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An old fashioned heist
So, as a break from checking in on the Black facilities and trying to figure out how to save the world from Affrighter (separately) and Affrighter and Blade (together) and evade Blade (separately) and find out what affrighter is up to (separately).....

And old fashioned heist is kind of refreshing. A rogue SOC agent, bitter about lack of upward mobility and pay scale, has stolen some SOC equipment and gone to ground. He's messed with the computers so it's hard to tell what he took, and activated some old Sentry robots. That's where the real fun started...

Not really. Sincew they''re trying to kill us...
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Bad Blood
It took some doing, but we managed to magically stuff Fearmonger into containment in my ring, temporarily. I was glad to be able to transfer him into a steel chime ball, though -- carrying him around on my finger wasn't comfortable at all.

It did, however, lead to a discovery -- he's apparently drawn to Affrighter, and we can use his "pull" to find Scaryface when the time is right.

On the downside-- we arranged to meet with Blade, to try to plan a way for him to "escort" his brother off planet so they could have their high-powered brawl where no one would get hurt. Seems he's not so concerned with that, he just wants to get to the brawl part as soon as possible. He graciously agreed to try to keep the damage contained to "just" about one-quarter of the world, including the part where our government is. I don't care much for our government, but even so, it wouldn't be a good thing to have it completely gone. Along with the rest of the East coast.

To him, the cost seems minimal. To us, it's unacceptable. But he's not willing to negotiate, and I think he expected us to knuckle under to his superior superiority. Too bad for him we're not great at that. Also, a good thing the "compass" is hidden at home, and not in the base or on my person...


In the end, a fight between us and Blade was only averted by the arrival of Amos, and us fleeing the scene. NOt sure what we're going to do next. Blade knows we have a way to point him right to Affrighter, and he is spoiling for a fight. We can't let them fight here on Earth but he doesn't care. not sure how we're going to pull this one off.....


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Epic!
they say confession is good for the soul....
Meeting with the Knights was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do, I think. There was a small, cowardly part of me that really wished we could talk DD out of doing this, just let it go. What they didn’t know couldn’t hurt them, right? Or us? But… I understand that she needed this, even if it went badly. Still, it was hard to be welcomed into their headquarters and treated like guests, knowing what we’d come to say, and how it was likely to go down.


Once again, we have broken something that can’t be fixed or replaced, and this was just acknowledgement of that. And yet, it was, in a way, the most quietly heroic thing I have ever seen anyone do. Own up to a pretty big wrong and wait for the victims to decide what to do about it. Accepting whatever they decided was the right response.


The fallout was as bad emotionally as I had imagined, but not unexpected, except that I had not forseen DragonEye quitting. I suppose I could understand that: his friends were refusing to press charges (which was actually better than I had dared to hope for), and he felt that they weren’t taking his pain and loss into account. And from what happened later, when he stopped by our headquarters, he may never get over this. He’s so bitter and angry, so different from who he was… He’ll be waiting to pounce on our first mistake, so sure we’re going to screw up, or go back to being bad guys. Even though the event happened before we … changed.

Can’t dwell on it, we can’t fix it. We have to move on and try to be the better people we keep saying we are. Even when It isn’t easy – we’ll always be held to a higher standard, and even a small slip or mistake will be seen as a major (and deliberate) breach of trust, or a sign that we’re still working a long con. It’s a lot of pressure…



So, onward. What to do with baby Tara – one issue to resolve. And the question of transportation, beyond my car, I guess.


And… what about Matteo? He’s clearly interested in spending time with me. He hasn’t been reserved about that at all. Since things are fairly quiet and I need to get out of my own head for a while, it might be time to see the city from a tourist’s point of view. Time to deal with the bigger issues later.

And maybe I should talk to him about DD – if this is hurting me as much as it does, I have to wonder how she is feeling about all of it. She and Halcyon are so close, but there’s been some strain lately between them. And Zephyr is always off doing her own thing, and so is Golden Gloves. Having Matteo around has made me aware of one thing – I think I’m a little bit lonely, and I wonder if the others feel it, too. We aren’t any of us very good at sharing – we all feel like it makes us too vulnerable, maybe.

But we all trust each other to look out for us in a fight, so I guess that’s what’s important…
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How did we get HERE?
A lot of things have happened pretty quickly. The SOC collapsed in on itself, after Affighter had basically infiltrated it, ad we took out his agents /s. We called in Starkey, as at least having been clear of Black/White's influence, and he seemed less than optimal for taking over. Lupo showed up.... and we went on a mad dash to retrieve sensitive data before it could fall into the wrong hands -- whoever that might be. In the end, it comes down to trusting Lupo, which I do, weirdly enough.

Then came the unexpected twist. He asked us to work for him.

It's going to be interesting.

But first,we have to keep Affrighter and his brother from turning our little blue and green world into a desert like Mars.

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We have gotten so much be...
We have gotten so much better at coordinating our attacks, and it stood us in good stead in our escape from the SOC prison. We had to fight Aces and Skybolt again, and we were running out of time, so taking them down quickly was important. We sprang Mateo and Loki from their helmets, and for a moment there I thought we'd have to fight her to get her to come out. It took some pretty tense negotiations to get her onboard with the plan, and we had to agree to a sacrifice (which I kinda foresaw we'd have to do, since we were dealing with a trickster deity, after all). It dismays me how ready DD is to throw herself on the altar every time; we couldn't let her do that. We're a weird, dysfunctional little family, but we ARE a family, and I'm not going to let any of us just throw our lives away.

We agreed, together, on a price -- what redemption we'd earned, we'd give up. Not any future hope of redemption, just every hard-won scrap we'd scraped up to date as superheroes. I should have figured Loki would find away to... well, Loki her way into twisting it.

She was taking particular pleasure in needling DD and Halcyon... I wonder why?

Well, anyway...

Our next destination was the SOC Center itself -- and it was a nightmare of dead agents. Black and White were waiting for us in the basement, and made the usual villain offer of "join us or die," which we ignored in favor of trying to take them down. Individual attacks did very little good, so we teamed up, and timed our strikes so we all hit them at once, half hitting Black and the other half hitting White. We gave it all we had, I think, and it was just barely enough. But in the end, it WAS enough.

Then it was time for the lynchpins.... and Loki's twisted victory.

She put them into us.

There was a light, and a not-really noise exactly, and pain. And the realization that something had changed, fundamentally, and deeply.

WE now carry the lynchpins of the universe within us. Immeasurable cosmic power, visible to anyone with the right sort of sight. And we can't touch any of it.

Not that anyone will ever believe that. Or believe that the power won't corrupt us.





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Tags: TEOTWAWKI
From pillar to post..



And now here we are.... trying to figure out a way to deal with our own Voldemort. (Code named because to name him is to summon him, and once is enough, thank you very much.) His power has been supercharged, since he's broadcast his name and image all over the planet, and everyone's terrified. I think we need a way to cut him off from all that fear, isolate him.... and we need to find his family, since they might have a way to deal with him. Off to research again....
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Let's do the Time Warp
(not!)

We hit the ground rolling, and I have very little idea where we've ended up or what we're meant to be doing.

All I really know for sure is that we are back at the dawn of the modern superhero age, trying to stop Boone from stopping the emergence of the very first of our kind. Which so far has been a whirlwind tour of "Who's Who," the metahuman version, making me wonder who else we have met on this boat that will turn out to have been a superhero -- or villian.

Magni. for starters. In the circles I used to run with, all the women will warn you -- never work with Magni. He makes the MRA circles that creep around the dark corners of the internet spouting misogynist poison sound reasonably tolerant and relationship-ready. Lucky me, I got to experience first hand his hateful, creepy, woman-hating self at pretty much the moment of his emergence.

Then, still reeling from that encounter, we get Century himself. The HERO. He's so young, and so... alive. And so good. Willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt. Believing in the possibility that with enough time and enough positive reinforcement and enough chances to do better, we can all do better. And Corvax, his cynical, pessimistic opposite.

And Bane.

Like I said, a lot of celebrity names here, and it's a bit overwhelming.
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Let's do the Time Warp
(not!)

We hit the ground rolling, and I have very little idea where we've ended up or what we're meant to be doing.

All I really know for sure is that we are back at the dawn of the modern superhero age, trying to stop Boone from stopping the emergence of the very first of our kind. Which so far has been a whirlwind tour of "Who's Who," the metahuman version, making me wonder who else we have met on this boat that will turn out to have been a superhero -- or villian.

Magni. for starters. In the circles I used to run with, all the women will warn you -- never work with Magni. He makes the MRA circles that creep around the dark corners of the internet spouting misogynist poison sound reasonably tolerant and relationship-ready. Lucky me, I got to experience first hand his hateful, creepy, woman-hating self at pretty much the moment of his emergence.

Then, still reeling from that encounter, we get Century himself. The HERO. He's so young, and so... alive. And so good. Willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt. Believing in the possibility that with enough time and enough positive reinforcement and enough chances to do better, we can all do better. And Corvax, his cynical, pessimistic opposite.

And Bane.

Like I said, a lot of celebrity names here, and it's a bit overwhelming.
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Hey! We're on a cruise! ...
Hey! We're on a cruise!

In 2005.

A cruise that is soon to turn into a disaster....

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That was interesting....
Never had anyone take control of a projection before. It was pretty scary, really. I don't think I like it.

The whole thing was pretty scary, really. We defeated Apex, and our plan worked pretty well, if unexpectedly fast. But now we have this "Affrighter" to deal with? and that sounds unpleasant.


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the Queen of Hearts: On any other night....
I would have been more than happy to throw down with the chica from the Hispanic ghetto. But tonight, I have some disiplinary matters to attend to, and Curtis has brought me a guest to entertain me. The evening was starting to look much more interesting. A mystery, wrapped in... well, a hospital gown from the psych ward, but that just makes things more intriguing. A psychic, wandering my streets like a lost lamb. Although I suspect that while she may be lost, she's not so much a lamb. Still, intriguing, and I was ready to spend the evening trying to figure it out. Especially this idea of an alternate? universe where we're... heroes.

But, no. Something's got the wind up her tonight, and here she is. ON MY DOORSTEP. With her trashy gang and the Italians, who at least have a sense of fashion. It's a shame I'm going to have to destroy all those pretty cars.

I suppose I do owe her a little bit -- she took down that damned archer, and I got the Hawk, finally. Though she left be no time to savor it.
But she's got to learn not to interrupt the adults when they're working. And to be happy at the kids table.
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Dolphin?
When did I start worrying over Agent Starkey? I mean, it's always been his job to keep us in line. And I understand why some in the SOC want o keep us on a short leash... but hte idea that they'll never let us get anywhere at all is kind of galling....

But it's not even that I worry about what we might get instead of him, as that I worry about what they'll do to him. Weird.

And now I am worried about what they're going to do to Loki. I never ended up in one of the really BAD places, but after what we saw with Reiedra, and some of the things DD has let drop... Where will they put her, and for how long? I mean, stealing some apples can't be worth a long stretch in a dark hole. Not really.... right?

But the madness never stops... now we have a kidnapping. By a dolphin. A dolphin has kidnapped someone.

Life is interesting....



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Between revenge and justice
The line is very thin. All the little gods and djinni know I can understand the drive to avenge the percieved wrongs and slights of the world, but.... when you stand back and look, there are issues of scale, right? I mean, who calls a vengeance demon to settle the score for petty grievances? Apparantly, a lot of peopole would if they knew how.

Remnamt and I seem to be in some sort of truce with each other (whcih menas that helping the fallen angel seems to have balanced my scale . Just have to be careful going forward) but that doesn't get my teammmates off the hook at all.

At least for this go-around, we found the source of the problem. Man, that kid could lecture. Full-on Bales' complete with frothing at the mouth. But he's contained and with luck, his victims will all bounce back. It's hard getting slapped in the face with all your darkest deeds and thoughts and the guilt you suppress over them all at once.... but I hope that it wil help them become better and more empathetic in the future. I might have to see what kind of program can be set up to help them....

Atonement. Seems to be the theme lately.
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Time Hop
It was only about six blocks to the Taylor residence, so after a few more questions of Leon and gathering a few more potential pieces of evidence, we set off.

The Taylor’s home looked like - well, like a teenage scientist lived there, and wasn't afraid of minor setbacks like scorching the driveway, or melting the siding. Regardless, this was the place, so I set off across the overgrown lawn.

About halfway to the front door, everything changed. My link to DD cut off, and there was a weird tingling sensation. I stood, blinking for a moment in the sudden bright sunlight. The lawn was now immaculately groomed, and in front of me was a neat house, with well-tended rose buses and a clean gravel driveway. When I looked down, I realized that instead of the costume Ive become used to, I was wearing a dress, flats, and gloves, all still in the same toes as my usual garb. A golden veil shimmered an inch or so from my eyes, and I could feel that I was now wearing a mask.

Golden Gloves stumbled behind me, almost knocking me to the ground. He was wearing a workman’s jumpsuit, work boots, and a domino mask. On the lapel sparkled an insignia of two boxing gloves, and the back read “Golden Gloves Gym”.

A man, with pipe in hand, stepped out of the house and called “Well, if it isn't the city’s protector, Halcyon, and her negro sidekick.” I could sense Golden Gloves stiffen beside me, so I decided to play along and continue the conversation before he could start anything. When I explained our errand to have a word with “young Larry”, we - well, I - was invited into the home to find the scamp in the basement.

I did have to talk him into allowing Golden Gloves into the house, insisting that I had to have my trusty sidekick with me. (Apparently the man was willing to accept that he would be useful fighting Martians and Nazis (that’s pretty dope, actually, that we fight Nazis and Martians..) but didn't think it would be appropriate to have my friend in his home.)

Eventually, however, we were both shown to the steps leading down to the basement. On the steps, everyone else joined us, but they had apparently come via other routes as well, and the mind link was still gone. DD and Zephyr looked like hippies (DD even had flowers painted on her nails, and a crown of plastic daisies.). Kay looked completely normal, but was followed by a Remnant who, somehow, looked even more pissed off than usual. But he didn't seem to be making a move at any of us, so hopefully he’s as pissed about this situation as we all are.

The basement, clearly this kid’s lab, held a large metal table with whatever mechanism was causing all of this - some floating discs, disturbances in the clear air. Larry, the center of everything, was a grubby young man. About 15, and wearing filthy jeans and a now-grayish t-shirt, and more impressively, some sort of device on his arm, clearly the controls for the whole thing.

He commanded Remnant to attack us, we (well the rest of the group, really) managed to stop both Remnant and Larry. I got a good chunk of data off the kid’s computer, but it was, of course, waaaaaaay too massive to just copy. I did write down some of the key notes about the construction of and theory behind the device, figuring it would be handy to have.

The SOC came, and we all gave our reports. Given Kay’s report about what Starkey had said, I was hesitant to trust them as completely as we had been. I decided not to reveal that I had had some time with the computer, even though it felt a little weird not to be open with them. Since we had tried to go completely straight, I had been up front with all of it, but now - now that felt a little foolish. I hid the notes I had taken, and kept my mouth shut about it.

Finally, we were allowed to go. I was looking forward to going home and giving Zephyr the notes, and then trying to get a little sleep...
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In Other News
"The recent string of strange events in Century City, strange even for Century City in this reporter's opinion, seems to have been solved. A young woman who has been identified as "Loki" engaged in some sort of prank war against the citizens of our fair city and our heroes: the team known as TASK.

"Task was on hand to apprehend her tonight in Century Park, though the memorial for our namesake hero was destroyed in the conflict. This is just one more crime to lay at the feet of this prankster/supervillain.

::insert of and unflatteringly disheveled Loki shrieking at the camera incoherently::

"More on this story as it developes..."
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