Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent.   Posted by Retro DM.Group: 0
Retro DM
 GM, 11 posts
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 03:58
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Friday, May 2nd, 1997

The school year is coming to an end, and the energy of the students at Gridley High is palpable. Most are preparing for finals, doing their best to refresh a year's worth of knowledge in various subjects, writing ten-page essays, and even making final compositions for art and music. It's been a quiet if frenetic week, and the rising heat of the oncoming California summer is just starting to creep into the air.

The final bell rings, and the kids rush out the door, as they usually do on a Friday, to head to their buses and take the somewhat relaxing ride home for the weekend. Bus fourteen, which takes the route that lands closest to the edge of town, sits in idle as Frank, the middle aged driver, awaits for the seats to fill. One by one, the students pile in, taking their regular seats and discussing the happenings of the day, and weekend plans.

It is here that the tale begins.
Garret Blake
 player, 3 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 04:22
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett didn't usually take the bus. Normally there was too much on his mind, and the ride home on the board or on foot was a bit of a much-needed decompress. He'd actually planned on hoofing it today to begin with--was already starting to acquire a decent tan from doing it for several weeks now-- but something, he wasn't quiiiiite sure what, changed his mind at the last second.

He swung himself up the bus on the handrail, whistling with his book-bag over one shoulder, his battered old board strapped to it. A few 'hellos' followed and a wink and hi-five at one or two others before he grabbed a seat about middle of the row by the back and sorta propelled himself into it against the window with an audible thump.

And there the tall, lean alley-cat of a teenager slowly unfolded himself, blowing a looooooong sigh as he rested his head against the window. The flannel shirt he wore today was battered enough that he'd just up and cut the sleeves off, and the black teeshirt stopped midway up his upper arm. There was a slight rip in his jeans just above the left knee currently drawn close up against his chest, and the sunglasses he flicked down over his eyes let him take a few seconds to close them without feeling like he was ignoring everyone around him.

Rude, that.

Just a few seconds. Juuuuuuust a few. He wouldn't fall asleep. Promise.

This message was last edited by the player at 04:35, Wed 27 Mar 2019.

July Coates
 player, 3 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 05:28
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July wasn't sure what evil she had done to deserve having calculus as her last class of the day, but the punishment seemed excessive. Cruel, even. Definitely a war crime. Someone really ought to call the Hague.

It wasn't the math itself, more the timing. After seven frantic hours of school on one side of the class, and the promise of the weekend on the other, there was little room in her heart for integrals. July tried to focus--her impending freedom was simply too powerful to resist. The minute hand barely seemed to move between her impatient glances. The hour might as well have been an epoch.

Finally, finally, the bell cut short Mr. Blackwing's lecture. July was on her feet before it finished, packing her abandoned notes and textbook into a faded pink bag. She was the first out the door, thoughts of war crimes light years away. The weekend was here, and all was well with the world.

It had been a few months since July had last taken the bus, but with Noel home sick, it had been that or walk. The bus was cramped and uncomfortably warm, but it was also a hell of a lot quicker. July boarded with a bright smile and hello for Frank, before blue eyes scoured the rows for a spot. Most of the seats were filled, and July made her way down the aisle, pausing to exchange hellos with friends. She'd almost swung into one of the few empty remaining spots when she caught sight of a familiar flannel shirt and its owner. Checkered vans squeaked against the floor as she redirected course to Garrett's row.

"Hey stranger!" July chirped, shrugging her bag off her shoulders and dropping onto the seat. She'd pinned her darker hair up into twin buns, leaving pale blonde bangs loose about her freckled face. A sleeveless white top peeked out from beneath overall shorts that would have hit much closer to mid thigh if she'd been a few inches shorter. The green flannel she'd stolen borrowed from Noel's closet tied around her waist at least kept her bare legs safe from the uncomfortably warm leather seat. "Fancy seeing you here."
Garret Blake
 player, 4 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 14:04
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The surest sign that Garrett was not--in fact--asleep was the fact that he immediately shifted to make room the moment the tall girl appeared. He kicked his bag a little closer to the wall, freeing up the space between them and uncoiled slightly with a stretch of one arm over his head compounded by a yawn that turned into the word "right?"

This is fine. This is all fine.

He straightened-ish to bring himself a little more even with his seatmate and popped his shades down just slightly with that tired sort of smile he'd get when he was about to pass out on the hanging loveseat on her porch or one of Noel's basement beanbag chairs. Then it became a half-grin.

"I am the welcome-diplomat of freedom. Guarantor of weekends. Burdened with frightening purpose."

Two hands laced fingers across his right knee to pull it up towards his chest. "So level with me: did Mr. Blackwing violate the Nuremberg conventions? Need we concern ourselves with sanctions. Or has the UN failed." He fixed her with a deadpan, brown-eyed stare. "Jules. Is it time for the Glorious Revolution."

This message was last edited by the player at 14:05, Wed 27 Mar 2019.

Jason Drake
 NPC, 2 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 16:48
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Friday, at last. Jason could hardly wait to get the day over with. His grades for the year were... alright. Mostly Bs, though he was dragging a C in Spanish class. Shop, however, was an A+, as it had been for the rest of the year. He always looked forward to Shop right after lunch, as it was the only place he was more or less free to create. In every other class, he was doodling in his notebook, or getting lost in designing some new, obscure piece of art. He got in trouble for it several times over the year, but he just had to do it.

So, shop aside, Jason was quite happy for the week to be over. As he walked down the hall to head to the bus, he fit the headphones of his CD player on and hit play on his custom burned CD. Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Guns & Roses, Alice in Chains, Iron Maiden, the good stuff. He could only fit thirteen songs on the CD, but it was more than enough for the ride home.

He stepped onto the bus, waving to only a few people as he listened to the jams. He spotted Garret and July together, half smiling as he took the empty seat behind them. He pushed his headphones back, since talking with them on wasn't really possible.

"Hey guys. Anything cool happening this weekend?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 3 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 17:26
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Though Malun and July left calculus class at the same time, it took Malun a bit longer to reach the bus. Partly by virtue of shorter legs, partly by being weighed down from her Entirely Too Heavy bag, but any and all suggestions that she perhaps remove some of the weight from that bag had always been met with a scrunched nose and a dismissive sniff. She needed everything in there, after all.

By the time she made it onto the bus, she looked about to find very few empty rows, which was an issue because nobody really wanted to sit next to her due to the space her bag took up.

Empty seat in row 3...no, Samantha is right behind that and she'll try to talk to me about Japanese things I don't care about. Row 13...I hate sitting all the way in the back. Row 6...ugh, Noah is on the other side of the row and I do NOT like the way he leers at me. Ah, there's July...ah, she's sitting with Garret and Jason. ...and Noah just saw me, I suppose I should move near the back.

Her entire observation and analysis took only a second, but that second was apparently enough time for the creep to see her, so she promptly ignored him and moved back towards where July and the boys were sitting. Stopping at the row where Jason was sitting, Malun scooted in and and unceremoniously dropped her bag in the only place it would fit...right on Jason's lap, "Hold this, please."
July Coates
 player, 4 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 18:07
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
True to form, Garrett had her laughing almost immediately. With an affectionate roll of her eyes, July hooked stray bangs behind an ear and cocked her head. She sized him up for a moment, an exaggerated skepticism creasing her features.

"I think I need to write a strongly worded letter to whoever appointed you, Mr. Diplomat. If you were any good at your job, you'd have already saved me from the cruelty of last period calc. Why have you let me suffer for so long? If you did nothing just so you could justify revolution, we're going to have problems."

Despite her best attempts to match Garrett's deadpan, July was all smiles by the end of her complaints. The grin only widened when Jason dropped into the seat beside them. July tucked a leg beneath herself, turning to properly greet him, just in time to catch full view of Malun planting her bag in his lap.

"Hi Jason, Hi Malun! Apparently Garrett wants to stage a revolution this weekend, so, like, you know, the usual." With a snort, she opted to give an actual answer. "I don't have anything fun planned yet."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 1 post
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 18:31
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Finally, his free period was finished. From the archery field he made his way to the bus. At least he had gotten in some practice.

It could be described that Whitney was dragging his feet as he approached the bus. However his upbringing would describe it as, walking with purpose. Hopefully July would be taking the bus today, it would be pleasant to have one tolerable person to sit between him and the rest.

His hopes began to wonder if there was at least an empty seat in the back. He could use the bow in the bag on his back to take up the space of another person.

"Good day, Mr. Cornall." Walking onto the smell of small town students. The bus seats seemed to have their own particular brand of scent as summer approached. The heat surely releasing everything from cold chemical storage.

Not waiting for a response, Whitney surveyed and dismayed at his seating options. July had already chosen to sit by him. Behind that was Ms. Malun, already sitting next to Jason. She would have been a tolerable seat mate, as she rarely spoke and bathed regularly. The worst news, was the only open seat being next to July and Garrett.

Regretting his earlier purposeful walk, Whitney grabbed the empty seat and placed his Bow in an attempt to take up space.

"Good afternoon, July."
Garret Blake
 player, 5 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 18:59
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"I do not think that Mr. Blackwing would get better if I raided his classroom and started farmers-carrying people out," Garrett kept the deadpan going. Trying not to crack too much of a smile. Or swallow the butterflies (probably Lunar moths if he was honest--the fuckers were HUGE) in his gut. "But if the lady insists," he said with one of his lopsided smirks, "then Monday will be interesting."

This is fine.

The laughter brought a wider grin to his face, which he promptly directed at the two new arrivals. "Jaaaaaaaaaay," he exclaimed, grabbing his friend's head and planting a kiss on his forehead before falling back into the seat and giving the same smile to Malun next. "Welcome to the conspiracy corner, and--" here he swung back around to the question about weekends "--I am free and clear. No practice. No tryouts. No games. My schedule is clear and open and please for the love of God, I need something to do."

And then the familiar figure of Mr. Pompous Circumstance slid into the seat across the aisle, ignoring him completely--which to be honest would usually be fine. But.

But.

He shifted to turn towards Whitney from the other side of their mutual--nevermind forbidden turf just don't--and gave a single, pronounced wave.

Let July handle it. Just let her. Just don't. Just dooooooooon't.

"Yo."

Aaaaaah dammit.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 2 posts
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 20:51
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Yo"

It was a subpar taunt. Disappointed, Whitney considered just letting the comment slide. Something was in Garrett's eyes however, a testament to how under Whitney's skin he had become.

"I see you are struggling with forming full sentences again. Perhaps you should seek tutelage."

Whitney mentally chastised himself for rising to such sub quality bait. They were better then this. Well, he was at the very least.

This message was last edited by the player at 20:53, Wed 27 Mar 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 4 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 20:58
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Grammatically speaking," Malun noted without missing a beat, "a single interjection followed by a hard stop is in fact a complete sentence. Both the subject and verb are considered understood."

As she spoke, she opened her bag(still on Jason's lap) and pulled out a small bottle of now lukewarm from being in her locker all day, Sunny Delight, then reclosed her bag, "Good afternoon, Whitney."
Jason Drake
 NPC, 3 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 21:25
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
When Malun came over, Jason naturally gave her room to sit, and while he wasn’t un-used to holding her bag, a little more warning would have been nice. “Oof... yeah no problem.” He said as he re-adjusted his sitting position to accommodate the bag.

Garret’s show of affection was more or less expected, but still a little embarrassing in public. He did his best to play it off, smiling to both him and July.

“Well uh... nothing major in mind yet, maybe hit the arcade after I finish up my latest work. You can come watch me weld things, if that tickles your fancy.”

And then Whitney showed up. Jason had no personal problems with the guy, but him and Garret just had this... energy. Like two magnets of the same pole that repulsed one another, but we’re never too far away from each other. The insults started quickly, but thankfully Malun had some ability to diffuse the situation. She was smart like that. Jason sighed.

“Hey, guys, save it for the field? There’s literally no reason to be like this when your not in a competition.”
July Coates
 player, 5 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 01:14
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
All in all, July was grateful for the distraction of their friends. Their timing was perfect, really--she'd undoubtedly been about to open her mouth to say something incredibly stupid. And if she focused on listening to Jason's weekend plans, she didn't have to think about what exactly Garrett had meant by interesting. Arcade. Welding.  Focus.

"The arcade sounds good. I can swing by after I check on Noel. I want to know if he's sick or if he's 'sick'," July's air quotes were accompanied by a fond smile, which was turned with a bright 'hello' to Whitney as he took the last remaining empty spot.

July was decidedly less grateful for how quickly things devolved between Whitney and Garrett. Less than thirty seconds, this time. That had to be a new record. With a scrunch of her nose, she turned her frown first on Whitney.

"Whitney, that was uncalled for," her admonishment was gentle, but firm. Turning on Garrett, she elbowed her seatmate and shot him a pointed look. "And you--don't. Let's not get this weekend off to a bad start, okay? Please?"

This message was last edited by the player at 01:22, Thu 28 Mar 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 6 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 02:31
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
He was waiting for the jab. Like one of those straight-in elegant punches Whitney loved to throw inside the square. There was always a part of him waiting for it. And the retort was on the tip of his tongue, ready to whip out like a hip-snap cross into his stupid--

"Hey, guys, save it for the field?"

And then the coup de grace from July.

"Please?”

--shit. For a half-second, the pause looked like Garrett was asked to swallow a whole egg without getting the chance to take a breath first. Then a single one followed, and then a slight relaxing of the shoulders. He glanced back and forth between Jason and Jules, then sighed.

Daaaaaaaaaammiiiiiit.

He'd known it was wrong, hadn't he? Yeah. He had.

"Alright, I'm sorry," he said just a little through his teeth. "Letting it go now."

He shifted, deflated slightly, in his seat, and the restlessness came back just a bit. "Yeah, I can do the arcade," he added, then recovered, the grin sliding comfortably back into place after a few moments. "The glorious revolution can always wait a few more days."

This message was last edited by the player at 02:47, Thu 28 Mar 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 3 posts
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 03:28
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Ms. Malun was correct of course. Subpar bait followed by a subpar response. He should have considered insulting his monosyllabic nature instead. Whitney concidered how the small genius would respond to that.

"Good afternoon, Ms. Malun. Insightful as always. I hope calculus was not too dull for you today."

Young as she was, Whitney knew he was mentally outclassed by leagues. It bothered him. Not that she was more intelligent, but that she was here. In the middle of nowhere. More talent wasted in the world. Still, he couldn't ask for a more interesting neighbor to have.

Whitney was already forgetting about the half hearted taunt when Mr. Drake spoke up. No reason to be like this? Garret was enough to be like this. Perhaps reading his face, July spoke up before Whitney could take another verbal stab.

Peacekeeper as always. For better or worse, emphasis on the worst, she was friends with Garret. Her bleeding heart defended the best in people. It was admirable. Whitney was also sure it would be her undoing sometimes. Some people's best was not good enough. Some people were not.

No, that was petty. Whitney fell back to what he new. Breathe in, exhale. Just let the arrow fly.

"I apologize, July."
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 5 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 05:12
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun took a sip of her juice then considered the conversation, a strange gleam entering her eye as she responded, "if we are discussing weekend plans...hmm hmm hmm~, one of our long term projects is very close to the active testing phase...theoretically. I still cannot reveal the details, of course, but if these tests are successful it should make an incalculably huge impact on several scientific fields. Working on that will be my weekend!"

Then she paused, the gleam leaving her eyes, "provided the superconductors arrived today like they were supposed to. If the mail has failed us yet again then I suppose I'll have the free time to join you at the arcade. Certainly better than sitting at home staring at a project that only needs one missing part to begin testing."

This message was last updated by the player at 05:12, Thu 28 Mar 2019.

Retro DM
 GM, 12 posts
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 16:36
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
With all the students finally on board, Frank closed the bus doors and took off. The line of vehicles going out of the school was long, but moving smoothly. About three stops into the trip, however, the bus hit a block of stop and go traffic. Whatever was causing it couldn't be seen yet, but they were inching inevitably closer to the front of the clog, whatever it was.
July Coates
 player, 6 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 17:06
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Crisis averted. July breathed a sigh of relief as Garrett buckled under the combined weight of hers and Jason's chastising. She knew better than to hope that Whitney and Garrett would ever bury the hatchet, but perhaps, eventually, they wouldn't risk coming to blows simply by existing too loudly next to each other. Whitney even apologised, and though it was directed at the wrong person, July was pleased. Progress!

"Thank you," She directed to Whitney. Malun smoothly redirected the conversation into safer waters. Well, whatever the Lunesby's were testing might not be particularly safe, but that was a minor detail. "Okay but like...now I desperately need to know what you're up to, because that sounds awesome."

July Coates rolled 7 using 1d20+1. Perception Check.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:32, Thu 28 Mar 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 7 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 17:18
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Anything else. He needed his attention to be anywhere else. Garrett shifted visibly—not ungratefully—as Jules maneuvered the topic away from everything that had just happened, and let the conversation continue to just happen around him. The only sign that this wasn’t all done was Whitney’s apology. Let it go. Pay attention to other shit.

Fortunately that opportunity arrived a second later. The sudden slowing of traffic was unusual. The brown-haired boy straightened in his seat abruptly and pulled down the window, hefting himself up to poke his head out the top portion and squint in the direction of the clog.

Please be something interesting.

Natural 20 on perception!
Jason Drake
 NPC, 4 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 18:23
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
While normally observant, having been a lifeguard and developing that skill, Jason was more or less relaxed, or at least not actively looking out for things, so the slowing down of the bus didn’t really take his attention away from the discussion at hand. He added his own query.

“What kind of material is your super conductor made of? I might be able to fashion a proxy if you need it.”

Rolled a 10 for perception.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 6 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 19:21
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Carbon nanotubing," Malun responded with a shake of her head, "has to be specially made with equipment even we don't have access to. One of the biggest recurring setbacks with this project is how small of a scale everything works on, normal machining tools simply won't cut it. Hence the special order."

Movement in front of her caught her attention and Malun stood up to get a better look out the window at whatever it was Garret saw that was interesting enough to stick his entire head out the window, "...what are you looking at?"

OOC: Well...also a Nat 20 for perception, for 21.
Retro DM
 GM, 13 posts
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 20:12
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
What Garret and Malun could see that the other didn’t notice was... a train? Yep, a whole train, cargo train from the looks of things, was at a dead stop roughly 6 cars ahead, and police were directing traffic around to the detours. Both Garret and Malun could see Officer Bailey, a beat cop that came around their neighborhoods, trying to keep things orderly and half succeeding. Right now, it looked like the bus was going to be stuck while other, smaller cars maneuvered around it.

After a few minutes of this waiting, Frank sighed, and called up the school dispatch for instructions.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:47, Thu 28 Mar 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 8 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 23:04
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"It's... a train," Garrett murmured. "That's weird."

Pulling his head back in, with a conscientious shift so as not to bump Jules or Jason, he nonetheless didn't return completely to his seated position.

"And by 'it's a train' I mean it's completely blocking the road and it looks like the cops are redirecting traffic."

His brows drew together and he rested one arm on the open window, the other resting on the back of the seat in front of him. Fingers tightened on the leather. "... I guess we're getting home later than usual."

Something stuck out though. Nagged at him. The next thing he said was low enough that only his friends could really hear him. Maybe it was his brain looking for something new to focus on, but he'd grabbed onto it.

"This is weird," he said, shooting a look between Jason and Jules. "They don't usually stop like this. Did it hit something?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 7 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 23:29
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Sitting back down, Malun considered pulling out a book to kill time with but opted to socialize instead, "Unlikely. If the train hit something hard enough to stop it, it likely would have been derailed at least somewhat and from here it still appears to be on the tracks, though I couldn't get a perfect view of course. The more probable scenario is that it came to a halt to avoid hitting something, or there's damage on the tracks ahead prompting a full break."

Taking another gulp of her juice, she concluded, "further, I could only see police, not any fire department or ambulances, which would have been dispatched as a matter of course if this was an actual train wreck."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 4 posts
Fri 29 Mar 2019
at 00:01
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney was jostled out of his thoughts by Garrett sticking his head out the bus window like a dog trying to catch the breeze. Apparently seeing a train stuck ahead on the road, he pulled his head back in to whisper to his fellows. This was more of a stage whisper however, as Whitney could still hear what he was saying.

Ms. Malun was once again the voice of intelligence and Whitney agreed with her initial analysis. What was unclear was how long this would take. Being stuck on public transport any longer than necessary was less than appealing.

Getting up from his seat, Whitney made his way to the front of the bus to the driver. If this took too long, he would almost rather walk home. At least a brisk walk would be physically productive.

"Mr. Cornall, please inform me how long we are expected to be in this traffic."
July Coates
 player, 7 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 29 Mar 2019
at 00:33
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July had been friends with Garrett long enough to no longer be surprised by him sticking his head through a window. She was surprised by his findings. A train, blocking traffic? Turning the right way around in her seat, she squinted out the windshield. The body of a cargo train blocked the intersection, a police cruiser parked nearby, at the head of a line of cars. A flutter of anxiety spiked as Garrett wondered if it had hit anything. Malun's observations at the lack of ambulances was encouraging, but July still worried her lip, wondering.

"Hopefully no one's hurt," July couldn't help but worry. "I wonder what happened?"
Retro DM
 GM, 14 posts
Fri 29 Mar 2019
at 00:39
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Frank was still on his radio when Whitney approached. He acknowledged the boy, who was always very polite to him, but held up his finger and mouthed the words ‘one moment’.

“Yeah boss. Can’t turn around, no room, could be hours from what I’m seeing.... okay.... okay. Got it.”

He put the radio down and turned slightly to face Whitney.

“Well, son, given that I can’t move the bus at all with cars all around us, I asked my boss what safe protocol would be. He says students who are comfortable walking home can do so. It’s a few miles to your place but, you know the way, dontcha?”

Frank stood up to make his announcement.

“Okay, kids! The big man says you can get off here and walk home if you want. If you want to stay on board, you are welcome to do that too.”

With that, Frank opened the door.
Garret Blake
 player, 9 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 29 Mar 2019
at 01:18
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Well shit. Garrett started making mental calculations—which was pretty funny since it meant his face started screwing up in a bizarre sort of concentrated contortion—then he sighed, nodded, and looked between Jules and Jason. “Alright, I can walk home with you two if you want. Malun, comeon, we’ll help you haul that bag.”

He paused, again, briefly squinting at the exterior, then looked between his friends with a hint of a smilie that implied plans, and said “come keep me company?”

This message was last edited by the player at 02:42, Fri 29 Mar 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 5 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 29 Mar 2019
at 10:35
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
A train stopped across the main road? That’s different. Jason had seen the train pass by sometimes, but it usually didn’t stop, at least not that he could remember. And now they were getting off the bus to walk home? Oh boy, Garret has that look in his eye.

“Alright, I guess I need to keep you out of too much trouble. Like Garret said, we can take your bag in shifts, Malun. Not that you aren’t strong, but it is a long way. “ He turned to call out “Whitney, you live down that way, right? We could all go together.”

Could we? Maybe they can get along for a few hours?
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 8 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Fri 29 Mar 2019
at 11:08
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
With a sigh and slight nod to Garret, Malun drained the rest of her juice and tucked the empty bottle away in a pocket of her coat, "Hmm...very well. It's further than I'd want to walk alone, but if we're all going..."

Standing up, she took her bag off of Jason's lap and made ready to follow the others out, "thank you for the offer, I'll let you know if I need assistance."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 5 posts
Fri 29 Mar 2019
at 16:25
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Thank you, Mr. Cornall." Whitney made to step off the bus before hearing Mr. Drake's question.

He should have offered to escort Ms. Malun home before leaving. It wasn't that she wasn't capable of going home on her own, but that absurd bag of hers would make the prospect unpleasant. Especially for someone with such a small frame.

Clicking his tongue to himself, Whitney made it back to the group.

"Ms. Malun, I suspect that bag is quite heavy. I would not mind assisting you on your way home. Hopefully we may even run into Woolsworth along the way."

Whitney turned to July and Mr. Drake, "I suspect this group won't immediately be heading home given present company. Fortunately, I seem to have spare time."

In truth, Whitney was curious about the train. By being a gentleman, he could also indulge his own curiosity instead of heading straight home. Garrett's undisciplined energy would no doubt be attracted to the novelty.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:50, Fri 29 Mar 2019.

July Coates
 player, 8 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 29 Mar 2019
at 19:39
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
So much for getting home faster.

Unfolding her legs, July had already swung her pink bag across a shoulder when Garrett offered to walk them home. She meant to protest, honest, because there was no really need for him to go that far out of his way, but he was smiling in that way that promised shenanigans, and her brain went a little fuzzy. She couldn't bring herself to refuse. July told herself she was tagging along simply to keep him out of trouble. Herself knew better than to believe that.

"Like I'd let you wander off and have all the fun without me? I'm too selfish for that," July flashed her teeth in a grin, a small laugh bubbling out.

July was a little surprised by Jason's invitation to Whitney--and more than a little surprised that her prickly friend had deigned to accept it. More progress? July allowed herself to be optimistic that somehow they could all manage to successfully cross town without Garrett and Whitney breaking out in a fight. It was possible, right? Between her, Jason, and Malun, they could probably keep the two from killing each other. This is fine!

"I don't know what could have possibly given you that impression," July said to Whitney, as innocent as a unicorn for a beat, before her grin turned several shades more fiendish. Bounding forward, July practically skipped as she lead the charge off the bus.
Retro DM
 GM, 15 posts
Fri 29 Mar 2019
at 21:31
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
When the five exit the bus, they are greeted by the smell of car exhaust and the sound of idling engines all around. There is a line of cars between them and the sidewalk, but it sits still long enough for them to pass without a problem. Walking towards the direction of the train, they can more clearly see that there is caution tape set up in front of it, running along it's length where it can, and there are police cars parked in front of it as well, lights on (which were much harder to see from the bus given how bright it is outside).

As they approach, Officer Bailey notices them, and moves to intercede.

"Hey kids, listen, you really can't come closer, sorry. There's a problem with the rail up ahead, not sure what exactly but the train is stuck till that's fixed. You should be able to..." he stops to look around for a minute, before pointing eastward "If you walk down about two blocks, you should be able to get around the train. You'll hit the edge of town, you know, where the high fences are, but it should be safe."

Anyone who likes can roll investigation, but at disadvantage because you aren’t allowed to closely inspect the area.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:33, Fri 29 Mar 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 10 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 30 Mar 2019
at 00:13
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"I don't think I can leave you behind even if I want to, Jules, It's not--aaaaaaaand she's already gone. Welp!"

Garret followed on July's heels as the tall girl suddenly shot forward. A small laugh and a shake of his head came next as he grabbed the rail on the way out and swung himself off the bus with a lazy sort of explosion of movement. Then he skipped and came up beside her just in time to hear officer Bailey.

He didn't offer complaint at first, but he did shift slightly sideways to look further down the way to see if he could spot anything. One eyebrow cocked and his boots shuffled as he shoved his hands in his pockets and trying to see what he could observe.

Uuuuuuunfortunately he was also... distracted. By a number of things. Not all of them tall and female. But at least one.

"Huh. Any kinda ETA, officer?" Garrett asked. Probably not entirely coming off as innocent.

But that was just his face.

Investigation 5. Insight 20!

This message was last edited by the player at 02:14, Sat 30 Mar 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 6 posts
Sat 30 Mar 2019
at 00:49
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney rolled his eyes as July shot off from the bus. Her enthusiasm was contagious and he couldn't help but let out a smirk. Whitney made his way of the bus with the group.

As they gathered in front of Officer, Whitney surveyed the scene in front of them. Garrett almost immediately shot off a question with no sense of propriety. The schmuck could at least exchange the barest polite greeting.

"Good day, Officer Bailey." Whitney moved to stand next to Garrett, "So you have been told it is unsafe near the train."

Investigation 5.
Insight on Bailey 21

This message was last edited by the player at 02:02, Sat 30 Mar 2019.

Retro DM
 GM, 16 posts
Sat 30 Mar 2019
at 11:18
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Officer Bailey scratched his head under his police cap, and put a hand on his hip as he thought about Garret's question.

"Uuhhh, maybe an hour? I know they have a crew up at the problem area now, but I don't know exactly what they are doing."

He was quicker to answer Whitney, however.

"The train is carrying some industrial waste, so its best that folks don't go nosing around near it, just in case."
July Coates
 player, 9 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sat 30 Mar 2019
at 16:10
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Don't be nosy, July could practically hear her mother's admonishments as she blatantly ignored them, craning her neck to get a better view of the train. It went a ways down, and while July was relieved to see a lack of disaster, she was still a bit disappointed by how mundane it all was. It was just a stopped train, with nothing obviously out of the ordinary.

Down here, at least. Rocking back on her heels, July flashed a polite smile to Officer Bailey.

"Thanks for the heads up, Officer!" Grabbing Garrett's elbow, she tugged in the direction the ever so helpful lawman had indicated. With luck, they'd be able to find a way to double back on the other side of the train. "We should get going, yeah?"

This message was last edited by the player at 16:10, Sat 30 Mar 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 11 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 30 Mar 2019
at 20:03
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The moment officer Bailey spoke, Garrett seemed to shrug it off with an irritating nonchallance. Okay, fine. I get it. He was about to turn and ask the question when July suddenly grabbed his elbow and started hauling him off. A laugh escaped him, abrupt and amused, and--he hoped anyway--not too nervous.

Live wire. Jeeeeeeeeesus. When did that start happening? Balls.

Allowing himself to be pulled, he stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans and gave Jules a sideways sort of half-smile. "Yes, we should get going. To the place that we are definitely both going to. The place that is interesting, and might require a weird kinda roundabout way to get to, yeah?"

He cleared his throat and looked at the others. "Game?"

For all the smiles, though, this was eating at him. Something was up, and waiting to find out later on the news felt... well, it felt wrong.

And wrong wasn't an option.

This message was last edited by the player at 20:04, Sat 30 Mar 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 9 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 30 Mar 2019
at 20:44
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun followed along, and made sure to wait until after she was certain Officer Bailey was no longer listening to them before speaking, "I presume you intend to investigate further?" Her voice was half bemused and half annoyed, a tone Garret and Whitney certainly heard far more than the other two did, "I suppose I should assist, that way we might get somewhere before dinner. Which I would like to be home in time for."

Having to jog slightly to get next to July and Garret, she began to lay out the basis of a simple investigation, "To begin, is this simple garden variety curiosity and a convenient distraction from studying for finals, which Garret you especially should be doing, or do you have a reason to believe this is something other than a mundane problem with the tracks causing an inconvenience?"
Jason Drake
 player, 6 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sat 30 Mar 2019
at 22:03
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Jason didn’t really get a good look at the train itself, but it was a train, and it definitely wasn’t moving. Bailey was as honest as any cop might be with a local group of teenagers, saying just enough to satisfy the question without giving all the details. Hmm, alright.

As they started to walk and talk, Jason interjected. “Studying is important, sure, but more to the point snooping around means ducking the cops. Not that I’m a big fan of police, but that’s harder than it sounds, at least when they are out in force. I don’t know about you guys but I’m not that sneaky.” He sighed, looking at each one of his friends. “So, If we’re doing this? We need a very good plan. I’m not trying to get arrested on the weekend.”
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 7 posts
Sun 31 Mar 2019
at 19:48
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Good Day, Officer Bailey. Thank you for your time." Whitney had to jog to catch up to the group. They had already launched off following July's break neck exit.

Industrial waste would make some sense, Whitney considered to himself. There were what looked like yellow warning signs placed on the train cars. The story added up, but Whitney couldn't shake the feeling the officer had held back. Which he would have no real reason to. Cargo trains pass by all the time, industrial waste needs to be transported, and sometimes dangerous thing turn up on the tracks. None of these things were secret worthy.

They came to a stop and Ms. Malun and Mr. Drake both made excellent points. It would do to get a look as inconspicuously as possible. Two thoughts came to mind.

"We need a place outside of the perimeter where we have a vantage point to look down on the train. Alternately a building or something we can hide behind that's near the train or whatever is blocking it." Whitney didn't know either good place however, he seldom explored the area himself.

"I am hoping Ms. Malun has a more detailed plan. I do not wish to run afoul of the law if we are to do this." Her insight would no doubt be invaluable.

Ms. Malun had made a good point. If this was passing curiosity, then was it worth the risk. Yet why hold back information? He could just let it go. Is there something to hide? It was probably nothing.

And yet.
Garret Blake
 player, 12 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 31 Mar 2019
at 22:32
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Something about it bugs me," Garrett said as Malun kept pace beside himself and July. Here the smirk dropped. Now out of earshot from officer Bailey, the other familiar look Garrett's friends knew so well crept over his features: mind set on something he was concerned about. Once that look showed up, it became almost impossible to dissuade him from chasing whatever had wedged its way into his brain. "I trust that Bailey's got the best of intentions and isn't giving us any sort of runaround, but he also wasn't telling us everything and that makes it feel worse."

Calls for a plan got a nod from him as the tall boy picked up his pace a bit. "Hundred percent," he said. "I just want to walk around the other side of the train and see if we can get a glimpse of where that actual 'derailing'--" he made air quotes "--happened."

He was walking at his full stride, now. Eyes focussed ahead. Garrett was a wide-receiver, never a quarterback except when practice had necessitated it. But he was also a solid lead when it came to teamwork, and the first lesson of that was listen to the people who know things.

"So," he said in response to Jules, Malun, Jason, and maybe Whitney. "Lets take that as a base play. We got a short distance to walk so there's a few seconds. Give me add-ons or alternatives. Go."

This message was last edited by the player at 23:09, Sun 31 Mar 2019.

July Coates
 player, 10 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Mon 1 Apr 2019
at 01:08
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Planning wasn't really July's... thing. She could follow along, could do as she was told, but she'd always been more comfortable in the free fall. There was momentum in a plan, and there was value in that, sure, it just wasn't her forte. She preferred to improvise, to adapt.

"Don't get caught?" July said helpfully, offering an exaggerated shrug. After a moment, she continued, nodding towards the approaching end of the train. "If we do get caught, play dumb and apologise. But maybe we should just like...see what we're working with before we commit to an idea?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 10 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 1 Apr 2019
at 20:22
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Committing to a specific strategy without information is foolish," Malun actually nodded to July, "the first step is simply to reach the other side and observe from a distance, without looking obvious about it."
Garret Blake
 player, 13 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Tue 2 Apr 2019
at 02:42
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Alright, no more dicking around, then," Garrett said, picking up the pace. He flashed July a sideways glance. "Don't get caught it is."

Doing his level best to remain innocuous, the tall boy kept walking, eventually passing around the rear end of the stopped train. All the while he was sort of casually keeping an eye on the cars, wondering about what was in them. It was odd. Something about it--he couldn't place his finger just on what. And the fact that Bailey had known more than he was telling them made that brain-itch worse.

Soon they were across the tracks, and he was leading them a block further down so that they could get a look at the train while walking parallel one street over. "So," he said, now a significant distance from the police. "I figure we see if one of these side-streets gives us a view of what's what... and if not, we keep inching closer until we spot a vantage point that can."

Uuuuuuuuunfortunately he just FUCKED that up with a Nat 1 Perception check.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 8 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Tue 2 Apr 2019
at 02:56
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Scout a route. Simple enough. Best laid plans of mice and men. Whitney pondered if that meant planning was pointless.

Garrett was obviously trying not to be obvious. Which was just made him stand out. Whitney rolled his eyes with enough torque to move the sun.

Time to see if the coast is clear.

Perception 16.
July Coates
 player, 11 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Tue 2 Apr 2019
at 03:53
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
It was all a little silly, July mused, as their ragtag group doubled back, peeking through side streets in hunt of what was undoubtedly an incredibly mundane answer. That this was one of the most notable things to happen in Gridley in weeks was just sad.

God, I can't wait to get out of this stupid town.

Shaking her head as if to clear the thought, July quickened her pace. Silly or not, sad or not, July wanted to know what was going on.

July Coates rolled 18 using 1d20+1. Perception.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 11 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Tue 2 Apr 2019
at 13:47
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun was lost in thought for just a moment, considering how best to approach the situation once they had a better vantage point, but that moment was long enough for first Garret then Whitney and July to leave her further behind than she hoped they intended.

"Hey! Will you all stop speeding up so much?" She broke into a hustle to try and keep up, but between her short stature and her heavy bag she wasn't having much success, "I! Am! Short!"

OOC: Malun has a 25ft move speed instead of the usual 30 due to being a "halfling"~
No perception from Malun, she'll take her turn on the Investigation once we get close enough to use it.

Jason Drake
 player, 7 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Tue 2 Apr 2019
at 16:46
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Walking along with the rest of the group, Jason kept an eye out to make sure they weren't going to run afoul of the police, and maybe for a good vantage point they could get a better view from. He slowed down for Malun instinctively, being aware of her shorter stature, and would have said something but Malun beat him to it. He was a lot less tense than the rest, despite being alert, probably due to his previous training. No need to get hyped up unless you see something.

Rolled a 26 on Perception, keeping an eye out
Retro DM
 GM, 17 posts
Tue 2 Apr 2019
at 17:00
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
As the group made their way around the back end of the train, no one seemed to pay them much notice. They kept a good distance, and while they could still see police at every intersection, they were all quite busy keeping other onlookers away.

The train itself was long. Very long. The five walked along for at least two miles, going out of the commercial district and into tall residence buildings, and then the packed residences broke up into sparse houses. There was less to hide behind, but it was easier to see the whole of the train.

Finally, after an hour of walking, they could see the front end. It was currently surrounded by cop cars with their lights on, with caution tape set up between wooden barriers. The perimeter was probably 100 feet wide, with over 20 officers patrolling. They could also see a news van on the opposite side of the train, stopped farther away from the cordoned area.

Getting close seemed impossible. But they could go higher. At the next crossroads there was a hill rolling upward to the south east, high enough that they might be able to see whatever was being guarded by the cops, and it had a spot where they could hide behind some overgrown brush.

Your collective Perception checks allow you to see the van, and an area of cover on top of the hill where there is some thick brush. There's almost no cover between yourselves and the police cordon.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 12 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Tue 2 Apr 2019
at 18:34
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
After the first mile of train, Malun began to grumble about how long this was taking and if there was really anything worth bothering with. As everyone just kept going, she occasionally spoke up to remind people that she WOULD like to be home before dinner and at this rate that was looking unlikely.

Once they reached the area where they could see the front, Malun stopped her complaining(for now) and observed the area, "...getting close will be difficult. Fortunately for you all, the amazing Malun is here~"

With a self satisfied, one might even say smug, laugh, she plunked her bag down and opened it up, "Let's see...what do I have to work with in here? Aha, perfect!"

Working quickly, she pulled out a cardboard tube and a black marker, using the latter to completely darken the former. Then she took off her glasses, popped one lens out and used a tiny x-acto knife(where was she keeping that?) to make an incision in the tube to slot the lens into.

Finally she pulled out a magnifying glass and some duct tape, holding the tube and the magnifying glass out to Jason, "hold this flush against the end while I tape it, then we'll have a way to see what's going on without needing to get close!"

OOC: Malun rolls a 20 on her Tinker's Tools check to make a simple telescope out of materials in her bag.
Garret Blake
 player, 14 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Tue 2 Apr 2019
at 20:15
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Cresting the top of the hill, Garret paused for a moment to breathe. He then turned crouching down on one knee and peering towards the train, peering down at the kerfluffle below. "Sorry guys," he murmured as he squinted. "Looks like we're getting home late."

Then he waited, staring straight ahead at whatever he could perceive below. "My bad."

Fingers flexed against the dirt while he crouched, letting his backpack thump onto the ground. It was probably nothing, the nagging in the back of his head be damned. Nothing ever happened here, ever. Nothing ever was going to happen.

But maybe between now and when everyone scattered to the ends of the earth, leaving him here at the end of next year, something important would have a use for whatever he had to offer the world, little as that might be.

"C'mon," he murmured under his breath, a small flame of guilt in the back of his head. "Be something."

11 on stealth to reach the top without drawing too much attention.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:40, Wed 03 Apr 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 9 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 00:47
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
At least an hour had passed. Woolsworth might be beginning to look for him by now. The gentleman was liking driving around town in the car, looking for one of the few haunts Whitney frequented. The young man made a mental note to make it up to his butler somehow. The older man had a presence Whitney always respected.

But right now, something was quite off. There were a lot of police for something that was blocking the train. The air was electric, something tingling in the atmosphere. These were familiar nerves he felt before any competition, before he was put to the test. Whitney couldn't help but smile to himself.

Garrett went up the hill first. Ms. Lunesby was fiddling with something, probably making an impromptu telescope out of hopes and dreams. While that would probably work, Whitney had faith in his eyes. Besides, Garrett would no doubt mess up on his own.

Stealth 12 to reach the overgrown bush with Garrett.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:47, Wed 03 Apr 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 8 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 01:29
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The walk wasn’t too much, or at least not for Jason. The approaching sunset meant the air was cooling off, even though it was a slow cooling, it was nice. The scene ahead of them, however, was not. He took in the numbers of police, positions, spaces for cover. That TV van being blocked was typical for the cops, but this wasn’t a typical situation. He was happy to hel Malun with her telescope, and was impressed by her enginuity. “That’s actually really good. We can get a way better view with this, especially up the hill.”

Jason followed the rest up the hill, as quickly and quietly as he could. When they reached he bushes, he stopped to voice his assessment.

“That is a lot of cops. There’s no way this is just a break in the track, you don’t hide something like that or have so many people guard it.”

Rolled a 13 stealth, hope that’s good enough

This message was last edited by the player at 02:26, Wed 03 Apr 2019.

July Coates
 player, 12 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 04:54
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
That's...a lot of cops.

All thoughts of the stalled train being merely novel were thrown out at the sight of what looked like the entirety of the Gridley Police Department swarming the area. July drew to a halt, her oft-ignored self preservation instincts making themselves known. This was...She didn't know what this was yet. She needed to know what was going on, more than she needed to breathe, but July forced herself to slow down and think. The consequences for getting caught would probably be a bit more serious than just being shoo'd away. They might tell her dad.

July opened her mouth to suggest reconsidering their plan (or lack thereof), only to find Garret and Whitney were already well on their way up the hill, and Jason setting off. Too slow.

"Come on, lets put that telescope to good use. We can't let them have all the fun," July shot Malun a grin over her shoulder as she followed, sounding a hell of a lot more confident than she felt about the situation. It'll be fine.

July took her time heading towards the now very crowded bushes, determined to both avoid detection and allow Malun to keep pace. Finally rejoining the others, July squinted down at the train below.

"This is weird, right?"

July Coates rolled 20 using 1d20+4. We gotta be sneeeaaaky Charlie....sneaky.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 13 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 05:13
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
After taking back the now taped up tube from Jason, Malun spent a few(only a few, right?) moments making some adjustments to the lens to get the cleanest view she could manage from such an awkward set of materials, "Hmmm...hmmmmmmmmm...hmph. I suppose this will have to do. Now we can avoid having to..."

She looked up. The boys, even Jason who was right there only a couple second ago(it was just a couple seconds, yes? She didn't take THAT long to make adjustments...) were now sneaking their way up towards the hill.

"How rude," Malun hmphed and glared at the retreating backs of the boys, "This was not as trivial to make as I surely made it seem, and they just leave me behind in favor of a hill."

"Here, you take this," she handed July the makeshift telescope so she could carry her bag with both hands, "I'll be right behind you."

Indeed, Malun was right *behind* July, making sure to keep the taller girl, and once she got closer the boys as well, between the officers and herself, just in case their impatient advance was spotted.

(OOC: Stealth...6. But using the Naturally Stealthy ability to basically use the others as cover, for what that's worth.)
Retro DM
 GM, 18 posts
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 11:52
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The group ascended the hill, without any eyes on them, as far as they could telll. Malun’s bag made being quiet a little difficult, but at this distance it was very unlike she would be heard by the cops.

At the top of the hill, hunkered behind the growth of scrub brushes,  they all could see quite clearly that there was a circular perimeter around the tracks. Several people were gathered in the center of this perimeter, just slightly off center of the track. There was... something? Some kind of large object, standing about as tall as a person. Whatever it was, the cops were interested.

The group stealth check passes overall. Whoever has the telescope can make a perception check with advantage +5, since you are both elevated and have magnification. Without the telescope you can still make the check at advantage, but you can’t make out minute details from here.
July Coates
 player, 13 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 16:03
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Definitely weird.

Poking her head out from behind cover, July peered through the makeshift telescope. It was surprisingly effective--well, maybe not that surprising, considering who had made it. She focused her attention on the object at the tracks and the people in its immediate vicinity.

July Coates rolled 23 using 1d20+6. ENHANCE!!!
Garret Blake
 player, 15 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 19:09
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garret took the telescope next, gently extricating it from Jules' hands as he crouched behind the brush. Eyes got contemplative for a second, and he threw a lopsided smile at Malun. "Damn Malun, thanks!" Then he slowly rose from behind the brush and held the spyglass up to his eyes.

"Is this the part where we go off together on the hunt for lost pirate treasure? Because I think I got some leveling up to do before I'm Josh Brolin handsome," he murmured the Goonies reference as he took his best look at the source of the commotion down below.

Base 18 for perception. +6 is a 24!
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 14 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 20:25
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Hmph," Malun sniffed a bit at the thanks, still a bit miffed at people running off ahead of her, "just be careful with it, it's not going to be very sturdy."

Crouching down, she set her bag down to give herself a rest, but also leaned over to July slightly, "...ah...who is Josh Brolin? Some kind of famous explorer?"
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 10 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 20:33
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Josh Brolin. One of your cartoon characters, I presume." Whitney held out his hand to have the manifestation of Ms. Lunesby's ingenuity placed in his hand, "Thank you."

The device was crude, but magnificent. Whitney examined it further and looked at the young woman. She had used her own glasses for use as one of the lenses, which was admittedly amusing to look at.

"Impressive and unexpected, as always Ms. Lunesby." He peered down below at the center of the hubbub.

Perception 18
Jason Drake
 player, 9 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 21:21
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Jason shook his head at Garret’s reference, and he wasn’t too surprised that Whitney and Malun didn’t know who it was.

“He’s and actor, in movies. Pretty good one, actually. We should watch one he’s in sometime.”

Other than that, he was waiting for his turn to take a peek through the telescope at the strange, possibly dangerous object.

“Think they called the feds? This many cops, and it kinda looks like some detectives down there too. At least I think so, wouldn’t know any on sight.”
Retro DM
 GM, 19 posts
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 21:39
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
As each of the group took a turn with the telescope, they easily put the object into view. It was some kind of large crystal, or gem? It stood over five feet tall, and had a ln almost dome shaped top that was broken up by sections, like a diamond might be. It’s length looked jagged and asymmetrical, as though it had been broken off from something else, but no other objects like it seemed to be nearby. None of that was the strangest thing about it, however. The strangest part is that it seemed to hover just inches above he ground. As each of the teenagers passed around the scope, they could confirm it wasn’t a trick of the light, this thing was floating.

After a moment, before much speculating could take place, the object started to project light. Lots of light. Cascading beams of it, in all different colors. The people standing closest to it started to back up slowly, as though afraid. The object rumbled, creating an audible thrumming as it began to vibrate. Somehow, it’s vibrations carried into the ground, which began to crack. When that started, everyone within it’s vicinity turned to run. The object then pierced the ground, and the crack shifted into a full-on earthquake.

The split in the ground rushed outwards in two directions, one farther away, the other headed strait for the group of teenagers on the hill. The ground beneath them rumbled furiously, and began to part. They had to react fast.

Dexterity saving throws please
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 15 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 21:52
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun let everyone else use the scope before taking her own turn, so she was not remotely prepared for the sudden surge in the ground, a loud squeak making it out of her as she scrambled in a mad attempt to grab her bag, hold onto the telescope and keep her balance all at the same time.

OOC: Dex Save 7
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 11 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 22:06
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The ground began to split before Whitney could even process the strange floating crystal. Everyone jumped out in time, except Ms. Lunesby. Between her bag and her telescope, she was gonna fall in with the things she was trying to save.

Without thinking Whitney grabbed the genius by the shoulder and steadied her away from the cracking Earth.

"Too close, Bubala."

Dex Save 23
July Coates
 player, 14 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 4 Apr 2019
at 01:16
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Normally, July would have had a quip for Garret's inaccurate assessment on his relative handsomeness to Josh Brolin. Normally she would have gladly explained the reference to Malun. Normally she would have chastised Whitney for his rude dig.

Normally, however, there weren't fucking floating crystal...things holding up trains and glowing and shit. July's attention was fixated entirely on the sheer absurdity of the situation, which only went from weird to worse when the crystal shot into the earth and the ground began to shake. She shot the others an alarmed look, somehow managing to keep her footing as the earth pitched and splintered, a crack lancing up their hill terrifyingly quick. Springing back and out of the way, July managed to avoid falling.

"Shit! Is everyone okay?!"

July Coates rolled 18 using 1d20+5. Dex saving throw!
Jason Drake
 player, 10 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Thu 4 Apr 2019
at 01:52
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Seeing this strange... crystal? It was beyond weird. Jason had so many questions. Why is it floating? How did it get here? Who saw it first?  What would the cops do with it? Unfortunately he had not time to voice any of that, or even much to think about it, as the crystal thing started to light up, rumble, and proceed to cause an earthquake. Great.

Jason quickly leaped up from his crouched position and away from the now splitting earth. He saw Malun falling, but Whitney was much faster and got her out of danger before Jason could double back. A good thing, but possible conflict and one upsmanship later. No time for that now.

“What the fuck is going on? That thing makes eqarthquakes?!”

Dex save 15

This message was last edited by the player at 01:53, Thu 04 Apr 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 16 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 4 Apr 2019
at 14:59
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
His eyes widened as he saw the crystal. A sudden shock. Hoping it was something other than the ordinary was several orders of magnitude different from realizing that what was in front of him was unlike anything he'd ever encountered in his life. Whoa.

Garrett stood transfixed as it rose and started to generate light. Some part of him knew that he should be looking away. That this was dangerous and just standing there could get him killed.

But it was like a moth in front of a roaring fire. The blinding light sheared outwards in all directions and the ground cracked and in that halcyon moment before the rippling split of earth was beneath him, everyone could hear the tall boy murmur something under his breath.

"It's beautiful."

Then reflex finally took over, and he dash-scrambled sideways with a leap as the ground carved in half. Caught himself on one hand. Then he dashed up, jarred back to reality, and reflexively said "Is everyone okay?"

Even as he spoke, his vision was lancing back to the source of the chaos. What the hell?

Dex save 15!

This message was last edited by the player at 15:00, Thu 04 Apr 2019.

Retro DM
 GM, 20 posts
Thu 4 Apr 2019
at 21:19
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Thanks to quick reactions, 4 of the 5 managed to quickly scramble or leap away from the opening earth. Malun’s reaction time was slightly slower, and she might have tumbled in if not for Whitney’s quick intervention.

All five stood on one side of the split, as the earth opened further, the ground shaking still with the force of whatever that object was. It came apart nearly five feet, and went down so far that darkness consumed it, making the bottom impossible to perceive. Then, when the quaking finally stopped, light. Pouring out and up from the newly formed scar in the earth, light just like that from the object, cascading in multiple colors. This time, however, the light also burst outward in waves, washing over and impacting everything around it, including the five.

It’s feeling was electric, like static, but in every muscle, and deeper, into the marrow. As far as they could tell, it wasn’t directly harming them, but the shock of it all temporarily dazed them. Their bodies felt... different, somehow.

When the waves of light passed, the cascading beam ceasing, the world was dark. Anyone who looked would then see that the sky itself was split in half, night and day, right down the line made in the earth. And they were on the night side. From their vantage point, they could still see the police cars, and the train, but no people, anywhere, other than themselves.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:56, Thu 04 Apr 2019.

July Coates
 player, 15 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 02:12
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July had felt earthquakes before, but they had never been like this. Before today, the worst they'd ever done was knock over her alarm clock. She'd never seen the earth unzip before. A ravine carved right through the hill, as if it had gone right for them. There was no time to process that (insane) idea. The ground had stopped shaking, only for the world to erupt in brilliant, scintillating light. It burned through every thought until all she knew was the sparks in her nerves and the fire in her veins.

And then, silence.

The world span lazily on a new axis, and it took a conscious effort for July to remember how to balance, to remember how to think. Everything felt... more. The world seemed sharper, more focused, somehow, even dark as it was. No, it wasn't just dark, it was the dead of night, stars winking in the heavens. She looked skyward, tracing the shadows across the sky--and then it just wasn't night anymore. The light of day stung, and blue eyes watered, squinting against the bright.

"Whaaaaaat," July gaped at the complete upset of reality, "The fuuuuuuuucck?"
Garret Blake
 player, 17 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 03:16
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett nearly lost his footing. Something raced through him, rattling his frame. There was a swell of something that raced through him. Confusing, potent, and more than he'd ever experienced in one dose. It was incredible and terrible all in one--facing down Damon Stone's punks and taking a hail-mary right into the inzone with a full sprint and a leap.

He couldn't keep his feet. Staggered down to one knee. A flash of light. A flash of painful darkness. Dizziness. The sudden, far away sense that something was wrong. His back ached. His gut constricted. He couldn't see it, of course, but for a half-second, darkness bled from his pupils, painted the rest of his eyes the color of star-dappled night, then they returned to normal.

Then he looked up. Coughed slightly. Pushed himself up to a standing position. He blinked. There were stars overhead. It was dark. really dark.

But he could see. Night but not night... and just beyond, a rippling heat-wall of daylight. He seemed to be breathing. Okay. That was... weird, but okay. A glance. Everyone okay. Nobody screaming in agony or pain. "Is everyone alright?" he asked, just to confirm it.

Then a pause happened. Garrett squeezed his eyes shut. Blinked once more. Opened them. Nope. It was still the same.

"Also," he asked after a moment, "can anyone else see in the dark?"

This message was last edited by the player at 04:25, Fri 05 Apr 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 11 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 16:19
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
After the quake, and the mad scramble to get to safety, Jason hoped that it was over. Of course, it wasn't. That would be far too simple of a day. As the light spewed forth and impacted him, he felt something deep within as the seeming static washed over his body. It felt warm, at first, then hot, but somehow not burning. It was like a blow torch put over a metal pipe, allowing it to bend, but not break, in his hands, arms, legs, every muscle. What is happening?

Then it stopped, and the world around him went dark. He blinked and looked around, seeing the impossibly split world of day and night. He seemed transfixed on it for a moment, his jaw dropping slowly as he fought to regain his composure.

"I'm with July on this one. What the hell just happened? Is this real? Are we tripping out right now?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 16 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 17:40
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Thanks to Whitney's quick action, Malun fell backwards onto her butt instead of forwards into the forming crevice. As she sat there, makeshift telescope now broken from a panicked squeeze in one hand, her bag clutched in the other and her glasses with only one lens left lopsided on her face, the young genius just stared at the sky.

It made no sense. It defied all that she understood to be true. Half day-half night? That's not how twilight worked.

The voices of her friends, as well as another odd sound she couldn't place, snapped her back to coherence after a moment, "...ah, yes I'm fine. Thank you, Whitney."

After she managed to stagger to her feet, Malun recovered the lens from her broken telescope and fitted it back into her glasses frame while she observed the area around them. With a shrug, she then tossed the remains of the cardboard tube into the crevice, watching it dissapear down the hole as she suspected it would, "Well that rules out this being some manner of optical illusion. The crack in the ground is real enough, and if what that crystal did put us into some manner of altered state the odds that we would all experience the same hallucinations are infinitely small due to the differences in unique biochemistry. So if we are all seeing a crevice in the ground and the sky somehow evenly split between day and night, then we can rule out 'tripping out'."

The odd noise kept bothering her though. It sounded like it was coming from somewhere close by, though it was so faint that she couldn't quite pin down the location. She took a few shaky steps towards the direction she thought it might be coming from and looked very confused before she realized what the source had to be.

The noise was coming from her left arm. Or rather, the lightweight keyboard/trackpad system she had fitted onto her arm. She called it her PortCon, or Portable Console, a device that was largely just for rapid notetaking that saw less use than she wanted because they wouldn't let her wear it in class.

"My PortCon is making odd noises." Malun stated with a very flat voice, somewhere between blankly observational and outright dumbfounded.

Then she looked up at the others, worry creeping into her voice for the first time since she found it after the near fall, "...it isn't powered on."

This message was last edited by the player at 17:41, Fri 05 Apr 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 12 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 18:39
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Ms. Lunesby fell backwards instead of forwards. Not the optimal outcome he had hoped for, but certainly better than falling into a freshly made crevice in the Earth.

Right. The Earth cracked open. California had it's earthquakes, but Whitney was fairly sure they didn't split the Earth open. Whitney was also fairly sure floating rainbow diamond spikes didn't plunge into the ground and cause earthquakes that split that open. Whitney was also pretty sure that weird fuzzy barriers that block sunlight and come out of the newly made crevices in the Earth caused by the floating rainbow spike diamond was in all Not Quite Normal.

Panic gripped his chest, more intense than it should have ever been. The waves of colors left something changed in him. It had left something in him.

His thoughts began to race into an incoherent mess, so Whitney went back to what he knew. I am the breath of my bow. He knocked the arrow in his mind like he had done over a thousand times. Exhale, execute. He loosed the arrow.

"Panic is a waste of time." Whitney glanced around, ensuring no one else was seriously harmed. Ms. Lunesby had gotten up while he had been calming down. Chastising himself, not calming down sooner and offering to help her up was too slow.

Whitney realized he could no longer see the many cops that had been by the front of the train earlier. Eying the barrier, he wondered if it blocked more than light.

He picked up a nearby rock from the recently upturned dirt and threw it at the unknown.
July Coates
 player, 16 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 19:28
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July wasn't sure whether or not she preferred Malun's assessment that they weren't hallucinating to the idea of a bad trip. It was comforting that she wasn't suddenly going crazy, but the idea that this frankly impossible sight could be actually happening was rather less so.

The concern in Malun's voice about her electronics pulled July's attention away from the daylight. July turned towards the younger girl, sounding as small as she looked for the first time since July had known her.

"Perhaps you should take it off for now, Malun," July did her best to keep the bite of worry out of her voice. She wasn't entirely successful. That light, whatever it was, had cut through the very core of her. Who knew how it would interact with electronics? "Just to be on the safe side."

As Whitney chucked a rock towards the, for lack of a better word, barrier, July found she could track the projectile with surprising clarity. She glanced to Garret and then Jason, standing deep well in the night-side of the split, and their figures were just as clear. That was new.

"I can," she answered Garret, meeting his gaze with a concerned look. "Weird."

With that helpful comment, July wrinkled her nose.

"We...should probably get out of here."
Retro DM
 GM, 21 posts
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 20:47
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney’s rock throw would reveal that, seemingly, solid matter can pass into the daylight side with no ill effects, the rock tumbling across the ground on the other side before coming to rest about a foot away from the gap itself. Anyone paying attention would also hear it tumble, so it seemed that sound passed as well.

As Malun related her concerns to the others, something else strange happened. Her PortCon turned itself on, and projected a holographic image, which everyone could see. It had never done that before. The image was a smiley face, followed by large, bold text, which read:

Greetings Malun. Strange energy has transmuted my circuits. I can explain in detail later, but we are not in a safe place. Request immediate retreat.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 17 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 20:55
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun stared in shocked silence for several seconds at the holographic screen. The hard light projection technology wasn't ready yet, how was this happening?

...is this even hard light?

She moved her right hand towards the light above the PortCon, slowly passing it through the words, blurring them. Okay, not hard light. I'm relieved but even more confused. ...move now, think later.

"My PortCon thinks we should leave," Malun stated in a deadpan, "If one of you could get my bag, please. I think I want to keep both hands free for now."
Garret Blake
 player, 18 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 21:56
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"... alright, lets go then," Garret said. "If the talking computer--since that's a thing--says we shouldn't be in the nightland, then maybe listen to it for starters."

His insides roiled and constricted. His vision swam a little, then something happened, whether deliberate or not. It was as if his consciousness expanded in all directions, rippling outward as he tried to keep his balance, catching himself on July's shoulder involuntarily for a moment. His eyes widened and acquired an intensity that bordered on physically glowing. Then it receded and he sagged.

"Ooooh," he suddenly woozily voiced. "Iiiii don't feel so good..."

Divine sense to see if there are any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet. Within the same range he also detects any space that has been consecrated or desecrated.

This message was last edited by the player at 21:58, Fri 05 Apr 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 12 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 22:24
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
It took a moment for Jason to realize that Garret had asked a question. Given the strangeness of the circumstances, he figured that could be forgiven.

"Oh, yeah I'm fine... I think? I can't see in the dark, but It's not that dark, right? I mean yeah there's sunlight right over there, somehow not making it over here... nevermind, it's pretty dark."

And then he saw the projected message from Malun's write computer thingy.

"That's uh, different. About as trustworthy as anything else around here I guess. I'll carry your bag, Malun, but first..."

Jason fiddled for some matches, and tried to find something he could maybe use as a torch. "If you guys can help me find a good stick or something? I have some grease in my bag, I can make a quick torch, I think."

Insight check on the PortCon? Rolled a 9 :-/
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 13 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 22:40
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Ms. Lunesby's strange arm device projected a message warning them to leave the area. It would have been more useful if it had actually stayed on as a light source or even a suggestion as to where they should go.

Hearing Mr. Drake request assistance, Whitney glanced around for a suitable stick. He quickly found one nearby the bush they were hiding behind earlier.

"This stick should be sufficient." He said handing it off.

Whitney thought about the wrist computer. As far as he knew, artificial sapience was not one of the many thing Ms. Lunesby had built. They would have to trust it, he supposed. Not much choice under given surreal circumstances.

Insight check on Portcon: 5
Retro DM
 GM, 22 posts
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 23:27
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The intentions of the strange computer entity were hard to determine, but they had no reason to specifically distrust it. With Whitney’s help, it was easy enough for Jason to make a simple torch out of the stick, a rag, and some greas that Jason carried with him, items Jason normally had on hand. With the torch lit, it was naturally much easier for those without enhanced sight to see their surroundings.

Garret’s strange feeling in his head, which was somewhere between a headache and numbness, seemed to be trying to tell him something.
July Coates
 player, 17 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sat 6 Apr 2019
at 00:38
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July didn't know what to make of the computers sudden communication, but its suggestion to leave sounded like a good idea. She peered down along the newly made ravine, but there was no end in sight. The only way out, it seemed, was across the gap. Five, maybe six feet. She could make it with a running start, but they'd likely have to find a way to help Malun across. She focused her attention on the divide, looking for the narrowest possible point.

July staggered as Garrett's hand landed on her shoulder, shifting instinctively to brace a hand against his side and bear the weight. He'd gone awfully pale, and his footing seemed uncertain.

"Hey, easy there buddy," July soothed. Get out of here first, then panic. "I've got you."

The others had lit a torch--which seemed unnecessary--and July cast a worried glance to Jason and Whitney, nodding towards the crevice. They needed to get moving. Who knew if there would be aftershocks?

July Coates rolled 12 using 1d20+1.  Perceptioning a way across the crevice.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:20, Sat 06 Apr 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 19 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 6 Apr 2019
at 03:27
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"I'm okay," Garrett breathed. He didn't look it. His face had paled and he looked like he'd gotten over taking a sudden rapid series of punches to the gut. Internally he was reorienting himself around the sudden influx of feedback rushing into his senses. The hand on Jules shoulder tightened as he looked up.

It was close. The tug in his gut became something stronger. A burning, reflexive answer to the abrupt sense of something deeply wrong. A moment of flashing realization rushed together and crystalized into a sudden understanding: whatever that thing was, it wasn't alive. But it was.

And it was his enemy.

"There's something in the crevice," he said. "Something bad. Really bad." His eyes flashed towards the girl holding him up. "Remember those old zombies we watched with Noel? Like that. Dead but not dead. It's forty feet below us in that crack in the ground."

He breathed. "Don't ask me how I know. I can just... feel it. We need to move now."
Retro DM
 GM, 23 posts
Sat 6 Apr 2019
at 22:06
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July’s search only took a few moments, thanks to her now enhanced vision, and the aid of the improvised torch light. She spotted a smaller gap a few yards westward, that was maybe three feet across, though it might need some closer inspection for stability. The earth did just split open after all.

July’s perception finds a smaller, 3ft gap approximately 10 yards away.

Before she could relay this, however, the group felt another rumbling. It was not an after shock, the whole earth wasn’t shaking. It was something moving through the earth, churning the newly broken bedrock and gravel, forcing it aside.  Whatever the strange sense was that flooded Garret’s mind, it told him that this was the same presence, now moving towards them all.

The entity burst through the topsoil, spewing dirt and rock across the air and to the ground around it. The dust was heavy, and cleared quickly, revealing a massive, impossibly massive snake. It’s body had to be nearly twenty feet long, it’s girth wider than a sedan. It stood itself up midway, it’s head ten feet above the ground. It’s scales were like onyx, but for a single silver stripe running down the center of it’s back. It’s head was completely bare of flesh, being bleached white bone, that somehow still contained a forked tongue. Instead of eyes, orbs of blue flame alighted it’s sockets. And if that wasn’t terrifying enough, it spoke.

“Thievessssss! We will take back what you ssstole!”

Roll for initiative, with a +3 bonus thanks to Garret’s warning.

This message was lightly edited by the GM at 23:47, Sat 06 Apr 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 13 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sun 7 Apr 2019
at 00:06
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
For a moment, Jason actually felt confident that they were going to be alright. No one was hurt, and with the torch he could see a lot better. A flashlight would have been nicer but, this was fine for now. Or it would have been fine, if a giant skull headed snake hadn’t just exploded out of the ground. Jason backed up several steps as the creature loomed over them, and when it spoke he nearly dropped the torch.

“I think it might be time to panic...”

Initiative 14 !
Garret Blake
 player, 20 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 7 Apr 2019
at 00:38
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
He didn't think. His body moved on a reflex his mind didn't have words for. One second earlier he'd been leaning on Jules' shoulder, but now he was freeing himself. His focus seeming to follow the thing from the crevice and up until it erupted out of the ground. He should've been horrified. A dim, distant part of himself recognized that he sort of was.

But there was also something else. Compulsion. His fist clenched. He wasn't supposed to be doing this. He wasn't. This wasn't supposed to exist. It wasn't.

What would Parn do?

What are you doing?

His left hand moved from Jules shoulder and instead urged her behind him, before stepping towards the snake. Towards. What the fuck. No. That was wrong.

No, that thing is wrong.

His mouth was opening. Words were coming out. They were the wrong words. They were his words?

"We didn't steal anything, you flesh-bald length of dick-rope."

WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING.

Then he yelled over his shoulder. "RUN."

See that was more reasonable.

Initiative 10.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:39, Sun 07 Apr 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 14 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sun 7 Apr 2019
at 01:24
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Things were strange and rapidly getting stranger. Garret was insisting that he could sense the living dead. Before Whitney could even question how insane that sounded, a giant snake with fire for eyes burst out the new hole in the Earth. Dirt and debris flung out from it's entrance.

Then it spoke. Then it accused.

One: That was extremely rude.

Two: How does it speak without lips?

Whitney reached for his bow as quick as he could. Thankful he had brought his own arrows today. The goal was suddenly simple. Distract the snake, get people out, run.

Whitney had no illusions that his arrows could do serious harm. He did have a sneaking suspicion that nobody liked having arrows shot through their eyes, even if they were made out of fire.

Initiative 17. Whitney makes ready to fire
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 18 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sun 7 Apr 2019
at 15:20
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun was moving, though slower than her friends due to her shorter stature, but she came to a stumbling halt when the giant snake thing burst out of the ground and started talking. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Whitney pulling his bow, and for perhaps the first time in her short life she was very glad of the continued practice of archaic sporting events.

But Malun herself had no such defense. All she had was her wits, and some outside hope she could put them to use against something this...eldritch.

First thing's first. It can talk. If it can talk, it can reason.

"Excuse me," Malun found her voice and spoke clearly and loudly, "please pardon my friend's rudeness, but he does make a point. What is it you believe that we stole from you? Also...who...and what are you, if I may inquire?"

OOC: Init 20
July Coates
 player, 18 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 7 Apr 2019
at 19:09
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Corny old zombie movies did nothing to prepare July for the sight of an enormous skull-snake-monster-thing bursting from the ground. She took an instinctive step back, trying to reconcile this reality with all the shattered rules she'd previously thought to be unbreakable. Snakes don’t get that big. They don’t talk, and they definitely don’t have glowing fire eyes.

Garrett was trash talking the snake, Malun was, bafflingly, trying for manners in the face of clear aggression, Whitney had his bow, and Jason looked as terrified as she felt. Terrified, and standing the closest to their best chance for escape.

July glanced at the smaller three foot gap, trying to keep calm. They could all make that jump, easy. She was less confident that any of them could successfully outrun the snake, seeing as how it had just burst through rock and soil without issue. Still, of all their limited options, running seemed one of the least terrible.

Behind you. The gap narrows right behind you.

July Coates inadvertently used the message cantrip to Jason.

Homegirl rolled 16 using 1d20+6 to roll for initiative, suckas!!!

This message was last edited by the player at 15:56, Thu 02 May 2019.

Retro DM
 GM, 24 posts
Sun 7 Apr 2019
at 20:32
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The giant, skull headed snake hissed angrily at Garret’s insults, it’s tail thwacking the ground hard behind it.

“Thievessss you are.” It turned its head towards Malun, the twin blue flames focusing on her. “I am Sssskethar, ssssoul eater. You have stolen what is ourssss. I ssssee it in your essenssss.” The blue flames flashed purple, and for a moment the whole area of night was lit by their flame. “There. It issss there. In you five thievessss. We ssshall take it back.”

OOC: Our initiative order -

20, Malun
17, Whitney
16, July
15, Skethar
14, Jason
10, Garret

Malun is up!

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 19 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sun 7 Apr 2019
at 21:09
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun blinked at the snake's answer, "In us? As in...inside our bodies?" Backing away, she wrinkled her nose disapprovingly at the self proclaimed 'soul eater', "Well we didn't intentionally take anything, so if you go around throwing your property inside other people you don't get to complain when it gets stuck there!"

OOC: Malun backs away from the creature, moving to hide behind...let's say Jason since she thinks it's more likely to attack the threatening Garret or Whitney first.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 15 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sun 7 Apr 2019
at 21:45
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Ms. Lunesby was not doubt trying to buy time, but words were not going to be enough. This thing emanated immediate danger. When someone draws a knife on you, you don't extend a hand in friendship.

"Garret, do something useful and get them out of here!" The idiot would probably attack it with a stick instead of making sure everyone got out of there safely.

"I can distract it at range and make a break for it!" Whitney hoped he'd follow the useful advice and be thankful.

Moving off to the left, away from the crack in the Earth, Whitney readied his shot. I am the breath of my bow.

"Hey you undead putz, welcome to Earth." He loosed the arrow.

15 to attack. Hits.
1d6+14 and rolled a 6. 20 Damage :D
July Coates
 player, 19 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 7 Apr 2019
at 22:06
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
It was getting harder not to panic. The snake--Skethar, whatever--slammed its tail into the earth and July felt her skull rattle. They were alone here in the night with a monster from beyond her worst imaginings, and they were going to die. Keep it together.

Whitney was shooting it. July couldn't breathe. If he got hurt--

"Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck," the profanity bubbled out in a stream of panic, and July felt something in her voice shift, like a radio changing frequencies, until all she tasted was static. The words fell silent from her lips, arcing through the empty air, and somehow, impossibly, she knew they landed at the bone white skull menacing down upon them.

July casts Dissonant Whispers. DC 14 Wisdom Saving throw. 3d6 psychic damage on failed save, target must use all remaining movement to move away. Half damage and target does not move on successful save.

5 damage

This message was last edited by the player at 15:56, Thu 02 May 2019.

Retro DM
 GM, 25 posts
Sun 7 Apr 2019
at 23:47
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The massive snake that called itself Skethar reeled slightly, first at the sting of the arrow shot with inexplicable force by Whitney, and then, somehow, from July's voice. The arrow, despite it's force and accuracy, seemed to have had slightly less of an impact that Whitney would have hoped for. The sound of July's voice seemed to shake it's core, and it moved away, quite quickly, slithering west along the crevice, past where July had previously spotted the closer gap. It shouted as it moved.

"WHAT have you DONE to our MIND?!"

Meanwhile, as Malun hid behind Jason, who seemed to be quite intimidated, her PortCon popped up another message.

Hostile detected. Most countermeasures are offline. Current options:
This was followed by a short list in both English and Japanese, apparently about what the PortCon could do.

OOC: Whitney's shot seems to be resisted slightly, while July's spell is not, with Skethar failing his saving throw, and moving 30ft away in a westward direction, provoking an Attack of Opportunity from Garret, Malun and Jason. Malun's PortCon notifies her of it's current capabilities.

After Attacks of Opportunity are taken (or not) Jason will be up!

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:51, Sun 07 Apr 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 21 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 8 Apr 2019
at 00:43
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Nobody listened. Nobody ran. Maybe they didn't have time, maybe this was all too fucking strange to process.

Maybe Garrett wasn't one to talk, hmm?

Regardless, Whitney's arrow slammed into its body, and Jules said something and he felt the ripple of the power flow past him. Then the thing that called itself Skethar started to retreat. That was wrong too. A tug in his gut. A narrowing of his vision. Sudden, acute awareness of distance and time. An opening. He could see it. He could see it.

"You picked the wrong fight, Skittles."

Garrett didn't register where he found the large tree branch. It was in his hand, snatched up from the ground in one fluid motion, giving his friends not even a breath to yell at him before he did what was possibly the dumbest thing imaginable:

Garrett snapped his hips as it retreated and hit it with a fucking stick. The chunk of wood slammed into scales like a baseball bat. But then something else happened.

A light erupted from his eyes, raced down the teenager's tense arms in tracing, iridescent lines that flowed up the improvised weapon before sparking in a flash of blue-white light at the moment of impact. There was a popping of pressure. Time slowed.

Then BOOM

AoO: 16 to attack. 6 damage for the weapon, 8 for the Divine Smite. Eat Radiant damage, Snakeface.
Jason Drake
 player, 14 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 8 Apr 2019
at 01:39
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The giant talking skull headed snake, apparently, could be hurt. Why exactly the plan was to fight it, he didn’t know. There was nothing for it though. He doubted they could run away, the cops were nowhere to be seen, it was just them and the monster. He heard something from July about a smaller gap nearby. He saw it, but now the monster was moving that way. Instinctively, Jason swung with his torch, but missed completely as it slithered quickly by. Dammit, too slow.

Something else struck his mind. The heat he felt earlier seemed to well up, as though it was looking for a release. Jason held his free hand forward, trying to give it a place to go. It escaped in a bright flash, but it also missed the snake, striking a nearby boulder instead.

“Damn! Can’t hit this thing!”

OOC: Jason whiffs the attack of opportunity with an 8. Tries Sacred Flame, DC 15, but the monster makes the saving throw

Garret is up!

This message was last edited by the player at 01:51, Mon 08 Apr 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 22 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 8 Apr 2019
at 02:28
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
He moved forward without thinking, body acting on potent impulse. It was retreating, just like Damon after that first punch When you landed a hit that made a bad man reel, moving in for a second was the next move. Garrett's feet carried him forward as the sweeping blow of the huge stick carried through to a second one as he launched himself forward.

It came around. Okay. Whatever the fuck he'd just done, all he had to do was do it again. Get in there. In the inzone. Move it, Parn.

He swung the stick a second time through a second arc.

And it shattered, shivered to pieces and left his hands covered in painful splinters.

And he was right there. In its space. The leering head loomed above him with its coal-ember eyes.

"... Shit."

NATURAL 1 BEYOTCH.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:31, Mon 08 Apr 2019.

Retro DM
 GM, 26 posts
Mon 8 Apr 2019
at 04:32
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The giant snake hissed out in pain as it was struck in passing. While Garret's stick would have impacted little, the strange, bright energy that he pushed through it and into the creature seemed quite effective. Unfortunately, Jason was unable to land a solid blow, not with his torch or the radiant heat that he could somehow exhume. When Garret moved again, and attempted his second blow, he struck at just the wrong time, and the writhing hide of the snake caused the stick to shatter.

Skethar loomed, visibly harmed, it's scales rended in spots where it had been struck, but still very much 'alive'.

OOC: Back to the top of the order, Malun is up!
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 20 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 8 Apr 2019
at 15:34
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July used some manner of subsonic attack on the creature...with no apparent weaponry to have caused it. Garret made a stick explode with a strange power then made it explode more conventionally, the second one having noticeably less effect on the snake. Jason shot fire out of his hand.

For some reason, they were trying to fight the snake.

Her PortCon projected another screen, with lots of information that she's sure would be very interesting later, if there was a later, but a quick scan showed that none of the abilities listed would currently be of any use...except maybe one. In the blink of an eye, she typed a quick command into her PortCon, which instantly projected a small screen layered over her glasses. Then she put the rest of her hastily concocted plan into action.

"Jason, I'm opening my bag," Malun warned her friend as she opened up her bag and quickly pulled out an item she knew would be in there. A simple philips head screwdriver. Better than nothing, and with what was going on right now possibly deadly in the right, or maybe wrong, hands.

::Garret,:: she activated the PortCon's listed Mental Bio-circuitry Driver system to tap directly into the mind of her craziest companion, ::I'm throwing you a screwdriver. Taunt it into attacking you, wait for the snake to strike, then do whatever you did before with a clean puncture to the skull.::

Then she tossed him the new makeshift weapon.

OOC: Retrieve screwdriver and toss. The activating the PortCon and mental communication is all basically free actions. Telepathically giving Garret a plan so the snake doesn't overhear it.

This message was last edited by the player at 15:35, Mon 08 Apr 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 16 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 8 Apr 2019
at 16:26
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Everything was wrong. That idiot charged in and everyone followed his lead. Of course they did, they trusted him. It's why he should have led them out. How would he take responsibility if one them got hurt or given the circumstances, dead.

What Whitney did not expect was Mr. Drake shooting white fire from his hands or Garret's weird light that shattered the branch he was using as an impromptu weapon. Whitney barely noticed it, but even July seemed to have hurt it with something. He wasn't sure what it was, but the snake sure didn't like it.

It was sheer dumb luck they weren't killed outright.

"Garret you idiot." The man was weaponless and face to face with a snake skull that would no doubt like nothing more than to swallow him whole. Or just bite him? It was unclear if the snake had any functioning juices. Being swallowed whole might actually be more of a bother than a danger.

You're getting distracted. Focus.

"Time to save an idiot from himself." He loosed another arrow.

Attack Roll 14. Hits.
Damage (1D6+14). 15 Damage.
July Coates
 player, 20 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Tue 9 Apr 2019
at 02:03
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whatever July had done, Skethar clearly didn't like it. The serpent whipped along the crevice, taking a literally explosive potshot from Garrett along the way, past their only viable route of escape. She exhaled, the static dissipating on her tongue. Fire hummed in her skin, molten gold surging through her veins, smothering the panic that threatened to consume her when Garrett (stupidly) chased after the thing. The stick exploded against Skethar's scales, but Malun was quick to throw Garrett something--a screwdriver--and, well, better than nothing.

"Let's try that again, yeah? You can fuck right off now, buddy," July whispered, her voice dissolving into white noise until she felt that now familiar connection with Skethar's...mind? Something inside of her surged as her words found home, and she could do nothing but follow it. She was burning, fueled by the same rush she felt on stage, strings biting into her calluses, all blinding lights and sweat and home. For a moment, she thought the sheer pleasure of it might kill her.

Her throat flexed and the static went dead. July took a step forward and followed an impulse she didn't understand. With a rush, every ounce of heat flooded into her voice as she shouted,

"Garrett! You've got this! KICK ITS ASS!"

Golden light blossomed along Garrett's skin, arcing playfully in the wake of her words, a fire flickering against this awful night.

July took a shuddering breath as a chill rippled through her, suddenly acutely aware of just how grey the world was, just how hollow, before the familiar warmth flooded the void. An echo of the emptiness lingered. Whatever that fire fed on, there was less of it now.

July casts careless dissonant whispers again. 14 psychic damage on a failed save, 7 on a successful save.

She uses Bardic Inspiration as a bonus action, targeting Garrett. Enjoy that free 1d6 to use for one ability check, saving throw, or attack roll of your choice for the next 10 minutes. Can be used after making a roll but must be used before knowing if the roll is successful or not.

This message was last edited by the player at 15:57, Thu 02 May 2019.

Retro DM
 GM, 27 posts
Tue 9 Apr 2019
at 02:38
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Skethar seemed amused as Garret tried to smash it with a stick again, only to have his primitive weapon shatter on impact of it's scales, along with Jason's complete miss with his torch, and again with some kind of spell the beast did not know. That joy was short lived as Whitney's next arrow slammed into it, sticking deep in it's right side. It bled a sort of green-black blood that looked thick as tar. Then July's voice rang out again, harrying it's mind even more ferociously than before. Skethar hissed in unknowable pain, and slithered away again.

"SSSSTOP! How doesss it have ssssuch powersssss?!!

As Skethar retreated, it looked as though it's scales were falling off in clumps. Beneath churned unnatural flesh, bone, and that same blue fire that seemed to light it's eyes. The giant snake was coming apart at the seems.

OOC: Skethar takes another chunk of damage from Whitney, and fails his save again with a 10, taking the full 14 psychic damage and being forced to move once more. Garret gets another AOO. Skethar looks to be in very bad shape!

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:39, Tue 09 Apr 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 23 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Tue 9 Apr 2019
at 17:07
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett sensed the sudden retreat. He had no weapon. He readied his fist. A dim part of him registered that this was very foolish. You are not Goku. Do not try to be Goku. Idiot!. He couldn't pull this off.

::Garret,::

What the. What the fuck. How was she--

::I'm throwing you a screwdriver. Taunt it into attacking you, wait for the snake to strike, then do whatever you did before with a clean puncture to the skull.::

HOW THE FUCK WAS--nevermind.

::GOT IT.::

"Garrett! You've got this! KICK ITS ASS!"

July's words raced through him like a blazing supercharge. That damn smile raced through the center of his mind. The breath nearly left him.

So that's what it's like.

Holy shit. He could do anything.

The weapon flashed through the air. He was already moving forward. Shit. Adapt. Adapt! He almost lost his balance. Spun on one heel and snatched it out of the air. Nothing for it. He turned the stumble into a jump to his other foot and threw all his mass and weight into a downward blow at the creature's bony... neck? Wasn't it all neck? Nevermind.

"Hey, bone-brain! Yeah, you!"

And it struck. The point punched through its body, and he felt that tug of the terrible blazing light. It raced down his arms as the force of the strike cracked across the darkness.

"SCREWDRIVER! DAYLIGHT! SHAAAAAAAAANK!"

As the words left his mouth, the light bloomed into his hand like a cracking blue-white burst of blowtorch fire and released with a blinding BANG.

AoO: 16 with the inspiration. 8 damage from the strike. 8 from the smite!

This message was last edited by the player at 17:19, Tue 09 Apr 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 15 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Tue 9 Apr 2019
at 18:45
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
With the whole world going nuts, Jason wasn’t sure what to make of things. Another arrow from Whitney blasted into the giant snake with power he didn’t know the guy had. July was, somehow, using her voice as a weapon. He heard Malun mention her bag, and instinctively lowered it for her, but his mind was too busy to consciously acknowledge her. Then she tossed Garret a screwdriver and he did that crazy light attack again. The night shone bright for an instant when he did.

This is all crazy... but I have to help.

Then he saw his chance. There was more of that blue fire inside Skethar.

“Fire inside it? That means pressure. If I can just force that pressure to burst...”

He willed the rising, somehow supernatural heat within his body to swell up and out.

Whatever this is... give me more flame!

As stretched his arm forward, almost like a forceful punch, a blast of light arched outwards with incredible speed and struck the beast, making it’s whole body glow in the radiant light.

OOC: Jason casts Guiding Bolt, hitting with a 15. 18!!! Radiant damage!
Retro DM
 GM, 28 posts
Tue 9 Apr 2019
at 20:38
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
At first Skethar seemed confused, and agonized, as the screw driver punctured strait into it’s scales right below the head. It writhed away from the blow, just in time to see the bolt of radiant flames headed strait for it. The energy impacted with Skethar like a haymaker, causing the beast to curl in on itself. Then it started to feel that energy tear through it’s body.

“NNNNNOOOOOOAAAAAARRRRR!”

The creature called Skethar roared in pain, it’s death throes somehow causing harm, as the radiant flames consumed and overtook its own blue fire, erupting from inside it’s scales outward, and consuming the beast. It’s own once blue orbs that stood for its eyes went white, then burnt out as the rest of it did, the entire thing collapsing with a crash. All the flesh was burned away into dust, leaving a pile of bones.

OOC: combat is over, but everyone takes 5 Psychic damage from Skethar’s final cry.
July Coates
 player, 21 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Tue 9 Apr 2019
at 21:22
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett, for once, did as he was told, and kicked its ass. July held her breath as he slammed the screwdriver into Skethar's hide, praying to whoever, to whatever was listening that he wouldn't get hurt.

Jason, it seemed, answered that hope with a blast of light that ripped Skethar to pieces with a blinding scream. July staggered under the weight of it, shutting her eyes against the pain knifing through her head. It took several moments for her thoughts to piece back together, and a dull ache lingered in her temples, the night somehow impossibly bright as blue eyes eased back open.

A heap of bones sat upon the ravaged earth, the only evidence of the monster that had just bore down upon them. For a moment, there was silence.

July laughed, because what else could she do in the wake of that madness? Pushing her blonde bangs out of her face, she jogged to join the others, her energy overflowing with equal parts adrenaline and panic. She felt simultaneously wired and wrung out. I need a thirty hour nap.

"So, uh, that was...kind of awesome?"

This message was last edited by the player at 21:24, Tue 09 Apr 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 21 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Tue 9 Apr 2019
at 21:37
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Well," Malun stated with a near emotionless voice as she rubbed her head with one hand as if to stave off the oncoming headache from the snake's final wail, "...that, whatever it was, happened."

She zipped her bag back up, not bothering to ask for the screwdriver back...better Garret held on to it in case of more giant evil snakes anyway, then looked over the others to survey the damage, seeing if anyone was hurt. Seeing no one in any worse condition, physically anyway, than she was, Malun wrinkled her nose at July's statement, "I suggest we delay any celebrations until we're away from here."

Looking back to where the police once were, and their cars still were, she added, "In this instance, backwards may be the fastest way forwards. I can likely get one of those cars started if any of you are willing to drive it."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 17 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Tue 9 Apr 2019
at 22:56
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
A terrible roar that rattled Whitney's skull, seemingly from the inside. Unbearable pain, like the snake wants it's last moments of pain to be felt. To share what had been done to it.

Then is was done. The wail still echoed in Whitney's thoughts, but the pain had already begun to pass. Bones covered in dust were all that was left of the creatures passing.

Whitney moved toward the pile and couldn't help mutter to himself, "Baruch dayan ha'emet." The snake was murderous, but it was definitely sapient. Perhaps this snake had meant something to somebody out there.

That fight should not have happened. Magic, or something without a name he knew, had happened. Thinking on it, even his own arrows shouldn't have hurt something so large. He felt stronger, keener. Whitney suspected he could shoot with an accuracy he never had in years of training. But the existence of magic was number two on his list of priorities.

Number one priority was figuring out a way to get home safe. More than that, he had to consider that this monster was not the only thing unleashed on the world. Glancing at the hazy wall it was clear that the world had fundamentally changed. It wouldn't be enough to simply go home anymore.

Giggling popped out from July. Self amazed at how they had just fought a monster and lived. Ms. Lunesby suggested something, but Whitney was primed and barely heard her. Garret was probably still forming what happened in his brain and he realized that the priority list needed to be adjusted.

One: Garret was wrong and he needed to know it.

"You are danger to everyone around you, you giant putz." Whitney was partially aware that the battle had rattled him, but he didn't care at the moment. The archer marched up to Garret, closer than he'd normally care to be. He didn't care right now though.

"You should have ran and taken everyone with you. I had a bow, I could have ran and distracted it. But no. You had to play hero and charge in. Not once thinking about them." Whitney waved his arms at the rest of the group. He had never shouted like this. Maybe it was another thing added to him. To them.

"I know you have a death wish, but your friends would follow you off a cliff. We got lucky, Garret. You charged without a second thought and if, whatever that was hadn't happened, you'd be dead. Worse, we could have all died." It was all he could do not to punch Garret. "How would you take responsibility, Garret." The question was an accusation.
Jason Drake
 player, 16 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 01:08
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
With the final blast and apparent defeat of the monster, Jason would have been relieved. Then the final scream hit his mind, and he grit his teeth in pain. He was very glad that the fight had gone so well, and still trying to grasp what everything that just happened meant. He had powers? Every one of his friends had powers?! He would have celebrated with July, but...

Whitney went on his rant. This battle seemed to bring the boiling angst in him up to the surface. That wouldn’t help. Okay. We lived through this. This was the most terrifying moment of our lives. Calming them down should be no problem.

“Okay Whitney, slow down. The entire world flipped upside down, a giant monster snake showed up and threatened to kill us, and, somehow, we have, like, comic book super powers. None of this makes sense, but it’s happening. And we survived. If we hadn’t acted in exactly his way? Who knows how this would have ended. I get your upset, but we had no good options here. And it isn’t all on Garret.”

He paused to take a breath.

“Now, please. Save it for later. Malun has the right idea, though I’m not sold on stealing a cop car; we need to leave. July spotted a place where the gap isn’t so wide, let’s go that way.”
Garret Blake
 player, 24 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 02:35
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett was still staggered. The thing was dead. Dead... again? He wasn't sure. He stood there for a second, staring at the corpse. He felt the world tilt and the shadows shift. A universe altered course and was wrenched into a new alignment. The boy didn't understand it, but he knew it was important. His breath was a hollow echo in his ears and his pounding heart made a dissonant rhythm against the darkness. Sweat on his brow. Eyes squeezed shut as everything else came back into focus.

"You... danger... everyone around you. Putz."

He turned as Whitney approached. The other boy was a blur slowly coming into focus, and his first words were dim muffles beneath the sound of Garrett's own breath and relentless heartbeat. He blinked several times, trying to make himself hear them.

"You should have ran and taken everyone with you."

Blink. Sounds receding. And in their place, emotions rushed in. Stirring as the other boy stepped across that invisible boundary and into his space. Senses suddenly heightened. He'd told them to to run. They should have. They didn't. He'd been trying to protect them. And when the ones you'd promised deep down you'd do that for wouldn't fucking leave? There was only one thing to do.

You stayed.

Get out of my face.

"I could have ran and distracted it. But no. You had to play hero and charge in. Not once thinking about them."

Get out of my face.

He could have. Him. Some dim part of Garrett registered that there was more to it than that. That the other boy was trying to make a point. Or maybe he wasn't. All he heard in that moment was the sheer, presumptuous arrogance of the silver-spooned ponce claiming that he knew better than anyone else what the rest of them had been thought. What they intended. Why they did what they did.

Get out of my face.

And whose job was it to tell them what their place was, whether they should step into a situation, whether they had a right to stand or run? And whose fault was it that they had done what they'd done?

Go on. Guess.

He didn't even register what Jason said. He spoke abruptly. Low-voiced. It was nonetheless like a fucking whipcrack. "... Because you know better, right? Cuz that's your place. And if they want to do different, it can't possibly be them making their own choices, right? It's gotta be me. Because in that head of yours, it's always my fault."

It wasn't like Whitney would listen anyway. Do what's right. Let people understand it or not.

Garrett took a deep, measured breath. Then one hand came up, planted itself on Whitney's chest, and gently--but firmly--pushed him away. "Get. The fuck. Out. Of. My. Face."

His head hurt. It wouldn't stop hurting. He turned away from the other boy and took a step before swaying slightly on his feet. His back hurt. Darkness. Racing stars. He nodded at Jason, then swayed and almost fell before catching himself. "What Jason said. Lets get out of here."
July Coates
 player, 22 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 04:55
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
For having just faced the impossible and lived, the mood in the area was tense. No one seemed appropriately stoked. July's laughter stopped cold as Whitney began to shout, rounding on Garrett. In the almost three years they had been friends, she had never heard him raise his voice like this.

Of course, the worst thing they'd ever faced before was running suicides for Coach Hardpeck. With the adrenaline beginning to wear off, July was keenly aware of just how big those bones were. Whitney was right on at least one point--they were lucky. Everything could have gone so much worse. Her blood ran cold as the horrible truth sank in--they could have died. Should have died.

Jason, blessedly reliable and reasonable Jason, spoke up in Garrett's defence, firm but not unkind. And he had a point too--they'd chosen to stay, stupid as it was. But at least Jason had tried to explain that. July could practically see Garrett shutting down, all hard lines and stilled tongue. A familiar bubble of anxiety formed in her gut, every instinct screaming to just sit everyone down and work through things--

But Jason was right. Garrett was right. Malun was right. They needed to get out of here before anything else decided to show up and try to kill them.

"Right," July said, attempting in vain to break the tension. She sprang forward, towards the smaller gap she'd spied earlier. "Seconding the whole lets maybe not steal a cop car thing, by the way. I'd like to not end up grounded until I'm thirty."

This message was last edited by the player at 05:20, Wed 10 Apr 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 22 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 05:10
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun groaned as Whitney and Garret verbally assaulted one another, then Jason and July balked at using the readily available vehicle, "We don't have time for this you two, nor do we have time for me to have to explain everything but I suppose I can excuse needing to break all of this down for you in the light of what just happened."

While she spoke, she began moving...towards the cars, "First of all, everything we think we know about reality is clearly in question. We do not know any of the following things: if there are more of these snakes, or perhaps other even worse monsters. The snake did say 'we' and 'ours' if you'll recall, making the existence of more likely. Nor do we know where these others might be, perhaps nearby, perhaps already back at town making a mess of things, perhaps on the way there shortly. We have magic powers now, but are not equipped to deal with more of them at this moment."

She didn't look back, if the others chose not to follow her she'd just do it all herself. Figuring out how to drive couldn't be that hard for someone of her intellect and manual dexterity, surely. "We need to get back, the sooner the better, to warn the authorities who DO have actual weapons and not a practice bow, a stick and a bag of assorted tools about the existence of actual monsters, as well as letting them know that the officers here have disappeared. A vehicle also gives us speed and should a monster attack us anyway, some manner of protective cover between it and us."

"If we encounter other police before reaching home, all the better. Just let me do the talking as I'm clearly the only one actually thinking with my actual brain right now." Malun let out a sigh that was somewhere between exasperated and disgusted, "Monsters are real and you're worried about being grounded? Ridiculous. Follow me and we MIGHT make it back to town alive. Lets. Go."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 18 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 18:33
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney's vision tunneled in on Garret. Sounded pushed back by the larger teenagers push to the chest. The last thing we wanted was to be touched by such a self amateur. Short sided and completely ignored what he had said.

Then the big oaf swayed a bit and it occurred to Whitney that perhaps whatever he had done, may have incurred a cost he couldn't see. Then Mr. Drake spoke up, and was reasonable. Then July spoke up, and she was tired? Whitney finally looked around. There was a cost to this fight.

And then Ms. Lunesby called his bow a "practice" bow. Which didn't even make any sense. It was a recurve bow and obviously plenty dangerous. Honestly, the smarter criticism would be the arrows. Those weren't built with murder in mind, but things only need to be sharp enough to do serious harm at high velocity.  That's just physics even he understood.

"Tsh" Whitney made his way to the pile of bones to try recover his arrows. "I'm all verklempt."

"Malun has a good plan. No point in walking in this situation." A dark thought crossed his mind, "There might not even be many cops left to give us a hard time about it."
Garret Blake
 player, 25 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 21:11
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Lets talk while we go," Garrett murmured. Whatever discomfort was affecting him internally, he pushed it down like a charliehorse mid-field and kept moving. Focus. Get out of here--and get them all out of here--and worry about it after everyone was where they were supposed to be. Something to do. A way to keep focus before everything came rushing in.

He absently put the scredriver in the back pocket of his jeans as they kept walking. "Okay," he breathed after a moment. "I think we gotta get out of here. I'm pretty flexible as to how... but I just wanna make sure that we make sure we know the lay of things first. There might be other cars." He blinked a few times. This seeing in the dark thing was new, and he had a hard time parsing it. As July moved towards the narrow point in the gap, he followed suit.

"Whatever else we do," he said, "we need to get back to daylight. Then we can all see and hopefully it'll be harder for whatever's out there to get close to us."

His boots crunched over darkened ground as stars that weren't supposed to be there wheeled overhead in a heaven made dark at the wrong time of day, closer to the gap now. "Here's my thinking: whatever we do, we gotta communicate clearly about it. I want to know if everyone else is okay. Once we know that it'll be a lot easier to decide what to do and where to go. Especially in daylight. Whitney and Malun are the furthest out from where we are, right?"

As he walked, he was scanning the darkness ahead, still moving towards the crack and trying to see a way across. Without realizing it, he reached out. There. That strange sense of being able to feel... more. Beyond what he could hear, see, smell, taste, or touch.

But this time he was aware of that sixth sense. He took a deep breath. Doing his utmost to quell the fear of what it meant.

Then he breathed out as he walked, and murmured under his breath, "Show me."

Perception 4, so no dice. Using Divine Sense again.
Jason Drake
 player, 17 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 21:30
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
With everyone still tense but moving, Jason looked a little more relieved. This was a whole lot of insanity for what amounted to less than an hour of time, not counting how long it took them to walk here. He went along with the rest towards the smaller gap, still carrying Malun’s bag, as she hadn’t said otherwise yet. “Im not saying you don’t have a point about getting home quicker, but stealing any kind of car seems like the wrong way to do that. We just survived an impossible situation, I’d prefer not to press our luck.”

He observed the gap carefully, trying to assess if it would collapse on them when they hopped across.

“Seems like solid rock right here. Lucky us. Can everyone make a three foot hop across?”

OOC: investigating the gap for sturdiness, got a 12
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 23 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 21:41
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Ugh. Continuing on foot when we don't know if there are more monsters is a greater pressing of luck than risking an infraction of the law," Malun grumbled something in Japanese and then turned to look Jason dead in the eye, "I was going to refrain from saying this, but let me make it plain. Have you all heard that joke about how you don't have to outrun the bear, just outrun your friend? I am the slow friend. If we have to run, I am the smallest, slowest and have the least endurance for long distance physical activity of all of us."

At this point Malun was actually visibly shaking, "If another monster attacks, I am the one getting eaten. Now can we please take steps to avoid that possibility?"
July Coates
 player, 23 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 01:20
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun was clearly stressed--understandable, given the circumstances-- and July opted to bite her tongue and give the younger girl's contempt a pass. None of them were really equipped to handle the sheer insanity of the situation, and none of them were at their best right now. Nothing about the past half hour fit into the world as they knew it.

"Look, Malun, no one's going to leave you behind to get eaten. That's just straight up not happening. Not on the table. But stealing a cop car didn't suddenly become not a big deal. It'd be pretty awful to survive that Skethar prick just to end up in jail an hour later."

July didn't even touch Whitney's morbid reasoning. That was too much to bear, too awful--

Breathe, July reminded herself, pulse fluttering in her skin. She took a moment to center herself, before breaking into a dead run and jumping the gap. The solid earth beneath her feet was grounding, reassuring, her sneakers squeaking as she turned sharply on heel to face the others.

Nothing bad, it seemed, had happened from crossing into the light. Yet. It was a bit disorienting, squinting back into the dead of night with the sun beating down on her shoulders. Her eyes kept shifting, trying to find focus between the impossible split of day and night. The dull ache in her temples worsened and July turned towards the light, heading down the hill towards the train and where the crystal had been.

There might not even be many cops left. Whitney's comment lingered in the back of her mind, despite her best efforts to ignore it. She couldn't help but look for a sign of the missing officers, heart hammering against her ribs in terror of what she might find.

July Coates rolled 13 using 1d20+1.  Perception.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 19 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 01:34
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney waited until he was the last to cross the divide. His outburst was shameful, even if he had been completely right. Shouting was unbecoming of him.

He made sure to look around for anything suspicious or signs of remaining officers. Whitney's heart wasn't really in it though, to wrapped up in his own short comings.

Perception 7
Retro DM
 GM, 29 posts
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 02:02
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The five made their way across the narrower gap spot of the split, each of them easily able to make the small jump. The transition from instant night to day was disorienting. Eyes had to blink and adjust, and it was much hotter, like jumping into a hot tub from standing in snow. As they got their bearings and looked around, everything seemed to be in the right place. As a few of them searched around, they would first notice that the apparent split between night and day was now gone, and everything was just daytime. The bones of Skethar were still visible from where they currently stood, but now in daylight. Secondly, it appeared that all the missing police officers were back in place, as though they had somehow been hidden. Garret’s new senses seemed to be functioning correctly, but nothing was pinging his mind.

OOC: collective perception checks find that the cops are suddenly there again. Also the night and day split is somehow gone. Garret’s divine sense doesn’t pick up on anything.
Garret Blake
 player, 26 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 06:35
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
He turned. Abruptly. The world was back, and so were the police. It was disorienting--the crack was still there, bifurcating the earth like some sort of jaunty scar. The cops were here. A breath he hadn't realized he'd held was released at the realization that whatever had happened hadn't spontaneously killed most of the people in the area. Or made them otherwise not-here-any-more.

He needed to do something. Something to do.

But the bones were still there. And that meant that this was A. real, and B. that they could be found. would be found. And that meant that they had to get off their asses and get moving.

Goddamn he'd forgotten how hot it was, right now.

"Okay, we need to get out of here before someone starts asking questions about the pile of giant snake-bones over there," he started, running a tired hand through his brown hair. "Lets get a few streets away from here. Whatever else is going on, they... don't seem to have seen what just happened. Whatever else we do, we shouldn't be close to this spot when they figure it out."

A slight pause, then he said "Malun, if we need to get you a car we can do it maybe a street or two over. IJust... not a cop car. Not when a bunch of them are right there. I can’t explain exactly why, but right before that thing showed up, I could sense it. I can’t feel it anymore, so I don’t think we’re in imminent danger. Whitney, can you drive? You two are out in the same area right?"

Garrett didn't like talking to the other boy. Would not have chosen to do it, had the the option... but right now. Right now, not talking to any of them wasn't an option. Christ his head hurt. "We can talk while we walk."

This message was last edited by the player at 12:21, Thu 11 Apr 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 24 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 17:25
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"...nani?" Malun could only stare in half numb shock at where the police suddenly were again. The world made even less sense then it did a minute ago, and that was impressive. For all her intelligence, the young genius found herself completely poleaxed and unable to move, frankly forgetting to even breathe for a moment as her brain raced to catch up with what her senses were telling her.

Then she did, and started to move in earnest.

Rolling her eyes breifly at Garret, Malun immediately started snapping commands into her PortCon, first to see if the new functions still, well, functioned on this side of the Divide, and secondly to open her notepad program and begin recording observations.

"Obviously. New data requires new solutions. Someone jump back over to the other side to see if it's still night over there, and if we can see the person who did so. Collect that snake skull while you're at it, we're going to need evidence."

The situation had changed. Running away was no longer the top priority, after all there was no evidence of combat on this side as proven by the presence of the police(and if a monster did appear...there were presumably allied men with guns RIGHT THERE to help!) Now her top priority was data gathering. Someone needed to figure out what was going on and as far as Malun could see, she had the best chance of doing it.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 20 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 19:27
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Daylight was different. Heat was different. Cops were there. The bones were still visible from the other side. All concerns about life and death were apparently unimportant hypotheticals.

Ms. Lunesby suggested taking the skull back with them. Evidence would certainly be useful, but he doubted all of them working together could move the thing. Biting his lip, he hated the idea of going back empty handed. He needed to persuade at least Woolsworth of the situation. Whatever the situation was.

"I'll jump back over and see if I can bring back at least a piece of it." With that Whitney leaped back.
Retro DM
 GM, 30 posts
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 20:46
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Hopping back over the gap was no issue. Whitney didn’t go back into the night, however, he remained in daylight with the others. Whatever that strange split of night and day was now seemed inaccessible.

Malun’s PortCon did indeed still have its new functions, though it wasn’t actively informing her of anything at the moment.

Meanwhile, the police were scrambling around down the hill, likely trying to assess whatever had just occured.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 21 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 21:16
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"It is still daylight from my side. Whatever weird place we entered, it looks like we can't go back quite the same way." Whitney turned his attention to the skull. He was aware that they should probably leave the area soon, if only to avoid annoying questions from the cops.

He attempted to shift the skull to gauge how heavy it was. Rocks were nearby, he supposed he could bash a few teeth out. The largest concern is this wouldn't stay here, Whitney didn't trust the skeleton wouldn't somehow disappear if they returned later to investigate.

Whitney had to be quick though. Garret looked like he could barely keep it together and understandably they all wanted to get out of there.

Investigate 9: Attempt to see if there is a way to easily move the skull or break  it apart to get a piece.

This message was last edited by the player at 21:18, Thu 11 Apr 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 18 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 21:33
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Initially, Jason was stunned by Malun’s words. He would never have considered leaving her behind, or anyone else, nor would he have left someone to die at the hands of some monster. It was... a stark realization, that Malun thought that way. He nodded to July’s words, and added his own.

“July’s right. There’s no way I would leave you behind. None of us would.”

Crossing into daylight once more was quite a jolt, the heat and light making adjusting difficult. Still, he did adjust, and seeing that suddenly the police were back in place, began his own train of thought.

“Okay, so everything else aside, it’s been a few hours and we aren’t home. We should find a pay phone and call.”

He looked back over the gap as Whitney crossed, noting that he could still see him, and whatever barrier had separated day and night seemed to be gone.

“This day just gets stranger. I’m with Garret, we shouldn’t stay here. Don’t want to answer questions to the cops.”

This message was last edited by the player at 21:53, Thu 11 Apr 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 27 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 23:52
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
His senses were clearing a bit. He felt the normal rhythms of his body working together like they were supposed to. Some little bit still felt off, dissonant, like a weird nausea that wouldn't totally settle, but he was more his old self by the minute. As Whitney continued to poke at the giant skull he raised his eyebrows. That... that was never going to feel normal. When Jason spoke he nodded.

"Okay," he breathed out. "There's a payphone about a block and a half from here. Malun, will a few bones be... enough? I think you and Whitney can get home pretty easy if he can get that... butler or whatever to come get the two of you. I can walk home with Jason and Jules, and it wont seem weird as long as the three of us phone home first."

A pause followed. He looked at July--she seemed better now, if still a bit shaken. He watched her for a second, then said "You still going to Noel's? C'mon. I got some change. You can call your folks and stuff. First in order."

He then started walking towards the payphone. The others would handle research and shit. He needed to get people home. Home and safe.

And mom?

After. He promised himself. It's what she would do, too.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 25 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 00:01
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Hmmmmmm," Malun grumbled, "just a few bones won't be the evidence we need but I suppose it is larger than and heavier than I thought. It will be enough for my father to get analyzed at a lab if he has any colleagues in the area who have the equipment for that."

Then she gave a sharp nod, "My PortCon's added functions are still intact, I would wager your newfound supernatural abilities are as well. Test them, figure out what you're all individually capable of and we can use my place as a meeting ground for the time being, as I will naturally be relaying all of this to my father and he will neither think we're crazy nor dissuade us from further experimentation. Frankly his genius far surpasses mine and we would be foolish not to enlist his aide in understanding all..." she waved one hand around vaguely, "...this."

Tapping a few last things into her PortCon, she flipped the button that locked inputs in case of accidental button presses and held her hand out to Jason for her bag, "Your plan is sound, I can get a ride home from Whitney and you all can return to your own families. Let me know if you need me to ask my father to provide an alibi for unplanned absences."
July Coates
 player, 24 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 04:33
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July had never been so happy to see cops in her life. They weren't dead. Whatever the crystal had done to the five of them, at least it hadn't killed twenty odd innocent people. Her shoulders buckled with a sigh, the tension of that unthinkable horror seeping out of her frame. She took a shuddering breath, blue eyes stinging in the harsh daylight as she composed herself. No one's dead. It's okay.

Jason echoed Garrett's rather excellent idea to leave before the (not dead!) cops found them. July pulled herself from her thoughts, nodding.

"I'm all for leaving before the police find us," She looked past Garrett and Jason to the heap of bones. The sight of Whitney poking the skeleton was unsettling. What was it Garrett had said? Dead but not dead? She wasn't quite so confident that poking that skull wouldn't end badly.

She wasn't sure she was keen on Malun's idea to tell her father, but July couldn't muster the energy to argue it. Calloused fingers skimmed her bangs behind an ear as Garrett asked about Noel.

"I--yeah," Shaking her head to clear it, she flashed a tight smile to Garrett. "Noel's is probably for the best. I don't think I really want to be alone right now."

Falling into step with him and Jason, she folded her arms beneath her chest. The sun beat down across her bare shoulders, and though she relished its warmth, it wasn't nearly as intense as it had been on the walk over. That strange heat still simmered in her veins, fire flickering in her skin. It wasn't unpleasant, at least.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 22 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 05:07
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
They were right. They needed to leave. Whitney looked at the four foot fangs and squinted. He was not leaving home empty handed.

"You were all talk and no bite. So I see no reason for you to keep those." Grappling, Whitney managed to yank, twist, and pull out three of the largest fangs.

"As to your question, Garret. Yes I can drive. It will hardly be required however, your plan to call from the nearest payphone is sound. I should be able to reach Woolsworth from the carphone at least. In fact, I can offer you all a ride home." It was awkward to talk with Garret, especially after his immature outburst.

"Unless of course you need time to walk." Whitney hoped Garret would refuse out of stubborn pride. Given the circumstances however, it would be unbecoming not to offer.

Whitney hopped over the shattered Earth and made his way back to the group. "I apologize, Ms. Lunesby. I hope these will still aid in getting questions. I will need at least one, and perhaps a corroborating story, in order to convince Woolsworth the truth of things."

July sunk into herself, she must have done something like Garret. It was like a piece of her had been hallowed out. Something hidden. Digging deep, Whitney wondered what piece of himself he could spend.

"I hope one of you have change however, I'm afraid I don't carry money on my person."

Strength Check: 17 Yank those teeth!

This message was last edited by the player at 05:08, Fri 12 Apr 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 26 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 05:09
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"I keep plenty of pocket change," Malun waved off the concern, "and I only need one to take home." She would let someone else carry it until they got to her home, though~
July Coates
 player, 25 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 05:27
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney's offer was generous, and she knew it was the sensible choice. Definitely the safest, fastest option home. They could talk over what had just happened to all of them and maybe make some sense of things. Maybe even start a plan. July glanced to Garrett and found herself shaking her head no.

"Thanks, Whitney, that's really kind of you," July's arms tightened beneath her chest, and her smile was a touch strained. "But I just...need to walk. Clear my head a bit."
Jason Drake
 player, 19 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 15:57
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Jason considered the options for a moment. He didn’t want to leave anyone too unprotected, given what had just happened. If Woolsworth was coming to pick up Malun and Whitney, they’d be just fine. Garret and July weren’t too far from his own house.

“I’ll walk with July and Garret. Safety in numbers. I’m definitely on board with meeting up at your place, Malun. We should get together there tonight if possible. It’s a weekend night, my folks should be fine with it.”
Retro DM
 GM, 31 posts
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 20:52
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
With the police very occupied, it was easy enough to get back to the main road without them noticing. Walking down the block with three giant teeth in tow was odd, but the kids weren’t bothered by any passerby, just given a few strange looks and head shakes.

The five found the payphone, and made their calls. July’s parents were worried, but relieved to hear from her. Garret’s mom wasn’t home. Jason’s mom was home, and slightly less worried than July’s folks, but took a longer time on the phone with her son (who was visibly eager to get off the phone). Malun’s father answered, and seemed to take the news as well as she assumed he would, but warned about sharing too much on an unsecured line. Lastly, Whitney called up Woolsworth, who said he would arrive post haste.  And so, they waited . It only took about 25 minutes for Woolsworth to pull up in a short limousine. He parked and stepped out, looking dapper as ever in his butler’s uniform, facial hair well trimmed and kept, short hair hidden under a black cap. He observed the teens, nodding politely.

“Young Master Whitney, Ms Lunesby, Ms Coates, Mr Blake, Mr Drake. I trust all is well?” he said, giving a side stare to the trophies that Whitney carried.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:54, Fri 12 Apr 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 23 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 21:32
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The sight of the austere butler was a relief. Whitney let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. Woolsworth was a piece of home. The trim man eyed his unusual bounty, an understandable thing to question. Three large fangs wasn't something his charge carried around every day.

"It is now, Woolsworth. Thank you for your timely arrival. I have quite a story for you." Whitney nodded to the young girl, "We shall also be providing transport for Ms. Lunesby. Jason, you can set down the bag now."

"If any of you feel like changing your mind about walking home, the invitation is still open." He said this turning to the group. It had been, an awkward wait. Whitney didn't do much talking, so much as waiting. A part of the group, but separate.
Jason Drake
 player, 20 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 22:31
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
After the long (and kind of embarrassing) call with his mom, Jason was glad to be off the phone and just waiting for a little while. He smiled to Woolsworth when he pulled up, and, not particularly needing Whitney's order but hearing it regardless, handed Malun her bag.

"See you guys later on. Hopefully nothing else crazy happens between now and then."
Garret Blake
 player, 29 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 01:39
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett's eyebrows raised as both July and Jason said they'd prefer the walk. He paused. Awkward. Then he looked at Whitney and Woolsworth and took a breath. "... appreciate it. I just... need to walk all this off and clear my head."

Then he glanced between the tall girl and the red-haired boy and thought Thank God.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 27 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 03:52
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Hmm, thank you for agreeing to take me home, Mr. Woolsworth." Malun was always a bit awkward around the butler, the man himself seemed like a good man, but his position was a representation of something Malun and her father's ideals were firmly opposed to. Still, she didn't let that get in her way of climbing into the car and tucking her bag onto the floorboard at her feet.
Retro DM
 GM, 33 posts
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 14:01
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
With all that taken care of, the five teenagers got themselves to their individual homes without any further incident. With a few hours to themselves, no doubt they would try to figure out more about their new gifts, since that was the plan. Some had an easier time than others, being able to go into their own spaces away from the eyes and ears of parents, or in the case of one, Malun's father, having a parent that was very interested in seeing these abilities in action. After some practice, and a decent meal at home, it was time to reconvene.

It was 8:35 PM, and those who had to travel found themselves just outside the doors of Malun's humble home, having walked, or biked, driven or been dropped of. The lights were on, and they could hear some chatter inside, which sounded like Mr Lunesby having a one way conversation (Malun knowing he was communicating with a trusted colleague).


OOC: Everyone arrives outside Malun's house, except Malun who is inside waiting with her father who is talking with someone on a secure line.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:15, Sat 13 Apr 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 28 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 15:09
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun's house was a smallish house that seemed mostly normal from the outside. Or rather the house itself did, the yard was another matter. At least three partially dissasembled vehicles were in the yard, along with other machine-looking things that were under tarps and frankly even if they weren't the purpose of them would be hard to divine.

The front door had a sign bearing the name of Dr. Marcus Lunesby, along with a doormat that said "Solicitors Welcome. Stand here." with a large red X between the two lines.

On the garage was a different sign, simply reading MALUN in huge comic-sans font hanging on the external door to the garage. The garage appeared to have it's own doorbell?

Inside the garage, Malun was hard at work. Her PortCon was hooked up to an actual monitor(and thus not on her arm) and she had a variety of things on a workbench that she was following along with design specifications on the monitor.

The door leading to the inside of the house from the garage was propped open, so that Malun could keep an ear on her father(and vice versa).

OOC: Malun's personal garage doorbell makes a dragon roaring sound, so, uh, have fun with that if you push that one~

This message was last edited by the player at 15:17, Sat 13 Apr 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 32 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 16:43
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Mom hadn't been home. He'd expected that since she was working one of her sixteen hour shifts, and she was always fried after those. So after he'd gotten home to the cool air-conditioning of the empty house and taken some time to quietly freak out, Garrett had gone through the steps of making tonight's dinner with the leftovers boxed up for her and in itemized, identified Tupperware for when she got home. A sticker on the one to the left said "Extra Cayenne in this one. Let me know if it's too much."

Then he'd sat down at the livingroom table and tried three different times to write a short letter unpacking what had happened. None of them had gotten farther than "Hi Mom," because starting with anything else kept coming off like he was writing a Hallmark Channel suicide note.

In the end he settled for something that was very him, but (as was often the case with stuff that felt that way) seemed totally insufficient.

"Hey Mom,

Got home late. Train stopped and had to get off the bus. Walked Jules and Jason home, gotta go head to Malun's house to help her with a thing. Phone number's at the bottom. Tried something a bit new with dinner, hope it works! The other sauce still has some leftovers if it doesn't. Yes, I took the bike but I'm wearing all my stuff. For real, this time. Shouldn't be out too late.

-Love
  -G"


The dirtbike might have been green and red at some point, but a number of crashes and mud-splatters the legacy of going out with his cousins had sort of reduced the idea of paint to a mockery. Still, it made a nice noise, and Garrett had to fight the urge to push max speed while coming up the long stretch of road. As it was, he did a quick turn and came to a skidding stop before killing the engine and getting off, the old un-patched diamond's jacket covered his arms, and two gloved hands pulled the helmet off his head and revealing the helmet hair beneath.

He took a few seconds to breathe in and out, then looked up at the darkening sky. The headache was mostly gone, but the residual strangeness remained. The stars would be out soon, and he somehow knew that he'd be able to see in the dark as much as before. He wasn't sure that he was ready for the reminder.

"Alright dude, stop it. Just rip the damn bandaid off," he said.

Then he walked up to the garage, taking just a second to crack a bit of a smile at the lettering before pushing on the... doorbell?

"ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR"

He blinked.

Well. That was a thing.
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 24 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 19:04
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Ms. Lunesby and Whitney had managed to explain the whole situation to Woolsworth. Between the fangs and her demonstration, he reluctantly believed them. Whitney had been there and he hardly believed it, so he hardly felt insulted. If anything, it was a testament to their mutual trust that he believed as much as he did.

After escorting her home with the promise of meeting up that evening, Whitney instructed Woolsworth to swing by the archery range. There they walked out roughly 300 feet from the target.

Woolsworth looked like he wanted to say something, but let Whitney prepare to shoot.

"I am going to put an arrow in the center of the rings, top to bottom." Without skipping a beat, Whitney did it. One after another the arrow landed where it was supposed to. As they walked closer, the larger man remained silent. It was very likely that Whitney was at that moment, one of the best archers in the world.

"I could not do that yesterday. I may not be able to shoot light of out my hands, but this is not normal either." He looked up to the taller man, hoping beyond hope that he had an explanation. It was easy to forget sometimes, but Woolsworth was over six feet tall and broad shouldered. His presence was large in Whitney's life, but it had nothing to do with that stature.

"I've seen many strange things in my life, young master. When you're older, I'll tell you about my time in Taiwan." What happened in Taiwan? "As your bodyguard, I'm disappointed you didn't run away. As a man whose had the privilege to see you grow up into a young man who would face a monster for his friends however," he placed a strong hand on Whitney's shoulder, "I am very proud."

Whitney had no response for that.

- - - - - - - - - Just before leaving arriving at Malun's House - - - - - - -

Whitney spent some time in the stables with Raphael before heading out. He should have cleaned up a little, but it was doubtful any in the group would even notice how disheveled he was.

"Come on, Raphael, let's got for a little ride tonight. Woolsworth has a sugar cube somewhere on his person just for you." Raphael was a painted horse who had a stubborn streak easily manipulated by food bribes.

Whitney met up with Woolsworth, who was driving in his golf cart. A large box filled with what looked like various beverages were stored in the seat next to him.

"Thank you Woolsworth, thinking of everything as usual."

"One of us has to, young master." Whitney let that one slide.

They arrived just behind Garret. The dragon roar filled the air.

"I see you've found the doorbell, Garret." Whitney made to get off his high horse.
Jason Drake
 player, 23 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 19:27
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
When he got home, Jason had to first calm the nerves of his worried mother. Dad wasn't yet home from work, likely due to the traffic jam, but he had also called home about it and let her know, before Jason did, so she knew he was off goofing around with his friends. He was normally more responsible than that, but the curiosity of things had gotten the better of him. That, and he was trying to protect his less responsible friends.

He decided not to tell her about the entire strangeness of the day, unsure that she would believe him or think him totally sane. He just said they walked to check out the train first, and left it at that. He avoided being grounded because nothing bad had happened, thankfully, at least not that she was aware of.

In his garage, Jason tried to manifest some of that flame again, using the very safe targets of some of his metallic statues. Results were different, and he did indeed learn a few more things before dinner. He got permission to leave, after a little negotiating with chores.

-----------------------------------------

Jason arrived a few moments after Garret and Whitney, having rode his bicycle there. He turned off the front light and unclipped his helmet, looking at Garret's dirt bike and Whitney's horse. Of course he rode the horse here...

Putting down the kickstand and setting the helmet on the handlebars, Jason cleared his throat. "Hey guys. Did I uh... just hear a roar? From the doorbell?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 29 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 19:54
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
At the sound of the roar, Malun put her tools down and went to answer the door. Now out of school, she was wearing her labcoat(with badly embroidered dragons on the pockets), a black Bablyon 5 t-shirt underneath it and bright aqua-blue shorts. Her glasses were not on her face, but sitting partially dissasembled on her workbench behind her, and her hair was simply pulled up in an equally neon-blue scrunchie to keep it out of her way while she worked.

"Ah, you're here," she simply nodded to the others without any notice of the busted up dirtbike or perfectly groomed horse, "Father will have heard the doorbell, once he's off his call I'm sure he'll come introduce himself. Come in."

And with that she walked back inside, leaving the door open for them. The garage had some sparse seating available on overturned plastic crates and a couple of stools...as well as Malun's computer chair in front of her monitor. It was a full sized two-car garage with no cars in it so it had plenty of space, for all that most of said space was occupied by workbenches and various spare parts. Two of the walls were covered in shelving and cabinet space, many of the cabinets having combination locks on them.

On the edge of the counter that her computer was resting on was a stereo playing Tag Team's "Whoomp! There it is!" album, currently on the track "Just Call Me DC."
Garret Blake
 player, 33 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 22:52
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The roar covered most of Whitney's approach, so Garrett was taken offguard by the other boy's approach. Enough so that when the other boy spoke, he spun reflexively on his heel, one hand starting to come up. Whitney. Right. He untensed only slightly. Easy. The guy had just put his ass on the line to help them all. Maybe that was just basic human decency 101, but on the other hand.

Nevermind. He didn't want to think about it. Wait.

They guy had ridden here on an actual horse? He just sort of stared for a second, and said "... you've gotta be kidding me."

Jason's arrival and Malun's opening of the door were so close together that he didn't really get the chance to respond to the former before the latter had essentially taken control of the situation and they were being guided into the workshop. Garrett didn't remove his jacket yet, and to the eyes of his friends he still looked like the events of the day were settling on him. Unlike the others, he hadn't tried to experiment with whatever it was he could do since going home.

"Damn, Malun," he said after a few moments. "This is a hell of a setup you've got here."

Honestly the more he looked around, the more unease was replaced with fascinated enthusiasm. "This is... really fucking cool!"
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 25 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 23:46
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney traded his horse for a heavy basket. Assorted snacks and drinks were inside.

"Thank you Woolsworth, please don't feed Raphael too many sugar cubes."

The butler made lifting the basket look easy, but Whitney couldn't help but drop a bit when the weight hit him. How that man found time to hit the gym was beyond him.

With a nod, Woolsworth tied Raphael to the golf cart and began their journey home. Whitney couldn't help but smirk as the horse tried to sniff out a snack.

Whitney entered the garage behind Garret. It was sheer chaos. How the genius found anything in here was beyond him. Looking around, Whitney found the relative center of the room and put down the basket.

"Woolsworth has kindly provided us with refreshments. We have," Whitney opened the basket and odd cornucopia of junk food presented itself, "Pepsi Cristal? Orbits. Yoo-hoo. Little Debbie. And some things I'm pretty sure are out of date. Regardless, please help yourselves."

There wasn't even water in here. The man had peculiar habit of attempting to get Whitney to do things that kids his own age should do. Whatever that means.

Mr. Drake was here, thankfully. And soon July would be as well. He should have offered rides here if it was trouble. It was important they all discuss what had happened. Although Whitney was rather eager to see what happens next.

This message was last edited by the player at 23:54, Sat 13 Apr 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 24 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sun 14 Apr 2019
at 02:19
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
While Jason has been to Malun’s house before, he had not been in the garage. He had only ever delivered the odd part to the front door, exchanged a few pleasantries, and never stayed long. Now that he could see Malun’s personal workshop (and room?), he was slightly taken aback. He had a nice setup in his parent’s garage, but it looked like Malun had the run of the place. It was slightly cluttered, but not too bad overall.

“Yeah, nice digs Malun. You have a lot of cool stuff in here.”

Jason looked into the basket Whitney brought, grabbed a Pepsi and smiled. “Thanks Whitney. Or should I say Woolsworth? I mean he kind of works for you so who gets more credit for this?”
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 30 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sun 14 Apr 2019
at 03:26
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Hmm," Malun grimaced for a moment at the basket, but she still grabbed a box of yoohoo and opened it with alarming speed, "thank him for me when he picks you up."

"I'll refrain from getting into anything too important before July gets here, but I have been hard at work since getting back..." she paused, then shrugged, "and after taking a shower of course. That was an unpleasantly long walk."

"The goood news," Malun tapped a space on her workbench where many tiny lenses were laid out along with some sealed boxes that were labeled in Japanese, "the superconductors did arrive, and father agreed to let me have some of them for my own project. With the addition of the new super natural power sources we seem to have access to, I should be able to complete a test model of a hard light projection device over the weekend."

Taking a sip of her drink, she added, "in laymen's terms, that means I won't be defenseless the next time a monster attacks. With testing I should be able to modulate the force of impact for either strength equivalent to a handgun to drive back monsters or a much reduced blow over a wider surface area for nonlethal takedowns in the event those become necessary."

The entire time she spoke, her tone of voice remained consistent. The same way she'd talk about physics homework or any other project while she was in the middle of it. Matter of factly, as if this was indeed just another project. Her trademark smug laugh was absent, but that was usually reserved for big reveals anyway.
Garret Blake
 player, 34 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 14 Apr 2019
at 20:17
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett found seat on a plastic crate after pulling a pair of squeeze-its and two packs of gushers from the basket. This gave him a few moments to really take in both what was around him and what was being said. He didn't know Malun as well as maybe the others did, but there was something in her mannerisms as she went about efforts that was familiar. Restlessness. The need to do something. Everything that happened today was a hard enough punch to the jaw to roll with as is.

If your whole life was built around a grounding in the natural world and the definable, measurable ways that it all made sense, today was probably a double-dose of system shock.

"The next time."

"So," Garrett said finally, following her words with a simple statement directed at the empty air. "We're set on that, then." It wasn't... remorse, exactly, that was in his voice. Nor was it any sort of excitement. Just a sort of acknowledgement out-loud of something he'd known since earlier this afternoon, but hadn't voiced out loud.

"This is going to keep happening."
Jason Drake
 player, 25 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 03:34
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Jason took a few sips from his Pepsi while he listened to Malun and Garret. He hadn’t really considered the possibility of more monsters showing up, but since they brought it up, he couldn’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t happen. That giant talking skull snake just appeared with almost no warning after the events with the object. It was impossible to tell if more like that existed, or if other, stranger beasts were out there, but again, no reason to think they wouldn’t.

“I mean, won’t it? We just got crazy powers, a monster showed up and we killed it. That’s a life changing event, isn’t it? Doesn’t it mean exactly that? That it will happen again? It’s like the comics, villains just keep showing up.” He paused, and took another sip. “And we, being the heroes, take them down. No big deal, right?”
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 26 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 13:48
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney found a passable plastic crate with what he believed was remnant of a seat cushion. He cracked open the Pepsi Crystal, making the incorrect assumption that the clear liquid might have the least sugar.

"I'd share your confidence, Mr. Drake, if we also had access to the script for this Saturday morning cartoon we find ourselves in." Pinching the bridge of his nose, Whitney shifted in his seat to face the young mad scientist.

"I suppose you have reason to suspect another attack, Ms. Lunesby. I still have questions about that night world we exited as well." Whitney took a pained sip from his soda. "There is also the matter of our, change in disposition."

There were always costs to change. In a way, Whitney's goal in life was now with in reach. Ability like this nearly guaranteed a shot in the Olympics. It was unsettling that something like that could simply be given.
Garret Blake
 player, 35 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 15:00
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Jason's words rolled over him. A somewhat sardonic, single laugh escaped him. Patient, thoughtful Jason was the one wanting to surge ahead and just accepting a role suddenly assumed because they'd manifested some sort of power. Unease churned through him, resonating with every syllable as Whitney voiced his own concerns. Normally he'd have some sort of quip for this, or a grin that just went with letting hardship roll off his back. That was his job, right? Unflappable Garrett. First into a hard situation. But just now, he looked like he was trying to melt a spot of floor with his mind by staring at it too hard.

Thing was, he wasn't angry. He was afraid. And not of monsters that had suddenly become real, or that July could sing inspiration into him, that Whitney could nail bullseyes that would make William Tell shake with surprise. Nor that Malun apparently had a talking wrist computer.

Garrett was afraid that his best friend's talk about heroes and inevitability was right.

Because if that was true--and all indications were that it was--something else was also true: he was going to get into this again. And again. And again. And again. Because whatever else was the case? This light, this... thing inside of him had lasered his focus on the monster in the shadows, pulled him towards it with utter surety that unmaking it was his job. It hadn't taken no for an answer. And he was sure that it wasn't going to change its mind. He wasn't gonna change his mind.

"Yeah," he said quietly--presumably in response to the word 'life-changing.' "Yeah, it is. Permanently, I'm pretty sure. And I'm still sitting with what that means."

You always wanted a purpose.

Be careful what you wish for.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 31 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 15:09
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Of course I have reason," Malun sniffed at Whitney's comment, "as I said before, the snake used plural words. Us, ours, implying that there is more than just that one giant snake. Also implying that these monsters, however many of them there might be, will view us as thieves who stole something, presumably these powers, from them and will want to take them back via killing us."

Rapidly finishing her drink, Malun took a peek out the still open door to see if July was in sight yet, but couldn't see much from the angle she was at, "There are two other reasons I suspect we will have need of these abilities, and why I am making sure to have a device suitable for defense against non-monster entities. Firstly, my father's SuNaSL, or Supra-Natural Signature Locator is actually working and detecting many signals." She couldn't help but add a shrug and a half-grin, "proving of course that his design was always sound, there just wasn't anything to detect until now."

Then her expression fell to complete seriousness, "Secondly...we may not be the only people to have developed these supernatural abilities."

Turning to Garret, she stared the former delinquent dead in the eye, "Tell me Garret, what do you think will happen if the likes of Damon Stone has developed these same powers?"
Garret Blake
 player, 36 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 18:59
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett continued looking pensive as Malun spoke. That spot on the floor was gonna catch fire sooner or later, and it was marginally better than taking all of that in with the increasing surety of the inevitability of it all. But when Damon's name was mentioned, his eyes slowly lifted to look at the younger girl. Here he paused, taking in her statement. A moment came to mind, two years past. Standing in the middle of the skate-park in the shadow of the taller boy.

"He's a kid, Damon."

"And we have a rep, Blake. No free passes because he’s young. He’s going to learn respect"

Garrett's eyes had darted left at the figure of a scared twelve year old. "“kid, get out of here. Now.”

"Don't cross me, Blake," the cold voice threatened. "We're going places. Don't throw this away."

Garrett took a deep breath. Damon. With powers.

It was hard for Garrett's friends to read the tall boy's dark eyes, just then.

He remembered the heat of the summer air and the sensation of being emotionally blacked out. Surrounded by jacketed figures made into shades of mist by memory. Sounds a dim fading echo. His own words, though. Those were sharp.

"Yeah. Big places. Roughing up twelve-year-olds."

Damon's eyes had sharpened. And there was the line. Right there.

"Guess if your not a fan, we’ll rough you up inst--"

His fist cut the voice off mid-memory. And it all became a blur. A blur of a bad day. The worst. Also the best. Life was weird.

One more breath and he was looking at Malun. "Damon needs to be in control. That's his greatest need and the thing he can't let go of or be without. He has to be in charge. If he's not, what's in the way of that is in for a beating."

He didn't look away. "If he has powers, it's going to be bad."
July Coates
 player, 29 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 20:37
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
And here I am, doing everything I can, holding on to what I am, pretending I'm a superman!

The radio crackled as the van rumbled over the uneven road, John Feldmann's voice interspersed with static the further they drove out of town. July's checkered vans idly tapped out the rhythm of the song against the dash as she stared out the window, arms looped around her knees. The world outside the passenger window was dark, the sun having finally sunk below the horizon, but she had no issue making sense of their surroundings, even in monochrome. Her usual smile was missing, mouth drawn and eyes tired.

I'm trying to sleep, I lost count of sheep. My mind is racing faster--

"Turn's coming up," July spoke up, reaching forward to turn down the radio. Noel shifted and the van slowed, easing gently over the potholes. A sprawling yard filled with vehicles and mysterious tarps greeted them, lit by the cheery lights of a small, humble house. The van rolled to a halt about halfway down the drive. The radio, more static than song at this point, went silent as he cut the engine. Neither July nor Noel said anything for several moments.

"You good, chica?"

"No," July finally looked over at her best friend, "Not really but, like, whatever. I'll deal with it."

"You want me to come in with you?"

"Your mom will kill you if you don't hurry right back. You know, 'cause you're so 'sick'." July scoffed around her air quotes, but the frown creasing her features softened into a smile. Unbuckling and pushing out of her seat, she shifted and wrapped Noel in a quick hug, before popping open the door. "Thanks though. I'll be fine. Probably. I'll see you tomorrow morning and update you then, okay?"

"Yeah. Call me if you need a ride."

"I think I should be good--looks like Garrett brought his bike. I'll just bully him into taking me home," July called over her shoulder as she hopped out of the beat to hell van. The evening air was crisp and cool, a soothing balm against the fire flickering in her skin. Noel snorted, the van roaring to life as the passenger door snapped shut behind her.

With a deep breath, July put her usual smile on her face and approached the unassuming little house. A door stood open to the garage, and July, ever nosy, poked her head through it. Luckily, the others were inside, sat around a cluttered workshop. She entered with a wave, pink bag still slung across a shoulder.

"Hey! Sorry I'm late, I was--" July had been about to enthuse about the delights of mole night, but read the room. The atmosphere was tense, to say the least. She cut herself off, finding an empty stool between Jason and Garrett and dropping into it. Her bag thumped gently beside her feet, and when she spoke again, the usual pep was absent from her voice, "What'd I miss?"

This message was last edited by the player at 21:21, Mon 15 Apr 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 32 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 22:04
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"The other thing about Damon Stone," Malun added with a shrug, "is that there is nothing special about him. He's just a bully who acts on his base desires instead of just wanting them. There are dozens of others just at our school who want to be just like him but take no actions because they lack power. It doesn't have to BE Damon specifically, just someone like him."

Malun was mid-sentence as July walked in, so once she finished she nodded to her and answered the question, "In order: Mr. Woolsworth has gifted us with a basket of sugar in various forms, my superconductors came in and I am working on a hard light projection device so that I will not be defenseless in future attacks, we have reason to believe there will be future attacks because of the snake's use of plurals as well as my father's Supra-Natural Signal Locator device picking up multiple readings from the area, and we are discussing the possibility of other besides ourselves developing these powers and what it could mean if violent fools like Damon Stone or his admirers have gained them."

This message was last edited by the player at 22:05, Mon 15 Apr 2019.

Marcus Lunesby
 NPC, 1 post
 Genius
 Unrecognized
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 23:29
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
There was a sound of quick footsteps, and then a brief knock on the door before it swung open, revealing Malun's father, Marcus Lunesby. He was dressed in his lab coat, which bore several marks of burns or possible explosions on it, though it was impeccably sewn and showed no signs of fraying. His hair, a mix of black and grey, was brushed strait back, showing a pronounced widow's peak. His glasses were very clean, compared to the rest of his outfit. He smiled, stubbled chin grinning from ear to ear.

"Ah good, good, everyone made it! Fantastic! Now, Mariko has given me a full report on the situation, so I am aware of the events that transpired near the train tracks. I'm sure she mentioned my Supra-Natural Signal Locator, amazing machine built by yours truly, has been very active. Given that circumstance I'm both cautious and excited to see what else might occur!"

He stopped to take a breath, then spotted the basket of goodies. "Oh! Wonderful! Don't mind if I do!" he rushed forward and grabbed two chocolate snack cakes and a bottle of Orbitz, scarfing down one of the cakes in record time, and washing that back with the drink.

"AH! Hit's the spot exactly! Now, where were we? Yes, you all! I have a great desire to see these abilities in action, for both my own research as well as your well being. I have a controlled environment in which we can conduct those experiments. Additionally, a trusted colleague of mine is on her way."

He adjusted his white bow tie, and looked to his daughter. It was hard to tell what he was thinking, his face a mix of pride, concern, and curiosity.

"Before we continue, I must ask for your expressed consent to these trials. Do I have your consent?"
Garret Blake
 player, 38 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Tue 16 Apr 2019
at 01:28
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
A moment's quiet. Garrett had visibly relaxed just a bit when Jules arrived, though he still seemed tense and pensive. Malun's further comment about how the school could be full of Damons who just hadn't felt safe trying to hurt other people. There was a deep cynicism in that, but he also knew that she was more than likely right.

"So yea," he murmured sideways at Jules with the ghost of a half smile and an effort at a wink. "Y'know. Not much."

Then Mr. Lunesby showed up and started talking. Garrett listened. This time his attention was focused on Malun's dad. He'd never met the eccentric inventor before, but now that he got his first good look at the older man, a lot about his daughter made an abrupt sort of sense. A lot of the talk went... a bit over his head. Mr. Lunesby had some sort of device that could track the... supernatural? Magic and monsters and stuff? Okay that checked out.

Colleague coming? He shifted in his seat. He trusted Malun, so he'd trust this. He glanced sideways at the others, then he took a deep breath. Okay. If this was going to be a thing. If he was going to go further (he was), he needed to know what this was. What he could do.

Garrett slowly stood up and said "I spent some of what I was given earlier today. I... don't think I can replicate it tonight, but whatever I can do, I'll show you." He paused. Looked at the others. Then back at Mr. Lunesby. "I'm in."

This message was last edited by the player at 06:07, Tue 16 Apr 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 33 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Tue 16 Apr 2019
at 02:03
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Naturally," Malun waved off her father's concern, at least as it applied to her. "Some of my PortCon's enhanced capabilities are already active, though on the subject of consent I should be forthright with the rest of you about some of the features."

Seeming a bit at a loss for words for a moment, Malun froze for a moment, stopping moving entirely until she figured out how to phrase what she wanted to say, then resumed normal operations as soon as she did, "the best way to phrase it I suppose is that with my PortCon, and once I get the added features into my glasses, I can 'hack' directly into the electromagnetic fields surrounding the neural pathways in someone's mind, functioning as what is effectively short range 'telepathy'. I can also put thoughts into someone's head, though that seems to have some limitations."

Clearing her throat, she continues, "Ah...as of course it is very possible for you to 'think' something in response to my contact that you would not intend to say out loud, I would want everyone's permission before using this 'telepathy' in the future. ...ah...and my apologies for using it without acquiring this permission before, Garret. I didn't see that there was time in the battle and I didn't wish to tip our opponent off to the strategy...such as it was."

Then she muttered under her breath, "...though I see I never should have given you those tapes of Ronin Warriors..."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 27 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Tue 16 Apr 2019
at 19:31
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney sipped at his Pepsi Crystal. Woolsworth would probably concider himself a failure as a butler if this basket came full of snacks. Ms. Lunesby summarizing her reasoning about future threats to July. Whitney was fairly sure he saw her friendly smile falter a bit at the news. Garret was uncharacteristically introspective at the mention of Damon Stone. Jason was unreadable, but would probably chime in if he had a relevant thought.

Then Ms. Lunesby's father swept in before Whitney could let the idea of other people gaining whatever strange phenomena they had. He had met Marcus Lunesby a scant handful of times. The experience was never quite the same nor predictable. He had free rein over much of the lands estate, a courtesy as so much was bought before Whitney moved in his freshman year. The encounters were varied in nature.

"As long as the process is explained in advance and I can walk away at any time, I have no problem participating in whatever tests you require." Too many unknowns existed, they needed information.

They also needed a plan, but that could be defined later. Information first.

Ms. Lunesby then proceeded to explain her apparent telepathy. Which was an upsetting thought that a person could simply violate a person's mind. It was too personal, like an inviolable sanctuary becoming unsafe.

"No doubt that would be quite handy in emergency situations." It was also a vary pragmatic tool. Whitney hoped that the emphasis was on emergency situations was enough to leave the rest unsaid.

"July, please eat something. If this basket comes back relatively full, Woolsworth's honor as a butler will be permanently stained."
Jason Drake
 player, 26 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Tue 16 Apr 2019
at 21:44
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Jason sat quietly, almost in awe of Mr Lunesby. He had barely interacted with the man before today, only ever seeing him briefly at the front door of his house, and usually not even talking to him, just dropping off whatever part was ordered. Actively engaging with him was an experience. When he finished his preamble, and the others started chiming in, Jason nodded.

"Yes, I'm in. I want to see what I can do with this... whatever power it is."

His eyebrow raised as Malun mentioned having science powered telepathy. Not worriedly, but excitedly.

"For real? That's amazing! That's like Professor X level stuff!"
July Coates
 player, 30 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Wed 17 Apr 2019
at 20:10
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July did her best to keep up with the rapid-fire summary Malun shot at her. Snacks. Superconductors for a project. More attacks. A Supra-something whatever device. Damon Fucking Stone potentially having powers. Garrett offered snark and a wink. Before she could unpack what any of that meant, Mr. Lunesby had burst into the garage, and that was…

There weren’t really words for what Mr. Lunesby was. ‘Eccentric’ didn’t  quite do the wiry man justice. He hummed with nervous energy, as if he might fly apart at the seams through sheer excitement. He seemed nice enough, but her stomach twisted into knots at the mention of trials.

Garrett was quick to say yes, to the surprise of absolutely no one. Malun’s explanation of telepathy sounded crazy, but it also sounded familiar, and the knots became writhing snakes.  July shifted uncomfortably on her stool, trying to think about anything but the feeling of her mind melting, tangling with thoughts that weren’t her own, flooding the silence with whispers of static.

Whitney’s suggestion pulled her from the spiral of her thoughts. July blinked hard, the world coming back into focus. They were waiting on her to answer.

“Right—sorry,” July managed, leaning forward and grabbing the first snack that met her fingers. Zebra Cakes. They sat in her lap untouched as she tried to find the right words. It was imperative that she find them. If she opened her mouth and said something wrong and someone got hurt, she didn’t think she could ever find a way to live with that. She took a steadying breath, trying to stave off the panic fraying at the edge of her thoughts.

“I…I’m not really sure about this. How would you...test us?” July finally looked back at Mr. Lunesby, her knuckles white around the seat of her stool. “I don't--" She cut herself off there, brows furrowing as she reconsidered her words. Calm. Be calm. "I want answers, but I don't want to hurt anyone to get them."

This message was last edited by the player at 20:11, Wed 17 Apr 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 39 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 17 Apr 2019
at 20:56
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Up until now, Jason had seemed concerned, but sure of himself. Malun seemed... rattled, but she was also moving forward with it. Even Whitney had sounded more cautious than afraid. The lack of obvious, intense discomfort had allowed Garrett to sink into his own introspection and inward-turned fear and insecurity. It was a cycle that was usually only broken by one thing: obvious distress from someone else.

So when July spoke up, with obvious fear, he felt himself shrugging off the haze. His right hand shifted out of his coat pocket and just sort of... rested on her shoulder. That unconscious sort of primal gesture. Human. You're not alone in the scary. Other human here.

"That's... probably the sanest response to this so far," he said quietly before looking back at Mr. Lunesby. "I don't wanna hurt anyone either. I mean. I'm... sure that's not what you mean and stuff, but any reassurances about how this is gonna work. How you wanna do this would be, y'know, good."

The hand on her shoulder gave a small squeeze.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 20:56, Wed 17 Apr 2019.

Marcus Lunesby
 NPC, 2 posts
 Genius
 Unrecognized
Wed 17 Apr 2019
at 22:11
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Marcus, for his part, got to eating his second snack cake while he waited on the children to respond. He finished off his drink as well, and smiled, trying to be reassuring, but his face wasn't exactly pulling that off.

"Yes yes, of course. The testing, as it is, will be conducted as safely as possible. I'll provide you with several dummy targets to practice upon, for any violently inclined abilities. For abilities that require, shall we say, a biomass, I have some plants that won't mind being withered. When it comes to anything that affects the mind, I offer myself as the subject. I assure you both my body and mind are quite durable, however I will not force you to use any ability you are not comfortable with."

He paused, threw away his garbage in the nearby can, and stood up strait.

"The facility is located underneath my lab." He looked to his daughter, that concerned stare coming back briefly "I... never told you about it, Mariko, for your own safety. The less you knew about it, the better, until now." He Looked to the rest, putting his smile back on. "Come then, not a moment to lose!"

With that, Marcus made his way out of the garage and through the backdoor of his house, which led to his lab in the back yard. He more or less expected everyone to follow, so he didn't bother to look back.

This message was last edited by the player at 22:12, Wed 17 Apr 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 34 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 18 Apr 2019
at 01:32
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Once again, Malun sniffed at someone's comment, though this time her father's, "it's not as if I didn't know you were doing secret research, I just didn't know what. And really father, a secret lab underneath your normal one is a bit too cliche even for you." Her father's genius was never in question, not to Malun at least, but his sense of style did leave something to be desired.

She unhooked her PortCon from the monitor and fit it back on her left arm, "As I have yet to be able to manifest any of these new abilities on my own, and due to the fact that...well, I live here, I presume I will be able to test my equipment at my leisure once it's in a testable build. Naturally in the meantime I'll assist with monitoring and recording the results from your tests."

Her expression did soften a bit as she looked over to the other girl in the room, "...July, you'll be fine. Not wanting to accidentally hurt people is one of the reasons to run these tests, and you'll be running them in a controlled environment with scientists trained in quick responses to unusual situations on hand."
July Coates
 player, 32 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 19 Apr 2019
at 01:36
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July wasn't exactly reassured by Mr. Lunesby's brief explanation, but he left little room for her complaints, sweeping off into the night with a call for them to join him in a secret underground facility. Just when July thought the day couldn't get any weirder...

Malun's assurances about a controlled environment were at least more effective than her father's unbridled enthusiasm. The solid hand on her shoulder was a lifeline, the warmth of that contact giving her space to breathe through the fear. Right. She wasn't alone in this. None of them were.

"Right," July took a deep breath and put her smile back in place, rising to her feet, zebra cakes in hand. "You're right. It'll be fine. Totally."

Before she could lose her nerve, she grabbed her bag and followed the elder Lunesby through to the backyard. What's the worst that could happen?
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 28 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 19 Apr 2019
at 17:39
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"No one is going to force us to do anything, July." Whitney said pointedly. Somehow trying to get a firm stance on the subject while trying to be comforting. The result was mixed.

"Just do what you are comfortable with. I think, it is more important to be aware of how things work. So we don't do something by reflex." Whitney felt like they suddenly had guns strapped to their hands with no way to know when they'd decide to shoot.

At the moment, they could be danger to themselves and others. For all Whitney new, this was the work of some strange radiation that could kill them at any moment. There must have been some sort of catch.
Garret Blake
 player, 41 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 19 Apr 2019
at 19:44
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
He let go of July's shoulder as she stood up. Mr. Lunesby's words and Malun's follow-up landed. Good. There was something in place, even if it wasn't perfect. A game-plan. Playbook. A breath followed as he buried his own fear. Other people, man. Other people. His own shit would keep until later.

And hers. She's gonna need to talk.

Garrett started walking, hands in pockets, keeping pace with the others. "Oh," he said after a moment, realizing he hadn't properly answered Malun's question of telepathy. "Malun--that thing you were just talking about, with the mind-talking. Yeah, you've got my permission. I'm cool with it."

"And no you don't to apologize for that because Ronin Warriors is fantastic."

Night air hit him, washing over his face again in time with the crunching of boots over ground. It was kindof amazing, what was becoming normal. Well, maybe not normal, but expected? Yeah. Yeah that was better. All the talk of secret labs and underground facilities. He shook his head as the group walked.

"Also, Mr. Lunesby, can I also be the person to say that all else aside, the fact that you have a secret lab underground is really fucking awesome?"

Hey. Somebody had to say it.
Jason Drake
 player, 29 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 19 Apr 2019
at 22:29
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Mr Lunesby's explanation of testing was at least partially informative. Jason expected he would be a lot more informed when he was able to see this hidden underground lab for himself. He followed along with the rest to the back yard, nodding at Whitney's comments.

"That's my thought too. We need to learn to control this stuff. It's just like in X-Men, mutants at Xavier's school learn to control their powers. Do you guys think we're mutants now? Did that blast of energy mutate us?" He realized he was being a huge nerd, and chuckled when Garret also seemed to be nerding out about the secret lab, and Jason chuckled.
Retro DM
 GM, 34 posts
Sat 20 Apr 2019
at 01:54
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The group found themselves in front of the main door to Marcus' regular lab. He unlocked that door with a set of keys, undoing three deadbolts and some other kind of complicated lock. The whole process took about 45 seconds, but even that short amount seemed like a lot since they were just standing around.

The interior of the above ground lab was quite the glorious mess. There were tables all along the walls, as well as two rows splitting the middle. On these tables were various pieces of unidentifiable equipment, amalgamations of electronics and other devices that were completely alien other than their component parts. Wires, screens, lenses, lights, all sorts of bits were strewn about on the remaining table space, and on top of these we're piles of papers, stapled or bound together, no doubt containing Marcus' notes on things. Some of the devices were active, the rest seemed either powered off or unplugged (or possibly just not functioning).

Marcus led the teenagers to the center of the room. He produced a remote control from his coat pocked, and punched in a series of keys. When he finished, a whirring mechanical sound could be heard from the floor directly in front of him. The floor opened horizontally, revealing a staircase heading down, illuminated with soft pink lights. He briefly looked back at the five, smirked, and waved for them to follow him down.

-----------------------------------------------------

Coming to a set of double doors at the bottom, Marcus put his hand on a scanner to the right of them. The machine lit up, and the doors opened, which also triggered the lights inside the lab to come on. The underground lab was much, much more organized. Everything looked clean, the checkered tile floor shining as though it was new, the stainless steel tables sparkling, the various computers and other devices impeccably kept. One was left to wonder how exactly Marcus could keep this place so clean on his own, even if he neglected his above ground lab.

The room was massive, at least three times the size of the above, with several different areas. As they approached the center, still following Marcus, they could see on the right hand side a section set up for target practice. There were wooden and metallic dummies inside sealed rooms, long and rectangular shaped, with thick glass for safe viewing. The rooms next to these seemed to have some large plants inside of them. The other rooms didn't have anything in them at the moment, at least not that they could see. On the far walls were large screens flashing various information from around the world - weather patterns, local time, seismic events, and a ticker on the bottom about political movements. There were several personal computer stations, as well as a section that seemed to be gigantic super computers.

Marcus stopped, turned around, and extended his arms wide.

"Welcome, everyone. Try not to be too overwhelmed, hmm hmm hmm~, we have much to do."
Garret Blake
 player, 42 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 20 Apr 2019
at 03:54
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"... whoa." Garrett should've had more to say upon seeing the underground facility for the first time. This was nerve wracking. All of it. That burden hadn't really eased since earlier so much as sank into the recesses of his mind as he turned his attention to everyone else. When they stepped out into the new space, that all came back at the same time as the sort of wonder at what he was seeing increased. It was like something out of a Toonami special or old Saturday Morning cartoons.

He could've been forgiven if he'd admitted out loud that the X-Men cartoon theme veeeeeeery briefly started playing through his head.

"This place is something else."

Looking at his friends, Garrett's expression sobered a bit, and he looked at Mr. Lunesby again. "So... ah... what do you want us to do?"
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 29 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sat 20 Apr 2019
at 05:30
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney took in the surroundings. An underground facility certainly explained why the doctor was so adamant about staying. No doubt Lunesby couldn't easily move locations.

"It's smaller than I expected, but I suppose you've made do." He wondered what connections the doctor had. Whitney couldn't imagine that this place was easy to construct. This was professional, if scant.

"Still, sizable for one person. No staff. Clean. Doctor, I believe you or your benefactor are holding out on us." If the doctor's goal was to shake them, Whitney knew how to play. People always wanted an angle to get something from you.

Insight 7. Trying to gauge ulterior motives aside from just wanting to learn about us.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 35 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 20 Apr 2019
at 14:00
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun immediately went to flicking her eyes all around the lab, trying to discern what was what as soon as she got down there. She desperately wanted to record all of what she was seeing, and her guesses, on her portcon but refrained so as to avoid making any records of anything in her father's secret lab.

Then Whitney of course opened his mouth and Malun's studious gaze was disrupted by an immediate need to roll her eyes, "no staff that's here at this time of night, when I am usually home and he kept this secret from me. If he has assistants, and if it's this clean here I'm sure he does, they would naturally come when I am at school, which further explains the insistence on my attending public school instead of any homeschooling programs. Really Whitney, that's basic deduction."
Jason Drake
 player, 32 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sat 20 Apr 2019
at 19:28
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The way down to the hidden lab took a while, and while Jason was normally a pretty calm guy, he was anxious to see what he and the others could do, and that combined with his rising hopes about this facility made him visibly less calm than normal. He tapped his fingers to his thumbs, not loudly but rapidly, as they entered the above ground lab. The secret passage opening up was like something out of the movies, as was the real facility. Jason was in awe for a moment, trying to take everything in.

When the group started asking questions (and Whitney was predictably rude), Jason realized he had his own questions.

"In addition to those, what exactly do you do here? Whats all the equipment for?"

OOC: Insight 21 on Marcus, to know if he's truthful in his answers
July Coates
 player, 37 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Wed 24 Apr 2019
at 01:03
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The underground lab looked like it belonged in a movie, not in Gridley. July's mouth dropped as she tried to make sense of her surroundings. Everything was clean lines and stainless steel, banks of monitors flashing a truly dizzying amount of information. And all of this was hidden away beneath a shed, on the outskirts of town. In Gridley.

There is no way Mr. Lunesby got the necessary permits for this. A little snort of laughter escaped her at the thought. Her father would be deeply annoyed at the existence of this clearly illegal addition to the Lunesby home. Despite the anxiety bubbling in her veins, she couldn't help but like the place, if only for that reason.

Whitney, as per usual, opened his mouth and stuck his foot right in there. He was always good at pushing buttons. July gave him a reproachful look, but Malun clearly had that handled. July's attention began to drift back to the monitors, and she barely heard Jason's question as she wandered closer, watching them.

"Talk about information overload," She muttered beneath her breath, eyes wide as she watched the screens, her face awash in technicolor.

July Coates rolled 17 using 1d20+3.  Investigation check on the wall of screens.
Marcus Lunesby
 NPC, 3 posts
 Genius
 Unrecognized
Wed 24 Apr 2019
at 02:41
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Mr Lunesby seemed happy that everyone was being so inquisitive. Even when Whitney sounded flippant, Marcus wasn’t bothered by it. He addressed that line of questioning first.

“Ah, Mariko is partially correct. I have the place cleaned up about once a month, just in case. Have to leave the lab upstairs mostly the way it is, throws big brother off the trail, as it were. The space is bigger than it looks, there are sub floors, but we won’t need them today.”

He adjusted his bow tie again. Was it a nervous tic? Hard to tell. he gave a passing glance to the monitors.

“To be honest, I haven’t done all that much in this facility yet. Haven’t had a cause for it, until today. Last time it was used was many years ago. It was, and I suppose still is, a training and research center. My colleagues and I theorized that in our lifetimes, we would see humans develop extraordinary powers, and that we would need such a facility to study their capabilities and help them maintain control. I was starting to give up hope, but then fate intervened. I had thought it would be a younger age group, but it seems my hypothesis did not correctly account for latent super natural energy transference... which is my current assumption about why you all can do what you do now.”


Marcus produced the remote control again, pressing a key sequence that opened the door to one of the chambers, which had a wooden target dummy at the far end. A second sequence of keys caused a panel next to the chamber to flip around, showing a small cache of weapons on the other side. Not guns mind you, old style melee weapons. A katana, rapier, jian, spear, warhammer, daggers, a longbow, a recurved yew bow, a Scottish claymore. One might think Marcus had robbed a museum, if every piece didn’t look so new.

“What I want you to do Mr Blake, is show me what you can do. Malun’s report was thorough, but seeing is believing, as they say. At the risk of dating myself, let’s find out just how much ass you can kick.”
Garret Blake
 player, 45 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 24 Apr 2019
at 17:49
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Okay," Garrett said. Nice and simple, right? "I uh... I don't know how much I can promise. I mostly just hit sinkers and run in touchdowns. I got lucky today... but lets see what happens."

This was punctuated by a nervous grin as he walked towards the first of the rooms. In the doorway he paused. This shouldn't have made him feel this nervous. Nevertheless, his breath shook with the jitter of pregame nerves and the tingle of not knowing exactly what was about to happen. It was weird--you'd think that the big moment when everything was different ever-after would have been earlier today, when a slithering bone-snake reeled back from a light that flared through his hands. That was when things had changed. Or before that, when a crystal had burrowed down and split the earth.

But this? This felt more real. By far. And after a third breath, he realized he was hesitating. Just get it over with. Rip off that bandaid. Embrace the suck.

He threw a nervous smile over his shoulder at his friends, then stepped through the doorway. It immediately got quiet. Walls closed oppressively in. The door clicked closed behind him, and his friends could see as he slowly took off his leather jacket. He wore an old Collective Soul T-shirt underneath, ratty and cut off at the shoulders. Steps took him over towards the weapons on the walls. Something. Pick something. Maybe from biggest to smallest? Hold on.

The tall boy laid a callused hand on the claymore's hilt.

It was like an electric charge hit him. Flashes. Understanding. The breath left him in a whuff as he pulled it off its hooks. Flipped it in his hands like it weighed nothing at all. Then a cut. A blur of steel through the air. Then another and another and another. He stopped with it extended out in front of him. Fingers flexed around the grip. Eyes wide.

Whoa.

He put it back. Okay. A few moments to think. That... that was different. He'd never been trained to do that. If he could do that...

Hands reached up without thinking and pulled the bow. Arrows beside it. It was tall. Heavy pull-weight. He'd never shot one before. Not since summer-camp... god, forever ago. He held it in callused fingers. Not possible. Then without thinking he pulled it up, the muscles in his large arms and broad back tensing as he nocked an arrow and pulled the string. A whisper-snap and a shaft punched through the target's left eye. Another. The right. He put it down. Didn't think. Footsteps carried him back. He replaced the long curve of wood back on its hooks.

Fingers at the end of scarred hands slowly brushed over each weapon beside it. Thinking. Concentrating. No. No. No...

They closed around the leather and rayskin of the katana. He paused for a second. Breathing. No. No way. Words flashed through his mind. Kanji? No, english versions. Patterns. Tracing lines. His breath quickened. He lifted it from the wall and held it, sheathed, in his fingers. He sighted downrange. A rough left hand held the saya at his hip. The knuckles of his right slowly curled around the grip. Garrett heard the sound of the leather tightening. His knees smoothly bent. Stance lowered. An invisible sequence glided across his thoughts. Visualization. His heart pounded.

Then Garrett exploded forward. The arc of his body blurred down-range. His core twisted. The blade flashed from its sheath in a white arc. The top left corner of the dummy's head sailed off. Feet shifted. A flash down. It parted just above the base, leaving the mid-section suspended for a half-breath in the air.

The frosted edge shot upwards, straight through the center, and split the rest of the target mid-air.

A loud thunk echoed as the pieces struck the hard floor. Garrett stood, taught right arm outstretched with the blade still in the air, faintly humming from the ring of impact. His shaking breaths echoed in his ears as broad shoulders rose and fell. A light bloomed overhead. His eyes glanced up. Glowing. The curved blade was glowing.

He lowered it. What... what the actual... he should've been shaking, but his hands were steady. With an even, controlled deliberateness he turned towards the window and stared with wide, dark eyes towards his friends. It took a second for him to do more than take breaths that shuddered through his broad frame as the adrenaline ebbed ungently away.

Then a broad, boyish grin split his face and he fist-bumped the air with the katana and actually jumped up. "Holy shit! HOLY SHIT!"

He re-racked the weapon and jogged out, opening the door and rejoining his friends with this... stupid grin on his face.

This message was last edited by the player at 18:51, Wed 24 Apr 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 36 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Wed 24 Apr 2019
at 18:03
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun watched Garret intensely as he worked, rapidly entering observations into her PortCon creating a continuous sound of clicking as background for his movements.

Her eyes flicked to Whitney as Garret showed such prowess with the bow, curious as how the competitive one of the group would respond to that. But then she was distracted by Garret's choice of blade.

She couldn't help it, a half disgusted groan came from the small genius, "The katana. Of course you pick the katana. Your otaku levels are embarrassing."
July Coates
 player, 38 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Wed 24 Apr 2019
at 20:22
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July could barely make sense of the wealth of data flashing at her, but her brain snagged on a familiar map on a monitor. Gridley. She knew this town inside and out, and though she couldn't make much sense of Mr. Lunesby's data, she recognised the train tracks they had investigated earlier. Whatever energy being measured there didn't seem to be decaying, even several hours after the fact. That's...probably not good.

Mr. Lunesby's voice pulled July back to the matter at hand and she turned away from the wall of screens. She focused her attention on the wiry man, dark brows knitted together, hands jammed in the pockets of her overalls. He'd been expecting something like this to happen and had prepared for it. In Gridley.

Maybe she didn't know this town quite so well.

Mr. Lunesby bade Garrett to kick ass. There were no golden lights with that instruction this time. July joined the others at window as Garrett made his way into the room, whistling low at the impressive (and undoubtedly expensive) spread of weapons along the far wall, a few of which she didn't even recognise.

Hell, she barely recognised Garrett. They'd been friends for over two years, and these days he was as much a staple in her life as Noel. She knew his face, knew his stupid jokes and his total inability to let broken things go unfixed. It seemed impossible that he should suddenly look almost unfamiliar now, just because he'd picked up a sword that was nearly as long as Malun. He moved with a purpose she'd never seen in him, muscles shifting under his skin, raw lines and jagged edges impossibly graceful. July didn't know shit about swords, but she knew what skill looked like. And though it was clear that she knew less about Gridley, the world, and even Garrett than she had previously thought, she was dead certain he hadn't been able to do this yesterday.

Had he been this...broad, yesterday? He hadn't seemed to have changed physically this afternoon, but she could have sworn he was slimmer. He nocked an arrow, and the draw of the bowstring made her acutely aware of the unfamiliar cords of muscle in his back. The arrow sailed and she knew without looking it had found home in something vital. A breath, another draw, release.

Malun's commentary on the katana earned a grin from July, because the younger girl had a point, it was peak Garrett--and then he'd burst forward and carved up the dummy with unreal precision. Smooth. Controlled. Lethal.

"Holy shit," July muttered beneath her breath, leaning forward to get a better look at the dummy in a heap on the floor. The door clicked and Garrett rejoined them, overflowing with a familiar energy and a toothy grin on his face. She made room for him, and she realised suddenly that she wasn't looking down to meet his gaze, but, ever so slightly, up. Wait--is he taller than me now? Since when?

"That was really fucking cool," July breathed, a touch of awe in her voice. Blue eyes searched his for a moment before mapping out the planes of his face, down his neck to shoulders that were definitely larger than she remembered, and seriously, how had she not noticed this? His arms were easily twice the size of hers now. Without thinking, she reached out and squeezed one around the bicep. That was...really nice. She cocked her head and offered an eloquent, "Huh."

This message was last edited by the player at 20:27, Wed 24 Apr 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 30 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Wed 24 Apr 2019
at 21:04
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney tightened his jaw as he contemplated what he saw. There was no way Garret knew anything about archery or kendo prior to today’s events. And while unfamiliar to Japanese swordsmanship, he knew enough to recognize well practiced form. The movements were unlike anything he had ever seen from Garret. The man was a brawler, take a hit and hit back harder were his typical problem-solving solutions in a fight. It was like watching a rhinoceros suddenly perform ballet.

Ms. Lunesby made some comment about Otaku, whatever that was. July was simply dumbstruck, going so far as to touch Garret’s biceps. Whitney raised an eyebrow, but kept his mouth shut. The choice of katana gave Whitney an idea however, a good way to test what sort of knowledge had been passed to them. He began to loosen his tie as he entered the room next.

“Well, your archery is efficient if lacking in personal aesthetic.” Technically perfect form, but like his sword movements, almost like they didn’t quite belong. He set his tie on the table, folded up neatly next to two of those Japanese bamboo swords.

Picking up the bow, he looked downrange. It was about 600 feet, the 90 meters the Olympics would use to compete in. The bow was unfamiliar to him, normally he’d need a few practice shots before getting used to the new conditions. As he weighed it in his hand however, he came to realize that it was unnecessary.
Drawing out the bow, he loosed his first shot dead center into the target. Smirking to himself, Whitney grabbed a second arrow. “I apologize in advance, Doctor Lunesby.” I am the breath of my bow. The next arrow flew into and split the first. A smirk crept into a smile on his face. While genuine in enthusiasm, his mean eyes gave the smile a rather frightening edge.

“I think we need to test out what we know and what we can learn.” Whitney unbuttoned his white shirt and rolled up his sleeves. “Besides, I think we both have no problem hurting each other. Unless you’d rather find out what you can do on July.”
Whitney turns to face Garret, his crescent smile still on his face. He picked up one of the bamboo swords and tapped in on the window. “As far as I know, we both have no prior training in Kendo. It will be a fair test of our new knowledge.” It would also help himself separate the given knowledge and what Whitney already knew.

There was something odd when he used the bow. Like his knowledge and experience was sharing space with knowledge and experience he hadn’t had prior to that afternoon. The closest he could come to describing it was like two photographs overlaid. The pictures were nearly identical, but enough differences existed to give the viewer a headache the longer they looked at it. Hopefully something unfamiliar would help Whitney identify that other feeling.
Garret Blake
 player, 46 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 25 Apr 2019
at 00:42
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
He was in haze. As the adrenaline wore off, Garrett's mind swam. That was... holy shit he didn't even know how to put that into words. There were words he might've said--a joke even at Malun's crack about the katana (it was true)--but all of a sudden July was in front of him and he was kinda having trouble putting words together.

This wasn't new. Well, it was. Ish. Maybe it had existed before then, but the general timetable he'd put on what all this was traced back to about two weeks ago. It was more honest to say it had been a thing before that, because the experience had been less a sudden change and more an abrupt, cascading realization. One he'd tried hard to keep well wrapped up. Hidden. Under-wraps.

But now she was in front of him--very close. And this wasn't a problem because of proximity, exactly. July was casually physical with her friends. That was just a thing she did. As natural a part of her as breathing or music or laughter or kindness or any of the thousand other qualities she brought to the world.

It wasn't proximity. It was the way she was looking at him. Right now. And... that was... no it wasn't new. It wasn't. Emphatically could not be. Still. There was something in her blue eyes. Vulnerability? Surprise? Whatever it was, it was like being burned. And not in a bad way.

Aaaaaaaaaaand then she touched his arm. He glanced down. For just a second he went perfectly still. Dark eyes watched her face intently. Specifically her eyes.

"Huh."

"I--" he softly answered. "--yeah."

tap tap tap.

Wha?

Whitney's initial words belatedly registered as the other boy's last bit of phrasing echoed from the other side of the window. It all sort of came through jumbled in the aftermath of everything else, so he actually made sense of the second bit of sentence than the first.

“As far as I know, we both have no prior training in Kendo. It will be a fair test of our new knowledge.”

Wait. Shinai. Was he holding shinai? And he was challenging Garrett to fight? Test. He wanted to test their new abilities. Garrett started to open his mouth.

Then the first half registered. “Besides, I think we both have no problem hurting each other. Unless you’d rather find out what you can do on July.”

Wait, what the fuck?

Rather hit her like he'd hit that target?

What the fuck?

The others could see him processing. Watch as he turned away from the tall girl and towards Whitney. His expression shifted abruptly from elated to stone. His brows drew together and his mouth tightened into a hard line. Before anyone else could say anything Garrett was walking towards that door. He grabbed the other bamboo sword as soon as his hand was within reach. "Fine," he said. Unlike previous expressions of his normally sardonic anger, his tone was clipped, sharp, and very quiet.

"You're on."

This message was last edited by the player at 00:43, Thu 25 Apr 2019.

Marcus Lunesby
 NPC, 4 posts
 Genius
 Unrecognized
Fri 26 Apr 2019
at 10:25
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
 As soon as the door was sealed, Marcus sat down at a nearby computer terminal and started typing up his notes. If he was impressed by what Garrett did inside the room with the weapons, it didn’t show. He was busy observing, recording, and making his own theories and guesswork about the nature of Garrett’s new martial ability. Typing away rather quickly at his keyboard, one might have thought Marcus was completely unaware of anything else.

He stopped when the boys decided to challenge one another. He scratched the stubble on his chin, as though contemplating some grand mystery, then produced the remote once more, entering in another code and smirking. Another panel flipped around, this time revealing two sets of Kendo sparring armor.

“Those should fit, might be a little loose.”

OOC: The sparring armor gives you an AC of 16.

This message was last edited by the player at 10:30, Fri 26 Apr 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 31 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 26 Apr 2019
at 16:26
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The kendo armor flipped from one of the apparently many hidden panels in the wall. Whitney realized he should probably be wondering how this lab knew to prepare so well. Instead he chose to focus on the immediate problem; having two muscle memories was an inconvenience at best and a danger at worse.

“Thank you, Dr. Lunesby. We should probably continue avoiding serious injury today.” He picked up the armor. It was unused, but functional. Another thing prepared for something like today.

Hands almost guiding themselves, even donning this practice armor felt like a rehearsed action. It was not that it was difficult, putting clothing on isn’t rocket science. Whitney remained unsettled. Having trained his body his whole life, he understood what it could do. Right now, for the first time in a long time, Whitney’s body felt outside of his control.

“Try not to flinch.” Whitney let his body adopt an unfamiliar stance. Purposely leaning into his new knowledge, he tried to take it all in. If he could make this his own and not just something borrowed, maybe it would mean something.

“On three.” Whitney stared at Garret’s eyes, trying to get a read on his opponent.

“One.” Garret had put on the armor like it was old hat.

“Two.” His stance was similar, but like it was trained by another school. Perhaps their knowledge came from separate sources?

“Three.”

Whitney let himself lunge at his opponent. The air whistled, its wake attempting to catch up to the bamboo. One crack resounded in the room. The weapon had landed on Garret’s helm with force to spare.

Whitney had not wanted to strike his opponent's head. Before he could formulate a coherent thought, those practiced movements did not stop. It was like unleashing one fluid motion and he had only just started.

Speed. A velocity beyond any he had pushed himself before followed two more strikes.

Stop.

He did not stop.

But he did miss. The following double strikes missed their opponent and Whitney stumbled. It wasn’t perfect, but at least he knew he had some agency. This could be adapted.

Garret readjusted his stance. Ah. Let's see how I am on defense.

Whitney used Action Surge for last two attack rolls. Attack rolls 23, 5, 4.
Garret Blake
 player, 47 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 26 Apr 2019
at 18:03
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett put on the armor, staring at the floor more than at Whitney as he did it. He didn't like this. This rush of energy and the sudden angry adrenaline flowing through his head. He felt the helmet slip over his head. Lines and bars crisscrossed his perception.  It wasn't a field in front of him, though. He didn't feel like he did charging down-range looking to catch a pass from Dave or Gabe and put it into the inzone. That was the familiar thing. The good thing--and taking that dummy apart Garrett had felt it for a hot minute.

When he turned and retrieved the bamboo sword, staring down Whitney across the space between them, he felt that terrible gut-churning feeling that had filled him from boots to brain before. No. Don't go there.

He shifted his feet as Whitney played with his stance. He was sweating in a way that he shouldn't have been.

That had been a real blade in his hands a few moments ago. This wasn't. Chill.

The Diamonds hadn't been using blades, either. Nor had the people who swung bats at his head. You didn't need a sharp edge to fuck someone up beyond recognition. His fingers flexed around the grip.

Chill.

"Tell me Garret, what do you think will happen if the likes of Damon Stone has developed these same powers?"

He tensed as he slid into the stance that seemed natural.

"Don't cross me Blake. We're going places. Don't throw this away."

His mouth went dry. If that was the case, if there was even a chance that Malun was right... wait, why was he thinking about this now? Focus. It was Whitney. Whitney had told him he should try him unless he wanted to do this to July, and all that noise was in his head again. Shift. Head in the game. Garrett, head in the g--

MOVEMENT.

Whitney blurred forward. The other boy had always been fast, but this was so much faster. His core twitched and his hands snapped up to parry the strike. It was a blur of too late, too slow, and then WHAM.

A burst of arresting numbness flushed across the left side of his face. The room tilted and he staggered. Registered that in a few seconds that was going to hurt a lot. But everything else was blacked out by the immediate rush of realization that he'd let himself get distracted and taken a strike to the skull that would've turned his brain into two chunks. Oh no. Oh no.

"Guess if your not a fan, we’ll rough you up inst--"

NO.

Whitney's next two strikes missed as Garrett acted on raw (new?) instinct. He rolled right with the impact, over his shoulder and surged upwards as Whitney reset. Behind his helm his eyes were wide as saucers. Target. Where target. There. Exposed arms extended out to the side. Hit to arms would remove sword. Open up more.

That would do.

Garrett swept across the middle, snapping the bamboo blade across the centerline, behind the reach of Whitney's weapon, and straight into the meat of his forearms. Destabilized. Moving sideways. Remove threat.

The blade carried through the cut, down. Lower targets. Legs. Good. Then Garrett's body rotated and the line of the strike took Whitney just below the knees.

Nobody else would be hurt. Nobody else.

A rush. Here. Now. This was a training room. A training room.

Before he could even take stock of what he'd done to the other boy. Garrett staggered back, let the sword slip, and dropped down to one knee. Breathe. He needed to breathe. Fingers ripped at the buckles and pulled off the head protection, taking in a sudden, loud gasp of air. An ugly bruise was spreading across the left side of his face.

Oh no.

What did he do.

"Shit," he choked, voice ragged and slightly frightened. "Shit, are you okay?"

This message was last edited by the player at 18:19, Fri 26 Apr 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 32 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 26 Apr 2019
at 18:32
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garret busted through his defenses. Masterfully getting blows on Whitney's arm and than down to his knee. It was also quite painful, even with the armor.

Whitney had been to much in his own head to offer a proper defense. Garret had properly taken advantage and gave him two strikes for his trouble. Apt punishment for pulling back, he supposed.

A deep amusement rose in him. It had been a while since he'd had a good fight.

"Shit. Shit, are you okay?" Whitney felt better than okay.

Whitney let out a long unguarded laugh while taking off his helmet. The sound of it was derisive, but it did cut the tension. Looking down on Garret's panic, it was all too ridiculous. The guy had beaten him soundly and was worried about some pain. What trivial concerns.

"Those strikes were technically perfect, but they didn't feel like yours." It was certainly his strength though. The schmuck hit like a mac truck.

Whitney extended his hand to Garret.

"Thank you for the bout. As you now see, we have a lot to learn about ourselves."
Jason Drake
 player, 34 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 26 Apr 2019
at 21:07
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Witnessing Garret cut a wooden dummy into pieces was like something right out of a movie. It shouldn’t be real, not without years of training at least, but it was right in front of him. Jason had to consciously close his mouth. Whitney’s archery had always been good, but this was different, somehow. That same boy had just blasted practice arrows through a giant snake earlier in the day, and Jason was fairly certain he couldn’t do that yesterday. It had to be connected to that object, and the energy wave. His friends were super human, now.

And they were about to fight each other.

It happened a bit faster than Jason could react. They donned armor and clashed with kendo sticks, both of them showing ability they hadn’t had before. It was astonishing, and a little bit freighting, to see it on display. When it was over, he had to take a moment to process it all. He could hear Malun and her father clicking away, typing up their notes, and he could hear July practically holding her breath. He stepped forward and into the room, sighing.

“Jeeze you guys, I thought this was sparring. Your lucky you didn’t break anything!”

Then he felt something. Some tinge of that fire that was part of him now, it wanted to come out. He blinked, and looked at his left hand. His finger tips were glowing.

“...well that’s new. Hold still Garret.”

He gently placed his fingers over Garret’s head where he had been struck, and the glow seemed to flow from his hand into the other boy, and the bruise he just incurred subsided, leaving almost no trace of injury. Jason took his hand back, looking at it again. Still glowing. He touched Whitney’s forearm, and even through the padding, it seemed to work, and Whitney’s pain subsided, both in his arms and legs.

Jason took a deep breath. “That was way different from before. It came from the same place as that blast, but it wanted to heal. It’s like a well I can draw from and use for... well at least two things. But now it feels lower than before, like there’s a hard limit.”

OOC: casting Cure Wounds on both Garret and Whitney.
Garret Blake
 player, 48 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 27 Apr 2019
at 02:43
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Okay. The other boy was okay. Garrett closed his eyes for a second as the dizziness flooded in along with the throbbing that accompanied a goof thwack to the temple. Whitney hadn't been seriously damaged by the switch-flip that had happened in Garrett's brain. A switch that hadn't been flipped--frankly--for awhile. Belatedly he realized the other boy was offering him a hand. That was new.

He took it as the words rolled over him, blinking once or twice and wincing in a motion that carried down through his whole frame as if he was trying to shrug it out of his system with his broad shoulders. "I don't... yeah, I don't know where this is coming from. It doesn't feel foreign, so much as this sense of being able to do things I'd forgotten how to do--"

Garrett took Whitney's hand. Gripped it firmly before letting go. Good game. Good game. His back itched faintly, along two lines across his shoulderblades.

"--or something. I don't know. I couldn't do this yesterday. I..."  Weird. Must've been the armor. He wasn't used to it. Reaching back he started to undo the armor. And maybe itch that spot. "... You're welcome. And I'm sorry. I lost control."

I lost control.

Then Jason was there from... somewhere? And there was a sudden balm on the side of his head. A soothing wave of energy that simultaneously deadened pain and restored feeling to the numbness. He flexed his jaw. There was still tension and a faint tingling where he'd been hit, but damn... that was amazing. His eyes widened. "Jason. Holy shit. Jason you can heal people?"

"That's... amazing."

He shook his head. Of course he could. It was magic. Amazing magic. This was just... the implications were too much to work through at the moment, so he just let it go, taking off his kendo armor and doing his best to lay it out in an orderly fashion before exiting the training room. Maybe Whitney didn't feel he needed to apologize, but Whitney also wasn't the only one here. Standing outside the door, still breathing heavily, he looked back and forth between July and Mr. Lunesby.

"I... lost control, in there. For a moment. I shouldn't have," He paused. A whole host of emotions behind his tired, composed face. "I'm very sorry."
July Coates
 player, 39 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sat 27 Apr 2019
at 16:48
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett's sudden mastery over a blade he'd almost certainly never touched was weird as hell, but undeniably cool. She'd dropped his arm, taking a step back to give him space, and focused her attention back on the training room. She'd seen Whitney shoot a few times before, and that had certainly been impressive. Watching him casually split an arrow was something else entirely. That couldn't be possible, and he'd made it look like child's play.

"Dude!" July laughed brightly, unable to contain her enthusiasm, "That's some Robin Hood shit!"

Whitney didn't celebrate his achievement. Instead he turned his focus back to Garrett, goading him into a fight with laser precision. The energy in the room changed in an instant. July's stomach dropped. She knew Whitney well enough to read into his words--he wasn't actually suggesting Garrett carve her into pieces. But she knew Garrett, and knew that he wouldn't give a damn what Whitney had meant, just what he had heard. His whole demeanor shifted, and before she could open her mouth to defuse the situation, Garrett had taken the bait.

July frowned as Mr. Lunesby simply offered them armor, as if this wasn't an awful idea. She exchanged a concerned look with Jason as the two donned sparring armor. 'As safely as possible', Mr. Lunesby had said, and she supposed it was better than nothing, but she couldn't shake the anxiety. Worrying her lower lip, she forced herself to watch.

Whitney moved faster than she’d ever seen before. Before she could process that, he was in Garrett’s space. She could hear the dull thwap as Whitney struck Garrett's head, and her relief that his next blows failed to land was cut short by Garrett’s answering strikes to his arm and leg, unrestrained in their viciousness. The whole thing was over in a matter of heartbeats, but July found herself lagging, trying to process it all. Between Garrett’s distress and Whitney’s bark of laughter, the emotional whiplash had her thoughts into disarray.

Jason, at least, had presence of mind to do something. Not just something, but straight up healing, dispersing the bruise that had been blossoming across Garrett’s face with only a touch. That was…

“Whoa,” July breathed, finally managing to put her thoughts in some semblance of order. There was so much to unpack about that. Jason could heal. That was nothing short of miraculous.

I lost control, he’d said, and Garrett looked so tired, so hollow, and every instinct in her told her to go to him, to chase that away with quips and jokes until he was laughing and fine, but her feet wouldn’t move.

She’d known, of course. What he had done. Not a lot of the details. She’d never asked, had never felt the need to. Noel said he was cool now, and she’d trusted that. Did trust that. He’d always been kind, unfailingly gentle. She’d never seen anything like this from Garrett before. I lost control.

“It’s fine,” July said with a smile, “No harm, no foul, right?”
Marcus Lunesby
 NPC, 5 posts
 Genius
 Unrecognized
Sat 27 Apr 2019
at 18:57
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
It was hard to read Marcus while he was in his note-taking-analysis mode. He worked like some kind of machine, typing away at his terminal, observing the actions of the two boys through his observation camera in the practice room. After Jason entered and displayed healing powers, Marcus found a point to stop his data entry and make some remarks.

"Hmmm hmm hmm. According to the readings from my in-room SuNaSL, you boys are emanating a very low signal when you fight. This is only a theory, but I suspect your recent infusion of power and these new combat abilities are intrinsically linked. You show the competence of fighters with at least a year or more of dedicated training, which is quite intriguing. Your own bodies have integrated with these movements as though they had always been yours. Young Mr Drake's display of healing is quite profound. I'd be interested in testing it's limits one day, but for now I think it's best we not barge into the ER wing of the hospital just to see what he can do. Also not very low key."

He adjusted his glasses, looking over his typed up notes.

"Your movements are also beyond those of regular humans. I'd expect this much from young Mr Cabot, with his Olympic training, and perhaps even from young Mr Blake, but it's rather beyond even both of your own athleticism. This energy apparently makes you 'better', though exactly how is unclear. What I did observe is a lack of complete control from both of you, which I can only surmise means you'll need more time for full mastery of this."

He looked to July and Jason, an eyebrow raised.

"I think those boys should rest for now. I'm interested to observe you two, whomever decides to go first."

And then a look to his daughter, a slight smirk on his face.

"Anything to add, Malun?"
Garret Blake
 player, 49 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 28 Apr 2019
at 05:55
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The adrenaline was ebbing away for real, this time. Garrett could feel the tiredness creeping in. The tingling on the side of his face that either hadn't been entirely fixed by the magic healing, or was the result of it. Or neither. Or both. His limbs felt heavy, and that seemed ridiculous because he'd pushed himself through harder things over a longer period of time. It was hard to tell how well he was processing what Mr. Lunesby said. Made them... better? Deadlier? Faster? Stronger? More Powerful than before?

Bionic Man?

He would've laughed if he wasn't so tired.

"lack of complete control from both of you."

Both of them? He hadn't... really been able to process all of that before. Maybe. The other boy had launched himself forward with almost impossible speed and precision, true. He'd hit harder than Garrett would've guessed, true. Doubtless whatever was infusing them both was hard to manage.

But it hadn't been power that had made Garrett snap. It had been everything that came from being hit by it. Did that mean it was different? He... didn't know. Thinking about it too much would only make his head hurt. You still shouldn't have let that happen, dude.

Then he looked at July. Her face was a churning mix of emotions. Her hands were fidgeting. She looked like she was going to worry her lip bloody. In that moment he couldn't tell if she was angry or worried or something else entirely, but he did know one thing: she'd never looked at him like that before, and that... his gut constricted and his hands felt sort of numb. A lead weight settled into his feet. The floor suddenly had twice as much gravity. Stop. Stop staring.

"... right," he said, giving his best effort at a smile. "I just... I hate hurting people." A throat clear followed. Garrett needed to be helpful. Do something.

"I um..." he shifted on his feet, then looked like he was trying to do something with his hands. Then he breathed out and put one hand lightly on her shoulder. "... we're all here." He said after a minute. "Just... do what feels right."

He let go, walked past her, and slumped down onto a heavy crate, resting his head against the cold wall. Everyone was okay. Everyone was okay.

Morals. Morale.

"Alright you guys got this. Kick some ass."

Idiot.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:06, Sun 28 Apr 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 37 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sun 28 Apr 2019
at 16:32
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Unlike her father, Malun's recording process did not stop at all when watching Jason heal. If anything her typing got faster. Whatever she was thinking, she didn't betray on her face, her expression was intense and focused, with a laser intensity that might have been unsettling on someone with a more intimidating frame. On Malun's childish appearance it was rather more comedic.

When directly addressed, she blinked out of her focus and turned to look owlishly at her father for a moment, "Hmm? Ah...yes, actually I think much could be learned from having them perform not simply combat maneuvers against each other but using sports performance as a measure. IF there's one thing sports fans are good at, it's statistics. The performances of athletes are rigorously recorded by their supporters and analysts, we can have Whitney and Garret test their raw physicality against those metrics to better measure the improvements there without their newfound combat skills also being a factor."

"As to their lack of control, that's only to be expected." Malun shrugged, "this is still a very new experience and it's been a rather stressful day. However, that does imply that the augmented skills and abilities are still firmly controlled by the conscious and subconscious mind rather than the mind being controlled by the augmentations, as they are only showing skills they did not possess and not showing a level of discipline that they haven't learned or would be unusual to display after today's events."

Turning her attention to Jason and July, she nodded again, "Healing is perhaps the most incredible and useful ability we've seen thus far. Jason, I'll be happy to help you test the extents and limitations of that when you believe you have more...in the tank, so to speak. That is something I'm very interested in recording the exact specifications of, as much as possible at least."

"As for July's mental affecting powers..." Malun took off her glasses and rolled her neck around to loosen up her tension, "I would actually prefer that they be tested on me. The nature of the tests and types of equipment available show that you are clearly anticipating further combat situation, and if I'm going to be of any use in the field instead of simply hiding in the lab, I need to know my own ability to resist strange powers."

"Besides," the small girl then smirked at the tall one, "if there's anything I'm not worried about, it's the resilience of my mind. And I'll get better data on it if I experience it directly. Whenever you're ready."
Jason Drake
 player, 35 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sun 28 Apr 2019
at 19:25
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
While he was glad that he could heal the physical injuries, Jason could tell Garret was still bothered by his lack of control. Whitney probably was too, just knowing his perfectionist personality, but Garret was trying to be different, and different meant not hurting people, at least not people who didn't have it coming. He was about to say something, but July seemed to have it handled. Good.

The red haired boy did his best to understand Mr Lunesby's and Malun's analysis of things, and for the most part he did. He didn't exactly like the idea of walking into a hospital just to heal people, since he wasn't quite sure how to control everything just yet, but the possibility was intriguing. There were implications to having such a power that he wasn't sure he was comfortable with. Not like I can give it away, right?

He nodded along when both Marcus and Malun talked about the seeming lack of control, and looked back to Garret and Whitney. "Well, seems like you shouldn't worry about it too much. We've got a whole bunch of new stuff to explore, and this place to do it in, right? We'll figure it out. And I guess if you mess each other up I can fix it, kind of? Just don't go overboard." He smirked.

Looking back to Malun, he nodded. "Sure, yeah. I'd like to have better control of it. I'm not like, Jesus or something, I don't think I can heal just anything, but some things? It's hard to explain, but when it I used that it felt like there was a ceiling as to how much it could affect. Like, a torch only gets so hot, right?... anyway, let me see what I have left."

Right, time for his test. Jason took in a deep breath, waiting for Garret and Whitney to leave the room. When they did, and closed the door, he spoke, louder than normal, trying to make sure everyone heard him. "So, I figured out one or two things while I was at home! Watch this!" Holding his right hand up, like he was holding a bowl, Jason produced a small orb of light. It was very bright, at least as much as a strong flashlight or lamp. He sent it up above his head, and it seemed to hover over him wherever he walked in the room.

"As long as I keep it in the back of my mind, this thing can last a while!" he said, still loudly. He picked up two of the pieces of the wooden dummy that Garret had previously cut apart. He focused hard on them, closing his eyes and breathing heavily. As he did so, the wooden bits seemed to sew themselves back together. It didn't look fantastic, since wood wasn't supposed to do that, it left a visible scar where the cut had gone through, but the two pieces were now together again.

"That one is more limited. I can fix small stuff, like my socks that had holes in them, but the repairs to this aren't very strong." He demonstrated by breaking the wood apart over his knee. "If I spend more time on it, I could probably put the whole thing back together, but like I said, it's not a strong bond. You already saw the fire thing and the blast thing. I can still make that fire, but I'm all out for the big stuff."

He paused. He felt... something. Something else. "Okay um, this is weird but there's, like, a second source? Like my main power is out but I have a secondary supply for stuff, but different stuff. Sorry, I'm not great at explaining this. Let me just, um..."

Then, Jason turned invisible. It only lasted six seconds, but it was probably the most intense thing he'd done up to that point in his life. When he came back into view, he blinked.

"Whoa."

OOC: Casting Light, Mending, and then racial Invisibility.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:22, Wed 01 May 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 50 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Tue 30 Apr 2019
at 01:26
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Out of all of them, Jason had gained the most amazing abilities of all. Healing. Generating flames. And now the ability to vanish? That was... that was beyond insane. Amazement flashed across Garrett's eyes where he sat, and his smile widened. "Goddamn, dude, are you sure you're not Jesus?"

Leaning back, he rested the back of his skull against the cold metal of the wall. This was a lot to take in. Everything had changed in a short span and his brain hadn't even had half a play to work through the implications. It was trying to now, but it just... wouldn't go.

So he breathed in and out, and watched July. He could tell how uncomfortable she was with this. It was etched on every angle of her posture. And he also knew that he couldn't just say something that would one-and-done make it better. He couldn't even tell how Malun's words would land, but he knew the girl in front of him abhored nothing more than the idea of hurting people.

And he wasn't sure what to say about that, so he just said--quietly enough that perhaps only she could hear: "I believe in you, July."
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 33 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Tue 30 Apr 2019
at 22:23
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
What should have left bruises for days was instantly healed by Mr. Drake’s newfound ability. Trace amounts of soreness and pain lingered, but Whitney was familiar enough with injury to know that would soon pass. This newfound magic, for lack of a better term, had its limits. Jason said something about his power source or something. Truth was, Whitney was having trouble concentrating. Whatever he had pulled, whatever that speed was earlier, had taken something out of him. It felt great.

Whitney barely registered moving himself out of the space or even putting his tie back on. Reflecting on it later, Whitney would describe it as moving on auto pilot. His mind was too busy racing, his body felt like it could go ten more rounds. Discipline and training had taken him so far in life, but this feeling was electric. He needed to push further.

People were speaking. Ms. Lunesby no doubt gave some keen observations. And Mr. Drake shuffled into the room to show off his stuff. It was muffled though, background.

Whitney blinked back to reality; the moment Jason had blinked out. The boy just displayed a veritable library of tricks before making himself disappear. An impressive show to be sure. The next to show off their new power was July. Whitney was rather curious to see what she could do.

Whitney took a proper look at his friend. Her normal composure had met its own limits it seemed. Sometimes people needed an out. “It is getting rather late. We have plenty of time to figure out what else we can do. I’m afraid if we take much longer, Mr. Woolsworth will tear apart the house to find me.”

This message was last edited by the player at 22:23, Tue 30 Apr 2019.

July Coates
 player, 40 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Wed 1 May 2019
at 02:14
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Neither Mr. Lunesby nor Malun seemed particularly concerned by what they'd seen. If July hadn't been paying attention, she could have been forgiven for thinking they were talking more about a spot of unusual weather than the existence of...of whatever all this was. Superpowers? Magic? Toxic radiation? She felt crazy for even thinking it, even as all of her senses told her this was real.

Malun offered herself up as a test subject to her whatever, and July went very still under the other girl's sharp gaze. Arms still folded, her knuckles flashed white, plastic crinkling in her grip--right. She'd forgotten about the zebracakes. July broke eye contact with Malun, busying herself with discarding the treat, biting back the sudden spike of panic. She was relieved to find that Jason had stepped up to demonstrate his talents, sparing her for a few moments longer.

Jason was...incredible. She could almost taste that smoke again as he shaped light to his whims and stitched together the dummy with nothing but his will. Before she could truly process it, he blinked out of existence. July flinched, starting forward--and then, just as suddenly, he was back. Unharmed. Fine. He was fine.

And it was her turn. Garrett murmured something, but she could barely sort through her own thoughts. She'd never felt so uncomfortable having eyes on her like this. Usually she was perfectly at home on stage. Usually, of course, she had some clue as to what the fuck she was doing.

It is getting rather late. We have plenty of time to figure out what else we can do. I’m afraid if we take much longer, Mr. Woolsworth will tear apart the house to find me. July looked to Whitney. He was giving her an out. She could just go home. She didn't have to do this. That reminder was grounding, solid earth beneath her feet, and relief flooded her veins. She needed answers, but she could still do this on her terms. She flashed Whitney a grateful smile, taking a serrated breath. Right.

"I'll be quick then," She told Whitney, leaving the thank you unspoken. She turned her gaze to Malun and flashed a tight smile. "I, um...let's come back around to the whole mind stuff?"

July flitted towards the training room. She wasn't even sure what she was doing, only that the warmth in her skin had flashed to an inferno, and that it knew what to do. She sank into that impulse, the door opening with a flare of heat, snapping shut behind her with barely a thought.

It was quieter in here. July took stock of the room, at the weapons lining the wall. The fire seemed to flash white hot at the sight of an épée at the very end of the rack. She could practically feel its weight in her hand, but July forced her blue eyes past it, to the ravaged dummies. Later, she promised the fire, and it seemed to accept that. She walked the length of the training room, fingers flexing, sparks of harmless flame dancing along her calluses, the heat a comfort in the sheer insanity of the moment. Reaching the dummies, she reached out with a foot, rolling what had once been a torso several feet back from the wall. Okay. She cracked her knuckles, flames extinguishing with the motion.

"Right," July murmured, tossing her bangs out of her face. Okay. Deep breath. Her feet shifted, the fire surging forward, scorching her throat raw as she screamed.

It was like a bomb went off. The remains of the dummies rocketed back into the wall as the shockwave of her voice slammed into them, wood splintering under the force. The world was muffled, a high pitched keen ringing in her ears, drowning out her ragged breaths. The fire in her skin hummed, as if contented, and she had to admit--she did feel a hell of a lot better.

Her ears were still ringing as she left the room, but July's footsteps were lighter, and some of the tension in her shoulders had melted away. She was dimly aware of her fear, but it was drowning in the wake of that incredible heat, and she couldn't help but laugh, riding the best rush of her life.

"Holy shit--" her voice cracked on the curse, protesting at the abuse. "Can I get a cup of water? Then we can do mind stuff."


July uses thaumaturgy to open the door, prestidigitation for flavorful finger flames, and Thunderwave to WRECK SHIT.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:25, Wed 01 May 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 51 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Wed 1 May 2019
at 03:15
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The next few moments weren't easy. Whitney gave the out, and he saw it, and the murmur of his own words felt they were wrong. Pushing where they shouldn't have. The change on his face was barely visible as he let himself fade behind the others, feelings rising and ebbing and settling in his gut in a cocktail of unspoken complication.

Then she decided to move forward. A small smile crossed his face. Courage. A tiny nod. Show them what you've got. Kick ass, July.

He fell silent as she moved. Sparks danced across his vision. A swirling wind of lamps and firefly lights illuminating her tall frame stepping through the door with a wordless, mesmerizing power. A puissance rolled across him even before she opened her mouth. When he closed his eyes, she was a silhouette still, etched in fire against the black. Brighter than the sun. He opened them again. The lines of her face, the curve of her chin and the motion of her hair. arrested him. The elegance and power she moved with. Unknowing. All this potential, and a wonder contained within her slender frame cut him straight through.

Garrett just watched. His heart beat faster. He got lightheaded. The raw static of a tingle raced through him, would've bolted him in place and sent his mind reeling if it weren't for the simple fact that he already knew what it was. A flash, and he was back on Noel's porch, two weeks ago, watching July and her best friend trade experiments of melody back and forth while a bunch of kids played in the yard. She'd looked at him. Smiled. And Garrett Blake had been burned up by the sun.

He watched the sparks dance around her figure, fill the room up as the cresting wave of her power built. He felt the silence of potential hang in the air. For just a second he couldn't breathe.

"... Every time."

Then the wave. The sound tore through him with brutal force, rattling his bones and teeth. The fire of it blasted his veins. A breath held without recognition escaped him. His ears hurt like hell and his head was splitting. Straightening in his seat felt... extremely awkward, but the tall boy made his best effort anyway. One hand planted against the wall as she stepped back out through the door. She looked happy, at least for the moment. The smile. That smile.

And every painful extrapolation he'd already worked through.

So he suppressed his impulse. Instead fixed her with a broad, genuine grin.

"Damn, July," he breathed. "Just... damn."

This message was last edited by the player at 05:41, Wed 01 May 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 38 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Wed 1 May 2019
at 03:24
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun had already located a faucet in the lab, so it was no trouble for her to fill a convenient receptacle with water and walk it over to July, "Here."

Then she looked in to take a more detailed look at the damage wrought by the tall girl's demonstration, "Hmmm. Well I think you can safely claim the 'least subtle power' award." There was no fear in her voice, simply curiosity...but from this close July could easily see Malun's eyes racing to take in every single detail of the room, a frantic ocular motion that was not at all in keeping with her placid tone.
July Coates
 player, 41 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 2 May 2019
at 02:52
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun brought her a glass of water, and July flashed a quick smile in thanks, draining it in one go. It was crisp and cool, soothing the ache in her throat, but it did nothing to ease the fire still humming in her skin. She felt like she was running twenty degrees hotter than usual, like she might ignite if she breathed too sharply. Shifting the glass from hand to hand, she took a steadying breath, trying to slow the hummingbird pace of her heart.

"Well, I don't think anything about me could ever be mistaken for 'subtle'," July quipped, looking back at the remains of the dummies. She'd put a sizable dent in the wall with them, and even a few hairline cracks had emerged. She'd done that with just her voice. It was objectively terrifying, yet it wasn't what truly scared her.

Mind stuff time.

"Alright. Lets like...sit down, or something," she directed to Malun, shifting from foot to foot, overfull with nervous energy. She drew a stool up to a table directly across from the younger girl and settled onto her perch. Her hands kept fidgeting with the glass, sliding it back and forth, back and forth, back and forth between her palms. "So, that whole 'kick its ass' thing, I tried it on Noel. To prove to him I wasn't going crazy or lying, you know? Anyways, it apparently just feels like...crazy weird. It doesn't seem to hurt, but just like...if it does, let me know and I'll stop, okay?"

Fidget. Her heart felt like it was going to break her ribs in a desperate bid for escape. She closed her eyes, drawing on that fire, and the world just...fell away. She inverted the glass, stilling it. All she knew was heat. Rhythm. Clap, clap, one two three, clap, up down. Clap, grab, top, bottom, pass, slam, down. She sank into the pattern, blotting out the world. When she opened her eyes there were curls of that familiar golden light slowly rising from her skin. With a breath, they peeled away, spiraling through the air to entwine around Malun. She could feel the moment the light made contact, the fire sprinting along golden pathways, flooding the younger girl with heat and sparks.

"I've got my ticket for the long way 'round, two bottle of whisky for the way. And I sure would like some sweet company, and I'm leavin' tomorrow, what do you say? When I'm gone, when I'm gone, you're gonna miss me when I'm gone. You're gonna miss me by my hair, you're gonna miss me everywhere, you're gonna miss me when I'm gone."

She'd never sung like this before. She'd always had a decent voice and a fair amount of training through choir, but this was different. Her voice was richer, smokier. July knew in her bones that she could hit almost any note, that she could belt with power and precision she'd never managed before. This rhythm was unknown to her, but her the glass danced between her hands without so much as a stumble.

"I’ve got my ticket for the long way ‘round, the one with the prettiest of views. Its got mountains, its got rivers, its got sights to give you shivers, but it sure would be prettier with you. When I'm gone, when I'm gone, you're gonna miss me when I'm gone. You're gonna miss me by my walk, you're gonna miss me by my talk, you're gonna miss me when I'm gone."

Gooseflesh raised along her bare arms, a shiver spilling down July's spine as the fire slipped away, and her hands broke the rhythm, setting the cup down sharply. The golden threads of light dissipated with a sharp breath. For the first time since the fire had awoken that afternoon, she felt cold. Dizzy. The heat in her skin was weaker, more embers than flames. There'd be nothing left if she did this again.

"Well," July said with a tired laugh, mostly to fill the awkward silence. "That was...something."

July Coates rolled a 24 on a performance check. Using bardic inspiration on Malun and stealin inventin the shit out of Cups cause this is AU Earth bay beeeeeee.

This message was lightly edited by the player at 17:13, Thu 02 May 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 39 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 2 May 2019
at 04:36
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Sitting down as requested, Malun waited patiently as July built up her rhythm. Her focus sharpened as the magical energy started to gather, and without any hesitation Malun's fingers started to fly over the keyboard of her PortCon to record her observations.

Unlike usual, she also began to observe out loud.

"Increased clarity of focus, typing accuracy and visualization, I can tell that I'm making fewer typos than usual." Malun's eyes increased the speed of their rapid motion, flicking at nearly hummingbird speeds to nearly match the speed of her thoughts, "Enhanced conceptualization, understanding, memory...somehow. But as soon as I focus too much on any one thing everything else seems to...ah. I see."

Malun's eyes stopped their rapid motion, her eyes locked in a stare directly into July's, "That's how it works. This is a pool of potential, it doesn't provide general enhancement but is utilized by focus of the recipient. The feelings of increased performance are simply the increased confidence that any ability can be improved by this power, perhaps the confidence and feeling caused by the power itself as a form of passive instruction on its use. It's taking actual focus from me to not use it...no...I did use it, it's gone now."

The intensity faded, the small girl blinked, "It's a wild pool of raw potential that wants to be used. I tried to hold onto it in order to study it, but my desire to understand the power wound up using it on that very same effort. Interesting."

Her fingers flew over the keyboard again, and a flash of a grin hit her face as she typed a command and then her voice appeared in the mind of the girl sitting across form her. ::So...did you write that for Garret specifically?::

OOC: Blue text in the ::s is telepathy, of course~
Jason Drake
 player, 36 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Thu 2 May 2019
at 16:37
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
As much as Jason was impressed with Garret, Whitney, and even himself, he was still awe struck by what July could do. Making a door open without touching it was some cool Jedi level stuff, and the little flame tricks were interesting, but then she almost destroyed the room she was in. With her voice. Someone like her, a trained and talented musician, could now use that talent to somehow make shit happen. He guessed she'd need the least training to control this new magic stuff. She could be the most powerful among us.

Her song demo, which on it's own was a nice tune with catchy lyrics, demonstrated what she had done before with Garret, this time with Malun. She could do it to anyone, it looked like. He followed Malun's explanation of what it was as best as he could. So it's like an inspiring thing. That's crazy useful.

"Damn, July. You hit the jackpot. You already know how to sing and make music, and now it's magical. Do you... do you think it like, chose you? Because of your talents? I mean I have no idea how this stuff works but I don't think the magic singing would be suited to any of us other than you."
July Coates
 player, 42 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 2 May 2019
at 19:31
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The lab felt ten degrees cooler. July shifted on her stool, untying Noel's dark green flannel from her waist and slipping into it. It didn't help much. What was it Malun had said? It was potential energy? It followed that by giving it to others, there was less for herself.

"Weird," July said to Malun, who seemed to have turned the golden light into insight, mapping out the nature of this...magic? It felt weird to think of it like that, but what else could she call it? She could speak and sing to people and give them a tangible boost to their efforts, complete with shiny golden lights. She could put dents in walls and splinter dummies with a scream, could whisper knives and messages into minds. Magic certainly described that.

"Maybe?" July answered Jason's question helpfully. She shrugged after a moment. "Maybe it just was working with what it found?"

Static. July wrinkled her nose, pressing her fingers against her temple. Something was in her head and her thoughts were shifting, accommodating. Malun's voice crackled in her skull, like it was coming over an old radio. It tasted artificial, like pop rocks, but without any of the sugar. So...did you write that for Garret specifically?

What? No! I, no--it's a folk song. The chorus, I mean. The verses just...happened. I don't know how, I don't write lyrics.

She couldn't help but glance over her shoulder at Garrett, dark brows knitting together in confusion. He was watching her with an inscrutable intensity. She broke eye contact swiftly, uncertain what to make of the flop of her stomach and the spike of her pulse. Why would you thi-- She cut herself off, turning her attention back on Malun. Never mind. Your thoughts taste very...static-y. I don't know if that's because you used your computer thing to connect. Jason's are really smoky, kind of like a campfire dialed up to eleven. Noel's taste like horchata, which is pretty excellent.
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 40 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 2 May 2019
at 19:38
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Malun paused breifly as July responded, then visibly shrugged, ::Static is perhaps a good way to describe my thoughts. Good to know I can do this on command and maintain it...but if I understand it correctly I have to initiate mental contact via the nervehack, I will not be able to receive thoughts projected at me if I have not already connected. Perhaps we should develop some manner of signal to alert me when one of you wants me to establish connection to allow for silent communication.::

Another keystroke and she broke mental contact, looking back over to her father, "is there anything else we can or should test for this evening, or is it time for everyone to head home and get some rest?"
Retro DM
 GM, 35 posts
Thu 2 May 2019
at 21:09
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Marcus was still typing away when Malun asked if they should pause for now. “Hmm. We have gathered a lot of data just from these exercises, and it is getting late. I think we can end our session here, I’ll need the time to process the findings so I can tune the laboratory a bit, and perhaps help you all find ways to control it.”

When he finished, another, yet unheard voice spoke. It was a woman’s voice, and sounded vaguely familiar.

“Quite impressive, kids. Never seen anything like that, and I’ve seen a lot.”

From the back corner of the room, unseen and unheard until this moment, was Ms Calhoon, their science teacher. She was wearing a black sweater and black leather pants, a black hairband keeping her hair back out of her face. She was looking at one of the monitors, which seemed to be tuned into the room where everyone had been practicing. She walked forward, smiling at the teenagers in her friendly sort of way.

“I’m the associate Marcus mentioned to you” she said, producing a white bow tie from her pocket and pinning it to the collar of her sweater. “It’s good to see you, kids. I’m glad you came to us.”
Garret Blake
 player, 52 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 2 May 2019
at 21:43
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
He'd never heard that song before. No. That wasn't it. He hadn't heard those lyrics before. Not even. He hadn't heard so much as the rhythm. When July's band made something new, there was always a period ramping up to it. She and Noel would toss something back and forth, play off one another. Their front-man, Mike, was more the lyricist while the two of them would do rhythm and base shit.

That was... so far beyond anything he'd ever heard or seen her do before, and he'd seen quite a lot. He was still working through that when she glanced his way and he had to fight to keep his expression even, just... watching her and trying to not feel like a creep about it. When she went back to talking he glanced down. This was too much, and he was too tired. A long breath in and then a slower sigh as he mentally diverted himself. Were they having some sort of... mental conversation?

Then Ms Calhoon spoke from the shadows, and Garrett turned. His eyes widened just slightly. They'd been told someone else was coming, that Mr. Lunesby had an associate... but he still felt distinctly unprepared for it being their science teacher. More frustrating, they hadn't actually been directly deceived, because Malun's dad hadn't actually lied to them at any point. Still. Garrett had this distinct sense that he was being led by the nose, piece by piece, and not getting things as... up-front as he'd like. None of them were.

"Hey Ms Calhoon," he said. So. She knew. That was one teacher, now. One person who they all saw basically every day. This was now a step past one inventor, his genius daughter, and a bunch of underground facilities. It was starting to feel a lot more... suspect.

The tall boy slowly stood up from where he'd sat. His brows drew together. "Okay... I wont speak for anyone, because I don't have a right to. You've helped us figure some important things out... but at the same time, this is starting to feel an awful lot like something that's been going on around us for awhile, without our knowledge."

His posture didn't change that much, but something about it said that he'd abruptly shifted from accepting and go-along to distinctly suspicious. "I don't want to seem rude or anything, but I really, really don't like that feeling. I've seen this show. Lets just skip the entire first season's worth of secret-keeping and go right to the season-one-finale end-reveal right now. Not tomorrow. Not 'when-you-think-we're-ready.' Right. Now."

This message was last edited by the player at 21:52, Thu 02 May 2019.

Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 41 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Thu 2 May 2019
at 22:04
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Her teacher's voice caused Malun to blink in surprise for a moment, then she slid her gaze over to appraise the woman she knew less about than she thought she did, "...ah, Ms Calhoon." Malun's expression remained calm after the momentary surprise and her tone was very neutral, "Further explaining father's insistence on my attending this particular public school and depending on both how long you have been at the school and now long you have known my father, a potential explanation for why Gridley was chosen as our place of residence at all."

Garret's insistence on immediate answers did not surprise her, but she also didn't react to it. She didn't need to. After all, she knew very well that at this point she knew enough that if she decided to go digging they wouldn't be able to hide anything else from her for long.

What's more, she knew that her father knew that as well. How could he not?
Jason Drake
 player, 37 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Fri 3 May 2019
at 00:02
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
While normally very observant, Jason had somehow failed to see Ms Calhoon enter the room behind them. He didn’t hear any steps she made, and even when he was looking at her move she barely made a sound.What the... has she always been that quiet?

It was slightly jarring to think that one of his teachers had been a stealthy ninja woman the whole time. She never gave him any indication of that before today. He blinked several times as she spoke, trying to process everything going on in his head now. Garret had some very pointed questions, and Malun had some quick deductions. Did he have anything to say?

“...uh, wow. Didn’t see that coming.”
July Coates
 player, 43 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Fri 3 May 2019
at 19:19
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July jumped as a familiar, but thoroughly out of place, voice cut through the quiet of the lab. Nothing could have prepared her for the sight of her third period science teacher looking more like she'd walked out of Stargate than Gridley High. It was weird enough seeing teachers out and about in town, let alone popping up all clandestine in a secret underground lab.

"Hi," July said belatedly, remember manners in spite of her trepidation. She wanted to trust that Mr. Lunesby had his reasons for calling in Ms. Calhoon, but she'd already taken so much on board on faith. Even July could see that there was more going on here than was being explained, and it made her distinctly uncomfortable.

Garrett, at least, was able to articulate that suspicion. July folded her arms, leaning forward on the table, blue eyes narrowing as she studied the adults in the room.

July Coates rolled 14 using 1d20+1.  A wild insight check appears!
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 34 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Fri 3 May 2019
at 22:09
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July’s pleasant performance helped calm him down. He might not have been the target of the magic, but music held its own charms. Whitney didn’t recognize the song, but it held a timelessness. Perhaps it was an older folk song. The smell of campfire and dirt wouldn’t be amiss around this tune.

All good things come to an end. Whitney found himself finally cooled down from his early explosive attitude. His face had lost its smirk and regained its normal composure. Ms. Lunesby was making notes, but it was Mr. Drake’s remark that caught his attention.

Had they been given these unusual talents in accordance with their own predilections? It would certainly explain his archery. Ms. Lunesby and Mr. Drake also had hobbies or interests that seemed to complement their new gifts. It could also be looking too far into it. Too little data.

Deep in thought, Whitney was once again surprised by his surroundings that day. The science teacher, Ms. Calhoon, had seeming stepped from nowhere. Were the doors they had entered through that quiet? Whitney had suspected other entrances to the lab. It would be inconvenient for large groups of people to all travel through one house. Especially if you wanted to avoid suspicion.

In typical Garret fashion, he finally remembered that this whole thing was suspicious. A convenient lab designed for exactly what their testing for? Apparently, that was something to wow over. The local science teacher being in league with the lab? Now it was suddenly suspicious. As if people looking for these results wouldn’t want eyes in as many places as possible. Somehow not being annoying enough was Garret’s thing and he confronted her with the subtlety of tractor.

July let out a simple “hi,” Mr. Drake stated his surprise, and Ms. Lunesby continued to think out loud. Oh good, we have a full spectrum of responses. Whitney did his level best not to pinch the bridge of his nose and sigh.

“Good evening, Ms. Calhoon. I think you will find we are all understandably suspicious of secret underground laboratories and people dressed in all black who appear out of the shadows.” Well, subtle responses were out the window anyways.

"I would be very curious to know who "us" is. That seems a good place to begin." Hopefully some real answer would start. They had done their part.

Whitney didn't trust her friendly approach. An old phrase popped into his head, the bigger the smile, the sharper the knife. Also her white bow tie was ridiculous. It through the whole outfit off.

Insight 16. Forget we were playing D&D for a sec.
Ms. Calhoon
 NPC, 1 post
Fri 3 May 2019
at 22:41
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The young teacher folded her arms and listened to what the teens had to say. She knew there would be questions, and that some might not be so trusting. It was understandable, and she didn’t get angry or really change her demeanor. She responded in even tones, like she did when she was giving a lecture.

“Right. I know this is a lot to take in, and given how much you’ve been through today, I’m surprised you’ve been this cooperative. Most kids your age wouldn’t be. Like I said, I’m glad your here, and not somewhere else.”

She walked over to stand beside Marcus, her eyes darting around the lab.

“The ubiquitous ‘we’ in this case is the White Tie Society. Our organization is... shall we say, extra legal. It was founded on the idea that, one day, humanity would experience a reawakening of mystic potential. Based on your summer reading lists, a few of you have read the Odessey, or La Morte de Arthur, possibly both. Those stories, and others, are based on real events. Centuries ago, mankind did have access to fantastic powers, and mythical beasts roamed the earth. We don’t know where they went, or why they disappeared, but their reappearance was inevitable - our founders thought so anyway. Turns out they were right. Before now, we just gathered resources, watched, and waited.”

She paused to look in the eyes of each of her students, her gaze calm, but piercing.

“We’ve been waiting for an event like this, some of us our whole lives. I didn’t think I’d ever see it.”
Garret Blake
 player, 53 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Fri 3 May 2019
at 23:11
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett’s eyebrows climbed up his forehead as each successive piece of information was revealed. Dark eyes focused on her face, trying to make sense of the information she was conveying. It didn’t seem like a joke, and there was something about it, too absurd to be a lie. Either way, they were now well past the point of doubting what they’d seen. He’d freak out about the fifty-ton-punch to his understanding of the world later. First there was the small matter of actually getting an answer to his question.

“Okay,” Garrett said, taking a deep breath and doing his best to keep his tone measured and even. “That’s... amazing, but it’s also not really an answer. What do you want? It’s real swell of you to help us figure these new powers out, but I’m guessing this isn’t just out of science curiosity.”

While not as confrontational as before, the large boy did cross knotted forearms across his chest. “These powers can do amazing things, yeah, but they can also be seriously dangerous. What’s your Society want with them?”
Ms. Calhoon
 NPC, 2 posts
Sat 4 May 2019
at 01:16
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
First she raised and eyebrow, then smirked and shook her head.

“I would think that’s obvious, but maybe not. The return of this kind of power has a lot of implications for the world. The fact that you five have manifested these abilities is proof that others will also. What we want, and hope for, is that you’ll master these powers, and use them for good. With our help, I’d imagine you could master these new powers a lot quicker, and more safely. We have been preparing for it, after all.”

She gave each of them a fairly serious glance before continuing. “To be clear, we are not holding you to anything. We want to be allies, and friends. Your gifts are extraordinary, and there are many in this world who would exploit them. That is not us. We do want to learn more about them, and if possible, learn to harness this mystic force, to protect humanity from sinister entities. I’ve skimmed over the report while you were practicing, and that giant snake appearing right when your powers did is not a coincidence. Humanity is ill equipped to deal with threats like that. But you aren’t.

In short, I’m asking you, all of you, to be our fire fighters. It’s a lot to ask, I know that, but you five might be our best defense.”
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 42 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sat 4 May 2019
at 01:47
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
"Five? My equipment seems to have been enhanced and there's some manner of hopefully friendly AI utilizing my PortCon, but none of this appears to stem from me." Malun couldn't help but wrinkle her nose a bit at the thought of the AI in her device, she was rather protective of it and something being inside it without it being of her doing was a bit annoying.

But then she just shrugged, "naturally I will assist regardless. The AI is proving to be likely the fastest and most reliable method of codifying these mystical abilities and allowing them to be harnessed via technology, and I do not mind serving as the point of contact for it."
July Coates
 player, 44 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sat 4 May 2019
at 03:31
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Ms. Calhoon spoke of myth and magic and machinations with the same confidence she'd lectured about electromagnetism with only a few hours ago. July supposed that confidence was earned--the past several hours had proven that the rules of reality she'd been taught were no longer quite so rigid. The monsters and heroes of myth were more than metaphors, and this 'White Tie Society' had been waiting eagerly for their return.

Was that seriously why Ms. Calhoon had ruined her look with that dorky bow tie? To keep with the aesthetic of some secret organization with a dumb name? July wasn't a historian, but she was reasonably certain Odysseus or King Arthur hadn't worn neckties. They seemed like a more recent(ish) fashion invention. So either this society was (relatively) recent, or they'd had an ill-advised rebranding effort to try and keep current and they ought to fire their marketing team. Either way, this wasn't exactly the caliber of shadowy cabal pop culture had sold her on with the Illuminati.

Of course, this was Gridley. They probably didn't rate Illuminati involvement. So, really, that their shadowy, "extralegal" (shamelessly illegal, then--possible cult?) group had a dumb name and an even dumber aesthetic made a lot of sense. No sense wasting the big budget stuff here when the knock-off would do.

More magic and more monsters would manifest, apparently. That seemed to be confirmed by the monitors July had poked around earlier. July rested her chin in hand, watching Ms. Calhoon for several moments. The woman seemed sincere, even if she didn't seem to be telling them everything. Of course, this did seem to be more of the elevator pitch than the full history lesson.

"I mean, I'm not going to just sit around if people are going to get hurt. If I can help, I will," July said plainly. "But also, like, you're asking us to take a lot on faith here. Just pointing that out."

July Coates rolled 18 using 1d20+3.  Um, when did neck ties become like, a thing? Did Odysseus wear a tie??
Garret Blake
 player, 54 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sat 4 May 2019
at 05:00
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Garrett took a breath. Malun was throwing in, and July had... sort-of? He was silent for a few seconds. He remembered what Jason had said before, about heroes and villains and stepping up. He'd resisted that because it sounded like so much ridiculousness, and he'd seen enough happen--and heard enough stories from his mom's time in the ER--to know that that story often didn't end the way they wanted.

But on the other hand, his best friend could heal. His other best fr--nevermind not parsing that--could shatter walls with her voice and infuse people with the power of rock'n'roll. Malun was a fucking genius and Whitney'd been enhanced too. And then there was him. The compulsion to go after Skittles, even if it was stupid.

"Okay," he said, and this time something was a bit different. Garrett's shoulders straightened and he seemed to breathe something out. His voice wasn't particularly loud, but there was a presence to it that hadn't been there before. A weight and a sudden focus. "I don't like all of this secret society stuff. It feels off. I don't like the idea of us being the unconditional gophers of some sort of an organization I don't know much about, either."

Here his voice wavered just a bit. "And then there's my mom--I made her worry for years. I can't hurt her like that again. And it's not just me, everyone here has people they love and who love them. But apparently they're now all at risk."

Garrett looked back and forth between Ms Calhoon and Mr. Lunesby. "Look, I can't completely explain it, but when I saw that snake today, I couldn't walk away from it. I could feel it before it attacked us. I don't know how it was for everyone else, but dealing with that creature when it showed its face was non-optional for me. So if doing this will protect innocent people, and keep my mom safe, and all their families too, and if you can promise us honesty..." he glanced around at the faces of his friends. Even Whitney. Then he looked back at the two people putting this job in front of them. His shoulders squared and his arms hung by his sides. No slouch. No reservations.

No take-backs.

Mom.

"Then yeah," he said. "I'm in."

This message was last edited by the player at 05:20, Sat 04 May 2019.

Jason Drake
 player, 38 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Sat 4 May 2019
at 15:39
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Coming down from the awe of the situation, Jason listened intently to the new reality that Ms Calhoon was explaining. He had no reason to think she was lying, though he felt she had much more to tell them, and was just waiting for the right time. Even what she was saying now had a lot of implications to it. The red haired boy listened as Malun, July, and Garret all got onboard, even though the latter two were skeptical. Jason figured this was the time to chime in.

“Your not wrong Ms Calhoon. This is a lot. Having powers like what we have, I mean, the moral questions alone could fill a book. I happen to have read up on a couple books about heroes, though. Great power, great responsibility. I’m in too.”
Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 35 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sun 5 May 2019
at 02:29
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney wasn’t sure how to handle such a genuine response. Before he’d moved to Gridley, all sorts had approached him. Students, teachers, so-called friends of the family, and actual family had tried to get close to Whitney. His parents were substantially wealthy, both his elder sibling were looking to make their own mark on the world, and the youngest member of the family was an angle that no one ignored. Gridley was abhorrently boring, but moving to this tiny town was ultimately a gift from his parents. While his parents had put their wealth to improving numerous parts of the school and other public works, very few in town kowtowed to Whitney because of it. The woman in front of him however, desperately wanted something from him.

Ms. Calhoon was so genuine. While of course she had yet to tell them everything of import, he was sure she didn’t want any bad faith between them. People who tell the truth were always the most dangerous.

“If someone in front of me needs help and I can offer it, then I will. I don’t need a secret organization with a preference for neckwear to tell me that.” She openly admitted to extra legal activities. You don’t build something like this without a lot of money.

“I expect full transparency from you and a promise that we have total autonomy. I will be telling Woolsworth everything.” She likely knew who his butler was already. In fact, now that he thought of it, Whitney was sure she had taken a once over everyone’s backgrounds before arriving.

This whole situation was much too out of his control. Even if he got assurances from her, there’s no telling what other people in this strange cult would want. What they would want from him. It came down to that in the end, even in Gridley.
Retro DM
 GM, 36 posts
Sun 5 May 2019
at 04:46
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Ms Calhoon listened quietly to each of them, nodding as they spoke, and seemed satisfied that they were agreeing with her proposal. Marcus had finished his notes by that time, and stood up from his workstation to speak.

"Very good. It would have been a shame to lose any of you, there is much work to be done."

Ms Calhoon nodded in agreement, and looked at her watch.

"Ten PM. You all have families to get to. I know you want transparency, and we aren't exactly looking to hide, but I'd rather not have the police come knocking on these doors, at least not yet. If you feel you can trust your parents with this, then do let them know. They all have my number to confirm the story. Obviously this wont be a problem for Malun, but the rest of you, use your best judgement. Eventually, the world will know about the return of mystic forces, and there won't be any hiding. I suggest we meet again tomorrow and Sunday for more practice."

Marcus nodded in agreement. "That would be prudent, yes. The lab is well equipped for at least preliminary training and tests, though we'll need to procure additional equipment for further learning. Should arrive by next week at the latest if we have our order in tomorrow."

With that, Ms Calhoon reached into her pocket, producing her car keys. "Anyone need a lift home?"

--------------------------------------------

When the group came back outside, to the front of Marcus' and Mariko's house, they saw Ms Calhoon's old 89' Buick station wagon parked there. It had seen better days, but it still ran well. "Better not to draw attention with flashy cars. James Bond could learn a thing or two" she said, smirking. She gave each of the teenagers one more look before they departed for the evening. "We'll talk a lot more this weekend, I promise. I want you to believe you are making the right choice, and I'll give you everything I can to prove that."
Garret Blake
 player, 55 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 5 May 2019
at 14:02
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
It was over. There were still small conversation pieces to have maybe... but the hard stuff was done. The night air was cool on the back of his sweat-damp neck, eliciting a small shiver as he stretched out. Ms. Calhoon gave him a look, and he managed a tired smile in response. "... I appreciate the honesty," he said after a beat of uncomfortable silence. Then, looking from face to face, he said "Everybody take care, okay? Today was... a lot. Get some sleep."

A pause. Yeah that hadn't been the best pep-talk.

He scratched the back of his head and shifted his boots before pulling his jacket on. His fingers were in danger of starting to shake--the dirtbike would help. Give him something to focus on. His mental inventory of everyone's wellbeing was quick. July would probably get a ride home from Ms Calhoon or Whitney. Jason had his bike. Malun was already home. He blew out a small, quiet sigh as he started towards the scarred, battered up machine he'd arrived on. Keys. He had those, right? Yeah. Wrong pocket. He reached down for the helmet and paused for a second, taking a last glance at everyone else before swinging his leg over the beatup kawasaki, taking another fortifying breath.

"... what am I gonna tell my mom?"
July Coates
 player, 45 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 5 May 2019
at 16:30
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The crisp breeze against her face was a relief. July hitched her pink bag onto a shoulder, watching Ms. Calhoon warily as she spoke of meeting up again tomorrow, reaffirming her desire to do right by the five of them. July looked between the others, uncertain what to make of everything. Malun was...July wasn't sure she'd ever be able to read the other girl. Jason seemed ready to go all in, and she couldn't help but appreciate the irony that her most level-headed friend was gung-ho while she was cautious for literally the first time in the years she'd known him. Whitney was even on board, albeit with his eye trained for an out if necessary. And Garrett was...leaving.

"I'll see you guys tomorrow," July called over her shoulder, already jogging towards Garrett and his bike. He looked more than exhausted. Drained. Empty. She drew to a halt at his side and flashed a small smile, suppressing the pang of guilt even as she asked, "Hey. Can you give me a ride home?"
Garret Blake
 player, 56 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Sun 5 May 2019
at 17:42
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
He was momentarily spaced as he sat on the bike. Mostly it was that it had really been a long day, and Garrett was still processing it. He wanted to be more present for his friends. Physically. Mentally. But it was all just... so much. That on top of everything else going on in his head--weeks worth of churning shit and uncertainty related to, well, everything if he was honest.

"Hey. Can you give me a ride home?"

Garrett looked up. Blinked twice. Brown eyes took a half-second to focus in on the blue-ones watching his face with that odd sort of attentiveness she had lately. Had that always been a thing, or was he just imagining it now that he was paying closer attention. His mouth opened for a half-second of silence before he remembered to speak. It wasn't entirely his fault. Her expression was distracting.

Then the immense flood of relief passed through him. An untensing down in the gut at the simple fact of being needed earnestly, even if it was just for a moment. She couldn't help but notice his shoulders relaxing just a bit as something previously wound up tighter than a steel coil unfurled.

"Sorry, what--oh," he said after a second. Then one of his boyish smiles appeared. Subdued, yes. A little pained still. But there. Not gone. He handed her his helmet. A small laugh escaped him. Genuine. "You know your dad will kill both of us if he sees you on this thing, right?"

Garrett shifted just a bit forward on the dirtbike. "You got everything you need?"
Mariko 'Malun' Lunesby
 player, 43 posts
 Obligatory child genius
 Don't touch my PortCon!
Sun 5 May 2019
at 18:31
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
As the others went outside, Malun made her way back to her own workshop in the re-purposed garage. It didn't occur to her until it was likely too late that going right back to work without saying goodbye or seeing them off was probably rude, but surely they'd understand that her mind was focused on her work.

Standing in her workspace, the small genius took a look around and really reevaluated things for the first time in a long time. She had made do with second hand and second rate equipment for some time, but now with what she had learned she was going to need an upgrade. More space, better tools...and specifically the tools she'd need to make equipment for herself to survive.

The others all had superpowers now. July and Jason had the more obvious ones, but Garret and Whitney still had greatly increased physical capabilities, they were capable of handling themselves against the monsters and other supernatural threats that were being anticipated. For all her projected confidence earlier, Malun knew very well that she was at a disadvantage. She was small, she didn't have the same powers the others did. She had no business assisting them in fieldwork, she knew she should simply support from the lab.

But that's not what she wanted to do. And if she wanted to be able to help soon, she needed to make do with what she had.

"My Hard Light Projector should be testable soon," Malun thought out-loud as she looked over her options, "I can probably rig up some kind of protection from a reinforced coat...but I'll need other options. I have to cover options the others can't." She began to pace back and forth between her workbench and her desk, pausing to plug her PortCon back in to the monitor output.

As she hooked it back up, she looked at a small drawer near her keyboard, considering the bottle inside of it. It would take twenty-eight minutes from taking her medicine until she was able to actually sleep...on an average day. On a day like this it might be longer, there was too much to think about. And there was too much to do.

It wouldn't be the first night she spent in her workshop.

"PortCon," Malun addressed the AI in her machine as it finished connecting to the monitor, "I need options. Analytics, information gathering, things like that. Things the others can't do on their own. Show me what you've got."

This message was last edited by the player at 18:33, Sun 05 May 2019.

Whitney Zabka-Cabot
 player, 36 posts
 I will not bow
 I will not break
Sun 5 May 2019
at 18:38
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
Whitney welcomed the smell of the night air as they stepped outside. He never did like cramped spaces and stale air. That odd lab probably had some weird oxygen scrubbers or was able to seal itself up against biohazards. He shook his head to himself; he’d been reading too many of Woolsworth’s sci-fi stories.

Garret took off have mumbling out a thank you for Ms. Calhoon’s honesty. No doubt overwhelmed by today’s events. Biting his lip, Whitney realized that he was also overwhelmed. None of this seemed real yet, like his brain had filed it under things to process later.

Whitney turned to offer July an alternative ride home if she’d didn’t feel comfortable with the teacher. Only she had already begun running of to Garret. She was practically skipping.

Knowing her, she was likely trying to address her friends’ obvious discomfort. July’s habit of putting others before herself would drain her dry one day. Whitney frowned to himself. She might be able to actually do that to herself now.

Whitney was also sure that there were, ulterior motives to asking for a ride home. There was no accounting for taste after all. Taste, oh yeah the basket. Whitney decided he’d leave the basket. No need for his butler to know how full it still was.

“Good evening, everyone. I’ll be off. Do bike home safe, Mr. Drake. These backroads are poorly lit.” Whitney made his way out towards Garret and July and looked around before smiling to himself.

He placed two fingers to the sides of his mouth and let out the loudest whistle he could muster. It echoed into the night.

“Ah, apologies you two. I trust you will see her home safely, Garret. I think we have a long day tomorrow.”

With that the sound of hoofbeats came toward them. Approaching the light, Raphael trotted right up to Whitney.

“Raphael.” Whitney let out an unguarded smile, his vicious eyes softening at the horse’s approach. “You’ve really earned your sugar cubes today.” The young man leaned into the horses head and gave him a pet.

“Good night.” Nodding to Garret and July, he mounted. Patting Raphael’s neck, he began his slow trot home. None of this was over, but at least some things stay the same.
July Coates
 player, 46 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Sun 5 May 2019
at 21:16
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
She'd never seen Garrett quite like this, like the weight of the world had landed squarely on his shoulders. To be friends with Garrett was to see him exhausted, running himself ragged between football and baseball and fixing everyone else's problems. She couldn't count the number of times he'd crashed on the couch in Noel's basement, or on the swing on her porch. This was...more.

"Ground Control to Major Garrett?" July asked as he slowly focused on her, a frown creasing her features. He finally seemed to finish booting up, his shoulders relaxing. A wave of tension rolled off of him, and though the smile he gave her was strained, it was an improvement. July took the helmet from him, unable to keep from snorting as he asked about her dad.

"Oh, absolutely. That's why you're going to drop me off at the corner and not at my front door," July grinned, tucking her bangs as she put on Garrett's helmet. She'd barely swung a leg over the bike and gotten settled when Whitney's whistle caught her attention. The sight of her friend summoning a horse from the night was weird, but after the day they'd had, July couldn't muster the energy to be shocked anymore.

"We'll be fine. See you tomorrow," July offered a wave to Raphael and Whitney, before her hand dropped to Garrett's hip which was...unexpectedly nice. The warmth of his back was a comfort, and she could practically feel the embers in her skin reignite at the contact. This is new.
Garret Blake
 player, 57 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 6 May 2019
at 00:59
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
He flashed a small smirk over his shoulder as she settled in. "I mean yeah, that's sensible. But I dunno, you sure? I feel like there's real potential for a total disaster here. Nights still--" her face was very, very close. Even with the helmet "--uh. Young."

Garrett almost didn't notice Whitney's arrival, but it was thankfully enough to snap him free of the moment. Horse. He'd seen the horse before. Whitney had arrived on that damn horse, and still he was surprised. "Uh... horse you tomorrow," he said. Beat. "I mean see you tohorseo. No."

He shook his head as July's friend trotted off. "I am never going to get used to that," she heard him murmur. She was... holding on really tight. The teenage boy took a breath that he hoped didn't seem as shaky as it felt. This is fine. Keep your cool.

Then, throwing everyone else a smile--a genuine one for once--and a nod, he kicked the bike into gear and the buzzing grumble of the engine filled the air. Garrett turned, adjusting to the presence of another person making him adjust his lean. Then they were moving swiftly down the driveway, the buzz of the engine filling his ears. Acutely aware of the girl wrapped around him from behind, he tried his best to focus on the streets. The whipping lights and the branches of the trees. Still. Jesus she was warm. He could feel it through his coat. A burning heat that definitely wasn't there before. Embers. Flickering flame.

And if he was honest, it made him want to pour on the speed.

He only partially resisted, coming to a stop--as requested--approximately a block from the island in the night that was the Coates house. A pause followed as he killed the engine and let out a long breath before turning and looking at her. It was... hard to figure out what to say, exactly. A thousand thoughts racing through his mind. So, finally, he just settled on what seemed most appropriate.

"So," he said after a few moments. "That all happened."
Jason Drake
 player, 39 posts
 Welding, forging, wood
 Working with my hands
Mon 6 May 2019
at 01:24
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
With it now being so late, and having a decent trek home on his bike, the ride that Ms Calhoon offered grew more and more tempting. He was still hesitant, given all the new information they just got, but hey, this was his science teacher, she was a nice woman, and seemed truthful, if not totally forthright with them. In a world where adults were hard to trust, it appeared she was doing her best to build it with him and his friends. Jason grabbed his bicycle and scratched his head. "You know, Ms Calhoon, I'll take that lift. The bike should fit in the back."

The bike did fit, of course, it was a station wagon, practically made for hauling stuff. Jason took a few deep breaths to get over his initial discomfort. He looked out the window to his friends and waved, taking note of the sudden horse arrival but not really being taken aback by it. "See you all tomorrow!"
July Coates
 player, 47 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Mon 6 May 2019
at 03:12
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
The world flew by in monochrome, startlingly clear despite the mere sliver of moon hanging in the sky. It was strange how quickly the shift in her vision felt normal. Just another gift from whatever had awoken the fire in her veins. July squeezed her eyes shut tight, trying not to think about everything. She sank into the roar of the engine, the warmth of Garrett's broad back, the giddy rush that bubbled in her stomach as they whipped round a corner.

She kept holding on, even after they'd drawn to a halt beneath a street sign reading Wisteria Lane. She knew she ought to let go, but Garrett was warm and solid and she just...couldn't. After a long moment he shifted, and July reluctantly loosened her grip. She fumbled with the clasp on the helmet for a moment, before finally managing to pull it free. Her buns were mussed, and if the day hadn't been such an aggressively weird roller-coaster of awful and awesome, she might have been concerned. Instead she sucked in a serrated breath of crisp air. It gave way to a shaky laugh, and she met Garrett's dark gaze with as bright a smile as she could muster.

"It did, didn't it? This isn't just a dream or whatever. Bleh," July pulled a face, as if her wrinkled nose could at all do justice to how wrung out and depleted she felt. She forced her gaze onward to the immaculate white bungalow down towards the end of the lane, the porch light winking through the boughs of the willow trees out front. Her dad was probably still up, sat in his favorite armchair with scotch and a book. Ms. Calhoon had said they could tell their parents, that they would need to at some point. God, how the hell was she supposed to tell them about this? What if they thought she was crazy? Or, worse, dangerous?

July shook her head, forcing her smile more firmly in place. She could freak out later, when everyone else was asleep and the world was silent. Blue eyes traced Garrett's face, and though she kept her smile firmly in place, it softened as she studied him.

"Are you okay?" July paused and her smile was interrupted by a wince. "That's kind of a stupid question, isn't it?"

This message was last edited by the player at 03:13, Mon 06 May 2019.

Garret Blake
 player, 58 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Mon 6 May 2019
at 04:41
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
He knew he didn't want her to let go, but he didn't know how much until she did. His frame let out a small exhale. Them's the breaks.

The street lamps were glimmering islands in the darkness. His vision hadn't fully reoriented, or maybe he hadn't reoriented to it, but as she let go and he watched her face, the silver streaks in her hair enhanced by the strange way he was now seeing the world. He watched the pain bubble up in her, pull her taught like a string--only for her to suppress it again under a smile and concern.

Concern for him.

He sighed, looking down for just a moment. "No," he said with a quiet shake of his head. "No stupid questions. I'm... about as well as can be expected. It was a lot, on the one hand, but on the other hand we at least know more about it than we did at the start. That's... well, it's still scary, but maybe a little less." He let that sit for a few moments. Brows furrowed. Then he did something a little unusual.

Garrett reached out and took her hand. This time he looked at her, cocking his head slightly to the side. His dark eyes were inquiring--a little worried. This girl who would do anything for anyone, who burned with the need to do and be more than the sum of all the expectations put upon her plus her wildest dreams, was on the verge of breaking herself in half trying to keep on a brave face.

"... Hey, July?" He said quietly after a few seconds, "you... don't have to smile around me if you don't feel like it." A pause. His expression was earnest, and his fingers tightened gently around hers, momentarily.

"You know that, right?"
July Coates
 player, 48 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Tue 7 May 2019
at 04:38
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
All July could do was watch Garrett, almost completely devoid of colour in the night. He looked down and she felt her heart clench like a vice. She had never felt so useless. She had asked if he was alright, as if she could do anything to make any of this better. He spoke of the relief in having found answers. July knew she should be more grateful they'd found any answers at all, let alone a secret lab and benefactor, but there was still so much they didn't know, and all she felt was cold. She knew there was a path to walk, but she could see nothing of the way forward, and the terror of that was paralysing.

July started at the brush of his fingertips, dropping her gaze to find his larger hand enveloping her own. His calluses caught against her skin, and she swore she could feel each individual nerve firing from his touch. The warmth radiating from his palm was gentler than the fire that had awoken within her, but it robbed her of breath. July's eyes traced the switchbacks of a vein across the back of his hand, through the palest slivers of scar tissue.

Her name. July forced herself to look up, to meet Garrett's gaze, ready with a quip to dissolve the tension. She wasn't expecting to find him looking at her so intensely, his dark eyes as gentle as the warmth of his hand. His voice was low and soft, but his words seemed to slip through her defences like blades. You don't have to smile around me if you don't feel like it.

She'd never felt her heart ache quite so keenly, straining against her ribs in a protest she didn't understand. For a moment she just smiled at him, uncertain. His fingers tightened around hers, and inch by inch her shoulders crumpled. The smile she'd fought so hard to keep up began to slip, lower lip trembling with one last ditch effort to keep it together.

You know that, right?

July dropped the smile. Her eyes were stinging furiously and she took a shuddering breath, looking away from Garrett. Her free hand tried to stem the stupid, useless tears gathering in her lashes. She blinked hard, focusing her vision on the few shreds of colour on the street sign, as if it could offer her any answers.

"Yeah," July's voice cracked on the word, and she forced another deep breath. Her hand shifted under his, her knuckles flashing white as she clutched back desperately. A few traitorous tears streaked down her cheeks, which she chased with the sleeve of Noel's flannel. She chanced a look back at Garrett, and the care in his eyes slammed into her with the force of a train. Her eyes welled up, and she just couldn't anymore. "I know. I'm sorry. This is all just...so weird and so awful and I don't know what to do."
Garret Blake
 player, 59 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Tue 7 May 2019
at 14:59
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
He'd suspected it was coming. The tension that had swirled around her all day, rippling outwards, started to break down along with the facade that this wonderful, smart, intelligent, beautiful girl wore every single day. He'd known it was coming. Because July wasn't nearly as good at hiding her actual feelings as she thought she was. Because the tension laying on her shoulders from every direction in her life even before the chaotic events of today was crushing her.

It didn't make it any easier to see. And selfishly, quietly, a part of him was grateful. Grateful for this rarest of trusts. Grateful for the hands tracing his. Grateful that she didn't see his eyes close for just a second when she did that. For the electricity that thrummed through all his senses at the act, making the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.

When she met his eyes and the tears started to run down her face, an ache shot through him that made it hurt to breathe for just a second. Fingers white-knuckled his hand so hard his knuckles hurt. She was crying in front of him. Still trying to restrain herself from letting go. He opened his mouth, pausing for a second because every ounce of him burned to do something. His throat ran dry and the impulse to move engaged in a fierce tug of war with every other feeling held at bay by decisions made weeks ago. One hand reflexively rose and brushed a tear away with a rough thumb.

"This is all just...so weird and so awful and I don't know what to do."

A compromise, then. Taking both her hands, Garrett swung his leg off the bike, standing up and gently helping her do the same. They stood alone beneath the island lamps of the streetlights. His eyes watched her face, and for just a second she caught sight of an ache behind his gaze. Then he pulled her in for a fierce, enveloping hug, momentarily--nearly--overwhelmed by that distinct floral scent she had, her hair against the side of his face. A deep breath filled him before she felt the exhale exit his broad frame. His voice was low and quiet.

"July, you don't have to do anything, right now. Just... be."
July Coates
 player, 49 posts
 i'll sing along
 yeah with every emergency
Thu 9 May 2019
at 00:54
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
July couldn't remember the last time she'd cried in front of someone other than Noel. She'd always held her head high, no matter the pressure. Crying was raw, ugly, vulnerable, and she hated how it swept over her, dragging her under like the riptide. The tears wouldn't stop and July squeezed her eyes shut, fighting for a shred of composure.

Garrett helped her off the bike and she went with him, cheeks burning with shame and frustration. If she had just kept it together for a little bit longer, everything would have been fine. Instead she'd dumped her mess on him. Selfish. She'd barely opened her mouth to eke out a good night when he'd pulled her flush in an unexpected hug.

They'd hugged countless times over the past two years, but never like this. He overwhelmed her senses, blotting out the night around them. July breathed in worn leather, sweat, the faint hint of sandalwood, burying her face in the curve of his neck. Slim arms wrapped around his back, like she could pull herself together if she squeezed tight enough.

Just be. As if simply being was enough. As if she wouldn't be alone if she wasn't everything the world demanded of her. It sounded impossible. But everything about today had been impossible, and Garrett was as honest as the day was long. Would it be so awful to believe it, if only for a moment?

Eventually the tears stopped, and July managed to breathe without the panic of her world crashing down around her. Callused fingers slowly eased off their death grip and her shoulders, inch by inch, relaxed. His warmth had surrounded her, and she could have sworn the fire felt grateful, as if it had needed that moment of comfort too.

July pulled back, reluctantly releasing Garrett as she found the space to wipe her face with her sleeve. Hopefully her mascara hadn't run too atrociously. Sniffing, she met Garrett's gaze with a shaky, but sincere, smile.

"I...thank you, Garrett. I needed that." There was an awkward silence, and July opened her mouth to say something but reconsidered, instead smoothing out her tousled bangs and tucking them behind her ears. "It's really late. You should get home and rest. I'll see you tomorrow?"
Garret Blake
 player, 62 posts
 Do good deeds
 Stay out of trouble
Thu 9 May 2019
at 02:31
Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent
She clung to him. His eyes closed. For a silent eternity, Blake's world was a melting cascade of emotions that burned through him from head to toe. But for what seemed like the first time in a long time, it wasn't going to kill him. He knew it couldn't happen. Knew deep in the marrow of his bones that this selfishness was only something he could temporarily have. Fleeting. Ephemeral. This instance, where he was needed like this by her, would not last.

So he took his own advice and just let the scent, and sense, of her flood him. Held her through her sobbing, and felt the clenching ache in his chest as she let go. Pulled back. The pain was still there as he drank in her face... but it was manageable, now. She'd be okay.

Enough. It's enough.

It had to be.

He took a deep breath of his own, one hand resting on her shoulder until she wiped her sleeve, then letting go after the tiniest, selfish pause. She was steadied. Fortified. He watched her tuck her hair behind her ears, then stepped back. "... you're welcome," he said quietly, taking back his helmet and slowly buckling it back on his matted head. The warm smile was back, if still a tiny bit pained. "You better," he said, giving her hand a last, small squeeze. "I'm not done watching you be awesome, yeah?"

A long pause followed as he hesitated. Not knowing what she'd meant to say. His mouth opened for just a half-second. Something unvoiced. Natural as the day following night. But also not allowed.

Garrett's mouth closed, he half-smiled, and said "G'nite, Jules."

He waited in the lingering dark until she'd made it back into the house. Then the tall boy let out a deep sigh and gunned the engine, turning and riding all the way back home. Sleep. He needed sleep. And to figure out what the hell he was gonna say to his mother.

Yeah.

That was gonna go great.