Comatose

What Happened in Edmonton

286 posts in this topic

PROLOGUE

Three Weeks Ago

Glimmerstrike cursed as Jenn unloaded another round on him.  "I think we are wearing him down, Greg. Grab me another round."   Not wanting to let up, while Greg was grabbing her more ammunition, Jenn snatched a grenade from her belt, pulled the pin, and chucked it in the epic's direction.  The explosive detonated in mid air, no doubt as it came into contact with one of Glimmerstrike's projectiles, but even still it flooded the street with smoke, and when it cleared Jenn was locked and loaded.  

"What's the matter Twilight Sparkle?  Can't finish a fight if your girlfriend's not there to help you out?"  Jenn ducked around the corner for cover before one the light-blades Glimmerslash could generate took off her head.  "I hear some sixth graders are looking for a pitcher for their t-ball team. You should try out. You could use a reality check!"  Judging the angle of Glimmerstrike's next shot, Jenn angled her weapon around the corner and unloaded another magazine in Glimmerstrike's general direction.  

What? she mouthed to Greg, who gave her an incredulous look as he handed her more ammunition.  

"You're enjoying this, aren't you?"

Instead of answering, Jenn loaded her weapon and whipped another grenade around the corner.  Instead of waiting this time, she ducked around the corner and ran, guessing that Glimmerstrike's focus would be on detonating the explosive before it reached him.  Before the smoke could clear, Jenn was already firing, Glimmerstrike reacted quickly, parrying a fair number of bullets with blades of light, but Jenn got two hits in on his right arm and leg.  

Out of ammunition, but knowing she would be sliced and diced if she didn't press her advantage, Jenn lifted her gun to her shoulder and heaved, putting her shot-put talents to  good use for the first time in years.  Glimmerstrike flicked his fingers and yet another shining blade appeared, sawing the gun in half before it could hit him, but Jenn followed after. With a leap, she tackled Glimmerstrike to the ground, and shoved a cocktail wiener from her satchel into his open mouth.  

"That's right, we figured it out.  You had us going with the whole 'vegetarian' thing.  To bad for you we found an archived photo of you at a burger joint shortly before you got your powers.  I hope the burger was worth it" As she spoke, Jenn kept one hand on the epic's jaw, holding it closed as he struggled with his one good arm to push her off.  With her other hand, she took a re-purposed epi-pen from her bag and rammed it into Glimmerstrike's leg. The epic's eyes widened for a moment, and then started to droop.  By the time Jenn reached the count of ten, the sedative had done its work.

"All right Greg.  If you haven't wet yourself you can come out now.  Let's get into position. It's only a matter of time before she realizes we have her boyfriend."

Greg came out from the alley, and started unfolding a stretcher equipped with an anti-gravity motivator from his large pack.  "The comet has burned out," he said, sending the message to the rest of their team that Glimmerstrike had been captured. Jenn helped Greg lift their captive on to the stretcher.  Then, as Greg adjusted the restraints, Jenn took another cocktail wiener from her bag and broke it into tiny pieces. Taking care to ensure Glimmerstrike was in no danger of choking, she carefully placed several pieces in different corners of his mouth.  Then, for good measure, she stuck a couple pieces in his ears, and took a third wiener from her bag to stick up one of his nostrils.

"That's disgusting."  Greg grimaced.

"That's art."  Jenn said. Popping one of the tasty snacks in her own mouth, Jenn whipped out her mobile and took a selfie with Glimmerstrike, nose-meat and all.  "What do you think?"

"Move over Annie Leibovitz."  

"You ready?"  Greg checked the restraints and nodded.  Taking a deep breath, Jenn hit send on her mobile

*****

Greg was trying very hard not to have a panic attack as he wheeled the consort of arguably the most powerful epic in the city through the street with a cocktail wiener sticking out of his nose.  While he couldn't help but be grossed out, Greg had to admit Jenn's method's were effective.  If the woman's most impressive talent was killing things, then making them incredibly angry was likely close behind.  

Even then, as they rushed from corner to corner, Greg couldn't help but marvel.  Taller and more muscular than most women, Greg would have expected her movements to be stiff and awkward, but Jenn moved with the deadly grace of an apex predator.  

She moved like one of them.  

Finally, they reached the arena where Connie and Bryce, two more members of their team, were waiting.  

"What's our status?"  Jenn grabbed a new hair tie and began re-secure the unruly curls which had come loose in her tussle with Glimmerstrike into a tight bun.  

Connie, who was, ostensibly, the team lead for the operation, grimaced at Jenn's easy way of taking command of whatever room she walked into.  "Assuming we have the original identified correctly, she's on the move.  Hard to tell yet if she's heading to where you grabbed him, or to our location.  We have eyes on several of her agents and doubles, but we should be prepared in case some slip through our surveillance."  

"And the site is secure?"

"There were a couple of squatters, but I think I convinced them all to clear out."

"You think?"  Jenn, with her unbridled confidence and titanic sense of self, always had difficulty sympathizing with Bryce's tendency to question everything and avoid decisive answers.   

"The area's as clear as it's going to be Jenn.  I'm sure Bryce did a good job, and we don't have time for another sweep."  Thankfully, Jenn set her jaw and nodded rather than pressing the point further.  It was an old argument, and not one worth hashing out again when they were likely all about to be killed.  Or worse, tortured and then killed.  Or...

Greg shook his head, and did a few mental exercises to keep his rising panic from growing.  They had a plan.  They could do this.  

"Let's go then.  Thanks for the back-up, babe."  Greg rolled his eyes in response to Jenn's playful wink and finger-gunning.  Grabbing the hover-plank with her free hand, Jenn took off into the arena and started making her way out on to the field.  

"Well, I guess that means the rest of us should get into position."  With Jenn gone, Connie didn't bother to mask her frustration.  "Move out."  

*****

While she waited, Jenn amused herself by hiding her remaining cocktail wieners in Glimmerstrike's pockets, and taking more selfies to send to Doubletake.  

"So, little human, you think it's wise to mock one who should be your Goddess, do you?"  

Jenn turned towards the voice, but, predictably, found no body to associate with it.  Titan, one of Doubletake's favourite lieutenants, had a limited invisibility power, and could only be seen if the observer was within two meters of her.  Usually by the time anyone saw her, Titan was already in the process of crushing them.  

"A Goddess who's too scared to come and rescue her boyfriend in person?  I think a little mockery is the least of her concern."  As she spoke, Jenn notice a glimmering silver mist beginning to materialize on the ground around her.  

"Jenn..."  Jenn pulled out her ear piece before Connie or Greg could voice their concerns.  They had waited too long to let the Dream Storm stop them now.  

"Oh, she's here.  Even now she's likely killing off your comrades, one by one.  You didn't think you could trick an epic with precognitive abilities into such an obvious trap, did you?"  

It's only a trap if we guessed her weakness correctly.  The mist had shifted in colour slightly, becoming a light blue, and had thickened as it spread out to cover the entire field.  The storm would start soon.  "A trap?  If you say so."

"What else would you call kidnapping her consort and taunting her with images of him?  Don't think you'll secure any ransom.  Doubletake has given me the honour of personally destroying you, and I do not intend to fail her now."  The voice was close.  Jenn slowly began to shift her stance, trying to keep an eye out in every direction at once, preparing herself for Titan to strike.  

"You epics are all the same.  Always thinking everything revolves around you."  Jenn lifted her gun and shot Glimmerstrike between the eyes.  Diving to the side, with a handgun in each hand, Jenn fired in the direction where she had heard Titan call out from.  That was the direction I heard her in, right?  All around her, tiny droplets of blue light were starting rise upwards from the ground, falling towards the sky.  Frowning, Jenn continued to watch her surroundings and replaced her ear piece.  

"Calamity take you Jennifer, what were you thinking?"  

"Glad you are still alive too."  Jenn fired a few more shots in a direction she thought she heard overgrown turf rustling.     

"Greg and Bryce have engaged a couple of doubles, but we don't think we've encountered the original yet".  

"Are we sure she's here?" Jenn continued to scan her surroundings searching for any hint of Titan's location.  Titan did not have a prime invincibility, and aside from her limited invisibility, her only defensive power was tied to emotion.  She would be cautious about engaging someone like Jenn.  

"Fairly certain."  After the initial burst of anger, Connie's voice was calm and collected.  "If not she'll want to confirm Glimmerstrike's death personally.  He's really dead, right?"

Jenn didn't answer and fired a few more warning shots, trying to be mindful about saving her ammunition.  

"Jenn?"

"With any luck she won't get to me, right?  Let's just keep her inside and off the field."  Jenn pretended to fiddle with her mobile, hoping that a percieved moment of inattention would draw Titan into an attack.  Jenn felt an unnatural chill creeping down her spine.  The Dream Storm had started in full now, millions of droplets of light were rising from the ground, painting ghostly constellations in the sky as they reached their destination.  It was beautiful.  

What was she doing again?

"Jenn?"  

Jenn shook her head.  "You're going to need to walk me through this Connie.  The storm's getting worse."  

"Are you sure you don't want to come in?  We have contingencies for this."  

"No, just keep talking to me."  

"Here, let's try something, say 'Watch for Titan, kill Doubletake'".

"Watch for Titan, kill Doubletake?"

Jenn heard a few sharp clicks as Connie's hands flew across the keys.  She was on site, but hidden.  Doubletake shouldn't be able to find her.  "There."

In the background, Jenn's voice began to play back to her, on loop, through her ear piece.  "Watch for Titan, kill Doubletake?  Watch for Titan kill Doubletake? . . ."

You can do this Jenn.  Just focus.  Focus on . . . what was it again?  

"Watch for Titan, kill Doubletake?"   

Right!  I need to keep watching.  

"Connie?  Still there?"

Connie didn't answer. Jenn frowned.  "Greg, Bryce?"  They were close by, weren't they?  Was there a reason they could not talk?  

"Watch for Titan, kill Doubletake?"   

Jenn reoriented herself, and continued to scan her surroundings.  If Titan was still in the field at all, it would seem she was playing things safe, no doubt waiting for back up.  Back up.  I need back-up!  "Connie?  Greg?  Bryce?  Are you there?  Do you copy?"

"Watch for Titan, kill Doubletake?"   

"Oh right, I'm watching.  Why am I talking out loud?"  Jenn continued to scan her surroundings.  If Titan was still in the field at all, it would seem she was playing things safe, no doubt waiting for back up.  "I need. . . actually no.  No back-up needed.  Do you. . . need back up?"  What am I supposed to be doing again?

"Watch for Titan, kill Doubletake?"   

Jenn scanned her surroundings, finding a corpse.  After a moment of panic, she realized it was Glimmerstrikes.  Is he dead?  

" . . . kill Doubletake?"

A siren went off in interior of the stadium building.  

"Your friends are putting on quite the show in there."

Jenn frowned, turning to find an imposing looking woman in a skin tight leotard and trendy leather jacket standing before her.  "Doubletake."

"Watch for Titan, kill Doubletake?"   

"They are setting of their little strobe lights in there as we speak.  Meant to trap me, no?  Clever of you to figure out my weakness.  To bad for you I saw through your little game."  

"Game?  I . . ."  I'm in a sports field, right?  What's the game again?

"My associates will see to your friends and those pesky lights.  I won't be trapped here long.  You, however, won't survive long enough to see that happen."

Jenn fired several shots at Doubletake, but the epic dodged each shot effortlessly, relying on her precognition an enhanced reflexes.  

"Don't worry, I owe you some extra pain and suffering for what you did to Glimmerstrike.  I might not have time to make it last, but I will make sure it hurts."  Jenn spun to face a new voice, finding another Doubletake, rising from where she was inspecting Glimmerstrike's body.  The plan. . . there's something about the plan . . .

"Getting confused?  I'm . . . I'm confused . . ."  The first Doubletake frowned, and then vanished.  

"I hope you weren't depending on the storm to get me," the second Doubletake said, beginning to circle Jenn.  "I can dismiss my doubles at will as they get confused.  As long as I stay out of it, I'm in perfect control."  

Control . . . "Connie are you there?"

"Your friends won't answer you.  Like I said, my associates are hunting them down as we speak."  A third Doubletake approached, carrying a knife in her hand.  

" . . . kill Doubletake?"

Jenn fired on the Doubletake with the knife.  Instead of dodging, the double just vanished.  

"Why bother?"  A new Doubletake approached out of the storm.  "You know I'll just keep coming."  This time, she did dodge Jenn's shots.  "Poor little Reckoner, lost, alone, confused."  Jenn continued to fire, but Doubletake dodged every one until she was within reach of Jenn.  Despite Jenn's fuddled mind, her instincts took over, reacting to Doubletake's movements.  She tried her best to fend the epic off, but Doubletake anticipated her every move, and soon she found herself disarmed and on the ground, with little recollection of how she got there.

Why am I here?

"All right, now for the fun."

"Don't hurt her!"

Doubletake and Jenn both turned to the edge of the field, where a ten year old girl stood, watching them.  There's not supposed to be anyone here.  But why is that?  Doubletake rolled her eyes, and, ignoring the girl strode up to Jenn to finish what she started.   

All at once, the entire arena lit up with bright, sporadic, flashes of light.  The Doubletake who was standing over Jenn vanished, but another one remained not far away, also with a knife in her hand, and a look of terror in her eyes.  

" . . . kill Doubletake?"

I need to kill Doubletake.  Snarling, ignoring her fallen guns, Jenn jumped to her feet and charged at the epic.  Doubletake's movements seemed slow and lethargic, and while Jenn took a cut to the arm, she managed to disarm her opponent in moments.  Jenn's earpiece was ripped out as the two women fell to the ground in a tangled heap, each savagely struggling for advantage.  For survival.  After a time, Jenn began to lose any sense of who she was or who she was fighting.  She fought instinctively, driven only by her intense desire to survive.  

And to win.  

She was choking a dead woman.  

Jenn rose to her feet, and backed away from the corpse before her.  Who was that woman?  Did I kill her?  

"YOU!"  Jenn spun, turning to face the new threat.  Titan stood before her, now visible, her face contorted in rage.  I'm supposed to be watching Titan, aren't I?  But she's right there.  

"YOU KILLED HER!"  As she screamed, Titan began to grow in size.  Normally, Titan was limited in how much she could increase her size, but in the grips of strong emotion, her known limits were removed, and she could grow to an incredible size.  Soon, a giantess stood before Jenn, standing nearly as tall as the highest seats in the stadium.  

I'm in a stadium.  Am I playing a game?  

"No, don't hurt her!"  A little girl stood on the sidelines, and was running out into the field.  The referee should really keep the fans under control.  

Towering above her, Titan screamed and drove her fist downwards, no doubt intending to crush Jenn, and most of the surrounding area, into a mushy, turfy pulp.  

The girl cried out, and the giantess disintegrated.  Instead of being crushed by a rapidly descending fist, Jenn closed her eyes as she was shrouded in a giant cloud of colourless dust.  Jenn frowned.  Where am I?  A girl strode over, her face wide with surprise.  "Don't tell anyone I did that okay?  They can't know.  You'll be safe now."  

"What?"  Jenn shook her head, trying to clear it.  "Who are you?  Where's your mom, you little brat?"  

The girl stuck out her tongue.  "I am not a brat!  I just saved your life!  No remember, don't tell anyone!"  The girl turned and ran off into the storm.  

Who was that?

. . .

Where am I?  

She was in a field, somewhere.  An arena?  And there were. . . lights, everywhere, rising from the ground.  The Dream Storm.  

"I'm cold," Jenn said, to no one in particular.  Not knowing what else to do, she began walking towards the edge of the field, and hurried inside.  

*****

Jeremy Roberts was startled awake when every alarm in his safe house sounded at once.  Trying to clear the sleep from his head, Jeremy turned to his mobile.  

Doubletake and Glimmerstrike are dead.  Titan is missing.  Initiate contingency plan omega.  Jeremy's eyes widened, Doubletake, his boss, and the woman he lived in constant fear of, along with her most trusted epics, were either dead or missing.  I could run, take this information to one of the other leaders, and gain a good position!  Jeremy hesitated, considering his options.  Orbit would never accept him, or if he did, the members of the Belt would betray or kill him as soon as they got the chance.  Typhon would likely kill him on the spot, the Government of Alberta was doomed, and even if they weren't, they would never accept a 'traitor' like Jeremy.  For all he knew about the epic of the Black Forcefield, he would die as soon as he entered, and Epoch . . . well, once Epoch learned what Jeremy knew, nothing would stop the epic from destroying him.  

Doubletake had other prominent lieutenants.  One of them will take control, and when they do they will reward me.  There was also the matter of Doubletake's newest ally, who could possible be convinced to come and secure the city.  With resignation, still not sure if he was making the correct decision, Jeremy opened a restricted file from his hard drive and sent it out to all the mobiles in Edmonton. 

*****

THREAD SUMMARY - FROM THE RECKONERS FILES

Spoiler

Reckoners File YEG - OLYMPIA POLARIS, Formerly: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - Most Recent Update - 2025 

MAP LINK

Overview

Following Calamity, a fairly large number of powerful epics from around Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the northwestern United States, all set their sights on ruling over Calgary, one of Canada's largest cities.  After several destructive battles and minor wars, the major players were either killed or fled the area, leaving the city in ruins.  Recently, a new epic, Chrysalis, has come into the area, and finally managed to gain control over what remains of the city.  Chrysalis is still solidifying his borders and starting to rebuild Calgary in his image, and thus far has not turned his gaze northward.  

Edmonton, or Olympia Polaris as is it now named, however, was left relatively unscathed, either in spite of or because of the focus on Calgary.  Home to a variety of mid-tier--and a few upper-tier--epics, rule of the city is currently divided between several different factions, including one headed by the former Albertan Government.  There are approximately 1000 epics in the city at any given time, and the maple population is around 700,000 - 800,000.  While the epic leaders of the different factions are in constant competition for dominance, thus far the conflict has yet to turn overly bloody, and no one group has managed to gain control of the city.  Doubletake, arguably the most powerful epic in the city at the time, recently made an attempt at asserting her dominance, and her failure and defeat seems to have had a chilling effect on the remaining Olympian leaders.  Furthermore, Epoch, another epic of considerable influence in the city, recently suffered a leak of his weakness, making him unlikely to make any sudden moves.  

The south-eastern portion of the city, largely controlled by Epoch, Phytomagnet, and the Albertan Government, is generally more stable and well controlled.  The central district, formerly controlled by Doubletake, has fallen into uncertainty.  Residents of western Edmonton are frequently harassed by thugs from the Belt, or get caught up in the hi-jinx of the MEC, and the Northern portion of the city is largely unclaimed no-man's land.  

Life for maples in Olympia Polaris is fairly normal compared to Canadian centres of similar size.  Many still go to work and raise families.  Businesses in the more stable areas are still operating.  While the city lacks the wealth of services and amenities it once provided, so long as people steer clear of the Belt, and other dangerous epics, they can be relatively happy with their lives.  Power, heat, and water services remain mostly intact, due in part to some measure of cooperation between the various factions to keep the city running.

Unfortunately, the fragile stability of Olympia Polaris seems to be in danger of shattering, as several epics fleeing the destruction of Oregon with varying levels of culpability, have been seen in the area.  

Layout and Landmarks

Aside from several points of destruction from epic battles, there are several key notable features of the City of Edmonton to be aware of:

(1) The "Time Zones" - created by the epic Epoch, different parts of Edmonton move through time at different speeds relative to one another.  

(2) The "Dream Storm" - likely created by an Epic, but no one knows which one.  The dream storm is about a third of the size of the city, and moves around it, usually at night, but occasionally during the day as well.  The storm starts with a luminescent mist spreading out across the ground, about ankle height.  The storm then produces ghostly rain (also luminescent, the same colour as the mist) which falls up towards the sky.  People walking in the storm cannot touch or feel the rain itself, but it basically just makes people feel cold and clammy all over.  After reaching a certain point, high in the Edmonton sky, the rain stops, forming "puddles" which develop into strange constellations which light up Edmonton's sky, day or night.  Aside from feeling cold and clammy, bystanders, epic and maple, caught in the storm quickly grow disoriented and confused.  Staying out in the storm for longer than a few minutes results in increasing stages of memory loss.  Short term memory is lost first, and then long term memory starts to go, but is more easily recovered. These effects intensify the longer the person is out in the storm.  If the person stays in the storm for longer than a few hours, the memory loss effects begin to become permanent, but otherwise the person begins to recover when the the storm ends and they head indoors.  It is usually difficult or possible to recall events that happened while a person was out in the storm, as the short term memories or not properly recorded.  Agents in the city are advised to avoid the storm at all costs, but we are looking into potential uses for the storm in hunting epics.  

(3) The Webrynth - Since Arachnerd's arrival [NTD - insert sector of city] has become infested with spiders and webs, an area now colloquially known as the "Webrynth" due to the difficulty in navigating the region.    Major roadways are being blocked off, and residence are becoming uninhabitable.  

(4) The Black Forcefield - Surrounding the "Mystery Epic's Sector", this black translucent impenetrable field blockades a small section of the city, only allowing for one way in or out.  The force field is a large dome,  stretches above the highest buildings in the sector, and can be seen from the surrounding area.  

(5)  Phytomagnet's Plant Structures - Mostly located in the Sherwood Park Natural Area.  Phytomagnet has used his powers to uproot and distort large portions of the Sherwood Park Natural Area. He appears to have been able to use his ability to pull plants to pull only portions of them, and it resulted in many rather unique sculptures. There are even a few places where entire trees have been uprooted, flipped upside down, and locked in place on their head. How his powers were used to do this is unknown, as we have not been able to actually watch him construct any of the structures. Attached are a couple of quick sketches of two of his creations.

Spoiler

Phytomagnet Structure 1.pngPhytomagnet Structure 2.jpg

(5) Pariah Statue - Pariah is an epic with the ability to repel sentient beings, hitting those who try to approach her with a confusion effect, making it impossible for people to bring themselves to enter her vicinity, the ability to release powerful energy blasts, and, most notably, the power to transform into an invulnerable immobile statue.  Pariah attacked Edmonton years ago, and was trapped in her immobile statue form within an incredibly slow moving time bubble by Epoch.  Though years have passed, Pariah has likely only experienced moments.  Epoch has agents who regularly monitor the statue and occasionally fire shots on it to ensure she stays transformed.  Pariah's repulsion ability is still in effect, and so no maples or epics can approach within 50 metres of the statue.  The pigeons still manage to leave their droppings on her, but after entering the bubble the droppings (or in some cases the pigeons themselves) have become nearly frozen, slowly inching their way towards Pariah's face.  Located in the park near the old Belvedere school and Community hall.  

Factions

Power in the city of Olympia Polaris is divided between several different factions, with a significant amount of the city remaining "no man's land" and not subject to the rule of any particular faction.  

Edmonton Reclamation Accord ("ERA") -  one of the oldest factions still existing, dating back to soon after Calamity appeared.  Led by the epic Epoch, who is responsible for the city's strange timezones.  Once prominent, this faction has quieted lately due to the leaking of its leader's weakness.  The ERA's headquarters is located in the South Edmonton Common area, and the faction controls most of southeast Edmonton.  

The Belt - led by Orbit, mostly a group of epic and maple thugs, based in the West Edmonton Mall, and controlling a large part of the western side of the city.  This faction's borders are somewhat loose, and shift often, due to its relative lack of organization.  

Alberta Government - The former government of Alberta, or what is left of it.  Due to the lack of powerful epics assuming total control of the city, the government has manages to survive by aligning itself with various factions and playing them against each other.  Currently holed up in Sherwood Park (the RCMP office, the Archbishop Jordan Catholic School, and the Strathcona Hosptial are key bases)  but has plans to reclaim the legislature now that Epoch seems to be retreating.  They seem to have been emboldened by the news of Steelheart's death.  Despite the outward unified front against enemy epics, the two remaining political parties (the deeply conservative Wildrose Party and the somewhat socialist NDP party) remain bitter enemies who are constantly struggling against each other for control of the faction, despite the lack of elections.  

Circle of the Shield - a secret research organization operating in northern Canada.  Studying epics.  Has some influence in the city of Edmonton.   Alligned with Sentinel, an epic wit h the ability to negate other epic powers and freeze targets.  

MEC - The Minor Epic Coalition is a group of less powerful Epics united under one banner.  Following the footsteps of their Oregonian brethren (the MEE/Minor Epic Empire), these demi-humans seek to make the public respect all superhumans, high Epic or not, at any costs.  Currently based out of the University of Alberta, including the Hospital.  

Black Forcefield Faction - Located in the northwestern portion of the city, a dome shaped forcefield taking up a small area about four city blocks squared.  The maples who live there seem to be controlled by some sort of Epic, but the identity of the epic, and the extent of their powers, is shrouded in mystery.  People rarely leave the area, besides followers of the mystery epic making regular deliveries to the outside world.  When residents do leave, they appear either unwilling or unable to speak of what is inside.  The sector, consisting of about four city blocks, is surrounded by a black translucent dome with only one visible entryway.  The faction is largely neutral and avoids conflicts with others. The epic leader has apparently constructed solar panels which are being supercharged with illusory light, and sold back to the rest of the city.  

Doubletake's Faction - This faction was in the process of trying to take over the entire city when Doubletake was defeated.  At the faction's height Doubletake's agents had infiltrated every corner of the city, providing her with an impressive intelligence network.  Doubtake began extorting other epics and maples for money, and those who refused to pay her would often disappear.  Now it is unclear whether someone else will step in and take control, or whether this faction will be disbanded.  Doubletake's faction had taken over the Alberta Legislature Building, and have now left it abandoned.  While it is clear Doubletake, and some of her prominent epic followers, were defeated and killed, the exact details were wiped away by the Dream Storm, leaving the circumstances of her defeat a mystery.  

The Cult of Armageddon - A new group in the city, currently located at Baturyn Park in Northern Edmonton.  Aside from the leader, Armageddon, the entire group are maples, and all are intent on bringing about the end of the world.  These radicals should be watched closely, and it may be wise to take steps to neutralize their epic master before things get out of hand.  

Typhon's Faction - The epic Typhon rules over the area known as South Edmonton Common.  Despite Typhon's powerful abilities, a failure to expand borders or recruit followers limits the power of this faction.  

Key Epics of Edmonton

See full epic profiles for a more detailed explanation:

Epoch* - a former local politician with time manipulation, reincarnation, and clairvoyant abilities.  Responsible for Edmonton's strange "timezones" which divide the city.  As been in the city for a long time, and has control of a well established and organized section of the city.  His weakness was recently leaked, causing him to become more reclusive.  

Orbit - A powerful epic with gravity powers.  Commands an organization of minor Epics and maples called the "Belt".  Orbit's base is the West Edmonton Mall, on the west side of the city.  A Belt member is AmberLight, an epic with the power to produce sustenance which supplies Orbit's forces and makes them faster, stronger, and mroe confident.

Doubletake* - Deceased, an epic precognition, self duplication abilities, and improved reflexes.  Was killed in an attempt to gain control and assert her dominance over the city after her weakness, strobe lights, was discovered.  The exact circumstances of her death were wiped from the memory of the witnesses in the dream storm.  

Mystery Epic - an optical illusionist epic, potentially with forcefield powers or with an ally who can create forcefields, who is shrouded in mystery, but is theorized to be the unknown leader of the Black Forcefield Faction.  Also has the ability to gift.   This epic's weakness is speculated to be crowds.   The epic is mostly neutral and avoids conflict with the other factions.   

Phytomagnet - hangs out in Sherwood Park Natural Area, plant based abilities.  Helps the other sectors support themselves.

Typhon - A powerful epic who attacks anyone who comes near South Edmonton Common, but who is not well understood and does not venture outside the borders of the region.  

Arachnerd - a newcomer to Edmonton with spider powers, quickly growing in power as her spider population grows.  

Armageddon - an epic believing the world should be ended, recently arrived in Edmonton.  Converting a large group of people in the area to his cause, but currently does not have any epic allies.  He claims he has the power to end the Universe, should he acquire enough powers, but after speaking with and observing his followers, the more likely explanation is that he possesses some sort of ability to command or influence the people around him.  

Nicroburst - notable for his rare meta-ability to enhance powers.  His location is a well sought-after secret.  

Chrysalis - An epic with enhanced physical capabilities, defensive carapace, gifting, and minor compulsion abilities.  Has recently asserted dominance over Calgary and is attempting to rebuild from the rubble and ash that was left of the city.  Thus far, Chrysalis's attentions have been focused on solidifying his power, but he should be watched in case he intends to turn his attention northward.  

*Note: Epics with a Prime Invincibility are starred.  

Newcomers

Lately, some of the survivors of Oregon's destruction have been noted in the area.  While the part they played in Oregon's destruction is varied, these epics should be watched carefully, lest they bring a similar level of destruction to Edmonton or the surrounding area.  

Scribbler - from the Dalles.  Can manipulate ink, and manifest imaginary beings or objects from words she has written.  

MV - moved between Portland and the Dalles.  Previously in the company of her twin, Impact, an epic with complementary abilities, and Backtrack, an epic with the ability to see the past.  

Impact** - MV's twin, with the ability to impart momentum to anything she touches.  Also seen in the area.  No sign of Backtrack.  Though originally aligned, there are indications the twins' may now have cross purposes.  

Neverthere - astral projector from Portland.  A nuisance.  

Red - a blood manipulation epic.  Not much is known about her, but a known association with the epic Nighthound alone is cause for suspicion.

Voidgaze* - a fairly powerful epic with offensive color based abilities and a resurrection PI.  Generally not aggressive.  To limit power, stay away from white things.  Accompanied by Big Al, an epic with the ability to generate fast food.  

Ray - can produce energy lances.  Another former associate of Nighthound.  Watch closely.  

Upgrade - last seen heading North from Portland.  Could be in the area.  If found, keep him away from other epics at all costs.  His enhancement abilities are a dangerous tool in the hands of other epics.  

Euphoria - one of the former leaders of Corvallis with emotion based abilities, last seen with Rainmaker, but the supreme Corvallis leader has not been seen since.  Travelling with a group of Corvallis survivors.  

Taylor Swift* - extremely dangerous shapeshifter.  One of our American teams currently has her weakness, and report their hunt has brought them into the area. 

*Note: Epics with a Prime Invincibility are starred.  

**Impact is technically considered a High Epic, but has no Prime Invincibility, as her defensive capabilities are not automatic.  

Notes:

The well-being of Edmonton's people might be at risk.  The death of Doubletake has destablized the region, and smaller factions are becoming bolder in the wake of Steelheart's death.  We will need to watch this region carefully, and be prepared to intervene to protect its people. 

 

10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

download.jpg.bbcd39f7e611c38dad217498aaa75405.jpg

Jacklyn finally arrived at Edmonton.  She wore a cloak which concealed her face and figure.  Some people gave her strange looks, for wearing a cloak like that, but most assumed she was either a Minor Epic or a criminal, and so let her pass.  She was in fact a Minor Epic, but she wasn’t sure if her ability was a blessing or a curse. She shouldered her backpack and stepped up to one of the checkpoints into the city.  Most of Edmonton was wrapped in some sort of distortion, but this area seemed especially distorted. Jacklyn had heard some others talking about the “Epic Epic” that controlled it.  She inhaled deeply (breath hitching dramatically of course) and started through the checkpoint.

[OOC: @Drake Marshall  (she is entering Epoch's territory if that isn't obvious).]

Edited by The Young Pyromancer
Picture
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rachel Notley.jpg

Three Weeks Ago

I'm getting too old for this.  The Honourable Rachel Anne Notley braced herself as the unmarked vehicle she was being transported in swerved around another corner.  After leading the Government of Alberta for the last ten years, and through the supposed end of the world no less, she should have been an old hand of emergencies of this sort.  And yet, lately Rachel was beginning to feel like she suffered through each crises with more difficulty than the last.  

"Premier Notley, the new leader of the Wildroses is on the the line back at your office.  It seems like he's heard about Doubletake and Epoch." 

"Of course he's heard.  The whole bloody city has heard."  Rachel braced herself again as the car swerved, no doubt to avoid some debris marring Alberta once pristine roadways.  "He can wait, not like he'll have anything of use to say."  Rachel's aid nodded, and then continued to scroll through messages on Rachel's mobile.  "Alex," she called to the driver, "How close are we?"  

"You know I can't tell you that until we get there ma'am."  Rachel nodded, annoyed, though she understood the necessity of not divulging the location of that day's chosen safe house until they were safely inside to avoid a pre-emptive hit.  Even with Doubletake supposedly neutralized, Rachel still had enemies in Edmonton, or Olympia Polaris as the Epics called it.  In fact, one of her most bitter foes was the man who was still trying obsessively to reach her via mobile.  

"Block his calls until this is over."  Rachel's aide hit a few buttons on the mobile.  The NDP's grip on the Alberta legislature remained tenuous.  In the face of super villains born out of nightmares, Rachel knew that some of her constituents took issue with her approach, and would prefer to see the Wildroses engulf what remained of their civilization in an extremist frenzy and all out war with their epic enemies.  Rachel, of course, took a more balanced approach, and it was working!  At least, it had been until today.  

Frowning, Rachel took out her second mobile, the one only she was allowed to use, keyed to her fingerprint.  Still no message from any of Doubletake's people.  Rachel had thought that Titan or Glimmerstrike would have been in contact by now, to confirm their leadership over Doubletake's faction.  Rachel closed one password protected chat and opened another, looking for any communications from Doubletake's new ally.  Her alliance with Edmonton's most powerful faction was tenuous at best, but Rachel had managed to secure a promise that Doubletake would contain her ambitions and leave Sherwood Park alone in exchange for arranging for a meeting between Doubletake and one of the most powerful Epics in the Fractured States.  While Rachel didn't relish drawing Steelheart's attention northward, the lure of his power was too much for Doubletake to resist, and Rachel had managed to find a position herself in a place of power by playing mediator between the two.  

And now, I may have doomed us all.  With Edmonton in chaos following Doubletake's defeat, what was to stop Steelheart from coming and taking the city for himself?  While Edmonton had been far beneath the notice of the Newcago ruler previously, it was on his radar now, and potentially ripe for the taking.  Rachel took several deep breaths to stop her hands from shaking, and then opened the chat with Steelheart's ambassador in Edmonton.  

Steelheart is dead.   Newcago has fallen to Limelight and the Reckoners.  

Rachel sat back, not believing what she was reading.  Could it be true?  Steelheart was a god among epics, a force of nature more than he was a man.   Legends of his cruelty and tyranny had spread like wildfire across the continent.  And now Rachel was being told he had been killed, on the same day an Edmontonian Epic who would have been his ally was also defeated.  

I am too old for this. . . "Louise?"  Rachel handed her aide the mobile.  "Destroy this and get me a new mobile.  Take it apart, grind the pieces to dust, and scatter them somewhere they won't be found.  I don't want some fixer epic putting it back together.  

Present Day

"NOTLEY!"  Rachel looked up from her desk as the Honourable Mr.  Rob Kenney, the new leader of the Wildroses, and the son of one of Rachel's old rivals and a secret mistress, stormed into her office.  

Rachel didn't bother to conceal her sigh.  "Yes Mr. Kenney?  How may I help you?"  

"You had something to do with that whole Doubletake fiasco, and I will not stand for it."  

"Oh, and why do you say that?"  

"None of your artful dodging Notley, I'm on to you, and the party is on to you, and we will not stand for this.  You will be hearing from me in Question Period!"  

"And you came to tell me this now because?".  Mr. Kenney only glared.  "Good-bye Mr. Kenney, I'll see you next month in Question Period".  Rachel knew that her father had rolled over in his grave when she had declared a state of emergency and rescheduled the once daily question periods for once every month, but making Rob Kenny sit and stew on his many tirades, usually to the point where he forgot about some of them, was one of perks of the anti-democratic decision.  

As Rob Kenney stormed out, Rachel chuckled to herself as Lousie hurried in.  "I'm sorry Premier Notley, he was too quick for me this time.  Shall I ask one of your security detail to stand at your door.

"No need, Louise.  Rob Kenney was popping zits in the mirror of his mother's trailer before a school dance when I gained a socialist majority in the most conservative Province in the Country.  I have bigger issues to attend to.  Can you get me Epoch's ambassador on the phone?"  

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

8OuS2d9KH_r3gsbWH0vK-VLPaS2TF4UYG3mEkQDiKi9XGlmh9s_CvheiQpzSjaRDHkQFhEu9BHL7CpesSobEWvx2jPY6AiNddUGFT7wlPr8YmOZTVH7M24WmRHIq39SaLGFEqqzl

Phytomagnet

"Yeah, that's good." Joel Gilbert, better known as Phytomagnet, turned away from his newest sculpture, surveying the area around him. Two of Ironwood's 'trees' stood at a safe distance behind him, ready to leap at Phyto's command. The gifter himself would be somewhere nearby, out of site. Phyto thrust out a hand, pulling his shield towards him. Turning his back at the last second, he sealed the plate of enhanced bark against his jacket.

One of the 'trees' spoke up. "Mr. Phytomaget, Sir, where to?"

Ignoring him, Phyto set off towards the functional portion of the park, the area dedicated towards food production. Time to check in on the farms.

*A few minutes later*

Phytomagnet walked through the rows of plants, lost in thought. I'm still not sure why Epoch even put me in charge of this place. Yeah, I can manipulate plants, but he should've put someone who could make them grow, not fly, in here. Wait. That's the carrot patch. Mouth watering slightly, Phyto pulled a carrot out the ground and watched it fly to his hand. "Ironwood, it seems this patch is ready for harvest. After a final inspection, of course."

"Indeed, Master," Ironwood replied with a straight face, though a small chuckle--which Phyto chose to ignore--escaped through his lips. They expect this of me at this point...but the carrots are just so goodPhytomagnet thought to himself, crunching on one of the delectable orange spikes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At Some Other Time That Really Doesn't Matter So We'll Say It Was 3 Days Prior

X_J-nMI8uh58rsqOK_M_nF3CdvKPfHyIlCVMMPGQpEMUtgj9hkHdCobs-E-_i0pwRaREItY7aiOmcj8vehqEY_GbLqfj1lxaLFczAIJ-UvXwgz28o_JGK88VyS-IYeSgd-IOrEQF

Ironwood

Sparks, sparks, SPARKS! I gotta hide! Ironwood's thoughts raced as he frantically looked for a suitable location. There! He sprinted towards a small cluster of trees, lying down between them.

"You DARE challenge ME?!" Ironwood curled up even tighter at the sound of his master's deep voice. "I am in charge here."

Why do these epics still expect to be able to kill him, just because they think he doesn't have some sort of invincibility? Ironwood focused, keeping the bark armor surrounding his trees and Phytomagnet stable.

The challenger--some new arrival to Edmonton--laughed, a crazy, maniacal sound. "Yes, a true ruler. An epic with no power other than pulling plants towards him. Soooo scary. I'm quivering in my loafers right now!"

Ironwood peeked out between the trees, and stared in wonder as the new epic began to shimmer like a mirage. Before Phyto could react, a blast of superheated water exploded towards him. The wave washed over Phyto as Ironwood watched, chuckling to himself. "This is the best you've got?!" he roared, sliding his shield in front of the stream of water. Ironwood noticed that Ethan has positioned himself directly opposite Phyto, behind the water epic, and removed then replaced part of Phytomagnet's armor, their agreed signal. Right on cue, Ethan flew forward, extending one hand like a spear. 

The blast of water cuts off with a shout of pain as Ethan impaled the other epic. Ironwood stepped out from his hiding place as The Boss lowered his shield, strolling over to his fallen challenger. "Plants," Phyto said as he kicked the prone figure. "Are quite effective, wouldn't you agree?"

Edited by Weirdpersonx
3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Canada-Shield.png

Operative: MOOSE - Alberta, Canada - 08:39 hour - En route to objective.


I gave a letter to the postman, he put it in his sack

Bright an’ early the next morning, he brought my letter back

Lonely on the long flat stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway, a red Volkswagen Samba rumbled down the road. At first glance, the Samba was no different than any other, but upon further scrutiny one noticed the bars on the front, reinforced for ramming, and the faint blue glow of gravatonics underneath the vehicle. However, there was no one around to scrutinize. Not another human being in sight out on the plains, only empty fields and vacant streets. Occasionally, faintly in the distance, a trail of smoke could be seen, likely from some marauding Epic terrorizing one of the few occupied farms left in the countryside, but that was not the red van’s concern.

She wrote upon it

Return to sender, address unknown

No such number, no such zone

Humming along to the record, Liam “the Moose” Dunton leaned back in the driver’s seat. He glanced at the dials on the dashboard, then looked back at the road, the long, monotonous road. He was used to it now, having spent nearly the past eight years driving through Canada’s backcountry. He took a sip from the mug beside him and sighed.

We had a quarrel, a lover’s spat

I write “I’m sorry” but my letter keeps coming back

Liam was a bigger, mostly muscle,  man, with a beard to match. He liked his beard. It kept his face warm, and it was usually intimidating to scrawny bandits that tried to bother him. It could be said that Liam was not a people person, but that wasn’t true. He liked some people, but most were annoying slontzes. It was an obvious fact, some just elected to ignore it.

So then I dropped it in the mailbox and sent it specialty

Bright an’ early next morning it came right—

The music cut off, interrupted by a pinging from the screen Liam had rigged to the dash. He tapped the screen.

“Bear to Moose. Good morning from HQ.”

Liam grunted, and his beard hid his slight smile. “Sparks, Bear. You interrupted my music,” he grumbled. Laughter came from the com.

“You and your Elvis, man. Never gets old, does it? Even though it’s seventy-something years now…”

“Don’t disrespect the King, Bear,” Liam warned, but the smile stayed on his face. It was always like this with Bear. Bear was another agent from the Circle of the Shield, Liam’s employer. Bear liked to joke.

“I’m joking, I’m joking,” Bear said through the com. “You know that. Anyways, I have important intel to share, so focus. The location of the target is Olympia Polaris. I don’t know what pompous Epic decided on such slontz-y name, but I ain’t calling it that. Polaris used to be called Edmonton, and that’s what I’m going to be using. Margaret can shoot me. To get back on track, the target is in Edmonton. The exact location is unknown, because according to the informant, their base is mobile. However, they never seem to leave the city.

“They call it the Fence. Or the Picket. The informant mentioned they use both names. I think that they’re both garbage names, but no one cares about my opinion around here—”

“Bear, just give me the briefing.”

A loud sigh came from the com. “Fine. The Fence is a black market operation that seems to be run by an Epic. You heard me right. An Epic. What makes this worse is that the informant reported that the operation deals primarily Motivator tech. Not all the wares work the same—the informant made that clear—but it is definitely Epic-derived. You can see why we want this shut down.”

“Right.”

“The Epic that runs the Fence doesn’t seem to be particularly involved with any of the other ruling Epics in the city, so I wouldn’t worry about getting wrapped into a faction conflict with any of the other main Epics. There are some things that I should warn you about.”

“Go ahead.”

“The city is unstable. Doubletake was recently killed, and that left a power vacuum. The Epics will be jostling to fill that gap. Don’t get caught in the crossfire. I’m sure you can handle it, but it’s much easier to keep your hands clean… aside from the Fence, of course.”

Liam took another sip from his mug. “I see. Blow up a black market, perhaps loot some of its goods, and don’t get mixed up in politics. Anything else?”

“Bingo. And nope, that’s pretty much it. Have fun on your mission while I’m cooped up with Auntie here,” Bear complained. Liam chuckled and shut off the com. A slightly charred sign indicated that Edmonton was not far off. He turned the record player back on and relaxed.

She wrote upon it

Return to sender, address unknown

No such person, no such zone.

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

T-Swift.jpg

Are you ready for it?  Taylor's tail twitched in time to the incredible beat in her head as she circled the Reckoner's camp.  For today's hunt, she had taken the form of a lion-sized Olivia Benson, with diamond tipped claws and fur that blended in to her surroundings.  The wretches she was stalking had been hunting her for months, armed with the weakness they had learned from that disgusting telepath Reader back the Dalles.  Despite Taylor's best efforts, they had followed her all the way into Canada.  She'd had fans follow her from Oregon  to Alberta before, but those ones hadn't been trying to kill her.  

You'll never see it coming, what I do next . . .  Time to end this.  The Reckoners were tired and hungry from their harried journey.  Taylor needed to destroy them before they reached their allies in Olympia Polaris.

With a snarl, Taylor leapt down from her perch, tearing into an unsuspecting Reckoner with her claws.  Without missing a beat, she lept to her next quarry, elongating her neck mid leap to get in position and rip his head from his shoulders in her jaws.  Mmmmm... he tastes cute.  Taylor into her true body and coated herself in metal just in time to defend against a barrage of bullets.  It hadn't taken long for them to start triggering her weakness in the past.  She only had moments to finish this before it was too late.  

She broke another Reckoner's neck with her bare hands, used is gun to kill another, and then killed a third with a diamond-tipped tentacle which burst from her back.   

She turned to face the final Reckoner and smiled.  "Oooooh, look what you made me do."  

Taylor frowned when she saw the piece of paper clutched in the trembling Reckoner's hand.  

"Taylor Swift drank a black cherry Perrier and shared the rest with a fan during her last stadium concert."   Taylor trembled at the words.  No, no, no, no.  The tentacles she had grown to tear the Reckoner girl to pieces shriveled and melted away.  She shrank and grew at the same time, becoming short and fat instead of tall and lean, and her golden locks changed to a mousy brown.  

She was becoming ugly.  

Taylor lowered her eyes, as the tears began to fall.  She was Taylor Swift, she should be super-model beautiful, not an ugly nobody.  And yet, here she was, a disgusting waste of flesh.  

A disgusting waste of flesh with a gun still in her hand.  

"AAAAAAAARGGGHHH!!!!"  Taylor screamed, raw and primal, as she emptied what remained in the gun into the remaining Reckoner.  The girl collapsed to the ground, bleeding out from multiple chest wounds.  Taylor breathed heavily, and began to regain control of herself as she shifted back to her true, beautiful form.  

I am perfect.  

"You . . . haven't . . . won . . ." the girl, still alive, though dying quickly tried and failed to mask her pain.  "Your . . . weakness.  We . . . we texted it t-to every Reckoner in range.   The Reckoners of . . . of O-Olympia Polaris.  They know you are . . . here.  They've killed D-Doubletake.  And . . . now . . . they . . . will . . . kill . . . y-"  The Reckoner's tired speech cut off suddenly as Taylor sliced her head off.  

So, I have enemies in Olympia Polaris, do I?  To bad I got harder, I got smarter in the nick of time.  Honey I rose up from the grave I do it all the time.  I've got a list of names of theirs is in red underlined . . .

8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kokichi watched the red car swing through their neck of the plains. 

The 5” 2’ teenaged Epjc with attention issues was’t exactly trying to blend in— their shock blue hair with streaks of neon orange would stand out, even if they weren’t wearing similarily colored blue crocs that drew attention like magic.

Well, not quite magic. Kokichi’s powers were epic, which was basically magic but people didn’t call it magic so it wasn’t. 

Stars popped around their head as an idea did. Their eyes widened as the area around them darkened.

Music was playing from inside the car and they wanted to hear the rest of the song before whoever was inside made their way to their destination.

However, Kokichi couldn’t exactly run fast enough to keep up with the vehicle forever. They’d get bored, and their speed would drop as their interest did.

Ergo, the only logical solution to the dilemma Kokichi found themself in was to skip up to the vehicle and to hop onto its roof.

As they proceeded to follow the plan to the letter without temporarily getting distracted by a cute squirrel or anything silly like that, they spotted the enhancements. This wasn’t any car. It was fancy.

"Gra-va-tron-ics!" they said in a sing songy voice with stars in their eyes, pumping their fists up and down as they casually chilled on the roof of the car, ignoring the physics that said they should probably be going flying. 

They didn’t speak loud enough to be heard over the wind just yet. Kokichi wanted to make an impression on the driver.

In the sense of a dramatic entrance, obviously. They weren’t going to impale them or cause them to crash or go flying through the wind shields or anything like that! Yet.

Three weeks ago, the squad of Epics they’d been hanging with had heard about some OP dude getting offed by some normies, so they’d panicked. Kokichi had been chilling in this plains area ever since, waiting for someone interesting to drive by so they could stalk/hang out with them.

Seemed like they’d found their new bestie already. The music was such a big mood.

Kokichi waited until the song ended to cling onto the front of the car like the tiny gremlin of anarchy they were, slam their fist through the side window, unlock the shotgun door, tug their hand out of the mess of broken glass, pull open the door, and flash step inside.

All in the gap between songs. 

“Howdy! I call shot gun!” they proclaimed, more stars practically exploding around their head as they gave their new bestie a once over. He was pretty muscly and had a totally rad beard, which meant he could be super cool or super boring. “And I have a shot gun!”

They pulled the shot gun— decorated with smiley face stickers— out of nonexissence for the sake of the joke before dropping it back into nothingness once the words sunk in. 

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Canada-Shield.png

The song drew to a close, and Liam waited for the next to start. Suddenly, the passenger window burst in, sending a spray of glass shards onto the passenger seat. The door swung open, while someone swung in, plopping down on the seat beside him.

“Howdy! I call shotgun!”

Liam pulled his eyes from the road and glanced at the interloper. He, she, they… it? They were flashy. Literally flashing, with vibrant blue and orange hair that hurt the eyes with its fluorescence, and a wide grin with equally shiny white teeth. “And I have a shotgun!” The... whatever exclaimed, as a garishly decorated shotgun appeared in their hand.

Liam lashed out with his arm instinctively, the arm blurring with speed, and pinned the newcomer to the seat. They dropped the shotgun, which vanished. Wha—, Liam thought. His arm had moved a little too fast just then. However, he had no time to ponder. He pulled the van over to minimize the threat of smashing into a tree, then turned to face the strangely neon intruder.

“Who are you,” Liam demanded, gesturing to the broken window, “and you owe me a new window.”

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lines crossed his forehead and his pupils shrunk to indicate the mixture of surprise and annoyance. 

“Who are you? And you owe me a new window.” 

In contrast to the purple aura of annoyance radiating from the dude, Kokichi glowed. Devil horns popped up on their head and a pointed tail peaked around “I’m your local non binary agent of chaos, though you can call me Kokichi cuz that’s my name.” 

Bubble letters popped up around their head, spelling out “they/them pronouns, TERFS and truscum don’t interact” in alternating candy pink and lime. 

The devil aesthetic had faded into a glowing yellow light, which hovered around Kokichi. He’d moved his arm to hold Kokichi back, which they didn’t see the need to push off.

“And window? What window?” Question marks with the same pink/lime palette, along with a glowing halo, started having always existed until they stopped. 

Kokichi didn’t quite control the abstractions as much as they controlled their own mind. Other people probably would be able to weaponize the bizarre bubble of influence they projected with enough practice, but it’d be pretty difficult.

First off, Kokichi had taken ages to figure out the limits of their abilities even before they learned how to keep a hold on their brain. Second off, if anyone did figure it out, they could just leave. 

The next song had started playing, which meant Kokichi’s body almost subconsciously bopped up and down/side to side in time to the beat. Kokichi recognized this banger. Elvis? Bizarre tastes, this dude. They could dig it.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Canada-Shield.png

The neon-haired Epic, because Liam had concluded that only an Epic could have this degree of flair, or that color hair, grinned as curved horns grew from their head and a pointed tail slithered out beneath them.

"I’m your local non-binary agent of chaos, though you can call me Kokichi cuz that’s my name,” Kokichi said, still grinning mischievously. Words and letters appeared in the air around their head, suggesting non-binary pronouns for Liam to use.

Yep, definitely an Epic.

Kokichi’s horns and tail faded back into their body when they finished speaking, becoming instead an aura of golden light. They continued, “And window? What window?” Floating question marks punctuated their statement.

Liam frowned. As far as he could tell, this Epic wasn’t particularly hostile, despite breaking into his vehicle while it was moving. They had some sort of manipulation over reality, which could be dangerous. He pointed past Kokichi at the shattered window. “That window. The one you shattered when you hopped in. I’d prefer if you replaced it,” Liam said, attempting to keep his voice from showing his irritation.

“Maybe I didn’t treat you

Quite as good as I should have

Maybe I didn’t love you

Quite as often as I could have”

“Always On My Mind” began to blast from the speakers as the next track started to play. Liam glanced at Kokichi, who had begun to bob to the beat. Well, if they’re fine with my music, they can stay. For now, he thought. He pulled the van back onto the road and continued on to Edmonton.

“Little things I should have said and done

I just never took the time”

Despite himself, Liam smiled and mouthed the words.

You were always on my mind

You were always on my mind

Edited by Hemalurgic Headshot
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quietus.jpg

 

Four Days Ago - ERA Penitentiary

A little bit of instability, a little bit of weakness, and these people thought they could start a rebellion?

Idiots.

Another finger joint came off with a satisfying chop. The rebel screamed. It was a raw, agonized sound.

"You can't... I'll never tell you anything..."

"Okay," Quietus replied cheerfully. "Fine by me!"

CHOP. Another visceral scream, a shade softer than the last.

"You- You don't want to know about the others?" the rebel wheezed.

"What?" Quietus gave the rebel a funny look. "Sparks no. Is that what you thought this was?" He smirked.

"I was just killing time while we wait for Lethe to arrive."

Priceless. The look on the rebel's face was positively priceless. Quietus couldn't help but chuckle a bit at that.

The soft laughter carried on, filling the room as everything else around them went deadly quiet. The rebel panicked, struggling to get free, but the movements were sluggish under the pressure of Quietus' power. He squeezed the trigger of his C1 submachine gun, and three silent flashes were followed by three blots of deep crimson blooming on the rebel's shirt.

The pitiful struggling began to subside. The laughter faded into the air, leaving an unnatural stillness in its place. Suddenly, sound reasserted itself, manifest in the rebel's whimpering and gurgling demise.

Extraction worked better with a fresh kill, but Epoch insisted that he kill people a little before Lethe got here. Apparently, she was more comfortable with that. Stupid.

 


 

Now - Plypow Industrial

Epoch's voice came over the mobile.

"The other team just mopped up Lee Ridge, and it was practically deserted. I can see everybody else in Plypow. This should be the last of Firebrand's coup, holed up just outside the border."

Quietus only nodded. He knew Epoch was watching.

Annoying. They should have reported about Lee Ridge to Quietus before going to Epoch.

"Oh, and Quietus? Everyone in that building is now valid."

Quietus grinned slightly at that. It had been too long since they'd had a good rebellion.

He could see the building, now. A squat thing, with two targets loitering outside.

He activated his power as he headed straight towards the pair, reaching for his gun. They had noticed something was amiss just in time for the one on the right to be cut down by a well-placed burst. The other was obviously reaching for a concealed weapon, shouting silently, only to fall to one of the small team of enforcers following behind Quietus.

He stepped into the building, and began making hand gestures to communicate a request to Epoch. Then he signaled to Clapper, and she clapped her hands.

The lights exploded. Everything went dark.

It took a second for Quietus' eyes to adjust, before he could see again. Those behind him, glowing softly with body heat, looked somewhat more disoriented. Quietus didn't bother waiting for them.

He ran down the hallway, not bothering to be stealthy, since he couldn't have made a sound if he had tried. The next valid he encountered was more prepared, visibly carrying a rifle of some kind. The rebel got off two shots at Quietus before he could finish it. In a fair fight, the rebel would have won, but fighting fair was stupid. The shot that was on target struck Quietus at a fraction of the speed, bouncing off him harmlessly. Quietus returned fire, and it tore through the regular human target like it was designed to do.

He noticed that his vision was starting to tunnel, the foreground growing oddly focused and sharp, while the peripherals grew more and more indistinct. Epoch was responding to his request. The tunnel vision was no problem. There was a reason why predators had vertical pupils: only prey needed to see all of their surroundings at once. He returned the C1 to his back.

Quietus burst through a door, blindsiding another rebel with a knife just below the ear, letting them fall in slow motion. The room contained three more prey. In the dark, with no sound and no peripheral vision, they hadn't even noticed. He ripped through the next one, and the next one, their struggling slower than normal, his own movements faster than normal, fed by their resistance. The last one cried out silently as Quietus charged, firing a pistol only a foot away from him. That one actually hurt. That would leave a bruise the next day. Quietus hamstrung his opponent, then delivered two stabs to the gut, ensuring a slow and painful death.

He pressed forward, making sure to step on his dying opponent, towards the light flickering dimly in the distance. Towards the approximate center of the building. His associates would be following behind, doing a more thorough job of taking apart the insurgents. He was more interested in the leader.

He silently kicked down the door. He saw three people standing in a large room, wreathed in globes of fire.

He flicked his gun to fully automatic and strafed across all three of the occupants. The one that didn't collapse and die had to be Firebrand.

Firebrand created and controlled the globes of fire that filled the room. Kind of a waste, really. If Firebrand's powers had been given to one of Epoch's citizens that wasn't an idiot like this one was, they could have actually done something useful. Instead of rallying an uprising at an inconvenient time.

Firebrand said something. Quietus couldn't hear him, and didn't really care what he wanted to say. When we talk, it'll be on my terms.

He emptied the last of the submachine gun's clip on Firebrand's face, then threw the gun to one side, and lunged to the other side. A torrent of fireballs struck where he had just been standing. Firebrand yelled something.

Only a few globes of fire remained around Firebrand, but a new one ignited from thin air as he watched. Quietus charged, trying to get in close.

Firebrand attacked again, directing more fire as he retreated. A single orb this time, so he was probably trying to conserve them. The fireball slowed as it got closer to Quietus, and Quietus could feel himself speeding up slightly from the stolen energy, giving him the edge he needed to sidestep it and continue forward. He was close, now, close enough for Firebrand to fall in his range, leaving his quarry too slow to run away.

Quietus couldn't seriously hurt Firebrand, not directly at least. Firebrand was easy to injure, but really hard to put down. Something about being tougher and tougher the deeper you got under his skin.

He could see his power beginning to work its way on Firebrand. Not only were his target's movements slow, but they were becoming less coordinated. It wouldn't be fast enough, though. Firebrand directed two of the flaming spheres, and one of them scorched by, narrowly missing his head, singing his shoulder. The next fire could easily do more damage.

Need to take a risk.

He tackled Firebrand, pinning him to the ground after a brief struggle.

Sure enough, Quietus wasn't immolated by a rain of fire. Epoch had been right. Firebrand wasn't fireproof, and now he couldn't hurt Quietus without hurting himself as well. Perfect.

Quietus' powers were having much more of an effect at this range, but he began to choke Firebrand to speed it along. A look of terror filled Firebrand's eyes.

The globes of fire surrounding the pair winked out of existence. Firebrand had passed out.

.  .  .

Firebrand cracked his eyes open. It was dark, and his vision was still horribly tunneled. He tried to remember how he had gotten here... Oh. He remembered the fight with that epic. Being knocked unconscious, passing in and out of consciousness for an indeterminate time after that. A crushing pain in his legs.

He was lying facedown on a concrete floor. His legs were crushed underneath a mass of heavy crates stacked five high, only the most durable core of his legs still intact. Two pairs of handcuffs held his arms behind his back.

Click.

A screen flicked on in front of him. Thanks to the tunnel vision, it stood out in brazenly sharp detail. Quietus' face.

"Hi!" Quietus greeted him gleefully.

"You!" Firebrand roared, sending a fireball at the screen. Quietus' image did not react. Probably just a recording. The screen did not look damaged, either.

"We apologize for the inconvenience, but your rebellion is toast. Not pulling your leg on this one, hehe.

Since I have all the time in the world, I figured we could find an interesting way to do this. Epoch is humoring me, since it makes an example of you or some rubbish.

Anyway, as you have hopefully noticed, you're pretty stuck in here. In a couple days, I expect you'll be getting thirsty. To help you out, I left a bottle of water at the top of all those crates that are stacked up on your legs right now!"

The display switched to Quietus taking a selfie at the top of the crate pile, smiling next to a solitary bottle of water with droplets of condensation running off it.

"Good luck!" he said smugly.

Click.

"Hi!"

"We apologize for the inconvenience, but your rebellion is toast," Quietus looped in the exact same excited voice.

No.

"Not pulling your leg on this one, hehe. Since I have all the time in the world, I figured we could find an interesting way to do this."

"Stop!" Firebrand yelled, shooting a volley of fire at the display. It kept playing.

"Epoch is humoring me, since it makes an example of you or some rubbish. Anyway, as you have hopefully noticed, you're pretty stuck in here. In a couple days, I expect you'll be getting thirsty."

Have to keep calm, Firebrand told himself.

"To help you out, I left a bottle of water at the top of all these crates that are stacked up on your legs right now! Good luck!"

Click.

"Hi!"

"We apologize for the inconvenience, but your rebellion is toast. Not pulling your leg on this one, hehe..."

.  .  .

A slight blur streaked away from the building and resolved into Quietus, looking smug as he stepped out of the fast zone. A small cadre of enforcers behind him materialized one by one in the same way.

He turned to face the building from outside the fast zone. He watched as it degraded before his eyes, ravaged by the passage of time. The metal started to rust, the concrete started to crumble, and the people started to decay. Part of the roof caved, and then the walls collapsed completely, leaving only rubble.

As he expected, Firebrand didn't make it out. He would have lasted only a few days in there, tops.

The two who had been guarding the warehouse were now reduced to skeletons.

That would do, for an example.

Edited by Drake Marshall
5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“That window. The one you shattered when you hopped in. I’d prefer if you replaced it.” Had he not noticed or something? Well, they could be pretty distracting. 

It took practice to be this distracting. All of the practice. All of it!

But still, they needed to sorta chill a bit. Didn’t want to blow the dude’s head! Explosions would be sort of counterproductive to the whole ‘new bestie’ thing.

“Oh, that— look, it’s already fixed. B-t-w, do you wanna be five minutes away from wherever it is we’re headed and skip the rest of this boring drive?” 

They reached into their bright red hoodie and pulled out a (basically infinite) bag of gummy bears to chomp on, leaving it in between the seats so the dude could nom some if he wanted.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rook.jpg

Three Days Ago - Fort Saskatchewan, 99th Avenue

You actually did it,” he said with a look of interest and a hint of greed, peering into the back of the truck.

“Said I would,” Taya retorted, slamming the door behind her. Her lungs burned, her vision was blurring, and she felt a bit unsteady on her feet.

Have to look strong. She straightened her back and faced Yates down.

“You good to make the trade then? Kind of in a hurry,” she admitted. “Fume is, well, fuming.”

“Yeah, I can imagine...” he said, as if mulling the idea over.

Then, as if the thought had only just occurred to him: “Say, what’s stopping me from taking all this and just letting you fend for yourself?”

Lying slontze. Some people weren't much better than epics.

“A double-cross would be moronic,” she coughed out. “Bad for reputation.”

“My reputation can deal.”

”No,” cough. “No it can’t, not if I beat you, like I beat Fume.”

“Somebody’s a little cocky.”

Taya pulled out her mobile and started dialing, thinking fast.

“Weapons in truck... Rigged to go off if I press call. Destroys them, leads epics to your doorstep.”

Yates raised an eyebrow, regarding her critically.

“You could be lying,” he pointed out.

“No point in bluffing if I can do the real thing. And I can. Second mobile as receiver, wired to the guts of a disposable camera." Cough. "Shock connected up to discharge into one of the grenade boxes. You feel like risking that...?"

“No,” he conceded.

I suppose I don't. Can’t blame me for trying, though," he added.

She smiled in reply. Yates looked a shade less comfortable at that.

"How do I know you won’t blow it up after you leave?” he asked more apprehensively.

A good question, that.

“Tell you what,” cough. “Send your people away for now, way over there.” She pointed. “Then, once I get paid, you get to keep the mobile.”

He tilted his head, weighing the options.

“That works,” he agreed, shooing away the handful of unloaders that had been loitering around the truck. “Wait there for a sec while I get your pay,” he directed her, disappearing into an apartment building.

Taya positioned herself so that Fume’s truck stood between her and the apartment building.

Less than a minute later, Yates emerged carrying a faded blue backpack in both arms. She accepted it, sagging only a little bit under the weight, and handed him the mobile and keys to the truck in exchange.

Taya felt the knife in her pocket sticking fast to the contents of the backpack. That was about right. She had insisted on payment in rare earth metal. She had learned a long time ago that it was one of the best kinds of payment. It was scarce, prohibitively difficult to fake, and utterly necessary for electronics. Consequentially, most stable epic regimes would pay very well for it. Unlike conventional precious metals, it wouldn't draw the kind of attention that got you killed.

She slung the backpack over her shoulder, nodding in satisfaction. Yates probably wouldn’t try to pull anything with just the two of them there.

That was settled, then.

“Glad we could reach an agreement. I’ll be going now.”

“Likewise,” Yates said evenly as she walked away.

As soon as she was out of sight, Taya heaved a sigh, which swiftly evolved into a hacking cough. She could hear her pulse racing.

Have to keep moving.

And now for the next step. She forced herself to keep walking, pulling out a spare mobile as she created distance with Yates.

She dialed the number from before, the same one that she had threatened Yates with.

This time, she pressed the call button.

A dial tone.

She never scheduled this kind of thing in advance, not when an epic was trying to intercept her before she left town.

"Hello?"

"Hi, this is the North Saskatchewan River Ferry."

"Great. I'm going to be needing passage for one. Just down the river to Olympia Polaris."

It had been a while. The last time she had been there, it was still Edmonton.

One Day Ago - Olympia Polaris

Taya stepped out of a fast corridor, exiting near the University of Alberta. The last few days, she had observed some of the various powers in the city, and gathered stories about them. In a new city, with a new cast of epics, understanding how everything worked was top priority. Some of the local epics were pretty scary. Epics that could control time and gravity, plants and spiders, even one that could destroy other epics just by looking at them, if all the stories were to be believed.

None of them that she had heard about so far could fix her condition, though. She unwrapped another cough drop and popped it in her mouth. Taya knew it was getting worse. Hopefully, she would find somebody in this sprawl who could help. If not, she would be forced to return to Toronto. Which would be only slightly less likely to get her killed then leaving the poison unchecked in her system.

The group with the most influence in this corner of the city was known as the Minor Epic Coalition. They were powerful enough to keep very detailed records, but not as dangerous to deal with as some of the others. Exactly what she needed. Taya wandered across the university campus, pointed in the general direction of the administration building.

Edited by Drake Marshall
Timeline Consistencies
3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Canada-Shield.png

“Oh, that—look, its already fixed.” Kokichi said offhandedly. Liam glanced over. Indeed, the window was as if it had never been punched through. Even the glass shards on the seat were gone. “B-t-w, do you wanna be five minutes away from wherever it is we’re headed and skip the rest of this boring drive?” Kokichi set a bag of gummy bears on the cupholder and munched on a few.

Maybe I didn’t hold you

All those lonely, lonely times

And I guess I never told you

I’m so happy that you’re mine

Liam reached over and grabbed a few of the gummy bears. It’d been a while since he had some of these. Now, what had they said about suddenly being right outside their destination?

If I make you feel second best

Girl, I’m so sorry I was blind

Liam chewed the gummy bears and focused on the road as the song played in the background.

…You were always on my mind.

As the song ended, Liam glanced around. The exit for Sherwood Park was just ahead. He took the exit and followed the road towards the nearby hospital, noted as a facility used by the remaining Albertan government. If anything, they would have intel on the Epics of the city. But how had they gotten here so quickly? Liam wondered, unaware of the question marks hovering above his head.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Epoch.jpg

ERA Headquarters

Finley sipped a cup of strong tea, seated in a high-backed armchair, his mind elsewhere.

He could see from kilometers away as Quietus tore apart a cell of rebels, trapped the leader alive inside the building, and let the fast zone grind it down to dust. As it should be. The message was obvious. I don't want to let a monster like Quietus off his leash, but I will if you disobey me.

Sparking Doubletake. Her death presented a unique opportunity, but the leak of his weakness was very untimely. If you look too weak, people will leave you, and the scavengers will close in... Well, he just couldn't afford to look weak.

Firebrand was obviously stitched up, though. Finley lost interest, changing his view to another part of the city. His territory. He swept across Southeast Edmonton with his clairvoyance, ensuring that everything ran smoothly.

"Demont," he asked his chief overseer for territory improvement. "I'm not seeing enough progress in Laurel today. Please inform the builders that I will be extending their day by another two hours, and that I will be raising their account balances for another two hours' work."

Demont nodded and retreated to another room to make the necessary communications.

Finley flicked through the different fast lane checkpoints. Everything there seemed to be fine.

What about the residential districts...

"Ashla," Finley spoke up, addressing the second-in-command of his enforcement team. Technically, Quietus was the head of enforcement, but Ashla was a significantly better at handling the administrative side of things.

"I'm seeing an oddly dressed stranger that must have recently entered my territory. Big cloak. Probably a minor epic or a criminal. Can you send somebody to check it out? I'll send you the location when you have somebody ready."

"I'll get in touch with some enforcers in the area, sure."

Finley nodded, took another sip of tea, and started checking in on the activity of the major threats in the city...

Typhon. Dormant.

Doubletake. Oh, right, dead.

Orbit. No major activity since Doubletake's death. Slightly concerning.

Phytomagne--

"Epoch, sir?"

Finley returned his awareness to the control room. It was Vera, the ambassador.

"Yes?"

"Notley wants to speak, apparently," she informed him. "I'll keep you updated."

"Right. Interesting." He expected to hear something from her, with the recent events, but he wasn't sure what exactly it would be.

He shrugged. He would hear of it when there was something to tell. He resumed his survey of the city.

Phytomagnet. Munching on a carrot, as usual.

Minor Epic Coalition. Unremarkable, as usual.

Alberta government. Probably up to something... As usual.

Black forcefield. No visible changes.

City perimeter. Flooding with refugees from Calgary, eager to pay the tolls to enter in. Profitable.

Pariah. Sealed.

That was everything, or at least everything he knew to look for. There were some looming threats, but nothing time critical.

There was especially no rush because the entire headquarters was a minor fast zone.

He sat back in his armchair to enjoy a quick nap.

Edited by Drake Marshall
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Red hummed the tune to the old song, Kill Your Heroes by some old band, as she walked down the street in Edmonton. Her medium length black hair rested against her back in a pony tail supported by a red bow. She wore handcuffs with the chains removed around her wrist and a black tank top that showed plenty of cleavage under a red duster. Her black jeans had stylish holes in them, and her boots were iron toed. 

Red let the scars/semi open wounds on her neck and on her wrists show. Injuries no mere... what was it they said around here? Maple? Yeah, she was pretty sure it was maple. Injuries no mere maple could sustain without bleeding out. 

She carried a knife around her waist. No sheathe. Why would she need one? If it cut her, all the better. 

Hanging out like this, ever so casual, was practically begging to be spotted by some sentry or another. Red probably didn’t even need to start killing people to get whoever was in charge’s attention. 

The city was on high alert, after all. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would want to interrogate a rogue element like her. Especially one who’d been so intimately involved with Oregon’s destruction. 

Well. Nobody really understood the size of her part in that. It was Nighthound she was known for being intimately involved with.

The memory of the pain so sharp it’d made her long for him to keep holding her tight enough to bruise forever ached with nostalgia. She breathed, practically salivating at the thought. It was like all the good ones had died in the wreckage of Oregon. It’d been far too long since she’d last screamed in agony. 

She dug her sharp nails into her arm, watching the blood drip out ever so slightly. It barely even stung. Hardly enough to be exciting. Red missed the early days at times. When she’d cut so shallow, sobbing from the slightest inconvenience as she shook with pleasure.

Nowadays, she had a bigger appetite. Nighthound had been so interesting. Shame he’d had to die so easily. As weak as all the rest. She dragged her finger nail deeper and further across her arm. Red smudged the red liquid onto her skin with her Epic abilities. 

It wasn’t being disappointed that was her weakness, but that didn’t mean she liked it either. This place was fine, Red figured. If there wasn’t someone who could top Nighthound here, she could just keep going. 

Keep being bored. Ugh. 

Red was reaching the end of the song when she noticed a very interesting heart beat. Very interesting indeed. 

Edited by winter devotion
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

NE69XVm_jScoXGzMfb2eFj6437T9cfelEYVoSLP1hPKEwnxq_8KXy0fIjixGh-5HJZP8dWO_yZ2NQDE_9g2MKoevR3nsgG4Jym4asPuJi9Ud-6qrqPjoogZm0mxCBSfL-thhRIJp

Eight Days Ago - Suncor Energy Edmonton Refinery


Petrol, while not as glorious as trees, is still important I suppose, Phytomagnet thought to himself as he perched one of the massive vats. It’s getting kinda late though. Ironwood should be able to han--Phytomagnet’s train of thought ended abruptly at what faintly sounded like a scream. Are you ser--KABOOM!!!! One of the vats exploded violently, setting off a chain--BOOM!! KABOOMOOM!!! At least it’s not boring anymore.
Phyto stood and started running towards the explosion, his years of military training combined with epic-enhanced body allowing him to quickly make his way across the endless meters of pipes.


The twilight sky was suddenly aglow with flaming orbs, which came crashing down, causing more explosions. Ah. Firebrand. Figures. Phyto quickly dialed his mobile, Pick up the sparking phone, Ironwood.

 
“Yeah, boss, I see ‘em. I’ve got two squads already in place, one distracting him and the other on damage control,” Ironwood’s voice crackled over the phone.


“How hot’s the fire?” Phyto roared over the sound of the flames.


“Hot enough, boss. They won’t burn, but they’ll start to roast if you don’t get their soon.”


“Almost there, tree.”


This last statement was punctuated with a *beep* as Phyto hung up, clearing the remaining meters between him and the revolutionary’s onslaught. Unslinging his shield, Phyto deflected a fireball back towards its creator. Firebrand turned, eyes wide, and the blast winked out of existence before it connected.


“We knew you were coming, Firebrand!” Phyto bellowed, continuing to sprint forward.


“You can’t stop us, planter!” the fire epic countered, sending three smaller globes of fire towards him.


He raised his shield, blocking the flames but not the heat that seeped past. Yeah, Ironwood’s right. We can’t hold out for too long against this heat. Phytomagnet focused for a moment, and pulled a studded wooden board towards him. The boards had been placed around the entire facility three nights before, when his vigil had started. Now they were proving their worth.


The board flew past Firebrand and into Phyto’s hand, and he sprung forward, swinging it with all of his might. Firebrand dodged back, readying another sphere. One of Ironwood’s trees took this opportunity to take a swing at Firebrand, and hit him in the upper back with a bark-enhanced fist. The hit knocked him forward, but didn’t seem to hurt him as much as it should’ve.

Firebrand looked around, and seemed to realize that he was now nearly surrounded. Shaking his head, he called out, “I’ve done enough damage for now. Time to make my escape.” The air around Firebrand was suddenly full of fire, the globes all-but making another sphere out of themselves, though hollow enough for Firebrand to walk through. The wall of flames sprinted away, and Phyto breathed a sigh of relief.

He tapped out a simple message to Epoch, "Firebrand attacked Suncor. Fought off. Damage reports pending."

Edited by Weirdpersonx
3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Canada-Shield.png

The hospital could be seen from the road. It was a large brick and concrete structure of mostly one story, but it seemed like a second phase was being built on the roof. Barbed wire fences surrounded the premises to repel intruders, but they would be useless if an Epic decided to stroll in. In fact, the entire facility was nearly defenseless aside from the various security checkpoints and armed personnel. I suppose they just hope that their insignificance will make the Epics focus their attention elsewhere, Liam thought, as the van neared the first checkpoint.

He turned to Kokichi. “I’d prefer if the van didn’t get filled with bullets, so let’s not piss off the guards, alright?” Kokichi stared at him and grinned, their teeth looking eerily sharp and pointed. Their eyes glinted mischievously, but they said nothing. Liam sighed, and approached the checkpoint.

“Halt!” Two armed guards wearing black bulletproof vests ran up to the van, guns ready. Liam stopped the vehicle accordingly and rolled down the window to face them. “This is an Albertan government facility! Level three authorization required. What are you doing here?”

Liam leaned out the window and opened his right palm towards them. The guards tensed. On the palm glowed a circular symbol, showing a ring of light with a maple leaf in the center. The symbol flashed for a moment, then disappeared. “I am an agent of the Circle of the Shield. I would strongly suggest you grant me access, or I will do so myself,” Liam declared.

The guards glanced at each other and then at Liam. Then one spoke into his radio, “Vehicle at checkpoint 1A, moving in. Over.” He then pointed towards the hospital. “There’ll be another checkpoint up ahead, and they’ll search your vehicle. You’re free to go.”

The guards retreated, and Liam drove on. Shortly after, at another break in the fence, four guards approached. “Halt! Relinquish your vehicle for searching.” Liam leaned out of the window. “I’m afraid not,” and showed his palm again. “As an agent of the Circle of the Shield, this vehicle contains equipment that will remain with the vehicle.” He heard a curious “Ooh” from Kokichi when he had mentioned the equipment and groaned inwardly. They better not break anything.

One of the guards stepped up to the driver window. “Our orders are to search every vehicle and person that comes through the checkpoint. I’ve never heard of this ‘Circle of the Shield,’ and I think your sparking hand is just Epic witchery. So surrender your vehicle or we will be forced to remove you,” the guard hissed, and raised his gun.

Liam frowned. “I don’t want this to get messy, sir. You can talk to the building warden or something, your superior, but I am getting to this hospital and I will not let you stop me. So, please let me pass.”

The guard glared at him, and tightened his grip on his weapon, but backed down. Liam nodded and proceeded to drive to the parking lot. Kokichi leaned over and whispered, “So, what kinda stuff do you got in here?” Liam shook his head. “It’s not important,” he said as he parked and pressed a button on the dashboard with an eye etched on it. He reached under his seat and pulled out his folding shotgun, and then grabbed his jacket from the sofa behind him.

“Let’s go,” he told Kokichi, and climbed out of the van, locking it behind him. The van now looked very peculiar, seeming to be on the street in the distance, or in a parking space three cars down; everywhere but where it was. It was a bit of Motivator tech Margaret had whipped up with a sample from an Epic called Parallax. It distorts others’ perception of the user, causing them to appear elsewhere. Hopefully it would keep the guards from snooping around.

A few guards flanked the main door, but they didn’t bother as Liam entered the building. They glanced up at Kokichi, but they had pulled their hood up to cover their spectacular hair. But they had made it through the checkpoints, so the guards didn’t care.

The front lobby was rather tidy, with a secretary desk immediately opposite and office spaces off to the side. Liam decided the first place to ask was at the front desk. He walked up to the woman sitting there, focused on her mobile.

“Excuse me, but I need to speak with the head official here,” Liam said. The woman looked up and set her mobile down quickly, a few small exclamation marks bobbing above her head. She glanced at what was probably a list of phone numbers, then back at Liam.

“Do you have an appointment, sir?” She asked, scrolling through her mobile. “No,” Liam replied, “but this is quite important, and I would prefer that it be taken care off as soon as possible.” The secretary raised an eyebrow, looked down at the mobile, then back at Liam.

“Well, sir, you seem to be in luck. Dr. Moore does not have any meetings right now. Do you have a reason for your meeting?”

“Tell her that there is an agent who needs to discuss the city.”

“Done,” the secretary said, setting down her mobile. “Dr. Moore’s office is down the right hall, second from last on the left.” Liam smiled and nodded. “Thank you.” Then he left, making his way towards the office.

Liam knocked at the door. “Come in,” came from inside. Dr. Moore’s office was tidy, like the rest of the facility, and charts, diagrams, and instruments lined the walls. Dr. Moore herself was a younger woman, perhaps in her mid-thirties, with tan skin and shoulder length brown hair. She gestured to one of the two seats in front of her desk. Liam check over his shoulder, but Kokichi was nowhere to be seen. Oh no… Liam thought.

“Please sit,” Dr. Moore said, so Liam did. She glanced at her mobile. “So, you are ‘an agent who needs to discuss the city’?” Liam nodded, and showed her his palm. After the image disappeared, she leaned back and pursed her lips in thought.

“Interesting. Well, the city has been a bit more chaotic lately, since Doubletake died.” Liam nodded. The briefing had mentioned that. “What exactly do you want to know? This is a research facility, not the headquarters.” Research facility? Margaret will want to hear about this.

Liam leaned in. “First thing. Who is Karabiner?”

Edited by Hemalurgic Headshot
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Karabiner was a genius.

It had taken him just three days to set up this trap, and it was going off perfectly. Shardlight would be here to kill him in about five minutes. Haha, if only he knew…

Karabiner glanced at his wristwatch. 4:32. He should discover my false trap right about now… He checked his Mobile.

Sure enough, a new message from Boomerang told him Shardlight had escaped the staged Reckoner attack without a scratch, and had even correctly guessed the location of their “hideout.” Well, that accelerates things a bit. I won’t even have to compromise my Mobile with that beacon. He hadn’t really expected Shardlight to be blunt enough to need that tip, but he had come ready.

A sky blue glow shown between the two apartment buildings he was watching. He checked his gloves, making sure they were fully secured, monitoring his motions and giving him extra resistance, though not much. They were originally invented for medical purposes, helping people recover from nerve-damage in their hands when used consistently. At the moment, they were basically useless to him. Not for much longer, Karabiner chuckled in his brain. Any second now…

The sky blue light was quickly getting brighter: Shardlight was close.

There was a sky blue flash, and a small section of the brick wall behind Karabiner exploded. He ducked, avoiding the bigger pieces and ending up with little more than dust on his sport coat. I am awesomer.

He stood, dusting off the shoulders of his coat, and watched in greedy awe as Shardlight used his powers in person. It was hard to make out his face through the glass-like glowing energy pane he had conjured in front of him, but Karabiner knew from research that Shardlight would have short black hair and rectangular glasses, which let him see through his energy walls unobstructed. His eye color was famously identical to his energy power, though Karabiner was unsure if there was a connection or not.

Karabiner knew he had backup waiting, but he really didn’t feel like involving them beyond some machine-gun fire to keep Shardlight distracted. This had already started, of course, as his Reckoner “allies” – meaning people with aligned goals, since it was their hideout he had led the deadly Epic to – had turrets already in place and watching for direct threats like Shardlight. That was why he had conjured the energy pane, which was now easily deflecting each bullet that came his way, though it also put a barrier – an Epic interrupting barrier, no less – between him and his quarry. This could be a very enjoyable fight, if he played it right.

He switched on a radio-shaped temporal accelerator he had made from none other than Epoch of Olympia Polaris – which wasn’t the best name they could have picked, in his mind – and felt his vision tunnel. The field moved with him and was limited to a sphere equal to his height, which had taken months to tune correctly, and allowed him a speed boost that wouldn’t carry to his surroundings very badly.

Karabiner ran toward Shardlight through a world of slowness, getting around his wall just as Shardlight suddenly pushed it up in the direction of fire. It smashed against the turrets, its Shards exploding and totaling the guns like one had the brick wall earlier.

Dropping his speed field, Karabiner threw a careless punch at the more powerful (arguably, anyway) Epic. As expected, Shardlight threw up a pane of sky blue energy to block his strike. Rather than trying to slow his punch to avoid it, Karabiner opened his hand at the last possible moment.

Then he stole the energy pane, pushing it with his gloved hand straight into Shardlight’s face. His expression was priceless. And then it was smashed by a wall of blue – though not sky blue anymore – energy. Not a High Epic, than. Good to know.

There was a blur, and suddenly the radio in his left hand exploded. "What the-"

He was interrupted by a sudden impact to his stomach, and doubled over, wheezing. He held his hands out to the sides and flattened them against the gloves' tension. Sure enough, they had remembered the shape his hand had been in when it had first made contact with the power, and had also remembered that they were one thing, despite multiple pieces. A pane of light blue energy extended from the center of each one. He saw a woman blur to a stop right before impact with them. He closed his fist, shattering the pane into her face. She didn't get up.

Karabiner left the two Epics dead or in a daze, running for the pre-established corner of a nearby building. He knew he couldn’t beat Shardlight in a fair fight, and it would soon have become one, now that he had really made himself known as an Epic. He smacked the wall – the agreed signal – and felt his stomach lurch as indigo light encompassed him and sent him far away. Home-free.

Edited by Sazedezas
Forgot to destroy something he shouldn't keep.
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Dr. Moore’s office is down the right hall, second from last on the right,” said the secretary person. 

“Thanks,” said their new bestie who’s name Kokichi had figured out was Liam. He headed off to follow her instructions. 

Kokichi stayed at the desk. They weren’t particularly interested in messing with these people too much.

At least, not the sorta messing that left corpses. Dead bodies were boring and Liam probably wouldn’t like to come back to a bunch of them.

They nommed on some more gummies, making intense eye contact with the secretary, before realizing they were in the mood for skittles.

A thought bubble appeared next to them, and Kokichi reached into it, pulling out the treat they wanted. 

“What’s up around here anyway? What’s this Circle of the Shield thing?” they asked, leaning on the secratary’s desk. “I just dropped in.” 

Someone groaned as the sound of drums played. The secretary looked confused, so the memory replayed right next to Kokichi’s head. 

“Eyyyy?” 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Canada-Shield.png

“Karabiner is an Epic with an interesting power set. His ability can essentially Gift another Epic’s powers to inanimate objects. The objects get a simplified version of these powers, however, from what we’ve been able to tell. There are some limits on his powers. We keep a list of all the “Linked”—that’s the term we use for the gifted items—gear we see, and a matchup with the Epic it might have come from. It appears that only one Linked item can be made from each Epic, unless that particular Epic has multiple powers. The Linked item mirrors the power but can’t do anything else.

“Karabiner showed up about two years ago. He was from out of town and wasn’t prominent enough for us to have heard anything about him previously. When he first appeared, he didn’t cause much commotion. Kind of laid low for a while. After a few months, strange new tech began entering the local black markets, with the ability to mimic an Epic’s powers. Motivators were still very rare, and none had come to Edmonton yet. We tried to seize some of the tech, but more came to replace it.

“At the same time, Karabiner started to show his face a bit. He would appear sporadically, facing off with an Epic here and there, then disappear. The odd thing was, mimic tech would show up in the black market with the same abilities as the Epic Karabiner faced just a while earlier. It didn’t take much for us to put two and two together.”

Liam ran his fingers through his beard. “So why didn’t you try to stop him?” He asked. Dr. Moore shrugged slightly, almost sheepishly.

“Doubletake was still strong, and the Government had to be careful about which fights it fought. And… Karabiner is a good supplier. We became a market for some of his goods. And I’ll assure you that those Linked gadgets have been put to good use, either in the field or in my lab. Not to mention our catalogue of Linked items…” Dr. Moore gestured off to the side, to some imaginary list. “It was a strategic venture.”

Liam nodded. This explained why Karabiner had set up business. With his powerset, he could exploit a very valuable market. He clasped his hands together. “Unfortunately, Dr. Moore, I’m here to shut Karabiner down,” he said. Dr. Moore raised an eyebrow.

“Why?”

“Well, it’s clear,” Liam spread his hands. “A black market that sells Epic tech? Maybe even some Motivators, since he’s gotten rich enough. It’s a terrible security risk. Epics can access these weapons, use them to become even more of a threat. Though, Doctor, a black market deals to both sides, it is in the best interests of this city, even the whole nation, to shut Karabiner’s operation down.” He stared at her, waiting for her response.

She pursed her lips. “Mr…” She trailed off. “Dunton,” Liam offered. “Mr. Dunton, I understand that this is a very important mission you’ve undertaken. However, the Albertan Government cannot help you. At least, it is not my place to extend help. I can forward your request to the Headquarters, and perhaps the council will review it, but that is all.” Dr. Moore gave him a sad half-smile, then stood and walked to the door to open it. “I hope I helped you,” she said as she opened the door.

Liam rose and shook her hand. “It was very helpful. Now if you’ll excuse me,” he said as a strange noise came from down the hall, “I need to find my companion. Good day.” He began to walk, then jog in the direction of the commotion.

Edited by Hemalurgic Headshot
3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last Night

Silhouette frowned as Knox paused, crouched in the dark, just beneath the window of the penthouse they were outside of. Usually, being this high up on the outside of a building was rather inadvisable, as one had a tendency to fall and die. 

However, Knox’s constructs were solid as ever, and held fast against the wind pushing against the two men.

 

Knox peeked in through the window, then let out a low whistle. “Holy stars,” he whispered towards silhouette, trying out some of the slang in this city. “You were right. This guy is definitely a high roller.” 

Silhouette walked up the construct, very conscious of the edge of the construct ramp they stood on. Looking in, he saw what was either the abode of an epic or a very, very important maple. Statues lined the hallways, with four large screens playing various intense looking shows facing a man sitting on s couch. Rich carpet lined the floor, and full length mirrors covered half of the wall of the room. 

Using gestures to convey his plan, silhouette began to chart his course. He let his mind leave his body, and planned his route. It was a strange feeling; he felt like two people at once. He could still move himself in the regular world, but to his mind a shadow version of himself began to move through the wall, prowling the room until it came to a rest standing just behind the man on the couch. 

Silhouette released his minds hold on the shadow, and instantly disappeared into the same figure. He entered a mindless state, capable only of following the orders he had just given himself, unthinking. He came back to the physical world just behind the man on the couch, still engrossed by the televisions, watching some sort of superhero show. Ironic. 

Silhouette silently raised a fist and prepared to strike the man in the chair, truly looking at him for the first time. He was a big man, dark skinned and slightly overweight, wearing an expensive suit and a handful of rings.

So useless, thought silhouette to himself. All this needless extravagance, taken from the poor. Men like this needed to be punished. All excess brought was pain to others. All silhouette brought was pain to excess, and those who enjoyed it.

He brought his fist down on the mans head, his steel studded gloves flying downwards with enough force to kill the man easily. It was a blow silhouette had struck too many times, on too many unsuspecting men not deserving of their surroundings. Easy. 

He missed.

Silhouettes hand hurtled sideways as it drew near the large mans head, so unexpected it almost threw him off balance. The man chuckled, a deep, rumbling sound. He slowly turned around and got up, cracking his knuckles as he faced Silhouette, who stood ready, black clothes loose and arms up in his usual boxing pose. 

“Come to kill me after double take, little reckoner?” asked the big man. Silhouette had to admit there was a certain...gravity to this man. A charisma of confidence surpassing an epic ability. 

Although clearly this was an Epic. Silhouette felt a sudden pang of regret at not doing his research on tonight’s target. It has been so long since his last retribution, he had simply jumped at the chance to end the life of the penthouse owner. 

“I’m no reckoner, buddy. You have sins to pay.”

Silhouette became a shadow again, reappearing behind the man and once again throwing a perfect strike at his back. Again, he was thrown away, the stumble barely saving him from a couch that seemed to fall towards him. He felt a pull on himself, taking him towards the epic as the big man wound up his arm, rings flashing in the little remaining light. Silhouette managed to enter his shadow form just before the fist connected, but reappeared a moment later in the same place, not having had time to plan a route. 

The move had managed to free him of the strange telekinesis this epic seemed to possess, though, and Silhouette took advantage of the fact to try to start grappling the larger man. The man chuckled again, looking down on him condescendingly. “I believe you now. No reckoner would be so underprepared, especially to face me. Doubletake requires preparation for them, but me? Orbit? I would need ten times that.” Most of the words meant nothing to silhouette, who couldn’t touch the man. His hands were pushed away whenever they came near the big man-Orbit, he had called himself-but that didn’t stop Orbit from raising his fist and ramming it towards silhouette. He didn’t follow through, however, so when Silhouette disappeared and reappeared a moment later, Orbit was ready with another hit, sending silhouette sprawling.

Silhouette groaned and put his hand to his jaw. Definitely broken, he thought to himself. He poked it again, and twinged. Very broken, he corrected himself. He began to feel himself fall laterally towards the big epic, face rubbing against the expensive carpet. Orbit raised a foot to crush his head in, but a pair of gunshots cracked through the air first, distracting the big Epic. Both bullets curved around the big epic and began circling him as Orbit regarded Knox. 

“Two of you? Anyone else I should be expecting?” Orbit breathed deeply. “I will say I like your outfit more.” 

Unlike Silhouette, who wore simple dark, loose fitting clothing and some smudges of soot on his face for added stealth on his pale skin, Knox had a flair for the dramatic. He wore a white hoodie with white jeans, but by far the biggest attention drawer was his mask. A strip of gold covered his lower face line a handkerchief, concealing his mouth, and a a pair of black sunglasses his eyes silhouette knew would be glinting at the idea of this challenge. While Silhouette fought to punish the gluttonous, Knox fought for the rush. 

Orbit whipped the bullets towards Knox with a gesture, but Knox raised a hand, creating a wall construct. He threw down a ramp, darting above orbit, and quickly fired another round from both of his desert eagles, to no effect. Orbit latched onto him, somehow causing Knox to fall towards orbit, rather than downwards. Knox created another ramp to stand on, and quickly boxed in orbit, who started cursing softly from within the walls Knox had placed. Objects began being thrown around the room as Orbit changed gravity all around them, but both silhouette and Knox managed to avoid being caught fully; silhouette through shadowing, and Knox by creating walls and platforms to catch himself on. 

He soon figured out that phasing through his own constructs-he couldn’t do it to regular walls, regrettably-stopped the gravity from affecting him for a moment. 

“I say we torch it and get out,” Knox said to a still-tender silhouette. “I don’t know if we can take this guy today.” 

The only response was the striking of a match by silhouette, the bright orange flame sharply contrasting his dark attire and pale skin. It makes his face look almost like a ghost, thought knox idly. 

As the place started to go up, the usually nigh-indestructible walls of Knox’s construct were pulled in by a massive epicentre of gravity. The rubble squeezed around him as he ran over to his couch, picking up his mobile. The flames had already consumed much of the penthouse; it would be a bother to get a New one. The two pesky Epics were gone, but they hadn’t beaten him. He had felt in control until that bastard had trapped him, rather than fighting like a man. 

Still, this was only a minor inconvenience. Orbit ran through the burning apartment, pushing away any burning objects, grabbing what he would need to move. 

Mobile, check.

Briefcase, check.

Balloons, check.

Pistol, check.

Crate, missing.

 

Oh.

Orbit cursed, his calm demeanour destroyed in an instant. He raised himself well above the building and scanned the dark streets for the two thieving bastards. They were gone.

And they had his AmberLight.

Orbit dialed Machete’s number. His head of enforcement would be on this until that crate was found. The Belt needed that crate. Orbit needed that crate.

“Machete? Meet me at the penthouse. I have some Epics for you to kill. They have something of ours.”

Edited by Bladestorm
4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The secretary finished a pretty detailed explanation, and Kokichi nodded along, totally hanging onto every word. 

“I think I get it now,” they said as Liam wrapped up his meeting down the hall. An arrow pointed to their head and bubble letters spelled out, “Doesn’t actually get it.” 

“Uh,” she said, looking from Kokichi to the words and back again. “You sure?” 

Kokichi tossed a handful of skittles in their mouth and crunched them as they stared intensely at the secratary. 

Crunch. 

“Got it.” 

She shrunk beneath the desk. Kokichi swallowed the mouthful of candy before offering her some. The secretary shook her head. 

“No thanks, um...” Apparently news of Kokichi’s awesome exploits hadn’t really spread to Edmonton yet. There was probably a good reason for that.

The reason was likely that they hadn’t really done any awesome exploits yet. Chilling on the low-key didn’t really lead to  massive fame and especially not the infamy some of Kokichi’s bigger faced compatriots enjoyed. 

“I’m Kokichi, but you can call me the most awesome enby you’ll ever meet.” They slid down previously non existent sunglasses to wink. 

She... swooned? Roses appeared around Kokichi and they became an idealized idea of themself. Their hair dulled to a less mind breaking color, but still glowed. 

Liam returned just in time to see a smitten twenty one year old vanilla waving back and forward squealing over an incredibly baffled nineteen year old with a power that could level cities. 

“Liam, help me, I think I broke her,” they said, voice jumping up several octaves.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Canada-Shield.png

“Liam, help me, I think I broke her.”

It took Liam a moment to process what was happening in front of him. The secretary’s professional manner was now in shambles, and she was positively smitten—squealing and waving—by Kokichi, who was standing nearby and emanating an aura of… impressiveness? Whatever it was, it had left an impression on the secretary.

Liam looked back and forth between Kokichi’s confused face and the spontaneously romantic secretary. “Umm,” he began, “either way, she can’t come with us. Sorry,” he said to the secretary, who didn’t notice. Liam grabbed Kokichi’s shoulder and started leading him down the left hall, taking a right towards the labs in the back. The secretary began to sob as Kokichi left and tried to reach out and grab him in vain.

”Hallelujah,” Kokichi breathed, looking very relieved to get away from the swooning secretary.

“I’ve figured out what we are up against,” Liam began as they walked down the tiled hallway. “Karabiner, the Epic I’m tasked with eliminating, runs a black market that specializes in equipment that mimics Epics. Quite dangerous. However, Dr. Moore mentioned that the lab purchases a number of these items for research purposes, which I presume are kept in storage.”

Now that Kokichi was far away, the secretary regained her senses. She blinked a few times, then stared at the hallway that Liam and Kokichi had gone down. “Wait!” She yelled. “You can’t go down there!”

Meanwhile, Liam and Kokichi had arrived at a door. They had passed a few labs, which Liam had peeked inside and snapped a few pictures to send to Margaret but had mostly ignored. At last they came to a door labeled “Storage.” Liam tried the handle. Locked. He retrieved a pin from his beard—just in case—and began to pick the lock. Within a few moments, the door opened, and Liam motioned Kokichi inside.

Liam did a quick scan of the room for security cameras. There was one at the door, so he stuck a Blocker on it. Blockers were a handy bit of tech Margaret had whipped up from a sample from an Epic named Malware. Malware could shut down all electronics within thirty feet of him and could control electronics with touch. Blockers did the former with the requirement of the latter.

“Take a look around. If it’s labeled as Linked, tell me,” Liam told Kokichi as he began to search the room.

Edited by Hemalurgic Headshot
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nate Snyder grabbed one arm of the star-wrench with his left hand, spinning it quickly in the loose grip of his right hand. Then he grabbed the two lateral arms and gave it a hard crank. Top… Bottom right… Far left… He moved the familiar tool in a familiar pattern across the hub of his spare-spare-spare tire. Far right… Bottom left.
“Perfect!” He said loudly no nobody in particular. Well, nobody at all, really. He was the only person for miles, he was sure. If there was anybody else, their brights were off. Or they don’t have a car, he considered. Probably more likely. If there’s anybody at all.
Nobody at all…
In that moment, Nate knew he could do it. He could become Bloodlight again. “It would only be for a small time,” he told himself aloud. He did that a lot these days, though there had never really been a time when he hadn’t, a little.
“Who am I kidding?” He asked himself. “There’s no way I’ll be safe again by the time I reach O.P. I can’t risk it!”
“OP in O.P.” He laughed at his own joke. Then he realized it wasn’t really that funny, and stopped.
“Sparks, I’m lonely, aren’t I?”
He sighed. “It’s really out of the question, though. This hunk of junk” – he was looking at his red Saab 9000 Aero, which was not junk by any stretch of the imagination, but had kept losing tires over the course of his trip because they had been junk; summer tires meant for Lost Vegans, rather than the normal Saab tires that just couldn’t be found anymore – “will just have to last until I get there.”
Nate made up his mind. Running his hand through his light hair, he opened the driver door and climbed back into his “hunk of junk.” He turned the key – which he had left in the ignition – and pushed on the clutch pedal, hearing the familiar roar of the engine as his Swedish snow racecar came to life – in the most figurative sense, of course.
He pulled back onto the road to his left, groaning that he wouldn’t be able to really use the car like it was meant to be used. He couldn’t just fly down this road at 110 MPH without seriously increasing the risk of a Bloodlight takeover, even with the proper tires for the roads and enough gas to afford slightly worse fuel economy. “It’s not fair.” Of course it wasn’t. The Saab was made for speed, and here he was going 60 on a straight road.
He looked at his dash while he drove. There, in a picture framed screwed to the dash, was the most wonderful person he had ever known. There was no need to ask himself why Celia couldn’t have been there in the passenger seat like old times. There was no need to realize that he wouldn’t have been driving at all if he could be with her. He had already discussed it at length in the first day of the trip.
Even so, seeing her face brought a smile to his. Then tears came to his eyes. It just wasn't the same without her. Nothing was ever okay now.
“I’m sparking gonna crash,” he chuckled through sudden sobs. It helped a bit, the laughter. He still remembered waking up in the passenger side of this car, an odd, irritating itch on the back of his neck. Oddest of all, his powers weren't calling to him. Not at all. He had reached up to scratch it, but a pale hand had stopped his tan one before it had moved far.
Looking over, he had seen her – Celia Dillet – driving somewhat slowly, red marks under her eyes, evidently from crying. She had looked at him and smiled. A haggard expression, but her angular face sent the message of joy clearly enough, and he understood what it meant.
“ Is this…?” he has begun asking, pointing toward the back of his neck with his free right hand, his left having changed positions to grip her right tightly.
“Yes,” she had interrupted. “ You are free.”
“I'm scared,” he had replied honestly.
He hadn't known why he was right to be scared. Not yet, at least.
Nate shook himself back into the present. His tears had not stopped, but just then he was fine with that. He had plenty of water bottles in the back seat, which he could each easily from his current position, so he wasn't going try get dehydrated, and he had never been one to suffer from headaches. That was especially true since pain had become so commonplace in Lost Vegans. He should have died several times by then, but he had always been saved – from death, but not pain – by Bloodlight, so he had learned to live with it. The physical type, anyway.
Nate turned his eyes resolutely on the road. “Toughen up, buttercup!” he told himself. It was a saying his dad had used when he was little, though Nate still didn’t know what it meant.
Nate drove for a few more hours, but he simply had to stop. There was too much pain in his heart, and he couldn’t risk becoming Bloodlight again. “Not yet, anyway. There is the plan though.”
He pulled off on the right side of the road, turning the key to the off position. Then he curled up in his seat and cried himself to sleep.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.