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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    HARD TIMES IN HALCYON CITY



    CHAPTER TWO:
    RADIX MALLORUM


    There was more, of course. There was always more. Stageplays and comic books might be able to sharply cut life into chapters and acts, with sharp ends and clear beginnings, but life is not so neat. There was only the briefest moment of quiet as Moth and Cleo settled the building and the Wolves vanished.

    And then there was the insane chaos of the crowd. And the wailing of sirens as police, fire, ambulance services all descended on the site en mass and started roping off, lining up, taking charge, giving form to the incident after the fact.

    And, after them, came the media. News vans and cars full of reporters spilled out into the intersection and soon enough every person the street was either talking to a reporter, a cop, or a paramedic.

    In way of real-time disasters, the stories were initially messy and confused and pulled on so many threads that it was hard to keep up. Something about a young mask, and the Grey Wolves, and more Masks, and a strange craft. And it was clear enough that at least one of the young masks cause the problem, and that the Grey wolves apprehended someone, and everything wound up more or less okay, but the timing, the order, what part was cause and what was effect was hazy.

    But, over the next few hours, a narrative emerged. A narrative always emerged. If there was any such thing as human nature, the very core of its being is: there must be a story, a linear series of and then... and then... and then.

    And the story the emerged was this: several young masks, alien technology, almost destroyed a building in response to attempted capture by police. And the Grey Wolves stopped them, saved the building, and apprehended one of the perpetrators.

    Individual accounts insisting that the alien craft showed after the Wolves left, and that it might have been one of the masks (who was there long before anything alien happened) might have actually saved the building, became outliers on a line graph and dismissed just as easily.

    As the story emerged, Augustus Oberron issued a statement:

    "This is a victory for the Grey Wolves Program and the Young Heroes Initiative. Interfacing with local law enforcement, we were able to respond quickly and decisively in the city's hour of need. Our city has enough problems with lawlessness. The streets are already unsafe. We can no longer let Masks run rampant, straining resources and causing mayhem. It is time for them to come in off the streets and be named and counted and out to work for the good of the city. Their time is over."

    Meanwhile...

    Angel found himself in a cell.

    The cell was large. About as large as a classroom. And well furnished. And comfortable enough. There was a sofa, a chair, a television, a shelf of books, an e-reader, several game consoles.

    But it was a cell. The walls were thick plexiglass strung through with delicate wiring that glowed a light pale blue. And outside the walls was a second barrier: shafts of the same blue light like bars, all around the block. And beyond that blank grey walls with computer banks and monitors with numbers and graphs and data scrolling past.

    Sitting side-legged at one of the banks, midi-skirted legs primly pressed together and crossed, was a woman. Aside from the pencil skirt she wore a crisp button-up shirt and grey suitcoat. She would have been perfectly at home in a budget meeting, or delivering quarterly revenue reports on CNN.

    Her hair was a deep velvety black and pulled back into a severe bun. She wore small, stylish glasses. She had long legs long arms, and long delicate fingers that were adeptly manipulating the mouse and keyboard.
    Adventures in the Borderlands [5E] - IC-Ch.1 / OC / Info
    Hard Times in Halcyon City [Masks] - IC-Ch.2 / OC

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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    "..." Dani stays quiet, watching the news on her phone.

    Eventually, it gets to a boiling point. She grabs her phone tight, and almost throws it, but stops herself. She can't really afford to buy a new one. She turns off the screen and pockets it. "Angel has problems. And the Wolves helped. But goddamn it. Just..." Dani curses loudly. "They're just manipulating the media to make themselves look good! But people eat it up. And why wouldn't they? The Wolves are the heroes, big name, big presence... Big jerks..." she finishes lamely.

    "I hope Angel is okay," she says.
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    Cleo also was reading the „news” – if big fat lies could be called that – on her phone.

    She took a few calming breaths. She was not sure if that helped much, but in the current situation, it was rather obvious – and nobody could have blamed her.

    - I just… I have no words – she explained quietly – We do not know where Angel is, we have no ability to contact or save him… and I am not sure if we can trust them Wolves. I am so worried. But the… powerlessness is the worst. We have no way to do anything. And even if we tried, we should bother about this… media thing – there was a true disgust in her voice – It’s all just so messed up – she concluded.

    This was not how being a superhero should be, she believed. But what could she do?
    LGBTitP, Furry 🐾, European 🇪🇺 & Schizophreniac ♿, possibly a Weirdo 😜
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    Moth has traded out his sleepwear for a red and black plaid kilt and a too-tight heavy metal tshirt prominently featuring a unicorn and a giant snake trying to kill each other. His hair's got the same red and black coloring going on, and it's still shaved on both sides and in a long braid down his back, tied in place with a ribbon. He's also got fishnet stockings under the kilt leading into combat boots, just to mess with people further, and to continue the trend, is sitting peacefully on the ceiling, upside down, reading the paper. Paper news! Can you believe it? It's so... extravagant, he had to get a copy!

    He's not happy about the contents of the paper, however. Not the first time he's run into somebody outright lying for attention, but usually the people he runs with know enough about everyone's rep to know who's spinning lies and who's spiting truth. He gulps down the last bite of his hot dog (purchased for literal, physical money! Amazing!) and frowns to himself, muttering darkly. "Yeah, media smears are crap. Gotta find something to break the narrative if you're gonna care about it. I personally wouldn't, it's faster to just leave."

    He pauses.

    "Y'all don't exactly have that option though. Nor does Angel. How're we breaking him out, anyway?" Moth seems to have skipped entirely past the "should we" stage of that plan.
    Last edited by Eldest; 2021-06-13 at 02:10 PM.
    LGBTA+itP

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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    - Hm...? - Cleo was thinking rapidly - I always can at least try to cast a spell, I believe? But if the Ankh is outside of our reach... - she bit her lip, feeling unsure - I mean, Atlantean magic is pretty potent, but even though it seems to me I know it pretty well, they are still things I do not compherend. Maybe some kind of extended ritual? What do you think, how many hours we can spare? If only I had something that belongs to Angel, it would be much, much more easy... I sure do hope that this bindnings lights around his hands aren't there anymore, it would mean I should interpolate instead of just goind the linear way... you know, like I should kinda questimate the exact energy and words? I hope the interference will not be too much... - it was the only plan she had and it was not ideal. It would be good if they would go the easy route... but what if there was nothing better?
    LGBTitP, Furry 🐾, European 🇪🇺 & Schizophreniac ♿, possibly a Weirdo 😜
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    Spoiler: Angel
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    Conditions:

    Current labels:
    Danger +2 Freak +2 Savior -1 Superior -2 Mundane +2

    Potential: 1/3
    Doom Track: 0/3

    Angel had spent some time cleaning himself up from the two fights he had been in, thinking about everything that had happened to him so far, and generally putting himself together. Both in physical appearance, but also in terms of his emotional state.

    Angel paces around the cell, thinking. He needed to escape, his team might need him and once word that he was captured spread, Santiago would know he could make a move without being opposed. The glowing lights and glass would make escape hard, but he knew that calling on it would most likely be able to get through those. However, if he called on too much power things might escalate again, and that is how he got here in the first place. So he decides to stop pacing around and muttering and see if there's another way to get out.

    He walked up to the glass wall and tapped on it a few times, trying to get the attention of the woman at the computers. "Hey! Hey lady! I'm supposed to get a phone call, right? Everyone knows that you get one phone call out if you get arrested, and I think I'm supposed to have a lawyer too."
    I go by They/Them pronouns, BTW.

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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    Cleo closed her eyes and sat in a meditative, lotus position. Soon she was muttering the spell to herself, levitating and shining a light blue aura. In one hand she was holding her Ankh, the surest link to Angel she had, and she was tapping her knee rhythmically with the second, which helped her focus on the act of magic she was about to perform.

    Soon, a window in the shape of an oval, made of blue mist, appeared in front of her face. Yet, it wasn't showing anything to her, which made her slightly irritated and puzzled. Changing the rhythm of her tapping and the spell, she tried hard to get the right frequency - if such a thing should be said of Atlantean magic.

    Soon, she was halfway, seeing the face of Angel and letting it dissappear into the mist, switching at random. She wanted to swear under her breath, but changed her mind. She had more important things to do - and she should have done them as soon as she could.

    - Angel? Angel? Do you hear me? - she asked the window - Where are you?
    Last edited by Kaworu; 2021-06-20 at 02:30 PM.
    LGBTitP, Furry 🐾, European 🇪🇺 & Schizophreniac ♿, possibly a Weirdo 😜
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    Wherever Angel is, he seems to be beyond the reach of even Cleo's powers. Atlantean Magic seemed to piggyback on the lines of power that naturally criss-crossed the earth, and so finding someone should be as easy as looking for the place where their essence, their spirit, their self interacted with one of those lines of power, and following it back. And Angel, with that Atlantean presence riding her, usually distorted the lines of power significantly.

    But not now. Maybe it was the manacles, or something similar.

    The Ankh, however. Cleo made those herself and her connection to them was much, much stronger. Angel did not speak through them, and they could not hear his voice through them, but Cleo could feel it. Dimly. And it flickered in and out of her awareness like a weak flame. But she could feel it.

    Downtown. Finance Square. Somewhere high, high, high above the ground.

    Meanwhile...

    The Corporate Woman spun around in her chair. She smiled a sharp, toothy, corporate smile. She did not move closer. Her body was very still.

    "I apologize, Angel," she said, and her voice was clipped and staccato and professional. "But you have not been arrested or detailed in the normal sense, such that the legal apparatus would be activated. The specifics of your situation are complicated, and only interesting to a student of the law. But suffice it to say you are not entitled to a phone call. Or a lawyer."

    She paused. Stood in a single fluid motion. Smoothed her skirts down. Took two, precisely two steps, toward the cell.

    "Our intentions, however, are no sinister. Quite the contrary. I believe we can of service to you. And possibly you to us."

    Inside his head, Angel's demonic passenger starts to rumble. It say The Beast and then goes quiet. Well, not quiet. But inarticulate.
    Adventures in the Borderlands [5E] - IC-Ch.1 / OC / Info
    Hard Times in Halcyon City [Masks] - IC-Ch.2 / OC

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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    - Okay, I have a location - said Cleopatra to her friends - Angel is in the finance square, somewhere high. Maybe I will get better data as we will come closer. Matters not, we have to go to him and help. I prefer not to thinks what these... these... "professionals" - there was a true disdain in her voice - will do to him.
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    Dani perks up a bit when Cleo makes her announcement. "If there's bugs in there, I can get his location more precisely once we get nearer," she says.
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    "A plan! Awesome!" Moth's ship shimmers into visibility outside the window, and he starts to clamor through to the side portal that had just irised open, before he stopped, half out of the building. "Where's the financial square anyway?"
    LGBTA+itP

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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    Spoiler: Angel
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    Conditions:

    Current labels:
    Danger +2 Freak +2 Savior -1 Superior -2 Mundane +2

    Potential: 1/3
    Doom Track: 0/3

    Angel looks at the woman curiously. The voice in his head seems to have an opinion about her, but Angel tries to figure out his own impression. "I'm not going to say I don't need help, so let's hear your offer.

    But before she can reply, Angel leans forward against the glass wall. He smiles in a way that is friendly but a bit dangerous. "But. If I'm not getting a lawyer, then I don't need you to talk in lawyer-speak or whatever. I wasn't fooled by your enforcer acting like a big damn hero and I'm not buying the whole "professional lady here to help" act either. Like, I'm in a secret prison thing and not allowed to leave. So no need to make it sound like this big formal process. If you want to get me on your side or whatever, let's talk like normal people." Angel isn't sure if the woman will actually do what he asks, but he observes closely and tires to figure her out based on how she reacts to the request.

    Spoiler
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    Trying to Pierce her Mask, rolling +mundane (2d6+2)[11]
    that's a good roll so here's my questions:
    • what are you really planning?
    • what do you want me to do?
    • how could I gain Influence over you?
    Last edited by Quagmire; 2021-06-22 at 07:49 PM.
    I go by They/Them pronouns, BTW.

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    Archmage in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    It might not even take a Google search for either Dani or Judy to know that Oberron Industries owns a skyscraper in Financial Square. It's a combination head office and R&D facility. There's everything from a supercomputer to zero-grav flight simulators to full-immersion VR training facilities to all manner of tech and science. They have regular tours on weekdays through the public areas. They have international delegations and business meetings all day and night.

    It's a busy place.

    Meanwhile...

    If the corporate lady was surprised or shocked or put off by Angel's demands, she did not show it. If anything, her smile got a little wider and a little sharper. "Act? I am afraid you misunderstand. Courtesy has long been the lubrication by which the wheels of productive society turns."

    A pause. Her smile falters a tiny bit.

    "And I do not think you, of all people, are in a position to make judgements about who and what is normal."

    Another pause.

    "But as for that... what I... what we want.... is the Atlantean Xierxhis..." the word sounded like gargling on three-day old coffee... "The creature that has taken up residence in your soul. We can remove it. And you can have your life back again. And all your legal troubles? And most of your financial ones? They can all go away too."

    Spoiler: OOC
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    That was a really good time for a good Piece the Mask roll!
    What are you really planning?
    -Right now, at this moment, my plan is just as I say: I want to remove the demon from you and leave you a normal person once again.

    What do you want me to do?
    -Submit to the Oberron Corporation. Join us. Become one of us. We can do so much for you. And it will only cost you something you do not even want.

    How could I gain Influence over you?
    -I respect only two things (which are really the same): power and knowledge. If you were to prove to me that you could cast me aside, and were willing to do so, I would submit to you. But not in a sexy way (well, maybe a tiny bit in a sexy way).
    Adventures in the Borderlands [5E] - IC-Ch.1 / OC / Info
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    Spoiler: Angel
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    Conditions:

    Current labels:
    Danger +2 Freak +2 Savior -1 Superior -2 Mundane +2

    Potential: 1/3
    Doom Track: 0/3

    Angel steps back and considers the offer. It would be a lie to say that it wasn't seriously tempting to just give up and go back to having a normal life, especially if it meant his family might be able to move to a part of the city where turf wars between gangs and warlocks weren't regular occurrences. But he remembered that he had chosen to let the "Xierxhis" into himself for a reason, he still had people he needed to protect and an enemy that needed to be dealt with. So he turned away from the woman dismissively. "No deal. And maybe up here the world runs on talking polite and fake, but on my side of the city society runs on respect. Looks like courtesy sometimes, but respect can't be faked."

    He started pacing around the room and continued to talk, though it clearly wasn't to her. "But. I'm only refusing this deal because you are still useful to me, I still need the power to defeat Santiago. I'm only doing that, though, because I need to keep my neighborhood safe from him. If you end up causing more trouble than he does, if you put the people I want kept safe in danger, I might the deal this lady is making and kick your deal to the curb." He speaks more forcefully, focusing on the part of his mind where he feels the connection to make sure it can understand him. "I know your name now, Xier- Xi- Xieh-" He grows frustrated, "Well I know what it is, even if it's impossible to pronounce. But I know what you are and I know that you can be removed, so that means that if you want to stay in here then next time I say it's time to stop you stop before we destroy another building or hurt any more people."

    Spoiler
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    It probably would have been a better idea to have that second part of the conversation in thoughts instead of speech, but I think it's more fun if the corporate lady gets to hear and potentially respond too.
    Last edited by Quagmire; 2021-06-29 at 02:21 AM.
    I go by They/Them pronouns, BTW.

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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    For the first time, anger clouds the perfectly serene face of the corporate lady. "Respect?" she spits in disdain, "What value respect? You can respect the murderous power of a rabid dog and still shoot it dead in the street. You can respect your father, your mentor, your teacher, your boss, and still cast them down and take their place. I was born in a land of gods. Respect what was the name you gave to the fear of those who could destroy you. There is no respect. Only courtesy."

    She listens to Angel talking to her demon and her face returns to its former state. And she smiles a sharp, smug smile.

    "Save your breath. You cannot reason with the Volcano Clan. They eschew the Forms of Aesthete. They cannot be trusted. They value only power. Only ascendancy. In the face of their power you are but ash in the wind. Not fit to match wits with even the ghost of such a one. Let me remove it for you. It is your only hope."

    Spoiler: OOC
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    She is trying to inflict the Hopeless Condition on you. You can accept the condition and have a Potential, or roll to Reject Influence.
    Last edited by truemane; 2021-07-03 at 07:34 PM.
    Adventures in the Borderlands [5E] - IC-Ch.1 / OC / Info
    Hard Times in Halcyon City [Masks] - IC-Ch.2 / OC

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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    Let's go now inside the Dawnseeker, the ship Moth owns, powered by an experimental manifold drive that allows him unparalleled access to the strange corners of space, where there's no gate and no marked and cleared corridor. That's not needed now. They're not going to space, after all, not today.

    Instead, after entering through a side airlock marked with several soft, green glyphs that looked nothing like human writing, they came into the combination galley/bedroom/workshop/holodeck/heist-planning-room, aka, the main living area. It's got a slight curve to the outer wall, due to the slight curve of the ship, and a hatch there, and a door there, there, and there. It's got what's probably Moth's bunk there, with a small nest of blankets and pillows and something quickly and fiercely buried deep under the blankets, so that nobody could see what. It's got what's probably a cooking area, a little alcove with a purple not-quite-plant growing from a hanging three-part globe in vivid reds and oranges. There is what is obviously a sofa, curved to form it's own little section. Alien or not, some ways to get large number of bipedal humanoids to mingle economically are the same everywhere. There along the walls are shelves cluttered with gizmos and art objects, probably: not like anybody else could tell you if something is a ritually designed weapon made of purple heartwood, a electrostatic field generator to keep a comet's dust-tail off you while you're riding it, or a Relia's life-gift, their and most intricate carving.

    And here we find our heroes, around a table set partially into the interior wall. Everyone else was expressly forbidden from going into any of the other rooms on arriving inside the Dawnseeker, and Moth had hurriedly tossed aside a few circuit-looking things, last night's pizza box, and waved awake the hologram set into the table for plotting. He'd also produced something that was almost, but not completely, totally unlike tea, and was drinking it with obvious relish.

    Now, let's catch up with them, shall we?

    Moth gestures one last time at the hologram of the finance building, clearly marked over with notes, planned movements, and what details they had been able to dig up of security. "...and that about sums up our exit plan after we get Angel out. I've got my disguise cooking in the back, if you guys decide you want one I'll throw together a design for you as well. I think... it'll work."
    LGBTA+itP

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    SKITTER, MOTH, CLEOPATRA

    It seemed simple enough. Like most high-security corporate properties, Oberron HQ had all the real security and surveillance down at ground level. And they suffered the same lack of vision that many 'impregnable fortresses' shared: most of the effort was put into keeping you out. Once you were in, there were relatively few checks on movement.

    Which meant that the roof was the natural entry point. Sure there were doors up there. Serious doors. Thick metal doors. With electronic locks that cost as much as houses. But that was nothing compared to the gauntlet of the ground floor.

    Once inside the tasks were simple (if difficult):
    • Find Angel
    • Get to Angel
    • Get them all out again
    • Stay as out of sight as possible the whole time


    Standard heist stuff.

    But the thing was, they were superheroes.

    What could go wrong?
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    As they draw nearer, Skitter keeps her eyes closed. She's focusing on her swarm-they don't act any different from normal, but she's looking through them, figuring out the nooks, crannies, and routes.
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    Default Re: [Masks-IC] Hard Times in Halcyon City: Chapter 2

    Cleopatra breathed, controlling her lungs. She had skimmed through all her Atlantean magic knowledge, thinking of all the spells she could use, the exact mistical formulas and gestures she would need. She could not afford a single mistake, which obviously made her stressed out. Thus the controlled breathing.

    She went to the closest doors and looked at the electronic lock she and her friends would need to break in order to go in.

    - Moth? - she asked - Can you take care of that? Or should I just spell an electromagnetic impulse to break it down? What do you think? You are some kind of an expert, aren't you?
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