Chapter 1: An Ominous Advent.   Posted by Retro DM.Group: 0
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.