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BattleTech Player Boards => Fan Fiction => Topic started by: Cannonshop on 11 September 2020, 18:51:14

Title: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 11 September 2020, 18:51:14
Rule One: something about supervillainy seems to bring out the ham.  More than it does with Heroes.  I'm standing in line at the Consolidated Trust Bank, I've got my Veteran's Administration check, two pills in my prescription bottle, and a fat guy in front of me who doesn't seem to understand how to fill out a fleeping deposit slip.

Welcome to Thursday in my private hell.

"Consolidated Trust" is right here in beautiful, dying Aberdeen, Washington.  As in Washington State, in the United States.

the fat guy who can't fill out a deposit slip, is arguing with a stick-thin bottle blonde who either has a serious problem with venting body heat, or really wants other men looking at her ass-which is the only thing (barely) covered by her shorts.

Up ahead of me, are the rest of the welfare crowd, being as it's government-check-day.  Most of them are going to sign the back for cash, a few, like the single mom near the head of the line, are probably going to try to feed family members off an olympic combo-that's WIC, Welfare, and either disability or AFDC (sometimes both).

I don't have a problem with that.  Not really. 

the line moves up one step.  Fat guy is still hemming over how to fill out the slip and quietly arguing with 'hot'? chick.

I look at the clock on the wall.  It's noon, my appointment at the Pharmacy's at two.

"EVERYONE DOWN DONT BE A HERO THIS IS A ROBBERY!!!"

Must be new.  Our announcer and entertainment for the day looks like he took a little too much time making his costume for the Elites Convention...except costumes don't usually come with built in pyrotechnics, and the mask looks professional-set up to hide things like jaw-line, cheekbones...

But dumbshit forgot to cover his eyes.

then again, he can't be top-shelf grade A supervillain if he's robbing a nowhere bank in a city that's been losing people faster than detroit since Weyerhauser left.

the SMART villains hit banks in Cities where the unemployment rates are lower than sixty percent.  The really smart ones do their robberies on-line like civilized people.

I just want to get this over so I can get my Government-issued happy pills.

Still, plasma.  it might work.  flip the mental coin.

"Hey, ******! back of the line okay?" I yell at him.

OH...me, you want to know what I look like...at least in the 'now' of 2005.

dipshit, whatever.  I can cut my hair...mostly.  to get to 'shorter' styles requires tin-snips.  On a dare, I burned up a power-grinder trying to get the Sinead O'Connor look.  That was when I was sleeping in this lovely flop in Portland right after I got home from the ****** sandbox, and had delusions of being a singer.

didn't work out okay, that.  it's not lack of talent, if I do say so myself, it's the whole being flaky and screwing off instead of rehearsing.  You get a bad rep, even in a nowhere scene, and you're done.  Nobody wants a singer who doesn't show up because she's trying (and failing) to get high.

"DEFIANCE! Well, You have just volunteered to be the victim of Lord Plasmaoord!!!"

okay, I'm-a-gonna guess this kid is new to this, he's here because it's easier to debut and make rep in smaller towns, and Aberdeen does qualify as a city...somehow.

I mean, it's not small.  Not really.  Oquitlam Washington in the beautiful Okanogan qualifies as small.  Small enough I'd have to answer questions about why my DD214 is "3M" and Uncle Sam got a doctor to specify all the civil rights I'm no longer entitled to, and th e pity is just...cloying.

"Dude, just...can't it wait fifteen ****** minutes?" I snap at him.

He sneers and lances me with his plasma.

which ruins a perfectly good 'Bonham' tour shirt I found at the Thrift store...******.

"Dude, I liked that shirt."

His eyes are no-shit big as saucers.

People around me, the people on the floor? they're blinking away the burning, searing side effect of watching excited plasma fail to excite more than the dead layers of my skin.

Huh.  sunburn.  Kid has potential.

"Tellya what, Lord dingus...why not try something creative, like...aiming at my mouth? AWWHHHHH!!"

props for trying. have to give him props for trying.  It doesn't taste as bad as my last try with a shotgun.  that tasted like ass and I was sneezing bb's for a couple days.

also ruined a perfectly good shotgun.  My attempt to join the Kurt Cobain rod and gun club was...unsuccessful.

he's so distraught about it, he's pointing it at a cowering civilian.

Well, that's not gonna do.

I'm not a hero...but I'm still, sometimes, a decent Person...maybe.

it's three steps forward, and I grab his crackling, energy-wrapped hand.

and slap it.  "NO!! BAD Villain Wannabe, we don't point lethal power at civilians!  Are you...wait, of course you're stupid..."

I headbutt him.  Not too hard.  It's not the strength, it's the weird side-effects of my power...powers? ****** that.  basically if there's something I hit, and something is going to break, it's the something I hit, not me.

makes committing suicide a real bitch.  when I'm low on the government happy pills, and I get the memories of what I saw and what we did over there? well...those aren't so bad, it's the memory of ninety seven days in enemy hands, and what they tried to do to me.

Not directly.  They used a 'conduit' a channeler, a psychic, so I had to experience every second of the torture they did to those people...and those people, they blamed me.  I could feel it.

I'm not a hero.  heroes go up against things that can actually hurt them.

I just want to go buy my happy pills and make it to Therapy this afternoon.

'small steps', right?

kid starts bawling.  His 'fire' goes out.

no, I didn't kill him.  He's a ****** TEENAGER, probably listens to that whiny pop crap.  "Shhh..." I hold him still, and say, "You're not ready. Power's worthless if you can't control it, and if you're going to rob something, rob something that's worth robbing, not a little corner bank."

I let the kid go.  "Get out of my sight, if you show up again, I'm going to have to actually hurt you."

The kid makes tracks before the call's reached Olympia.  Which is fine, because it's going to be an hour or so before they can get an Icebox up here to take him into custody anyway, and we don't have any superheroes this far from Seattle.

at least, anyone worth a shit.

"My shirt, is ruined."  I check my back pocket.

The check's okay though.

"Anyone mind if I cut in line?" I ask.

nobody raises an objection.

"I'm making a deposit, Claire..."

"Lisa...that was..."

"Inconvenient."  I remind her, "Come on, I'm airing the boobs here and I want to get back to the car so I can cover up for the cops."

Huh...I wonder if...nah.  Suicide by Hero doesn't usually work out, and I wouldn't do it here anyway.  These people have been screwed with enough.  Claire gives me my reciept, and I head back out the door.

First stop? Rite-aid, the second is the Legion Hall where my shrink donates his time, and they have two dollar beer.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 11 September 2020, 19:01:45
This is definitely something.  What that something is, I'm not yet sure.  But, I definitely want to tune in to find out.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: worktroll on 11 September 2020, 19:17:59
Tagged for great glory!
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 11 September 2020, 19:32:21
Legion Hall beer is nice. I mean, it's still that piss they bottle in south seattle out here, Ranier, but they at least have it on tap so you don't get the skunky aftertaste from the plastic bottles.

Deke Hawkes is an actual hero.  way back before I was born, he carried two buddies fourteen miles up a mountain trail while wounded.  For which, he rightly got a Navy Cross.

"Sup Quentin?" he asks.

"check day." I tell him.  "I yet remain a drain on the collective wealth of this nation."

he motions to Gary, who fills me a glass of piss-poor Washington State beer.  Hey, at least it's not Schmidt.

"Heard you had a little excitement." Deke leads.

"Deke, the kid was clearly his first time out and had no idea what he was doing.  He ruined my shirt."

"you let him go?"

"I let him go.  NOT a hero, not licensed, bonded or certified...well, except maybe by Uncle Sam's Psychiatric doctors."

"you called your aunt this week?" he asks.

"NO." I tell him.  "What would I say?  'Hi Aunt Cindy, sorry I haven't been around, by the way, I'm one of those super-freaks and the government doesn't want me back'?"  I give the barman my card, he runs it, and starts my tab, "By the way, my nightmares fracture concrete and there might be some men by from the Department of Superhuman Affairs to see if I'm ready to cave and go work with the spandex brigade again?"

"That sounds like a decent start." he tells me.

"NO. It's not.  Look, I don't have anything against cops, Deke, but while I was in the hands of those terrorists, my mom died in prison for selling pot and getting cancer...treatable cancer. I am not going to haul off and put on a federal badge to go put some kid away for sneaking a joint onto an airliner, especially since I've got papers to show Uncle Sam doesn't trust me to vote, drive a car, or own a gun."

"Last time you owned a gun, you tried to eat the bullets." he reminds me.

"Yeah, so?"  I shrug, "I was depressed, they have pills for that, I take them."

"You eat them like tic-tacs, Lisa."

"so I do." I hoist my brew, he clinks it with his, in his VA-issue, half-the-time-broken, prosthetic hook.

"Weren't you supposed to get a new one of those?" I ask him.

"Yeah, get fitted in march for it."

"MARCH?? it's November now..."

"Lots of guys worse off than me, Lisa." he tells me seriously, "I can wait, there are kids your age and younger who really should have priority."

"I hear that, and then, I look at you not getting...EUGH!!"

"I'm used to it. Look, it took them thirty years to admit Agent orange was a thing, and I lost buddies to it the whole time, at least this time, they're prioritizing the kids coming home ahead of us old fossils."

"Deke, it's not right."

"In my experience, it never is." he said, "Except when we make it right."

i open my first prescription bottle, and take five with the rest of my first beer.

"I do not swallow expensive antidepressants like tic-tacs." I tell him,"I ingest them like aspirin."

"Distinction noted.  Wanna play some pool Kid?"

"Sure."  the teevee's ESPN is interrupted in the middle of a piece on Seattle's big-name hero, 'The Seahawk'.  Personally, I don't get the big deal, he basically plays the merch game and does some super-power exhibition stuff that's more like dancing.  There's a guy down in California who's got almost the same powers, but Black Rooster actually fights real criminals.

y'know, when he's not hawking sports drink or gym memberships.

"You've got powers, Lisa." Deke tells me, "You don't have to sign up for uncle sam's superpolice, there's private sector groups..."

"Uh, no, I have a power, and it's kind of not showy, also doing that would make my laundry bill go through the roof-it doesn't extend past my SKIN."

"Being invulnerable's a hell of a power, Lisa."

"No, it's not." I tell him, "Sure, it'd be great-if I..."  if I didn't want to die "...was normal.  but hey, yah, let's look at that seriously. NOT super-strong to go with it, not super-fast, i don't fly, i don't see through walls, I can't pick up scent trails, I don't have access to the electromagnetic spectrum...and that means my 'super career' is confined to 'brute force'-which ruins my clothing and makes messes.  I can imagine the name they'd come up with though- 'the amazing gimp-girl!!' no, ******, thank you.  You imagine what it would look like if I took on someone like Striker or Empyrion?  maybe even if I won-the news would have to insert those little censor-bars!" 

He grins a little too widely, "I'd watch that."

"You're a dirty old man and if your wife heard you say that she'd ban you from hanging out with me."

"Touche." he says, "Rack 'em up."

I rock the balls in the triangle, lift it up, and pick out a bar-cue for me, while Deke sets up his custom, handicap-friendly cue stick.  "look at you, Captain Cue."

He laughs.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Dave Talley on 11 September 2020, 20:49:56
oooh supers with issues
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Brother Jim on 11 September 2020, 21:51:19
I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: DOC_Agren on 11 September 2020, 22:57:27
I'm not sure what the ride going to be but I'm here for it
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Artifex on 12 September 2020, 03:41:10
I have yet to see a tie-in to BT here ... but it's gonna be an interesting ride!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 06:54:18
"Hey, Lisa, check it out, the teevee!"

I look up instead of taking my shot.  The television had a picture of what looks like a Faberge egg on a pillar of fire.  The caption at the bottom, says 'Sea-Tac'.

I put the butt of the cue-stick on the floor, and watch with everyone else.

"So, I wonder which parahuman nutjob those belong to?"  I'm not impressed.  Why should I be? Seattle has four superheroes, five if you count Warhawk up in Lynnwood, plus 11th Special Forces out of Fort Lewis, and,if whichever would-be world conqueror this is beats those guys they can still call in Seal Team 41 out of Port Angeles.

the fancy easter-egg's got garage doors on the lower half, and there are armored figures jumping out.

"Huh.  I don't have a scale but..."  it drops down to where we can see the buildings-and one of the 'airborne' figures landing next to a 747.

"Big stuff, so who shat the bed over in Langley and let someone build giant robots?"  Deke muses.

I snort.  The Mahdi was something Langley created and shat the bed on, we had to deal with him because he got to be too big a mess for the norms.  "Not sure." I confess.

I have my own suspicions. 

"Markings don't look familiar, wish that Cameraman had his shit together long enough to get a closeup."  Deke's got a thoughtful look on his face.

"You do not, this'll be over in an afternoon anyway, and we'll all hear about which big-brain nutjob got loose, probably while CNN is drooling over another 'trial of the century' before the guy is stuffed into Yucca Mountain for the rest of his life."  I'm pretty confident.  The guys from 11th are all solid operators, and so are the guys and girls from 41.  Their power-armor isn't, maybe, thirty feet tall or anything, but they're plenty to handle some weirdo's homebuilt giant robot army, and Seal Team 41 helped deal with a Kaiju in Tokyo Bay last year.

The barman raises his eyebrows and motions a 'turn it up' with his hand, and Deke shakes his head.  It's some super's bid for dominance and we're not them.

Let the Professionals handle it.  I chalk my cue, and turn around to take my shot.

Nice, smooth break.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 07:12:05
Deke's got me down and he's two balls from winning when the floor of the bar vibrates with a roar.

"What the hell?"  I look up, as the lights go out and teevee stops working.  There's thunder outside.

We head outside, and I see it settling down near the middle of town, on 101, right before the bridge between Aberdeen and Kamiak.

another ****** egg.

this time I can see the markings pretty clear. They like the stylized anime-inspired artwork, that's a fact.  way to ruin my social day, ******.

Remember that kid who was going to rob the bank?  How I said it'd take them an hour to come pick his ass up?

Well, he intelligently ditched the costume, at least, but the thirty-something foot tall cross between a star wars chickenwalker and the front end of an Apache, kicked over a State Patrol Icebox truck, and the kid's covering behind the vehicle, trading plasma fire with said giant chickenwalker robot.

Aberdeen-Hoquiam doesn't have professionals, and if they're landing here, it means...

"Deke?"

"Yeah?"

"that kid's going to get his ass crushed."

"Probably."

****** you god.  ****** you and ****** me.

"You wanna claim a win on the game, Deke?"

"Sure."

I hand him one of my five dollar bills. "Rematch when it's over?"

"You bet."

I trot out to where dumbshit is trying to flay the armor off of a giant walking war machine, just about in time, too-the van he's covering behind isn't going to be cover for much longer.

I tackle stupid kid with plasma powers, in time for the first fifty milimeter shell from that walking tank to hit me just above my left kidney.

Kid sprawls as I take the shot that was going to turn him into a crater lined with vapor.  the second and third ones hit my left shoulder, and give my hair a cut right down to the skin.

"YOU! Get to COVER!!"  I tell dumbshit.

dumbshit nods and runs.

"HEY ******!! YOU RUINED  MY POOL GAME!!"  I pick up a piece of burst Icbox van, and huck it at the cockpit glass.

I guess I'm stealing laundry by the time this is over.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Sharpnel on 12 September 2020, 08:14:51
So is this a BT/Champions crossover with Time Travel somehow involved.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 09:19:08
the walker just about notices me, and finishes off my jeans and my boots.  I pick up one of the slugs, it's about a .50 cal in size.

"Seriously??"  I flick it back and it bounces off his canopy.

I think I confused him.

hell, I know I confused him.  all the gun-muzzles on his walking tank are tracking me as I walk up to the leg of it.

remember what I told you about my power?  I punch the leg right where it joins into this reverse chicken-foot, about the ankle.

here's what happened.

the outer layer shattered.  then I punched it again, and the inner, rigid parts, start breaking.

dude lifts off on rockets, lighting the ends of my hair on fire and finishing my clothes.

it also melts the asphalt under my feet.  Now, let me tellya, liquid asphalt is hell to get out of your toenails-the shit sticks to everything.

even when it's on fire.

"Aww come ON!!"

his landing finishes what my punches began, and his walking tank winds up landing on a busted leg about 110 yards away.

right into this nice little house that's probably been empty for the last couple years.

even the for-rent sign is faded from sitting there and the grass wasn't kept up.

and he starts pumping gun fire-and I dont' mean little guns either, trashing half the street trying to hit me.

a couple of them do, and I get a good look at what's probably intended to be a DU Penetrator when it flattens between my...yeah.

I'm irritated, my crotch is chafing since he's using some kinda lazer to remove my body-hair...and when it misses, it's slicing through parked cars and wreckage.

dammit, I live here.

so I walk up on him, and his chopper-style cockpit is about eye level.

I knock.  using my full strength, like a roundhouse punch, I knock.

the glass spiderwebs (so some kind of super-tech material maybe? I can beat my way through concrete without breaking a sweat...)  the glass shatters and the guy in the seat's got a really freaked out look on his face.

"You're lowering the property values in a slum dickhead!!" I shout at him.

So naturally, having seen his walking tank do absolutely nothing besides turning me into an angry, one-woman burlesque review, he tries to shoot me in the face with a dinky little nine milimeter pistol.

I start breaking out the hole in his cockpit.  "Look, you jerk, the guns on your fancy robot didn't work, what the hell makes you think your pea-shooter sidearm will?"

gotta be a hench.  or just an idiot.

idiot hench? ding-ding-ding! he puts his hands in the air after he finishes the second magazine from his pistol.

"Out."  I jerk my thumb sideways, and he unbuckles from his pilot seat.

"Now, I'm not a cop, so you're going to sit over there-" I point at a park bench that's somehow managed to not be turned into twisted wreckage, "And you're going to wait quietly for the police to come pick your ass up, because if I hve to chase you down, I'm gonna hurt you."

about then, is when one of his friends show up in an entirely different kind of walking tank.  This one looks like someone glued the nose of a B-29 onto a...well...******.  I didn't like those cartoons, but it looks like something you'd see on Robotech from when I was a little kid.

"Surrender to the power of The Clan!!" booms across the park.

I cross my arms, while dude-bro who just failed to kill me runs the other way-out of the line of fire.  Smart man.

This one fires missiles out of boxes on the shoulders, and has a bunch of cannons and guns.

"Nope.  I don't think so, jerkoff.  Stupid name for your group, by the way."

it's not heroic.  I don't care. if he's focusing on me, he's not laying waste to a town that's had a couple decades of bad luck.  I flip him the bird.

He takes the bait.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 12 September 2020, 09:22:14
This is fun so far but I have to ask, am I meant to know who Lisa Quentin is?

(A quick google didn't run up anything obvious)
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 09:25:59
This is fun so far but I have to ask, am I meant to know who Lisa Quentin is?

(A quick google didn't run up anything obvious)

Lisa's my own creation, and I haven't finished her actual book yet, so...

I know, I'm playing with my toys out of order.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 12 September 2020, 09:32:16
Lisa's my own creation, and I haven't finished her actual book yet, so...

I know, I'm playing with my toys out of order.

I can relate to that  ;D

The "featuring.." in the title made me wonder if I should already know
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 09:35:27
Interlude: another perspective.

Star Commander Paul knew something went horribly wrong with the jump.  Terra was there, but everything, and I do mean everything was...wrong.

The arcologies were missing, there were no vast construction stations over Luna, just a sad little abandoned outpost with a single flag where Armstrong was supposed to be.

there was no challenge, or even acknowledgement of the Clan Warship bringing the invasion force, and sensor scans showed an almost pathetic lack of fusion power sources on the planet below.

but it was absolutely, in every aspect, in the right place for Holy Terra.

Of course, this had to be a trick.  Something the Word of Blake had somehow done.

His Cluster embarked for landings on the old Star League capital, and the landings had gone almost ludicrously unopposed, his own Trinary going to secure the critical military faciities that were supposed to be at Aberdeen.

"We are in the wrong place..."

that was fifteen minutes ago.  NOW, he saw one of his 'mechwarriors fleeing from a nude woman and the ruins of his 'mech.

and she had just turned around, yelled something incoherent, and made a gesture that had managed to survive a thousand or more years of human civilization.

this is the wrong place. but...it could not be, could it?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: georgiaboy on 12 September 2020, 09:36:18
This is really nice.
I can picture the scene.
Just don't blow the Denny's there in Down Town. That is one of the only landmarks I know for the Highway turn toward Olympia.


Been a few years since I cruised thru there.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 09:55:55
I don't bother with letting him display his no-doubt amazing abilities at inaccurate urban renovation.  as it is, the city's probably going to want to charge me for the mess in the park.

jokes on them, I don't have any money.

I run up to the second,bigger, chicken-walker walking tank, and give the thing's foot a good, hard, goal-winning kick.

which sets off the explosives in the legs, doing the claymore treatment to everything in a forty foot circle.

I kick his foot again, and climb on for his inevitable rocket-to-freedom.

Disappointingly, he starts walking backward.

Okay then...I wedge my skinny ass up into the knee joint, and let pressure do what pressure does.  IN this case, breaking the knee, and making the walking tank fall down.

this buries one set of gun muzzles in the dirt.  I walk around to the back, and start punching my way in.  "Knock Knock! let me in! Knock Knock, Let Me In!!"

he starts thrashing, which just breaks more of his stuff.

In a world of cardboard and drywall, I'm the iron ****** maiden.

wait, that's got a copyright on it.

I punch my way up into the cockpit, and lay an arm over the pilot's neck.

"Let's talk property damages, asshat."  I tell him mock-coolly.  "Who's your boss and what's their angle henchie?"
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: idea weenie on 12 September 2020, 10:31:33
How long before a point of Elementals decides they want to deal with the annoying human?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Orangeduke38 on 12 September 2020, 11:08:41
Nice little story. Its had me cracking up a lot and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes next.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 12 September 2020, 11:22:32
"Perhaps this one was so eager to to fight that she even bid away her clothes!"
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: mikecj on 12 September 2020, 11:47:41
They're gonna need more shrinks.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 12:06:47
Before he can get more than a few startled noises out, I see our young plasma-generator teenager running like his ass is on fire and his hair is catching.

and behind him, well...

They're bigger than SF suits, better armored looking, with bigger weapons.

I put a sleeper-hold on the cockpit guy, and crawl my ass back out of his robot.

Look, don't judge me, okay? I'm not a hero.  I am, however, a lot more likely to get their attention off the kid before they make him dead.

"Hey BOYYYYSSS!!!"  shit, that never works.

thankfully, I have mister pilot's sidearm, and believe it or not, I actually qualified with the M-9. 

This one has a little more recoil.  It did get the lead robot's attention, which got the interest of the other four.

I walk down the slope of the dead robot, and drop onto the now burnt grass and churned dirt.

I will need a bath after this, I think, I hope I get one.

"Quit picking on the kids and..."  one of them pops off at me with the Metroid Gun on his left arm. "...pick on someone your own size?"

okay, I'm smaller than they are.  It's the thought that counts.

I feel like there should be some bass-heavy, sleazy disco music starting.  You know, like those movies you see on Cinemax at two AM.

"So which one of you is Samas Aran?"

I feel like such a nerd knowing who that is.

Now, in the movies, when the hero of the movie issues their bold challenge, the mob of mooks come at him (or her) one at a time.  This never happens in real life.  Real tactics don't allow it, real common sense wouldn't either.

they came at me one at a time. who does that??


It turns out, beating up power armor with your fists is exhausting, and kind of upsetting for the giant ass guys wearing it.

Thankfully, I didn'th ave to beat up all of them.  Dumbshit with the  plasma powers finally made himself useful, and fried one.

but now we've got five prisoners and I have no idea what to do with them, except try to call the cops to come collect them.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: mikecj on 12 September 2020, 12:22:57
 :D ;D ;D ;D ;D :thumbsup:

Nicely developing so far.  Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 12:50:58
"...my name's Ernest." Dumbshit finally comes clean.

"It okay to call you 'Ernie' then? or you got like, a middle name or something?"  Nobody should have to be called Ernest, no wonder he wanted to be a supervillain with a cheesy name.

"no." he says.  Kid tried to draw down on a walking tank, and picked a fight with a gang in power armor, and he's struggling not to look at my chest.  it would be adorable in a movie-or hilarious.

"Eyes," I tell him, lifting his chin, "My eyes are up here."

"Yes ma'am."

"Present... cell phone, Ernest."  I hold out my hand.

He puts a Samsung Galaxy 3 in it.  "Rich parents?"

"Yes Ma'am." he tells me.

"Great.  Call your parents after I call the cops-they don't need to be scared out of their damn minds worrying about you."

"They won't be.  Mom's in Catalina and Dad's living with his girlfriend in Tokyo."

"FIne, call them anyway...once I've gotten the cops..."

"Due to high call volumes...this is a recorded message for the Washington State Nine One One service, please hold on the line as we are experiencing delays due to high call volumes..."

Well...there goes that plan.

I turn around, "WHich one of you neanderthals is senior?"  Handing the phone back to Ernie.

walking-tank-driver-two raises his hand.

"Name, Rank, Service number." I tell him.

"Paul, Star Commander, what is a service number?"

Oh ****** no, no, no.

"Okay, Paul, 'star commander' sounds like an officer rank.  Get the rest of these monkeys lined up, we're marching-they act up, you pay the price, dig it?"

"Where are we going, uh...Lisa?" Ernie asks.

"Cop shop, to find out why it's a busy signal on all lines that aren't a recording."

"You're...ah...kinda naked."

"This has occurred to me, Ernie."

He takes off his flannel, it's not quite a nightshirt, but three or four sizes too big for the kid.  "Here."

I am so goddam grateful all of a sudden.  "thanks."

the compromise is to wrap the thing around my waist.  I can let the boobies be free, it's America, after all.

Ernie gives me his tee-shirt too.  Poor kid.  scrawny doesn't begin to describe it.  "Thanks."

"You need, like, a trenchcoat or something awesome." He tells me.

"I'm not a superhero...not a villain either."

"Yeah, but you could ditch it and pick it up later if you had one."

"good point..." I gesture with the pistol, "Let's go boys, single file down the street, don't make any stupid moves."

I think I left my Purse at the Legion hall.  Oh I hope I did.  I do NOT want to go through the lines you go through after losing your wallet.  Plus, now I have to buy clothes to go home in.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 13:10:28
Turns out the police station's a crater.

"Column left, march." I have no idea where to take these guys now.

BUT...there's a 7-11 and it's not on fire.

so I march them there, and make 'em sit outside, "Ernie, you got money?" I ask, "I'll pay you back."

"Sure...what're you getting?"

"Beer and smokes, some jerky and water for the prisoners, you want anything?"

"Blueberry Slurpee?"

"Sounds like a plan."

half the shelves are shot to hell, nobody's around, I stop by the cold drinks aisle and grab some store-brand water and a couple gatorades.  They've got some big bite dogs on the heating rack, but nobody's manning the counter.

"Screw it, I'll pay it back later."  I mutter, and take all five, load mine with mustard, relish, and pico de gaiillo (however you ****** say it), the tomato-onions-pepper stuff, and grab two packs of Virginia Slims and a set of discount, injection-molded mass produced Seahawks rain gear ("raincoat and Pants! 19.99").

which lets me get Ernie his shirt back. 

the Mariners tee-shirts this year suck, but I grab another one anyway, and a lighter.  "Okay, now I'm a looter." I tell the big  curved mirror.  I toss the pair of twenties out of Ernie's wallet on the counter with a note promising to pay for the rest, and go back outside to the parking lot.

First I give Ernie his wallet, then the Slurpee.  I hand out water bottles and hot-dogs to the rest, and sit down to have a smoke while I figure out what the ****** to do next.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 13:27:21
Paul studied her in depth as she spoke with the boy who threw Particle bolts with his hands.  The boy was nervous and deferential to her, and she...

she might have been pretty, if only every other word from her mouth wasn't profanity.  the food wasn't good.  it was awful.  she ate the same thing she handed out, except for drinking beer instead of bottled water.

had he not personally seen what she did to Sidney's omnimech, she would seem to be nothing but another rustic spheroid, but he had.

and he had seen her dismantle the point of Elementals as well.  Not merely bare-handed, but naked

and now she wore ill-fitting, mass produced 'clothing' that would shame a laborer, while sitting on the concrete step in front of this supply point, trying to decide what to do with her captives.

He had suspected something had gone terribly wrong during the jump to Terra, but this...underscored how terribly wrong...and out of place, he and his warriors were.

he caught her staring across the street, at where the city's garrison had been, swearing under her breath.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: croaker on 12 September 2020, 14:04:36
Quote
he caught her staring across the street, at where the city's garrison had been, swearing under her breath.

Somebody stepped on Dunkin Donuts? That's just cruel.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 14:31:29
It didn't take too much longer to find out what was going on in the rest of Washington State.

How did she do this, you ask?

Well, I'll tell you.  We went to the Legion Hall, and picked up my purse.

"They hit pretty fast, Lisa."  Deke's in charge for real, and there's a bunch of old guys, some of them from my group therapy, here with hunting rifles, AR-15's, AK's and stuff they brought home from Vietnam on the sly.  "Who are those guys?"

"Enemy soldiers, Deke, I don't have anywhere to keep them!"

"Yeah, I figured that...okay, we'll lock them in the basement for now.  Herlinger did some service time in Military intelligence, and Rice was an MP...Lisa, the Olympic Peninsula's still contested territory, but everything along I-5 from Portland to Vancouver's either under attack or occupied...and they sank the lincoln with some kind of space-based weapon."

shit. shit shit shit.

"Where's the Liberty Brigade then?" I ask.

He shrugs.  "Don't know, we know from Lee's talking on the radio that aside from some strategic strikes on U.S. bases, the continental united states hasn't been invaded-no landings west of the Cascades...yet."

"Do we have any contact with anyone?"

"Da.  Lee comes out of the back room, "Heya Lisa...I've got Baba Frikking Yaga on the DX, Deke.  The Russians are also getting hit, not as many forces, more orbital strikes."

I feel a chill at the name.  Baba Yaga, aka 'Mother Russia', here's a funny story for ya.  last year, 2007, while the politicians were arguing over who got credit for killing the Mahdi in Afghanistan, and the Department of the navy was keeping me in a rubber room?  the North Koreans had a 'stray' missile test, with a live nuke on it, that landed in Siberia.

She made it snow in Pyongyang for long enough to put a half-mile of ice on top of North Korea from the Chinese Border to the 38th Parallel.

Because they pissed her off.

Putin might be the Russian President, but pretty much everyone knows, Baba wears the pants in that relationship.

"For ****** real?" comes out of my mouth.

"yeah, she told me you were walking in, she wants to talk to Lisa Quentin."

gawd dammit.  what do you say to an unstable demigod?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 12 September 2020, 14:53:38
She made it snow in Pyongyang for long enough to put a half-mile of ice on top of North Korea from the Chinese Border to the 38th Parallel.

How long did that take, and what did it do to the rest of the world's weather patterns?  >:D
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 12 September 2020, 15:02:35
At first, once the Overlord class stared landing, I thought this might be a California Nebula cross.  Which it easily could be.

But, yeah, Clanners landing on an alternate Earth with superhumans? That should be hilarious. Lisa may be invulnerable, and be like a toned down Invulnerability/Super Strength tanker from City of Heroes, but not every superhero can tank a PPC to the face.

This reminds me, I should go remake my old CoH Invuln/SS Power Pool build.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 15:19:20
[out of story]

Setting Notes:

The USA doesn't have the most powerful supers.  not in the world, not even in North America.  This isn't to say the US doesn't have powerful supers (both villains and heroes), but the U.S. doesn't have the most powerful ones.

for North America, the most powerful supers native to the continent are the RCMP's "Special Branch", which have probably the best infrastructure devoted to superhuman abilities and a lot of the most powerful of the empowered in the U.S. emigrate to Canada yearly to take advantage of that infrastructure.

World-wide, the heavyweight champion of superhumans, is Baba Yaga out of Russia, who is known to be ridiculously powerful, batshit crazy, and only really interested in Russia and the slavic peoples west of Russia.

Notably, she is only really interested in the historic borders of the old Russian Empire, and not particularly concerned with expanding the Empire.  which is good for everyone, but some bad feelings did happen since this meant that, aside from turning away probes at the southern end of her reach, and intimidating the crap out of Turkey, she refused to get involved in the troubles in the Middle East.

The U.S. has the second or third best 'organization' model for having superhumans and NOT turning them into super-dictators.

it's illegal to use your powers unless you have a Government Certification in the United States.  I suppose if we emptied the prisons at 'the Coal mine' in West Virginia or Yucca Mountain in Nevada, the U.S. could boast the second largest concentration of supers instead of being Sixth.

Power ratings:

F: functional powers, powers with severe limits.  F grade superhumans are barely above normal human limits in one or two abilities. a prepared normal can beat an F class using mundane technologies.

E: slightly above F, but below D class.  Abilities in this range are clearly superhuman, but not unstoppably so.  An E class might require backup by trained professionals, and will require lethal grade hardware to subdue in most cases.

D: Bring friends. A D-class can handle up to a squad of trained soldiers without breaking a sweat, or a moderately well equipped SWAT team,and requires advanced equipment to restrain and/or incarcerate.

C: Flashy powers, if you can fly, you're automatically going to pull a C-class, even if it's slower than driving.  C-class abilities might include a minor control over certain forces, super-strength up to ten times body weight, or speed up to 40 miles an hour.

B: We're starting to get into celebrity level ability here.  Most B class can Fly or move at super-speeds, most have superhuman strength up to 20 times body mass on a dead-lift, occasionally you see secondary abilities.  Requires a well-armed company of troops to stop and high powered weapons to put down.

A: A-Class superhumans are into your 'headliner' range.  Telekinesis, flight into the hundreds of miles an hour, super-strength sufficient to move up to 100 times the Super's body-weight, gross violations of conventional physics.

AA: this is where wearing a cape looks good on you. 

AAA: Mentally Ill Demigod.

as power increases, sanity takes hits.  it's a typically suggested phenomena in the literature that the more powerful your superhuman abilities are, the less emotionally stable you become,and the more likely  you are to believe in your own delusions.  Megalomania is a typical expresssion, which accounts for the greater number of Supers with a bent toward some form of irresponsible behaviours, whether it's the idea that they, alone, can save the world, or that they, alone, know how to 'fix' the world.  Narcissism is also pretty common, and stable governments have found ways to leverage that in order to keep some kind of control over their superhumans.

point blank, governments prefer their superheroes to be kind of dim, because it's easier to feed their delusions and keep them under control if they're kind of dim.  (hence, whole departments devoted to managing 'fame and celebrity' for powerful superhumans.)

The category that has the greatest threat to domestic order, are those superhumans whose abilities are mental.  particularly 'super geniuses'.  Most of these go deep into megalomania and have to be put down.  (Famous cases like Overlord in Tacoma, who was too dangerous to keep in prison not because he was particularly powerful, but because he was spectacularly clever-and utterly ruthless and without conscience, a 'macguyver' type when he was 'Cleverman' as a hero, Overlord turned his genius to getting people to agree with him-whether they wanted to or not, developing a number of mind and body control technologies and committing a slew of horrific crimes before being brought down...and he was only a B class intellect.)

Lisa Quentin is currently unrated, but classed as 'safed' by the Department of Defense and the Department of Superhuman Affairs, but her psych profile indicates severe PTSD combined with suicidal ideation and chronic depressive personality disorder, and she gets the really good drugs courtesy of the Veteran's Administration.  The stuff that costs five hundred bucks a pill and has a street value that is nearly incalculable... the stuff they give to make psycho mass murderers drool in the corner like lumps.   it's the stuff they use for crowd control at overcrowded sanitariums for the criminally insane.

she eats about 35,000 dollars worth of those a month with only a 500 dollar co-pay.

Just to...give you some perspective.

How long did that take, and what did it do to the rest of the world's weather patterns?  >:D

It took Baba Yaga three days.  There...were casualties.  Baba Yaga is 'not nice'.  (and yes, there are environmental consequences.)
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Ttw1 on 12 September 2020, 15:40:01
TAGed.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 12 September 2020, 15:52:50
[out of story]
It took Baba Yaga three days.  There...were casualties.  Baba Yaga is 'not nice'.  (and yes, there are environmental consequences.)

I figured if it took less than 3 months then most of the population in North Korea would die apart from those on the coast who could float/swim out of the country.

I wonder how South Korea feels about the glaciers advancing on Seoul...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: croaker on 12 September 2020, 16:14:54
I wonder how South Korea feels about the glaciers advancing on Seoul...

They aren't. Baba Yaga asked them nicely not to, and they're terrified of what she'll do if they put one snowflake over the border.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Rodon on 12 September 2020, 16:30:38
They aren't. Baba Yaga asked them nicely not to, and they're terrified of what she'll do if they put one snowflake over the border.

Well, it has helped global warming, but the downside is that South Korea is having to make some ice roads in a winter wonder land.  Or perhaps I should say Korea, instead of South Korea, since the North isn't in any position to raise any fuss over it.  China may be ok with it, since its a little hard to do anything across a winter waste land, with just ice roads to drive on.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 12 September 2020, 16:39:40
So many consequences for this world, I can barely start...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: idea weenie on 12 September 2020, 16:57:37
"Perhaps this one was so eager to to fight that she even bid away her clothes!"

Maybe she remembered another fight, where since the villain said they wouldn't use their hands the hero bid away his shirt, like this (https://youtu.be/FxChP7oux1E?t=492)

Of course the other fun is if the superheros manage to get offworld, or the local technoheroes and technovillains decide to reverse-engineer the various mechs and other technology.

If the Clanners were smart, they'd just turn the planet into a zone for their Scientist Caste to take all the tech improvements created and weaponize them.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 19:35:38
Intermission: Paul

Whoever 'baba yaga' was, scared her.  that much was clear to him-an almost worshipful terror at the name.

"Who is this...'Baba Yaga'?" he asked.

"Professor Milena Tsereshkovka of the Ikutsk technical institute and laboratory." one of the local Solahma, the one-handed man, 'Deke' said, "Also known as 'Mother Russia', 'General Winter', 'Little Grandmother', and the scariest...being...on the planet.  thanks to her, the Russkies don't even need nukes anymore except for their power grid, and their government's terrified if they try to fake an election.  Everyone else is afraid she might get bored with dominating most of Eastern Europe and Asia and start making a fuss, because we don't have a viable counter."

"If she is the strongest, why does she not already rule?" Paul asked.

"Because she doesn't want to."  He sighed, "You really don't know, do you?"

"I..really do not." Paul said.

"How did Lisa catch you?" Deke asked.

"She defeated two 'mechs and a point of elementals."

"With what?"

"Her fists." Paul acknowledged, "I have never even heard of such power."

"Lisa is very fragile, Mister..what the ungodly ****** is your last name anyway?"

"I have not yet earned a bloodname, sir."

"hoo, someone brainwashed the ****** out of you."  the old man shook his head.  "want a beer, kid?"

"What do you mean...'fragile'?" Paul asked.

"You're interested?" Deke asked, using a primitive mechanical claw to work the tap while filling a pitcher with something golden and frothy.

"Aff. she fascinates me." Paul confessed, "But nothing I have seen indicates this...fragility you speak of."

"Lisa spent ninety seven days in the hands of the Mahdi's forces, as a prisoner, which saw her service date extended because she was captured on her way home after serving her tour in the Marines."  Deke said, "THey overran the Green Zone in Damascus, her convoy was hit by a roadside bomb that killed everyone in her squad...except Lisa.  They put her through ninety seven days of torture-if you can imagine it, I can probably confirm it-they did things in that former hospital that make sadists puke.  She got to spend the next two years in Red River psychiatric hospital, because the first thing she did after being debriefed, was steal an SP's sidearm and try to blow her own head off."

Paul felt ill.

"So...fragile."  Deke finished, "She served this country and when she came home broken, they did what they did to a bunch of us when we came home from the Nam, doped her on happy pills and tossed her out on her ass with a monthly check that means she can't live anywhere decent, because they don't want her around 'their kind of people'."

"she is assigned inferior quarters?" Paul asked innocently.

"No, she gets enough from the government to afford a trailer in Aberdeen/Hoquiam, or up in Tonasket, or homelessness in the cities where there are actual jobs and opportunities."  Deke explained, "and they give her the kind of drugs they use for crowd control in the locked wards of our finest mental hospitals-the ones where the orderlies get away with beating and raping the inmates."

"Savashri, that is...that is barbaric!!"

"Tell that to the Congress." Deke said casually, "They vote for wars, and then they vote to cut benefits for the veterans that fight those wars, vote for veteran support, and then strangle the funding with porkbarrel riders, or 'targeted investments' that don't actually deal with the problems...because nobody knows how to deal with the problems."

"How?"

Deke snorted, and then recited from memory:

"...Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
    Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
    But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.
 
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
    While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
    But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
    There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
    O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.
 
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
    But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
    An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
    An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!"


"Um...is that a poem?" Paul asked.

"Yes.  God, your schooling must've been worse than mine.  Rudyard Kipling's 'Tommy'.  You're what, twenty four?"

"Twenty Two, sir."

"Okay, Twenty two, and you never took English Lit?"

"it was not...relevant." Paul said.

"Lots of kids say that.  My Daughter complains about hearing parents say that during teacher conferences." Deke shook his head.  "I think when I was twenty I said it too."

Lisa came out of the back room with a scowl fit to curdle milk.

"So...what was she like?" Deke asked over Paul's shoulder.

"Vodka...no, rocket fuel, straight up." Lisa said, climbed on a bar stool, "And Deke, is my old guitar still back there?"

"yeah."

"good, gimme a bottle of everclear, a slice of lime, and some time to think. Baba Yaga called to let me know if I don't do something about these 'interlopers' she would...as if I could."

"So...the plan is..?"

"do my best to get hammered for as long as I can, play songs I've been practicing at the trailer, and wait for the world to end.  I got nothing." Lisa said sourly.  "No ****** ideas."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 12 September 2020, 19:52:25
So, "deal with this or I turn your continent into an ice cube."

No pressure...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 20:01:31
I start with some stuff I learned in High School.  Patsy Kline, Siouxie Sioux, Cowboy Junkeez.  I'm in a mood.  On a normal weeknight, Deke or Harry will give a discount on drinks for using the stage, and a couple of times, I've gotten a few bucks for playing on a weekend. 

Simeon over at the corner, there, he crawled around in tunnels in Cu Chi province before I was born, got out, and makes one of the few decent livings left in Aberdeen-he made my guitar for me after hearing the piece of crap 'diablo' I was hauling around.  He likes old country music, and I'm feeling like a damn country song.  I use the arrangement Emmylou Harris used (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3LQeRqTBK4) (and I grew up on back home, because Grandfather liked her stuff too) of a song written by Townes Van Zandt.

Living on the road my friend
Was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron
Your breath's as hard as kerosene
You weren't your mama's only boy
But her favorite one it seems
She began to cry when you said goodbye
And sank into your dreams...


the old men get quiet, listening to me pick the twelve string and sing.  what the hell else can we do?  I don't know.  I have one trick.

Someone let the gorillas come in out of the cellar. I guess locking them in there with the spare booze occured to someone as a bad idea.  I keep the tune, and keep playing.  While I'm singing and playing it feels like my mind's clearing.  I have one trick... and Baba Freaking Yaga wants me to stop an invasion.

Jesus, one of the big guys is crying.  I'm not that good...unless he's never heard better.

I'll switch up to an Iron Maiden favorite, 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner', which was popular when I was a little kid. It's acoustic, I have no drums, no bass guitarist, no effects, and I sure as hell don't sound like Bruce Dickinson...but there are tricks, and a few bandmates in Portland taught me a few of them.

I know what I need.  I just don't have it.  I need a mastermind.  a Mental Attributes superhuman at least C class if not B.  There are two (were two?) in the Northwest.  One of them was Overlord, but he's in Yucca Mountain now, packed down at the bottom with the other toxic waste.

the other one is only a rumour out of Everett, on the other side of the Sound.  Violent vigilante super, ran MS-13 and the Aryan Legion out of snohomish county, the rumours are, he's a techboy genius with a gift for psychological warfare tactics and at least two powered henches.

Yes, Vigilantes get henchmen-they're technically criminals and that's how the law, MSNBC and CNN treat them.  ******, technically so am I after today...which isn't going to be good for anyone in this room if the Attorney General decides to press charges.

which, given O'Ryan being an O'Ryan and me being a Quentin, is a guaranteed certainty, and it doesn't matter that I haven't been in contact with the rest of the family since I got back, either.

I wish I'd called Aunt Cindy, talked to cousin Val...

but I didn't.  and now, I probably won't be able to.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 20:27:42
Interlude, Ernest Payton

"...was going to be famous, I thought." Ernest confessed. 

"Sounds like teenage rebellion to me."  Hector Schwarz nodded, "You got powers, and decided to make some noise."

"Yeah, exactly! only...first time out, in a costume i worked my ass off to put together, and PFHHHTH!!!" he said dramatically, "She stops me cold and tells me every step of how stupid my plans are...so I storm off, thinking how I'm gonna show her, show everybody!!"

Ernest wasn't stupid...well, for Seventeen years old son of an Executive and an old-money mom. 

"And that's when...these Clans showed up."

"Yeah.  I thought my plasma blasts were powerful until I saw what they were using.  So I got this new idea, right? gonna save the city from the invaders..."

"And how did that work for you?"

"Uh...I got two?" Ernest said, "It scared the shit out of me, but I kill...oh jesus, I killed two people."

"And there's your cherry breaking, kid." Hector said, and took the coke from Ernest, "You did a man's work, you should have a man's drink.  I was eighteen when I volunteered for the army, right in the middle of my brother joining the protests against Vietnam, so I went and volunteered for that, too.  I was going to show everybody.  My bro, he got in with bad people while I was gone.  Got himself killed in Chicago during the riots in '68..." he tipped a flask into the coke and gave it back, "Stir it a little or it'll burn."

Ernest never had a drink before. I haven't done a lot of things before he realized.  The scarred killer in front of him was older than his dad by a lot, and looked at him in a way his own father never did.

it took a moment to process what respect looked like.  what it really looked like.

"So she stopped me from making a terrible mistake...and then, she saved my ass when I found out they were a lot more dangerous than I'd thought."

"You feel you can do it again?"

"i...I don't know, I want to say 'yes'..."

"Good man. that fear? listen to it, but don't always obey it.  Crazy brave gets people killed." Hector counseled him, then took his wrist, "You'll be alright 'mano."

"H-how do you know?"

"I got a feel for people."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 21:31:18
I finish the set, and I feel clarified.  Maybe that's finishing half a bottle of grain alcohol.

"They were pretty clear about their mission." Deke tells me.  "Apparently, whoever their 'khan' is, she gave them instructions to hit a set of military installations that we haven't even had plans to build.  We've got numbers though."

"Numbers?"

"How many enemy, how they are getting around, the size of the battleship they have in orbit." he lined out.  "They aren't the invasion, they're just the vanguard, and they're early."

"How early?" I ask.

He does some napkin math, "About a thousand and seventy three years."

"what?"

"Means we only have to worry about the main body of their invasion fleet sometime in the thirty-first century."  He clarifies, "Or...they're all duped by real freak and this is all he has...either way, pretty sure once this bunch is defeated we're not going to see another for a while, maybe never.  Makes the problem solvable...and explains why they're not trying these landings outside of a few areas that really aren't considered 'key' in the strategic picture of today."

"Western Washington's pretty ****** important!"

He chuckles, and serves me a fresh beer, "it's important...but not as important as, say, SAC-NORAD, which their officer thinks is a bombed out crater, or Fort Huachuca, or Fort Hood, or Irwin."

"Places..."

"Points their maps say are irradiated wastelands, which is also why they're avoiding eastern washington, where, according to the guys you picked up, a nuke was set off over Yakima during a previous civil war."

"These guys are the face of our future? bullshit."

"Maybe not our future..somebody's, but maybe not ours.  Considering how much of OUR world they didn't and don't know anything about, I'd hazard a guess that the Star Trekkers were right about there being multiple timelines...so, now you've got a sidekick."

"Still not a hero." I say.

"I won't argue with you, Lisa." Deke tells me, "But you're doing hero's work, you might as well own it."

"Heroes get people killed." I quote Firefly.

"Okay, superhero work."

"Vigilante at best Deke." I tell him, "Doug O'Ryan will have everyone in this bar in front of a judge as accessories once the panic's over.  'aiding and abetting a felon'."

Deke shrugs, "if he finds out."

"That's conspiracy to obstruct justice." I remind him,"ANOTHER felony...christ, I'm going to die in prison like my mom. He'll pursue each count separately to get me on Three Strikes."

"It won't come to that, Lisa."

"You don't know the O'Ryans, Deke." I tell him, "My family and his have a long standing...disagreement.  It occasionally results in arson, and has shed blood in the past.  Grandad's dead, but that doesn't mean that Dougie O'Ryan isn't going to do everything in his power to get one or more of us...and he's got a lot of power."

"You tanked a shot from a tank-grade artillery piece and it only messed up your clothes, Lisa."

"yeah, but I can't get a judge to issue warrants until I've bankrupted my enemies." I tell him.  "He ****** pushed to get the WSP on mom's case, the last time they busted her was on a parole violation involving a single joint that probably wasn't even hers.  Three strikes. three felonies, life in prison, where mysteriously prison medical delayed until her treatable cancer was terminal...and the son of a bitch did it while knowing I was a POW overseas in a war he lobbied to support."

I turn to look at the room.  "I have enemies, Deke...and now, so do you, and I'm so sorry about that."

"Kinda why you kept away from your family then?"

I nod.  "I'm going to have to go into the demon's den." I tell him.  "We need an ally-a specific kind of ally."

"what kind?"

"A mastermind.  someone smarter than they should be.  It's the only way we can beat these bastards and keep Baba ****** Yaga from 'doing it for us'...she threatened me, Deke."

"The old bat has a rep for being scary as ******, Lisa."

"It's deserved."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 21:38:10
The 'bondsmen', the four big guys and the normal sized Paul, bed down in the drunk room, Howard says it's fine and the old men post a guard.

Deke takes me 'home'.  The airstream's older than he is, set up on concrete blocks and made out of building code violations and aluminum.

It's nice to take a shower, even if the shower's camper-grade, and it's nice to have underwear to put on. I don't get a lot of sleep, but I get some.

Mentally I'm going over what I have to do. 

it keeps me awake until sunrise.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 September 2020, 23:22:21
CWS Pack's Den, Terra Orbit...

The impossible has happened, and they could not even report it.  The Vanguard attack on the Word of Blake had arrived in orbit over Holy Terra, but it wasn't Holy Terra.  Delta Galaxy reached the target, only to find the target wasn't there.

The recon in force on the surface yeilded several results, chief among them being that instead of it being the 31st century, on the surface, the population believes it to be the 21st century, no one has ever even heard of the Word of Blake, and the technology is as backwards as the worst parts of the deep periphery.

only with larger populations and no ancient history of having once been a star-spanning species.

and then, there were the strange atavisms.  Three were in custody from where the Court of the Star League should have been, and all three had abilities that make no sense whatsoever.

Superheroes, they call themselves.

All three had required enough force that lesser men would have died instantly.  all three were grievously injured. 

Fillip Wilcox, aka 'The Seahawk',  was captured after putting on a display that included unassisted flying, now in critical condition.  a thin woman with no identification whose ability to run meant she managed to run nearly a kilometer out over Lake Washington after being hit by a large laser.  the pursuing Aerospace pilot clocked her ground speed at just over 500 kilometers per hour, and a heaviset man in 'police' uniform named Monroe, who managed to take nearly an entire star of Elementals on in the streets of Queen Anne.

Detective Linus Monroe of the Washington State Patrol was the only one who was still conscious, and able to be interrogated.

"Who's the woman?"

Katya observed the interrogation.

the levels of serum in his blood were high enough to kill an armorbear.  "Prisoner 8735, King County Special Holding." he slurred, "calls herself 'gaian thunder'...ecoterrorist, suspected of ties to the cult of Morgause out of Oregon...she escaped when your troops hit the jail."

"Do you keep a lot of 'Supers' in that facility?"

"No, she was the only one.  we still haven't caught Tinsmith." He was fighting the drugs.  "WHo the hell are you people?"

Worse than having never heard of the Word of Blake, none of these people had ever heard of the Clans, either.

"How did you achieve what you did against our forces?" the interrogator asked.

"Simple...fight." he said, "Lady, even I don't know what the Moriarty process does...or did. My dad...****** you."

His body was already cleared of the drugs.  faster this time.

"Do you know where you are?"

"I'm in the hands of a lunatic supervillain and her cult, you're all under arrest." he said, then laughed,  "I'm so screwed."

"You are empowered to place criminals under arrest, Quiaff?"

"Queef your self lady, the badge didn't come out of a cereal box, I'm one of five Empowered officers of the Law with powers." he said, "Not enough powers to round you all up, but give me  a little time with my head straight and maybe I can work something out.  We can probably find prison space for your whole gang until trial."

"What of The Seahawk?"

"He's a bonded agent of the court, but he's not a cop.  Kind of 'part time help' when he's not doing publicity."

"Who do you have in Aberdeen then?" she asked.

"Nobody I'm aware of. The place is really in too bad a shape even for the usual villains, just a couple of meth gangs and garden variety petty crimes." his indicator showed he was lying.

"You're lying. Who do you have in Aberdeen?"

"She's not a superhero." he said.  detector showed no indication of falsehood, the image from the scanner showed a younger woman, thin, dishwater-brown hair, and associated memories of...

"Leave lisa out of this!" he actually bent the restraints.  "She's suffered enough!"

"You know this person personally, aff?"

"Yes...I put her mother in prison twice." He stated, "I've known her most of her life, and if you people...she's good, she just wants to be left alone.  You drag her into this and..."

"And what?"

"You'll regret it." he said with a wicked gleam in his eye.

"We came to this world in pursuit of criminals." she said.

"Funny, it looked a hell of a lot like you're here to invade to me.  a little of that whole 'invade and conquer' action going on, you killed a lot of good people in your search, I have to say your methods leave something to be desired and are utterly inadequate for an investigation and pursuit.  even, unprofessional if you were here to nail a criminal."

"You will assist."

"No, I will resist, I swore an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of the united states of america, and to defend and protect the people of Washington State. You're a bunch of scumbag invaders who've killed a lot of the people I'm sworn to protect, I will not comply."

"If I order your execution?"

"Then my successor can add murder of a police officer to your rap sheet."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 00:20:25
Data from the King County library was revealing.  Superhumans appeared in the 1930s, and were a major part of the second world war, the United States program to identify and create them was called "Lumberjack" and involved inhumane experiments on volunteers of African descent, at a facility in Tuskeegee Alabama, with the process only being applied to non-colored citizens late in the war, after the first successful batch of survivors had been deployed to Italy and North Africa.

the first supers 'born' with the abilities showed up in the 1950s and 1960s, with treaties limiting the development, deployment and eventually recruitment of superhumans gleefully being ignored and undermined by every major nation on earth during the so-called 'cold' war.

The Watch officers were diligent in their research of public records.  Finding out who "Lisa" was was not difficult.  Finding out what the public knew about the only survivor of a place in the middle east termed 'The Slaughterhouse' was...disturbing.

Only slightly less disturbing than seeing a genealogy of the girl that would embarrass a Bandit Caste.

a long line of criminals and suspected criminal activity.  The Quentins were, essentially, a rural region crime family that had managed time and again to evade prosecutors, while being known to be criminals, or at best, 'outlaws'.

Yet the girl had managed to become one of her nation's elite, joining an elite military organization and serving with distinction through 30 months in a foreign war, only to be captured and taken by the most brutal of enemies just short of coming home for good.

and it was all public record.

"Why Aberdeen?"  Katya asked her prisoner, Monroe.

"Why Aberdeen?" he shrugged, "I don't know. she took the bus from Portland, filed the paperwork, and went there-got all her mail forwarded from the halfway house, she's been 'looking for work' since last year, only there's no work in Aberdeen Washington.  The whole area's been in decline since Weyerhauser left the state and the governor killed the port project there.  I guess she's temped on fishing boats, but not for long-the kid needs her medication."

"Medication?"

"Ninety seven days of torture screws you up, Miss kerensky." he insisted on not using her proper rank.  it was a small defiance but telling.  the man's integrity would not let him openly cooperate...but the man's human need for contact meant she could get more by indirect means.  "Lisa's discharge code? that's a psychological discharge, and she was in Red River, which is high-grade in-patient treatment run by the Navy out in Kansas for two years."

"And she has powers."

"Allegedly." He said, "She's on the red list of known supers, but the Feds didn't want to tell us what she's capable of, only that she needs to be monitored and kept medicated or bad things happen."

the Watch report included public facts about the ratings of superhuman ability.  "What is her rating?"

"Given they wouldn't tell us that either? I'd guess she's high. maybe B or even A when she's not doped out of her mind." he replied, "They wouldn't say but we get taskings from the federal side to support their monitoring efforts on her, and some of those guys are ex-Delta force."

"But no supers?"

"Miss kerensky, you know about the ratings, you have to know the Moriarty Ratio.  One out of every Million people even has powers.  one out of a thousand of those, has powers higher than a C rating.  There are 350 million people in the United STates as a whole, gives us a maximum of 350 people with measurable powers-at least, people who weren't processed by the U.S. Government-artificial supers top out at a C rating. They had to rescale it in the 1960s when naturals started showing up with powers nobody expected at levels nobody could explain.  Your 'elementals' would rate a D rating, right out of the box, training puts them up to C."

"and yours?"

"I'm solidly in the high end of the D ratings.  Your guys were just unprepared. specialized gear lets my department handle up to a low B, like Louise is...by the way, how is she?"

"Still comatose, but her body is healing."

"Good. she can finish serving her sentence then." he sighed.

"What was 'Louise' convicted of?"

"She's an eco-terrorist, mostly tree-spiking and assault, some property damage.  She'll be eligible for parole in four years." he stated, "She hasn't directly killed anyone, and she turned herself in after a logger was killed in the St. Helens area."

"So more of a voluntary surrender then, aff?"

"yeah.  if Louise broke out and broke some of your boys, it's because she means well...but isn't exactly the sharpest crayon in the box.  Miss kerensky, most of the Villains, and capitalize that in whatever report you're filing away, because it's a proper technical term...most of them start out trying to be heroes and get...obsessed, then they get in too deep, and only then do they turn out really bad.  Louise triggered hers during a school shooting.  she took out the shooters, and was on a fast track to be recruited by the feds, only...see, her parents were these 'flower child' types, heavy on the activism-so she went that way instead."

"My watch analysts did look at the trial records." Katya said. "It was in the briefing."

"Then you know the kid can be saved." he said.

"Your profile is also interesting.  you testified against sentencing on several people you yourself were instrumental in arresting. you are a bleeding heart."

"Don't tell my dad that." he said somewhat impishly, his mahogany skin crinkling with a smile, "He thinks I'm a cold-blooded reptile for voting Republican.  even my ma won't speak to me for putting on a badge instead of joining 'the movement', and it's been twenty years since 'the movement' was even relevant."

"You don't want innocent people to die or be harmed." she continued.

"That should be obvious, Miss Kerensky-it's right there on the badge, 'to serve and protect'."

"yet you refuse to render assistance."

"The badge does not say 'to enslave and punish'." he countered.  "Let me clarify for you;  When a police officer fires his weapon he is expected and honor bound to know where that bullet is headed. He is expected to use the minimum force necessary to stop a crime or criminal. there is an expectation that the criminal we stop, actually committed a crime, that there is evidence of it, that we aren't just coming in like a cocaine cowboy guns-a-blazing and devil to the consequences.  There is a social contract that says we uphold the law, that we don't just round people up and beat confessions out of them!!"

"Yet, this does happen."

"Not where I can see it, not where I can stop it." his voice dripped with anger.  "I won't look the other way. that's the difference between us, Miss Kerensky.  Power, corrupts. Abraham Lincoln said 'anyone can survive adversity, the true test of character and courage is to give a man power'.  to be the man I need to be, I have to pay very, very close attention to my own actions and those assigned under me-because I have power, as a law officer, and as a superhuman, and it's very easy to get used to abusing it. when I was working internal affairs, most of the bad cops I busted, had good intentions, but no self awareness-they didn't realize they were going bad until they were so deep they couldn't get out again. Those were the losses, the ones I couldn't save from themselves."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Red Pins on 13 September 2020, 01:17:36
Tagged.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 01:30:26
[out of character: Washington State Patrol Detective Linus Monroe...]

as of 2008:

Age: 48 years old.
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 350 pounds
Build: slight paunch, muscular.
Ancestry: African-American

Born: Tacoma, Washington, October 2, 1959

Superhuman Status: Second Generation, Son of Marcus "Enforcer" Monroe (WW2 era Tuskeegee project survivor, 1st generation superhuman, deceased, vietnam, 1965, cause of death, "Red Guard", a Soviet superhuman advising the Vietcong)

Powerset: short-distance superspeed, regeneration, super-strength, superior sensory ability (Smell and hearing, some vision).  Over all average rating C+, though no single ability exceeds D Rating.  (lacks flight but combined abilities merit the higher over-all ranking when combined with training.)

Known Relatives: Janice Parkhurst (Mother), Robert Muhammed Parkhurst (Stepfather), Tanisha Parkhurst (Half Sister, age 35), Adrianna Monroe (age 19, Daughter), Karianna Monroe (age 24, daughter)


Service Notes:

Graduate, Olympic Community College Law and Justice Program (Associates degree)1978-1980
Washington State Police Academy (1982)
SWAT certification course (1983)
Detective (1986)
Detective Sgt (1990)
Lieutenant (1999)

Linus Monroe is one of three superhumans along the west coast of the united states whom isn't a bonded contractor, but an actual, serving, law enforcement officer for a political entity in the United States.  (the others are located in Los Angeles and Needles, California respectively).

while normally working as a generalist officer of the law, Monroe has received specialist training in the monitoring, apprehension and detention of superpowered indviduals, and has a Federal level security clearance through Department of Justice and the Bureau of Superhuman Affairs.  He is qualified to testify in court as an expert witness up to Federal Appellate level.

Conviction Rates: 89% of cases brought to the Attorney General for prosecution have resulted in convictions.
Overturn rate: 2% of convictions from Cases worked by Linus Monroe have been overturned in appeals courts.
Throw-out rate: 0% as of 2008.

Monroe has 1 ex-wife and 2 daughters. He has unsupervised visitation rights and pays his child support in full, and on time.  His relationship with his children is good, and his interactions with his ex-wife and her current husband are considered 'cordial'.

Monroe is notably apolitical in his public life, though it is known that the man votes.  He is a registered Republican and contributes a small amount of income to individual candidates on an individual basis.  He has refused numerous times to speak on behalf of political candidates, even when offered significant amounts of money, but does speak to school, youth, and church groups regularly on subjects such as integrity and honesty.

He has authored 1 published book for Scholastic Books ("Justice is the Journey"), directed at young children (ages 6 to 8 ).

He is currently single.

[/out of story]
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: monbvol on 13 September 2020, 01:36:18
Damn this is giving me bad ideas about turning a super power RPG I was trying to put together into a story.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 01:38:15
Damn this is giving me bad ideas about turning a super power RPG I was trying to put together into a story.
"DOoO EET!!!"
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: monbvol on 13 September 2020, 01:48:38
"DOoO EET!!!"

Fair warning to people it will not be a Battletech story and I'll have to gather what notes I still have for it before I get started but lacking a better idea for something to work on for the short term it'll do.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Dave Talley on 13 September 2020, 01:50:44
a lot if the background reminds me of the GURPS Supers world,
very cool stuff so far
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 02:02:13
"Okay, so...how are you planning to get across the mountains, up the sound, and into occupied Everett?" Ernie's asking.

"Well..." I don't know.  ****** me, I don't know.

"And then, assuming 'The tinsmith' is real, how do you expect to find her before the Wolf Clan does?" He added.

"You ask a lot of questions, Ernie."  a lot of questions I still don't have good answers for.  We're under a deadline defined by the patience of someone who murdered a ****** country with a storm.

not that many people outside of Africa, China, or a few useful idiots in the west are going to miss North Korea...but she froze an entire nation to death with surgical precision for launching ONE missile, then buried it under a literal mile of ice.

pissing off Baba Yaga is right up there with...what, I don't know if there's even an equivalency.  It's something smart people just don't ****** do.

When someone...something like that calls you up and says 'Take care of this before I have to', you do it, or you do your damnedest to do it, because the consequences aren't even on your head-they're on the heads of everybody around you too.

and there's the Easter-egg.  It hasn't come back since it showed up, but sighting reports from people along the Peninsula say it's decided to park in Bremerton, occupying the navy base there...which means we can probably write off Seal Team 41 entirely.  Given the weird artificial muscles in the Clan armors, the powered harnesses the Teams have probably didn't stand a chance.

especially against the lasers.

What's surprising the hell out me when I bother to think about it, is that the Wolf Clan commanders haven't sent someone to find out what happened to their guys.

This is bothering me almost as much as how Paul and the big guys seem to be trying to 'join in' with the vets...and how the vets are letting them.

but I'm not the leader there, Deke is, and he says it's alright, they've got the guys we captured under control.

today I'm riding a bicycle into town.  My twelve-speed, which I bought and paid for, because Washington State won't issue me a driver's license.

Ernie's riding with me, he has a new model, shiny even, all carbon fiber and worth more than the land I'm renting.

"You know, Lisa?" Ernie asks, as we coast down the last steep road onto 101.

"What?"

"You're already a Vigilante, right?"

"Unregistered, used powers, yeah." I tell him, "So are you."

"So we're already breaking laws, right?"

"We are."

"So why don't you go ahead and get a damn car?"

I must admit, that idea had NOT occurred to me in the morass of how much trouble my friends at the Legion hall are going to be in, as soon as the government has time to start scapegoating.

"I haven't thought of that." I comment, and shift down to pick up rotations before shifting back up to pick up speed.




Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 04:42:07
The display in the Oval Office was short, blunt, and to the point.

Quote

Mister President;

I will not allow you to sell off any part of this nation, not even to alien invaders.

-Alice

It was definitely a threat, and NSA's expert hackers were at a loss to explain how it got here...but not who sent it.

Two years ago, top NSA programmer Dr. Alice Okuda was working on Cheshire, a high-end artificial intelligence algorithm for use in covert electronic and digital warfare applications when she suddenly resigned and vanished, taking her work with her.

a lot of speculation in the government centered around her complete absence-her presence in every database nation wide had been simultaneously either corrupted, or erased.  The fear of yet another Snowden incident had put CIA, NSA, and the various branches of covert security on high alert, where they have been almost continuously due to the apparent complete and total loss of data security.

In an election year on the heels of near national economic collapse, with bail-outs being debated in congress (how much, not whether), and the catch-phrase 'too big to fail' having left his lips, the president knew his party had no chance of retaining the white house for one of those ever rarer every time third terms.

a Lame-duck president could conceivably get away with compromising with aliens from beyond the stars to make a try for technology secrets, or just to avoid having the nation's capital turned into a glass lined crater.

and this president had seriously considered doing just that, given the absolute military superiority demonstrated by this 'Clan Wolf' against the United States.

He'd considered it.

he hadn't made his decision yet, because there was an equally stern warning from the Russian Consulate as to why giving Clan Wolf what they asked for, would have repercussions...

and smart people don't cross Baba Yaga without an exit strategy or an overwhelming advantage.

"My legacy has turned into a rock, and a hard place." the President told his chief of staff.  "Tell me we have something, Bill, I'm facing this 'Khan Katya Kerensky' in an hour over video call, I don't know how long I'll be able to tap dance and keep her busy."

"Sir, a plan is being worked out as we speak."

"What kind of plan?"

"Better that you don't know, Mister President, you want to be able to deny involvement if it goes south.  if you can buy us more time, even another hour, it will help, sir."

"I'll sell my soul for whatever time you need to find a way to fix this...jesus, and I've got to brief the front runners, don't I?"

"Looks like it sir."

"Can we just leave Bob out? he's polling in the dirt."

"You do that, and you're just briefing in the candidate from the other party, sir."

"I'll be briefing in the winner, who's going to inherit this mess, Bill."  the President said, "Bob's got no chance in hell.  Hell, this year, a member of the party would have a hard time winning a race for dog catcher.  We're at risk of losing Boeing, Bob, the second largest export income this country's got, we're in a banking crash, and we've got alien invaders...from The Future demanding we hand over the one part of the western U.S. that isn't seeing skyrocketing unemployment or a financial collapse!"

"you're taking a defeatist line, sir."

the president turned red, "****** you, Bill!! we lost!! unless you and your spooks can find  some way to turn this around, we've lost, this administration will go down in history as the second administration to see part of the continental united states invaded and conquered by a foreign power!!"

"When was the first?"

"War of 1812 you nitwit!  It'll be the first time we lose a gods-damned State!! find me some options, Dammit!  I will NOT be remembered down there with Buchanan!!"

the normally soft-spoken, pliable man was red faced and raging.   The chief of staff recoiled from him, where did he find a spine?

"We're working on it, Mister President." the bureaucratic 'real power' in the Administration said soothingly, while privately noting it may be necessary to remove him from office, he's no longer under our control.

Objectively, the third man in the room considered the same possibility, noting that the current front-runner, and the Party's chosen sacrificial candidate, were both well-conditioned and pliable, while being more charismatic than the lame duck in the White House.

the Chief of Staff and the third man walked out of the Oval office, and the Chief said, "Inform Brutus, Caesar has gone mad."

"Sir? you're sure?"

"I'm sure.  That texas son of a bitch is ready to fight, and he doesn't have a clue that we rigged the last one.  He'll destroy the country if he fights this...so tell Brutus that Caesar has gone mad."  Bill looked sad as he said it.

"Of course, sir." when the third man turned away, however, he was smiling.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 04:55:06
When I got to the Legion Hall, someone had beaten me to the punch. 

again.

"Motorcycles? Deke, you've got one arm, can you even ride?"

"I don't need to.  You know how." he tells me.  "I mean, they're not Harleys or those crotch-rockets, but you want a bike to get you somewhere, not a project to fix...and they'll make more sense where the roads are...obstructed."

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 18:27:30
Getting out of Grays Harbor County turned out to be more challenging than I assumed.  Governor Gregory must've been caught in Olympia early, maybe even during the first series of landings, since she's on the radio telling citizens to stay in their homes and cooperate with the invaders.

For their own safety.

passing through Olympia was kind of a revelation.  The Washington State Flag was hauled down over the Capital building and replaced by a red, eight pointed star design with one leg of the star extended out longer than the rest.

some of the potholes in the highway were deep enough to hide a bike, and a lot of wreckage hadn't been cleared.  If we'd tried using a car, we'd have never gotten from 101 to I-5, much less past Olympia.

Still, had to walk the bikes through some parts, an overpass had fallen across the freeway, blocking it at an angle.

It was almost dark by the time we passed through what was left of Fort Lewis. 

I should probably explain...

Me, Ernie, and for some ungodly reason Deke sent Paul with us.

"Once pacification operations begin, work crew will be assigned to clear roads and make necessary repairs." he tells me, "Some of it is probably already on-going inside the urban centers, but highways and railways will be lower on the priority list initially, with repairs there focused mainly on maintaining the inflow of foodstuffs and raw materials to the urban areas. Once the cities are stabilized, efforts to consolidate the population for reassignment will be undertaken."

"Reassignment?" I ask, "What the ******?"

"Clan society has castes, Lisa." he tells me, "Warrior at the top, then Scientist, Merchant, and Laborer.  Four castes, to make society efficient."

oh ****** no.

"Centrally planned economy?" I ask him.

"Yes, to make most effic-"

"Efficient use of resources."  I interrupt him, and look out the window of the abandoned AM/PM gas mart just north of what used to be Fort Lewis.  "Let me guess... a committee from each caste??"

"Aff."

"And your warriors, they have assigned liaisons from each caste, and approve projects and plans?" I continue.

"Aff."

"Well, shit, no wonder that communist bitch is collaborating." I say it with real venom.  "Your invasion just offered her and her fellow travellers a short-cut for imposing a socialist dictatorship! The Soviet of Washington for real...jesus ******, well, that explains what we're up against then."

"I do not understand...communist bitch?"

"The governor, Paul." Ernie says, "Lisa's from eastern Washington.  They're not...progressively minded out there."

"You do not like efficiency?" he asks me.

"I don't like busybodies who think their pretty ideals are worth the lives and livelihoods of other people, no...especially when it's not them who are being told to sacrifice.  I'm not a Left wing trust fund baby."

this just confused paul more.

"Lisa's a Conservative, Paul." Ernie tried to clarify.  "In Bellevue, she'd be considered a right-wing fanatic."

"****** off, I'm not a bible thumping church skank." I snap, "I don't have a problem with gay people getting married or having kids, I don't have a problem not dumping oil in my drinking water, I don't have a problem with the idea of paying for first responders to fight fires, or deal with criminals, and I don't have a problem with funding public schools.  I am far from being a right wing fanatic."

It finally dawns on Paul, "OH!! Local politics!"

"bingo." I say, "Hence, now that you've outlined Clan society a little better for me, Paul, I understand why Charlene Gregory,  from Seattle's Green Lake district, who basically got in office on three cities along the I-5 corridor, is eagerly cooperating with your invasion.  she thinks she'll be on top of one of your Castes by the time the dust settles, able to impose her rebranded marxism on everyone even more."

"You hate this person, but you do not hate me?"

"You were raised in it, you didn't get a choice.  she's a rich girl who won an election and has been given christmas early, she chose." I tell him.  "Big difference there between someone who just doesn't know any better, and someone who really ought to.  you gotta understand, there are parts of this state where they'd have surrendered pre-emptively to the communists during the cold war, because they like them.  One of the Polish peacekeepers in the green zone, nice guy, nice eyes, good lay? he told me 'Centrally planned economy is a great way for everyone but the leadership to starve together'."

"Speaking of starving..." Ernie interrupts, coming over to where we're sitting with his hands laden with plastic-boxed fruit and cold cuts, "The refrigeration still works, and we should probably eat."

"Good idea."

American history is filled with nations whose leaders sold out.  Hell, it's how the 'West was won'.  Indigenous nations, impressed by higher tech interlopers, selling off pieces of their territory in exchange for trinkets and promises of peace.

most of the trinkets turned out to be junk, most of the promises were hollow lies.  Our governor is carrying on a fine, North American tradition.

I really want to kill the bitch, but we're on a time table.

We stay in the gas station a little while longer as a column of military trucks escorted by a pair of robots Paul calls 'kit fox' class 'mechs, passes along the highway heading for Olympia.  The military trucks are escorting a pair of eighteen wheelers with Fred Meyer ads decaled on the sides.
  food trucks.

"I guess they screwed up the railways too." I note.

The convoy's moving kinda slow, so it takes a little while to go by.



Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 18:32:49
[out of story]
Lisa's politics are not...typical superhero viewpoints.  She's not typical superhero psychology.  Remember, this shit may use real world names but it's FICTION.  resemblances to real world people are coincidental at best.  Real people are deeper than that.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 13 September 2020, 19:17:27
[out of story]
Lisa's politics are not...typical superhero viewpoints. 

I don't even know what typical superhero politics are!
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 19:19:06
I don't even know what typical superhero politics are!

then you've been spared the last 20 years of mainstream comic books, movies and television media?  there is a definite template for how a Superhero is supposed to look at the world.  Lisa doesn't follow that template.

this is on purpose.  A lot of the "Genre Norms" for superhero fiction revolve around a highly urban perspective.  this actually includes things like costuming and code-names, and how they look at society and the law.

Lisa's perspective in a DC/Marvel context would put her squarely in the 'Villain protagonist' range, instead of the 'Laudable hero' range.

Examples of "Villain Protagonist" range would include the pre-1990s Punisher, the 'antihero' type character.  Basically, she's got more in line with Steve Ditko's "Mister A" than with Supergirl or batgirl. 

which is all intentional.  The world she lives in has LOTS of (Well, relatively-there are maybe 3-5 thousand superhumans worldwide in her 2008) 'type standard' superheroes-with costumes, and codenames. 

The majority of them would have issues with her personal political viewpoints.

also, though she's the primary narrator, she's not the most...reliable narrator.  she has opinions, she has viewpoints, they're not universally held even within the setting, even among her friends.



Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 13 September 2020, 19:29:58
I haven't read a comic book in 30 years, and back then it was Judge Dredd & MAD Magazine.

I have never read a superhero comic. I don't even remember seeing them in the shops. I don't remember superhero cartoons on TV either.

I haven't lived in a house with a TV since 1998.

In recent years I saw the Dark Knight Trilogy and most of the MCU movies but didn't really pick up any politics from them beyond "great power/great responsibility."

I try to turn my brain off when dealing with Hollywood otherwise the lack of scientific/engineering plausability, and sometimes common sense, stops me enjoying them.

This probably means I've missed a few things.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 19:31:19
I haven't read a comic book in 30 years, and back then it was Judge Dredd & MAD Magazine.

I have never read a superhero comic. I don't even remember seeing them in the shops. I don't remember superhero cartoons on TV either.

I haven't lived in a house with a TV since 1998.

In recent years I saw the Dark Knight Trilogy and most of the MCU movies but didn't really pick up any politics from them beyond "great power/great responsibility."

I try to turn my brain off when dealing with Hollywood otherwise the lack of scientific/engineering plausability, and sometimes common sense, stops me enjoying them.

This probably means I've missed a few things.

Hey, as long as you're enjoying the ride here. :)
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 19:35:42
it's early morning and we've finished fueling the bikes when it hits me.

I forgot my medication.  It hits me, because I go through my bag, and I can't find it, mentally search through my memories of yesterday...

it's sitting on the counter in my trailer, next to the stove-top percolator.

shit.

"What's wrong?" Ernie asks.

"I forgot my medication."  I tell him.  "This is going to suck."

"Maybe a drug-store in Renton or Seattle has it?" he suggests.

seems legit.  maybe.

Since the Clan is taking the highway, We look up county and state roads in the area, and find a couple of smaller routes, but it's a twenty mile detour.

ah, the joys of taking someone else's motorcycle on a nice ride in the country, hey?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 13 September 2020, 19:36:02
I've been enjoying your stories ever since I stumbled onto the 2nd interation of Kowloon. The Ngos, Sybil, & Tabby, are the only reasons I visit this corner of the boards.

And thinking about it, any politics in superhero movies is going to be US politics and from my non-US perspective, well, I'll probably be breaking some sort of forum rules if I express much of an opinion  ;D
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 20:00:36
I've been enjoying your stories ever since I stumbled onto the 2nd interation of Kowloon. The Ngos, Sybil, & Tabby, are the only reasons I visit this corner of the boards.

And thinking about it, any politics in superhero movies is going to be US politics and from my non-US perspective, well, I'll probably be breaking some sort of forum rules if I express much of an opinion  ;D

dude, there is a list! 

Okay...

JA Baker's ongoing on-line anthology series "Who Goes there?" (https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=58472.0)

Liam's_Ghost's stories (too many to throw a single link on)

Giovanni_Blasini's got a good one going too...

Cawest's "Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale"

2ndACR's "Fate Can be Cruel" is superb work with worldbuilding.


point being, there are a LOT Of reasons to kick around this corner of the forums. :)  (Yes, I am plugging others...and they're not even paying me to do it.)
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 13 September 2020, 20:14:52
dude, there is a list! 

Okay...

JA Baker's ongoing on-line anthology series "Who Goes there?" (https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=58472.0)
I read a bit of that after you linked it from a Ngo story

Quote
Liam's_Ghost's stories (too many to throw a single link on)
I've started following "A Toreel Wizard.."

Quote
Giovanni_Blasini's got a good one going too...
I'm following the Sybil reboot and Beerkeg of Science

Quote
Cawest's "Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale"
I'll admit the BSG crossover put me off trying that one.


Anyway, I'll stop there, I don't want to derail this thread too much.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Nikas_Zekeval on 13 September 2020, 20:59:15
"What's wrong?" Ernie asks.

"I forgot my medication."  I tell him.  "This is going to suck."

"Maybe a drug-store in Renton or Seattle has it?" he suggests.

seems legit.  maybe.

Given they are normally used in locked high security psychiatric wards?  I suspect her regular drug store gets it specially stocked.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 21:10:28
Outside Aberdeen

The governor's staff were reluctant, but complied in providing the correct address, and an examination of a Thomas Guide book of maps gave the location, so when a point was dispatched to the address, it wasn't particularly difficult to find.

The prefab's axels had been removed sometime in the past, and the outer skin of polished aluminium was almost gross with corrosion and age under thick, second growth trees.  Thermal sensors showed nobody was home, and Point Commander Iris almost called the shuttle back to lift them into town, but thought better of it.

instead, she opened the door. 

the place was cramped.  This wasn't because Iris was an Elemental, either.  the hut was somewhat like lower-caste quarters on a poorer colony, with faded wood-grain wallpaper peeling in places, fixed, too-small-for-comfort furniture, a simple cabinet, a simple, what would be termed 'laborer grade' kitchen, and a curtain partition to the sleeping space.

Two things were notable.  One was a musical instrument on one of the two benches flanking the table. there was musical tab there, and a cold half-cup of coffee that had already started to evaporate, leaving a filthy ring.

the other, was on the tiny kitchen's counter.  a selection of red-brown bottles filled with pharmaceuticals.  The name on the bottles was the same as the person they were here to retrieve for questioning.

Iris poked her head out of the prefab, "Medtech Lorren! come here."

Lorren was the only non-warrior on the mission, and she was here because five Elementals might do serious harm to someone by accident while searching.

she hurried over.

"What are these?" Iris asked, "Are they performance enhancers?"

"Neg, Ovkhan. if anything, these are performance ******..." she sighed, "this is a recipe for controlling a psychotic outburst, mixed with what appear to be anti-anxiety medications and a drug known to suppress volition."

"A...chemical leash." Iris said.

"very likely.  whoever prescribed these, especially at these doses, wanted this woman sitting in a corner, drooling, and lacking the motivation to wipe her own filth away after defecating.  we do not permit the use of these substances, because the side effects are crippling. and we have better alternatives for treating severe traumatic stress."

the warrior grasped it immediately, and then, called in the rest of the point to inventory the place.

it was not hard to find a notebook filled with careful schedules for using the drugs, reminders of where items were placed, and a half-journal discussing the merits of various methods of self-termination.

that last part, was disturbing as hell.  a file fat with medical data went to the medtech, who immediately began digging.

"She might be hiding, but we can know her enough, we will find her."


Inside Aberdeen...

"You were captured?"

Warrior Lonas nodded.  "She defeated us." he said, "I have never seen power like that, sir."

The other disgraced Elementals were being interviewed.

No bondcords, just...no resistance, either.

"How large is the resistance cell here?"  Point Two Misha asked.  "How many warriors did it take to defeat your star?"

"Two." Lonas said, "For which I am not at all ashamed."

"Two."

"Two.  The woman in your image here-" he nodded, "And a boy too young to graduate from his sibko training.  Star Commander Paul is with them."

"Where?"

Lonas shrugged, "I do not know that.  Their security was at least competent enough not to discuss such things in front of possible informants."

"How were you defeated by two individuals?"

"The battle-roms from the destroyed 'mechs should answer that.  these people lack the technical expertise to retrieve them."

"Tell me, make me believe you are not a deserter!"

"Very well...she punched my armor into pieces. None of my weapons so much as phased her...and no, it was not suit on suit.  she was nude...because she was hit by a PPC to the chest, with enough power to vaporize a human body.  I told you, I have never seen, and likely will never again see, something that...impossible.  She peeled my suit off of me with blows from her fists, Watchman.  ALL our training, our technological superiority, was undone by that woman.  I watched twenty milimeter slugs flatten on her belly! my battle claw? it broke on her skin!!"

Lonas returned to looking at the table.  "And she sings." he said, "like nothing I have ever heard before. sad songs with a voice..." he raised his eyes, "She left. she is not here.  she may return...and I have a bar floor to sweep."

"a floor to sweep?"

"I was defeated, i was shown their ways, i was released." Lonas said bluntly, "I am no longer a warrior for any clan, but I have a job, and my job requires that I sweep the floor of the Legion Hall and help Deke prepare the drinks for customers until I have learned enough to master tending the bar on my own."

"Lonas! that is...insane!"

"No, it is Honorable. She could have chosen to kill me.  she could have chosen not to let any of us live! our lives were hers to dispose of and we could do nothing to stop her!" he was getting frustrated, "Nothing, do you understand? she chose to take us in, she chose to feed us, to...I am done. I can not fight power like that, and you are a fool to pursue it! now I have duties to perform, and if you are going to shoot me, you can shoot me in the back."



Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: JA Baker on 13 September 2020, 21:21:23
(Yes, I am plugging others...and they're not even paying me to do it.)
I pay you by writing stories I know you'll like
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 23:26:57
"...if we had the numbers to police it, we could take the whole planet, but we do not have those numbers."  Katya Kerensky was fighting a critical battle here-not with the natives of this version of Terra's past.  She had already accepted that the chance of ever encountering anyone or anything familiar is gone.  Astrogation charts, monitoring the EM, everything was correct for being directly over the birthplace of the human race.

and there was no getting around the fact.  An experimental jump by the Clan's warship had shown the nearest colonized world to Sol was there, just no sign it had ever been colonized.

the coordinates were right, the conditions were right, except...this was not the Earth she had been sent as vanguard to liberate.  This one was, in many ways, in far worse shape.

Disunited, primitive nations, she could dominate any of them easily with her forces, but there is only so far you can distribute even a full galaxy of troops.

even elite troops.

and there's the supply issue.  Ammunition would run out long before the need for it.

the Wolf Clan needed a home, here was a home...it just needed to be bent to understand who was the alpha-and that wasn't proving easy.

she could take the planet, but without numbers, without millions of people committed to the Clan, there was no way she could hold it in the long term.

and they were disunited.  outright tribal.

and they had champions.

"If we had the numbers, we could take this whole planet...but we do not." she reiterated to her staff.  "WE need things.  Things they can not provide us without assistance, things we will need to have replenished."

Russia, home of The Great Father, had already rejected the Clan vociferously, Baba Yaga, whatever that was, had repelled the initial assaults with enough casualties that, to establish a foothold anywhere with the chance of an industrial base, they had to retreat.

Puget sound was second choice...but they did not have such a defense.  The Americans had tried to fight, and they had tried bravely, but even they had been forced to accept a cease-fire in the face of superiority of Clan weapons, Clan Tactics...

Clan Orbital Bombardment.

"We have supporters here." she continued.  "People who will help us, as their ancestors were aided by indigenous peoples in North America."

she gestured at the state's elected Governor, who capitulated in seconds after the destruction of Fort Lewis and McChord AFB.

a few conversations, and a brief outline of how Clan Society was structured had been enough to turn sullen surrender and rank fear to eager compliance and open cooperation.  Governor Gregory liked the society structure outlined by Nicholas Kerensky, and it turned out, had been working with others in her party to slowly force implementations of things like central economic planning, environmentally conscious utilities, and centralizing populations for easier control.

"This area was, and will be, the heart of the Star League, we are, for all intents and purposes, the IlClan in this time, and as the natives submit, we shall elevate them." 

They'd have to.  without industrial support, the Clan would eventually have to devolve their technologies just to survive, not enough of the Lower Castes had come, and they brought no factory equipment.  It was here, where there is safe atmosphere and safe water and tilled fields, or trying to teach warriors to be dirt farmers somewhere else.

"There will be resistance, there will be opportunities for glory, This is our destiny, to lead humanity into a golden age!"

assuming her warriors did not go native.  This had already proven a problem with the ones who survived in Aberdeen.  the Battleroms recovered from that mixed star showed that, but more, the reaction of the now-former warriors themselves.  They had been beaten on a level that left no room for having morale rebuilt.  Quentin had not just beaten them, she crushed them. this was something even the ferocious and hard to reconcile entity in Russia had not done-mostly because Baba Yaga's power had been so impersonal as to feel like a natural force, while Lisa Quentin's fight, and her presence in the recordings, was intensely personal for the warriors she defeated so easily.

Katya finished her speech to her impromptu clan council, comprised of the senior bloodnamed within Beta Galaxy, plus the senior lower-caste brought along with.  "It is our manifest destiny to save this world from the brink, and lead humanity into that golden age."

She braced her hands on the podium, "Our first steps, begin here, in Washington State, now the Domain of Clan Wolf!!"

"Seyla!!"

she sighed, "but, we can not be like the Smoke Jaguars, or the Jade Falcons.  we are Clan Wolf, which means...We are going to have to persuade the united states to refrain from spending their sons and their blood trying to push us out...which means, while our warriors are securing our new landhold, We are going to need to work with the remains of the local government.  some of that government is committed to refusing to cooperate...and there are at least six unaccounted for 'superhumans' still loose, which will need to be either defeated and captured, or defeated and killed, before our hold here is secure."

Screens behind her lit.

"We know this one.  Lisa Quentin, Age 24, former United States Marine, last encountered in Aberdeen Washington, she is believed to be with a young man who generates plasma beams from his hands...we do not know how, and that will necessarily be something for the scientist caste to discover once he is captured.  Quentin has proven to be resistant to battlemech scale weaponry, and to have some indications of superhuman strength and endurance.  She is also, according to records recovered from where she was...quartered is perhaps too kind a word...mentally ill, suffering from severe bipolar depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder."

"I do not have images for the next ones.  There is a sort of 'super technician' in the area near Mount Pilchuk, the unofficlal name being 'The tinsmith', a violent vigilante who may be worth recruiting into the Clan. The Tinsmith has two others who work with him or her, one is reputed to be some form of stealth ability and the other..."  a blurry image appeared, showing a partial view of a male in a trench-coat and broad brimmed hat, "...is publicly dubbed 'Mister Wizard', and uses primitive applications of technology in significantly unusual ways, as well as using traps and prepared ambushes. these three have been quiet since our arrival, but captured police resources suggest they could be a threat to pacification of the region. they are officially classified as Vigilantes, a sort of bandit that hunts other bandits exclusively.  We hold three Superhumans under guard on our temporary base on Luna-the only three registered Superheroes in the State, but according to the local research into the phenomena, with eleven million residents, that leaves three or potentially more native superhumans unaccounted for.  Presumably, those three are allied with one of the small groups still on the loose."

"Have the Scientists begun research into this? is there a possibility of gaining these abilities for our Clan?"

Katya frowned, "Our scientists have found no common link indicating superhuman potential, and the United States, which has the ability to instill it, is not willing to share that with the Clan...and I doubt a Trial would gain us any better chance of securing the data.  We will have to find it for ourselves, or find something we can trade for the secret...and to find it for ourselves, we will need a sample size larger than the three in custody."

The Clan will need that capability, too.  she knew it in her bones.  once we find it, we will refine it beyond their crude methods.

"For the time being, your clusters are to continue to secure our territory and engage in civil affairs missions to smooth over and build good will with the population. we will not be able to begin full conversion of the local society into the Clan Model quickly, we simply do not have the manpower for that, and warriors will be needed to prepare to repel the next counter-attack.  Watch officers are to continue to work on locating and securing the superhumans we know about, so enhanced patrols in the Snohomish County area and continued investigations to run down Lisa Quentin and her accomplice."


***
Unnoticed by the Clan officers in the former King County Court building, Petra Cheron recorded the meeting.  Like nearly the entire human race, the Clanners weren't accustomed to looking up...and The Farm had conditioned her to holding uncomfortable poses and waiting patiently.

The full recording of the meeting would show up later on Youtube-the Clanners hadn't bothered to cut off Internet access yet, and with the power back on, she could get it out faster to more people, possibly even to this 'Lisa Quentin' person if she's got any kind of social media skill at all.

Or at least, to someone friendly to her.  we need to find this person and link up. Petra mused.  The clanners filed out of the chambers, and she crawled out of her hiding place, stopping at the still lit displays, she took out a Sharpie.

She's called 'Countermeasure', dipstick.  Your plan sucks, Your Clan Sucks, USA!!!

she wrote on the screen, over 'unknown' before leaving.

Petra knew she'd have to hurry-once the doors went on automatic again, she'd be stuck inside until someone came through them.  the last time she got stuck in a building that way, she had to light it on fire to get the doors to open...and she failed to bring any gasoline or matches this time.


Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 13 September 2020, 23:50:05
[outtake: Petra Cheron]

Name: Subject 24 (of 30), MK Ultra series 2 integration of captured third reich "Ubermensch" technologies.

Conception Date: August 12, 1956  Fertilized and processed ova stored Ft. Dietrich, Maryland after project cancellation

Decant/birth Date: December 8, 1990. Project "Teenager" approved, director G. Phillip Hotchkiss, NSA.

Sex: F

Weight: Average
Height: Average
Race:

Initial birth and indoctrination conducted at NSA Facility Black island, New York under auspices of Project:Teenager

Purpose: Domestic insurrection specialist, sabotage and insurgency, political influence generation.

Training includes lethal hand to hand, blade skills and small arms, as well as standard infiltration and sabotage techniques.

Status: missing, Project shut down.

Appearance: Subject was intentionally designed using Mengele process to have no firmly defined ethnic background, in order to blend into any target population without the dangers of shape-shifting techniques (See: Failed process 18, Project MK Ultra, also see project Skinwalker)

subject is believed to have developed per normal

Known Parahuman Abilities: Invisibility to surveillance and security devices, including visible spectrum, infrared, ultraviolet and X-ray scans. during project testing, subject 24 was the only one of the batch to render true superhuman traits, while being only able to achieve the upper levels of regular human ability with regards to athletics.   Subject showed a reluctance to terminate human life in 43% of test operations, and was severely disciplined by handlers when refusing to take part in group punishment of deviant behaviours by fellow subjects.

Subject did not show this restraint while effecting escape from Project faclities, resulting in the deaths of all staff members and partial destruction of the Black Island facility.  (See: Black Island incident May, 2004)

Note to domestic surveillance agents:  Subject 24 is unable to use her abilities to hide from organic surveillance such as trained animals, or human senses, but will not appear on surveillance camera, audio, or most photographic media.  This may be our best method of securing this escaped experiment, as she will be unable to obtain a standard driver's license or state visual identification card.

Loyalty Conditioning may have been compromised prior to the subject's decision to escape Black Island.  Other subjects from the program prior, were useful in creating necessary public outrage via terror attacks on schools and public gathering areas, reinforcing the public need to endure enhanced security measures necessary to bring the country into line.

Orders: if encountered and confirmed, agents are instructed to engage with lethal force immediately, and recover the body for analysis by National Security Directorate 12.  Reports are to be sent directly to Directorate 12 by courier or delivered in person, no paper trails people!

-Gordon P. Hotchkiss,
Deputy Director, Department of Homeland Security.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 14 September 2020, 00:05:44
Denny Way, Seattle...

Petra got in the car.  "Don't floor it, Judah." she told him.

"Not planning to. did you get it?"

"I got it." she said, holding up the iPhone.  "Full recording of their meeting, pictures of their officers, and maybe a picture of whoever it was that roughed up one of their units down in Grays Harbor County."

Judah put the car in gear, and pulled away from the curb, driving normally along routes 'approved' by the Clan occupiers, he stopped at a checkpoint an rolled his window down.

"Travel papers?" the man looked bored.  well, Phoebe's forgeries got us in... Judah took the papers out, and handed them to the huge woman in a Clan infantry uniform, while visibly looking nervous at the four battlesuits backing that woman up.

the woman checked the papers against a display list, then "Identification?"

He took out his driver's license...well, the one Phoebe made for him.

"Ah, good....good..." the Clanner soldier handed it back to him, "Drive carefully, the interstate north of Everett is still being repaired."

"Thank you ma'am." he said, and drove forward after being waved through, down the ramp, onto I-5.

"Phoebe's forgeries worked.  she's going to be insufferable." Judah remarked.

"We still going through with the  plan?" Petra asked.

"if that recording's got legs? hell yeah." Judah said, swerving around a truck before its malfunctioning taillights could become part of the car's front end.  "maybe someone outside the occupation zone can come up with something, if not, well..."

"They know about your alter ego." Petra said.

"Isn't fame nice?" He scowled, "did you get the other list?"

"The collaborators?" she asked.

"yeah."

"Got it too, and had time to use their scanners to slip Phoebe's worm into their systems. we'll have real time interception of their commo.  how's your juice level?"

"Juice level's fine, but I haven't healed from the last use." Judah told her, "I've been prepping a few things in case though."

"Good to know."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 14 September 2020, 12:15:08
Well...three checkpoints, no waiting, Clan Wolf will look at your papers and your ID and point guns at your friends.

Decision Time.

I wave the boys over to the side of the highway about 1000 yards from a checkpoint manned by one of Clan Wolf's walking tanks (I refuse to call the damn things 'battle-mechs', the name is stupid and sounds like it belongs on a sunday morning cartoon-style toy ad.)

Said walking tank has infantry support and two Seattle PD cruisers.

"Paul, what's their procedure?" I ask, "Can we give them a sob story and slip by?"

"If you lack identification documents they will certainly insist on detention and processing." Paul told me, "It has been less than thirty days, with identification documents, you could probably persuade them you have been away from any administrative center and are coming in to register and request travel papers to return to you home..." He sighed, "Ernest could get away with it-he has a 'driver's license', you can not, and I would be obligated to tell them the truth."

well, that's shitty.  "I need to teach you to lie." I tell him, "remind me to do that later."

I hate Seattle driving.  Hate it.  traffic sucks all the time, half the time lanes are shut down, there's always an accident or people slowing down to look at an accident, or a pull-over.

Need to get across, around, or through.  "Four-Oh Five's going to have checkpoints too..."

It's good procedure.  They're not great, but so far, I haven't seen anything blatantly incompetent with these guys.

Lightbulb.

"Ernie, go straight through, your family's got a place in Bellevue, right?" I ask the kid.

"uh..yeah."

"Okay, tell them you were out of town with friends, and had to find a way back, the bike is borrowed, and you just wanna go home and get a shower.  I'll meet you at the Dennys on 190th in Lynnwood.  Paul, you guys do any cross-training with vehicles?"

"af-I mean, Yes." Paul says.

"You're riding with me, stick one car-length back and keep up my pace.  Your cockpit looked like it was ripped from an overcomplex fighter, you gotta have good reflexes, so we're going to re-enact scenes from famous biker movies of the eighties..and maybe The Fast and the Furious."

"I...do NOT think I can accomplish that!"

"Aw, Come on! you're a big, bad trueborn related to the big bad man himself!" I tell him, "Tighten your chin-strap, tighten your jock-strap, we're going for a RIDE!!"

We start on the shoulder of the road,  I know about where we're going, so I rapp out the revs, down-shift, and launch.

well, I didn't like that mirror anyway, it makes me look fat.

Or that one.

who needs turn signals? I don't.

the bikes aren't Harleys, these have actual ground clearance, and big wheels.  sorry little japanese wind-up car, you didn't really need that paint, or that door handle, or that rear-view mirror, did you? oops, sorry pickup...those mirrors are cheap though...

The police cruisers are on the side of the road, and the 'barrier' is a guy in a brown uniform.  He does the wise thing, and jumps to the side with a shout.  I don't bother looking at the speedo.  I dated a guy when we were stateside who raced bikes on the weekends.  Nice guy, Tank Battalion, crazy ******.  I know what passing ninety miles an hour feels like.

I'm weaving at 110 when the first missed shot smashes a jersey barrier, and the mouth of the HOV tunnel looms ahead.  It's the clearest I've ever seen it.

the bike's japanese engine is making this formula one sound, and I glance, just a glance, down.

needle's buried at 140.

Walking Tank can't follow me into the HOV lane and apparently, the traffic is flowing north at this hour.

It will suck if they have something parked at the exit on the other side of the bridge-tunnel.

Oh well, Paul won't have to worry if they do-I'll break it with my face.

I don't remember the lines from Mad Max, but they'd be appropriate.  I do remember the words to WASP's driving-in-the backroads classic, "Harder, Faster"

While I like the helmet, it'll only get in the way if I do have to hit something with my face.  I lift the mouthguard up, and hang it on the saddle-hook of the bike at 110 miles an hour.

in my mind, the guitar parts start...

the music's simple, eighties four-chord rhythm, with distortion.

"I don't care if you track me down
Like an animal that's on the run
Tie me down spread-eagle
Leave me dyin' in the sun
Cause I scream bloody murder
When you writhe and when you squeeze
You smell my blood and you come runnin'
Taste me if you please..."


One of their walking tanks lands right as I'm coming out of the lower tunnel of the bridge, and I swerve between his legs, throwing an indian good-luck sign at the ****** as I shoot between his legs at 130 miles an hour in sixth gear.  "****** YOU PIG!!!"

the song  in my head keeps going, and I pick up the lyrics as I swerve back onto the main artery of interstate 5.

"Oooh, Harder faster
Yeah, that's what I need cause
Now that's what I'm after
Come do that wicked deed aha!!"


I clear the lowering barriers that reverse traffic normally with the speedo needle buried again...and that's about when the fighter plane passes overhead.  Traffic enforced by jet fighter? nice.

I hit the mountlake terrace exit before he's gotten turned around for a gun run, and down under the overpass...to wait for Paul to catch up.  If he followed instructions, he should be by right about...now.

His skid is epic, he manages NOT to dump his bike taking the turn or coming to a stop.

"YOu...YOu are INSANE!!"

"We can take backroads from here." I tell him.  "I think they're going to be talking about this in barracks for the next decade."

I reach back, and to my surprise, the helmet's still on it's hook.  "come on, buck up trooper, we need to find a gas station with an open bathroom."

"for what?" He asks me, disbelieving.

"So I can clean out my pants while you fuel up the bikes."



Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 14 September 2020, 12:35:50
Katya Kerensky studied the video feed from four different sources, including sensor returns, the gun-cameras of two battlemechs, the suit cams of two elemental points, and the overflight imagery from a Sabutai aerospace fighter.

and then the imagery from the traffic cameras.

"That..." she said, "that looks like so much fun!"

"Fun, Ovkhan?"

"Fun.  pleasure and excitement...did we get a good image on the lead rider's face?"

"Aff."

one of the playbacks was replaced by a holographic reconstruction.

"Hello, Lisa, we haven't met." Katya said, "But I know something that can change your mind."  she looked over at the evidence container holding the woman's prescriptions.  "Something you would probably like to know.  Where are they?"

"Orbital surveillance has tracked them onto  one of the urban arteries, Highway 99, moving at the speed of normal traffic and north-bound."

"maintain overwatch, I want to know where this very dangerous superhuman is going...but...oh, that ride looked like fun."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 14 September 2020, 12:45:02
[out of story note]

Prior to the  release of 'Crusader Clans", one of the notes they played with Clan Wolf, was using intelligence assets intelligently.

Katya called off the open pursuit, because they have a ship with sensors in orbit.

including photoimagery gear that can count your balding follicles in multiple spectra including EM ranges you can't see.

The trick with really good surveillance, is knowing where to point it. Lisa's motorcycle stunt course gave the Clanners that, and Katya (and her officers) aren't stupid-they're going to use it.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 14 September 2020, 13:50:28
I like that you default to a compentent OpFor unless theres's a story reason not to.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 14 September 2020, 14:05:45
a run-down two story house on the Tulalip Reservation, just outside Marysville, Washington.

The information Petra gathered at the meeting was pretty neat.  Phoebe didn't bother going to bed a she painstakingly examined everything her friends had grabbed.  This is something that bothers Moira, and so the woman who took over as Phoebe's caretaker was in the garage-lab, with milk and a plate stacked with Jiffy Peanut-butter sandwiches made from saltines, sliced apples, some Oreos, and liter glass  of milk.

Moira Slohcin is thirty five years old, she has a business degree from UC Irvine, a Master's degree in business administration, and the best job she could manage to get after her divorce, was night shift at the 7-11 on 88th street, her shift beginning right after her shift at the Island Crossing Denny's, just off the freeway in Arlington.

it wasn't always this way, but the kind of places that hire MBA's from prestigious colleges don't hire convicted federal felons whose crimes do NOT include insider trading on Wall-Street.  Moira was lucky enough to get a sympathetic parole board after only five years in medium security prison.

"Phoebe?"

The girl she's addressing is not her daughter-at least, not legally, not biologically, her daughter.  Thirteen Year old Phoebe Keene's face is sometimes on milk cartons after her self-release from a State run 'Youth Facility' four years ago.  There is almost no resemblance between the two, nobody would mistake the slim, freckled redheaded tween for the daughter of a tall, slavic woman whose parents escaped from poland through East Germany in 1965.

"Phoebe!" Moira barked.

the girl turned around, "Hi Moira. I'm kinda busy with...stuff."

"You can work on your project after you have eaten young lady!" Moira's tone, and Phoebe's reaction, however, indicate their relative positions in the household...after only two years.   "It's not much, but I haven't been able to get to the Costco."

"thank you Moira." Phoebe's tone is not mocking, it is respectful, which would be astonishing to the teachers at her last school, where she was the rudest and most difficult student in class, with a string of failed foster parent arrangements.

"What are you working on, anyway?" Moira asked

"I'm working on an update to the Tinsmith armor, to deal with the invaders' directed energy weapons, I've got a couple of designs for gadgets for Judah to try out, and I'm working on an algorithm so we can put together fake ID with real state numbers for Petra." Phoebe said, "Oh...and my computer's crunching the algorithms on the Clan encryption laid over those files and looking for any report-viral code that might tell them where we are if I connect it to the Internet."

"and in all of this, did you go to bed, I know you didn't eat dinner last night?" Moira's tone was stern.  "I got home from work and your plate was still in the fridge."

"Uhm...sorry?"

"eat your lunch, Phoebe, and set your clock, I want you at the table tonight for dinner.  If I don't have you, I'll send Petra out to fetch you."

"Yes'm."

In a strict, objective sense, Phoebe is powerful, and Moira is not-at least, if one were to deconstruct them down to statistics sheets.

Phoebe is a mechanical savant with a touch of what the Superhuman Department calls 'Technopathy'-the ability to instinctually operate and maintain complex mechanical and technical systems, to even anticipate them and influence their function indirectly.  IF the Department were to get ahold of her, she would be a Class B Mental Talent...in spite of a crushing case of dyslexia that renders her reading ability on fixed pages at about second grade level.

Moira, is a bone-stock human being, one with no Superhuman potential whatsoever, who works two (sometimes three) minimum wage part time jobs and has to rent a house that, off the reservation, would have been condemned as uninhabitable while driving a worn out, aging, rust-eaten Chevrolet Chevette, who has a criminal record that has effectively limited her ability to exercise her civil rights, and requires her to report to a Parole officer in person twice a week.

Her parole officer has no idea that Moira has people living with her, and really could care less as long as she's not violating her parole in some way that they have to take action.

thanks to Petra and Judah, the house is only falling apart on the outside.  Inside, with Phoebe's assistance, the wiring is beyond up to code, the plumbing works, as does the heating and air-conditioning.  If the Owners knew how upgraded the place was, they'd raise the rent.

The Tribe does know about Petra and Judah, and they know about Phoebe-as boarders subletting part of the house to make that rent, which has risen sporadically with the housing market.

the Real Estate crash is unlikely to reduce the rent Moira has to pay.  It's a good thing Phoebe, Petra, and Judah spend several evenings a week going after the Meth Dealers in Eastern Snohomish County, Skinheads in Granite Falls, and various gangs in various cities, hitting them, breaking their stuff, killing their members, and taking their money.

THAT money covers expenses like health insurance, food, and repairs.

Moira manages and launders said money for the kids, giving them effectively an off-the-books income suitable to support their lifestyles as superpowered vigilantes.

Being subjected to malicious prosecution after reporting her husband for a string of crimes including violations of the various firearms acts and dealing in stolen goods, while said ex-husband spent 8 months in minimum security before being released?

one of the first favors the kids did for Moira, was making sure the son of a bitch paid for that.

She's their Alfred, their office manager and support staff, and they're her heroes, regardless of what the law says.

Biology and laws be damned, the kids are her kids. "and I expect you in bed by ten tonight, Phoebe.  TEN."

"Yes ma'am."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 15 September 2020, 15:38:18
Interlude, "Pack's Den" geostationary orbit over Puget Sound...

"...Fillip, the former Sports celebrity with flight and super-speed has been adapting well and shows significant progress toward accepting his status as abtakha, Star Colonel."

"What about the other two?"

"Louise Andersen's attempts at escape and resistance are proving to be an excellent source of instruction for the handling of similar prisoners.  Our most effective method for containing her currently, is to use metallic-foil pressure tents and full disclosure of both where she is, and what the conditions are like outside, but psychosocially, she will never be a fit for the Clan Way-she suffers from oppositional personality disorder and a distrust of authority figures that is nearly pathological."

"Has Linus Monroe been a similar problem?" Katya asked.

"Linus...nearly escaped this morning.  If not for the fact that our encryption and systems were too advanced for him to overcome, he might have been able to steal the supply shuttle.  He is...a challenge.  He is resourceful, determined, intelligent, and cordial to his guards, while refusing to cooperate with indoctrination."

"So, we have three in custody, one is violently opposed to cooperation to the point of near-suicidal stupidity, one is 'cordial' while being just as violently opposed, and one is well on his way to embracing the Way of the Clans wholly and completely, quiaff?"

"Aff."

Other matters were handled with the Star Commander whose Solahma trinary were currently holding the Clan base  on Luna, before the connection closed.

she sighed.  well, we will have one soon.  If only we had scientist-caste with iron wombs...

Katya believed in Eugenic Destiny.  the unspoken thread of it was all through the historical material she had consumed from the King County Library...except that evry publication insisted there was no evidence of a genetic link to indicate powers, or even who might manifest them.

They must be hiding it.

She stood in the Command center, and walked back to her quarters.  On the shelf, was a book taken from one of the Library's back rooms, a book that looked vitally important.

"A Guide to the Actualization of your Higher Self and the manifesting of your Greater Power!"  it was more of a pamphlet, and it was decades old, decades out of print, stored in a back room with thousands of such strange publications, waiting to be scanned and digitized at the Library Annex on Denny Way, but the author of the book showed up in historical research as well.

Dubbed a 'Cult Leader' and described as 'Dangerously criminal' in the later stages before the ending of their commune in central Oregon.  The superhuman who called herself "Morgause the Ancient", officially brought down by the United States Government in 1983, had led a 'self help' cult that promised to, through teachings and other processes, give superpowers to regular humans.

The text was...interesting, at least, fascinating in its mix of superstition, pseudoscience, cheap psychological manipulation and self-aggrandizement...and Katya would have dismissed the materials as a crank, except that Morgause led a force of nearly twenty superhuman followers and it took the United States Government's superhero team, along with a veritable army of militarized police, to put a stop to the group, and a check of now-available databases said at least six remained unfound, with one remaining unidentified, more than twenty years later.

The Knights of The Table had entries in the newspapers prior to the raid, going back to the mid 1970s, where they acted as Heroes and positioned themselves as an alternative direction for powered individuals to go, rather than joining the military.  It was incidents by this group that motivated some of the heavier restrictions on powered individuals.

"if it wasn't effective...would the government have shut it down?" Katya wondered, "if it were dangerous? certainly." she answered herself.

BUT success=success, and learning how to master a success without the drawbacks...

"I need more scientists." she muttered.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Starfox5 on 15 September 2020, 15:45:38
Well, dear Clanners, you'll be surprised to realise that without Author fiat stating otherwise, not many will embrace your society and ways. Do the words "Resistance" ring any bell? Better give up before cultural contamination wrecks you from within, too. There aren't enough nutcases on Earth to fall for your crazyness.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: monbvol on 15 September 2020, 17:18:58
Well, dear Clanners, you'll be surprised to realise that without Author fiat stating otherwise, not many will embrace your society and ways. Do the words "Resistance" ring any bell? Better give up before cultural contamination wrecks you from within, too. There aren't enough nutcases on Earth to fall for your crazyness.

You'd be surprised.  Saying more could easily go into rule #4 territory.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Starfox5 on 15 September 2020, 17:24:40
There aren't many right-wing people who will gladly join foreign invaders. And all the leftists will oppose an inhumane regime like the clans. Just getting the one delusional caricature of a collaborator governor means the clans tapped out their luck. No, anything other than some bloody Resistance would be handing out more plot protection and author fiats than the story can survive.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 16 September 2020, 00:00:47
More of those Clanner flags out, in Everett itself. We detoured up Airport road, to have a peek at Payne Field.

Back in the 1950s, Payne Field was Payne AFB, and they flew F-102s out of it.  By the sixties, the air-force-base had been sold off to the State, and the state leased most of the north end to Boeing.

They make jumbo-jets here.

made.

definitely past-tense on that one.

the General Aviation side of the airport is shut down,  and they've added a couple more of those egg-shaped landers to the landscape, towering over everything including the control towers.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 16 September 2020, 09:53:56
Occupation tactics.   Really, these guys must have been doing this a lot-taking and holding key infrastructure to conquer a place, then taking the slow road to adapting the population.

Why? because aside from a few checkpoints at choke-points, they're leaving things alone and letting business return to normal.  MY gut tells me, that unlike the UN peacekeeping mission in Damascus or Baghdad, they're not just grabbing local leaders and flipping them, they're listening to the local leaders they flipped.

Denny's on Pacific Avenue is open at 3 AM.  "What can I get ya?"  the waitress is my age, but she never served.  You can tell. 

"Um, Grand Slam with Scrambled eggs, and can you put cheddar on the eggs?" 

She writes my order down, and looks at Ernie, who orders something similar for himself, and then at Paul who says, "What she is having."

I look around.  a lot of Everett Police uniforms, a few fire department...a couple of paramedics, and in the corner, five elementals, two female, three male, in mesh underwear.  Their suits are probably parked nearby.

Stopping for breakfast might not have been the smartest idea I've had.  using the bar side of the place might be the second dumbest, Ernie isn't 21 yet, and My I.D. says I not only  am not qualified to drive a motorcycle, I'm not qualified to drive at all.

but where else can you get a Heineken with your Lumberjack Slam breakfast?  by the time the food's up, I've bought six more at two bucks apiece, we saved a bundle by stealing gas from abandoned service stations on the way up.

If I want a buzz, I need something stronger, but hey, I'm driving, so getting a buzz is out of the question.

pointedly, our waitress did not ask for I.D. when she took my order.

the bar television is on, and it's running 'news'.  well, propaganda.  It's about as obviously propoganda as AFN.  In this case, they're running a story about 'cooperation efforts' with the state government, and 'medical advances' being contributed to local hospitals.

I almost feel like I understand the ragheads a little better-the invaders come in, kick the everloving crap out of our best, set up a puppet government and start running the whole scam-hospitals and schools, hearts-and-minds.

with just a few hints of what happens if resistance gets too capable as a reminder not to make too much trouble-to wit, one of the 'featured stories' showed work teams of former Fort Lewis soldiers helping the invaders clean up what's left of the armored division after it was pretty much eradicated, and another story talking about 'reclamation efforts'-pulling the halves of the USS Abraham Lincoln out of the mud at the Everett naval base.

Rubbing our collective noses in just how badly we were outclassed and outgunned.

No wonder the arabs hated us.

My breakfast arrives with my sixth beer, a refill for Ernie's coffee and Paul's coke.

"Where to from here, oh leader?" Ernie asks me.

"North." I say, "They're operating from Marysville to Burlington, or they were.  I have no ideas past 'go roughly where they hang' and hope I can figure something out from there."

I'm tired of the propaganda broadcast on the television, so I get up and walk to the jukebox.  It's an old one, still has CDs in it.

I drop a couple fives in.  Then start letting my fingers do the walking at 25 cents a song, some Billy Idol, some David Allen Coe, several selections from Motorhead's 'best of' compilation, a couple of Danzig songs, Goo Goo Dolls and I cap it with some Iron Maiden.

then sit down and watch the people while my partners finish their eating.

the five Clanners in the corner get a lot more animated as the music plays, arguing and speaking with each other.

"I'm grabbing a smoke before we leave." I tell the guys, and head out the door.  It's been illegal to smoke in a bar since 2001 in Washington State.

but then, bars close (or used to, anyway) at 2 AM, and this one's open at three.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 16 September 2020, 11:22:25
The old pay-phone outside the Dennys is ringing.  it started when i wandered toward it, and stopped when I backed away.

then it started again.

Creeepy.

I edge closer, after all, that's where we parked the motorcycles.

It rings...and rings... and I answer it.

"You're being watched by satellite."  the voice sounds just like James Earl Jones.  In the years when mom was between prison sentences she must've made me watch the Star Wars trilogy a million times.  I know what Darth Vader sounds like.

the chance that James Earl Jones is phoning me is a non-chance.  It ain't happening...

"I'm being watched by satellite?"

"technically a ship in orbit would be a temporary satellite, you've been under observation since you entered Mountlake Terrace.  they are not chasing you, because they know where you are. Their attention will be distracted for five minutes in fifteen, get your people together and walk to the Everett avenue overpass, and wait, someone will be by to collect you."

"Who is this?"

"a friend and a fellow patriot, Four minutes, thirty seconds. go collect your people."

click.

Okay, four minutes until it's distracted, and fifteen minute window.  I can do this...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 16 September 2020, 11:34:48
Mount Pilchuck, near the peak.

Phoebe finished her adjustments.  The device took up most of the back of a U-haul getting close, and she'd had to use the suit to carry the parts the rest of the way.

She checked her commo to Judah.  "We're set up, I've made the call.  are you in position?"

"Just pulling out of the Les Schwab now, are you sure they'll show up?"

"Plan B if they don't?" Phoebe suggested.

"Petra wants to know if this thing you've built is really gonna work."

Phoebe frowned, "It should.  at the least, they'll have to investigate, I think...I'm getting clear now."

she stood up, and closed her armored suit, before beginning her descent.  "If they're using what it looks like they're using with those antennas and emitters, they're going to need to deal with it, that's going to keep them distracted until they've nailed the point of emission."

above her, the device powered up, and then, emitted a pulse of directed energy at a target point high in the sky.

The extenders took the shock of landing at the bottom of the cliff, sending a surge into the suit's capacitors, which then routed to the actuators, letting her pick up more speed on the leg-extensions.  effectively, the Tinsmith suit's design translated kinetic impacts and energy back into itself as electrical current-like one of those 'slap and shake' flashlights, but on a grander scale.  The more it moves, the more power it has to move.  Not quite perpetual motion, but with a major surge like dropping 100 feet to a logging road feet-first, or being shot, or hit by something, everything fed the suit's power needs-which is good, because without external input the battery life was less than eighteen hours at the level of operation she had to run it on tonight.

If the Clanners had been looking, they would have noticed an object moving through the national forest, off the roads, at sixty eight miles an hour.

but they weren't looking...yet.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 16 September 2020, 12:01:14
[Childfind addendum: Keene, Phoebe...2008]

Race: W
Gender: F
Date of Birth: July 20, 1997
Missing from: Pierce County Juvenile facility "Kinderhaven" (See: Kinderhaven Scandal, 2004)
Known Relatives: Amanda Keene, Mother (Deceased, august 23, 2003, cause of death heroin overdose)

Child suffers from attention deficit disorder and other signs of fetal alcohol syndrome, diagnosed dyslexic by Pierce County Public Schools.

Date of Disappearance: October 9, 2004
Place of disappearance: child may have wandered off during a series of accidents at the Kinderhaven facility, including the deaths of four adults in bizarre mechanical mishaps, and the apparent suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning of the site's director.

Investigating officers found evidence linking all five senior staff to a child abuse ring with connections overseas.  nearly 200 gigabytes of child pornography were e-mailed from the site to every Washington State and Pierce County governmental office on the same night.  3 staff members were found severely injured by mechanical mishaps involving facility equipment, and sufficient evidence for trial and conviction were found at the same time.  Kinderhaven was shut down, however one child housed there was noted as missing.

State officials suspect Phoebe has been lost to human traffickers, and parallel bulletins have been sent to Interpol and friendly governments detailing her last known appearance and whereabouts.

below is a digital reconstruction of what Phoebe Keene would look like at age thirteen.  If you suspect you have seen this missing child, contact Washington State Department of Health and Human Services on the Lost Children tipline, and report the sighting to local law enforcement.  Do not risk approaching her directly...

Stat Sheet:

Phoebe is a Class B Technopathic adept, with Mechanical Aptitudes in the A category.  Physically she is 'undersized' with slight deformations to her skeleton due to birth defects, and some social issues due to mild autism.

The current "tinsmith" armor is comprised of technology Phoebe worked out on her own, and has several core features:

1. leg extenders:  These are a retractible mechanical leverage extension, when extended, the suit walks with a digitigrade stride and is capable of running up to 70 Miles Per Hour in open terrain, jumping 40 feet, and landing without damage.

2. Kinetic Energy Sinks: the armor is layered with piezoelectric layers that translate shock, heat, and incoming radiofrequency energy into electrical power.  while inefficient by theoretical standards, it exceeds the efficiency of 21st century technology.

3. magnetic shielding: internal shielding layers protect the wearer from the electromagnetic radiation caused by the impact absorption and other energies used in the armor.  additionally, it generates a  scaling magnetic shielding effect passively, similar to that used by the earth's core, making  shots and detection difficult when the suit is powered up.

4. Strength enhancement: this should be obvious.  The armor weighs nearly three tons dry, and has a ground pressure of 12 pounds/square inch with leg extenders in play, or 5 pounds/square inch standing 'low'.

5. weapons: in addition to strength enhancements, the suit employs a number of modular weapons including a 9mm rotary gatling gun, a single rocket rocket launcher, and an electrical discharge or 'taser' system with multiple shots.  Strength enhancement increases with duration in combat, but recordings from the last public sighting of the Tinsmith suit showed the ability to tear the engine block out of a Kenworth diesel truck and throw it 60 yards with sufficient force to disable another vehicle.

It is believed by Dept. of Superhuman affairs that the armor has a stealth mode of some sort, as capture has proven elusive.

The Tinsmith Class: B superhuman vigilante with warrants:

The Tinsmith is wanted in the killings of 22 members of various criminal gangs operating between Burlington and Everett, including members of groups as diverse as the Pan Aryan Brotherhood, MS-13, Lubenko Cartel, Scorpion Tong, and Yakuza cells, and is suspected in the death by immolation of 4 known members of La Cosa Nostra that were under FBI protection.

It is unknown how tinsmith chooses his(?) targets, but the method of operation is known: extreme violence applied suddenly and without hesitation.  There are no known innocents caught in these attacks, and Homeland Security/FBI theorizes that the Tinsmith is possibly an experienced law enforcement officer that has 'gone punisher', though the possibility of a mole in one or more federal agencies has been suggested, as each target was a group that was under long-term federal investigation.

Tinsmith's most recent activity prior to the Wolf Clan Invasion was at the Port of Everett, where he(?) was involved in the murder/annihilation of a human trafficking ring and the release from captivity of 132 undocumented immigrants from the hold of a cargo ship at the port.  The trafficking ring in question was importing human females for the sex trade, from China and Korea, and was associated with the Scorpion Tong, a group known to also traffic in victims for 'one use performance art'. 

this attack was supported by the superhuman vigilante known as "mister wizard" as well as an unidentified accomplice who managed to evade surveillance cameras...


Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 16 September 2020, 12:35:56
"...must have been a prank, Lisa, there's nobody-" Ernie was saying, I interrupted his breakfast, after all.

Paul was more restrained.

Either way, the car that pulled up to us under the overpass was not exactly low profile.  "Hey, You're Lisa?" the kid leaning out the window of a 1967 Pontiac Catalina looks about Ernie's age, kid's girl friend looks about the same.

"That's me." I step forward.

"Get in, all three of you, they're not going to be distracted for long." the driver says.

"A...yeah...who are you?"

"Friends." he tells me, "Come on, the seats are nicer inside."

The girlfriend gets out and folds the passenger half of the bench seat down.  "alrigth, let's try this..."  I usher Ernie in, then Paul, then, the girlfriend gets in, "You've got shotgun, Miss." she tells me.

There's something I can't place about her face...

so I sit down, close the door, and the driver puts it in gear.

"this your dad's ride?" I ask.

"nope, it's mine." he tells me.

"Where are we going?"

"Tulalip reservation." he tells me,  "I figured you'd be looking for our team to hook up after you had to leave Aberdeen."

"you're the Tinsmith?" I ask.

"Nope.  My girl in the back is Countermeasure, and I use the online handle 'Mister_Wizard42", so the Feds have nicknamed me 'Mister Wizard'.  Tinsmith's gonna meet us at the house.  it's weird, I know your real life ident, but not your handle."

"I don't have one."

he laughs, "WOW!! no handle, no costume I'm guessing. you were a normie before they hit?"

"Oh, something like that." I tell him.

"Wild..." the car whips onto I-5 and he shifts until we're gliding along at sixty.  "That is ****** wild.  I'm guessing you were just 'getting by' without using your powers then."

"Pretty much..." I look the car over.  No weird panels, no strange lights or indication of anything except a dashboard cd player.  "So how big is this team of yours?" I ask him.

"Three of us plus one Normie." he says, "she takes care of the mundane details that let us engage in all this splendor and glamor."

"You're being awfully open."

"Well, here's my thinking: either you're a fresh-popped super with god's own fist for invulnerability, in which case, given that Uncle Sam doesn't want you anywhere near responsibility means  you're not the kind to pass the psych eval and you'll end up in Yucca Mountain if you're caught, or you're a Fed on a long term p lant and we're screwed anyway, or you're a fed who's doing down-low recruitment and maybe Petra and I can leverage that into going legit as registered heroes...which would be nice, since it means not having to hold down a day job."

"what's yours?" I ask him.

"I fix tires at Les Schwab in Marysville during the day, and beat up drug-dealers, child abusers and scumbags by night." He grins.  "Sometimes has to go more than a beating, and that's more Tinny's bag than mine.  It's cold out here in the cold, yanno."

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: georgiaboy on 16 September 2020, 12:52:21
I only bought at Les Schwab once, then at Big O for all other tires and service on my truck.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: nerd on 16 September 2020, 21:16:40
Interesting. I'm wondering how bad the Marine Security Company at Bangor got eaten up here.

And how the Wolves would react to Mk4 and Mk5 reentry bodies.

Assuming there are SSBN's there.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 17 September 2020, 00:06:25
Mt. Pilchuk..

The device had been left on automatic, and it was a freakish combination of primitive brilliance.  "Explain to me what I am looking at."  Star Captain John Ward commanded.

"Well, this is the 'jammer' that blinded the Pack Den's sensors for twenty minutes early this morning.  The work is brilliant, especially when one considers the crudity of the materials and parts used, it is almost..." the senior Tech paused, looking misty eyed, "Almost art.  If the creator were ours, and had access to proper tools and materials, this emplacement could have destroyed the warship in orbit-or at least done permanent damage.  as it sits, it blinded the sensors and scrambled some of the primary systems for twenty minutes before running out of power."

"Can you build a defense against such an attack if it happens again?"

"Easily, Ovkhan, but that is not my point-my point is, this was fabricated from local materials, by local hands.  There is a technological genius loose, and probably worth the effort to acquire..."

"Or neutralize." John said sourly, "I think you forget we are still facing hostilities.  While the American President is clearly stalling for time in his negotiations, they will attempt to throw us back eventually."

The senior AsTech from the warship had not seen the spirited defense at Bangor, the way John had.  Men with primitive, ineffective weapons fighting room to room, chamber to chamber.  The conquest of the navy base had been brutally one-sided, but despite that, it had been hard fighting and if the defenders had had so much as the basics a planetary militia should have, it would easily have turned into a mutual bloodbath instead of a one sided execution.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 17 September 2020, 11:47:49
Tulalip reservation...

'the Tinsmith' turned out to be a thirteen year old girl.  I guess I should've guessed at a kid since she was using spliced recordings of Samuel L. Jackson and James Earl Jones for her vocal distortion rig, it should have been obvious.

"So...we guessed you'd be coming here, but that was a guess." The boy, Judah, leads off while making pancake batter in the kitchen.

"A good guess." Phoebe, aka 'Tinsmith' speaks up.  The girl's got a little bit of a limp and she's definitely had some growth problems.

"I have a motive...but it might be trashed now." I admit.

"Ohh, a motive!" Petra says.  "Go on!"

"Baba Yaga called me direct, gave me ten days to deal with this incursion or 'she would'."  I use finger quotes, "I think we can all agree that having Baba Yaga 'deal with' anything is too many dead people to tolerate."

"DUDE!! she's like, My Favorite!!" Phoebe enthuses, "I've seen all her pre-eruption interviews online!!" the girl pauses, "I mean, when she was still a physicist.  Moira used to read her books to me!"

"Who's 'Moira'?"  Ernie asks.

"House owner, also our landlord." Judah says, "She's working tonight up at Island crossing Denny's."

Phoebe clears her throat, "NO, she's at the 7-11 tonight, her shifts got changed!  What do you need, a team-up?"

"I...we need a mastermind."  I say, "Unfortunately..."

"Oh...yeah, I'm not the mastermind." Phoebe says, "Judah handles tactics and strategy.  He got trained by Doc Webb."

"Phoebe!" Judah snaps, "That's private! remember what Moira says about sharing other people's stuff!"

"Wait...Doc Webb? you mean Team Buffalo's healer?  bio-manipulation Doc Webb? one of the originals?"

"Yeah, that Doc Webb, only he was Sherriff Webb until two years ago, down in The Dalles." Judah confesses, "you know even super-people get too old to play, right?"

"You...weren't much older than Phoebe?" I'm a little freaked out.

"Younger.  My parents found out I had powers and they...well, you know the old joke about mom and dad going out for a pack of smokes and not coming back?"  Judah asks, "that's my parents, I actually tried to get in contact before me and Petra moved up here, but my aunt basically called me the spawn of satan and wouldn't give me an address...so you need a planner to figure out two things."  He checked the big cast-iron frying pan and added some butter with a sizzle.

"Two things?" I ask.

"first, what Baba Yaga really wants you to do, connected to that is why she picked you to do it, that's thing one.  Thing two, is figuring out how to do it." Judah poured a ladle of batter onto the surface.

"What she really wants?" I'm skeptical.

"Sure.  Look, she dropped a half mile thick glacier on North Korea for one missile test, and sent the Clanners packing-we know that, because they hit Russia first, but they're not trying to set up shop in Eastern Europe or central Asia.  she can swat them from where she is no-problems and it probably won't mess up anyone's hair...but she wants an American to do it, and she knows which American she wants to do it."

"Judah..." Petra's tone is worried.

"Relax hon." He says, "this isn't me using my powers to access the Akashic Record, this is me using logic and evidence with my ordinary, mortal mind.  we won't need blood bags or sutures for this...at least not right away."

"blood bags?" Paul asks from the table, where he's discovering the power of artificial flavorings in coffee.  "Sutures?"

"Judah's actual superhuman powers come with a price." Petra states, "He doesn't have to pay it, but he's got this strong moral refusal to use sacrifices, so he eats the side-effects and then has to spend time recovering."

"it's more complicated than that...but that's the gist." Judah admits, "So...you need to figure out what the craziest, most powerful and unbalanced demigod on the earthly plane wants from you, and then, how to get it for her without ****** up everything you care about."

"She's NOT crazy!!"

"Phoebe, the more powerful a superhuman is, the more divorced they are from reality." Judah recited, "powers screw with your head, or your body, or both, and the more powerful and exotic abilities do a bigger, badder job of doing that.  You remember how badly messed up I was after fighting that Herne construct?"

"I remember, we actually had to break you out of harborview hospital!" Phoebe said.

"Yeah.  It put me in intensive care-that was a construct sent by someone pretty damn powerful, but it wasn't 'planetary invasion by an army from the future' powerful.  nonetheless, the people who set that Herne on me are probably just a couple steps shy of declaring themselves to be napoleon and drooling in a corner...now, BABA YAGA has continent-spanning powers that can manifest an ice-age sheet on a zone, and keep it inside the legal borders, that ice sheet on north korea ends like a razor blade at the 38th parallel, right down the middle of the old DMZ.  How crazy powerful do you think someone would be, to be that big, loud, and precise?"

"If she's crazy we can't logic this one." I comment.

"Wrong, see, 'crazy is by degrees', if you understand someone's delusion, you realize they're actually sane-within the limits of that delusion." Judah noted, "For example, I'm bughouse nuts for thinking I can do magic-except that I can, and it's provable that I can, right down to the side effects.  what makes me crazy is that i know I can do it without side-effects, I just have to decide that killing a few innocents is worth the boost in power, but I refuse to do that.  By the logic of, say, some suited director at Homeland Security, I'm batshit insane for making the choice to suffer wounds and illnesses and accepting limits on my power, instead of going all out to get as much as humanly possible the way Lifemistress does."

"How nasty are the side-effects?" Paul's interested, this may be a bad sign.

"Well, I can usually do small stuff without more than a few aches and pains." Judah says, "It's easier if I prepare rituals in advance, do the preparatory work, minor glammers like the one that makes my car not worth noticing and fuzzy to remember.  The more time I spend prepping a ritual, the easier time I have healing, but if I have to call in a major effect, in a hurry? well...Intensive Care time, weeks or months to recover if it's really big or pushes too hard on natural physics, or both.  I've found 'cheats' using chemistry, real-life physics, and mechanical workarounds, or using tactics instead of raw power, to solve my problems."

"Brains instead of Brawn, and my man has lots of brains." Petra added, "Though not enough to make me show up on a photograph."

"I'm still working on that one hon...but it's slow, they used atlantean ritual on your embryo when they made you, and second-hand ones at that, stupid Thule society asshats..."  He flipped the pancake, "like giving a six-year-old a gun."

"So...Lisa, how did you stomp the shit out of a bunch of these guys?" Phoebe redirects, "I saw it on television, they put The Seahawk down in about a minute, and it took fifteen for them to knock out Monroe."

"I don't get hurt." I tell her.

"what, like, combat reflexes or something?"

"NO, like if you hit me with a concrete barrier, it's the barrier that breaks, not me." I tell her.  "It's not just skin deep either.  Paul here can tell you, I punched my way through four suits of their armor and two of their walking tanks."

"Battlemechs!" Paul clarifies.

"Battlemechs.  he was in one of 'em, they have this weird idea that if captured, they're supposed to be offered a chance to switch sides."

"Only in certain situations!" Paul announces.

"right...in certain situations, apparently me beating up his unit almost single handedly qualifies, since Ernie is...with me, on my team, and took out one suit and three more of those 'battlemechs', Paul elected to join my army."

"Ernie? what can you do?"

"um...plasma blasts." Ernie said, "I've got enough skill not to let them out of...embarrasing places, but I can generate excited plasma at will...from my hands."

Judah sighs, "Potent." he says, "how did you hook up?"

"She stopped me from robbing a bank." Ernie told him, "then she saved my butt during the invasion."

"You were robbing a bank??"  Phoebe looks kind of...offended.

"Yeah, I was going to be a big, bad super-villain...you know, really stick it to my dad, the tight-laced corporate executive...only instead of being a super-villain, I kind of...I'm her sidekick, okay?  It's better this way.  I actually got the respect for fighting the invaders I thought I'd get  from being a Supervillain.  I'm not just 'Ernest the slightly dim and useless son of the head of Palmersoft'."

"Oh?" Phoebe doesn't look offended anymore, she walks up to him, "slightly dim? useless?"

"I tested low average in a home where my father is one of Mensa's shining greats and my mother got her doctorate before the age of seventeen." Ernie tells her, "I'm dumb, I know it...but how smart do I have to be, to fight invading aliens?"

"You were smart enough to hook up with Lisa." Phoebe tells him, "Smart enough to listen to her, and smart enough to know you needed to fight the invaders." she recites, "you're smart enough to keep your mouth shut when you need to, and you're smart enough to keep your eyes open.  You're smarter than you, or those people with their stupid tests think you are."

she kisses him on the cheek and he flinches.  This makes Phoebe giggle, and it's cute, gawd awful and adorable.

"I want to keep him!" Phoebe announces, "can we keep him, Judah?"

"better ask Lisa...or better still, Moira, and I think his parents might have something to say about that." Judah says judiciously.

"wait until you're both Older!" I imitate Aunt Cindy's tone with the kids back home...which makes me feel sad.  judah puts the first pancakes on a plate, and hands it to Phoebe, "Eat up, Moira says you've been skipping meals."

"Syrup?" Phoebe asks. 

"You know where it is."

then he looks at me.

"We need to figure out what Baba Yaga really wants from you." He tells me.

"Yeah."



Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Sir Chaos on 17 September 2020, 12:03:37
These guys really put the "fun" into "dysfunctional"...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: georgiaboy on 17 September 2020, 12:20:45
Baba Yaga most likely wants Lisa to step-up he game and control the area or the country since Lisa's powers essentially makes her a god, or a god killer.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 17 September 2020, 12:25:06
[Lisa's notations: Judah Lees, aka "Mister Wizard", aka "Juan LaRoca", aka "Jason Larsen" aka "James Lawson"]

Apparent age: 17 or 18, could be 19?

Ethnicity: Mixed hispanic/white.

Height: six feet, two inches.

Weight: not even gonna guess, he's skinny.

Classification: Mastermind, subclass reality alteration-with negative side effects, Mental is up there. Delusion? Access to around fifty thousand years of occult knowledge, this generally manifests in bad side effects when he uses it without a lot of prep.

Mentally: Less ****** up than I am...by a lot. 

Works at Les Schwab as a day job, part timer.  Works as a vigilante in a team environment the rest of the time, has done some work for law enforcement under a previous handle "Brujah", but moved on after Webb deemed him 'trained'.  Probably the closest I've ever seen to a professional hero who wasn't just a PR gag for a corporation or the government.

lees is actually a decent investigator, knows some forensics and criminal psychology.  Monroe would LOVE to have this kid on his team, if he wasn't already a wanted super-vigilante with warrants under his previous names-including Colorado, Nevada and Oregon.

Petra Cheron's boyfriend.  I don't know the math behind that one, but they're like...almost sickening to look at.  two peas, one pod...

oh-kay..'countermeasure'.  aka Petra Cheron.

She's nice, almost nice enough you forget that she's wanted as an accessory to several murders.  Nice th ing is, they can't pin those killings on her directly, and I really have to wonder how they'd book her in the first place, since the mugshot would be a blur that fades after a couple hours?

the two of them are bigger comics geeks than...anyone I met outside the Corps.

Third on our list: Phoebe Keene, aka "The Tinsmith".  she showed me her shop after breakfast.  it looks like the set of a movie set in a dystopian cyberfuture, if that movie was made back in the nineteen fifties.  She seems to have taken a shine to Ernie, and really, he's a nice kid, but the difference between 13 and 15 is as wide as the difference between 18 and 35, and he's aware of it.  Phoebe?? not so much.  I remember having crushes in school...and how that worked out for me.

Fourth: Moira Slohcin...
she's Aunt Cindy's age, graduated from high school about the same time, went to college and did not drop out freshman year with a bun in the oven the way my aunt did.  Instead, she married a complete scumbag in her sixth year of school, came home, and said scumbag used her father's business to smuggle not-very-nice things to not-very-nice-people.  When she found out, she went to the cops.  This cost her her family's business, everything she ever owned, and five years in prison, while said ex-husband used his mob connections to get out in eight months from minimum security, and her defense lawyer retired to hawaii.  the case was the one that got 'assistant' federal attorney Dale O'Ryan his famous case to win the race for Attorney General back in 2004.

duh, right? she could be one of my relatives the way that bastard went after her.

nice lady though.  Very level-headed, considering who lives with her, that's something amazing in and of itself.  She's talking to Paul about Clan customs and Clan culture...and Clanner laws.

I think she's working an angle here for Judah...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: georgiaboy on 17 September 2020, 12:44:33
Ah yes, the legal system of Western part of Washington St. I worked in Kidnap County for 20 years and had a Vacation of 151 days.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: BATTLEMASTER on 17 September 2020, 13:24:58
I guess I have a thing for crossovers that I don't completely understand, but they're sure entertaining  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 17 September 2020, 14:35:25
It's afternoon, Paul's finished meeting the lady of the house.  To him, Lisa remains a point of fascination.  She displays all the marks of a disgraced warrior, but her honor is as clear to him, as it seems to be obscured from her own understanding.

"How are you holding up, ma'am?" he asked, sitting down on the back porch of the house beside her.

"Considering that it's been three days without my medications?" she looked over at him, "Surprisingly clear-headed.  What were you talking with the owner about?"

"She was intensely interested in Clan rites, rituals, and law." he answered, "I answered to the best of my ability, beginning with my own status as a bondsman, and expanding from that into a description of our trial-by-combat system."

"There's no way in hell I'm taking those kids into a fight, Paul."  she said, "I've seen what happens to green kids when the fighting kicks off, what it does to them...after."

"based on what your news media and discussion with the team here, they are not 'green kids'."

"There's a huge difference between taking out thugs and toughs, and taking on combat with professional troops." she notes bitterly.  "They're young, they're not...they're kids, not soldiers.  This was a mistake, I shouldn't have brought this down on them."

"Kerensky says, 'you go to war with the army you have, not the army  you want'." he said seriously.  "There may be a way, Moira pointed it out in our conversation."

"Oh?"

"Challenge Star Colonel Katya Kerensky for possession of Wolf Clan." he told her.  "A trial of possession would put you in command if you won.  from there, you can implement...reforms. force the rest of the Clan's warriors and personnel to adapt to your world and your ways."

"Do you even think that can work?"

"I shot you in the face with an extended-range particle projection cannon, it did not even leave a burn."

"it gave me a haircut."

"Hair is dead cells, everyone knows that." Paul said, "Every living part of you is invulnerable...and if it is not?"

"then I can die." she answers.

"From our discussions...you can not lose-we can, but you can not.  Either you will achieve victory and hold enough power to help your new friends, or you will die in the attempt and be freed of the burden that plagues your soul."  He pressed an unopened bottle of Miller Genuine Draft into her hand, it was fresh from the store, brought by Moira and bargained for honestly.  "You should hurry though, I believe the red-haired girl and the boy were listening in to the conversation with a bit too much interest.  Ernie's energy blasts are potent, but he is still a mortal human."

it wasn't a deception, or even a lie...except in the choice to omit Moira's strict reaction and orders to the children not to 'haul off and get killed'.  it was simply providing motivation. 

put everything on the table and end this before the nightmare comes true.

"How do I do this?" she asks.

"There are...ways." he said, "You will need to make it flashy, and public, so that none can claim you did not issue the challenge honorably..."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 17 September 2020, 15:05:25
"...the first step, like in any trial, is to establish standing."  Moira's briefing the kids when I walk back in.  "Basically, some legitimate authority by which to issue the challenge."

"How do we do that-we're practically outlaws." Judah argues while I edge my way onto the arm of the sofa.

"Well, Lisa isn't, Judah's not in the system officially, and Petra..." here Moira hesitates.

"Petra doesn't have a legal identity." Petra said, "at least, not one that exists outside of some black project file in the bowels of Homeland Security."

"Lisa, do you own land?" Paul asked.

shit.  I do...sort of.  "Moira, I need to use your phone."

"My phone?"

"I need to call my aunt. I own a share in a ranch north of Tonasket...it was my grandparents' place, and all the grandkids own a share."

"What were you doing flopping in a trailer in ABERDEEN??"

"Keeping my family clear of my baggage." I tell them.  "Besides, my Aunt's not exactly happy cheery supportive about the whole superpowers thing, chasing powers was Mom's thing in the seventies, and Cindy blames all the bad stuff that happened since on it."

"really?"

"Really.  Mom was one of the three thousand culties who were with Morgause, looking to 'unlock her inner power'."  I make a sour face.  "It didn't work, instead she got knocked up, fled the cult and...bad things happened."

"Kitchen phone's scrambled, Phoebe?"  Moira urged, "Make sure it's not tapped."

"On it!"

I walk up to the phone and dial out, a number I've hesitated at every time.  last time I got eight digits in before hanging up.

My cousin, Valerie answers on the third ring.

"Alice's in Okanogan, we do delivery!"

"Val, it's Lisa, is your mom available?"

I swear everyone in the room here heard the squeal, and a little piece of me dies.  My aunt was close enough to my age that there's only ten years difference between me, and cousin Valerie.  She babysat me while mom was doing time, and supported my decision to enlist in the Corps when grandmama opposed it, and she's been clockwork trying to get me to call home after they let me out of Red River.

"Lisa..are you finally coming home?"

god.

god help me.

"I...Aunt Cindy, where do i start?"

"How about why there are Federal Agents stopping by weekly since you got out of Red River?"

"which agency?"

"Homeland Security's bureau of superhuman affairs." she tells me.

"Yeah...I...Ikindahavepowersanditsucksand-"

"I assumed that when I saw the badges, Lisa. You're not doing anything illegal are you?"

"Um...define 'illegal'? I kind of fought the invaders in Aberdeen a little bit..."

"that's my niece, I hope you gave them the one-two.  Your grandfather would be proud, and so am I." she tells me.

"I need to know...uh...the Ranch.  Margot didn't talk you into approving a sale, did she?"

"No.  that land is in trust to you and your cousins, and it's still stable, but god, Lisa, you could have known that if you bothered to open your mail once in a while. As Executor, I'm fielding all that hassle, including another try by Daphne O'Ryan to get it declared state land."

"Uhm..just a sec..." I hold my hand over the mouthpiece, "Moira, Paul...do I need to actually show ownership?"

"It might help." Paul said, "However a deed may not be required if the land's status is in the system."

I smile.  "great...Okay, Aunt Cindy, I'll be coming home after I take care of some...uh, business here. Not the kind Mom got arrested for, but I needed proof of legal standing to issue the challenge, and stakes."

"Like a bet? are you gambling??"

"Um, ah..eh..yes. but not like you think! I need it to challenge the leaders of the Invaders, these 'Wolf Clan' people, for all the marbles.  apparently that's a 'thing' with them, if I win, I can end this invasion and nobody else gets hurt...and if I lose, someone else can step up until it's done."

"Hang tight, Lisa, we're coming to you...whre are you?"

"Uh, Tulalip reservation, just outside Marysville."

"We're coming to you.  did I ever tell you about what happened when your mom escaped those culties?"

"Uh...no?"

"We're coming to you, don't make a move without me there...and I'll be bringing your Aunt Margot, and a few...friends."

what??

"Um, it's going to be dangerous."

"Lisa, you're a blockhead but you're OUR blockhead.  The year you were born, your mother was still in hiding, and the Cult sent six of their people up to shake us down for where she was at...we killed them, your grandfather, your grandmother, my sister Margot, me, Deke Marsden and some of the workers from the Reservation.  You're a Quentin, you're not going to defend us alone.  that's not how we do things.  I'll be there in sixteen hours...if you would be so kind as to give the address?"

"She wants to bring people up here to help." I tell the Team.

"Good." Moira says, "Every hand we can get, maybe we can work up something serious enough they'll have to listen.  she needs an address?"

"It's like trashing your security, Moira!"

"My House, My Rules..." and then Moira takes the phone out of my stunned fingers.

"Ms Quentin? yes, Moira Slohcin, the address is..."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 17 September 2020, 15:40:02
Surveillance picked it up, but with so much information available, it did not look that dangerous, if it even was.

a column of pickup trucks, vans and a motorhome heading west on Highway 20, joined by a small cloud of motorcycles.

another group of automobiles heading south from the Bellingham area, collecting a few here and there, moving in convoy.

a third convoy moving along Highway 101 out of Gray's Harbor county.

Not that big a deal, not a threat, no military vehicles among them.

a couple of passes by Aerospace fighters with sensors on 'high' showed no threatening technologies, no armor.

no reason to deploy ground assets.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: georgiaboy on 17 September 2020, 15:53:54
Oh Boy. They don't know whats coming.
Lots of out of work Lumber Jacks, Dock workers, and Fishermen?

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 17 September 2020, 16:04:37
Airforce One, en-route to Payne Field for negotiations with the invaders...

The President had, after days of negotiation over the airwaves, consented to meet this 'Khan Kerensky'.  to him, it was an opportunity to tell the invaders to their faces, on international television, that the United States was not in the business of submitting to foreign powers.

Oddly enough, the National Security Advisor and the Vice President both insisted on staying in D.C.

The President wasn't worried-if he had one chance to secure his legacy and not have it be a legacy of betraying his country, this would be it-win or lose, live or die, he would stand up to them, and it might be the end of his presidency, but he would go down like a man, himself.

The president of the United STates was not going to get the chance for that fateful address.

at 10:00 AM, October 11, 2008, Air Force One suffered an 'accident'.

The Accident's code-name, is Striker and he was the most powerful superhuman the Department could create-the result of more than seventy years of combined research between pre-world war programs in Britain, American, and Hitler's Germany, including approaches frowned on by the pioneer researcher who gave the U.S. its first superheroes.

and he was absolutely loyal to the Director.

gun-camera footage from the F-15s escorting the 747, and imagery taken tracking the President's arrival route by Clan Wolf's orbital forces, recorded the attack.

once again, a superhuman, an unidentified superhuman, committed a terrorist attack against the United States.

In Washington, DC, the Vice President began rehearsing his speech, ceding all claimed territory to the invaders along the terms offered by Katya Kerensky, with the request that the Clan forces help round up the remaining unregistered supers in North America.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Nikas_Zekeval on 17 September 2020, 16:21:47
So is everyone in political office/power an immoral power-hungry ****** with chronic backstabbing disorder?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Sharpnel on 17 September 2020, 16:31:41
So is everyone in political office/power an immoral power-hungry ****** with chronic backstabbing disorder?
I thought that was one of the requirements of being a lifelong politician.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Nikas_Zekeval on 17 September 2020, 16:38:08
I thought that was one of the requirements of being a lifelong politician.

It's more a matter of degree, when the whole government is Starscreams from bottom to now top?  The system would have long since imploded in an orgy of such black project backstabbing.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: BATTLEMASTER on 17 September 2020, 16:45:05
Looks like the Inner Sphere hasn't changed much since 2008.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 17 September 2020, 17:34:52
It's more a matter of degree, when the whole government is Starscreams from bottom to now top?  The system would have long since imploded in an orgy of such black project backstabbing.

Yeah, that's causing me some issues with suspension of disbelief, too.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: idea weenie on 17 September 2020, 18:58:57
I saw it as the President is a puppet of the Director and friends, but when the President had an attack of conscience (or was scared of the message he received) he refused to obey his orders.

Result: the President is removed in a tragic accident, and the Vice President is sworn in.  The Vice President understands who really runs the country

The backstabbers are more likely to switch over to the new group, as they think they can rise higher.  Wonder when that bubble of ego will be popped
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 17 September 2020, 20:25:03
She made it snow in Pyongyang for long enough to put a half-mile of ice on top of North Korea from the Chinese Border to the 38th Parallel.

It took Baba Yaga three days.  There...were casualties.  Baba Yaga is 'not nice'.  (and yes, there are environmental consequences.)

Okay, I had to go back and do some maths.

According to Wikipedia North Korea has a land area of ~120,540 square kilometers.
Half a mile of ice is ~800 meters.

That's 11.1m/36.6' of rain an hour.   If we assume snow flakes initially pack to half the density of water, that's 37cm or 14.5" of snow per minute!
I'll be amazed if anyone made it out of the contry except maybe some fishermen who were just offshore when it started.

So in three days Baba Yaga delivered 96,432 cubic kilometers of water, in the form of snow/ice, and it's still there.
That's still probably barely noticeable in terms of sea levels
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 17 September 2020, 23:39:35
Yeah, that's causing me some issues with suspension of disbelief, too.

point out something? (an attempt to explain my logic here)

it's not without historic precedent when indigineous cultures are confronted by a seemingly unbeatable, technologically superior, outsider enemy for them to turn  to backstabby behavior in the governing classes. 

The ending of the Tokugawa Shogunate wasn't exactly bloodless, and was brought about by the arrival of a gent named Perry who just wanted to open some markets. 

The Chinese Empire effectively collapsed in on itself with the arrival of Britain and the Opium Wars. (From which came Hong Kong's british affiliation).

Evidence suggests several native american nations wound up in near civil war situations before capitulating to European conquest both in South, and North, America.

with disastrous results for those native american nations even when they did not fight.

here we have a situation where a force with at least a seven century technological lead is demanding territorial concessions at the point of an orbiting gun platform, and they've already crushed a major domestic military force.  Even with covert development, the U.S. Government has already seen their best get an ass-kicking to end all ass-kickings, and these invaders present a chance to get disparate elements under control including elements that threaten the careers and constructs of a number of high-ranking career bureaucrats who've been playing fast-and-loose with the fundamental elements of the nation for decades.

plus, the invaders scare the dogsnot out of some of those people due to how effortlessly they crushed resistance in what amounts to a day or so of combat.

Much the way that France accepted German occupation in 1940 of large swathes in exchange for being permitted to continue to exist-Collaborators happen.  Remember that Marshall Foche fought the Boche for four years between 1914 and 1918, and his Vichy government worked hand-in-glove with the Third Reich, including turning over french civilians and french citizens to the death camps and even supporting axis powers in colonial possessions outside of Europe-and the tech disparity wasn't even there during WWII, the germans weren't even offering trinkets.

Taken from a certain point of view, what the Wolf Clan is demanding isn't even that bad, what they potentially offer is, in some circles, worth trading a corner of the United States in exchange, because a lot of senior policy people saw what the invaders did and said to themselves 'We can't defeat that...yet.'

and then, the sitting president said "We're not going to surrender one inch of ground and I'll tell the so."

but he's a lame duck, due to be out of office on January 20, 2009.  if you're already planning to suspend the constitution (and said prez would have to if he intended to actually try to fight this), then a lot of the ties that keep men and women loyal are already under strain.  an opportunist taking advantage?

Oh yes.

this is, after all, a world with superheroes.  Not exactly safe from extremes of behaviour when you have people dressing up in spandex to punch criminals.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 17 September 2020, 23:53:12
"...dezgra in the extreme!"  Paul's livid.  Aunt Cindy's actually grieving for a man she once called 'The dumbass in chief', there are a lot of angry people including bikers, loggers, and fishermen on the property now.

I'm numb.  I doubt the vice president's address was something the late president would have approved of under any circumstances, but then, I voted for the SOB.  He was the first president I voted for...and I regretted it along with everyone else...even when I did it again.

America has survived bad presidents before, and damned if we won't survive them again, but that doesn't make a presidential assassin anything other than a sack of shit-in this case, a sack of shit in stealth tights with a cape.

The Clanners almost beat CNN to showing images of the superhuman that took down Air Force One over Idaho.

Empyrion, the foremost 'anti-normal' superhuman terrorist, is headquartered somewhere in South America, he's got flight, but even his group's avoided pulling this...scale of shitty.  he made a statement within hours of the assassination decrying it as a setup, denying all responsibility and insisting that his little group had nothing to do with it.

and for once, I believe the blue-skinned son of a bitch, because he hasn't exactly been quiet when his group pulls an op with a body count the way they did when they took sides in the Columbian civil war and converted a cartel leader into a seated member of the U.N. with ties to China.

"Yeah, it's a disgrace." I state it, "someone just volunteered to get his head caved in...but first we're going to resolve this...territorial dispute."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Grognard on 18 September 2020, 00:11:18
Cannonshop is producing GOLD again.  time for popcorn & a comfy seat.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 18 September 2020, 01:22:57
point out something? (an attempt to explain my logic here)

it's not without historic precedent when indigineous cultures are confronted by a seemingly unbeatable, technologically superior, outsider enemy for them to turn  to backstabby behavior in the governing classes. 

Unrest? Chaos? Sure. But here's the thing: Clan tech isn't unbeatable, even for the militaries in question and literally the only two government officials presented thus far that aren't utterly evil backstabbers or collaborators are a superhuman sheriff who got captured and a president who got assassinated.

We've also encountered no information at all about what happened in engagements between the militaries of the world and the Clanners, or discussion of using nukes against their Warship, or even deploying superhumans against them.

I get that Lisa may not have all that information. But we aren't seeing everything from her perspective, either.

Which is another thing...we seem to have shifted from first person perspective for Lisa to third for other characters and back. It can be a bit jarring at times.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Hellraiser on 18 September 2020, 04:02:52
Interesting Read to be sure.  TAG'd
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: BATTLEMASTER on 18 September 2020, 06:30:17
We've also encountered no information at all about what happened in engagements between the militaries of the world and the Clanners, or discussion of using nukes against their Warship, or even deploying superhumans against them.

I think the Wolves may have disabled any sort of meaningful nuclear weapon launch remotely.  Even then, point defenses could probably easily take out a 21st century ICBM aimed at them.

The supers also taking them down?  Not sure who's around that's powerful enough to do that besides Lisa and Baba Yama.  Plus it seems that many supers in this story may not be able to stand up to battlemech weapons like Lisa can.  Then again maybe the technically gifted can build some kind of weapon to drop them from orbit.

But if Lisa gets and wins her Trial of Possession, or maybe even a Trial of Refusal, this may all be moot.  Hmmm, Paul never seemed to mention a Trial of Refusal...  She just wouldn't own the invaders, but we know about power and what it can do!
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Nikas_Zekeval on 18 September 2020, 08:02:21
Unrest? Chaos? Sure. But here's the thing: Clan tech isn't unbeatable, even for the militaries in question and literally the only two government officials presented thus far that aren't utterly evil backstabbers or collaborators are a superhuman sheriff who got captured and a president who got assassinated.

To add my own thoughts on this?  Based on the number of immoral black ops projects the protagonists are tangled in in their backstory, along with blatantly stating the assassins were, or thought themselves, the 'power behind the throne' and got upset at the President throwing off their strings and stop being their unknowing patsy?

A dictator knowingly playing his subordinates off against each other for his favor is one thing.  Focusing their backstabbing on each other rather than him.  And even that is a metastable situation at best over the short term.  The guy notionally at the top being completely out of the loop of this level of backstabbing and not flying apart before this?  That is straining my credulity.

This wasn't totally a response to the OCP of a Clan Wolf warship arriving in orbit.  It is the continuation of multiple per-existing conditions.  And no Super-tech "Asteroid Defense System" or confiscated villain super-weapon that can have people trying to repurpose it into a ground to orbit system?  Or is government deals with supers stupid along with being evil?  The later certainly seems backed in from the background given so far.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 18 September 2020, 09:46:36
To add my own thoughts on this?  Based on the number of immoral black ops projects the protagonists are tangled in in their backstory, along with blatantly stating the assassins were, or thought themselves, the 'power behind the throne' and got upset at the President throwing off their strings and stop being their unknowing patsy?

A dictator knowingly playing his subordinates off against each other for his favor is one thing.  Focusing their backstabbing on each other rather than him.  And even that is a metastable situation at best over the short term.  The guy notionally at the top being completely out of the loop of this level of backstabbing and not flying apart before this?  That is straining my credulity.

This wasn't totally a response to the OCP of a Clan Wolf warship arriving in orbit.  It is the continuation of multiple per-existing conditions.  And no Super-tech "Asteroid Defense System" or confiscated villain super-weapon that can have people trying to repurpose it into a ground to orbit system?  Or is government deals with supers stupid along with being evil?  The later certainly seems backed in from the background given so far.

I admit missing a few good beats here, like where are the genuinely powerful/supersmart villains and what about techno-heroes? and I admit digging a little too deep into certain cultural traditions regarding rumours of deep state and government conspiracies and the like.  I grew up like a lot of people on X-files and Art Bell.

not that real life didn't have its share of questionable government actions and programs, but those in real life got shut down real quick and the perpetrators were at least dragged in front of congressional committees or court rooms (or both).

the existence of superhumans creates a warping effect-if someone out of the blue can shoot explosive rainbows out their ass, it makes it really difficult to maintain a monopoly on the means of violence (which is one of the keystones for 90% of human civilizations going back to Hammurabi).

It also makes Oligarchial control kinda difficult where monopoly can't be established.

It also creates another problem that is a fundamental attack on one of the basic precepts of American culture:  That all men are created equal.  It's really hard to say that when some men can rearrange atoms at fifty paces at will (or seemingly at will), or can dress up in spandex undies with a bedsheet on their shoulders and fly as fast as a jet fighter, only without the jet, or the fighter.

The answer for a lot of people would be to make efforts to minimize that randomness and make the people with powers into something predictable, and more important, controllable.

The relative success or failure of this will tend to influence how your society develops, and the organizations and agencies put together to try and keep a lid on the incipient chaos may tend to drift in their mission ("Mission Creep") into ranges that border on being a separate government in and of itself.

One that might not take kindly to the 'regular' government not following recommendations from the "experts" placed specifically to influence said regular government into policies that make their jobs easier.  These 'experts' are, after all, people who aren't elected, and often can count on keeping their position regardless of who is elected (within reasonable restraints). 

the historical precedent here (yes, there is one!) is the Imperial Eunuchs and the Mandarin systems in Imperial China, more than one Emperor 'lost the mandate of heaven' for defying his civil servants too overtly.

The case here is more extreme, because the conditions are far more extreme.  They don't have a solid means to control who gets powers, and only a moderate mechanism for dealing with those who do get them, even through the one or two means the government does control.

the threat everyone in every government on earth, in this timeline, is coping with and facing, is the potential that someone will get the right combo of powers and decide to make themselves dictator.

and in this timeline, there are at least two examples.  Baba Yaga, who is basically a hands-off type dictator allowing Russia to operate as it will within certain guidelines, and the man who claimed to be the Mahdi, who tried to re-establish Islamic dominion from central Europe to Africa and took the combined efforts of several western nations to stop.

Nations that insist they're 'free nations' are having the hardest time coping with the existence of superhumans, since no arms control law or treaty really applies, and the power imbalance isn't predictable, and universal surveillance with fast reaction forces are really hard to justify to taxpayers who want good roads, schools and regular mail service.

in such situations, manipulating or compelling public sentiment ends up being in the hands of covert agencies, because you have to get that consent or you don't have a nation anymore (or at least, that's what the people in charge of those agencies tell themselves.)

When the morality ends up being "the ends" (societal stabiity long term) "Justify the means" (bankrolling domestic terror to frighten the voters into supporting additional restrictions on civil liberties to prevent some jerkass who can launch nuclear explosions out his ding-dong from making himself emperor.)  well, you get some pretty nasty deals and compromises in the name of 'stability'.



addendum: A world with superheroes is in and of itself absurdity.  part of the fun is that absurdity, but I can think of very few situations where the existence of superpowers on an individual level doesn't lead to some serious societal warpage if not total breakdown.  I'm kinda trying to avoid the natural consequences of that with this, because I want it to be fun, not depressing.


Unrest? Chaos? Sure. But here's the thing: Clan tech isn't unbeatable, even for the militaries in question and literally the only two government officials presented thus far that aren't utterly evil backstabbers or collaborators are a superhuman sheriff who got captured and a president who got assassinated.

We've also encountered no information at all about what happened in engagements between the militaries of the world and the Clanners, or discussion of using nukes against their Warship, or even deploying superhumans against them.

I get that Lisa may not have all that information. But we aren't seeing everything from her perspective, either.

Which is another thing...we seem to have shifted from first person perspective for Lisa to third for other characters and back. It can be a bit jarring at times.

You're making fair points here.  I haven't gotten much into the deeper notes from my actual book/setting, believe it or not, this wasn't supposed to last 2 forum pages, but there's SO MUCH GROUND to cover.

There are decent people in government, even at the local and state level.  I just haven't found the 'voice' for them yet, with so much of this being from Lisa's POV.

sorry about the shifts in perspective, but some things I can't do from Lisa's-eye-view and her internal monologue comes so easily.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: BATTLEMASTER on 18 September 2020, 09:53:16
What you just described, Cannonshop, I believe has been addressed by different continuities of the X-Men.  I don't think the Avengers part of the MCU has even gotten into that, considering some of those folks are potentially living weapons too.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 18 September 2020, 11:25:47
The big surprise shows up with my Aunt Margot, who arrives in her champagne Lexus with her Husband, Karl.  Karl's what you might term a 'sleazy lawyer' who makes a lot of money handling things like nasty divorces, drunk drivers, and personal injury claims.  He's got television ads late at night and accepts credit.

at around 19%.

I expected Karl. 

let me back up here.

Margot, my aunt, full name Margot E. Quentin-Feenie  (I shit you not, her husband's last name is Feenie) got all the curves the rest of the Quentin women didn't.  She was a beauty contestant in 1988, runner up to the runner up to the runner up for Miss Washington that year, and she's still got the looks even into her forties.  her husband at least has the dignity not to try to comb-over his hair, instead going for the Captain Picard hairstyle, and I have to admit, it works.

The guy in the back seat is what shocks the hell out of me.

Douglas O'Ryan, Washington State Attorney General, personal nemesis of my mother, face of the O'Ryans, who've been enemies of my family since sometime before statehood.

Just happens to also be one of a handful of State officials who haven't turned up giving speeches about cooperating with the invaders.

I think the only person here who hates him more is Moira, because he was on the prosecution team that put her in Federal Prison for five years.

My family and the O'Ryans go back a long way.  When great grandpa was moving whiskey south into the U.S. during prohibition, the O'Ryans were running revenue agents and taking a cut of the profits from his customers-when they weren't shooting at his men.  After the second world war, the O'Ryans stuck to Spokane and that environ and moved on the urban areas, and mostly left ours alone, until the drug war.

by then, I think they pretty much forgot that they started out as crooked cops, and turned to being the annoying kind of clean ones-'do anything to put a crook in prison', even if it means bending a few rules.

"Margot, what the ****** are you doing with that ******?"

"He's here to help, Lisa!" Margot tells me, "You need it, we need it, our state has been invaded."

My aunt Margot...is smart.  she is.  when I was a kid, she would do anything for an advantage or a dollar, but she's smart, she grasps big pictures. She wanted me to go to business school instead of The Corps.

"Cindy's gonna have a shit fit if she sees him...I almost want to!" I'm still not cool and calm about this guy being here.  I can't imagine Moira's going to be any better when she comes out.

"Ladies, I can speak for myself?"  He puffs up like he's going to do one of his summations in court.  I admit, I've seen him perform-twice, the time ma was busted with a trashbag of the really good stuff outside Tacoma, and the time she went up for her third and final sentencing.  He belongs on one of those 'law and order' shows.  "First off, I'm not a traitor, you're organizing resistance to an invasion that seems to be getting away with it, and I'm no more a traitor to this country than you are."

He's good. I want to believe him, everything I know about the son of a bitch says he's telling the truth but I still hate him.

but he swore an oath.  and being here maybe he's taking it seriously..."Moira's gonna have a shit." I snap.

"Moira?" he looks confused.

"Moira Slohcin, you're standin in her front yard-they let her out after you put her in...for reporting a crime!"

"It was more complicated than that!" he's a little red faced.  gotcha you sack of shit.  "I was doing the best I could!"

"Not. Good. Enough." I tell him, "but that's put to the side. as you say, we've been invaded, the Governor and some of the Legislators have welcomed the invaders, the Feds are spinning and the president is dead...and I'm honestly not sure our strategy's going to work."

"What is the strategy?" he asks.

"We're going to riff off the invaders' own culture and hope it sticks, you might have signed up for an ugly death, mister Attorney General. might've been safer if you kept going on up into canada."

"I'm...no, I wouldn't do that." he tells me, "You think you've got a monopoly on stubborn?"

"I think we're going to have it out after this is over, you've had a hand in some damn dirty stuff, and you know it's wrong to let that go by."

"And what about the dirty 'stuff' you've been involved in?" he asks.  of course he'd assume I went into mom's business.

"Uncle Sam pays for my rent and my medications, O'Ryan."  I tell him, "I did not go into the business."

"Mister O'Ryan has a very specific thing he can do for you, Lisa...and we have a judge."

"What?"

"I can make your group legal and legitimate representatives of the Washington State Department of Justice, Miss Quentin." he says.  "Standing.  I believe that was the term you used when you called me, Mrs. Feenie?"

"yes.  Legal Standing to challenge the invaders."

"Revised code of washington 211.33.141 section C, sub paragraph twenty two." he tells me.  "Under that law, passed two years ago, I am, as the elected Attorney General, empowered to deputize anyone in a state of emergency...including convicted felons."

****** me, he's offering legitimacy.

"Come on then, I think we need to make this pitch."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 18 September 2020, 11:39:08
[out of story; I know back a few posts ago, I messed up some names...]

so...for future sanity and because I really don't want to go digging back that far...

Douglas "Dougie" O'Ryan, native of Spokane, current residence Mercer Island (when he's not in Olympia):  imagine the hardest hard-nose prosecutor you can imagine, a real paladin of the law without mercy or hesitation.  This is Doug O'Ryan.  The guy is a legal Honeybadger who will do anything short of outright breaking the law to win a case and absolutely believes his suspect is always guilty and deserving of the hardest sentence they can drum up.

Played football for the Washington Huskies, did ROTC and served 2 years active and six in reserves right out of college during that period between major wars, cut his teeth on drug cases and vice, but got his big break taking down an arms smuggling ring in Skagit County centered on a legitimate business that was dealing on the side with the russian mob, this got him press, and it got him a series of white-collar cases that he managed close, including one that put a billionaire in prison.

Doug plays it straight all the time, and he's a kind of 'no compromises' nightmare people often dream about having in his role...until they actually get one.

In the last two elections, he's faced primary challengers from within his own party, and still won re-election.  This has made him a mix of poster-boy during the general elections, while forcing him to the fringes of political life in between.

not that the man notices, he's been too busy pushing to keep Walla Walla filled with the scum of the earth (as he sees them.)

and Lisa hates this guy.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 18 September 2020, 11:49:51
the debate lasted five minutes.  I let Margot and Feenie do the talking mostly.  Moira didn't like it, but she helped set up the living room and find a bible.

why a bible? because that's what you swear on, when you're being deputized.

His eyes practically fell out of his head when he saw Phoebe.  'She's underage."

"Most of us are." judah pointed out, "Lisa's the oldest empowered on the team, and she's new."

"So...she is the leader?"

I laugh. "Nope, it's Judah's team." I tell him, "I'm new."

I could see his political future dying in a fire in his eyes.  Enlisting minors to fight in a war is a great way to end any chance of a political career.

O'Ryan didn't hesitate more than a moment.  Needs take precedence when devils drive.

"Moira too." Phoebe stated.  "She's part of the team. she doesn't have powers, but she's critical."

He didn't like it, and neither did judge Sawyer, but they did it.  I'll give them that.  We have standing now.

"There is so much wrong with this whole situation." Doug says.

"Yeah, well, what did you expect?" I ask him, "We faced  younger insurgents in asskrakistan...and Phoebe's got force multipliers."

"and you?"

"I roughed up one of their patrols in Aberdeen." I tell him.  "so did Ernie here...who is going to be a ****** hero, because he sucks at being a villain."

"That's a given..about being a hero." O'Ryan tells me.  "What about you?"

"I win, I go back into retirement. if I lose, my problems are solved, but not the way I'd like them to be solved."  Paul, bless him, sidles up to me, "We're all in all the way, mister Attorney General."

"If it works out, I might have to ask you to extend." he tells me. 

"We'll see.  Your cousin's trying to get my family's land condemned for public use, only I can't imagine there's a lot of public use for that land."

"We'll discuss those issues once things are normal again." he tells me, "Word of Honor."

"Want it in writing." I tell him, "No weasel words."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 18 September 2020, 12:32:01
While the big brains (O'Ryan, Aunt Cindy, Aunt Margot, Moira, and Margot's husband) are crafting a formal script for us, I'm on the back porch of the house with a beer.

"You really hate him, quiaff?" Paul asks.

"It's complicated." I tell him, "That is the man who sent my mother to prison, where she died."  I take a pull on the beer, "And I shouldn't hate him, she was eyeballs deep in the drug trade..."

"but you hate him."

"I hate him.  I guess it's transference, right? Mom couldn't stop breaking the law, so she goes to prison, which is the natural course of events when you keep breaking the law..."  I swallow.

"Aff... I do not have the...cultural context to understand the feeling."

"Good for you." I tell him, "See, mom went to college to be a biochemist, only she hooked up with some bad, bad people in the seventies, people bad enough she had to go into hiding for the first four years of my life...and six years in, she's getting arrested for the first time, and I finally got to meet my family."

"What was it?" he asks.

"Oh, LSD that time." I tell him, "a little weed, which became mom's number one crop once she was out of jail.  she'd grow it out on the Ranch while she was supposed to be looking for regular work for her parole.  she hated the synthetic stuff, claimed the organic dope was better for you." I shake my head, "in High School I even dabbled a little-I was the hookup for half the senior class when I was a freshman.  more leaves and seeds than anything else, and sold it cheap...she was doing her second stretch and got out my Junior year.  Supposed to go straight, right? only Grandpa got sick and so nobody was sitting on her...so she got back into it...and got nailed almost immediately in Tacoma...because they were waiting for her, and local pot busts are safer than the Cocaine cartels- pot suppliers are less likely to be packing military grade hardware."

I look over at him, "But she broke the damn law, so it's the right outcome, isn't it?  I didn't even talk to her while I was still in the States after I enslisted, I was so mad at her for...for doing what she was going to do.  after I was captured, and before anyone knew I was still alive, the Warden let her display a gold star.  can you imagine that? a gold-star mother, in prison for life? she had a little section of her cell, they sent me pictures of it when I was at Red River, the damned letter from the president.." my eyes are watering.  "The condolence letter! the 'we regret to inform you' letter! she thought I was dead!"

why am I crying?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 18 September 2020, 14:48:08
(warning: Third Person POV to follow.)

Inside...

Cindy Quentin glared at Doug every time she looked at him.  Moira found herself in a difficult position.  She didn't blame O'Ryan for her jail time-the 'deal' offered by the ATF had been riven with flaws and he'd done his sworn duty revealing every single one of them.  Her lawyer had been behind that, exploiting her momentary ignorance and emotional upset to save her husband at her expense.

O'Ryan was just like a machine, in her eyes-input, output.  garbage in, garbage out.  The hint of a soul he was showing tonight? she attributed that to his having hit a limit.

but even Moira could see that Cindy wanted nothing so much, as to open Doug O'Ryan from throat to crotch like a steer in the slaughter house.

"Uh, Cindy? can you come help me out in the kitchen for a moment?" Moira asked.

"Sure." Cindy got up, looking like an older, redder-haired version of Lisa, unlike Margot, who looked nothing like either of them except in the eyes.

once in the kitchen, away from the living room, Moira turned to her.

"Look, I don't like having the man who sent me to prison here either." Moira said, "but damned if you can't be civil, ma'am, we need him."

Cindy sighed, "I'm aware.  I'm also aware of what that man cost Lisa...and I guess I hate him more than either one of you."

"you were close?"

"With Nicole? hardly. she was thirteen when I was born." Cindy said, "Margot was closer to her than I was...hell, I was five when she fell in with Morgause's little cult in Oregon."

"and Lisa?"

"I guess in a way, I replaced her mom for most of her life." Cindy stated,  "Mom was getting sick a lot, and Dad...well, he was getting sick a lot too, so for  a while there, I was more like her big sister than her aunt, and then more like her mom than her mother was."

"hard to raise kids from a cell, I suppose."

"Yeah." Cindy said, "I tried.  I got her to stop dealing dope in her sophmore year, I wasn't as successful with Nikki though...and she went to prison, dad was on his way out and mom was gone, so I guess..." Cindy shrugged.  "I know it's not fair.  as Margot would say, 'not christian', but we're allying with the enemy against a bigger enemy.  Moira, you have kids?"

"Not directly. Phoebe's probably the closest I've come-Hector didn't want kids, and I'm kind of glad the way things worked out." Moira confessed, "I imagine it was hard on you both."

"When I was Seventeen, Lisa...well, she was eleven, and I get a call from the school." Cindy takes a cup of hot cider from Moira, and blows on it.  "Lisa had been having a hard year that year.  It wasn't a secret where her mom was, and some of the kids at school, they can be pretty savage.  she was bleeding in the principal's office, and the kids who did it to her? they were in the Nurse's office, with bruises.  they'd tried to force a smaller boy, one of the few who were her friends, to eat a piece of horse manure, and she'd intervened.  put a seventh grader on his knees and bruised up two townie girls pretty badly, and one of them pulled out a two inch strip of her scalp...and she was in the principal's office being disciplined for bullying while the kids who did that to her? were getting lollipops from the school nurse."

"What happened?"

"I raised merry hell and leveraged every nasty rumour about my family I grew up with, scared Mister Figgins so badly he took a month sabbattical and transferred to another district." Cindy said quietly.  "My family, Miss Slohcin, have a reputation back home, and i've had to live it down my whole life, and so has Lisa.  we're not exactly 'the right kind of folks' according to some...and some of that, is because of the O'Ryans."

Cindy laughed a little, "Of course, things change, I run a business outside of town, my own daughter's on the honor roll and my son is popular at school with everyone, but that's years of working to get rid of the family's reputation...and now, I'm reminded of all that by being in the room with that man..." she sipped her cup, waiting.

"will it work?" Moira asked.

"You got deputized, Moira, you tell me?"  Cindy shrugged, "We'll make it work out...but I don't see this peace as something permanent.  Even if Doug is as straight as they come, he's got a whole mob of relatives who aren't straight, just rich, and power-hungry."

"can you be civil then? I don't need a bad example being set for Phoebe."

"I can be civil." Cindy acknowledged. 
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 18 September 2020, 15:10:31
[more third person stuff, sorry guys...]

***

"So...Judah? that's not your birth name is it?" Doug asked.

"No. Not my birth name." Judah said, "It's good enough though, since it's the name my bank account and W-2 are filed under."

"You're...'Mister Wizard', wow, we all thought you'd be older." O'Ryan said, "Hard to believe you're still a teenager."

"Yeah, well, I actually do have some training in relevant fields." Judah admitted, "I've even gotten some experience down south before coming to Washington State."

"Vigilante work?"

"Hero work." Judah said, "I worked with a sherriff's department, dealing with some crises they couldn't, even arranged a few arrests of gang members, but never tried to arrest anyone myself."

"So you're an investigator?"

"I do some, heck, sir, I do most of the investigation.  Find the targets, support the team in taking them down.  Petra does some of it too."

"and you're...?"

"Countermeasure." Petra said, "And yes, I'm very camera-shy, and won't make headlines with speeches."

"I don't want deputies that do. That's the Governor's thing, trotting out Monroe like a trained circus monkey when he should be allowed to do his damn job.  I swear, half MY job has been keeping the cronies in Olympia from making him a damn cereal box.  If I'd known how much of this job was politicking, I probably wouldn't have run."

"You've run three times, sir." Judah observed.

"Yeah, because without the politicking, the Department would have turned into something out of your worst nightmares..if it even worked at all.  My first year in office I fired eleven State Attorneys and disciplined fifteen others.  my second term, I got to prosecute four more of my own staff because of what they were doing on the side."

"Yikes."

"Scary, isn't it?  Power attracts corrupt people, just like it corrupts honest people." O'Ryan lectured, "it starts with a compromise-'oh, we can let this one go to get a bigger fish', or 'we can just not tell anyone that wiretap was before the warrant'...and before you know it, you're dirty, you become a threat to the public you're sworn to protect."

"Moira's case."

"I was overruled by a senior federal attorney, seems Hector was a confidential informant for the FBI and they wanted to protect him, but the ATF still wanted a skin to hang on the wall because of budget reviews. it was enough to sour me on Federal service entirely, I ran for office almost as soon as I could register to get some kind of control over the cases I handled."

"Would you have done it differently?" Petra asked.

"If I'd been lead on the case? hells yes. I wouldn't have let Throckmorton offer that plea-deal to her in the first place, and the FBI could get their intel on the russian mob from a prison cell.  I hated that case."

"You argued it pretty strongly for someone who hated it." Judah said, "I've seen clips."

"I won't ask you where you got those...but it's the job, when you take it, you're obligated to fight hard for client, even when you find the case...objectionable.  Moira's going to need a good lawyer, Phoebe Keene is still a ward of the state, and she's a felon. If she wants to keep custody when this is over, the girl's going to have to go to school, and the home will have to be shown to be stable."

"Do you have someone in mind?" Judah asked, reading the man as an absolutist that Webb would have approved of.

"Feenie. I've lost cases to that man, even slam-dunk cases. he's an animal in the courtroom and he does his homework...but he's not cheap."

"You had to compromise your principles tonight." Judah observed.

"Yes, yes I did. and I'm terrified of compromising them more." O'Ryan told him, "but it's this, or sacrifice them entirely and collaboration with the invaders...I guess I have my price worked out now."

"It's a good price." Judah encouraged, "It's good and high.  it takes an alien invasion to get you to back off even a little, that's a good price."

"Well...we'll see." Doug admitted.  "It may be too cheap a price at twice the cost."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 18 September 2020, 15:38:47
[now, back to Lisa's point of view...]

They're being civil when i come back in.  Paul was a good shoulder to cry on, and it's a little weird that I feel better now that it's out.

geez, Paul...Why does he do that?

They're being civil, when it felt like there was about to be a screaming match when I walked outside.

"We've got a plan?" I ask.

"We have the start of a plan." Judah answers.

"Good...something to get out in the air then." and I plant my feet shoulder width apart.  "We all swore an oath today, but some of us...and some of the people who are going to be on the other side, swore a variation of that oath before.  to defend, and uphold the Constitution of the United States against enemies both foreign and domestic."

"We have both foreign, and domestic enemies." Judah puts it together.

"Right.  We will have to deal with both, but we can do that the same way a small child eats an elephant."

"One bite at a time?" Phoebe asks.

"Exactly, one bite at a time...but first, how're we going to eat the first Elephant, Judah? because by my count, there are two."

"Three." Moira says, "There's the Alien Elephant, there's the State Elephant, and then, there's the Federal Elephant."

"We'll come to that if we survive the first two."  Aunt Cindy states.

"Alright, so...allocation of assets."  Judah says, "We've got a rough text for the challenge to the Wolf Clan, Paul, I need you to review it and see if we've missed any key details that a Clanner lawyer might wiggle out of...and there's the actual fight.  Do we know where we want to hold it?"

"If you choose the location, they can choose the method." Paul interjects.

"I guess that's a consideration."  I note, "We let them choose methods, they might insist on using that warship in orbit."

"I think I might have a way to deal with that." Phoebe says, "with a little time..."

"We don't have time.  is there a way to neutralize it?"

"Will be unlikely to be necessary, Lisa." Paul says, "It would be gross dishonor to bid a warship against someone without the ability to fight in space, a bid like that could unseat Star Colonel Katya Kerensky, as it would be an admission that Clan Wolf warriors are insufficient to face...one two, three..four...five opponents on the ground without so much as a battlemech between them."

"Five?"

"You do NOT seriously expect me to sit this out!" Paul scoffed.

"You don't have powers."

"I can fix that." Phoebe said.

we all look at her.

"Seriously, I can fix that." she says, "I've got two prototypes in work, it's not a walking tank, but it's decent armor and one of them has real guns...at least, as real as we can manage on the scale we saw during the landings."

"Will it fit?" I ask.

"I can make it fit, the added volume will actually help with some of the problems I've run into.  The Mark Four suit's a little too big for me anyway-and I could make it smaller, but...then I can't fit the goodies."

"okay, so five of us, that leaves everyoen else..."

"to start dealing with eating the rest of the elephant." Margot states, "Sis, did you bring the rifles?"

"I did." Cindy said, "They're even cleaned and the ammunition's good, I tested a batch before packing up."

"I-"

"It's small unit stuff, Lisa." Margot tells me as if I'm a kid.  "We're going to secure certain...persons for future prosecution, and to deny the enemy assets."

"it's been years, Margot.  Hell, I'm not sure-"

"It's a war, they sided with the enemy." Doug speaks up, "it's a war...god.  I'll help. It's been decades since I marched but once upon a time I was a half-decent Ell-Tee in the national guard, and some of the vets you brought in can sharpen me up-we're in this, we're in it."

"objective: We're going to stop the conquest of our home." I state, "Typically unsupported Guerillas lose fights like this, do we have a strategy to win this?"

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 18 September 2020, 16:30:38
It's an election year.  I don't know who suggested it, but the Governor's re-election campaign is holding rallies in spite of everything...notably attended only by the press, the Wolves, and a few of her diehards.

it's a good place to issue a challenge, and we're running out of time.  Baba Yaga said ten days, we've burned up seven so far.

Details, however, are important.  Ernest is with me and so is Paul in his 'brand new mechsuit'.

he barely had time to learn how it works before strapping in.

Judah's outside Safeco field, monitoring things with Phoebe, and Petra's somewhere ahead of us as we walk up to the ticket door.

"Three please."

yes, I just said that.  Here's what the minimum-wage ticket guy is looking at:

Me, in a garish, red-white-and-blue uncle sam suit minus the powdered wig and fake beard, carrying a swagger stick, while Paul looks like the love child of a gorilla and a 1972 volkswagen beetle, and Ernie's wearing a cheap looking leather bomber jacket that was last fashionable with Top gun.

and I'm laying down the ticket price in dollar bills.

Dude takes the money without a word, and gives us our tickets.

we walk in, getting looks from vendors and Safeco staffers, and then, hairy-eyeball from a pair of Elementals in armor at the general admission entrance.

"Hi Fellas!" I give 'em a big, wide grin, then tip my john-lennon-style sunglasses, "Are we being good citizens today?"

This gets them leveling their laser-arms at me, and I'm pretty sure they're calling for instructions.

"I'll save you the trouble, boys and girls..boys? girls? so hard to tell in those armored shells...Hi.  I'm Lisa, take me to your leader.  Auntie Columbia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_(personification)) wants to have a chat with the bitch in chief."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 18 September 2020, 16:45:46
OK, that's this universe's Iron Man and Captain America but I don't know Marvel well enough to place Ernie  ;D
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: monbvol on 18 September 2020, 17:51:44
There are a couple I can think of that are possibles but I'm not sure.

Wolverine liked his leather jackets from what I remember but not super sure if he liked bomber style.

Jubilee I remember in the cartoon was presented with leather jackets as part of her getup.

Almost certainly forgetting others from Marvel.

If DC is on the table well, there's way too many possibilities there.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: BATTLEMASTER on 18 September 2020, 18:26:23
Ernie as Gambit?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: LightGuard on 18 September 2020, 19:13:53
Ernie as Gambit?

Makes the most sense with his plasma, though by the same token Jubilee's power set is closest.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: idea weenie on 18 September 2020, 19:45:27
Makes the most sense with his plasma, though by the same token Jubilee's power set is closest.

If Ernie is tossing plasma directly from his hands, Jubilee is the best match.  IIRC Gambit energizes objects and throws those objects

From the 1980s cartoon Jubilee normally wore red shades, yellow jacket, pink/red shirt, blue shorts, blue boots
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: LightGuard on 18 September 2020, 19:47:10
From the 1980s cartoon Jubilee normally wore red shades, yellow jacket, pink/red shirt, blue shorts, blue boots

I still remember. My eyes still bleed thinking about it.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 19 September 2020, 11:03:36
Theater. It's amazing what you can get people to do, if you apply enough raw gumption mixed with a loud enough presentation.

"That...is the silliest uniform I have ever seen-and I have seen what Cloud Cobras wear."  Katya Kerensky meets me right on stage, like she's been expecting this.

Well, maybe she has?  We're playing their playbook, maybe they expected this?

"It' not a uniform." I tell her, "It's a costume.  Big difference, I'm no longer active service in the United States Marine Corps, I won't disgrace that uniform for this, as we have a law, passed constitutionally, in the United States, called Posse Comitatus, it states that the military may not be used for domestic enforcement...but I also have a deputization from the Washington State Department of Justice, under a constitutionally passed law.  Do you recognize the common thread here, Ma'am?"

I point at Governor Gregory, "We swore an oath, and it didn't end when our service terms ended.  To uphold and defend the constitution.  Constitutionally, the President can not surrender a sovereign state, and under Washington's constitution, neither can a sitting executive."  I level my eyes up at Katya, "Your land claim is illegitimate.  even with a collaborator who dumped out her honor and broke her oaths of office backing you, even with men who've forgotten their oaths to the nation as a whole going supine and giving you what you claim to want, it is illegitimate.  There is no treaty, no agreement has been signed, nothing ratified in the United States Senate, you are just invaders, and you should go."

"Who will make us?"

"I will.  If I fail, others will follow."  I tell her, "This isn't just about land, it's not just about laws, or even lives.  this is about America bitch, you can surrender, you can leave, or I can force the issue and make you wish you had."

"And what claim do you have to standing to make this challenge?" Katya looks a little less arrogant, a little craftier.

"I'm just the next one in the chute, you proved you can catch our officials with their pants down, but you just don't seem to understand why those officials walk softly when it comes to the people of this state, and this nation.  Thomas Jefferson said 'The roots of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants'.  I'm willing to bleed, are you?  I challenge your clan to a trial of refusal, and to that end, I will state, Myself, and a handful of others, against your best, wherever you want it, with whatever gear you want to bring, and when it's over, you'll make reparations to the families of the people you killed, you will hand over your prisoners you have taken, in good health, and you will leave after repairing the damage you have done."

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: BATTLEMASTER on 19 September 2020, 11:45:59
I hope it doesn't become space combat.  Sure, Lisa is invincible on Terra, but I'm not sure she can survive in a vacuum.  Maybe she can drown?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 19 September 2020, 12:26:59
"You can not hope to defeat us alone, even with your...notable durability, Miss Quentin."  Katya said, "it is simply not possible-you lack the numbers."

"I'm off my meds, what's it to you if I lose?" I ask her, "The way I see it, you lose if I win, and if you think that's impossible? you lose nothing, not even a chance at a shot at someone tougher.  Captain Republic maybe, or maybe the Canadians, I already know Baba Yaga spanked your asses.  It was even on youtube.  Your whole dogma is based on superiority, and I'm bush-league, but you have to beat the bush league contenders before you get to claim that title of baddest ass on the block...so, where are we doing this?"

"What forces are you bringing?" Katya's tone is like an instructor admonishing a student.  "You alone would be diverting-but hardly worthy-we have defeated an army here."

"My army?  Tinsmith, Plasmord, The Adjutant here-he's in the armor, Countermeasure, and Brujallero, aka 'Mister Wizard'.  Your pet politician here can give you files on three of them, Plasmord's new and probably going to get a better name once the paperwork clears, and you don't need to know anything about The Adjutant unless or until you've actually won, except that he knows your moves and we filled out his immigration papers last night.  He'll probably get expedited citizenship when it's over, but what should really stick in your craw, Star Colonel, is that he recognized he had a choice, and he chose our side over yours."

"Ah...a defector. Lovely."  Katya actually looked satisfied with this-they're playing some kind of game, and I don't understand the rules.  "I will include our own defector, Warrior Fillip, known as The Seahawk will be included in our bid."

"that's it?" I ask.  "That's your counter? a football player??"

should I have expected anything different?  She's light on this because she isn't taking it seriously.

I have to shake her somehow. make this serious.  "So you killed Monroe?"

"He refuses to adapt." she tells me, "Along with the eco-terrorist."

"I'll take 'em off your hands right now." I tell her, "Or you can hand them over after we've handed you your asses."

dammit, Monroe's an ****** and he's been a constant pain in my ass since I was six, but he's our ******, and I think Cindy might appreciate getting him back...

"I will commit one full battle cluster." she seems to have decided, "We will conduct the trial on the Yakima Proving Range in forty eight hours."

"Bargained and done." I tell her.  "thank you for your time, Star Colonel, I'll see myself out."

"LISA!! One thing for you to consider, do you know what your government was poisoning you with?"

"Pretty sure I do, Star Colonel...I've been clearer the last six days than I've been in my entire life.  It doesn't change anything.  Governments change, America Endures.  I will not see another situation where we let our leaders bargain our future to newcomers bringing beads and plague-blankets.  The precedent is a shameful one, and I will not permit that to happen again.  I'll see you on tuesday, bring your lunch money and a sack lunch." 

They actually let us walk out. Okay, Baba, see? I'm doing something about the problem, don't send the storms.


***

Ernie speaks first, "You said that was a dumb name."  we're walking out past concessions, and the Elementals are letting us just walk away.

"I was grasping, I also said it wasn't finalized." I tell him,   "When it's over, you can pick something cool sounding okay?"

"I'm kinda worried about The Seahawk, he can do some serious damage with real weapons, and they'll probably give them to him."

"Judah will have a plan." I state, "I'm more worried about what a 'full battle cluster' looks like for the fight, she picked Yakima because it's pretty safe bet they'll use their idea of military grade firepower...and it suggests she thinks the US Government isn't going to interfere.  It's not a good thing, if they're already looking east across the Cascades."

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: BATTLEMASTER on 19 September 2020, 14:20:48
I'm not sure I understand the batchall here. The location was chosen by the Star Colonel, but what about the method of combat?   ???  It seems like that was glazed over unless there's something I'm missing.  It went from location to bidding forces, initiated by the Clan.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 19 September 2020, 14:32:28
I'm not sure I understand the batchall here. The location was chosen by the Star Colonel, but what about the method of combat?   ???  It seems like that was glazed over unless there's something I'm missing.  It went from location to bidding forces, initiated by the Clan.

With superpowers being innate, you don't bid unaugmented (when you don't have them).
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 19 September 2020, 15:32:33
"people are going to start asking whose side you're on, Lisa."  Aunt Cindy's driving.  It's nice being able to sit in the passenger seat while someone else-who isn't a maniac, is driving.

"Side?"

"You hit a lot of divisive political notes-brought up native rights, brought up the expected flag-waving, managed to do both of them at the same time..."  she turns us onto 2 eastbound out of Lake Stevens. 

"I'm not part of that." I tell her, "******, I'm a mental patient, I'm not even allowed to vote."

she reaches down and turns on the radio to...the radio.

for the next ten minutes I listen to KUOW as two professors argue whether I'm a virtuous leftist, or a raving fascist.

I reach for the knob to turn it off.  "That's not...wow. for real?"

"it's for real." she tells me,  "gotta remember, Lisa, there are people whose whole life is that schtick, and you interrupted the rally of a sitting governor, dressed up like a female Uncle SAM...and got away with it."

"Only, not really, right?"

"Right.  You remember when you told me you wanted to keep a low profile for...like...ever?  right after you came back and right before you disappeared into Portland?"

"yeah..."

"Well, congratulations, you're a public figure now, and it's political, which means people are going to start mentally assigning whether you're part of their politics, or part of their enemy's politics."

"Huh."

I didn't think about it.  I could've used anything, I could've used bondage gear and it lays out in front of me mentally-they'd still be arguing the same things, only with creepy sex-fetish overtones.

which mental image isn't helped as one of the radio guests starts openly speculating whether I'm a Lesbian because of course they will, they're pundits and they need to sound important to themselves.

she mercifully turns it to a music station, without saying a word.

"You did that to me for a reason." I'm not ready to be quiet yet.

"As many fights as I get into with Margot, she's right.  You need a filter with the public.  You'll need to make speeches, win or lose, and people are going to be on you for a while, win or lose...and if you don't have answers for them, they're going to make up their own and you might not like those answers."

"I'll worry about it if I win the fight."  I tell my aunt, trying to sound brave.  "I can't deal with this stuff on top of that stuff."

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 19 September 2020, 16:05:09
[perspective change-Third Person...]

"You do expect to hold victory, Star Colonel, Quiaff?"

"I bid what I bid, she declined to bid down." Katya sighed, "I expect to win, aff...and I already regret it."

"Regret?"

"Our honorable foes submitted dossier files on their...team.  The submission was unorthodox, but it was within the realm of approved methods."

she waved a hand, and the repurposed Compact Disc reader sent information to the command post's displays.

images appeared.

"Phoebe Keene, should be in a sibko, has killed more enemies than the rest combined.  Technology and powered armor designer.  a child."

a second image, "Judah Lees, the 'Mister Wizard', has unspecified mental capabilities, he would be just old enough to face his first trial of position, another child."

Third Image, "Ernest Palmer, son of an industrial magnate in the computer industry, still in high school, tested low average scores, able to generate plasma hot enough to melt endosteel through the armor plating."

the blank image is a crudely drawn happy face.  "Petra Cheron, note they do not include an image of her, 'Countermeasure' has been involved in no less than seven known incidents, and nobody knows what she looks like, a stealth operator whom claims to have infiltrated our command center twice without being detected."

the fifth image.  "Star Commander Paul, bloodline Kerensky, one of ours, ristar, tested out to Star Commander and on his first serious deployment, missing in Aberdeen...and he joined her..."

and the final image, Lisa in her Marine Dress Blues, right out of MCRD bootcamp.  "Lisa Quentin. Age 26, veteran of operations in the current series of wars, former Prisoner of War, discharged due to mental and psychological damage, punches through armor with her bare hands and apparently lacked this ability before her capture in late 2004.  attempted suicide twice on record."

"Four children, a bondsman, and a lunatic, this is what has you concerned?"

"I am not an idiot." Katya stated, "Testing on Monroe and the others captured by our forces demonstrates that 'supers' have abilities that defy logic, physics, and common sense...and these happen to be one normal..we think he remains normal...and five supremely unstable personalities with abilities our scientists can not properly determine the origin of, limits of, or suitable countermeasures for."

"And yet, you will go through with this."

"Aff, and yet, we will proceed, because Paul told them how to proceed, how to approach, how to couch the challenge with some semblance of honor, we will proceed because having them in a predictable location at a predictable time to fight an honorable trial is safer and surer than letting them drift in the wind to attack at their leisure, and because we may be able to take the survivors in, and do something with them, find a way to make that strength, those abilities part of the Clan."

"but to what end?"
 
she frowned, "Because our universe, it is gone, and we live here now...and if we can not adapt, if we can not harvest and harness that power, we will not live here for very long.  we need a secure base, we need to gain a handle on these 'super powers' and we need to form them to the benefit of Wolf Clan."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 19 September 2020, 16:27:04
Because my knowledge of Clan terminonoly is rusty I paid a visit to Sarna and got this:

Quote
A Cluster is a Clan military formation typically consisting of between three to five Binaries and/or Trinaries, with an average of four to five Trinaries.

I doubt Clan Wolf has brought vehicles so Lisa and co are looking at facing a force of 60 to 75 points of 'mechs amd elementals plus one turned super.

It doesn't sound like they can kill Lisa, but maybe they can bury her under a sufficient mass of metal that she can't punch her way out of in useful time.

We've no feel yet for how Tinsmith & Paul's suits compare to Clan gear.

Countermeasure may be effectively untargetable but what damage can she do?

Ernie has firepower but no known ability to take a hit at this level.

Mr Wizard doesn't sound like a fighter from what we've seen of him.

It will be interesting to see what our heroes' plan for using their respective talents is.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 19 September 2020, 16:30:09
[now, back to Lisa! in Eastern Washington...]

"...will prefer single combat."  Paul stated, "You have one ranged attacker, massed fire is imprecise and in a trial, considered dezgra, so you can expect to face the battle cluster in one-on-one combats, serially, for each of you."

"Attrition by exhaustion." I'm thinking this idea was dumber and dumber.  "it's going to take a while."

"Aff..I mean yes, it will.  The Clan will choose single combats because it is efficient, and because the targets are...small." he tells me.  "I believe you can expect an emphasis on the Infantry forces, our definition of single combat is by point.  Five Elementals in armor is two vehicles is two aerofighters is one battlemech."

"So more like successive skirmishing, then, we've got six people with varying powers, they'll what?"

"for you, five elementals is a light workout." He noted, "For me? a bit more than I bit off during my Trial of Position-and I had a Battlemech at the time.  I can estimate that specific 'points' within a star will be detailed to deal with each of us in turn."

"small unit versus superior numbers then...and they have mobility."  Judah observes, "I think I've wargamed similar scenarios playing Battledroids at Gary's in Everett."

"Gary's?"

"Place is gone now, used to be the cultural hub of comics, wargaming and RPG's for everyone north of Lynnwood and south of Bellingham.  we didn't include the Superheroes supplemental in those games, but playing mercs against the Knights of the Sword or Galedon Shogunate usually involves taking smaller numbers of weaker units with a few special abilities.  At least these guys don't have Grav Tanks or Bolos backing them up the way that the major factions in the Battledroids game do.  Most Knights players will hit you with successive waves of their cheap stuff to soften you up, then bring out the big units once you've taken enough damage.  That looks like the strategy the Clan will use, if they're as conservative as you're saying, Paul.  what we don't have..."

Judah frowned, "is popcorn units."

"Popcorn?"

"Units that act as ablative armor, units to soak fire and damage and keep our main units from getting exha...oh..ooh.hmmm...PHOEBE!!!"

"What!!"

"How many drones can you fabricate?"

"What kind?  I'm on limited resources here, Judah!"

"Make as many as you can of whatever you can, it doesn't have to be super-effective, it just has to be noisy and visible!"

"MATERIALS!!!"

"Lisa...I need to take my technology expert shopping, is there a junkyard within a couple of hours of here?"

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: DOC_Agren on 19 September 2020, 21:36:31
RIP Art Bell

I wonder what Coast to Coast would have been like in a world with public Super Powers
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Elmoth on 20 September 2020, 07:44:13
PLace countermeasure a pair of feet from Ernie and they make a good team.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 20 September 2020, 10:14:18
there was, in fact, a junkyard within a few miles-it used to not be a junkyard, but it's where they put the debris from the battle for Fort Lewis.

Phoebe started with a bag of black sand, only not sand, if you get my meaning.

"It's not nanotech." she told me while she set up a laptop with a low-frequency radio transmitter.  "Nano requires massive equpment to use.  These are...just handy, like having extra hands. I normally fab up a batch to make suit-repairs in the field, but they're programmable, so..."

she puts up a series of tesla coils and plugs them into a generator.

the sand gets moving.

"you invented this?" I ask her.

"Nope, Alice sent me the plans a few months ago." Phoebe tells me.

"Who's alice?"

"My on-line friend."  Phoebe shrugs.  "She sometimes helps me figure out stuff I hear from the computers, helps me turn the letters into words.  I had an idea that if radio is electromagnetic spectrum, and electricity is elecromagnetic spectrum, and I can build a generator for moving electricity as a lightning bolt, I should be able to build something that can convert RF into power.  She found a guy who could do that wayyy back in the 1920s, named Tesla, and she sent me some of his notes, they said 'Classified'."

"So your little tiny robots are powered by radio frequency? and controlled the same way?" I ask

"Duh.  they're like having extra fingers.  I'll use them to make slightly bigger remotes, and those to make bigger ones, and those we'll use to make our drones...it's going to take a few hours, you can go do something fun Lisa, watching me isn't. I've got ironclad testimony that watching me work makes people stressed out."



Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 20 September 2020, 10:44:18
Judah's picked our spot, and he's laying down a mix of agricultural iron supplement-using a riding lawn-mower with a hopper attachment.

"What's this for?" I ask him.

"the 'wizard' part of the handle isn't just for being good at low-end chemistry." he tells me.  "Runes and ritual magic are less of a drain when I have time to prep, and I doubt our opposition has much familiarity with what they call 'occult practice', I should recover before the fight if I meter this right."

"and if you don't?"

"Then I guess the EMTs are going to have an interesting morning." He shrugs, "It's easier here, more time to prepare, and I'm not doing a working designed to strip an area of manna like I had to use on that Herne."

"Okay, this isn't the first time you brought that up, what is a 'herne'?"

"Named colloquially for a Fae enforcer, Herne, the hunter, leader of the Wild Hunt, pursuit of a target unto the target's death, only when you treat it like what it is, you realize it's a ritual construct that draws extra power from its victims, while enslaving an echo of their consciousness as part of the Hunt.  someone over in Wales put the first one together before the Romans showed, and it requires some pretty nasty ingredients-including human sacrifice.  Someone here in the U.S. sent one of them after me last year after we shut down a sex trafficking ring in Bellevue, I had to lure it into an area, and keep it there until all the manna burned out of the vicinity in a zone big enough the Herne and it's hunt couldn't just step outside the ritual, it put me in intensive care for two weeks before I was healthy enough to be rescued...now there's a spot outside Woodinville where cell phones don't work, it's about a hundred yards across and the asphalt melted."

"This won't do that?"

"Nope." he shook his head, and picked up a bag to refill the hopper.  "It won't do that.  The dead zones will recover, they always do-the technique I used was first used in the Atlantean-Lemurian conflict as a means to shut down the sorceror-kings and their constructs.  What we're doing here, is just some basic manipulation of weakly interacting massive particles to shift the advantage in the ground game, a few illusions, and something to mess with minor probabilities-shift luck in our favor, I'll probably be too sick to play in the actual fight, but the rituals will work fine."

"Why does it make you sick?" I ask him, trying to grasp his brand of insane.

"Because it uses life force.  Atlantean and Lemurian rituals and arcane methods use a lot of life force...um, 'Bioelectric energy'  Since I refuse to tap into another person and kill them for juice, it comes out of me directly, and there's the backlash because reality doesn't like it when you lie to it."

"Backlash..you mean?"

"I mean backlash.  some of the powered practicioners elsewhere? they aren't just axe-crazy mass murderers, they need to do that to make their powers work, and it's addictive to have that much power.  They're like junkies, they need the 'hit' spending a life gives them.  Petra and I met rescuing a bus-load of would-be sacrifices headed for a small coven operating out of Tacoma-the same year Webb let me off the payroll.  See, they were doing the collecting down at the Gorge during a Summer of Rock tour."

"Oh jesus...how many?"

"They had eighteen kids between fifteen and seventeen in cages in a grayhound bus, three mercenaries with gear and guns, and two practicioners...we managed to get the hostages out, petra killed the mercenaries and we captured one of the practicioners.  she was using it to stay 'young and attractive' and really, didn't have a lot of grounding on combatant magic, we interrogated the bitch, dropped her off outside a sherriff's office with a compulsion tied into her head-she spilled everything they'd been doing, and wouldn't stop, even under direction from her lawyers."

"And the kids?"

"Went home." Judah shrugged, "I mean, it's obvious, right?  some of those kids had travelled from as far as ohio.  but it cost me using that juice, I was laid down for a month in the back of Petra's camper while we headed north to avoid...questions."

He finishes with the hopper, and I give him a bottle of discount-store 'sports drink' (59 cents for the half liter).  "You know who'd be great for this though?"

"Who?"

"There's a Vigilante in the southwest, Slaughtermatic, he'd be fantastic for a fight like this one...only problem is, he only focuses on powered criminals.  the guy is a mover.  Steps between shadows or through mirrors, reflective surfaces, I saw him once go after El Perrito by moving through chrome bumpers and shop windows-that was when I was in Nevada.  he'd be perfect for this fight."

"So why isn't he here?"

Judah frowned thoughtfully, "First guess?"

"sure."

"He's going after the cape who killed the President.  there were enough 'innocents' on Air Force One if you only count the flight crew to get under his skin. by contrast, Slotty would tell me 'they're normals' about the Clanners."



Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 20 September 2020, 12:22:35
"Why does it make you sick?" I ask him, trying to grasp his brand of insane.

"Because it uses life force.  Atlantean and Lemurian rituals and arcane methods use a lot of life force...um, 'Bioelectric energy'  Since I refuse to tap into another person and kill them for juice, it comes out of me directly, and there's the backlash because reality doesn't like it when you lie to it."

i wonder how this brand of power use would mesh with an undying sacrifice...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: JA Baker on 20 September 2020, 12:33:27
i wonder how this brand of power use would mesh with an undying sacrifice...
Something tells me that trying to "rules lawyer" Eldrich Abominations might be a Bad Idea(TM)
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 20 September 2020, 12:42:47
Something tells me that trying to "rules lawyer" Eldrich Abominations might be a Bad Idea(TM)

But it could be interesting to watch from a safe distance...

...like the next solar system...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Sir Chaos on 20 September 2020, 12:45:47
i wonder how this brand of power use would mesh with an undying sacrifice...

Good luck trying to cut Lisa´s throat for the blood sacrifice, I guess.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 20 September 2020, 13:05:15
Imagine game-day. Imagine a field chosen for being barren and unpopulated, safe to discharge the worst weapons mankind has...now imagine a gathering of thousands of people streaming into that field.

It turns out, we needed crowd control to keep the observers back.

at the first battle of Bull Run, in 1861, the opening shots of the American Civil war, civilians from the surrounding area made a day of it, going to the edges of the battlefield with picnic lunches.  Isn't that horrible?  People were so keen to see other people die, they showed up to spectate.

I sometimes wonder if humanity deserves to keep existing, and it's shit like this that makes me wonder.

Lucky for us, Valerie, my cousin, put the wrong coordinates on youtube and facebook, and that bought enough time for our army of supporters to put up fencing and talk some of the better organized groups into setting up safety bunkers-but it hemmed us in.  The Clanners know exactly where to hit, because it's the area fenced off with men carrying rifles to keep the onlookers back.


we're down to a five mile by five mile piece of the impact range.  Past that point, and civilians get hurt.

I swear this is to someone's nasty little plan.

I just don't know whose.

"Well, I wasn't going to be hiding much anyway."  The joke outfit's not a joke anymore.  Val's shown me facebook pages, and Myspace accounts, and Youtube broadcasters calling me 'Aunty Columbia', and a couple of deviantart pages including someone's attempt at 'dirty peectures' of me in the costume.

"Try this."  Phoebe's back from her shopping, and we're lucky the news choppers are being nice, because she's got her drones emplacing in our zone of defense, but somehow, she found time to make me part of an outfit.  Maybe it'll be tough enough, but our thirteen year old tech genius apparently approves of the style.

"um..."

"It's armored and self-repairing." she tells me, "you said back in Marysville that it's embarrassing to have your clothes shot off-well, it will help for a little while, maybe."

it better, it weighs twenty pounds at least.

"I didn't bring you anything." I tease her.

she grins up at me, and flashes the badge O'Ryan gave her, "You got me this, we're legit, that makes Judah and Petra happy, they're my friends so that makes me happy...besides, I made a costume for Ernie."

Oh, I have got to see this...

"cowboy, really?" I ask when I look him over.

"what's wrong with a duster, and a hat??" he asks.

"nothing. it looks good on you kid."  I dust his lapels off.  "Feel ready for this?" I ask him.

"Do I have to answer? I'm ready to shit my pants." he tells me.

"Stick to your partners, stick to the rear, you're fire support, do what Lees tells you, you'll be fine." I lie.

we're so screwed.

the Clanners don't make us wait too long.  The first group arrives in one of the ball-shaped rocket ships...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: georgiaboy on 20 September 2020, 13:50:38
Wonder how the Blood Magi's would feel, walking through an industrial meat slaughter house? Even if they only get .01% of the energy than from a human death, that's still a lot of energy.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 20 September 2020, 14:32:15
[Warning, third person POV ahead.]

She couldn't explain it to anyone but alice.  Alice understood, because they shared it-the feeling, the way machines would speak.  Phoebe never met Alice in "real", their interaction online was as close as she would ever get, she was certain-and it was richer and deeper than having to interact in meatspace, trapped in five senses.

The machines approaching called to her.  they called for violence, for vigorous motion and conclusion.  she shifted in the mark IV suit, letting her senses spread out across the networked drones, listening to Judah's orders with the fragment of weak flesh that was Phoebe when she wasn't The Armor.

coherent light and  missiles flew from the invaders.  The missiles were simple minds, she could sense their desperation, their ambition, their purpose.

she waved a hand, sending signals through wires buried in the dirt, bouncing signals from razor wire and concertina, her first wave of drones spun into action, simple devices with their own purpose.

the missiles arced into the active drones, instead of into the defensive position.

a beam of coherent light from one of the suits struck her chest, exciting her with the absorbed energies, dispersing and containing them in conduits.  she leapt at the first group, as her surviving drones crowded in on them.

Bullets struck her armor, jolting the kinetic sinks buried in the plating, feeding the capacitors on her back, giving her more energy to the flexible layers even as outer layers sheathed off.

it was glee and pleasure-motion unfettered, no declining energy here, her reserves were being topped up by their weapons fire even as she closed at speed, and what speed-both leg extenders were fully out, their electromagnetics making the perfect shock-absorbers, driving the mechanisms harder than she ever had the power before to do.

Her first foe, throwing fire at her, feeding the layers that were made to conduct and structure heat into electrical charge, just below the first layer of kinetic sinking and distorted quartz, it fed her answering shot.

the railgun was one of Alice's suggestions, but again, it ate too much power for day-to-day use, and it was too dangerous to bystanders to use regularly, but there's no bystanders here.

Phoebe could play here.  the quarter ounce of steel slug spat out of the railgun at speeds that shifted her whole suit to the side in the first shot.

the answering laser fire fried an outer layer on her right arm, forcing a shunting of power from that surface to other points in her suit.

from the outside, Phoebe didn't know that her armor-which had ferrofluid based layers as added protection and looked a bit like a mix of science fiction armor and renaissance dandy's wear, was glowing at the edges of the outer plates-the ones that hadn't been outright destroyed by the Clan Elementals' collected laser, flamer, and machine-gun fire.

She whirled, letting a chain loose from the mount on her left wrist, the weighted grapple electrified with the waste energies generated by so much firepower being pumped into the thirsty layers of the armor's structure.

"Phoebe, FALL BACK!!!" intruded into her ecstacy, and she bounded backward, a leap that landed her already in motion at fifty miles an hour.

a check behind her, she realized the five suited warriors, so much like Samas Aran in the games, were not in shape to keep playing-and it occurred to her that her fun had come at the expense of making someone hurt.

and that made her feel...kind of sad.  Not really sad.  Not like the memory she didn't want to look at did.

but kind of sad in a way she hadn't felt when she killed actual criminals.

part of her wondered why she should feel sad.  she shunted that part, and the sadness, into storage and instead, analyzed Judah's orders.

Giving the Clanners a moment to remove their wounded.  It made sense, if this is a game, the other players need a chance to re-spawn, and nobody likes a spawncamping douche.

to Phoebe, it was obviously a game, after all, it had artificial rules that limited what the players were allowed to do...

she paused and bounced to the side, as a shot from one of the Battlemechs lanced into a low hill under her feet.  "Good Game Guys!" sportsmanship is very important after all.

this, the good sportsmanship, did not stop her from feeling that machine's...nervous system.

you don't need that much ammo.

she helpfully dumped the 'mech's ammunition for the pilot at 150 meters distance with a simple gesture and act of will.

it was a good thing do do, after all, that ammo could have exploded once Judah cut loose with the weird stuff, and one should never be a poor sportsman.



Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 20 September 2020, 14:54:48
[yet more third person stuff]

Ernie watched tinsmith bound into melee range with the first wave of Clan battlesuits, and he held his fire-she was in the way, and he didn't have a clear shot from here.

"Moving left." He said into the headphone she'd built into the hat, "Target?"

"Hit the second battlemech, the one without a waist."

"Alright."

Ernie's hands were getting hot, he could feel the charge build and he could feel his senses focus, before he raised a palm, and released.  For him, his power felt like a river flowing just out of sight, pressing in on him in his thin eggshell reality, threatening to overwhelm and engulf him.  by tapping into it, he could relieve some of the pressure...for a while.

but he had to be so damn careful.  open it too far, and it was too hard to close it again...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 20 September 2020, 15:39:14
[more third person...sorry]

"...remarkably light damage in spite of the durability of the primitive suit, usually one encounters the other extreme on backwaters."  Point Commander Harvey noted, "At least, at range.  The little girl's ranged weapons hit like...well, a little girl.  We have faced civilians with more powerful actual weapons."

"Yet you were defeated?"

"She tore my arm off."  he said, "and did something to my armor's systems...and I have never seen a mass malfunction of Suit missiles like that! Agh...The suit absorbed the combined fire from my point and it only went faster, but it was no threat until it was in melee range."

the Medtechs had been permitted to pull the wounded off the field, no fire had been directed at them, and the 'Superheroes' actually held fire until the ambulance was clear.

the show of honor had not been ignored, and so, the battle cluster used the break to spread out their deployment and position to advance, instead of pressing in on the defended hillside.

Harvey's wounds from the brief melee scuffle would require extensive repair-and his were not the only ones.  One of his warriors would never be able to use neural integration circuitry again-that energized chain weapon the girl used had fried both suit and man.

all in all, five elementals and all were simply fortunate to have survived.

"Then there is her battle cry, clear as you are standing in front of me, Star Captain..."  Harvey continued, "she said 'Good Game Guys'.  right into my very own headset, through six layers of advanced encryption on a channel she should not have been able to access! who says something like that?"

"Someone who thinks this a game, because we have rules...and follow them."  Katya speculated.  a child hardened to killing without restrictions, seeing us as playing an expensive simulation game...trying to be a 'good sport'...I want to kill someone, but who?  the ones using that child as a soldier, or the ones who warped that child into such a creature in the first place?  the more Katya had dug into their opponents...the more certain she was that this world had been disordered and desperately needed to be put to rights.

outside the dropship, a storm of consternation from one of the 'mechwarriors on the field, as something sliced into his 'mech's armor, sending heat spikes and overcoming the sinks.

"Fillip, you are 'on'. Cover the Third Battle Cluster's left wing, find and identify the location of the enemy's command and control, and lead warriors in the neutralization."  she sighed, "This needs to end."

***

Fillip had grown up on the South side of Chicago, and while he'd avoided being caught in a gang, and had played football right to a degree and a multimillion dollar contract with the Seattle Seahawks, he never forgot his roots-join the strongest gang in the area and be useful.

The Wolf Clan was clearly the strongest gang.  Stronger than the government, he believed, which had been stronger than the street gangs.

and he could be useful here, which means status, security, and safety...and an advanced medicine that could maybe help his mother with her failing organs.

he left the dropship flying low-250 miles an hour, until he saw her.  The white chick in the uncle-sam suit with her patriotic bullshit and her little crew of superpowered kids.

I'm gonna take you out. he had to get past the drones taking off from hidden boxes in the desert landscape though.

he dropped to the ground, and rushed.  Tackle the leader, take her out, the rest will fall down, it works in the hood, it works on the football field...

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: JA Baker on 20 September 2020, 15:47:47
Stoppable force, meet immovable object...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 20 September 2020, 15:53:38
[Lisa again!]

The Seahawk tackled me.

okay, tackled is the wrong term, the son of a bitch sacked me like a running back who's too slow and dull witted to get away.

I was watching our first lines fold in.  Phoebe's drones are messy, and they're loud, and sure, the Clanners are actually taking the time to shoot them down-but they're shooting them down FAST.

really fast, like a thousand years of weapons tech rolled onto some kid's science fair project fast.

he's grappling and I can't get leverage to hit him.

so I get a nose full of granite when he piledrives me into a rock face, then drags my face through it on the way up-reminding me that The Seahawk is one of the stronger fliers in North America.

we're a couple hundred feet up when I manage to twist around and bite his ear.  "LET ME GO ******!!"

I punch him, and it doesn't land on anything hard, but it's enough to whuffle him and he lets go.

so now, I'm falling.  this is new...

I smack into the dirt, and it puffs up around me, and I see him coming at me in a dive.

I roll to the side, and I'm halfway up to my feet when he hits me...

and something breaks.

something not me.

my foot's stuck in a rock,right under the ruin of my boot, maybe shin-deep.

but The Seahawk?

He's on the ground, and he doesn't look so good, because he's screaming, and not in anger. that's pain.  lots and lots of pain.

I feel like a zombie, looking at a man trying to cradle an arm shattered to his shoulderblade.

a grown man weeping and screaming.

I gingerly lift my foot out of my really deep footprint, and shake off the ruined boot, then I take the other one off.  I need to be able to walk...or run.

I walk around him, and head down into the melee.  It's time to draw some fire before the kids actually manage to get themselves killed.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 20 September 2020, 16:09:05
It takes me an hour to find my way back to our defended hill.

Judah's decided it's worth it, I'm not going to speculate what set him off...

but there is definitely something happening, because those lines of powdered iron supplement he was laying on the ground?

They're brighter than the damn sun.

I round a hillock for a better look, and I see what's got your average hispanic junior-league mastermind pulling out the Gandalf.

Petra's left leg ends at her knee, and Aunt Cindy's propping her head up.

Phoebe's armor is pretty much gone from the knees down, and she's got both her feet in bandages while my cousin Val is trying to keep her head up to feed her water.

Ernie's pumping sun-hot plasma like a firehose, and the return fire's kind of...ending around him.  like the coherent light and the missiles and cannon shells are just giving it up because it's too damn hot.

and Judah Lees? he's floating fifty feet in the air on a glowing pyramid of energy lines, and the Clanners?

Their ball rocket is slag, some of their robots are spinning around him like...a multicolored pinwheel.

this is what he doesn't cut loose with? jesus christ.

I'm wracked with fatigue suddenly, and realize I'm standing on one of the runes he traced yesterday.

if the kid doesn't let go, he's going to kill himself for real.

and I black out for the first time since the convoy ambush in '04.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 20 September 2020, 16:25:27
Corporal Lerner is telling me about her latest boyfriend-some guy from the Tank Battalion.

I know this moment. this is the moment my life ended, the moment I stopped being myself.

I know what's happening as soon as the convoy rolls past the intersection.

The first thing you see, is white, because the light is brighter than your eyes can really register.

the next thing, is the shove. i's whole-body, and in this moment, I know Sally Lerner's never going to finish telling me what she did with a Tanker behind the latrines tuesday night instead of watching a video in the FOB's little makeshift theater.

the explosion doesn't look that bad, from here, fifty or sixty meters in the air.  sure, the Humvee looks like someone kicked it with the mother of all steel-toed boots...and everything is on fire...but it doesn't look that bad, honestly.

not until the ground rushes up...

oh god no, not again, I can't take another trip through the slaughterhouse...I can't take the screams, the knowledge they're screaming because my captors want to break me.  I can't take feeling each one dying, blaming me for what's happened to them...  not again.  I can't take it again, I'll break.


"Lisa? Lisa??"

I hurt all over, as I open my eyes.  Falling Damascus is gone, there's blue sky, and Aunt Cindy's looming in my vision.

"Did we lose?" I ask her.

"You won...sort of." she tells me, "You're hurt, Lisa."

wow, I'm hurt...really injured...wow.  "Lees?"

"He's still alive." she tells me, "you almost died!!"

"Horseshoes and hand grenades." I groan.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 21 September 2020, 10:15:19
An After battle word...

it isn't all mai tais and oiled poolboys like you see on MTV or H! Network features.  I can feel my strength returning, so I get up to see what happened to our side.

Seeing what happened to the Wolf force is something that doesn't really need explanation-not when their battlemechs and armor are scattered around a two and a half mile circle in pieces.  the amazing part is, he managed to do this without killing more than half of them.

Judah's being loaded into an ambulance, and Petra's being loaded in with him.

"How is he doc?" I ask one of the EMT's from Yakima County.

"Comatose, irregular heartbeat, lousy blood pressure and we've got him on oxygen, we're taking him to a secure LZ for a lifeflight to Swedish in Seattle."

Moira's got Phoebe and Valerie's packing up the first aid kits.  "How is she?"

"scrapes and bruises." Moira tells me, then turns, "Paul! give me a hand here getting Phoebe in the car."

It isn't clean or neat.  I guess we won...maybe? but not having a plan for after we win is sucking.

The Chopper Katya Kerensky shows up in, looks like an Osprey's science-fiction-cousin.

I dust off the top-hat from my wrecked costume, and wait while the Wolf officers down-load off the chopper and walk across to me.

"Looks like you lost."  I tell her.

"Aff. There is a problem with your terms." She tells me.  shit.

"What's the problem?"

"Mister Wizard's demonstration of power cracked the core on our ship, we can not leave this solar system, and there are no habitable worlds in this solar system, and we do not have terraforming equipment to make any...and there is a population issue."

"viable population for a colonization effort, you need human beings for viable DNA...so you can't afford to leave, or it's a death sentence done slow."  I get it.  I really do.  "How about making restitution then?"

"Restitution?"

"For the damage you did when you came here?"  I cross my arms, "Look, I'm not a lawyer, but you have advanced tech, pick a country and sell out, immigrate somewhere peacefully.  Christ, it's not rocket surgery-you lost here, you don't have to shoot at everybody before you bothered to talk to them."

"Your answer is to what, assimilate?"

"My ancestors did." I point out, "Lots of people's ancestors did.  You showed up, you fought a war, made a good account and then lost-boo-hoo, you lost a fight, not like you'll lose every fight, but you can't go starting wars everywhere and expect anyone to welcome you with open arms.  It didn't work for us, it won't work for you...but you can maybe leverage that into getting a hearing with someone who will want to take you in if you'll agree to be part of their culture instead of trying to impose yours."

"We can table that.  'Restitution' was one of the terms." she said, "So tell me what you want us to do?"

"how about starting with sharing some of that advanced medical technology, fixing the damage, and arranging some kind of...I don't know, apology and recompense for the families of the people you killed when you hit us?  That's a pretty good start, isn't it?  Maybe you do a good and sincere job of trying to fix what you broke, people will want you to stay and you can have a home here.  aside from the emotionally unbalanced apocalyptic powerhouses, it's a nice world.  Maybe try living in it without breaking it for a while first?  Oh, and before I forget...you still owe me Monroe and what's her face the speedster.  Delivery in the now would be appreciated."

"I agreed to that term...and..."

The chopper's back ramp drops, Monroe comes out and so does a chick I've never seen before in a recently-washed orange jumpsuit.

"...they are returned." Katya tells me.

"Good enough on that score.  Now I can hand the 'talking to the press' and 'talking to the government' duties over to someone qualified to talk to the press and the government."

"You are hilarious, Lisa Quentin, claiming to be unqualified!" she laughs at me.

"Hey, Washington State public schools.  I'm lucky I can spell my own name and count to ten without using my fingers.  There's a lot of shit wrong, but we'll fix it eventually...in the meantime, Hey Monroe."

"Lisa...you're looking...hurt."

"Yeah.  Seems that getting my lifeforce drained by a sustained ritual might be a viable method of self-termination.  I don't recommend it for people who aren't me."

"How do you feel?" he asks.

"Hopeless, lost, overwhelmed, you know, everything I feel on days that end in Y.  How're you?"

"Their food wasn't bad, but I can live without another series of medical tests and exams." he tells me.

"Those're the worst." I agree, while the Clanners head back to their chopper to discuss how they're going to screw us over, "Red River's docs were saccharine and nice and kept trying to put probes up my ass because they couldn't cut me open...who's this?"

"Prisoner from King County, going back to King County detention." He tells me, "This time to finish her sentence."

"Might need to check that, boss." I comment, "I'm pretty sure the SDC was smashed pretty much into a hole in the ground, might talk to AG O'Ryan and a judge about getting her some community service."

"Community service...No..."

I fish around in the coat, and surprise! Phoebe's work is good enough to keep my wallet, with the badge.  "Here it is...'Special Deputy to the Washington State Department of Justice'...and I didn't even have to take cop-school."

"Well, you will now-you realize, that's basically got no term limit, until the State releases you, you're stuck with it-you can't even quit if he used the section I'm thinking he used...so you'll get to do cop school whether you like it or not, especially since you'll be working in my department."

"can I claim mental disability?"

"no."

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: JA Baker on 21 September 2020, 11:06:25
Always read the fine print!
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: EAGLE 7 on 21 September 2020, 12:07:48
So Washington state has legal slavery for powered humans?

Interesting, or is it more indentured slavery?

But wait is Lisa not the Boss of Wolf’s who are boss of Washington?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: georgiaboy on 21 September 2020, 12:27:18
The Wording for Lisa and company was not slavery. It was, you are a officer of the State till we say so. Its the same for being a marine, once you leave service, you are on call till they don't call you.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: BATTLEMASTER on 21 September 2020, 12:31:46
But wait is Lisa not the Boss of Wolf’s who are boss of Washington?

It was just a Trial of Refusal, not a Trial of Possession.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: EAGLE 7 on 21 September 2020, 12:52:10
Time to do a trial of possession, then.

Clan rules are only honorable rules. If you ignore chattel slavery. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: EAGLE 7 on 21 September 2020, 13:01:36
The Wording for Lisa and company was not slavery. It was, you are a officer of the State till we say so. Its the same for being a marine, once you leave service, you are on call till they don't call you.

8 year legal commitment, possibility of recall, based on MOS need and length of time since inactive reserve.

Once commitment met not mandatory service.

Unless retired then your SOL, can be recalled at behest of DOD.

You do not have to comeback, you just forfeit retirement and benefits and possible incarceration.

Upside you get paid for returning to active duty and from experience mandatory bad attitude towards fellow soldiers who are not mandatory recall.

Great for esprit de corp.

But generally entertaining for those not in blast area.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 21 September 2020, 13:07:22
I wish I could sleep through the chaos.  just lie down, and pretend to be a rock until it's over.

yeah.  No dice there.  There's a saying that must go back to the Roman armies, if even earlier.  'The Reward for doing good work, is more work.'

For three years I couldn't get a job, now I've got a job and I miss being able to just hang out in bars, shoot pool, and play music...I mean, I wasn't making a lot of money doing that last bit-I helped a couple of bands in Portland and Seattle with session work for less than union scale, one-off stuff, find an ad, answer it, thumb a ride down and audition, play their track, and go home.

being able to hitch-hike is starting to look like a luxury now-though O'Ryan did get my suspended driver's license reinstated, a situation that's easier than detailing a WSP patrolman to play chauffeur.

but I don't get to hide in obscurity.

Not now.

See, there's springback from what we did.  The Wolves are perfectly unhappy with having to provide volunteer labor in the rebuilding, the Feds are unhappy because their abject surrender got tossed back in their face by four kids and a lunatic, the press are unhappy because I won't give interviews, I'm unhappy because i've got the privacy issues of every other public figure in the state.

I'm happy because Judah Lees is out of the hospital and walking again.  Petra's got a ways to go yet, but apparently her DNA isn't so weird that the Wolf Clan clone-doctors can't make her a new pair of feet to replace the ones their guy shot off...though they're still pretty freaked that their equipment can't even detect her in the medical bay of their space-ship...however, it doesn't have a problem looking at samples of Petra, and that's what they need for the fantastic and amazing medical miracles.

I'm Happy because Moira Slohcin was awarded custody of Phoebe Keene in an expedited hearing, and has a governor's pardon for her convictions that clears her record in the state, at least-and she's got a job that's better than slinging burgers or running robbery shift at 7-11.  O'Ryan hired her into the State Government, as chief of staff.

I'm happy for Ernie, whose parents actually told him they were proud of him for once, instead of telling him he's not good enough due to his lousy grades.

We'll see how long it takes them to decide he's an idiot and a shitbag again, I have an inkling about how much actual affection is in that household, and they didn't feel like a family when I rode up to Mercer Island with him after the fighting.

In the meantime, kid's got a great future now-he's taking law and justice classes and doing National Guard training at Yakima, as part of the State Militia...which it turns out is a real thing after all.

it's November, we've been 'at peace' for several weeks.  I get to have time off.

Time off? from what? you may ask.  It is permitted.

After the Yakima battle, Kerensky formally surrendered to the State of Washington.  not just her, she surrendered her whole little army, her Clan, and asked for asylum.

it's a practical consideration, I suspect.  They can beat the snot out of conventional forces, but I put together an unconventional force that converted a full quarter of their ground combat assets into scrap metal in front of an audience of billions.

I'm pretty sure they don't want a rematch-at least, collectively they don't, and I know this: the Canadians already told them 'no' after what they did coming into the pacific northwest.

and Katya doesn't trust the man in the White House.  in talks with O'Ryan, she expressed...distrust over the circumstances of the President's assassination, and she doesn't have supers of her own, aside from The Seahawk, who will probably recover from having his arm liquefied trying to punch me...but I doubt he'll ever recover the same level of confidence.

We tested my abilities after I showed injuries post-incident, and Monroe and I have been tracking it.  right after being drained, I was...normal. almost normal, anyway.  I don't heal any faster, so I'm still dealing with cuts and burns...but...

okay.  deep breaths.

The stitches held, but aside from being the kind that your body can absorb, the wounds they were holding closed are proof against scalpels.

We figured out it must've taken me about eight hours for the invulnerability to come back.

I'm healing normally otherwise.

My job...

My job is mostly to stand there looking threatening while O'Ryan plays temporary governor.

by 'looking threatening' I mean, the 'aunty columbia' suit is now an official registered trademark of the State of Washington.

including the John Lennon glasses and the top-hat.

a bonus? being the scary arm-candy of a temporary governor has perks, I met his wife, she's nice to me.

I trade off with the professionals-there's actually a team of WSP officers who do the real security. I'm there to show off that our Governor (okay, our provisional governor, pending the special election in march) is a badass with superhero backup.

basically me doing that, lets Monroe do the real work.

Today, my job is standing nearby while Provisional Governor Douglas O'Ryan meets with our Federal representatives and senators to discuss Washington State's legal status after having been effectively abandoned by the United States Government.

I actually asked for today off, but Monroe said 'no way in hell'.

he doesn't want to be in this room...and he technically outranks me, so shit rolls down-hill, and I'm sure he's sitting in a coffee shop on Pike Street with Katya Kerensky discussing philosophy and politics while I have to stand here looking dignified in a circus getup.


Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 21 September 2020, 14:11:04
So what assests does Clan Wolf still have?

We know that Lisa & co have cost them a full cluster including dropship (an Overlord?) plus at least two other 'mechs and five sets of elemental armour, and their WarShip now has a damaged KF core.
We know that they had casualties trying to land in Russia.

On the other hand they still have 3+ functioning DS and by 2008 standards even a non-jumping WS is a pretty amazing piece of tech.


Ooh, just had an evil thought - tell clan Wolf "Since you can't leave we've just had a chat with Baba Yaga and she's agree that you can have North Korea. All you need to do is defrost it...!
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Sir Chaos on 21 September 2020, 14:26:46
So what assests does Clan Wolf still have?

We know that Lisa & co have cost them a full cluster including dropship (an Overlord?) plus at least two other 'mechs and five sets of elemental armour, and their WarShip now has a damaged KF core.
We know that they had casualties trying to land in Russia.

On the other hand they still have 3+ functioning DS and by 2008 standards even a non-jumping WS is a pretty amazing piece of tech.


Ooh, just had an evil thought - tell clan Wolf "Since you can't leave we've just had a chat with Baba Yaga and she's agree that you can have North Korea. All you need to do is defrost it...!

I´d guess North Korea defrosted on its own once Baba Yaga was done administering the sub-zero spanking.

But the Wolves won´t actually need a whole country. There can´t be more than a thousand of them left.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Nikas_Zekeval on 21 September 2020, 14:38:31
So what assests does Clan Wolf still have?

We know that Lisa & co have cost them a full cluster including dropship (an Overlord?) plus at least two other 'mechs and five sets of elemental armour, and their WarShip now has a damaged KF core.
We know that they had casualties trying to land in Russia.

On the other hand they still have 3+ functioning DS and by 2008 standards even a non-jumping WS is a pretty amazing piece of tech.

Depends on what they have in terms of scientists.  Plenty of samples for work on reverse engineering, even if it is broken somewhat.

Plus the shear amount of cheap reusable spacelift in those dropships, which can easily tool around the solar system, days to most of the solar system for example at 1g constant burn.  And more mundane, but given the shear fuel cost to move the Warship, she'd still make a very nice space station, with a hell of anti-missile defense not to mention orbital fire power as well.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 21 September 2020, 14:57:01
So what assests does Clan Wolf still have?

We know that Lisa & co have cost them a full cluster including dropship (an Overlord?) plus at least two other 'mechs and five sets of elemental armour, and their WarShip now has a damaged KF core.
We know that they had casualties trying to land in Russia.

On the other hand they still have 3+ functioning DS and by 2008 standards even a non-jumping WS is a pretty amazing piece of tech.

In 2008, NASA would strongly consider retiring the Space Shuttles in return for four Kirghiz, if they could figure out how to carry ISS modules up in a cargo pod.

The Kirghiz carries an astounding 56.5 tons of pod space  That's nearly twice what any one Shuttle can carry.  The five-ton fuel tank on a Kirghiz gives it 120 km/sec of delta-v.  Without any extra fuel, that's enough to travel 1 AU in 28 days, and 20 tons could get you there in a quarter of the time - I use 1 AU as an example because that's the Earth/Mars separation in some orbital positions.  Daily flights to the Moon become routine.

And a small craft or DropShip with a transit drive that gives you strategic thrust? ???
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 21 September 2020, 15:17:33
I´d guess North Korea defrosted on its own once Baba Yaga was done administering the sub-zero spanking.

I may be mis-remembering but I thought it's only been a couple years since N.Korea got iced, and you need a lot of energy to melt ~96.5 trillion tons of ice. A quick google gave me that Earth's ice caps lost about 9.5 trillion tons of ice (1 tenth of what's on N Korea) between 1961 & 2016.

While I'm sure it's melting, without outside intervention I'd expect N. Korea not be habbitable for a couple of centuries
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 21 September 2020, 15:28:25
"...possession of the spacecraft has yet to be arbitrated, mister secretary, we have several court cases pending regarding who can actually take possession of the former Clan Wolf Ship Pack's Den, among those cases are lawsuits filed for damages against Clan Wolf by my citizens."  O'Ryan's playing hard for concessions.

"Miss Quentin, you were actually in the battle, and-"

"And the Governor speaks for me. One of the benefits of belonging to a larger organization, is the privilege of remaining silent in negotiations, sir." I tell him.

"But it was surrendered due to your actions..."

"But not to myself, sir, and my involvement in those actions is well documented enough, thank you sir."  why the ****** are they dragging me into this...why is O'Ryan letting them drag me into this?  "The vessel was surrendered to agents of the Washington State Militia acting under orders, sir, while not acting under Federal Aegis, If I recall correctly, the Presidential order was to stand down the State Militia and prepare the state for surrender at the time."  I slip out of parade rest, and cross my arms, "The Federal instruction from the acting President was to surrender, I believe that relieves Washington State of any obligation to allow Federal access to the equipment or materials."

"On what grounds, Miss?"

"On the grounds that a sitting Federal government vacated their oath to uphold and defend the United States Constitution, sir.  Acting Governor O'Ryan upheld his oath of office, sir.  If you let me, a washed out, section-eight discharged marine make the choice, I would tell you and the current acting president to go find a big pile of black sand, and a hammer and pound that sand up your ass until it turns into steel, sir.  you are not negotiating with me, you are negotiating with a much more reasonable, better educated, and more intelligent gentleman who did not direct me, as you have, to make my personal opinions part of the record of this proceeding.  Sir."

there was some astonishment  among the Federal officials, "you're going to let her get away with that?"

"I seem to recall, mister Secretary, that the Sedition Act of 1917 was overturned by the supreme court, Miss Quentin retains her first amendment rights as a citizen of this state, and that includes the right to express her own opinions on governmental policy." O'Ryan wins court cases, damn but he's good at delivery.   "Has there been a repeal of the First Amendment since I last attended law school?"

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Sir Chaos on 21 September 2020, 15:40:50
I may be mis-remembering but I thought it's only been a couple years since N.Korea got iced, and you need a lot of energy to melt ~96.5 trillion tons of ice. A quick google gave me that Earth's ice caps lost about 9.5 trillion tons of ice (1 tenth of what's on N Korea) between 1961 & 2016.

While I'm sure it's melting, without outside intervention I'd expect N. Korea not be habbitable for a couple of centuries

North Korea gets a lot more sunlight than the poles. Temperatures outside the North Korean borders are above freezing for most of the year, so that´s a constant source of warm air arriving there.

Plus, Baba Yaga did this, she can undo this. She had made her point, so if South Korea (who still claim all that territory as theirs) asked nice... and I´m sure after THAT demonstration of power, they didn´t dare ask in any way other than nice.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 21 September 2020, 16:03:23
"but..."

"But nothing.  The specifics of Miss Quentin's discharge indicate she is specifically exempt from federal service due to being unsuitable."  O'Ryan continues.  "Note that Washington State does not have that particular exemption, and she did volunteer."

"bonkers.  Nuts. koo-koo. a few bricks short of a load. Kuh-RAY-zee." I elaborate for the dignitaries, "Ineligible to serve the federal government in a military or civil service capacity, do I need to outline everything I'm not allowed to do courtesy of an official finding of non-compos-mentis by a U.S. government doctor? I couldn't find a damn job with a steady paycheck to make rent until O'Ryan offered me this one, and VA disability at eighty five percent doesn't work as a living wage, especially with five hundred bucks going to a listing of the nastier chemicals they give people in the nut-hut to keep them docile."  I smile at the Secretary, "Just think, you're less than twenty feet from a grade double-alpha superhuman who's been determined to be absolutely bonkers...and I-I-I am Sooo off my meds. woohoo, woohoo."

"Lisa."

"Apologies sir." I resume parade rest.

"Here's what is going to happen, Mister Secretary.  We're going to forget...no, we're going to forgive your superiors in D.C. for their...error in evaluating the threat situation and their difficulties in handling it in a timely manner, in return, the President is going to very graciously support Senator McMurray's relief bill to the Senate, and the House, and sign it into law, then you're going to transfer up a group of INS agents trained to handle massive amounts of paperwork, so that two thousand, one hundred thirty seven former Clan Wolf personnel can begin their legal journey to the status of United States Citizens.  You'll do this because, in spite of McCleary polling somewhere below dogshit in this election, it's good politics for your party to be seen as patriotic and forward thinking, instead of reactionary and cowardly...an then, someone at the Department of Defense and someone at Homeland Security, is going to clear Lisa Quentin's name so she has her full rights as a citizen when she is not inside the borders and jursidiction of the State of Washington...and then we'll talk to your presidential successor about reforming the Veteran's Administration to provide better care and counseling for returning vets..are we clear?"

The official nods.

"Good.  You know it's the right move, you know it's the smart move, I shouldn't have to tell you these things."

and with that, we were done for the day.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: georgiaboy on 21 September 2020, 17:23:33
I wish we could get the government to reform the VA that easily and help all the Combat Vets and the Ghost System Vets.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: croaker on 21 September 2020, 17:51:43
Hmm. O’ryan is closing in on Liz for people who I would vote for President this year.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Dave Talley on 21 September 2020, 23:43:19
once the worst blows over Lisa might work as a stand up,
her last spiel there isnt substantially different from Christopher Titus or Lewis Black
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 22 September 2020, 13:37:08
cut.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: JA Baker on 22 September 2020, 13:42:26
The first step on the path to true wisdom is admitting you know nothing
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: EAGLE 7 on 22 September 2020, 14:26:56
Quote
The first step on the path to true wisdom is admitting you know nothing

And that explains why wisdom is in short supply
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: JA Baker on 22 September 2020, 14:33:40
And that explains why wisdom is in short supply
Yeah: too few people are willing to admit to the limitations of their knowledge
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Starfox5 on 22 September 2020, 14:38:24
Wanted to catch up on the updates after a few days, but the "evil government conspiracy kills the president" was too much of an idiot ball to swallow. It's not that it would be impossible - but it screamed "author fiat". In a world where the Clans were already pushed around by a parahuman, and with evidence that single parahumans can wreck their shit, there was no need at all for the USA to surrender - and the fact that the traitors doing so weren't arrested or killed by others just turned the whole thing into "I want to have part of the USA occupied and the USA accepting this, so it happens".

I'm not a fan of the "USA USA USA" memes, but the US, surrendering like this? No resistance, no parahuman strike teams turning invaders into chunky salsa? People collaborating after a day or two, without knowing how things would fall out? And in such numbers?

Sorry, that breaks my SoD.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Hellraiser on 22 September 2020, 15:21:30
I think the fact that the Clans had already taken 3 "Supers" captive shows that, as was stated up thread, the supers are not all powerful.

Lisa has a very unique ability in that nothing can hurt her & in turn while not strong when she hits something, IT is forced to crumble.

Baba Yaga smashed them with mother natures raw chaos.

But the author made it clear that most of the sups can't affect mechs.

The Super/Cop even said, if the elementals had known ahead of time & been prepared they could have taken him out easier.

It sounds like Lisa's "Team" had the right combo  (Super Techno, Raw Lightning, & Ritual Magic) to actually hurt Clan Tech.

As we saw the stealth girl & the clan warrior in the new armor suit didn't do so well.

We know that DC Vibro Katanas can cut down an Elemental & it seems like the Techno turned that chain into a sort of vibro weapon.

I honestly wonder if the USA Spec Ops Supers had that kind of Juice to pull off this kind of attack.

And I think the Surrender was really just to get a way to assimilate the clan tech while not really giving up control when you have 300+ millions of US citizens to a couple thousand Clanners.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: worktroll on 22 September 2020, 15:25:00
A combination of shock and awe, and overwhelming force in a limited area. Plus, the fictional US government was prepared to write Washington state off for their own reasons, preventing government-sponsored supers from getting involved. I suspect there are people in the chain of command (Chiefs of Staff, anyone?) who will be asking pointed questions right now.

And the whole story is basically impromptu supers turning invaders into chunky salsa.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 22 September 2020, 15:57:53
there are some parts after the Yakima fight I'll be cutting, because they suck and don't contribute to the story.

I'll do this after I get some sleep.

There are also parts I regret how I wrote them-but only because I think they could've been done better, more explanation of what was going on, better scenes, better delivery on the Clanners...

and maybe at some point, I'll work on that, too.

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 23 September 2020, 00:10:26
"It's the math." Governor (ex) Gregory tells the court.  "Eleven million people in Washington State, around three thousand people total with the Clan force.  their vanguards overwhelmed everything the Federal Government had in the state.  EVERYTHING, but they don't have a supply line, and couldn't reinforce or expand their numbers without help.  In that kind of math, the cold calculus says that my job as governor was to protect the citizens."

"You surrendered, and you cooperated with the occupation, how does that work?"

"Simply put, they can kill our people faster than we can overwhelm them, and they were desperate-a little cooperation in the present and once things are settled, they would be absorbed.  The Normans were absorbed into England.  China swallowed the Mongol hordes.  None of my staff knew we had someone like Judah Lees in the state, or that Lisa Quentin was as powerful as she evidently is-and we had no way to use them if we had known.  My choice was a temporary political disruption as the price to preserve eleven million people until there was an option."

I'm sitting in the back of the courtroom, and at least O'Ryan's letting me do my protection detail duty out of costume, dressed like every other cop in the building in a uniform I'm not sure I've actually earned yet.

but Louis Jefferson, the first Captain Liberty in the 1940s wrote that costumes have an impact-and he's right, in his case it was the difference between the super-soldier hero who defeated BlitzJaeger at Monte Cassino and was even respected by the KKK, and an ordinary black man in Jim Crow Alabama.

I've been reading his memoirs lately.  a little eye makeup and some lip gloss, a state patrolman's uniform, and I walk right past the same press that would have mobbed me in costume.

It's like a blindness they get.  I don't even have to dye my hair.

apparently Clark Kent was onto something in the comics-a pair of glasses and a suit and nobody in the fiction recognizes Superman.

I'm just observing as lawyers take the former governor's statement for the Grand Jury, just another witness in an open hearing because the defendant waived the right to have the proceedings closed.

Her logic makes some sense.  lay down soft, let them move in, then absorb them.  It's a sensible approach considering what kind of raw power differential was in play.  It rankles me, I saw how much support there was for resistance, but her fears of brutal reprisal make sense, she saw the defeat at Fort Lewis, and how fast the Clan Wolf troops went through the very best we had available.

we didn't even have what Jefferson called a 'Wisna'-no bold final stands until Yakima, just one-sided slaughter by a superior force with total control over the high ground, someone was going to collaborate, and it was our governor, who claims she just wanted people to survive.

It's hard to stay angry with that.  Not impossible, but hard, because I saw  how much power the light units of Clan Wolf were tossing around.  If they hadn't voluntarily limited themselves we'd have been dead out there.  it was only exploiting their own cultural drives and having someone explain those drives that let us pull Yakima off at all.

I'm pretty sure Katya Kerensky did the same math, which is why their occupation force had such a light touch-their leaders...did they expect to follow the Governor's script?  it's worth asking someone who knows about.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: BATTLEMASTER on 23 September 2020, 09:18:47
there are some parts after the Yakima fight I'll be cutting, because they suck and don't contribute to the story.

I'll do this after I get some sleep.

There are also parts I regret how I wrote them-but only because I think they could've been done better, more explanation of what was going on, better scenes, better delivery on the Clanners...

and maybe at some point, I'll work on that, too.

Just curious if these are drafts or if you have them pre-typed first.  I know stuff I write goes through multiple iterations!

It reminds me of something James Roberts said about writing Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye:  One challenge to writing is that sometimes the fans have better ideas than the author does  :))
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 23 September 2020, 09:21:35
Just curious if these are drafts or if you have them pre-typed first.  I know stuff I write goes through multiple iterations!

It reminds me of something James Roberts said about writing Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye:  One challenge to writing is that sometimes the fans have better ideas than the author does  :))

this has been mostly cold-posted, straight from brain to page, no intermediate steps.  (except when I've had to look something up.)  Probably the biggest reason I've missed the hook with Katya Kerensky and Delta galaxy.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 23 September 2020, 10:02:13
From the H! Network Fan Forum...

Rockit2thamax (verified):  New post guys, finished downloading the vid from the Tonasket fight. 

Seahawkfinestfan: Oh my gawd...She broke his arm!!

Grognard_The_King (Verified): Holy crap, did he just drag her face through that cliff?

Rockit2thamax(Verified): yah.  She was coughing up granite dust for hours, it looked like cement.  Auntie Columbia looks like one tough gal.

Seahawkfinestfan: I can't believe...how old is the redhead in frame 285?

Rockit2thamax(verified): Thirteen.

Starblazer (Verified): thirteen.  Highest body count on the team, don't piss her off.

Seahawkfinestfan: They let a little kid fight?  EW. That's SOO wrong!!

Starblazer(Verified): Phoebe's still on the team and she's got thirty six separate criminal kills on her record, it's public now, the Governor had to pardon her to keep her out of prison.  We're working on getting her to actually attend treatment and counseling.  it's easier now, since all our identities are public and there's funding to do it.

Seahawkfinestfan: What about her parents?

Starblazer (verified): Moira's pretty pissed Phoebe got hurt, if you're going to ask about biological parents, Phoebe's dad  is 'unknown' and her mom was a statistic before she was six-not my words, hers.  The fun part is going to find a seventh grade teacher who is okay with a double-alpha tech genius sitting in on classes, we might have to hire a tutor instead.

Seahawkfinestfan: You're on the team? which one are you?

Starblazer (Verified):  I'm the one slinging plasma beams at the Clanners, Cowboy hat and duster-that's me.

Seahawkfinestfan: YOU? you're a kid too!

Starblazer (verified): I'm a teenager, not a kid. (Sniffs snootily) ;P  Anyway, I've got school this morning.  Yes, we're kids.  The grown ups were, for the most part, busy elsewhere.  Now, I have three classes to make up and extra homework every night, plus training sessions and duty days. It's not all like H! network makes it look, even when your parents are rich like mine.

[Moderator PBK has entered the room,
Moderator PBK has sectioned off chat for private discussion between Rockit2thamax, Starblazer]

Rockit2thamax (Verified): You still planning to come up for thanksgiving, Starblazer?

Starblazer (Verified): Since my parents decided to go ahead with the divorce? yeah, I'll be there, your mom doing the cooking?

Rockit2thamax (Verified): Yes.  Me and the little brother have been cleaning up grandma's old house for guests.  If shit's getting too real over there on Mercer, you can come up and stay a while?

Starblazer (verified): You know, I think I want to do that.  Mom and Dad will be pissed, but it would be nice not to come home from training to a house that feels like it's about to be a warzone.  I think that road trip with your Aunt and forming the team is the best experience I've had since I was six...including having to have shrapnel dug out of my legs and back.  Besides, I want to see you. :)

Rockit2thamax(Verified): [blush!!] You too.  don't get hurt before you come up!!  Will the cute couple also be coming?

Starblazer (Verified): Yeah, and Moira's bringing Phoebe-though she's threatening not to if Phoebe doesn't keep up with her therapy.  Kid's getting it from all directions, the shrinks, of course, because DSHS always wants shrinks, so she tells me, but there's also the lady from Dept. of Education trying to help her get past the dyslexia and start reading actual paper instead of skimming it off the computer with her magic brain.

Rockit2thamax (Verified): Bus is here, gotta go. Kiss!

[Rockit2thamax(Verified) has logged off, Private room ended.]

[Starblazer(Verified) has joined General Chat]

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 24 September 2020, 23:05:51
The Federal heroes finally showed up with Federal Officials a week after Election day, and they've been debriefing the Wolves, getting mostly the same information Monroe already got-an alternate timeline, one where Supers didn't appear, but technology progressed in some weird directions.

not to mention politics going weird.

Vice President Buchanan...excuse me, President Arthur Buchanan (until January 20 anyway) directed DHS to send a team up to the spaceship.  O'Ryan managed to turn it into a negotiation, and got a few hooks into the whole mess that proves just how scary-smart the guy really is.

and I've got Captain Republic, the third one drinking coffee forty feet from my new desk in my new job for Washington State.

There have been three men who carried the name since World War Two.  The first one died of colon cancer in 1982 and I never met him, the second one was replaced during the late Reagan administration and is rumored to live in Montana.  This is number three, and he's been wearing the red-white-and-blue camo since 1988, and the first time I've seen him in person, is right here in the WSP Superhuman Affairs office in Wenatchee.

For those of you who live under a rock, I'm not joking about the camo.  It's digital pattern and it's absolutely not going to camouflage anything, being red, white, and blue.  It's been the costume for America's premier 'top dog' superhero since 1988, with variations mostly revolving around how the mask is configured.

"You know, Quentin, you could be my successor." he's got a southern drawl in public relations events, but in here, away from the cameras, he's got a new england twang that almost sounds like he should be selling books in boston.

"Not interested, sir." I tell him, "besides, didn't they retire the flight backpack at the same time the guy you replaced retired, sir?  I can't fly."

"There's more to the job than flying."

"Yes, sir." I nod, "You also have to train, and there's a selection board, and frankly, I wouldn't pass the psych, never mind the background check."

He sits down in my Cube, across from me.  "You seem alright to me." he tells me.

"I spent ninety seven days under torture watching people being murdered, unable to do a damn thing about it, including most of the survivors from my unit, after which, I tried to kill myself as soon as I was out of their hands." I remind him, "I am not okay.  not okay enough to serve as a national symbol or rallying point."

"You did alright..."

"Only because we didn't have better options at the moment." I shrug, "You were busy.  If the Clan Wolf invasion hadn't happened, they'd be interviewing you like they did after you saved the Challenger crew, or the Columbia.  I mean, you were holding the locks up in Panama after that terrorist bomb."

"Just grunt work, miss Quentin." he tells me, "you stopped everyone from making a terrible mistake."

"I didn't do it alone, and it wasn't something I should be doing."  Here I fiddle with my cup of pens, "I feel like an imposter, sir."

"We all do." he tells me, "Everyone who's put the costume on and done the service? we all feel like we're just impersonating someone.  Jefferson wrote about it, his successor warned me about letting that 'get in the way' of doing the job.  YOU already proved you can overcome it, and frankly, I'm getting older."

"You're a class double alpha contact telekinetic with flight and B level invulnerability, sir." I quote his official Herowiki entry at him,  "That's the public numbers, anyway. the first guy who carried the title you've got would be classed as a D-rating today, and the second guy was considered high C.  all three of you have something I don't."

"What's that?"  He asks.

"Training and preparation." I remind him, "I have, what, basic marine corps CQB that I haven't practiced ni months, I'm taking night and correspondence classes to learn how to do the non-combat work my job requires, I never prepped to have powers, never trained to master them, didn't want to do this in the first place..."

He laughs, "You sound like Bryan." he tells me,  "My predecessor-he was drafted into the role after manifesting, and Jefferson spent five years training him before retiring."

"But...the selection process?"

"Newish." He tells me, "the process for selecting for the role was set up under Carter, but didn't see any use until Bryan submitted his first resignation in '81.  The Defense Department managed to stall him until he had me trained up to replace him."

"Seven years?"

"It takes a while to find someone with powers, then you have to sort and pick from the ones you can find.  The DoD can use the Moriarty Process in a pinch, but that kind of requires being willing to risk the lives of hundreds of volunteers to get one viable candidate, and that's simply unacceptable." he tells me, "that's part of the reason SF 12 and the forty-series SEAL teams use cutting edge equipment-we won't put human beings through that kind of process again..." he sips his coffee, "We're not the Communists, and we're not the ****** nazis, burning three hundred lives to make three supers is morally and ethically abhorrent.  It's a line that isn't worth crossing again."

I know people who'd debate that, but I won't.  I agree with it.  "What's going to happen now that Uncle Sam's actually involved again?" I ask him.

"Well, my support group's interviewing the Wolf people, and another group's going to be evaluating your team on an in-depth level." he tells me, "we'll go through the cert process, some psychiatric evaluations, basic powers testing and exams, then for as long as you've got an active costumed identity, you'll have to go through it again next year.  The kids will be getting scholarships and sponsors until they reach the age of majority and can register for selective service, at which point, they'll probably be sent a letter in the name of their fellow citizens inviting them to report for duty for up to four years with a recall availability for the following eight."

"And the Wolf people?" I ask.

"are being offered expedited immigration with enlistment papers." he tells me.  "It's practical-the military has the best infrastructure we've got for that job and the only real means we have to limit their antisocial tendencies short of the prison system..which is a system that should be used only for real criminals, not soldiers who've surrendered and have nowhere else to go...in the meantime, your record as a Marine was pretty good, Miss Quentin-before you were captured, and you know this is an age of inclusion, someone's gonna offer you a slot in the selection process for my job, and you should consider taking it."

"I have a lot of personal shit to deal with, sir." I tell him, "I'm not sure I want to be 'America's Hero'."

"Don't reject it out of hand just yet, okay?" he tells me.






Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Grognard on 24 September 2020, 23:46:04
Fine fine story!
As I understand it, the Trial fight is sorta framework and that is fine. 
Writing big dang hero fight scenes involving a dozen plus characters is time/effort/ink intensive.
Kudos for that chapter alone!

for those of y'all complaining & nitpicking: 
Go crack open the brand new 2020 TECHMANUAL to page 7.
Read carefully and then...
be grateful.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 25 September 2020, 00:14:14
[pov shift, 3rd Person...]

Steve Palmer is one of the 4 wealthiest men in North America.  The Palmersoft 'Doorways' software is the most used operating system in the world, and if you include the pirated copies and illegal derivatives, it's ninety percent of the computer market, ninety five if you include all versions from Doorways 2.0 and later.

A life's work begun in the 1970s when he was busy dropping out of Stanford to work with a group of friends on what they were sure would be a revolution.  They'd initially been beaten to the punch by Apple, but their comeback in the eighties crushed Jobs-partly with the help of contacts at IBM and Smith Corona and a recognition that making too much exclusive would limit who wanted to develop for Palmer-Dos, which later became Doorways with a quietly pirated copy of a project abandoned by Xerox.

he'd married once, divorced, and again, and divorced, and finally married Belinda, who gave him a son...a son that is an enormous disappointment.

While Steve Palmer is undoubtedly a genius level IQ-he turned a hobby into the largest and most aggressive tech company on earth-and Belinda held enough degrees and doctorates to qualify her as Mensa material, their son Ernest is...

achingly average despite every effort put forward to produce a brilliant intellectual mind, the fact is, some kids just aren't talented when it comes to the very things that made Steve Palmer a household name and Belinda Ygret Palmer a nobel nominee.

Ernest was simply not...talented, and his late-middle age, almost-ready-to-retire Father's dream of a Dynasty died on the boy's pre-SAT scores.

This wasn't to say that the boy was outright dumb.  a firm B average in the private schools, would be considered excellent in anyone whose parents didn't tip the scales hard into the border between brilliant and super-genius.  Believers in 'genetic destiny' and eugenics would have the same frustrations the two parents had with their son, and harsh measures on top of harsh measures to force the boy into fitting with the percieved 'destiny' of his parentage yielded...rebellion.

the Palmers didn't produce a second child, both believing firmly in the idea of population control, each had elected for surgical procedures to prevent another offspring-only to discover, afte the fact, that their one legacy contribution to the world was an average student, with average athletic ability, who wasn't even particularly handsome as he got older.

Three strikes and no chance for calling a retry, they drifted apart, and chose to simply forget their son existed most of the time (aside from assuring that he had what was considered appropriate in terms of schooling and upkeep, both tasks handed off to hired people.)

Palmersoft would go to the Board of Directors when Steve retired, and the beginnings of the rift leading to a termination of the Palmers' 20 year long marriage were already in the works, when Ernest finally showed a unique talent...

and by then, of course, it was too late for all three.  Ernie, for his part, recognized that his parents love was conditional, rooted in a demand that he be exceptional in some way other than being their son.

And he'd seen enough to recognize this isn't the norm, even before he linked up with Lisa Quentin and became part of a sort of 'extended family' that included a trio of similarly talented young people, and Lisa's small gaggle of relatives from Eastern Washington.

Valerie Quentin was almost his age, and she liked him.  when you're in an emotional pressure cooker surrounded your entire life by people who fake their feelings in public? you learn to sort the real from the false.  Valerie was like her aunt- thin, slight, a little harsh, except Val liked him.  this is pretty important to a kid who knows enough to know when the cheerleader wants you because you're the quarterback and not because she wants you.

It was enough reason for Ernie to look at demands from each of his estranged parents, each offering, effectively, bribes to side with them in the separation, each proposing escalating offers to have him over to their chosen locations where he could be paraded about as a 'superhero' for thanksgiving...and reject them both, in favor of the multi-hour drive east across the Cascades to the Quentin Ranch, where instead of being 'our son, the Starblazer', he could be 'Our friend, Ernie.'

for Ernest, this isn't even a choice that's difficult.  Seventeen years he'd tried like hell to get his parents to notice more than his flaws and failure and averageness, and he had somewhere to go, this year, where the pallor of disappointment and conditional affection simply wasn't going to ruin things.  Not this time.

Besides, Judah was letting him drive the Pontiac for part of the trip, and Ernie liked muscle cars.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 25 September 2020, 00:19:44
Wait, he's basically Balmer's kid?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: BATTLEMASTER on 25 September 2020, 09:21:40
Wait, he's basically Balmer's kid?

In a universe where doors are preferred over windows!   ;D

I really like the character backgrounds.   I think they're pretty realistic, considering some of the Vietnam veterans I've dealt with IRL.  I can think of some people I know who fit Ernie's background too.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 25 September 2020, 12:20:21
[more third person]

Tonasket, 1986...

Her mom was in the shed outside with Mister Hendricksen, who wasn't her father, 'working mommy's job'.  On the television, Big Bird was trying to get Maria to understand that Mister Snuffleuppagus was real.  Lisa thought that was really funny-that the adults couldn't see Big Bird's best friend.

Lisa wished she had a friend like snuffy.  it would be better than being in the house alone while mommy worked for Mister Hendricksen out in the steel shed out back, but maybe momma would be worried if she started having friends like that.

Momma worried a lot.  This was the third place they'd lived this year, and she didn't like some of the things Mister Hendricksen did to her mother at night.

Not one bit, but he was better than George, who tried to make Lisa take her pants off and that was why they left Oroville.

On the television, the police are friendly, but Lisa knew that her mother was afraid of them, though why, she didn't know, only that before Oroville, when they were in St. Helens, Lisa talked to a friendly police officer in the store, and they had to leave St. Helens in a hurry at night, and all her toys and most of her stuff.

the sun was up, but she could see bright red and blue flashes on the window-shades, and so she hid, because that's what her mother told her to do when red and blue lights were nearby, and Lisa was a good girl and did what she was told.

there was a noise from the front of the house-the loudest smash she'd ever heard, and from her hiding place under the sink, she could hear boots slamming through the house.

There was shouting outside, and inside the trailer.  "Police! everyoen come out!!"

Lisa stayed where she was hiding, as boots tramped in the kitchen, and she heard cupboards opening, and slamming closed.

But then, she heard her mother yelling at someone, words indistinct, and a wt smack she'd heard before.

Lisa came out of the cupboard and latched onto the first thing she saw-a man's leg, and she sank her teeth into it...

"BOOM!!"

"Jesus CHRIST BEKKER!! You moron!!"  there was another man there, holding the man sh e'd bit by the arm, lifting both of them off the floor, "YOU ALMOST SHOT A KID!!"

the man holding Bekker off the ground, lifted Lisa away from him with ease, and surprising gentleness.  "We. do.not.shoot blind!!"  the man's skin was the same color as coffee, or chocolate, and he was big.

Lisa had learned a lot at home, when momma wasn't busy.  the word on the chest of the big dark man was 'Monroe' and it was right across from a star-shaped badge.

"What's your name?" he asked gently, careful not to hold her so it hurt-unlike how Mister Hendricksen would sometimes grab her.

"I'm Lisa, where's my mommy!?"

"Hello, Lisa, I'm Linus."

"It says monroe on your chest!"

"That's my last name, My first name is Linus...Your mommy is in a lot of trouble, Lisa..."

Lisa didn't miss that Bekker, whose shirt under the black was green, was running out the door, the sound of retching outside.

For three days, Lisa stayed with Linus and his wife, while someone from his wife's work tried to find relatives. 

***

the place Linus took her after three days was strange, the house was huge, it had windows near the ground and wasn't skirted, and it wasn't an apartment.  The old man who met the car out front, was skinny-looking and wrinkled.

it would take until they let Lisa see her mommy in jail before she believed these people at this big house far from town were her family, that she had a grandpa and grandmama, and that the red-haired girl in cowboy boots yelling at the men was her Auntie-because momma never talked about having sisters, or brothers, or parents, except when she drilled Lisa in 'cover stories'-which were lies to keep them both safe.

It would be years before she learned what her mother had been hiding her from, and why when the television started talking about superheroes, Aunty Cindy would either change the channel, or turn it off and refuse to turn it on for the rest of the night.


[Now, back to Lisa-vision]
2008...

"...this is where your uncle Troy died, where Sun-Primal tore his arms out of their sockets."  Cindy explained.  "He was one of the six that hit us that day, looking for your mom."

"oh jesus, Grandad said Troy died in an accident!"

"Yeah, we invent stories to tell ourselves, when the truth's...worse." Cindy told her, "Margot shot the son of a bitch, it took her nine tries to kill him, and while she was trying, he was tearing our oldest brother apart with his bare hands."

"Margot? she hates guns!"

"Yeah...she got three of them, Lisa-regeneration doesn't help if you knock out the brain-stem, and powers aren't much good if you're so hooked on having them you don't realize your 'bulletproof' can be overcome with enough gun...come on."

I follow her out past the former equipment shed.

"This is where uncle Gerald was killed.  He managed to go down fighting, and took Speedvixen down before he bled out.  wounded Mister Moonshadows too, I was supposed to be hiding over there-" she points at the well-house, "only I wasn't, which is why Mister Mooney didn't come out of the shade of the pumps and grab me.  Instead, I was over where they killed Jack, and I had his carbine, so when Moonshadow popped out under the truck we had parked there, I didn't even really have to aim-pop-pop-pop and half-jellied brains everywhere."  she pauses, "That was the first night, they killed eight of our hired people, both of the boys, and wounded dad, but we got three of them before we legged it for the north stretch."

"Why are you telling me about this now?"

"answers, truth, the fact you have the powers your mom joined that cult to get?" Cindy shrugged, "because I have to make it make some kind of sense to me what happened all those years ago? most of the hands who survived the siege moved on before the end of the year.  I think the only guy in the area who remembers is old man Marsden, and that's because he was on the gun line with us when the last of them assaulted the cabin on the north side of the property.  He lost two of HIS sons, the third one, your friend Isaac's father? was in Pullman.  he skipped the fighting and what had to come after, skipped having to clean up the aftermath..."

"What did you do?"

"We loaded the bodies into a wood-chipper and buried whatever we couldn't get rid of any other way." she tells me, "at that time, you have to understand, Dad was in with some extremely bad people out of asia, and at that time, a 911 call had a response time measured in hours anyway.  we disposed of the bodies, reported the deaths of my brothers, buried their remains where you've seen the headstones, and tried to pretend everything was normal...but dad did manage to end his overseas business relationship, told them the cops were getting too close, even accused them of ratting us out to DEA."  she sighed, "You and your mom were in the wind-we didn't even KNOW about you until Linus Monroe showed up two years later and I found out I was an Aunt.  Dad might've known something, but even if he did?"

"yeah?"

"He wouldn't have talked...but the Cultists, they didn't know he didn't know anything, or maybe they did, they didn't get your location from us, and we killed the ones who came looking."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 25 September 2020, 12:44:04
There are boxes in Grandad's hunting cabin on the north side of the property.  Old wooden orange crates lined with waxed paper and mothballs under the floor boards.

Cindy showed me how to get at them.  The stuff, was stuff mom left behind her when she left for college, stuff my grandparents put away because they couldn't bear to look at it, and kept put away because everyone wanted to forget it-but nobody wanted to just get rid of it.

Her fourth grade Lady Liberty costume, a box full of periodicals from the sixties and early seventies-'True Adventures' and other supers-focused stuff.  a couple of photo-albums that weren't ruined by moisture, my mom in high school, my mom winning a science fair in junior high, notebooks and papers from chem class and U.S. History.

The Nicole  Quentin who went to the University of Washington in 1978 doesn't have much resemblance to the woman I remember who couldn't stop selling dope and running with criminals.

"My sister was brilliant." Aunt Cindy tells me, "She really was. she was also all-in on the idea of 'humanity's next step'."

"my mom was a hero-groupie."  I can't believe what I'm seeing at first, but the stuff is old and I recognize her handwriting in some of the diaries and journals.

"I was too." Cindy tells me, "Not as far as she was-but until the attack, I admired superhumans and super heroes...and then, after? I hated them."

"And now I am one." I observe.

"yeah...and I love you, Lisa, but...it's hard to explain."

i sigh, and put the box down.  "No, it's not.  I'm still me...I think, anyway, only...really messed up.  Mom joined that cult Morgause formed because she dreamed of being a superhero, and they acted like they were-until it turned out they weren't...then she left, and they tried to chase her down after the feds raided their compound in Oregon... and they came here, and you saw people you thought you admired acting like complete monsters."

I sit down and take my aunt's hands in mine, "And now, your niece, who you practically raised while grandad and grandma got sick? turns out she's a super, and you've got to resolve that with twenty four years of living with a nightmare just around the corner...and I came back into your life and I was scared."

"YOU were scared?"

"I knew how you felt about people with powers, Cindy...and here I am, with powers...and friends who have powers, and one of those friends wants to date your daughter." I tell her, "it's obvious why you'd feel...be...upset? I couldn't imagine a world where you wouldn't be, I'm kind of shocked you've taken this so well! Supers cost our family a hell of a lot, took loved ones from you, screwed up my life, our lives!"

so we have a good mutual cry.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 25 September 2020, 13:17:44
My cousin Lucas doesn't look much like my family.  His father lives in Portland, with a wife and two daughters close to Lucas's age, and somehow, Mrs. Benoweth (his biological father is Doctor Benoweth, and a pretty good heart surgeon with a wandering eye) not only tolerates my cousin's presence, but invites him to their home regularly in the summer months and sometimes for christmas.

Lucas is the only black kid in school when he's home...well, half, anyway.  he was my Aunt's second kid, fathered on a doctor's hunting trip eleven years ago, while Cindy was working as a short-order cook at the place she now owns.  Dr. Benoweth is prompt on his child support payments and generally, the whole thing is shockingly cordial.

I met the family of my cousin-his 'other' family, once or twice.  This year, Lucas is down in Portland with them, leaving Cindy and Valerie and...well, me, to get the house in shape for visitors, lay out the linens and clear out the spider webs, and generally make the home my grandparents left to us grandkids in trust, look and be presentable for human beings to actually stay in.

"Do we know who's coming?" I ask her for the hundredth time.

"Let's see...Moira and Phoebe, Judah Lees, Petra, Ernest Palmer, Linus Monroe." she counts off.

"So...two turkeys?"

"We're stocked up, Lisa." Cindy tells me, "Lucky for me, I only have to stock beer for the adults, which is you, me, Linus, and Moira...unless you're bringing a date."

"I don't have a date."  I confess.

"Oh come ON!"

"what can I say?  the dating pool for Lisa is remarkably dry." I shake my head, "I don't have your fantastic ginger magnetism, Cindy, and most of the men I know are old enough to be your dad.  I just don't foresee anything cool coming from giving some vietnam vet a heart attack in bed!"

"What, not even trying, are you?" she scolds me with a laugh.

"not currently." I sigh and finish folding the guest linens.  "You invited Monroe?"

"If you hadn't, I would have.  He's single again."

"I know." I give her a level eye, "You've got your eye on him?"

"And claws out." she tells me.  "He's a good man, history aside, and he'll be a good role model for Lucas when he hits his teens."

"I know he's a good man, I work with him, remember? and we've both known him for most of my life..."  It's true. Monroe drove me to the court when mom was arraigned for the second trip to prison, and he was there for me when she got arrested for the third time...and for a lot of those events she should have been there instead of out getting into legal trouble...

in a sense, he's been part of the family already.  I know his first wife thought he was given how often he was right there when I was growing up.

almost like he knew something.  "Cindy...was mom involved with him?"

"No." she tells me flat out.  "They were sort-of-friends, I guess, I know he visited her in jail and they would meet for coffee in town...but..."

"She was, wasn't she?"

"No, not like that." Cindy is being evasive, she's got this tell.

"So like what?"

"She was...it's complicated, Lisa." Cindy tells me, "You should ask him when he's up here."

"Why can't I ask you?"

she sighs, "it's not my story to tell."
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Euphonium on 25 September 2020, 13:45:04
@Cannonshop, if you haven't already written the next bit, please don't read the spoiler tags, I don't want to accidentally influence the story you want to tell.

I'm getting a "Luke, I am your father" vibe here.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: JA Baker on 25 September 2020, 14:31:04
@Cannonshop, I've you haven't already written the next bit, please don't read the spoiler tags, I don't want to accidentally influence the story you want to tell.

I'm getting a "Luke, I am your father" vibe here.
You're not the only one
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Sir Chaos on 25 September 2020, 14:51:16
Same here.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Nikas_Zekeval on 25 September 2020, 16:42:31
I'm getting a "Luke, I am your father" vibe here.
You're not the only one
Same here.

I'm recalling a Worm Fanfic that subverted this: "You are not my father, and I'm not jumping off this tower."  Well it used mother, but the joke stands.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Moonsword on 25 September 2020, 18:49:54
MODERATOR NOTICE

Folks, we've had some political commentary about real-world events and/or jurisdictions in here.  Knock it off.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 26 September 2020, 01:00:08
The kids showed up first, Valerie was out the door like a shot when Judah's car pulled up and Ernie got out, I can't even track how fast she's talking to him.  I guess the barrier between 26 and 15 can be pretty far sometimes.

Still, I give Judah and Petra a hand getting out.  He's still pretty frail-looking, and he shakes when he moves.  Petra's still getting used to the temporary prosthetic while her replacement's growing at the Wolf medical research lab they opened at University of Washington.

"so good to see you both...where are Phoebe and Moira?"

"They're coming up about five minutes behind us." Petra tells me,  "Phoebe found out you only had 56K service out here, and insisted on doing something about it, so she got Moira to pay for a van and filled it with...toys after doing something to the engine."

"what kind of something?" I'm a little uneasy.

"Um, I don't know." Judah tells me, "we'll have to see."

The next car up the drive is Monroe's state-issued cruiser, flat gray with state plates on a 1998 Ford Panther-body Crown Vic.  I can see he's got a passenger with him before he pulls to a stop and gets out.

"Monroe, that better not be your gi-"

the passenger gets out and I shut my trap.

"Cindy!!" Monroe grins big and my aunt doesn't even pretend she's being coy, just kind of glomphs him, then asks, "Who's this?"

"A long conversation, some years overdue." Monroe tells her, "Get out of the car, Bryan, we're here."

the guy who gets out seems vaguely familiar, which is weird, since nobody in my catalog of 'people I know personally' is walking around with a ruined left eye and a scar running from brush-cut salt-and-pepper hair across their nose and to the other side of the jaw.

"This, ladies, is Bryan Cecil Hawkes." Monroe tells us.  "He used to wear the Captain Republic costume, and he's got some over-due conversations with Lisa."

"What?"

"Long over-due, very awkward conversation." Linus adds.

I know where I've seen that face.  dusting pictures on the mantle..."Who?"

"We should take this inside." Hawkes states, "or send the kids inside and have it out here."

The Captain Republic costume traditionally covers the entire face, this is because the first one was black in Jim Crow america and he didn't take it off until the fifties.

the current guy is younger than this man, and taller.  "Why do I know your face, sir?" I ask.

"There's a reason." he tells me, then he reaches into his jacket, and produces a faded photograph.

it's mom, when she was younger than I am, with that swoopy hairstyle they liked in the seventies...and a young man with similar features. "this isn't you."

"No, that's my son." He tells me.  "This is going to be a very awkward conversation, and I have to give my apologies, but she..." He taps my mom's half of the photo, "...told me to stay away...and to my shame, I did."

holy shit.  "Who knew?"

"Charlie knew, Magda of course...they didn't know the whole story, but they knew about Richard and Nicole-the two of them even visited here in '79, when they were going to get married."

"Did she-did they?" I ask.

"As far as I know they never filed formal paperwork, but they were together until just before you were born."

"What happened?"

"Someone had to make a choice, and my son died." He tells me, "but your mother lived, and so did you because that choice was made."

Cindy tenses up, "You knew." she accuses him.  "How much of it do you know?"

"this is why it's going to be a long and awkward conversation." the old man states, "I've been putting it off for over twenty years."

"valerie, could you and Ernie help Judah and Petra inside to the living room, and fetch them some refreshments, please?" my Aunt asks.

"Yes mom...come on!"  My cousin and my sidekick (sidekick?) lead the others into the house.

I walk over to the porch, and open the ice-chest.  this being a gathering and supposed to be a celebration, the beer is schmidt in cans, slightly cheaper than Keystone and love in a canoe for quality, but cheap.

i toss my aunt two cans, and Hawkes one, "Let's go around back, let Valerie greet Phoebe."

We adults file around back.

"So, you knew." I'm not ready to start accusing yet.  "How much?"

"I was there the day your father proposed to her, I watched them both fall into Morgause's little cult, and didn't interfere, then I had to interfere."

"Had to?" I ask.

"You're alive." he tells me, "because I had to do a thing no parent should ever have to do." his one eye is tearing.

"What did you have to do?"  I have a bad, bad feeling about this.

"He was going to gut her like a fish on an altar...for power.  Six months pregnant and he was going to...I had to stop him...and as a result your mother lived, and my son died.  The only good from it, was that my stopping him seemed to break whatever hold Morgause had on her, and she did the smart thing, ran and hid."

"When did she tell you to stay away?"

"Do you remember St. Helens at all? the town, not the crater."

"Vaguely, I was..what, four? five?"

"You were five.  Red Star and Red Guardian hadn't cost me an eye yet, so it was pretty easy to get close dressed as a police officer, checking up on your mother and seeing you for the first time."

THAT was where I saw him before...younger.

"She told you to stay away."

"She did." he nodded, "And i stayed away...but..."

"But not forever."  I note, "Did you know about the attack here?"

"Only in the aftermath, I caught Charlie in town after the attack and found out when I tried to warn him it was coming that they'd already come here...we had a chat, he shot me, I bled, not as much as I deserved. I spent the next  ten  years making sure the ones that slipped the net didn't get far...but I missed that first group."

"William mentioned your resignation was in '81."

"First one, yeah...and I used up a lot of leave of absence chasing down the ones that didn't make it into the wanted posters, making sure they didn't know where Nicole Quentin was, laying false trails, until I was sure I had them all."

"What were they doing?" Cindy asks, "Why were they going to carve up my sister?"

"Pacts with extradimensional beings, trying to summon beings that they thought would grant them power." he tells her, "Lovecraftian stuff, only Morgause knew enough to make it work, which is how she got most of her 'knights'...including my son."

"Did you get them all?" I ask, morbidly curious.

"I...don't know." he tells me.  "I don't know, but I know I tried...and your grandfather tried on this end after she was arrested...and Linus did his part too-but without knowing a tenth of what was going on."

Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Hellraiser on 26 September 2020, 01:47:29
Oh dang, I didn't see all these twists coming in that story.

So where is the Star Commander anyway?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: worktroll on 26 September 2020, 02:06:02
The other was too simple. This tangles things nicely. Well executed, Cannonshop!
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 26 September 2020, 06:19:36
[POV shift, 3rd person]

A prison camp wasn't necessary, but housing for the Wolf Clan personnel was.  fun fact: areas which have seen a sharp economic decline tend to have a lot of unused  and idled real-estate, and Gray's Harbor County suffered a lot of sharp economic decline in a very short period of time this decade.

Effectively, the city of Aberdeen/Hoquiam (really two cities, but both close enough together and sharing enough common assets to effectively be the same city, especially with the reduced local population) has become 'Wolf town', the relative isolation, combined with existing property and aging infrastructure making for a good laboratory for Clan Wolf's technicians and a safe environment for the long process of transitioning a few hundred science-fiction super-warriors into a lifestyle that doesn't include fighting deadly duels over minor insults.

a similar 'Wolf town' has gone in at  Hanford, this time mostly populated by crewmen from the stricken Pack's Den, while Moses Lake has become, effectively, the storage lot for the Clan's dropships.

Plans to integrate Fusion engine technology into the power-grid as a supplemental to the Bonneville Power Authority dams along the Columbia and its tributaries means that for Wolf AsTechs used to the demands of the Warrior Caste, there's plenty of work at a remarkably relaxed pace.

The fourth largest concentration being areas along the I-5 Corridor that suffered heavy damage during the invasion.  Reconstruction efforts, and distributing the Clan personnel where their skills and training (or raw physicality) can be employed best, has kept the relative peace...for now.  at just over a month since the invasion began, protests have been light,  and nearly 1000 patents have been filed through the Liaison office with the Federal Government, providing a source of long-term income for the surrendered Clan warriors, technicians, and support caste as they begin the long process of integrating and assimilating into the local culture, as well as a means for the Clan as an organization to begin paying restitution to the families of those killed in the opening battles.

this latter part, being why the Clan itself has not been disbanded.  The advanced weapons might be nice, but without the infrastructure to produce more, their value is more in line with a curiosity for engineers to ponder over and attempt to learn from, and a net loss in terms of actually honoring the terms of the Yakima Trial-which would be a gross violation of Honor.

Not that every scrap of military hardware that could be loaded on a flatbed hasn't been sent to sites like Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, or Nellis AFB in Nevada, or Edwards, and so on-they are being tagged and loaded for precisely the purpose of being reverse-engineered by the military and military contractors nationally, but rather that even a nation with 358 million people in 2008 can't just absorb 2000 or so people from a completely alien culture without needing some intervening steps.

For the wolf Clan personnel, seeing the lifestyle of the average american is a bit of a shock, especially in areas that were NOT hit by the invasion or its aftermath.  Particularly  jarring for them, is how spread out everything is, and discovering what it is like to live in communities where commuting to work doesn't involve extensive, efficient, public, transportation but instead relies on inefficient, loud, crowded, stinky private vehicles.

and having to learn how to obey the laws, while driving a car.

former Star Commander Paul is learning how to be a highway patrol officer, and being the rookie, he's spending this thanksgiving as second-seat and backup to an experienced WSP officer who's being paid double-time and a half for working on the holiday.

he's already learning that 'boring is good' because 'exciting' means innocent people are getting hurt on a day they should have been at home (or some semblance thereof) with those they love (or at least like), and not on the roads experiencing pain and suffering from accidents caused by holiday depression, dislocation, and chaos.

It's 7 PM and the senior officer with him, has already warned him that the four accident scenes they've dealt with thus far, are 'light' for a holiday.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 26 September 2020, 06:38:06
[lisa-vision again.]

I add a place setting for Hawkes.  It's not forgiveness, it's basic decency.  The man is family whether or not he's acted like it for the last twenty six years, and today is a holiday meant to forge or reinforce those bonds.

"...he's my grandfather, Valerie."  I get to explain it to the kids while Cindy sets him up with a room for the night.  "On my father's side, Monroe found him."

"Oh wow, like a hallmark special!" Valerie's sweetness is sometimes a little annoying.  I honestly don't know where she gets it.  her biological father is a complete and total ass, who never made a single child-support payment and if there's truly any such thing as karmic justice, will die of some crotch-rotting disease in a gutter somewhere.

"Yeah, just like a hallmark special." I lie.  'hallmark presents; stories you wish you never heard' doesn't begin to cut it.  But I'm not going to be a poor hostess, and Cindy would have a tough time trying to be-her instincts as a businesswoman and pillar of the community are too strong.

Phoebe and Moira arrive a little late-there was an accident on the highway and they had to detour around it, but they don't arrive so late the food's gotten cold.



Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Cannonshop on 26 September 2020, 15:42:49
[out of story]

To be honest, this time it's not so much running out of ideas, and steam, it's running into a sort of paralysis where there are so many that could go so many ways and conflict with each other.  (imagine a crossroads with fifty different spokes, a cloverleaf or two, and some hyperspace gateways and being faced not with 'how do I get there' but 'where do I want to go next?')

and of course, there are the errors in what's posted, and the mistakes that cut off potential lines and directions, and plots,and character developments and so on.

and then, there's apparently been some shennanigans outside the story, which kind of suggests maybe I should stop with this now, and not go back to it lest there be problems created that limit my ability to access the site.

so...

tying this one off, here, before someone (else?) decides to be offended at the fictional opinions of my fictional characters about their fictional politics and culture beefs in their fictional world.

I think the next one I'll try is something more thoroughly separated from the familiar.  Maybe revisit the zombie idea, or anthropomorphic ungulants or something...hmm...

Orcs?
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: georgiaboy on 26 September 2020, 16:05:30
Orcs


That brings back a memory of Modern Orcs in a paperback novel from back in the Late 80's-90's called "Grunts"


Modern Orc Soldiers on Harleys with machineguns.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: worktroll on 26 September 2020, 16:17:45
If you ever felt tempted to revisit "Liz Ngo Goes to Hell"...
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Dave Talley on 26 September 2020, 17:16:24
this could work as a hub for others to work in, like Thieves World or 1632
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: DarthMetool on 26 September 2020, 17:51:30
As much as I wanted to see more, I can understand stopping here.  People sometimes don't understand that unreliable narrators are unreliable.  That unreliable factor makes a story better, in my opinion.

And, yeah.  Orcs.  Go for that, maybe.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: BATTLEMASTER on 26 September 2020, 18:55:10
IMO the end of the story was the one part after the trial of refusal, or thereabouts. The rest of the family and Clan conclusion is epilogue (sp?).

I don't mind the political stuff or character opinions.  It's all fictional and characters are entitled to their opinions - it makes them relatable and realistic.  After all, how many big cities, including Chicago, were destroyed in Bayformers?

Thanks for the story  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: croaker on 26 September 2020, 19:29:46
You've reached a good stopping point, enjoy it. Move on to the next idea.
Title: Re: I got out of bed for this? (Featuring Lisa Quentin)
Post by: Hellraiser on 27 September 2020, 17:26:04
Aww,  but I wanted to see what Phoebe was going to create with her van load of toys.

Great Job,  Good Story!