Feral Character in Tales of Justice | World Anvil

Feral

Created by Jennie

Jarissa Ingegerd Paxton (a.k.a. Feral)

Jarissa Paxton (née Venters) is a mutate, kidnapped out of college and experimented upon and trained by employees of Infinity, Inc. With other subjects, she escaped in late 1997; by October 1998, Dr. Gironde hired Feral for the Wyldfire team, and by the end of 2000 she was promoted to Field Leader within that organization. Jarissa's "day job" is as school guidance counselor for the Gironde School.

 

In 2006, Jarissa accompanied Dr. Gironde's fiancée's daughter as her bodyguard on a shopping trip to get ready for the upcoming wedding. Mercenaries kidnapped Mirabelle the daughter, in the process capturing Feral the bodyguard. Because the middleman handling the kidnapping saw an opportunity to make more money, both women promptly vanished beyond even the original hiring villain's knowledge. They were not seen again for over two years.

 

Feral spent that time on an alternate Earth, not realizing that it was an alternate reality.

 

Since Wyldfire rescued her in November 2008, Feral is relearning how to be a hero instead of a villain. She has mostly recovered from the physical effects thanks to the excellent surgical skills of Wyldfire doctor Steven Reynolds and the patient physical therapy work of Gironde School doctor Don Blake.

Physical Description

General Physical Condition

Feral is a 110lb amur leopard hybridized with a five foot tall human woman in good shape. She is flexible, resilient, strong enough to drag two full-sized combatants but too short to carry them. She has been trained to keep fighting despite damage.

Body Features

Cat ears poke through human-style hair; her jawline is elongated to form a cat muzzle like a real leopard.
Her entire body is covered by amur leopard fur: sandy base tone with darker brown rosettes in roughly oval groups of five spots, lightening toward white as it gets close to the front of her torso, which is usually covered by clothing.
She has a leopard tail about 3 feet long from sacrum to white tip.
Her fingers are very short and her palms wide, giving a sturdy base to her claws. Her legs are very short in proportion to her torso, and digitigrade like a real leopard's rear legs, ending in classic cat paws. Because of the strange proportions, Feral is able to transition to running on all four limbs. She has avoided doing so in the past but grew comfortable with the option during her time as Sinister's thrall.

Facial Features

Feline face, with elongated jaw.
Dark brown dots on a sandy beige base color of fur
Brownish black nose leather
White whiskers
Tips of upper fangs sometimes stick out when lips are in "closed" position
Very large brown irises compared to normal human eyes, with vertically slit irises which would be more appropriate to a house cat (close-in hunter) than to a real leopard

Identifying Characteristics

Leopard fur would do it in most circumstances.
Younger sister Jessica looks very similar, but spot placement is not exactly the same and her face is slightly rounder

Physical quirks

  • Right-handed
  • tends to portray a lot of body language outside the face, which does not always move the way a human face would
  • also tends to "talk with her hands" even when intending to use a verbal language

Special abilities

One of the last experiment steps overseen by the original Hybrid Minion Project's Lead Designer was to add a genetic modification and surgical implant of materials from the Infinity Inc sample vault into the two feline Hybrid Alpha Series Minion prototypes. The Project Lead's time on the project terminated without either of the prototypes displaying any sign that the modification had activated.
It ought not to have worked.
Even Mr. Arkangel did not express disappointment when no change in behavior appeared. That sample had been from a specimen of dubious, possibly inhuman origins. He had authorized the trial in order to gain as much valuable information from these prototypes before moving on to the next phase of the Hybrid Series projects.
Prototypes 003a and 004a each possess one half of the original subject's powerful "empath" psionic ability. Because it is a neurological sensory experience much like sight, pressure, et cetera, it was overwhelmed by the pain and distress of recent genetic surgery for several weeks -- a sufficient amount of time that no evidence of it showed while either prototype was under corporate observation. However, once sufficient recovery happened, the prototypes' brains did begin to process sensory data that they could not have received through more typical human senses: they experience echoes of emotional states which did not originate in themselves.
While both prototypes had the same genetic graft applied to their overall genetic code, the original tissue implanted into the top of each spinal columns was slightly less than half of the total material harvested from the original subject. (The remaining fragment had been extracted for testing and for a failed cloning attempt.) Since the large male feline prototype had inspired this project upgrade, he was fitted with more of the material that measures signal strength and calculated range, making him better at intuitive determination of angle and distance to source. The smaller, more skittish female feline prototype by default received more of the material that measures subtle frequency variations.
 
Both prototypes had to learn by solo experimentation that they had a psionic ability at all, what it could and could not do, how to use it, how to not use it, and what happened when they overused or neglected it. They had escaped from Infinity Inc before they achieved enough physical stability to realize any of their experiences were not an overtaxed imagination.
 
No human sensory organ behaves quite as these two separated components behave.
If a piece of donated skin is implanted into one metahuman subject, and a formerly adjacent piece of the same skin is implanted into another, they do not pass information to one another across intervening space. They do not function at a greater power level, higher sensitivity, or more impressive range, merely because their new hosts happen to be aware of one another.
The original psionicist was neither human nor metahuman ... which is precisely why Mr. Arkangel expected only negative results.
When Feral and Puma are within a certain range of one another, awake and aware of the world, and not overwhelmed by other sensory information, their Empathy can combine to the original source's capabilities:
  • Their maximum possible sensory range may increase to approximately four hundred yards in an otherwise low-content environment, provided the two prototypes are less than ten feet apart.
  • Each prototype's inherent ability to refine trilateration and triangulation analysis becomes significantly swifter and more precise because two psionicists are jointly processing the sensation in question. Puma is still more accurate than Feral at determining exact locations of sources, but in this scenario he is exponentially faster and more accurate than normal.
  • Each prototype's inherent ability to refine details and nuances of signal becomes significantly swifter and more complex because two psionicists are jointly processing the chaotic sensation in question. Feral is still more accurate than Puma at analyzing convoluted or entangled sources, but in this scenario she is exponentially faster and able to detect more minute details than normal.
 
Six years went by before the two former prototypes learned that neither one of them was the lone psionicist with this seemingly pointless implanted ability. They have had a few encounters since 2003 in which to cautiously experiment. They do not know if they have discovered all the facts about this shared ability.
They do not know if they want to know any more facts, either!

Apparel & Accessories

Jarissa Paxton normally chooses solids in earth tones, but occasionally a family member will present her with an outfit and demand that she wear it for a specific occasion.

Traveling Amur Leopard Catgirl by Jarissa

Feral's work clothes are matte black with a curly pattern woven into the fabric to break up sight lines.

Specialized Equipment

Wyldfire Comms Gear
{BODY: 01, Radio Communications (Encrypted): 06}

Wyldfire Comms Gear
Item | Oct 20, 2018

Mental characteristics

Personal history

The past

1992

Jarissa Venters, age 21, had a pretty final-sounding argument with her parents (Paul and Stefani Venters) about how she should live her life, and particularly about whether metahumanity is a sin, right before she had her final midterms for her Bachelor's degree in Physics. She got through midterms, worked on her applications for graduate school and internship programs, got her final project ready to present, studied up and took her finals ... and realized that her parents were not going to try to talk with her again. She would have to apologize and grovel and all the usual placations.
And she thought about what her life would be like if she just ... didn't. If she went ahead with her own decisions about what internship, what school, what religion, what everything. Without being meek.

She was just putting away some books after a long night of planning her next several months when black-clad strangers burst into her apartment, grabbed her, drugged her, and she woke up strapped to a medical gurney in a bio lab.

It took her failing to attend several interviews and her final presentation and never returning her advisor's calls before she was reported missing. Her cousin (Wapasha Venters), a Sheriff's Deputy, had a quiet encounter with "ATF agents" who told him that she snapped and ran away to California, got killed in a car accident when she hitchhiked and the driver was drunk. Her parents got a visit from "undercover DEA agents" who confided that she had been recruited by the CIA to infiltrate a marijuana cartel, and they named a motorcycle gang in Oklahoma, specialized in smuggling, recently slaughtered in the crossfire between rival drug cartels, unable to give any information. Eventually they decided that they believed the car accident thing was the real end to that story. Rissa was too timid to tell an effective lie, after all....

 

1997

They were not supposed to admit to having been people in the past.

That was stupid.

When they spent enough time around a peer to think this one might live long enough to be an ally, they found little chances to rebel: to give advice, to mutter a name, to lament a favorite pastime, to speculate on the reason they were still alive. To compare their enemies' entirely dimwitted plans to the trashiest old pulp stories of the nineteen-fifties and -sixties.

Sometimes they were kind to one another.

Sometimes they fought each other.

Then the catgirl -- the one whom the authorities all believed to be meek -- found a once in a million opportunity. A moment when all the precautions were discarded. A moment when the worst threat was removed.
A moment when she could use everything that had been done to her, exactly as designed, but on the targets that should never have been possible.
The first quartet of viable prototypes got out of their cages, out of the facility. They wreaked havoc.
They escaped.

They scattered in four different directions, hoping to obscure their trails. One went southwest; one went east; one went on a spiraling trail that changed direction every time his nerves got to him.

Feral traveled westward along Interstate 90 until the congestion approaching Chicago frightened her too badly. She made the mistake of heading north, sneaking aboard trains or hiding herself in tourists' campers, changing transport every time the vehicle slowed.

By the time she woke up in the Skyway suburb in the southern part of Seattle, Rissa's memory for the past six years had glazed into a mostly useless fog. She knew that she was hunted, that she was afraid, that she was alone, and that she was not safe.

She also knew that she could help other people.

 

1998

Things went so badly on the West Coast that, at a loss for any guiding ideas, Jarissa fled east as far as she could go. She never noticed that she knew the route into New York State.

The principle of helping people was sound: Rissa had made some small differences. She had made a couple of friends. The problem was that the bad guys had too many home-court advantages. To stop their biggest moves required Rissa and her friends to make entirely too public a spectacle of themselves. They accomplished what they could, but they agreed to call it quits after they defeated the biggest supervillain on live television.

Rissa finally settled herself in a remote area of Catskill Park, thinking to give the whole hero thing a pass ... at least, for a few years. Until she learned to not feel frightened all the time.

That plan fell apart within months, when one of her friends, Silverwing, tracked her down. First Silverwing started living with her part time as if this were a plan they had already discussed; then he started bringing along news from the world outside the forest, including of people Rissa could probably help; and once he had gotten her more than six months back into the habit of going to stop bad guys, he relocated Rissa into his apartment in Metropolis, Pennsylvania.

 

Somehow that meant she had been hired by a covert supergroup called "Wyldfire". To this day, Rissa wonders why she was never asked whether she would like to join. To do any of this.

 

(But it worked out well enough!)

 

The present: Wyldfire

 

Rissa is now content with her life. She has a husband, "Blackjack" Paxton, a man she met because of those "look at the people you could help" maneuvers by her friend Silverwing. She has a son, Grayson. She has close friends and some steady casual friendships through work. She has reconnected with the friend she lost when she fled Seattle. She has connected with Jessica, the younger sister she had not known existed. She has even talked a little, very cautiously, with the long-lost peers who escaped Infinity Inc with her. Her life is not ideal, but it works.

 

So, of course, she lost all of it when an evil mastermind paid for mercenaries to supply him with a hunter minion. Mister Sinister liked to purchase his "thralls" from alternate realities, without giving hints to the major changes in timeline, then convince his new acquisitions that he had destroyed their towns of origin with missiles. He found that this took all of the hope away from the minion, making them so much easier to control.

 

Sinister was not prepared for the vicious, vengeance-minded, self-destructive obstinacy of an Infinity Inc Hybrid Minion creation such as Feral.

 

Feral was not prepared for the moment when Silverwing, Thunderstrike, Doc Reynolds, Amythyst, and Jessica arrived just in time to avert a reality-shattering final showdown.

 

She was not prepared to get her family back. Her friends. Her life.

 

Her heroic life . . . after two years of being a villain. . . .

Gender Identity

she/her

Sexuality

  • demisexual/demiromantic
  • bisexual

Mental Trauma

Feral has PTSD from her time in Mr. Sinister’s control. She has violent reactions to anything that a quick glance might interpret as the pronged control boxes, or something being attached to another person’s back.

Like the Drawback “Psychological Instability”, the PTSD is triggered by rolling double ones on any Dice Action. Also like “Psychological Instability”, a Character undergoing the PTSD must experience this effect and is not subject to any form of powered assistance (Exorcism, Recovery, burning Hero Points, et cetera). The full effect will last 10 APs of time — however, that includes coming down off the PTSD episode. If the Character makes a Will/Will roll (must roll at least an 11), she can begin sorting reality from her perceptions again, calming down; but she will spend the rest of her “full effect” period exhausted and on edge. Reduce all subsequent Int and Will checks by -2 Column shifts. An ally can make a Persuasion attempt as a Teamwork effort to help the Character succeed in her Will roll.

(This is a Subplot because it is not a permanent Drawback. It will be removed at the conclusion of the Subplot.)

Intellectual Characteristics

Feral/Rissa thinks in a visual language which has become her "native language". She has been having some trouble switching to thinking in English, but has an easier time doing so if she's highly caffeinated or if the subject matter is sufficiently abstract.

Personality Characteristics

Motivation

Seeking Justice
Feral struggles with her own ethics, sometimes dipping over the line into "Villain" status. She has learned to accept who (and what) she is enough that she would no longer even consider going back to being an unaltered human; "Unwanted Power" stopped being her motivation several years ago.
A character with the Seeking Justice motivation finds their moral balance by matching the evil they fight -- which can drift into circumstances that other heroes who Uphold the Good or feel the Responsibility of Power judge villainous for excellent reasons. Feral believes that those who frighten their victims will only avoid repeat action if they are themselves afraid of the consequence. She may stop short of killing a killer because her allies insist that murder is always wrong; but then Feral will switch her tactics to cause permanent injuries, taking away the opponent's capacity to act on an evil choice.
We are working on improving her worldview.

Likes & Dislikes

Hates catgirl jokes more than she hates short jokes.

Vices & Personality flaws

Feral is trying to be a good person in order to please others, not for the sake of goodness itself.
 
The word "kitty" is an irresistible trigger for a murderous rage. Don't use it. If someone calls her "nice kitty", grab them and run, because Rissa is not at home in that skull for at least the next ten minutes.

Social

Family Ties

Social Aptitude

Okay but sometimes quiet in small groups, nervous to the point of vanishing from location in larger groups. If she has to stay in a large group for work reasons, Feral starts patrolling behavior, obviously looking for signs of danger either from inside the group or from areas surrounding.

Speech

  • tends to use the wrong grammar rules for spoken language
  • common phrases include "no get" instead of "I don't understand", or to use {"Feral" / "leopard"} and third person construction instead of {"I" / "me"} and first person construction

Relationships

Feral

spouse (Vital)

Towards Blackjack

5

Frank


Blackjack

spouse (Vital)

Towards Feral

4

Honest


Legal Status

married

Corsair

son (Vital)

Towards Feral

5

Frank


Feral

mother (Vital)

Towards Corsair

5

Honest


Legal Status

parent+child

Grimalkin

daughter (Vital)

Towards Feral

5

Frank


Feral

mother (Vital)

Towards Grimalkin

4

Honest


History

In 2004 in her reality, Jarissa's second pregnancy abruptly failed.
 
In 2007 in her reality, Savannah's parents died during a villain's attack, buying time for their 7-year-old son and nearly 3-year-old daughter to escape. Subsequent villainous actions also got Savannah's older brother killed, putting the helpless toddler in the custody of an interdimensional villain named Multiplex.
Multiplex used various superscience gadgets collected from his journeys to speed Savannah's physical development until, by 2009, his minion "Grimalkin" appeared to be a robust nine-year-old preadolescent girl.
 
In August 2009, Multiplex sent Grimalkin to spy on the interfering busybodies in yet another dimension -- a team that included yet another version of Thunderstrike -- and report her findings back to Red Siren.
But when that target group proved to have parallels to Savannah's own murdered parents....

Legal Status

parent+child

Silverwing

best friend (Important)

Towards Feral

4

Honest


Feral

best friend (Vital)

Towards Silverwing

3

Dishonest


History

They met as peers in the prototype unit of Infinity Inc's Hybrid Minion creation program, when Thomas was thirteen and Rissa was 21. She tried, when she was able, to shield him from the worst of their captors' abuse. Thomas tried, when he found an opportunity, to sneak unmodified food and information to her. When they successfully escaped in 1997, it was because they escaped as a team rather than making solitary attempts. The team split up to confuse pursuit, but Thomas reconnected to Rissa once he had recuperated.

Wealth & Financial state

Ask Blackjack. Or Silverwing. I am not permitted at any time to access more than around fifty dollars in spending money, because I inevitably do something with the money which makes my husband try to explain that we are not destitute. Husband says I have the money sense of an ambush predator.
(( Wealth: 03 ))

Formerly a villain's designer minion, this compact metahuman leopard-human hybrid is now a spouse, mother, and Field Leader for Wyldfire

Character Location
View Character Profile
Species
Other Ethnicities/Cultures
Date of Birth
30th of September, 1971
Year of Birth
1971 39 Years old
Birthplace
Wahpeton, North Dakota, USA
Spouses
Blackjack (spouse)
Siblings
Current Residence
Gender
female
Eyes
brown, vertically slitted, normally almost no whites visible
Hair
black with brown undertones, wavy verging on curly
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
sandy base tone with darker brown rosettes in roughly oval groups of five spots, lightening toward white as it gets close to the front of her torso
Height
5'0" to the top of her ears
Weight
around 110 lbs
Quotes & Catchphrases
Stupid humans don't look up!
— A young Feral announcing her immediate strategy to teammates in Seattle, Washington, February 1998
 
You did good.
Welcome to Wyldfire.
Feral pats Gravitar roughly on the shoulder, August 18th, 2009
Aligned Organization
Related Reports
Known Languages

Society of Cover Identities
Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009  
I am working my way toward a kitchen -- I want to see what I can repurpose for making the Society of Rao cover hold up a little stronger.
(And maybe I will draw Castle out, after all?)
 
After disabling camera, smoke detector, monoxide detector, and room lights: I have used bleach gel to etch the Society of Rao symbol in the kitchen, as if carved with heat vision.
 
Meanwhile, Kilimanjaro is attacking at the lobby.
 
  • AIM set up multiple "emergency 'ejection' tunneling devices", Mole Men style straight from The Tick cartoon
  •  
  • Golden Lotus plans to have Kilimanjaro raise up a magma tube that did not already exist in this area to create a "volcano" and melt this building
  •  
  • we're on LIMESTONE
  •  
  • -- which is why the Metropolis Underground is a thing! --
  •  
  • about half a decade ago, this part of the oldest part of the city of Metropolis abruptly sank in a giant sinkhole
  •  
  • about 20+ years ago, frakkin' Dr. Teleios built a secret lair below Metropolis with a gigantic natural cavern full of an artificial environment
  •  
  • about 8 years ago, a secret government effort built an underground complex a little ways west of here, (headed by now disgraced and arrested General Thunderbolt Ross) to create Project: Quantum Leap
 
We need to halt this fiasco in progress. If we don't, the bedrock will get cracked, and the Lackawanna River will flood the Hollows -- drowning everyone who lives here. And possibly sinking the rest of southern Metropolis in a ground collapse event.
 
I have one can of whipped topping. I'm shaking it as I head toward the lobby fight.
The topping will add a disrupting slickness to what Kilimanjaro does, which might give me a thirty second gap in which to talk sense into the lot of the combatants. They are about to kill themselves, their allies, and all surrounding citizens, which will make them Acquisition Number One for Team Luthor and Teleios both. Maybe don't?

Technical Difficulties in the Hollows
Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009  
I know it's a Wyldfire plan.
I know it is going to go haywire.
 
I still say I designed a reliable plan with plenty of flexibility in all the right places.
 
One of the AIM people turns out to be able to generate a paralytic ray -- similar to what Amythyst does, probably not as powerful.
 
I do not enjoy it.
 
If it turns out that Tomcat can power through this, I am going to be furious.
 
After working hard to convince the AIM security team that I am trying to draw out Castle for "playtime", I can follow the trio of Amythyst, Gravitar, and Samaritan into the sewer level of the back side of this building.
 
 
The team is doing excellent work. Smart tactics, supporting each other, it's great.
I just really want a turn at thugging somebody.
But I know it's a better strategy to stay on task.
 
I am working my way toward a kitchen -- I want to see what I can repurpose for making the Society of Rao cover hold up a little stronger.

Preparations: Resurrection Protocol
Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Project lead notes: Resurrection Protocol

 

1.

Dr. A might want to pick a working pseudonym. And get armored.

If not, I might task YJ with making one for her.
Criteria:
  • no trademarks.
  • No direct reference to species/culture of origin.
  • No Greek, it is almost 2010 and I do not want Rick Riordan crossovers.
  • Something easy to filter out on AO3.
  • Prefer single word, no leet-speak, sfw (no euphemisms), max three syllables.
Obviously if Dr. A rolls her own, she can pick out whatever she likes. These are the Teenager Rules not restrictions on an adult.
 

2.

Reminder to self: ask Tee to touch up gloss coat on claws.

Project Safika note: Dr. Tafey may have indirect access to Make-A-Wish files from last few years. Would Mirabel be open to taking on this research project?

Best case scenario, we conclusively confirm that Safika was not a genetic disorder patient, abducted bc the genome deformity would be easier to "crack" in I.I. style, with a mourning family of origin left in the background.
Worst case scenario, the fifteen-year-old "genome improvement" process has become industry standard among evil bio-geneticists due to Corporate policy of appealing "job severance". Former Corporate employees have brought this system to so many other unethical organizations that we can assume any dubious-ethics-origin mutate was drafted from a list of people who got genotyped.
 

3.

snerk If I leave all of the context up to the angel's imagination, I get the most versatile infodumps.

Underdwellers passed along a rough sketch of neighborhood site survey for our target.

I can't think of a good way to get the original pre-sinking neighborhood map with storm drains et cetera, but we can work without it. AIM cover of "construction contractors to rebuild Hollows" indicates,
A) enough theoretically "legitimate" recovery crews must have done some kind of shoring up work in the Hollows for that to seem plausible.
B) inadequate and inconsistent regulatory oversight, probably due to lack of city/state funds
C) it's been only two months, and the exterior was not visibly changed. Weather damage should continue, but interior may be lined. However! Necessary connections to original municipal services and utilities should exist, if only as partially clogged or bent holes. I bet nanotech can get through some of that. AIM might have put filters on the interior stretch of most pipes and vent shafts, for example, but what about original electric and telecommunication channels? City would have long since terminated power to those. Possible but less likely is that someone took the time and effort to harvest all of the wiring. Yes, copper is valuable, but earthquake debris would make quick removal nearly impossible, and taking sufficient time would expose the scavenger to predation.
I want to ask Dr. A to put together passive or low-emission detectors that could be disguised in gear for the duos. Things to register: methane, concentrated humidity. Caprolactam or styrene fumes. UV radiation likely to be emitted by plasma.
Materials for these inventions come under the Special Projects budget. Right? Please?
 

4.

Lazarus water - speculation

Sir, could you please look at accumulated notes about a light bar that caused an agonizing blue-white narrow light during "processing" and put together a brief description for such a possible "triggering component"? Whatever technical details are necessary. It was always blue-white to me. It always hurt. I have never asked the others if it looked same to them but why wouldn't it? It was bar shaped and moved on a computer-controlled arm, sort of like a scanner for a fax, but above not from underside. Extremely narrow apperture in the "short" direction, more than body width or operating table width in "long" direction.
The important part I need words for is to give just enough description to identify, and a high enough urgency to attached instruction that if they spot such a thing, priority one should be to shatter it. Or permanently block aperture so it can't emit. Not for recovery. Not for experiencing for even a second.
 
Maybe I'm guessing wrong.
I hope I'm guessing wrong.
 
I worry that if I am the one to address it, either I will oversell or undersell, and the team will misstep.
 

5.

Humanitarian Duo

Samaritan and Gravitar
Cover: It's December. Cold, wet, tough to get food. Occasionally some humanitarian group or other comes through with clean blankets, prepacked bags with some basic food and water and OTC supplies for self care. It would make sense to also send in a couple medical volunteers at this time of year to deal with frostbite or walking pneumonia or such. Possibly sponsored by Sister Julie's group at Our Lady of Divine Mercy or by Bio-Investigations LTD low-cost clinic outreach
If they spend the first couple hours of the afternoon in working their way through the area's residents, genuinely helping people and clearly NOT taking any permanent notes of interest to AIM, they might be able to walk directly in the front door to ask site security if the company can spare any filtered water to refill bottles. Or do they need health checkups against the weather. Or "can we warm up and rest here a bit before we go back to it", I dunno, whatever the Blake Charm applies. Make friends. That thing he does.
Initial focus: People on site. Get info about them, guide them away from figuring us out.
 

Geotech Engineering Inspector Duo

Medkit and Amythyst
Cover: Contract employees for Metropolis city gov't, sent down to check whether the windstorm at the end of November may have caused dangerous shifts in the exposed canyon walls.
If they go in around mid-afternoon with the same survey equipment that normally gets used in roadside areas, plus a flashlight and a clunky looking camera and a five-ring binder full of dot matrix printed City Regulations and notes from a geologist's course on What You Don't Want To See, then even if they get caught and searched, their cover should hold.
Amythyst can be the documentation guy, taking photos, and Medkit can be the measurements guy wielding the laser measure.
I bet Amythyst can figure out a way in that makes them unlikely to get spotted, possibly fully infiltrate the target building through a side entrance or something.
Initial focus: Identify, isolate, and defeat site security.
 

Takeover

Dr. A
Cover: Honestly I hope she does not wind up needing one. Ideally I would prefer that Dr. A act through her nanotech for this entire infiltration, not once setting foot inside the target building. If she does wind up having to go in, it will be as a rescue operative to back up one of the above duos.
I have no idea what other premade software or hardware Dr. A might need for this job. I have absolute faith in her ability to make them think innocent coincidences are ruining their week, though.
Initial focus: Observe the current activity and movement patterns inside the building, building up the necessary resources to divert them. Get control of on-site computer systems. Overwrite any information on the target substance with similar but harmless data.
 

Distraction

me
Cover: AIM has to be expecting us, or Team Luthor, or Hammer Empire, or Oscorp, or Society of Rao, or who knows. Maybe the Shadow. Maybe even the Hero of Metropolis himself.
So I'm going to make a run at them. I'm going to seem very sincere about it.
I'm going to be A Problem, but on the wrong side of the building (probably starting near the top of the exposed edifice), and make them work to stop me and drive me away.
My plan is to make AIM think they've already won. And that it will be at least a few days before my associates can try again.
 
 

Build Requests for Dr. A:

 
  • Passive or low-emission detectors for chemicals, listed above.
  •  
  • Passive or low-emission scanners for UV energy emissions as would be expected of grow lights and of high energy plasma generators, mentioned above.
  •  
  • Decent quality data crawler on a thumb drive, with transmission pointer to a junk server on Pirate Bay or something, for how Society of Rao would probably try to steal AIM research from a workshop in progress. I expect this to get defeated but I don't want that to be easy.
  •  
  • Your own real version of whatever you want the guys to insert into whatever systems they can access (the original fire detection system for the building? the AIM Snack Vendor Control System? idk ) so you can sneak your way into control of other building systems without having to physically be in the room yourself.
  •  
  • A draft of slightly-falsified data with which to overwrite whatever they already have on this "Lazarus Water" stuff. Might be able to get some good gobbledygook from Moleculon if he is not busy doing end of quarter tests on the students.
  •  

Kaiju Plauntie
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AIMing to Misbehave: Chapter 8
Plot | Jan 3, 2023

Slipping past the AIM specialists outside the abandoned building, now Wyldfire must content with a deadly garden, a deranged AIM scientist, and perhaps even their temporary allies... the Hammer Empire!

Tuesday
November 10
2009
about 5:50 pm
 
There's a really, really big ... guy? pumpkin fetishist? here to the northwest who has come out to endanger Samaritan.
 
Let's find out how good the Warwolves are at disruption tactics.

Be sure where the attack will land
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AIMing to Misbehave: Chapter 7
Plot | Jan 3, 2023

Caught in an AIM trap, Wyldfire and Hammer Empire have to find a way free. Their only hope may lie with the cunning plans of their teammate, Amythyst!

Tuesday
November 10
2009
about 5:30 pm
 
Pain, I can handle.
Either it will end, in which case I can recuperate; or it will put me down, in which case I stop having to make choices.
 
I like having allies nearby that I can trust to help me get through this.
 
I want to be very certain that my next several attacks will land where I want them to land. I don't want to hit a teammate by mistaken perception.
 
This is the hard part for me.
I can try to check kinesthetics? Which will probably be off-kilter because they, too, are in pain just now.
 
It is easier to determine that Amythyst's voice sounds farther than two pounces away. Dr. A is in motion, trotting across uneven pavement. Medkit is quiet and still in a space with some cover. I can see Samaritan, close enough to smell his shampoo.
By elimination, the two moving bodies outside the east wall of this truck are not my people. They might be Warwolves. But I think they are AIM, whether they are people or Eochai-whatsits.
 
And I can slice my way through a standard panel truck wall in seconds.
 
 
There's a mouse here.
 
She is from New York.
 
She's bigger than me.
 
In order to not be rude to her, I think I will be cranky at one of the Warwolf panthers.
 
 
Note to myself for later this week:
Lex Luthor needs to be dead.
First I need to convince my better angel to agree with me.
Luthor is following in Red Diamond's model. He is going to cost me my family again.
He cannot do that if he is a corpse.
 
 
Once upon a time, Hogan Grimm tried to date Dr. Isley, and now he wants to win her back, and we're going to have to set him on fire.
She tells us that Grimm changed Pamela Isley into Poison Ivy.
 
  Interim report to the dead drop server:  

Have combined efforts with HE commando squad of WWs. Also 2 independent contractors from NYC. Pls check oldest grandson for medical disturbance.

Preparing to transport approx 200 yards away to likely target workshop, with deviation to dept store for equipment. See blue doc files for recommended safety supplies if we must be retrieved.

 

Historically, H.E. "Warwolves" are feline.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AIMing to MIsbehave: Chapter 6
Plot | Nov 5, 2022

The heroes open negotiations with one of the most ruthless criminal organizations in the world to strike a deal on how to corral AIM, meanwhile, Team Luthor's web of danger closes in!

Tuesday
November 10
2009
about 5:00 pm
 
Historically, Hammer Empire "Warwolves" (the military-ish formation, or maybe it's a rank, I have not asked) have been feline.
More accurately: they're limited shapeshifter metahumans. They started off as highly trained humans, they got genetic therapy of the not-really-medically-advisable variety as designed by a twerp who calls himself Stirge, they gained the unpleasant capacity to rearrange some internal systems in a manner I have learned to call "shifting up to 'combat form'" where they have digigrade limbs, elongated jawlines and relocated topside ears, and
(much to my surprise the first time around)
tails.
All of it modeled after panthera pardis, mostly orientalis.
 
Not a coincidence.
Stirge got a hefty chunk of the DNA for this godawful idea from that time he had me tied to a gurney in Gotham.
 
What might be less broadly known among the Hammers is that their shifting came from a different felinoid product of the Company: Puma. Or maybe they do all know, but have yet to mention it to their occasional hangout buddy himself.
I dunno. I have yet to ask. I never cared.
 
Guess maybe I am about to ask.
 
I have been fairly certain for about five years now that a certain catboy has never figured this out for himself. I imagined that either he would trip over the info someday, in which case maybe he would stop thinking of that twerp Stirge as a buddy; or else he would set me up with entirely too fun an opportunity to explain.
  Striker's opening info:  

AIM has found one of our storehouses and seems to be treating it as their personal shopping mall. They've been taking things such as our covatrinium. We would like them to stop stealing our supplies for their own projects.

 

They had opportunity to steal sensors, which they may have taken this time because that's about all that's left.

 

We have QR Code trackers on the crates of covatrinium ingots. An interested party let us know that a camera caught one of our QR codes leaving Suicide Slum in the possession of a motorcyclist in a canary yellow helmet.

 
- "Striker", canine Warwolf
 
The plan is to have associates of Wyldfire impersonate the one team of AIM flunkies. Ambush the pickup team by "delivering" materials. Replace those in order to infiltrate Grimm's workplace.
There is no fire in this plan so far. The HE are on board, at least as far as it goes.
 
 
In front of a green background, a male figure wears a mottled green and black close-fitting suit. The figure's head is a large yellow pumpkin, very round. One carved eye and a line that might be the start of a jack-o-lantern grin are
by Jarissa via Craiyon
 
Yeah, I'm going to need to take my medication as soon as we're safely out of this garage.

We have detectors now
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AIMing to Misbehave: Chapter 5
Plot | Oct 23, 2022

Armed with what they learned at the Infinity Foundation labs, the Wyldfire team sets out to catch AIM red-handed, yet avoid Team Luthor and the Hammer Empire!

Tuesday
November 10
2009
about 4:45 pm
   

Dear [Blackjack]

 
BBB has a Caramel Pumpkin Milkshake for the seasonal. How do you feel about adding "pumpkin jambalaya" to the meal plan for next week? Should I check for roadside farm truck stands on our way back to base?
 
I am off mushrooms and bean sprouts for a bit though.
 

Love, F

 

 
 
We have the intel about Dr. Grimm that Doc R gathered. We are on our way to a parking garage under an abandoned park.
 
Whoever made this, they excavated a huge hole in the ground here. Poured a foundation. Laid pipe and wiring and built a frame for a parking garage. Covered it in dirt. Went out and purchased soil in sufficient quantities for all these trees. Topped it off and laid sod and added a stage shell, a statue, pavement for walking paths, light poles. And then abandoned it? Nobody bought the land the split instant its previous owner went to bankruptcy court? In a city inhabited by alleged philanthropists, multiple, including Luthor and a couple other mob bosses and the legacy Gironde family that originally led a colonization effort around here?
 
 
We have a Hammer Empire special team here.
One of them is creeping up on Doc and Martin.
Hoo boy.
Guess I should announce myself.
 

 

 
On the plus side: maybe I can get their cooperation vis-a-vis the Gigantic Plant Kaiju problem?

Think Tank
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AIMing to Misbehave: Chapter 4
Plot | Sep 18, 2022

The heroes must do some detective work to uncover the mysterious past of Dr. Grimm so they can unravel what he intends for the future. Meanwhile, while they deal with the threat of Team Luthor, they must contend with the shadow of the Hammer Empire!

Tuesday
November 10
2009
about 3:30 pm
 
As we piled out of the SUV in the parking lot for Bait Foundation (not called that), my headset went off with a pre-recorded private message for me. Not work-related, just a family update. The Thanksgiving break is coming up, after all, and a lot of the students will be heading off to their folks' places for a mini vacation. It is work related, however, that I might have been a smidge distracted.
Fortunately, Martin is right there too. If trouble had jumped us at this moment, I would have had the four seconds I needed to focus on my job.
 
 
Mostly "my job" right now is to stay out of the way while some scientific investigation happens. Biology, nanotech, cloud computing: these are not my lane. I herded Martin into driving me and the Rescue Boys through the nearest drive-through because I wanted some fuel, yes; I also wanted a prop. A justification for camping in the building lobby, where there is no reason to stick my whiskers into the work of the current Special Projects Think Tank.
It sounds like they are learning a lot of stuff in there. Half of what they are discovering might turn out to be of no use. That's fine: it's the one little thing that will make someone on the project go "hunh!" later that we want.
Might even be something they learn now that seems like a side thread, but gets retextualized when we compare notes with Medkit in an hour or so.
 
I need to phrase this in my next Interim Report so I don't sound like a condescending plonk, though. I like not being Project Lead on this job. I would have been a terrible fit for it -- see previous, re: biotech, cloud computing, my years of diligent work to present myself as Not A Scientist to the rest of Wyldfire. If this was subatomic particle science
which, God help us, it's gonna be later
I would be trying to contribute usefully. If in a severely crabby tone.
God, I don't want LexCorp and/or AIM and/or this Grimm turkey to be mucking around with cross-dimensional waveforms. This has never been Wyldfire's intended area. Ought to be a Watchmen problem, while we handle capitalism-based villainy. So how come the first time I met Wyldfire, it involved a pit trap to an alternate reality? And I notice the current roster for this Special Project in progress is
  • cross-dimensional lady,
  • cross-dimensional gentleman,
  • dubiously multidimensional cinnamon roll,
  • actual local human being, whose family tree has got more cross-dimensional touristry than the Previouslies montage of that Tembi Locke show we used to watch in the staff lounge when Steve was a long-term visitor,
  • and me. Undersized general-purpose survivor.
I have no stones to throw here. I can't support a pretense that I had no advanec warning.
 
Stupid profit-motive villains.
 
My next Interim Report will have to not step on any of the scientific discoveries that Project Lead gets to describe. Not put too much of a subduing effect onto the inquiry paths that a potential rescue effort would have to consider, either. They might be able to compare notes with Dr. M himself, instead of trying to access his notes off key words. At the same time, I mustn't skew or bias any considerations outside survival-critical safety issues.
 
Let's see how this will sound:
 

I'm doing guard post in the lobby of Bait Corporation. The doctors are in there crossing AIM with Addams Family. I don't want any on my lunch. Eventually they will make a moss cryptid, learn what we need to figure out, and come out here because they know where Grimm is getting a component that he can't transport around the countryside. What has Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania got that mad fungal science needs? Personal note: Big Belly Burger has a limited time caramel pumpkin milkshake for November that is sweet enough I can taste it. Probably too sweet for humans? Whatever, I love it.

You know what would be interesting? Records search. City contractors involved in the understructure of this part of the city, what, twenty years ago. Any related directly to Grimm? If not, what about his thesis advisor? Where'd he go to Mad Science School, anyway?

For that matter, I kind of want to see the site surveys from back then. Maybe aerial photography. Use to be so many industrial businesses in this area of the lake's coast, was that just for shipping? was this the most solid bedrock near a shipping lane that eventually connects to the river and then the Atlantic? Did the primary train depot use to be up here? What abo---

- Feral stops in mid-syllable.
An alien-seeming musical vocalization comes from
inside the insulated laboratory.
 
After four seconds, the recording ends.

Grimm Phase Two
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AIMing to Misbehave: Chapter 3
Plot | Aug 21, 2022

After the fight at the abandoned factory, the team teams up with two rogue AIM cyber-commandos to stop what may be an AIM plot! Meanwhile, Team Luthor enters the mix to complicate matters even more!

Tuesday
November 10
2009
about 3:00 pm
 
My "Field Leader" security report was super scanty.
But I typed it on my phone -- which, as everyone even loosely associated with Special Projects knows, is complicated for me in comfortable conditions, so seriously difficult for me when crammed into a corner of an SUV in motion -- and the reason I crammed myself into a corner is
Medkit's cotton-mushroom combo planty thingy
LOOKED AT ME
it's in the child seat in the middle of the bench
you BET that I wedged myself as far to the side as seatbelt permits. And held onto my burner phone very, very firmly.
I am not a happy leopard, is what I am writing.
 
I hope SW emails me back soon. I don't know whether I hope the answer is some version of "he's fine, you're being weird; why?" because that would mean all of our kids are okay … or if I hope the answer is more equivalent to "my son is playing hooky!" in which case, I can require an explanation and then send him back to his normal form.
 
That is a sentence that I just wrote.
In regard to a child I have a supporting role in raising.
Maybe I should stop writing notes. Stop thinking about my life. Look outside. Keep my attention strictly on my job, which is to anticipate and resolve critical safety concerns for the project team except for when the Project Lead gives me a specfic directive.
 
 
We are on the 5th floor of an office building that has not had renters present for at least six months.
 
Trevor Finn says the entire city of Metropolis is in danger, probably all at once. He says he and Grant have been trying to derail it, but Project Lead Hogan Grimm has proven too much for them.
Grant Mason says AIM does nothing unless they have a client somewhere who has paid for the service that AIM is providing.
Finn says, and Mason confirms, that Grimm is using this client project to advance his own plans. The thing with the moss is the "Green Plan" or the "Green Effort". As it progresses, it will inevitably double-cross AIM and probably the client as well.
Grimm has had them stealing equipment from LexCorp and from some Hammer Empire stashes.
 
We compare notes, give Dr. A our analyses. Plan to go investigate the junkyard, probably, but maybe Grimm's hq.
 
This plan is interrupted by incoming Team Luthor (siiiiiigh)
 
 
Update to Boss: combat capacity of drones, green nanite mist, yellow-white energy beam
 
Update to Blackjack: "Dr. B needs motivation to learn his new tappy-tappy under secure conditions. Help me think of motivation."
Update to personal diary: I'm going to put stale powdered dill in Don's washing machine.
 
I can help with that washing machine plan

Dr. A, having read Feral's notes to herself regarding "retribution"
 
 
Luthor has at least partially cracked our comms encryption. He is tracking the signal. We don't have reason to suspect he can decipher it enough to hear us, but we know he can find our physical devices. We have to contact the tech duo for replacement. They have one set of brand spanking new options, but if anything happens to those, we'll have to downgrade to Dollar General cheapos.
 
Luthor wants some "focusing crystals" out of the Chronaton jobbies. And he can track signal output from those machines.
 
I just hope we can figure out who Grimm is actually trying to impress … and that it does not turn out to be Poison Ivy….

Danger: Electrical Hazard
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AIMing to MIsbehave: Chapter 2
Plot | Aug 7, 2022

Deep into the investigation at a Lincoln Industries' factory, Wyldfire continues their search for the missing Trevor Finn, but has to deal with ill-advised science! Legally shaky enginering! And a threat that makes for questionable choices!

Tuesday
November 10
2009
about 2:10 pm
   
I hope my "Field Leader" interim report filed correctly before we cross this threshold. I like this customized tech that lets me subvocalize a voice-to-text file while the team is handling diverse work. As Project Lead, Dr. A is going to be making the official report to our employer, of course -- but I'm still responsible for leaving enough intel that a rescue party could follow up appropriately.
I am now in Airplane Mode to reduce signals. The explanation I got from the gadgeteers is that my earpiece uses bone conduction to pick up my voice and put sound in my ear, but my smartphone connects to the earpiece via my natural bio-magnetic field. Sounds super easy to disrupt, corrupt, or redirect, but then again, I am not a genius. So what do I know?
Well, for one, I know that signals of that low a strength should pose no potential ignition hazard in this next room. Or, rather, no more of a risk than I would pose by existing in there if I had zero electronic gear on me at all.
For another, I know that if I suffer a shock in here, I need to check my gear as soon afterward as I safely can do.
 
We are inside the Lincoln Industries warehouse. Judging by remaining equipment and sockets left on floor slash walls, the front area -- south end of the warehouse, official front door -- was set up to be reception and office space, for managers to get the digital work done or to meet with reps from customers. Northward transitions to heavy industrial manufacturing work, appropriate to the "Ironworks" name of this city region.
We passed through some of the manufacturing area to reach the testing department.
The threshold is covered by a thick door thoroughly insulated against electromagnetic energy. On approach, we spotted warning signs about a severe electrical danger. Once the door opened, we see visual markers of an exploded plasma ball; water on the floor, which is certainly not going to be from a trigger of fire suppression in an electrical test room but might indicate that the water-based fire suppression in the rest of the building had been diverted to fuel another miniaturized hydrogenerator similar to those we found in the office area; and, drawing most of my threat concern, skeletal frameworks incorporating clockwork components, draped in burnt moss.
 
Oh … good.
 
The skeletons are … not yellow?
So. Probably not AIM. Unless the color theme would have been applied after it finished assembly and alpha testing.
 
But if this stuff turns out to not be AIM, who are our other likely suspects? I don't see sleek, sharp outlines, so probably not Oscorp. It has the potential for ridiculous ego-boosting bulk that suits some LexCorp designs. I have no idea whether the Kryptonian Mansplainer Society has design aesthetics along these lines, since all I have observed of their production so far has been green goop gas. Everything else I saw them use was probably of an ally's manufacture.
 
 
The machines covered in moss are trying to kill us.
 
 
AIM just showed up!
 
 
AIM showed up some MORE!
 
 
One of the newest AIM arrivals is Trevor Finn. He says he needs help. He says this is "Phase One" of "Dr. Grimm's plan". He wants us to come with him right now.
 
The guy I landed on was here to "get the notes", do cleanup, and sanitize the "Chronaton Generator".
 
 
To: Blue eyes
From: Feral
Subject: Check On Your Son
 

Now.

- Feral sends a fast email

Misbehavior
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AIMing to Misbehave
Plot | Feb 17, 2023

A plea to for help in rescuing a family member from the grip of the criminal organization, Advanced Idea Mechanics, draws Wyldfire into the crosshairs between a three way tug of war!

Tuesday
November 10
2009
1:00 pm
 

Briefing Notes

  • Dr. A says brownouts on the north
  • also Lex stuff on north side
  • M talks about specific complications, north side
  • Don says particle physics cannon. Glitter confetti gun?
  • Don says moss. Uh oh. Probably not B. Probably not Poison Ivy, he says.
  • Dr. S says orchids. From V'bora.

- Feral's handwriting is messy even on her tablet

 
Tuesday
November 10
2009
about 2:00 pm
 
After pooling our findings over the past three weeks, we're going to the Lincoln Industries warehouse in the Ironworks District. We'll be extra watchful for LexCorps types in addition to trying to find pointers toward AIM. Lincoln Industries specialized in steelworks and in building major electric transfer stations. Eventually they moved elsewhere.
 
The Green Line terminates near here. It's an underground section of the city network.
 
Amythyst says the security system wiring has been removed. Dr. A says the lightbulbs from some of the emergency lighting has been removed. I had Medkit (who has personal shields) look up above the drop ceiling, and he found a miniature hydroelectric generator attached to the fire suppression system.
I don't like any of this.
Then Amythyst and Dr. B excitedly tell us about the mobile "moss" they found that moves at superspeed. I really don't like this.
They start poking above the ceiling in their area too.
 
To: 'Blue Eyes'
Subject: 'gossip'
What kind of plant or animal could have a membership in your running club?

— Feral sends an email to Silverwing regarding the mystery moss as described by Don and Amythyst
 
He has not heard of anything, but he'll ask the running club about it.
 
In the meantime, we need to move quicker. Dr. B disconnected the water supply into the building, which should reduce threat levels, but will also draw attention from Metropolis Utilities if not from the police.

Five Front Battles
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Specter, Chapter 11: Fate of Justice!
Plot | Apr 28, 2022

With the Society of Rao on the ropes but Oscorp going strong with AIM returning for a round 2, can our heroes rescue the kidnap victims and stop Oscorp and AIM's goals before it's too late?

 
Tuesday
October 20
2009
got to be around 10:30 pm EDT, right?
 
I suspect that a teammate is going to find proof as to how it's only 8 or so at night. It feels later!
 
This battle is getting messy. We and Agent El from SAFEGUARD count as a front, but it seems we are fighting everybody. I feel like some simplication would be the best thing right now.
 
 

Second Front: This "Dr. Baptiste" guy is an omnimorph and a telepath

 
When you are faced with an untrusted telepath, you treat their proximity some of the way you treat persistent intrusive thoughts that are trying to become obsessive. You think to yourself "stop!", you deliberately swap your thought process to a visualization that includes multiple sensory inputs. Specifically with a telepath who doesn't have a track record of meticulous respect for privacy, it also helps if you can jump thought formats or thought tracks several times in rapid succession, or swap to exclusively nonverbal thinking.
Can't choose to not think about pink elephants -- can't choose to not think about any secret we know -- but we can certainly start thinking intensively about burritos. The way they smell, the texture sequence of biting into one, the way a burrito is not "a less corny enchilada" but a completely different thing.
Have you ever had cajun burritos? Creole seasoning, a little brown sugar, spicy brown mustard, three different peppers from the spice cabinet. Salsa and a seven-year reserve sharp cheddar.
 
Meanwhile, Dr. Baptiste agrees that he has been manufacturing slaves. He admits to being an omnimorph. He does not admit to knowing that he is a telepath.
He thinks he is worth rescuing.
I sent him to find "the man in the purple crystal armor" and do whatever he says, as a path to leaving here with the capacity to make choices for himself.
 
 

Third Front: Advanced Idea Mechanics

 
The leader of the commando group announced himself as "Ajax Balthazar McGee".
He's certain that his name matters to us.
I asked the team whether he looks more like a "Rupert".
Dr. A pronounced him a "Roderick". Perfect! We'll call him "Roddy" for combat discourse.
Also he has moved himself to the top of the priority tree. I need to knock him flat and ruin his immediate next three moves!
He has some sort of weaponry built into his gauntlets, because of course he does. Once I have him flat, I will be able to reach the emitter areas of the gadget with my claws!
 
 

Fourth Front: Society of Rao

 
Wait, they have superspeed now?!
 
Feral: "Dr. A, Amythyst, seriously. How normal is it for a Kryptonian to move at what the usual human on the streets of Topeka, Kansas would call 'superspeed'?"
Feral: "I'm asking for science."
Adel: "Normal - you have to remember that we are talking about a different planet with different physics."
Feral: "Right. Okay. Thanks. So it's strong like a Star Trek Vulcan, fast, pretty good dexterity to go with the lighter gravity, and some really impressive muscle control in case you need to mimic human biorhythms for a sensor. Anything else? Do you folks make up most of the people at the annual Polar Bear swim meet?"
Adel: "Yes, but that is a secret!"
Feral to herself: "Kryptos can stroll around a Dakota Winter in board shorts .... noted."
 
 

Fifth Front: Oscorp

 
With the rest of this cleared up, we still need to get the rescue targets out of a room to the southeast of the complex. Dr. Baptiste says he can take control of the security system for a short period if we'll go in there and act swiftly.
 
 

Selections from Team Communications

Dr. Don Blake has not been inside SeaBase Alpha for at least half an hour. Once the hostiles are resolved, the team gets to wondering where he is.
Don reports via Wyldfire comms that he is inside the nearby AIM sub.
 
Feral to Don, and not in a quiet or calm voice: "THE AIM SUB?!?"
Feral to Don via comms, still not quiet nor calm: "You're in an AIM sub and you're high on morphine?!?
( No, he's not on morphine. But he did have to deal with a submarine drone full of Dr. Zoara's green mind control gas.)
 
Feral to Don via comms: "You're in an AIM sub and there was Rao-made green goop gas!!!"
(Yes and no. The gas was in a separate vehicle. He destroyed it, dissipating the gas into the ocean.)
 
Feral to Don: "You have CONTAMINATED THE FISHERY AREA FOR ATLANTIC CITY NEW JERSEY WITH GREEN GOOP GAS"
Feral may faint if she doesn't start breathing normally soon.
 
Feral to Dr. Baptiste and Agent El: "I am now in violation of the EPA and the Fisheries and Wildlife Protection Act. And possibly the Geneva Convention."
Feral to Dr. Baptiste and Agent El: "I am definitely not getting a bonus off this contract."

- what was audible by Dr. Baptiste from Feral's end of the comms

He ought to be easy to spot
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We need to find Amythyst -- he called for support on whatever he is currently facing.
Amythyst is tall. And a bright shiny purple crystalline guy.
He ought not be hard to locate. Right?
Especially in an underwater base?
 
 
This plan is blown before we even get out into the north hallway.
My fault.
I told Dr. B to trace the pipes that Dr. Zee's concoction drained down, find out where the concoction went.
He ran into the airlock and triggered it to cycle.
Without a breath mask or an oxy tank.
 
Is he under the influence of Dr. Zee's goop gas?
 
Feral to Dr. A: "How fast can you swim?"
Adel Urda-Na: "In this temp??? No clue"

 
As we rummage through the cabinets for emergency supplies, Dr. A collected an emergency mask and oxy tank for herself plus a second set for Dr. B. I suggested that she take a third tank to use for an underwater jet. It won't last long, but it will get her some momentum.
I also picked up a "compass" off one of the defeated AIM goons. It has a glowing indicator pointed southwest -- probably aimed at their submarine. It seems to me like this is a good idea to tuck into Dr. A's sleeve. At minimum, she'll know where the largest concentration of "additional trouble" is currently located.
 
Adel Urda-Na: "Not a bad idea. What do you think about heading to the sub instead of coming back here?? Might be able to use that in some way"
Feral looks outside briefly. "Closer in an emergency. But it will be another fight. You have a waterproof bag for the tappy-tappy?"
Adel Urda-Na: "More there?? Why can't anything be easy?"
Feral: "If it was easy, they wouldn't need us to show up."
Adel Urda-Na: "Not a good answer."
Feral shrugs.
Feral: "I mean. I don't go on the jobs to stalk a target and photograph their business contacts. Any clerk can do that."
Adel Urda-Na: "I'm a doctor - not a superhero"

 
We continue to be unhappy with Dr. B's situation even as it becomes more apparent that he did choose to maybe-drown himself, doing "find out if my mom made sure I have the Asgardian water-breathing biology fully functional" in the God-awfullest manner, and not because he was drugged and manipulated into a risk of dubious consent. Dr. A several times has critical commentary in regard to her boyfriend's thinking.
 
Feral: "My husband does not do crap like this."
moment of thoughtful hesitation
Feral, grumbling: "Best friend does, though."

 
 
I can predict exactly how my eventual debrief is going to go:
 
The boss: "Feral, do you remember what your highest priority assignment was for this job?"
Feral, scuffing floor and twisting her tail in her hands: " ... keep the three doctors alive ... "
The boss: "So your plan for rescuing Dr. Blake was...?"
Feral: "... rig a jetpack on Dr. A and send her after Dr. B ... "
The boss: "And this would work because?"
Feral, scuffing floor with other foot: "... two doctors in one spot means twice as much chaos ... "

 
 
Medkit is being hauled back into the east hallway as part of "retreat for additional protection" by the Oscorp Protector. Agent El tipped me off that two more opposition personnel are in that hallway. I should scoot around the long way, fast and low, to ambush from the side.
 
A tall, not-human-looking white person (guy?) is here, probably late twenties, going through a lot of anger and self-hatred.
 
And communicating via telepathy.
 
And melting to look like me.
  ...  
Aaaaaaaaaaand from the east end's chamber, more AIM troops arrive.
Great. Just great.
 

Ajax Balthazar McGee

— he's shouting his own name into the building like he's on WWE

Tappy-Tappy
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I do the tappy-tappy again. Aim at Dr. Joara Soap-Opera's kneecaps this time.

Feral then hands the Kryptonian-Oscorp Ray Emitter thingy to Dr. B
 
We have AIM Commandos here. Maybe they'll decide we are on their side?
If not, well, maybe they have stuff we can confiscate in the name of framing their organization for our deeds.
 
The rule in which I was trained was that one combat should take me five seconds to defeat the first combatant, ten seconds apiece for the second and third, and if there's a fourth present when the fight starts then I had better have allies working with me or else I lose.
But the problem here is that I was mostly being taught the "villain's minion" approach to combat.
For that matter, I was being taught to either surprise "targets" into unconsciousness, which is basically "assassinate them". Or I was being taught how to stall an attempted surprise assault on my "subject" long enough for the subject to get to a safer situation. And I was not being taught to fight strong, dextrous, fast-moving, tough-to-injure Kryptonians, nor targets in digitally-enhanced futuristic armored wetsuits like what these AIM people are wearing.
 
For all the practice drills that Wyldfire does in the gymnasium, I have never really trained up on how to resolve this particular type of hostile chaos, either.
And I feel like I'm letting Dr. A down a little because -- well. I can keep some targets off of her Urgent To Do List. But I'm not guarding her back. I am not making a clear space for her to do her best work.
I am scrambling to keep overwhelming threats off the three Doctors -- mostly by drawing their hostile focus onto myself, which was never the path to doing my own best work -- and then scrambling harder to keep myself functional.
 
I think Dr. B is in and out of this mess. The tappy-tappy gizmo is in his possession, doing more under his control than what the Oscorper tried doing to me. He's stopped off at least once to help Tank/Agent El after one of these AIM disc gizmos zorched him.
I may have caught a glimpse of Medkit on the north side of the room, plastered to the doorframe. That means he's doing something at a range -- but he is not telling us what. Gotta work on positive communication with that guy.
Where is Amythyst? Must be in a different corridor. He would not have left Dr. B and Dr. R to wander into trouble unless there was more trouble elsewhere that he took on solo.
 
I might need some help on this!

I do like aquariums.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm not so thrilled about being in a "Sea Base Alpha" which we reached through a transparent elevator shaft.
Also there's something at the eastern edge of visibility that might be a whale, a fluid tank, or a submarine.
 
Dr. B says at least half the population of the converted oil rig has so far established itself to be metahuman.
 
I wonder if Blackjack would like to go do some late-autumn camping in the Catskills? Someplace with great sight lines and minimal sogginess.
 
Agent El: Heads up, Feral!
 
Feral, like a dumbass, lifts her head to look around.

— a disc-shaped energy attack object comes flying over her head to land on (and attack!) the Sentinel Trooper on which she is currently perched
 
 
Hunh. Now I have a gizmo that makes the green ray thingy.
It's about the size of those electronic toys that my children have. They play video games on them. They search for imaginary pets or something?
Anyway, this one has a thing where the Field Technician had been tapping a button and a green ray came out, which he was trying to aim at one or another of us as an attack. But now, since I have taken it away from him, it's time for some science.
 
I do a tappy-tappy, and I make it do the zorcht. I aim it at his kneecaps, because worst case scenario, he can survive without kneecaps!

— Feral uses the Kryptonian-Oscorp beam transmitter against the Field Technician who had first demonstrated its use in combat.
 
I was GOING to use this thing next on Dr. SoapOpera, but now there are AIM Commandos here! DANGIT

We are not fired after all.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday
October 20
2009
early afternoon
 
somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean
near the coastline for the state of New Jersey
 
As we take to the air, leaving Atlantic City behind, I brace for the usual five minutes of disrupted equilibrium. This is a pressurized container, so the air cues do not match what information my whiskers and tail give to the vibrations of momentum that I feel through the pads on my paws.
All VTOL are like this.
I don't get nauseous, not usually. I simply feel ... let's call it "flustered bordering on cranky" ... until I adjust.
Nobody in their right minds would suggest that I try piloting one of these things. I don't have the visual acuity for it, for one thing.
 
I usually use the cover of detaching, adjusting, then reseating my comms earpiece to ward off immediate interactions for those few minutes. But, hey, if people are going to insist on plying me with Performance Requirements before we're fully level and at steady speed, they might win a metaphorical ear-shredding. Educational; yet, survivable.
 
From my update to our Boss, I have good news and I have the kind of news that we normally get.
The good news is that we are not fired!
The typical news is that I got some notes on our progress thus far. Chief among them and with the deadline of half an hour from now he wants to read our findings ... Dr. A, that mansplainer gave enough reason for the Boss to infer that this guy knew who you are. Did you know him? What his name is and maybe even what his freaking deal is?
  Feral interrupts herself to address the SAFEGUARD Agent.
I was also advised to pass on to you that someone needs to make sure the arrested deck agents do not have a fragment of even the abstract or a partial name on the digital record for the blueprint that they tried to steal. I don't need to report that, I just need to advise you so.
 
And that fulfills one of three old debts I owe to an alleycat from a lifetime ago.
 
Our briefing is via hologram, because Captain America is physically somewhere else. He is the head of the SAFEGUARD group trying to manage the whole Oscorp Nonsense Issue.
The next location is going to be an "upcycled" oil rig off in international waters.
And what I really hate is that the Right Plan -- the one I immediately propose -- is to have the men disguise themselves as shipwreck survivors. They can "get rescued" by Oscorp between sundown and full dark. Meanwhile Dr. A and I wear SCUBA gear and infiltrate on the side opposite the boat dock, underneath the helipad, but not until full dark.
 
 
I hate this plan.
I can't yell at anyone about it. Because it's my plan.
And it's the right plan.
 
 
But I still hate it.
 
 
Tuesday
October 20
2009
night
 
I am on an overpopulated oil rig. At night. Standard ocean-windy. Dark. Cold. Late October, I'm lucky it's not icy. I'm sodden wet and I don't have sufficient scouting intel and Captain America is relying on us.
 
Oy.
 
Statistically speaking, not everyone on this thing will be Definitely Evil.
People are people.
The place is wave-powered. So, no locking off their power.
Agent El got tapped into a satellite dish on the north side. He can't eavesdrop on Oscorp but he can piggyback an encrypted signal for us.
 
Should we find the rest of our team before we get deep into trouble?
I suppose so.
 
 
We've crossed paths with Amythyst, so we had a good chance to compare notes and get him a commset. He'll distribute to MedKit and Dr. B.
Dr. A wants to go break some stuff.
 
Feral's to-do list:
 
1) DO NOT touch, breathe, be touched by, or experience the ooze.
2) DO NOT create evidence of Wyldfire.
3) Deduce the source of Oscorp’s sudden supply of ultra-high tech devices and meta-powered security.
4) Find out who is the ultimate financier of Project Protector.
5) Find evidence -- ideally not circumstantial, but direct evidence -- as to who transported the missing ooze patients. Ideally, without leaving proof that we acquired said evidence or even saw it.
6) Save the missing victims. (Success on 2 out of 3!)
7) Save the Brother
8) and find out wtf AIM in all this
9) Check another time on the identity of the "ultimate customer/financier", because there might be more than 1.
and bonus 10) keep the Doctors mostly physically intact
 
I feel like "the Kryptonian Connection" is going to be numbers 3, maybe 4, and likely 9

we may be fired
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

(( At start of session: I am down to Current Body 04! ))  
While I was focused on trying to stop the Oscorp plot -- which, I have begun to suspect, we did not do successfully -- almost all of Wyldfire wound up in this overheated "server room" warehouse space.
 
Except for Dr. B.
 
Who is stalling desperately because he is outnumbered by a LOT of Card Shark agents.
 
Wasn't someone in the Inspection Team supposed to be his backup?
 
 
Oh we're going to get fired.
There is now a local vigilante involved. And he's large. With creepy smoke powers. And he's ... feline?
 
One of the Titan people just identified himself to me as knowing who I am ... so much for "clandestine team".
 
I am so going to get fired.
 
 
I am going to get spectacularly fired, because these people are SAFEGUARD and we are busted.
 
 
Something about how this Smoke Panther guy fights. Ignoring the smoke bits as best I can.
Something about how he throws a punch.
I remember dodging aside from some of those punches. Same angle. Same speed. Same amount of force.

the opposite of competent infiltration
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Whatever I do, I seem to be taking too long to do it and then getting myself into more danger instead of less. Thank goodness for Dr. B being here, at least someone is doing their job as per spec.

 

I might get fired as Team Lead after this job. The Boss is not going to be happy.

 

And there's a Family Rule that I only have to take showers when my husband can take them with me. This is not compatible with fire suppression foam in a server room. Of course I dunno if there will be foam -- because this server room is too hot to be a server room!

These are my good clothes.
Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009
  Dr. M has an update for us on his findings so far. He thinks Oscorp is grafting cloned cells onto some biological androids.   We're going to Atlantic City. We need to poke around at a data center. Oscorp data goes there but doesn't come back out.   Shadowstar sets up false ID for us, as representatives of a company called Neptune Imaging Ltd.   Dr. A will be the tech expert, Martin will be the image needs specialist, and the two doctors represent the medical data associated with the medical imaging that this company does. In reality, Amythyst will download the data while Dr. A gets a scan of the physical equipment. Dr. B and Medkit will provide cover via distractions.   What'm I doing?   I think I'm staying outside the building, at least during the tour, as reserve.   The data center we had been using was a LexCorp data center. It suffered one of those "unfortunate incidents" with an employee who "went rogue", and thus we suffered a risk to our medical data. We have an URGENT need to move to a more secure facility.  
 
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
  We arrive without incident. The rental car arranged for us is a Toyota Land Cruiser. We'll have to stop at a Starbucks or something so Dr. B can get changed to his meeting clothes. Our tour appointment is at 3:00.   The address for Paragon Networks is a one story building, fairly spread out, in the business district. The building itself is very high tech. The front doors have cameras over them, with a good view of the approach.   The building to the north is Leopard Microsystems. The building to the south is LucetWorks, a subsidiary of LexCorp. East is an empty lot with construction equipment present waiting to start construction.   And the nearest coffee shop is "The Jumpstart Java Joint".  
  Our examination of the site is going passably well. I think we might be made by the sales guy. He said something about a "barium containment gel" in the south wall to block LexCorp signals, which I think is nonsense. Either it's sales-speak, or it's a test to find out if these are ringers.   So we leave the coffee shop to start exploring the options to clog up the drains.   The construction site has very little security other than a padlock and some closed circuit cameras. Fine, let's go look around the parking deck.   Our results there are better, despite the cameras throughout. Maybe there's a security station here in this building that I can twist to use?   Except I see the Jack of Clubs walking down the street in front of Paragon. Ssshhhhhht   I send Don to the car. He gets checked up on by two more disguised Clubs, at least these are Deck Agents not Face Agents.   Don is supposed to get in the car and warm it up, wait 20 minutes, then drive himself to the hotel if no one joins him.   It's so nice to have one Wyldfire Agent who does what I tell him when we're in urgent danger....  

I'm not a lab 'accident', I'm a lab 'intentional'
Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dr. B is able to lock down the elevator car so we don't have to worry so much about it disgorging more security teams. But there are drone access tracks in the ceiling that let supplies from the northwest storage room be scanned and individual supply units be fetched for the highly secure room to the east.   Dr. A can enable the RFID passcode from the desk.   I don't like this setup. This is a problem.   The scientists of the team head into the room, using their makeshift covers as security escorting a quarantine subject. Since the door stays open, I arrange for the security station's chair to fall over as a way to draw one of the Protectors out for a turf fight.   This guy is a tough fight. He's stronger than me, if not as fast as me. He has a defensive field, ranged energy attacks from his hands, possibly a short-term illusion projector to hide his location. If this fight ends with him beating me, then he'll drop the intruder alert. If it ends with me beating him, I can obfuscate evidence some more.   But given the small concussive explosion when something on his belt busts, I think I'm going to be getting up before he wakes back up.

Let's not be Fred.
Saturday, October 17, 2009

You remember what happened to Fred, right?

Let's not be Fred.

— unknown Oscorp employee to an "upgradeable" co-worker with a deep gravelly voice
  I've made it to a sub-basement area. The walls here are hardened.  
Hidden Sub-basement layer
  This is going to be An Issue.   Detected thus far: at least 2 (bored) security guards, probably on duty in mid-shift.   Video scan of first room sent to team. I know there's a rotating camera above the entrance pointed into the room. It pauses for AI identification routine every time it centers on one of the two security guards. That tells me the camera is not being monitored continuously by a human, which helps, but I can't count on it to be true once I disable the camera.   I will wait a bit before I disable the camera.   I get myself under the security desk just south of the central entry channel.   One of the wonks from upstairs -- scientist? technician? -- gets escorted downstairs by 2 security for having had a reaction to the vaccination. He protests. He reacts as though he thinks he will get fired, or possibly have something truly horrific happen to him.   When they open the iris door on the east wall, I get a look in the main room for this level.   Crap!   One of the missing New Yorker patients is floating in a tank in that room.   There are a number of probable-hostiles in there.   Getting them out of there is going to be A Significant Issue!   Maybe my team can create a messy diversion?  
Wyldfire Target B location confirmed
Wyldfire I can get him out. But it will be observed.
Wyldfire If I'm going to get him out without clues, I need a HUGE messy distraction. Preferably set something on fire just outside building.
— Feral to team
I don't know that a fire is a good idea
— Dr. Adel to team
one of the Metropolis gangs is Toastmasters. If a dumpster/trash fire seems to be the start of a raid for black market sellables, simultaneously with damage to security system on opposite side of complex, security will assemble in place to dissuade further action.
would prefer any better plan if you have one, though
something short of "blow up our own bus"
— Feral to team
Would setting off the fire alarm in the building help?
— Medkit to team
I think Adel may have a plan
— Dr. B to team
Corp might lock off basement
instead of leaving it to go help deal with problem
can you arrange explosive sewage backfill? toilet geysers always get attention
— Feral to Medkit
Have to think about that one
— Medkit to Feral
Think fast
— Feral to Medkit
Would a bunch of car alarms going off around the same time help?
— Medkit to team
yes!
— Feral to Medkit
For this to work the best way, I ideally need someone to hack the computer at the same time. But I have no computer access right here in this room. Can someone else hack the computer at the same time?
— Dr. A to team
I think you're our computer guru today.
— Feral to Dr. A, because nobody else on team has Gadgetry
So hold off on the car alarms?
— Medkit to team
wait for Dr. A's word
— Feral to Medkit
  When Dr. A does give the word, the sudden chaos is perfectly battering, perfectly confusing, and perfectly natural-seeming.   Dr. A arranges a compactor explosion. Medkit presents a set of car alarms as if an explosion or earthquake happens.   Security in black coat goes to elevator. Other security will remain here. They describe two subjects within as having earthquake and blaster abilities. Elsewhere/above floors have a flyer and one with "shadow abilities", that's not great.   Timing it to the cycle of the camera:
  • grab chair and guy
  • yank backward to bounce off floor
  • make sure unconscious but not dead
  • strip away radio/headset, shiny probably-not-a-pen, double-thick fake iPhone. Wrap last two in handkerchief, stuff into sealable pocket.
  • Fold him into fetal position. Shove under desk. Shove chair in after him.
  • Wait for camera cycle.
  • Climb up above elevator door to disable camera rotor so that it points north and no longer rotates. This will set off an alarm but MIGHT be taken for damage from groundshaking event of a few minutes ago.
  The elevator opens to deliver Dr. B and Amythyst being brought to "quarantine" by two more security.   Purrrrrfect!   We knock them out and strip off their gear. Dr. B swaps clothing with the one closest to his size. We use belts to tie them to each other.   Just in time, because here comes the elevator again to deliver Medkit and a security guard patient for more quarantine!

Raid on Oscorp Metropolis
Thursday, October 15, 2009 through Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009
 
We don't need specially prepared containers for the samples we are supposed to get, at least not for the things we have heard about so far.
 
Five patients are missing.
 
We are supposed to try to find them.
 
More importantly: we are instructed to find out what Oscrop is up to, because they suddenly set up a new project in southern Metropolis a few days before these five patients vanished from their NYC care center.
 
  • Dr. Don will focus on patient medical care.
  •  
  • Dr. Steven will focus on neutralizing any ooze samples Oscorp may have.
  •  
  • Dr. Adel will get the database and dig out useful intel from it.
 

(So far, Martin and I are going to be doing bodyguard services.)

 
Dr. Gironde's biggest concern, beyond the possibility of a supersoldier program, is that the secret backer could be Hammer Empire or Inf Inc.
 
The building in question is four stories tall, squat and rectangular with a lot of windows.
Don has a great idea for a plan to get in: we disguise the Gironde School's bus to be a medical bus. Change out the tires and license plate, cover the VIN and so forth to appear to be a different vehicle. Put the four human-looking team members in scrubs with forged medical identification, show up with booster shots to deal with a supposedly pre-arranged (forged by Blackjack) on-site medical thing.
 
It will take a couple of days to make all of our arrangements.
I leave the meeting on Thursday night to go do a remote site observation of the target. I plan on also observing the process on Friday morning and on Saturday morning, so that when we hit Saturday late, any security scans that may have gotten suspicious of me will be expecting trouble in the morning rather than the actual time we use.
 
Security in general is the usual "corporate security" for a typical building, looks just a smidgen better armed and armored than rent-a-cop. They're wearing armored vests and comms gear. During the evening shift change on Thursday, I see that the employees go through an airlock system. They use a keycard and also a voice recognition (possibly specific password phrase for a vocal password?) test for entering or leaving.
My voice is my password.
— a particular smart alec employee at the Oscorp Metropolis building, Thursday night, October 15, 2009
Bugger.
 
I go to Don's place and bang on the door until he wakes up and lets me talk to Dr. Adel.
She does the nanotech thing.
She can set up a passive audio-and-subsonic recorder that will last 10 hours, then drop off the target and go inert so I can pick it up.
 
Friday, October 16, 2009
 
Among the people heading to work on Friday morning is an older gentleman wearing a hat when he comes off the bus for his morning shift. I lace him with the nanotech and duck out of sight. He heads on into the target site after a moment, not getting stopped by security.
Time to go home for sleep and some food. I'll come back at 2:30 to be watching in case this man leaves early on a Friday.
I can't collect the clump of nanobots until after 4 in the afternoon, so I might have to follow this man around for a bit. But once they drop off, I collect them as soon as he leaves the area and I take them back to Dr. Adel for extraction and analysis.
 
Saturday, October 17, 2009
 
The intensity of security once we pull up, even though they aren't hostile, is WAY above what there should have been. They don't turn us away but they do turn up the security intensity a LOT.
I have to warn Medkit off of saying anything while we're in the bus -- there might be a long-range microphone pointed at the glass of the bus windows, picking up vibrations from anything said inside.
(We overhear someone say something about a project called "Paragon".)
Then I have to conceal myself and slow my metabolism.
Wait for Security to decide to come search the medical bus.
Wait for them to stop watching it waiting for me to come out anyway.
And only then, hurry over to the elevator shaft and slip inside through the emergency fire access.
 
At shift change during maximum complicated activity, I warn the team of my plan. Once Dr. A has made it up to floor 3, I use the tips of my claws on one of the elevator brakes near me. Get a chunk of it to shear off and rattle down the shaft. Then climb into the other elevator access shaft, if I can get to it quickly, and climb down as fast as I can go without falling. How many floors down below ground level does this building go?

8.20.09: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
August 20, 2009

After warning everyone about the false Dr. DeClerk, I go have a direct conversation with Red Siren.   She keeps insisting on things that can not be true.  
  1. Trying to get The Secret Meditation Technique of More Mentalist Power is going to be fine with "Multiplex" which is what Evil Goatee Don calls himself. (Obviously no.)
  2. She's not allowed to touch me because Goatee needs a "royal" connection native to this world. Which has to be Thunderstrike, or my daughter, or me. Because of empathy, and the broken hammer.
  3. Because going to the mid 1980s when that entire sample was in a vault in the Arctic Circle is NOT a straightforward way to get that biological sample.
  4. And the fact that Cindy Reynolds of Eureka is buying this stupid story is NOT AT ALL a sign that somebody been messing with her head.
  5. And it would not be simpler to go to her big brother, lay her cards on the table (maybe not emphasize the "I already kill you once" bit) and ask him to help her stop Mean Blond Goatee Bastard and maybe Red Diamond from putting her in danger
  6. Oh yeah, she wanna take over the mind of Red Diamond. Yeah, that is a plan that make sense.
  She gets a signal suddenly that they know where is the hammer. In Atlantis. They leave us and go attack there.   Oh. Good?   I don't wanna swim.   I know some guys who prolly swim and fight okay.   I think I gonna go find Blondie and update him first. He gotta save his ma, he prolly lead the charge.   And he will need Doc to help steer and I think maybe Amythyst can fly or something. So that means he don't go with no backup.   Blondie is angry and kinda feeling out of options. He wants me use his phone to call his ma. I don't wanna talk to her. He can go talk to Captain America and I go give phone to Amythyst. Amythyst speaks "dad".  
  Bright light.   Everyone is glowing.   Got to get my hands on my husband and son!  
  We are UNDERWATER and I blame Doc's father.   Amythyst and Doc are here. Thunderstrike, Captain America, Gravitar, and Baldir are here. Blackjack and Savannah are here. I do not WANT us to be here. Amythyst does not think the Queen did this.   One of the other domes is collapsing. We can see bright lights of some kind of ranged combat in the distance. Time to save lives and hit somebody.   While the rest of the team uses their ability to fight at a range, or at least to survive the intense pressure of this depth, the Paxton family goes to steal the bad guys' amphibious craft. Grayson would be so pleased if we bring this home to him! We are not going to, because of tracing technologies, and that is going to vex him.

8.20.09: Mind over Matter lasts 12 seconds
August 20, 2009

Savannah is safe, if frightened. She was in a very sensible ambush position ready to defend the villagers.   If I send Thunderstrike off to do a high flight with thermal goggles, he can look for a heat source about factory sized that might be where the bad guys are trying to control (either this reality, or a new one they might be constructing out of pieces).   This feeds into Option 3 {the bad guys are trying to build a custom reality by merging other realities} which is something we can actually confound. Given that Option 1 is {we are completely incorrect about what might be going on} and Option 2 is {they're trying to turn ALL REALITIES into ONE REALITY which is super duper dumb}.   What did he find? We don't know. Because he crashed outside the temple. Amythyst and Doc Reynolds had to work together to carry him into the medbay. Dr. DeClerk wants to test a sample of Thunderstrike's blood with a big brassy scarab. Which turns into a glove on Blondie's hand. And then turns back into a beetle when Dr. DeClerk retrieves it.   I send Blackjack and Savannah to steal the Bell. Then I go to set up a distraction.   I have a serious talk with Brodir. Which I can not call him "David". I guess his catgirl hates him sometimes like David hates me sometimes?   But also, he can not donate plasma to Thunderstrike. They are not the same species! So I want him to go guard Gravitar (putting 2 of 3 most dangerous people together in case of mental control) and them both to go guard the room full of stargates.   And then I make myself go into the medbay. I walk up to Thunderstrike. Yank up the right side of the tunic. Oh, look, big yellow bruise! I slap that with open paw, and demand, "What hit you??"   He starts to tell me again about flying into a concussion field. FLYING SIDEWAYS?? "No," he says. But the bruise is on your side! :smack: What hit you?!   He closes his eyes and listens to his memories of sound and ... he was hit by a sonic beam! Like when that guy with the red ring hit Amythyst! (I was not there. This might have been in Korea.)   Oho, now we are getting somewhere! Doc starts testing for additional signs of sonic damage, and Amythyst will see if there's ... like ... some sort of ring wearer LoJack?   While I am patching up Thunderstrike (and proving to myself that he is REAL), we all take turns asking Dr. DeClerk to test Don Blake for various things. I have to describe physical signs of having been braintape-recorded. Whhhhyyyyyyyyyy wasn't this doctor already testing for things like "low potassium" and "signs of epileptic seizure"?   My idea to test whether Dr. DeClerk is real is to hit him. Amythyst has a much better idea: purple paralyzation ray.   At which point Dr. DeClerk vanishes!   Time for Thunderstrike to move Don Blake and for us to check out Dr. DeClerk's room to figure out if he was ever real. I am also starting to wonder if anything "DeClerk" said about Don was true.   "Red Siren" of Earth 18 is Evil Scivias. Cindy Reynolds.  
  I split off from Amythyst and Doc in order to run around and tell the key people about DeClerk being not-real. My planned order:
  1. Blackjack and Savannah
  2. Captain America, who can go tell the head of the monk order
  3. Gravitar and Brodir
  4. and then I'm going to walk onto that upper balcony that looks over the inner courtyard, and I am going to start talking to Cindy Reynolds directly. Which should be interesting. I'm definitely the easiest target on Wyldfire, and it's not like I'm going to get violent with a young woman I protect. So what's the harm in talking with me?

8.20.09: Interdimensional job hopping supervillain
August 20, 2009

I explained to Wyldfire about my miscarriage in 2004 and now here is my little girl. I could have been hallucinating/off my meds, but Blackjack sees her too. (I did not tell them about her teleporting us. If they did not see it, they can figure it out later.) I thought it might be Doc's father, but no. Savannah's parents were murdered by Mr. Sinister and her escape wound up putting her with Evil Dr. Don.   Savannah has told us about
  1. Dr. Solomon Grundy the Evil Gadgeteer
  2. several people in black uniforms always around Dr. Grundy
  3. They have a gadget for traveling across realities
  4. Dr. Don (evil) is looking for a thing that is not quite right so far
  5. also Dr. Don (evil) is looking for 2 people in particular
  6. oh and Scivias (evil)
  7. and and Devanna Hawk
  Doc is taking phone pics of the castle here, now that the Black Order trash has been taken down.   The main hall is warm and comfortable. It does not have a drafty feel. They ahve LED lanterns on the wall, giving plenty of light.     Dr. Oliver DeClerk is in charge of the medbay. Doc Reynolds finds that "Don in a coma" is a perfect match for our Don Blake except that his DNA is in constant flux, and includes Kryptonian and Atlantean and some other kind of DNA in addition to human.   And in the next bed, awake, is (a) Puma. Who looks a whole lot like a close relative of Thunderstrike. And when I subvocalize to get my hunting partner's attention, his answering subvocalization is not quite what I expect. He calls me "Princess" instead of "molly". He says his human name is David Ironhorse ... and his Atlantean name is Brodir ... and he's female-Thunderstrike's uncle. And has his own hammer. And does the lightning. And   uh   I want my mate.   I back up away from the medbay, a few steps at a time, as my nerve slowly fails me, as the people in the medbay do "SCIENCE!"   Which results in Coma Don teleporting to that other room with the pulsing blue-white glow, on the other side of the castle.   Iiiiii guess I gotta go rescue him.   If I do not go too fast, Wyldfire will catch up with me and then I do not have to deal with vanishing again.   This is a natural cavern full of 1) crystals and 2) equipment-free stargates that open and close themselves.   And in the middle is Coma Don, still surrounded by a bluish glow, floating about a foot off the ground.   After a moment he slowly stops glowing and settles down onto the ground.   Thunderstrike picks him up and brings him back to the medbay and puts him on the bed.   Blackjack tells Thunderstrike that Blackjack cannot make that phone call for him. Not because of "no bars", but because the signal is being jammed!   1) Amythyst is going to be shown the Quantum Bell by Sebastian from MAGI and secure it from impending attack 2) Doc R is going to figure out how to protect his 2 patients, Don and Brodir, who he knows are going to be special targets of the invaders. Doc R cannot have Thunderstrike because 3) Thunderstrike is going to be First Line of Defense 4) Gravitar, tag team with Captain America. Go up in this castle. Find whoever is trynna come in through the belfry. Or chimney. Or whatever. Punch them a lot. 5) Savannah, go hide in the room with the villagers, where you will not be expected :castle rumbles as someone smashes the front door in: 6) Someone kill that alarm please. 7) Blackjack and I will be ambush predators   There's noisy fights going on in the front of the castle (Thunderstrike vs Evil Scivias) and near the rear (Amythyst vs Dr. Grundy) and probably up at the heights of the castle (Cap and Gravitar vs whoever) so Blackjack and I sneak down to the subterranean levels of the castle. We encounter five or six not-people that move like people (robots?) and two people -- a third came up and told them something about the medbay and left again. We get into combat with them but suddenly they all vanish, just melt away, all of them.   I grab for Blackjack, eyes wide and terror racing through me. We hear echoes of a woman's laughter, and I feel the aftereffects of Broadcast Empathy....

8.20.09: Glowing Crystals
August 20, 2009

I have had
  1. shower
  2. food, not know what, is whatever Blackjack give
  3. drag all blue unconscious Thunderstrike out of shower and drag down to medbay. But no go in.
  4. go get sleep
  5. breakfast! something French!
  We go China. High in mountains. Prolly some elevation sickness.   Dunno what to think about Thunderstrike make things glow a centimeter away from body instead of be on body.   Here is "Kesang Jinpa" which is very old Buddhist temple. Agent May give us name to look for, a person who is maybe here. If he is, he prolly help us some.   SAFEGUARD drop us off and will check in every six to ten hours. They give beacon to Doc Reynolds, signal where to extract. I give verify message, what to ask our group to make sure really us, if no answer then lock "us" up until our boss can sort out. (Blackjack and I both know who was team lead before me. Newer members do not know or care. This way it is harder for enemy psionicist to get info from us.)   Flight team: Thunderstrike and Doc Reynolds do aerial scout, make it look like Thunderstrike is carrying Doc when actually Doc is the one who can steer.   Scout: Blackjack   Spokesman: Amythyst backed up by Captain America.   Mostly thug: me and Gravitar.   Grass is healthy like early autumn. Cold enough to notice. No snow here, but snow break line up above pretty close. Tracks of hooved animals prolly rams or goats.   But Flight team says no people, nothing moving. I try to listen intently. Empathy picks up ... shock ... restrained anger ... fear ... but muted as if from someone who is dreaming ... then I feel this momentary strong sensation as I brush up against someone else with empathy. Then that last sensation seems to ... hide? Is not David. Is not Jessica. Is not missing piece of me.   Send Flight Team to flank, meet us in middle. They say temple glows red, pulses.   Feed was fresh this morning. Some bread still in the oven. But coats and boots are gone.  

Welcome to the Village of Creepy

  We find a ramp up to the 2nd terrace. I think that whoever is hiding from us, is up there. Also Thunderstrike drops info on us that he found all the people and animals up near the temple and they are in crystals. And he hears footsteps.   I hear a little girl. At the edge of my hearing, I hear a thin, young female voice say in a shocked low hoarse whisper ... 'mm... maman?? no...' and as I head in that direction I smell leopard.   Blackjack? You know how sometimes I talk to people, only they are not really there? I think I hear Savannah. I am going to go find out. Maybe someone is making me hear things. So maybe you are going to have to tell me that I am crazy.  
  Ohh boy. It could really BE Savannah. From an alternate time line. Where her parents were killed in Sinister's missile barrage. Now she is working for Evil Dr. Don Blake as a means to survive. So is Evil Scivias. Savannah calls Evil Dr. Blake "Death" and "Omega". She is afraid of being hunted by Scivias.   I am trying to coax her into coming with me, back to the team, where Blackjack can decide if I am crazy or not. And if I am not, I can share more info with the team about the crystals being a trap and the temple being a trap and Evil Blake going for something inside the Temple. I am doing a bad job of it because I am too much of a villain, too much anger, too much urge to hurt someone. My poor baby girl!   It sounds like the rest of the team has gotten into some kind of a fight and ... and if this is my baby, the one I lost ... I can't. But I can't lose Blackjack either. I don't know if she is real.   I do know that my Savannah died. That it was my fault. Everyone says it was not my fault, but I know better.   I can't abandon Blackjack for the chance that maybe I can save Savannah. I could abandon him to save definitely Savannah, he would want me to abandon him to save definitely-real Savannah, but I can't give him up for a wild maybe.   How much risk is Savannah willing to take that the Blackjack who dies is not real?   She rushes forward and hugs me, and we are together, and I know exactly where he is.   We disappear in a blast of brimstone. . . .   . . . . We appear beside Blackjack, who is in the middle of throwing a transformed card at one of Captain America's opponents.   Our girl gets out her escrima sticks as I start checking the field for hostile psionicists. One is over by that tree with the blue leaves. I tell Amythyst to put area of effect in the area between that tree and the fountain.   "Tree on fire" = area of effect! Not an effect Mister Mental expected!   We hit the big guns hard enough to make the minions want to leave, and people calling themselves "MAGI" show up. We have a lot to talk about....

8.18.09 pt 2: DPS
August 18, 2009

Doc heads back out through the airlock, going for the "Master Control Bell". Which is good, because (wait for it)   I pull the grounding wire on the panel of the controls for the magnetic bottle and the person-sized Stargate. Lights go out. SG starts to pulse and the whole cylinder thing starts to sink. Techs at stations start flipping out about emergency shutdowns activated.   Pounce on the one closest to me, knocking forward to bang head and stun. Reach forward, claw left shoulderblade area on 2nd tech to disable left arm.   (here it is) Berry Smuckers tells the albino meta to "take care of whatever is in here". Which would be me. He activates a remote control and then crushes it. Then he starts heading for the airlock.   Outside, Heavies are doing something about a cave and canisters and a motor pool and a bell. Which might not be the Master Control Bell, I would be thinking if I had time to think.   Doc catches up with them. He will try to manipulate the controls for the Bell while the Heavies keep enemy forces fully occupied.   I send the 3rd tech to go over to the console I had depowered while I try to talk the albino into helping shut it down, and he tries to ... stall? I dunno.   But the coolant is leaking from below and the Stargate is growing and the magnetic bottle is wobbly. And then Captain America and Berry Jelly come in in full grappling combat, wrassling and punching and weaving and rolling. Exasperated, I reach in and grab Jelly by the pseudo-uniform tunic and lift him up to the level of the expansion from the Stargate. Jelly is happy to be in the way of the incoming wave, it's apparently his escape plan? He tases me and tries to tase Cap. In return I clench my paw to puncture both of his lungs right before he vanishes into the multiverse.   I can feel myself graying out from pain. I send Cap down to do something about the electromagnet with OUT getting close enough to fry. Or touching the water. Or any other stupid ass thing. I tell the albino guy to twist the warp into a Moebius strip so it will direct itself inward.   I hear footsteps behind me. Someone is coming running. One of my team?   And then I drop.

8.18.09 pt 1: Officially Official Burning
August 18, 2009

Captain America is here. With friends. He wants us to go burn up blueprints owned by some Black Order people. Fine okay, but first, NO HAMMER   Uhh. Thunderstrike's eyes are sparking. And he is wearing this ... sorta ... armor. On his arms and hands. But! No more hammer bother me. Okay. We go Morocco now.   (later)   Cap says two parts to mission: {LOUD} and {quiet}.   Cap, Thunderstrike, and Amythyst do {LOUD}. Go assault a convoy bringing in supplies. You betcha! Have fun, lads!   Blackjack, Doc, and Feral do {quiet}. Sneak into Black Order base. Find data center. Steal intel. Maybe mess up some. Can do!   Also something-something "Project Bell" which is more of same thing AIM and all been mucking with. They want to rewrite laws of physics. Prolly want no-clip cheat code. I would send 'em to Virtual Earth ... but do not want to admit to outsiders that it is a place. I am a monster but I am trying to not be a villain. Do not send bad guys to a place full of children.   I do like to do work with Blackjack. Elegant. Confident. Makes my sternum hum. I can point out watchman on tower and Blackjack fix, oui. I do not remember so much any more what Doc can handle. I do not want to insult. I do not want to set him up to fail, either. Wish I had intel from Special Projects drills this last three years! What beats him? What is too easy? He got kind of snide when Puma walked up at cafe. I wanted to smack him. Not the right way to react! Now I am more careful that I do not do petty revenge. These are not Hounds, must not treat like snotty Hound.   Anyway. Blackjack takes the tower. Doc and I sneak in to the waterway under side of complex. Sneak our way up into base. Slow and careful and lots of check for signs. Prolly not detected ... can not be sure, could be trick. Careful. Careful.   VERY careful   until we enter control room with Barry Smuckers and lots of minions and white-skin man and a STARGATE??? sonovaCRAP they have a Stargate! from Project Quantum Leap! and Barry Smuckers is on video chat with a woman who say she is an Arkangel granddaughter of Simon Arkangel and they talk about a Master Bell   hooooo boy

Breakfast in the Alps
August 17, 2009

This morning I had breakfast with one of my sister's .... teammates? Fellow knights? Umm. I am going to go with "SGmates", short for "supergroup mates"   . . .   . . . which sounds really dumb now that I try to say it. Type it. Whatever.   I have had a lot of caffeine and no sleep, and it is definitely affecting the language areas of my brain. This is the longest I have continuously done my primary thinking in English in, oh, two and a half years. Maybe longer.   Maybe that is why I cannot think of the word for who Sir Ram is to my sister, and therefore to me.   Nice young guy. Who knows what a calendar would say, but I think of him as being in his lower mid-twenties. Maybe around 23 or 24? Young enough to still have the shiny but old enough to not be a "youth" any more. Which. Might be bad thinking. I first met him about a month after Grayson was born. He seemed seventeenish, eighteenish back then. Grayson's nine now (heh, I almost typed "Pumpkin") so Ram should seem to be in the latter half of his twenties. Is the problem my experience of being that age? I was in Hell then, and fleeing it, and generally mucked up.   Anyway. Note to me: come back and edit this way down, once I have had a shower and a minimum five hour nap.   Ram. Breakfast. Right! So he drifted into the kitchen after everyone else settled down, and kept me company a while as I guarded. He went for the popcorn but I switched that for an apple instead. Didn't want the noise to wake anyone up.   We had a bunch of short conversations. Don't really know each other much, don't really have a platform for connection yet.   Yet.   I dimly remember that he talked, back at the Aquarium thing in two thousand, as if he had a bit of a crush on my delayed twin "Lady Jessica". I honestly have no idea whether he still does.   Was this breakfast a means for him of sounding me out? As a potential extended family, in-law sort of thing? Or just as the family of his friend? Or, you know, from the sensible point of view that I'm going to be a connection in his future and it would be good to know if I can actually conduct a non-creepy conversation?  
Character Portrait image: Field Leader Feral with pre-mission coffee by character's player

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