.

Socrates: And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, -will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?

Glaucon: Far truer.

"Sorry," Hardball says, snapping back. "I kinda spaced out there. I was just wondering if--

"If this is real." Nick finishes the sentence for him.

"Yeah." There is a sort of lost quality in Hardball's eyes, like a small child found wandering alone at the mall.

Socrates: And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take and take in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?

Glaucon: True.

"You want to talk about it?" Nick asks.

Socrates: And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he 's forced into the presence of the sun himself, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities.

Glaucon: Not all in a moment, he said.

"Nope. You?"

Nick thinks for a moment. "Maybe later."

Socrates: He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day?

Glaucon: Certainly.

"Cool," Hardball replies as he stands up slowly. "I'm gonna go see what the others are up to. Why don't you come find us after you put some pants on or something."

Hardball leaves through the double doors of their suite out into the common room.

Socrates: Last of he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is.

Nick begins dressing in some spare clothes from his gym bag apparently brought by Seigfried from the airplane. Pulling out a t-shirt reveals his soccer cleats. Nick pulls the right shoe from the bag examining it closely. Dirt from the field still clinging to the bottom. He had worn these during the last game he played in.

Nick’s mind swims as a rush of memories flash into his head. Memories of Drake stadium on the UCLA campus mix with images of the Mexico City soccer stadium.
Which one had been his last game? There was no way of knowing.
Staring at the shoe as if it held the answer realizing it had none.

“Sometimes you got to go with the flow” Nick says to himself remembering the words of his friend and teammate Carlos Lopez “Sometimes you got to go with the flow”.

Nick returns the shoe to the bag and zips it closed, pulls the t-shirt on over his head, and straightens his hair. One final deep breath and Nick heads for the double doors to join Hardball and the others.

(Paco & Dave)

Last edited by Hardball; 10th of March, 2009 at 15:13.
  #4  
Unread 11th of March, 2009, 09:29
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Everything had a shadow. Paul knew that even though he saw in the dark. The colors shifted dimmer when cut off from the light but otherwise nothing much. Now though everything had a void like a shadow for humans dark, impenetrable and suffused with an undefined malice. It was easier in Her lair because something needed to be done and he could focus his attention. The void seemed ready to leap out from every corner anything unattended was subject to its influence.

And so Paul sits vibrating on a hotel bed scanning the room with his oversize eyes perched over knees clenched to chest. His satellite dish ears seem to rotate at the slightest sound.

Not far away, Jack sits in similar crisis, staring fixedly at the liquor cabinet before him, mind stretched back to memories that weren't memories - or so he was told. A hundred baby spiders came out . . . and they ate her. He can feel the JD burning it's way down his throat, feel her naked flesh against his body. If we gift them with a past, we create a cushion or a pillow for their emotions, and consequently, we can control them better.

This wasn't Bladerunner and that whole thing shouldn't have made any difference in the real world, but that bitch had messed him up good. Jack had watched a good bit of TV and a lot of movies growing up old the way he had. Star Trek, the Next Generation was already in re-runs but he'd been fascinated by the Holodeck. Fascinated, and also convinced that if people ever came up with a way to simulate reality that well that it would be the end of the world. Why do anything real if you could have everything you ever wanted in there? What was the difference between imagination and reality at that level?

He swallows, hard. All in his head, but that single episode left him thirsty for more. One more drink. One more time with a woman he loved. Things denied him by who he was, by what he was. His fingers twitch, then knot into fists. How far from this place was one homeless, self-destructive alcoholic? He'd come a long, long way yet it was still not very far at all - close enough to smell, if you just closed your eyes. Yeah, you could even say it was just one drink away from here.

The two seem to realize they're not alone in their personal hells almost simultaneously, but as they turn cracked lips ready to mumble something about good to be out of there Paul hears Hardball in the main room and he's at the door to the common area. Suddenly Paul is back in the room and he nods to Jack, "Thanksforroomingwithmeanduhnotleavingmewiththesha dow.You'reacoolguy,Jack."

Jack is still trying to decipher that string of words when he feels a light slap on his shoulder, registering at the same time that Paul has once again left the building.

"Yeah, real cool," Jack says to nobody.
  #5  
Unread 11th of March, 2009, 14:42
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The noise from the shower was just loud enough to cover the sound of flesh being scoured raw. Colin was furiously scrubbing with the hard-bristled brush he found under the bathroom sink, his lean muscled frame already a bright pink from the intensity of the cleaning. Still, it would never be clean enough.

Colin's mind kept flashing back to the horrific memories induced by the Black Widow. Knowing they weren't real did nothing to alleviate the pain he felt, the shame, the guilt. He vividly remembered beating Jack's face to a bloody pulp. He could still feel the muscle tearing and the bones snapping as he left Gabi and Kat as nothing more than twisted, lifeless dolls. Nick's ability couldn't save him as The Shadow easily punched a hole in his concrete chest and showed him his own rock-like heart. Even Hardball's metal body wasn't enough to save him. Just as he had done with the metallic demon, The Shadow's onslaught left Hardball as a crumpled pile of scrap metal.

Colin cried freely as he remembered how he had finally lost all control over the demon within. The Shadow had revelled at the death of his new companions, had laughed at how pitifully easy it had been to rip the life from them. Still, what shamed Colin the most was Paul. It was clear that the speedster was deathly afraid of him, at what he had become. And The Shadow knew fear. He saved Paul for last.

Paul's speed couldn't save him as the chamber had slowly filled with in inky blackness that not even his enhanced senses could penetrate. Once blind it was all too easy. The Shadow took great pleasure in toying with Paul, a slap here, a kick there, always stepping through shadows to come at him from a different direction. Eventually, Paul's mind shut down and left him curled in a fetal position on the floor, whimpering and helpless. The Shadow, Colin, had enjoyed that too. Paul's death took a long time.

And then it was over, they had won free of their mental prison and rescued the hostages. They were heroes. And he still remembered murdering each and every one of them.

The trip home was one of tortured silence for Colin. He couldn't even bring himself to look his companions in the eye let alone speak to them. Still, he could tell that he wasn't the only one who was suffering from the effects of the Widow's warped reality. After reaching the hotel the group split up to choose their rooms, the members of the team naturally pairing off with those they felt comfortable with... leaving Colin alone. He couldn't help but see the fear evident in Paul's eyes as he cast furtive glances at Colin while leaving with Jack to explore their new surroundings.

The noise from the shower was just loud enough to cover the sound of heart-wrenching sobbing.
  #6  
Unread 19th of March, 2009, 15:00
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A real hero . . .Kat looks into Starfire's incredibly blue eyes and wonders what a real hero is doing crying her eyes out in a safe house after having dragged six other people into danger with her.

But perhaps Gabi is right. After all what would she have done if she had managed to get away? Ran to her parents? Would they been allowed or able to help? Hell, she wasn't sure they were even in the country. There was no way to know. In a sudden moment of clarity, Kat suddenly realizes that her real heroes are here in this palatial suite and that what she would really like is to get to know them.

Kat swallows her tears and smiles at the incredible knock out who was so willing to put aside her own fears just to console her. "A real hero? Well, we can always hope," she smiles. "Thank you, Gabi."

"We should finish cleaning up. I suddenly want to meet everyone, very badly."

As Gabi takes her turn in the shower, Kat dries her her pixie length hair and tries to figure out if she should meet them as Nightwind or Kat? Kat, she decides, as Beauty transforms into her normal college uniform of a t-shirt and jeans. Kat borrows a bit of make up to finish her transformation and waits as Gabi finishes her own preparations.

The 5'9 girl and the 5'4 woman enter the great room hand in hand, having made a wordless pact to put their doubts behind them.
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Last edited by Tashiba; 19th of March, 2009 at 15:29.
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Unread 24th of March, 2009, 15:05
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"Looks like people are finishing cleaning up," Hardball is standing in the main room, still in his shiny, metal form and dressed only in a pair of black trunks. He shifts his stance slightly to half turn in Kat and Gabi's direction while trying to maintain the conversation he just started with Paul. The position looks uncomfortable.

"I get the feeling that we're going to be here for a while. What do you say we grab a seat and do some official introductions?" He gestures toward an array of couches in the central living room. "I'll pop into the kitchen and see what we've got in the way of snacks and stuff. The other guys can join when they're done cleaning up."

He dismisses himself and moves into the kitchen.
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Unread 30th of March, 2009, 15:34
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Hardball returns about ten minutes later. Kat, Gabi, and Paul are spread out on the plush arrangement of couches, and they are completely silent. He sets a tray with some mixed fruit, a pitcher of iced tea, and six glasses on the coffee table.

"So," Hardball grabs a seat on the floor where he can see the other three, and he smiles warmly. "We're gonna be here a while, so I thought we should all get to know each other better. But first, I gotta ask you something, Kat. We go in to rescue you, and you wind up rescuing us. How does that happen?"
  #9  
Unread 1st of April, 2009, 14:26
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Wow, thought Kat, how much charm do you have to possess in order to make a metal smile seem warm?

Focus, Kat.


She smiled at Hardball and then included Nick as he came out and joined them. "The short answer is that your distraction enabled me to remember an incantation that weakened the Widow's spell long enough for me to break out of my cocoon and then free the rest of you."

"There is a lot I need to tell you guys, but I would rather wait until we are all here, so I only have to go through it once."

So rigid. Kat, this in not the way to influence people and make friends. What you need to ask yourself is what would Sam do in a situation like this?

What does that matter? I need real answers, and while I owe them an explanation, I don’t have the answers that really matter. I can only hope that Polnoch has some, because I don’t think I can continue to operate blindly after this.


“Actually, I was kind of hoping one of you would be willing to tell me how you guys managed the distraction part?” Kat looked hopefully at the four people around her, all of whom had risked life, limb and sanity to save her and her friends.
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Last edited by Tashiba; 1st of April, 2009 at 14:29. Reason: change of role model
  #10  
Unread 2nd of April, 2009, 10:45
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"Easy," Hardball says. His metallic muscles gleam in the light as he leans in closer to Kat. "We're mighty." He says it proudly, ensuring that he makes eye contact with everyone in turn to emphasize the "we".
  #11  
Unread 2nd of April, 2009, 11:12
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Gabi leans back on the couch with her eyes closed, trying to recall the series of events that led up to the rescue.

First, everything was normal, she thinks, remembering the maintenance room, the security guard, and her pink snow bunny suit. We were looking for a way to sneak in. Then the second guard came along, the one who shucked his skin and turned into a spider demon. God, was that real? Jack killed - no, disintegrated - demon number one.

Then we found our way to the big room with the braziers and the strange door. More guards there, who were also demons. We changed then. J.C. became metal, and Nick turned all rubbery. Colin... I don't know, somewhere along the line he became a shadow. I'm so glad that I could control the star fire when I needed to! I know that part was real.

So, we fought the guards-slash-demons and beat them, I think. Everything was happening at once, and I don't know who did what. Demons shooting acid webs at us, and everyone running and jumping. Paul was just crazy-fast, a blur! Is that when I got hit by the baseball bat? No, that was later, after the door.


The door.

What was on the other side of the door again?

"Shit," she says out loud, sitting upright suddenly. Why is it so hard to remember what was real and what was all in her mind? She looks around and finds that the conversation has stalled, and everyone is looking at her.

"I'm sorry," she says, ducking her head sheepishly. "I just can't stop thinking about it, trying to figure it out... It was all so unreal. I didn't even know that people like us existed a month ago. Well, I knew that there were people with super powers out there." She glances at Kat. "But... I just never thought..." She shakes her head, unable to put into words what she wants to say.

"You all were great though, just great," she adds lamely, reaching for a glass of ice tea and settling back onto the couch again with her feet pulled up under her. "Like Hardball says - Mighty."
  #12  
Unread 2nd of April, 2009, 14:17
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“You were great to” Nick says directing his reply directly at the apparent self doubt in Gabriella’s comments. “If I know anything about this crazy mixed up life we are living false or not I know this. We succeeded as a team working together where no one of us individually could have hoped to even survive. No one of us deserves more credit than any other.”

Nick grabs a glass from the table and drinks a sip before continuing.

“See the way I see it catching the rest of us split the spider’s attention which gave Kat the opportunity she needed to escape.”

Taking another sip Nick continues.

“I’m beginning to think that was all part of Polnoch’s game plan all along. He just didn’t let us in on that part.”
  #13  
Unread 2nd of April, 2009, 15:18
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"Wouldn't surprise me," Hardball says as he stands up. "And speaking of teams..."

He walks over to Jack and Paul's room and knocks on the door.

"Hey, Jack? We're all out here in the living room now. Why don't you come out and join us?"
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Unread 3rd of April, 2009, 23:30
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Because I'm not ready to pat myself on the back for being a fucking monster.

"Yeah, right," he calls through the door, which opens a moment later. He doesn't look particularly cleaner, although he's in different clothes. He nods to everyone, taking in the assortment of food and drink on the table, and starts heading for the kitchen.

"Anyone want coffee?"
  #15  
Unread 4th of April, 2009, 04:38
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Hardball moves over to Colin's door and knocks.

"Hey. Dude." He calls through the door, "Everyone else is out here now. Come on out and join us."
  #16  
Unread 5th of April, 2009, 00:46
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Kat looked gratefully at Nick and took Gabi's hand, not knowing what to say.

She watched after Jack as he stalked to the kitchen for coffee and remembered the self-loathing that had he had woken up with. Colin, too, now that she thought about it. She looked at Paul and watched as he wrestled with the fear that he had woken with and gave him what she hoped was an encouraging smile.

No doubt about it, the Widow had a lot to answer for. She would make that happen if she could. The way Hardball talked, sure made it seem like they could. Kat pulled her resolve around her and waited for the rest of their team to arrive.

Their team. . .now there was a thought that had never been inclusive for her before. Would wonder’s never cease?

More importantly, would they accept her?
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Last edited by Tashiba; 5th of April, 2009 at 00:49.
  #17  
Unread 8th of April, 2009, 09:30
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Colin opens the door and finishes pulling on his shirt. "Yup, I'm coming", he says, not quite meeting Harball's steady gaze. Though he steps quickly past the metal man, Hardball still manages to glimpse Colin's face, the redness of his eyes, the raw emotions writ clearly within.

Colin's gaze flickers gingerly across those that are in the sitting room. "Hey", he says to nobody in particular as he moves towards an empty recliner in the corner.

He plops down in the cushy chair and folds his legs up in front of him, his arms wrapping around his legs.

It wasn't real... that wasn't me.... they're all alive..!!!
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Unread 9th of April, 2009, 09:41
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"Well, Kat. This is everyone. The last few hours have been super crazy. I'm not even sure if you've actually been introduced to everyone. I'm trying to get used to using our code names, so if we have one, I'll use it now. You've aready met Starfire," he goes around the room to each in tgurn. "The others are Nick, Paul, Jack, the Shadow, and I'm Hardball."

"A little bit ago, you said that you had something you needed to tell us, but you only wanted to go through it once. We're all here now, so at the risk of putting you on the spot, what's up?"
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Unread 13th of April, 2009, 05:17
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What’s up?


What’s up indeed? Do I really have anything to tell them?


Kat was no longer sure. Maybe it would be better for everyone if “Kat” just disappeared after this. She had prepared for this eventuality. She had another identity ready and raring to go, but she had just left one life behind and she found she was oddly attached to this one. Keeping it might not be an option though; hopefully Polnoch would be able to tell her how far her cover had been blown.

Leaving this life behind however, did not necessarily mean leaving behind the people who were now looking at her expectantly, wondering what she would say. Despite her name, her life, her grade point average or lack thereof, here was one group of people that might be able to know her - no matter what.

Kat hadn’t realized how much she needed and wanted that until this moment.

Kat took a deep breath, she seemed to need a lot of those lately, and while trying to keep eye contact with each of them as much as possible, she began her entreaty.

“Please, call me ‘NightWind’; I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to remain ‘Kat’.”

“What I wanted to tell you all, besides ‘thank you’, is that this most likely will not be an isolated instance. The Widow came looking for me specifically, apparently, because I’m some sort of ‘key’ that the demon lords want.”

One more deep breath, “even if we defeat the Black Widow, it is unlikely that she is the only one looking for me. I don’t want to run, and it seems that it may be impossible to hide, but I think that with you guys that I might be able to fight.”

“I know I’m asking a lot, an awful lot, but . . .” Kat trailed off, because she couldn’t think of anything that might make what she was asking seem reasonable or even remotely fair. She only knew that if she was going to have any type of life at all, that she was going to need their help.
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Unread 15th of April, 2009, 08:13
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"Hey," Hardball gently puts his hand under Nightwind's chin and raises her eyes to meet his steely blue gaze. "I'm not going to let anything happen to you.

Feeling a speech coming on, Hardball stands up.

"I gotta admit that Polnoch knew what he was doing when he put us together. You are the most impressive group of people I've ever met. Paul, you're the fastest dude I've ever seen. Jack, you have tremendous power, and I'd want you at my back any day. Colin, the other you scares the living shit out of me. But you call the shots with that badass, and I trust you. Starfire, you're just starting to come into your own, and I think we've only glimpsed what you're capable of. And Nick, you're my road dog. It's been you and me since before the start of this."

"More importantly, you're all good people. If you weren't, you'd be somewhere else right now. It's been a while since I felt like I was somewhere I could belong. I feel that now, here with all of you."

"So what do you say? Are we a team?"

Last edited by Hardball; 15th of April, 2009 at 09:32.
  #21  
Unread 16th of April, 2009, 05:20
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Jack shifts uncomfortably at Hardball's speech, eyes fixed on the dark surface of the liquid in the mug he holds. His palms burn from radiant heat, and it crosses his mind that he can obliterate it with but the smallest burst of power. Useful, when spider demons wanted to tear you to shreds, but it hadn't been worth a damn when the Widow came for him. He clears his throat and looks up, knowing full well it wasn't only Kat in this now. His eyes are hard, holding back the still raw emotion of the too recent past.

"What do we do when she comes calling?"
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Unread 16th of April, 2009, 09:57
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"I don't know." The resolve in his voice seems misplaced with this declaration. "But I have some ideas. The Widow likes the mental whammy. There has to be a way to defend against it. Maybe we need mystical training. Maybe we can go climb a mountain and train with Tibetan yogis. Could be there's a charm that can defend against it. Maybe we all need tinfoil hats. I just don't know.

"I'm hoping Polnoch can point us in the right direction. Whenever he happens to show up."
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Unread 22nd of April, 2009, 23:16
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He looks around at the group, considering the faces they showed him and wondering about what they hid. Colin and Paul, he decided, had it at least as rough as he did - maybe worse. Gabi too. Nick and Kat were harder to read but just because you hid it well didn't mean you were okay. His eyes end up on Hardball - still all metallic, still projecting calm and control, but gouged now from their encounter with the demons. What was going on inside him? Somehow Jack doubted he was as sure as he seemed. It didn't matter, though - he doubted even Polnoch had the answers - but one thing seemed certain: it wasn't over yet, and they'd all need each other before it was.

"Okay Kat - Nightwind - we're in this together. What else can you tell us about what is going on? We didn't hear much from Polnoch other than that there were people that needed saving, and that one of them had powers."

Last edited by -J-; 23rd of April, 2009 at 01:25. Reason: typo
  #24  
Unread 27th of April, 2009, 10:39
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What can I tell them? What, exactly, do I know?

Not much and most of that was gleaned in a highly subjective environment - one we could still be trapped in.

But that way madness lay and she couldn’t keep second guessing herself. Either this was real and she was stuck between a rock and a hard place, or she was still trapped and therefore completely screwed.

“Well, ‘know', is a relative term; especially considering our situation,” Kat begins wryly. “However, what little I can tell you seems to make logical sense with my memories from before I was captured by the Widow.”

Kat starts by sketching in the details on some of the kidnapping/assignation attempts as she recalls them, leaving out names and dates. They would probably be able to guess who she was, but she had to protect as many secret identities as possible. Then she moves on to the warning she received, presumably from Polnoch, and then again retold the story of how The Black Widow had captured her and what she had experienced from that moment until they had been brought here.

When she was finished, she felt exhausted all over again. She took a sip of water, took yet another deep breath and concluded, “I know that my memories right now are subject to debate, but as I said, what Polnoch showed me does make a certain sense, when put into context of my childhood. In truth, I’m hoping that Polnoch will have some answers.

“At any rate, I don’t know if any of that helps, but it is what I know."

Kat gives a nervous little laugh and goes back to sipping her water. She had been happy to get out of the spotlight of being the only public non-super. She was not relishing even this little bit of attention. Perhaps, because it all came from people whose lives she’d endangered.

“I hope we can leave soon. Nothing personal, but being so completely cut off from the outside world is not soothing my nerves any.”
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Last edited by -J-; 28th of April, 2009 at 00:32. Reason: Color
  #25  
Unread 28th of April, 2009, 02:03
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"Leave?" Starfire asks looking first at Nightwind then at Hardball. "Leave and go where?" She can't imagine returning to her apartment and her receptionist job after all this. Wasn't her ordinary life over now? Besides, it wouldn't be safe, would it? Surely Nightwind can't go back to the life she was leading before.

Can any of us?

"Don't teams like ours-" It sounds strange to count herself a member of a team of super heroes! Strange but good. "Uh, don't they all have super secret headquarters or something like that?"
 

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