I landed somewhere west of Montrose Harbor a little before 10. Crouched on a lamp post, overlooking the glittering lights of the yachts bobbing in the water, the memory of Kay’s lips lingered on my tongue. I had to put the pleasant thoughts aside, the memory of our kiss, making out in the back of a bus, the feel of her body and the softness of her skin. It sent electricity racing down my spine.I shook it off, and unwound the bandage around my hand. One wrong photo of me bouncing around with bandages like that could give me away, to those that knew me at least. Underneath my hand was a shaking claw, bruises yellow and purple across the knuckles, cuts healed over into pale scars. I clenched it into a fist, flexed it as open as it would go, then pulled on a set of gloves, checked the fit of my ski-goggles, and looked for the yacht belonging to Nicolas Bellavanche.The file Ms Grant gave me was sitting in my desk draw, but the pages seemed to skim by my mind. It was called the ‘Cindy Crawford’, some old model he was obsessed with. It was big, too big for the elite little harbor I was scoping out, but I heard it before I saw it all the same. No one poor went boating on a yacht, it was a money pit, and the behemoth slicing its way over Lake Michigan on the Chicago coast would have been a fortune. It broke through the dark, its bright glow and thumping music heralding its arrival. It was lit up at the prow and stern, lit up with bright green and red lights, pounding with club music with the laughter of women barely heard over it, the faux-laughter of party girls for hire, ready to be sexy for the right amount. I wasn’t going to judge, people needed to make their money where they could, and if it meant ripping off sleazy rich guys I figured why not.But they could have picked a classier flavor of sleaze than Nicky Bellavanche.Bellavanche’s yacht wasn’t alone, it was just the biggest fish in the school. Smaller party yachts followed in its wake, sucking at its sides, passengers calling up to the elite clientele parting in greater luxury above them. Sometimes a hand would reach down to pull some beautiful young thing up, or help someone down into the smaller boats.They were a water-born carnival lighting up the night, a glow cast over the dark surface of the lake, its chill wind no impediment to their party, girls clad only in bikinis and warmed by flowing vodka, men too old for their company howling with laughter as they tried to hook their attention.There was no way a boat like that could dock here. Instead it set up in the harbor mouth, letting the smaller boats school around it.
Ms Grant would be waiting somewhere out there, watching the same as me, but I couldn't tell where. The car park was packed, filled with people curious about the arrival of the Party Prince of the Great Lakes. It spilled over to the beach, where a laser show cut into the night with the bass of music pounding. I couldn’t help but grin. It was a real inconspicuous way of cutting a drug deal.He had to have paid off the Coast Guard at least. I remembered what Ms Grant said about criminals being ‘licensed’ through City Hall. Pay up to the right people and there was no law in the land willing to touch you.Except I’m not the law.I don’t know how long Nicolas Bellavanche planned to keep his party going but the file on him said he likes to keep it going until either the sun came up or the law moved him on. The trade-off could happen any time. It could be happening now. All those little boats would be my guess, a couple of them operated by Outfit goons or some other gang supplied by the smuggler, slipping packages out in plain sight. It was kind of genius. Distract onlookers with the blaring lights, the pounding music, and the hot girls dancing in the cold, with people bouncing back and forth from all the other boats, and they might not notice it go down.Far back as I was from the action, I certainly wasn’t seeing shit. Even out here the music thumped hard, half a deck given over to a DJ.>go in hard and fast, spoil the party>its dark and people are distracted, stealth is the way to go
Previously on With Great Power Quest: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=With%20Great%20Power%20Quest
>>4562375>its dark and people are distracted, stealth is the way to goConserve power usage as much as possible
>>4562375>its dark and people are distracted, stealth is the way to go
>>4562375>its dark and people are distracted, stealth is the way to goLoud isn't our style. We are merely the spark...
This wasn't a smash and grab, this was an investigation. Power flared within me, and I launched off the street light with a soft white glow.I leapt over the shimmering lake waters, diving into a wall of sound, the vibration of the music pounding into me, a riot of music, laughter and shouting rising from the boats choking the harbor mouth. I hit the super-yacht, catching the side with a thump, and swung over into the top deck, staying low with the party going on beneath me. I couldn't hear myself, the floorboards shook with the bass. I ducked low in shadow, the glaring light blinding above me, stalking down, looking for a door.Taking to the side I glanced down at the party-goers moshing in front of the DJ booth, a mass of people churning under flashing lights, flesh pressed against each other. I kept along the side, looking for anything that didn't belong.Men not vibing stood in different spots, dressed for boating but with discreet earpieces and bulges under their sport coats. They ignored the young women dancing, and kept a hard eye out on the waterline. When a grinning idiot tried to climb up into the yacht without an invite a guy stepped forward and gave him a stiff-arm shove back, toppling him into the water. For their part his friends on a smaller boat thought this was hilarious and went wild laughing.Security, but nothing illegal.Then the lights went down, the music scratched off, and the party slowed in confusion.In the dark the DJ hit a switch.It came over the speakers, a guitar string, then a voice. I knew the song because Dad loved it, the start of the 'Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.' As the ghostly song of doomed sailors started, out of the cabins came a chair, carried by six young women. They set the chair, a tacky Vegas throne, down before the DJ box.Then there was a switch, and a beat dropped on the ghostly song, remixed into a party anthem, as Nicolas Bellavanche rose from the chair, a bottle of champagne raised, calling a return to the party.He gestured for a woman in a black bikini to kneel before him. He popped the cork, firing it overhead, and sprayed the white stream of bubbles over her kneeling body, her open mouth, down into her hair. When it was almost empty he held the bottle over his crotch and shook it, hooting as his audience cheered, going wild to the music.
Bellavanche was easily twice her age, with a deep tan and heavy gut his white boating shirt couldn't hide. He took off his captain's cap and slapped it on her head before picking up her wet, wiggling body and throwing it over his shoulder. The other women let out a loud 'woo!' as they cheered him on, the middle-aged man laughing as he grabbed her by the backside and shook it for the crowd, as the song started listing the dead lost to Lake Superior to a hard trap beat.Somehow the music disgusted me more.Nicolas Bellavanche moved into the surging party, its ranks closing around him, the king of his debauched show.I'd seen enough, I slipped inside.It could have been a luxury hotel room I stepped into, bougie as fuck with gold lights overhead and a naked black statue in the middle of the room. Plush couches ringed the room, set with little coffee tables. Bottles of pills, white powder residue, and empty bottles littered the carpeted floor.A portrait of Bellavanche grinned down from the wall, his weight and sleazy nature toned down by a kind painter.The previous occupants had gone off to join the party.I crept through to a back door, saw stairs leading down into the ship. The music was muffled enough here I could make out voices but not what they said. A shadow fell on the stairwell and I tensed.>roll 3 x 1d100 dc 55
Rolled 16 (1d100)>>4562473big money no whammies
Rolled 60 (1d100)>>4562473
a crit fail can still throw this off
Rolled 72 (1d100)>>4562473
>>4562495Don't make me sweat like that
I pressed back against the wall, sliding down a step.Canadian accents came filtering up, voices set to the shadows."Good line up this year," one said."Yeah but its all a bunch of Eastern Europeans, they need to get some good Canadian boys on the ice. Plenty of 'em coming up, we don't need more hotshots out of ukraine don't speak a word of English.""They speak better English than the Quebecois asshole.""True that. Greasy pimp spends all night blowing out his nostrils and eating ass while we're stuck down here waiting for some American greaseball. Maybe I'd like a slice of pussy too.""You're a whiner is your problem, he pays good and its better than sitting in a car waiting to get jacked by a Jamaican. Maybe if I ask he'll pay you a bonus to shut the fuck up.""Yeah yeah," their footsteps faded away.I slid down the stairs. An open doorway lead to the navigation deck, the one with the steering wheel. I don't know what it's called, a captain's deck or something. A couple of rent-a-goons, too muscly for their sport coats, sat around watching the party go on out the windows, muttering bitterly to each other. They didn't notice me, and I didn't notice anything worth my time.I went down the next floor and the flood of music came pounding out the doorway. A guy and a girl, both dressed for the beach, danced in front of it, feeling each other all over, the girl whipping back her blond hair as he grinned down at her chest. Past them laser lights flashed and the rave became a world of dancing shadows.I kept down, now below deck and still undiscovered.A corridor lead off in multiple directions.The thock of chopping knives falling and the babble of kitchen staff shouting came from one way. From the other, silence.I crept up that way. A dull pounding came from overhead, the party going on above. The floor was polished hard wood and the walls were decorated with tacky nautical decorations."There's no sharks in the Great Lakes, I don't care what you saw," someone said up ahead, stopping me in place.A door, and in front of it a couple of suited goons."Maybe it got out of an aquarium or somethin'," the other guy said, "But I know what I saw.""Not the point, the waters around here are too cold," he kept saying, "And its fresh water, sharks are salt water fish. You probably saw a sturgeon or something.""But bull sharks can survive in fresh water, I saw it on Facebook.""You believe everything you read on Facebook? Now quit yappin', they'll be here any minute."My hair prickled. This had to be it. Behind the door was whatever they were smuggling into the country, and whoever was coming was the buyer.>make a move now>wait, hide and observe
>>4562534>wait, hide and observeShark might be another super. Let's not do anything rash now.
>>4562534>wait, hide and observeIt'd be nice to bust the buyer too.From last thread>"You hear the one about the shark-man on the docks?" Hunter said, lips smacking as he ate, "They say he ate a kid. Chowed him down faster than Eric did that slice."We might have a shark supervillain on our hands here
>>4562534>wait, hide and observe
>>4562540That would be interestingThe first evidence we have of this phenomena causing physical mutation in addition to the physics defying powers
>>4562534>>wait, hide and observeWe've been pretty ninja so far, best bet is to keep it upBesides, we have enough bruises as it is
I ducked behind a barrel Jim Hawkins style, remembering Treasure Planet as I lurked, waiting for something to happen. The guards quit chatting to wait in silence, until one punched the other to be more alert as a limping step came up behind my hiding place. It was another one of Nicolas Bellavanche's goons, and behind him came a couple of Latinos in cheap suits. Not the Outfit, not the Reapers, probably cartel. They wore pink silk shirts and I caught sight of a gun under a coat and it wasn't a pistol, more like an uzi.I don't often appreciate being short but right now I did. I kept low."We got the product through here," the limping goon said, "We'll pass it out to the couriers, get them on the boats and send them to shore." He wasn't like the other goons, he was calm, rested. In control. If I had to guess he was the main henchman who spoke for Bellavanche."We know the deal," one said with a heavy Mexican accent."Yeah well you don't know who the couriers are," the limping man said, "Open the door, let them see."The door opened and I spied through. Young women like the ones partying above were inside, tapping packages to their inner thighs, their bellies, their hips, before pulling on robes and coats to hide the packages."You can keep the girls too, but they cost extra," he said."Navaja will be happy to take on any want to stay in Chicago," the Latino thug said, eyeing up a red haired girl who looked a bit too young. "Put 'em to work. She'll compensate your boss.""I heard there's been trouble in Chitown," the man with the limp said, "Something about a super hero> It's been all over the news."The cartel enforcer looked ready to spit. "Some punk," he said, "More a problem for the street gangs. He ain't hit us yet. If he tries, we ready.""He's wild. Broke one banger's arm so bad it got amputated," the other enforcer said, "Cut off at the elbow. Can you imagine?""Yeah, I can," the man with the limp said, tweaking up the leg of his pants to show a prosthetic."No offense," the cartel soldier said.The one-legged man smiled."Before we go further, the Outfit cleared this, correct? We don't want to get caught in some kind of childish power play here.""They gettin' their cut," the cartel soldier said, "Navaja she wanted me to pass on thanks to your boss. He's been reliable in a time of, let's call it 'uncertainty'.""So long as she pays he will provide," he said.They started escorting the girls out, leading them above deck, the girls caught in a fit of giggles.The one-legged man oversaw it with a cold little smile.>spring on them now, before they could get off the boat>wait for them to clear out, keep searching the ship
>>4562635>wait for them to clear out, keep searching the shipSee if we can't contact the DA now via textThere has to be something more tangible around here, lets look after they clear out
>>4562635>spring on them now, before they could get off the boatWe've got buyers, sellers, product. That's all we need. The fact that these guys are cartel is going to fuck over the outfit in a big way if it gets public. Nobody likes the cartels. This is what we came here to do.
>>4562663Plus the name Navaja. And human trafficking possibly underage girls.
>>4562635>spring on them now, before they could get off the boatIf they get spread between boats this operation is fucked. Get em while they're in the same place. Grant can search the rest of the ship when she seizes it
>>4562667>>4562663locked in> roll 3 x 1d100+25 DC 75
Rolled 60 + 25 (1d100 + 25)>>4562683
Rolled 69 + 25 (1d100 + 25)>>45626831 incoming
Rolled 67 + 25 (1d100 + 25)>>4562683Its Hotspur time 8)
"Pleasure doing business with you," the one-legged man said.I'd seen enough. Time to end the ninja game."Yo!"I bounced up out of hiding, my power burning through me."Hell of a party you guys are throwing, mind if I crash it?"The cartel goons swore as the one-legged man turned in confusion."What the hell are you doing down-" he went pale when he saw me, reaching for the piece under his arm.The Mexicans drew their guns, bulky little uzis."Don't shoot those in here!" he roared at them but it was too late, gunfire spat down the corridor. The girls shrieked, running for cover as I dropped low. Whether anyone could hear us above deck I didn't know, but down here the bullets drowned out the beat."Fucking Hotspur!" one yelled.I rose and carved an uppercut into his chin, just the way Roy Jones had taught me, and with the power in my fist behind it heard a hideous crack, saw it go to a funny angle as he dropped, uzi gone from his grip. I ducked and spun, driving a straight left under the ribs of his comrade, and he doubled up puking.A bullet snatched the corner of my hood, and I turned to see Mr One-Leg with his gun out. One of his rent-a-goons sat hard behind him, blood splatter on the door, holding his cuts. Victim of a cartel misfire.I grabbed the goon bent double and whipped him around between us before he could shoot again."Don't shoot!" the cartel gun thug yelled, hands raised. I kicked him toward Mr Bellavanche's henchman, tangling them both up.His gun went off as I dove for the stairs.Behind where I stood, a girl caught the bullet. She went down, head whipped back. I stared at what spilled out of the back of her head, mixed with her long brown curls. The bass closed in around my ears, squeezed my head. She kicked, twitched like she was trying to get up. Was she still alive?I had no time to check. From above I heard the pounding feet and shouts of Bellavanche's goons.I had one exit, and that was to cut through the party to call in Ms Grant.I took two steps at a time then dove for the doorway, rolling out into the packed deck where the party continued to rage. Hot flesh immediately pressed around me, wiggling bodies, heedless to how I was dressed or who I was. Behind me the suit jacket goons came charging, and I wedged my way through the press, hands sliding over embarassing spots to clear a step. If nothing else the goons had the same problem, but they solved it a different way.
A big hand scooped the shoulder of a young woman and flung her out of the way, over the edge and into the cold lake water. Someone must have taken it to be a game, because he cannonballed right in after her, beer flying from the bottle clenched in his hand. It cleared a path for the goons. One of them drew a gun but One-Leg hopped after him, swatting it down. I saw the word 'moron' fly from his mouth.A big man tried to rush me with a bear hug. I dropped under the reach of his arm and fired a hard jab into his arm pit, pain crossing his eyes, then the next shattered a rib. I backed up, barely hearing his howl of pain through the pounding bass. A knife flashed in a fist and almost took my scarf off. I grabbed the wrist and brought my fist down on his forearm like a hammer. It went to a cruel forty-five angle. A buddy of his rushed me and I drove a hard right into his nose, squashing it across his face sending blood dribbling down his mouth.The party-goers were starting to get a clue, turning at the growing commotion.A girl screamed at the sight of the goon staggering around with the bent forearm. Nicolas Bellavanche stood a platform above, staring down in shock with his arms hooked around a couple of girls, cigar falling from his mouth.I gave him a small salute as his goons circled around me, then dropped low, bunching up my power, and launched up toward the top of the yacht, feet glowing white with white foot prints left behind me.If Ms Grant didn't see that in the dark she wasn't paying attention.The problem with leaping away from the crowd, I discovered, was it gave his goons the opportunity to shoot, and gunplay soon chased me up to the captain's deck. I landed on the tinted glass window, looking down to the confused scramble of partygoers then out to the lights of the smaller boats on the dark water.Where was she?The DJ abandoned his station but the music kept playing. One of the goons stepped out in the middle of the emptying dance floor, some kind of automatic rifle in hand."Ah shit," I said as he opened up.I leapt from the window, machine gun fire ripping through it, shattering it into glass pebbles. He tried to follow my arc overhead, but before he could get a bead on me I hit the deck behind him, turned, and drove a left hook into his kidney.He buckled sideways, legs turned to jelly.I turned to Nicolas Bellavanche. He held the girls close though they looked like they wanted to run. They both taller than him, long legged models towering over his pudgy tan figure."Welcome to Chicago, monsieur," I said, "Sorry if I'm rusty on my French."The Canadien licked his lips and tried to smile. "Very cute," he said, "You are with someone, yes?"
"Oui," I said as the siren of a police boat flared. Behind me his gun thugs assembled, the click of guns readied.He held up a fat hand to them, sweating despite the chill."This is hardly legal," he said, "Whatever charges they bring will not stick.""Legal isn't my department," I said, "Frankly I'm just happy to ruin your party."From the boat a familiar voice called over a bullhorn. "To the 'Cindy Crawford', this is the Cook County Sheriff's Department, prepare to be boarded, we have a warrant to search this vessel!"A spotlight swept over us and I smiled behind my scarf.Wind whipped Ms Grant's hair across her face, the bullhorn clutched in a fist. Behind her was a team of uniformed deputies."Get, get!" Bellavanche order his men, dismissing them with a flick of his wrist, "Do not speak, go!"I went to the side of the rail, dropping down a deck to where the deputies were starting to board. I landed in a crouch in front of Ms Grant and a startled man. She wore a bullet proof vest under her long coat, her sidearm loose in the holster."What the hell," he said, reaching for his gun."Easy Sam," she said, then turned to me with hands on her hips, "What have you got for me, Hotspur?""Check the hold below deck," I said, "And search any pretty girl wearing a coat, they'll have junk strapped to them. They might be on smaller boats by now and heading for the city. And get an ambulance, there are wounded people downstairs."She nodded as deputies ran by, ready with rifles and shotguns."Do you know who they were in business with?" she asked, "The Outfit?"I shook my head. "A couple cartel thugs mentioned a 'Navaja', a woman," I said, "Know her?"She pursed her lips, looking out over the waters. "Navaja is Spanish for knife," she said, "Any asshole could use it as a street name, but you say it's a woman?" I nodded. "That narrows it down. Probably the local head of the Mid-West Cartel.""You're working with this freak?" the deputy, Sam, said."Go arrest someone Sam," she ordered."DSA's don't usually execute warrants," he growled."What can I say, I'm a hand's on girl," she said, dismissing him with a smile. When we were alone she sighed. "Sorry about him," she said. From her pocket she pulled a phone, handing it to me. "Here, a burner," she said, "It has one number in it, and its for emergencies only. Don't use it for anything else, not even instagram."I slipped it in my pocket."Do you need me for anything else?" I asked.She shook her head. "I've got it from here, better you split," she said."Call me when you do," I said, stepping to the rail."Oh I'm sure I'll need you yet," she said.
And I stepped up then off, firing out into the night sky as deputies crawled over the body of the yacht, stopping party goers and disarming goons. It was a hell of a way to end a night.The last I saw of Nicolas Bellavanche he was on his knees, cuffed, face purple with rage. I couldn't help but picture the girl lying below deck, her blood in her hair. her body twitching like she was trying to stand.I shut my eyes on the cold wind. Maybe the charges wouldn't stick, but for one night at least the world would know who he really was.
taking a break
>>4562730Jesus, shit just got real. That one's going deep into the repressed memories vault.
>>4562732Amazing updates so far. This new thread is going very well for us.>>4562736That's what happens when we mess with the big boys as apposed to simple street goons
I'm going to have to pick this up tomorrow
I got home half way to sunrise, bounding over rooftops. It had been a good night's work but now I was exhausted. By the time I landed on the apartment fire escape I was ready to drop. I pulled off my hoodie as I climbed through the window, body greasy with sweat. I crawled over my bed and pulled off my shoes.Drained down to an exhausted hunger, my hands shook, the bruises across my knuckles throbbing. My power had a way of flushing out the pain, but once it was gone it all came back, not just the bruises but an ache in my legs from hard landings, the general pain of hard work. I threw my outfit in the closet, stretched my shoulders.I put the burner in my desk drawer, set my real phone on top with an alarm set, then crawled under the covers shaking.The next second the sun was in my eyes and I was awake, covering my face from the glare. It felt like a finger snap of sleep, barely registered. When I checked my phone it said it was past 1 in the afternoon. How?Getting up I slouched to the bathroom, stood under a boiling stream.When I got out Dad was in the kitchen. "Good morning," he said, red eyed and unshaven. He looked as bad as me, standing over the stove frying eggs in a skillet. "Want some?""Urgh."It was about all I could say. He fried me up some eggs with toast. I devoured it. He cooked me up some more. I devoured that too with a gallon of orange juice, thick with pulp. I'm not sure what a hangover feels like but I imagined it felt like this, as if my entire body had been dragged down a country road hitting every bump along the way."How was your date?" Dad asked.I munched on a dry crust of bread, gears in my brain grinding on rust. "Good," I managed."Are you going to see the girl again?""Yeah.""So when am I going to meet her?"I stopped mid-chew. I hadn't thought about that. I didn't talk about home with my friends. I didn't mention my dad was a drunk, or mention much of anything. But after being in Kay's home even for a second I could imagine her reaction to him and the cockaroach infested apartment we lived in, the stink of it that I only noticed after being away for a while. And maybe Dad noticed the shame in my silence as a look went over his face."Doesn't have to be right away," he muttered. "So she's your girlfriend?"I couldn't stop the goofy smile from taking over my face. "Yeah, she is," I said."That's good, I bet she's a sweetheart," he said, "You should have her over when you're ready. I'd like to meet her.""Yeah, yeah I will," I said, trying not to be ashamed of him and in that moment myself.He got up and went over to the cabinet, taking down a glass. He uncorked a bottle of whiskey and poured himself about a fifth. Took it back in a single swallow then poured another.
"Hair of the dog," he explained, "You do your homework?"I hadn't. "I'll get to it," I said."Hey kid, hey, you know your mom would be proud of you, right?" he said.I couldn't say the same about him. "Yeah, I know," I said, not wanting to eat any more."I'm proud of you too," he said to my back. It was hard to know what a drunk's pride meant.I went to my room to finish some homework, and to check my phone. Nothing on the burner but I had a couple of texts from Kay. Love notes that made me blush. I texted one back, just so she didn't think I was avoiding her. I got another back right away, a blushing emoji.But I had to focus on school work while I could. Truth is I hadn't even started on most of it. Other things had got in the way.One thing in particular festered at the back of my mind.Soon enough the sun would be going down, and I had an appointment to keep at Humboldt Park.
Dusk.I was going to a fight, but this wasn't some schoolyard scrap at the bike rack. Sunset made a bloody sky along the black horizon of the city as I leapt across the darkening sky.Salamander hadn't said where she'd be in Humboldt Park. Looking down on it, it was a big place, with its own lagoon, a bunch of gardens and community centers, tennis courts and junk. I rolled up on the road split it in two and found Luis waiting. A Sunday afternoon meant it was starting to clear out. Nice as it was this was still west-side Chicago, and night time was no time to be caught lacking. Whatever family activities were well over and they were giving up ground to the night folk who haunted these places, the gang bangers and the homeless, the junkies looking for a pusher to get their fix. I'd cleared out some of the hard cases like to loiter around places like this but it didn't last.Luis waited under a Fall colored tree in a pork pie hat, carrying a gym bag.I struck a tree branch shaking leaves loose, landing above his head."You don't got to be here," I said, "Go on back to your shop.""Nah, kid," he said, "This is my fault. Least I could do is back you.""Stick your neck out too far you might get your head cut off," I said."Take your own advice then," he said, "I saw the news in the paper. You busted some drug deal on the water, tangling with some scary guys. They pulled bodies off that boat, one of 'em a girl only nineteen.""No one I killed," I said, flinching. I saw her again lying in the hold, her hair stained red, twitching on the hardwood floor."Good to hear that," he said, "Because if I found out you were stacking bodies, I wouldn't help you no more.""You know where she's going to be?" I asked, looking over the grassy lawn."Follow me," he said, crossing the field. I dropped down from the tree branch to follow.
We found Salamander in front of a pond just as the sun was finishing its bow on the night horizon. She was alone, checking her phone, the screen casting a glow across her tan face.She wore a fedora, her grin grew under it. She took it off as we got closer, holding it to her chest."Well this is swell, you showed up," she said, then placed it on the hook of a tree branch. She took off her pinstripe jacket, neatly folding it, then placed it over the tree branch too. "I thought I was going to have to go back to your buddy's shop and smash it up a bit," she chatted as she rolled up her sleeves. When she was done she ran her thumbs under her suspenders, giving them a snap."You ready, pipsqueak?" she said, hands raised up, front knee rising.I forgot how tall six foot six was until she stood over me, and it seemed even taller for a woman."Anyone outside the NBA is a pipsqueak next to you," I said.Her laugh took me by surprise, an honest and almost innocent kind of laugh."Were you always this tall, or did the Explosion do it to you?" I asked."Oh this? This is just good genes," she said, "You can thank the Explosion for this though." She whipped a kick and fire burst from her foot. She brought it back in front of her, knee held high, hands open in front of her. "And you can thank my Daddy for teaching me Muay Thai.""Ready?" she asked, grinning, "I've been wating for this all day."I put up my fists with a sniff. "Ready as I'm gonna be," I said. Luis stood back under a tree watching, his pork pie hat drawn low."Well then, Hotspur," she said, fire igniting around her wrists and ankles, "Let's dance!"> roll 3 x 1d100 -5 DC 80
Rolled 44 - 5 (1d100 - 5)>>4563420lmao we're so fucked
Rolled 31 - 5 (1d100 - 5)>>4563420Nat 100 right here
If nobody rolls in 10 minutes is it cool if I roll again OP?
Rolled 76 - 5 (1d100 - 5)>>4563420Dice gods have mercy
>>4563442Well at least it was sort of close...
Fire exploded out of her backfoot as her front foot whipped forward. My own power pumped through me and I dropped back, her first kick cutting over my head, flames trailing off it. Then her fist dunked down, crashing onto my dome and sent me staggering.Turns a week of boxing training wasn't much, and that fighting someone with powers was a different kind of game than fighting a geek off the street, particularly when she was nearly a foot taller than me.I shook the spots out of my eyes in time to see her next kick coming and bounded back, the flames chasing me where the foot failed to connect. They looked across the front of my chest and I slapped it as it started to smoulder, leaving a smoking black patch.She tsked, skipping from foot to foot as she danced closer."Come on Hotspur," she said, "Show me you got balls."I drove in, power in my fists. I drove a hard jab she ducked then came in with a right cross. She turned her shoulder to block and my fist cracked across her elbow. The strength spun her back, arm hanging limp for a second, a flash of pain on her face."Hoo boy!" she laughed as she shook out her arm, "Talk about pepper!"I came in behind a jab. She slapped it down with an open hand slap then shot a low kick at my leg, checking me.Boxing wasn't working. She was too tall, too fast, and too experienced. I couldn't close without a kick keeping me back, and it was like she was reading what I'd do. She had my measure.But I'm not just a boxer.I stepped back from an arcing kick and power surged into my back foot. My next step was a jump, taking me up over her head and down behind her, landing low. I came up with an upper cut, driving for her kidney, carving a path with my fist.But she wasn't no mundane fighter either. Flames flared out from her body as she spun around, and I flinched back as the heat washed over me, blinded long enough for her leg to come around and drive into the side of my head.Next thing I knew my head was bouncing off the ground. Smoke and the smell of burning came off me.I was on fire. I rolled back, smothering the flames and avoiding the drop of her heel. I sprung up, off the grass to land high above on a tree branch, looking down at her. My head throbbed, white and black spots burst over my vision. She looked up with a wide grin, eyes bright. Her flames light her up in the darkening park.I pushed off the tree branch, sailing over to the tree behind her, branch buckling under my weight. She whipped around, trying to follow me, her bangs falling in her eyes. She swept her hair back from her face.
"Come on, grasshopper," she said, "You think I can't chase you? We've done this before."Flames burst under her feet and from her back, propelling her up and at me, a fist raised.I dropped down from the tree branch letting her slam right into it. It splintered under her blow, bark flying from the tree as I hit the grass.She came down behind me, her flaming kicking slicing down, cutting the wind as I rolled forward. A line of pain burst across my back where her fire raked over it. Smoke rose from my shoulders."Come on, come on!" her face was glazed and feverish. She exploded toward me. "Come on!" she screamed, the whites of her eyes large.I slapped down the kick she launched and caught the next on my raised arm, right behind my ear. Then her fist drove into my face, fire burning from her knuckles, and I felt the goggles buckle inward against my nose, the lens cracking.Blood poured over my lips, the metallic taste on my tongue. I had no time to react to the knee driven into my gut, or the next punch to the side of my head, or the punch to my ribs. The world spun around me, her voice in my ear, my lungs struggling to find air."Pick up your hands, come on I need this, I need it!"I swung a fist blind and felt it connect, heard her grunt. Heard her laugh."That hurt," she said. My vision focused on her touching her chin, a smug grin on her face, eyes sly.Then she drove into me, the pinstripes on her knee swallowing my vision, and I dropped.I hit the dirt and her weight was on me, my head between her hands. Heat built around her palms, flooding into me. She squeezed. I didn't know if she was going to set me on fire or crush my head in her grip, but it blinded me with pain either way, and all I heard was her intense breathing pressing down on me. She was going to kill me, I was going to die. The pressure closing around my head.I struggled, strange noises coming out of my mouth. I wiggled my arm free, pushed a hand up from under her, closed it around her throat, hand closing, squeezing. I swung a fist and felt it hit, hard on her cheek, but her grip didn't ease.She was killing me. Oh God. Dad, Dad was going to be alone.Then a shotgun blast went off. The pressure eased.
"You had your fun, that's it," Luis said. He stood with a smoking barrel pointed at her. He racked another round."Easy compadre!" she said, getting off me, hands up and huffing, "Hey, I wasn't going to kill him. He did good, you did good Hotspur.""Back off him, buck up," he said. She backed away as he stepped forward. I couldn't stand, could only groan, rolling on my side. Blood leaked out of me. I wasn't breathing right."Boss wants him alive," she said, her smile bright, "I just got carried away." She backed away, hands still raised, blood trickling from her nose. "You rest up Hotspur, you get better now, get strong. I want a rematch."She took her hat and coat from the tree branch, threw the coat over her shoulder and planted the hat on her head."That was good, kid," she said, "I'll be waiting."She walked away with a stiff limp, whistling tuneless as she did.The world was growing dark and I knew it wasn't just night. I couldn't get myself up.Hands grabbed at me. "Hold on kid, I got you," Luis said, his voice tight, "You're going to be ok."My head lolled in his hands as I struggled to breath, my vision swimming over."You're going to be ok."And then I was gone.
>>4563501Jesus. Being a superhero fucking sucks right now. I wanna know more about why Eric is so driven to go through all this awful shit for other people. After this point we're beyond just being a good kid, this is some extreme mental and physical torment Eric's going through
>>4563518My guess is the explosion makes everyone kinda crazy. Eric was selflessly saving someone's life when it happened. Maybe it's related to what you were doing at the time you got powers, causing stuff like Salamander's fixation on fighting for fighting's sake if she was fighting for fun at the time. Or I could be totally wrong, who knows?
>>4563530inb4 the shark person was just a hungry swimmer before the explosion
>>4563530that would be the best possible explanation
Beep.Sounds came back first.Beep."Found naked in a park."Beep."Bruises, broken ribs, internal bleeding."Beep."How does that...who would..."Beep."If he wakes up...insurance..."Beep.Then later, sight. Blurry. White. White sheets and walls. Curtains.Swallowed. Bad taste, hurt.Thoughts didn't work. Coming together wrong.Eyes closed. Dark.Sound again. Soft pitter-patter. Rain. My eyes opened. Thoughts came stronger. Hospital. Alone, empty chair next to me with a magazine, a denim jacket. Dad. Kay?How long? Rain outside the window made it dark. Impossible to say. I closed my eyes. Sleep didn't come.Plastic bedsheets felt heavy on my chest. I pulled it down. My chest was bandaged. My arms. I was a mummy, or felt like.There were tubes running out of me. A mirror.An eye swollen over purple, a strip over the bridge of my nose, plugs shoved up my nostrils to help me breath. Not as bad as I had expected. My left hand was bandaged, fingertips poking out as fleshy nubs.Salamander fucked me up."Oh you're awake."A small nurse in blue scrubs, Chinese or something with a boney face. She came over to check the tubes inside me. The needle in my arm, must be morphine. Must be why I couldn't think."Where am..." my tongue was thick."Rush University," she said."How long?""You were admitted last night around 7," she said, "The police will want to talk to you when you're ready."I nodded. "What time is it now?""Just after 6," she said, "You've been out all day.""Where's Dad?" I asked."Dr DeMeo convinced him he needed some dinner," she said, "He's been by your side all day, and you had friends come to see you.""What happened?" I asked, scared for the answer. Did they know who I was? Had my identity been revealed?"You were found in Humboldt Park," she said, "You were...not dressed." A look on her face, anxious, made me uncomfortable. "But there was no sign of...forced entry," she added.Oh God they thought I'd been raped. I don't know if that was better or worse. I sat up."You need to rest," she said."I'm fine."And strangely I was. My thoughts were coming back together, the pain was starting to ease, my body was waking up. The tubes in my nose were more annoying then helpful and the nurse saw what I was doing. She unhooked them gently and I lay back, relieved to have them out and breathing under my own energy.The needle in my arm itched.
"I don't need the morphine," I said."Don't play it tough now," she suggested as I rubbed the glass tube sticking out of my arm. But she slid it out and patched over the bloody pinprick. "I'll get Dr DeMeo," she said, heading off with my chart.I lay back, anger flaring in me. My power like a weak pulse beat in my chest. Shame, anger, guilt, all had their fun with me.What did I think would happen? Salamander knew how to fight. Did I really think one week of boxing lessons would give me an edge against her? She wasn't just some jagoff with a gun, she was some kind of supervillain or something. Did I think just because I'd thrown around a bunch of...of ordinaries I could throw down with someone like me but who knew how to actually fight?Stupid, short-sighted. And if I'd died, if Luis hadn't been there, what then? Dad would be alone, my friends, Kay.At least now I knew there was a world of difference between criminals and whatever the hell Salamander was. Whatever the hell I was. Hot tears burned the corner of my eyes.Why was I even doing this? No one had asked me to, I didn't have some dead uncle I needed to avenge, I wasn't some playboy billionaire with a messiah-complex. I just didn't think. I'd just run out there like I was some kind of hero, like a jerk who...who..."Hello!"A gentle voice at the foot of my bed. A bald little girl stood there in a hospital gown, smiling. She lead around an oxygen tank behind her and held an old stuffed bunny by the hand. She might have been eight or nine.I stared. "I'm Grace, what's your name?" she walked up to smile at me, offering her hand."Eric," I said. I took it. Slender bones under thin skin felt too delicate to touch."Are you all right? I don't suppose you are," she said, "You don't look all right. Sorry if I'm bothering you, I'm not really supposed to be here but my room is really boring and I like to explore. Have you been here long? The doctors are kind of boring but the nurses are nice. You don't look like you've been here long.""No, uh," I said. I don't know who this child belonged to but she didn't belong here."Do you want to come to my room? I have a Playstation, I could teach you Street Fighter," she said, "I've been teaching Janice how to play. She's one of the nurses, she's really nice, but I don't think she's working today, I haven't seen her.""Uh," I said.>no, I think I'm good>sure, sounds better than just sitting here
>>4563545>sure, sounds better than just sitting here
>>4563545>sure, sounds better than just sitting hereDon't go easy on me. I think I learn better the hard way
>>4563530all will be revealed in time
>>4563545>sure, sounds better than just sitting hereWhich Street Fighter though?
"Sure," I said, "Which Street Fighter is it?"She held up four fingers as I slid out of the bed. Walking wasn't easy, I had a nasty hitch in my step that shot pain through my hip, but I limped along after the girl. "Did you know people play Street fighter professionally, even girls?" Grace said as I followed her, "Other fighting games too, but I don't like other fighting games as much. Marvel Vs Capcom maybe, but I don't like Tekken much. Except for King, he's a jaguar man. I like King. But mostly I like Street Fighter. I like Sakura a lot but I really like Cody too. Do you have a favorite character?"Cammy and Chun Li, but not for gameplay reasons. I didn't say that though. I wasn't into fighting games. Maybe if I'd had a brother or sister I would have been, but I prefered shooters."Ken I guess," I said, "I like his fire upper cut." But saying it reminded me of Salamander and maybe I didn't like Ken as much anymore.The hospital was quiet except for the creak of the wheels of her oxygen tank along the ground. We moved from the chemical bleached white walls of the main area, to the colorful cartoon world of the children's ward. A play corner was set up in the waiting room, with plushies scattered around and a small library of picture books.She took me to a private room. The bedsheets weren't hospital standard, it was a thick home made comforter. There was a small bookcase set at the side filled with YA literature, and a flat screen tv was mounted on the wall. Post cards and get well soon pictures were taped to the wall, and at the top of the bed were a punch of old stuffed animals. grace returned her rabbit to its place among them, then turned on the PS3 under the tv, handing me a controller."I don't get so many visitors any more," she said, "Not like the first time. Mom and Dad are busy I guess, and my friends are starting middle school."She stared as the screen came on, the music pumping out."I'm going to play as Cody," she said, "You can be anyone else, ok?"I tapped around until I fell on Ryu. Good old dependable Ryu.She bobbed her head to the music, the stage opening up."Don't go easy on me," I said, "I learn better the hard way."I took a seat next to her on the bed, her feet dangling down the side. She hummed along to the tune, stick moving, buttons clacking.She was pretty good for a kid, or maybe I'm just that bad, we were pretty even.'Hadouken. Hadouken. Hadouken.' Ryu shouted.Then Cody pulled a knife and stabbed him."I really think knives go against the spirit of the World Warrior tournament," I said. Grace giggled. "What, are you going to pull a gun now?""Bap bap," she said, punching me across the screen. When I lost she called me a scrub'. "But don't worry you just have to practice," she said, "I'll teach you."We fought, my hands aching, fumbling the controller through the bandages.
Then there was a knock on the door. I turned expecting a nurse. "Don't tell me you're still torturing poor Janice with that game," she said with a bright smile, striding in with her school bag slung off her shoulder.I froze. Ivy stared, blood draining from her face."Ive!" Grace chucked her controller back on the bed and rushed over, wrapping her waist in a hug. She looked back grinning. "This is my sister Ivy," she said, "Ivy, this is my friend Eric." Ivy's diamond blue stare held me prisoner."We're playing Street Fighter, want to join?" Grace asked."Maybe I should go," I said, getting up."Maybe you should," Ivy said."Really?" Grace looked at me like I'd told her Santa wasn't coming this year on account of being kicked to death by his reindeer. "Just one more game," she said, holding up the controller with a pout.But the look Ivy had said she wanted me gone and gone quick.>stick around for one more match.>sorry kid, I've got to go
>>4563644>sorry kid, I've got to goIvy probably doesn't have much time to spend here
>>4563644>sorry kid, I've got to gosounds like we probably visited our mom a lot in the hospital, I think Eric would get where Ivy's coming from
>>4563644>sorry kid, I've got to go
>>4563644>sorry kid, I've got to goRematch later, sister time now.
"Sorry kid, I think your sister wants some one-on-one time," I said, "But we can have a rematch, I promise."Grace sighed. "Ok," she said.Ivy took a small step to the side, letting me pass. From behind I heard through the door."Have you heard from Mom and Dad?""Not today, baby bear, but I'm sure they're thinking..."Their voices faded off as I limped on down the corridor, heading back to my room. She seemed like a good kid. A sick good kid. I stopped out the front of an open door, looking inside to see another kid lying in a bad, sitting in an array of tubes, surrounded by monitors and pumps all working to keep the child alive. I stared at the sleeping doll, bald and wrinkled up.Felt my own heart beat.I heard the ragged hiss of her breathing, my head rising from her lap. Her eyes had become so small in the caverns of her face. She looked a hundred years old, nothing in her eyes but pain. She didn't look like Mom anymore, like she was wearing a mask, an awful costume that was too real to look at, her body made of match sticks. Her mouth opened and closed with half said words, unable to get them out. She closed her mouth and then her eyes, the look that crossed her filling me with dread. She raised her finger, running the tip down my cheek. I pushed my head into her lap, wanting her to stroke my hair. Needing her to speak with her real voice, her real laugh, wanting to raise my head and find out I'd just been asleep and we were home in their bed, and she'd laugh at my silly dream and tell me she wasn't going anywhere, and how could she look so old when she wasn't even forty yet? And she'd stroke my hair and kiss my cheek, and tell me to get ready for hockey season because she could feel the weather changing as she brushed out her thick, bushy hair.I wanted that now more than ever."There you are!" the Chinese nurse said, "We've been looking for you. Come on, Dr DeMeo is waiting."
Dr DeMeo was the kind of doctor who had been doing these things for years. He seemed tired and worn down, with no emotion left for whoever he was seeing, speaking in a tired monotone."No blood in your urine so that's good," he said, "You have hairline fractures in your ribs and in your left forearm, they'll hurt but be sensible and they should heal soon enough. A fractured cheek bone but the eyesocket and the eye itself is fine. No damage we can detect to the brain. In many ways you're a lucky young man."He looked up from my chart. I'd been allowed to change into clothes Dad had brought me. I was feeling every injury he mentioned, and the underside of my chest was mottled yellow and brown. Lifting my arms up was no fun on account of the ribs, and I swear there was more wrong with my legs than he was saying. Mostly I was hungry."We're happy to discharge him into your care," he told Dad.Dad sat staring, the pits under his eyes heavy. I don't think he got any sleep last night."Are you sure?" he said."We can keep him another night for observation, but the medical bills are already..." Dr DeMeo gestured with the chart by way of explanation. "You're still carrying a heavy medical debt already, aren't you Mr Miller."Dad winced. It settled the issue.Dad helped me into his denim jacket. "Mrs Valdez's daughter gave me a lift," he explained as we limped to the hospital entrance, "She's willing to pick us up too, but she'll be a minute.""That's cool," I said."Son," Dad rarely called me 'son'. "What were you doing at the park? What happened? You've been coming home with bruises lately and at weird hours, now this...are you on drugs or something? You can tell me, we can get you help. Whatever they did to you, whatever you've been doing...I'm right here. Just talking to me."Was he? Until he found another bottle of Jack he liked the look of. And what did he think had happened, what did he think I was doing?>I just got jumped is all, got caught lackin'>What happened? I got into a fight with a supervillain and got my ass kicked>you're right, I've been doing drugs, that's totally it
>>4563736You're not "here", dad. I'm here alone. You're somewhere else. I'm not the one who needs help. I'd rather be out there getting the shit beat out of me than sit and watch you kill yourself the slow way every day at home.
I could smell the alcohol on his breath. Rage crawled up my belly."You're 'here'?" I couldn't keep it out of my voice, the disrepect, the scorn, "You're here? Dad you haven't been here for months. You're somewhere else. I'm not the one who needs help. I'd rather be out there getting the shit beat out of me than sit watching you kill yourself the slow way at home."I grabbed him by the shirt. "Where do you think you are?" I said, "Is this Indiana?""Your mother...my wife..." he started."My mother, my mom," I said, "I lost my mom Dad, I lost her and I needed you and you weren't there and I still need you but you aren't here. You aren't, you aren't!"He tried to hug me, pull me into a hug. "Get off!" I yelled, "Get off me, get off!"Anger flashed and I threw him back, for a moment a white glow on my hands. He hit the ground hard five feet away with an ugly grunt. I was too angry for guilt. I shook with it."I'm sorry," Dad said from the ground but I wasn't listening. I stomped out into the rain. It fell softly on my shoulders, the world cold and grey through its soft shroud. I stalked on just wanting to be away from him, away from anyone right now, from anything that could make me angry. I stalked around the corner and down a street, rain beating on an overpass walkway above my head. Down into an alley with a line of parked cars and steam rising from a manhole.I blamed my wet cheeks on the rain and when I shoved my hand up to dry them hissed at the touch of a swollen bruise.Crying like a bitch, I managed to get it settled, pull it back in, forehead pressed to a cement wall with shoulders shaking."Hey," she stood in the corner just out of the rain, flicking ash from a cigarette.Ivy."What are you doing here?" I asked."Trying to forget my little sister is dying, what about you?" her voice was dry but her eyes burned as she took another drag on her smoke."I didn't know you smoked." It was a dumb thing to say, considering I didn't know anything about her, considering her sister."Don't tell anyone," she said."Worried you'll get detention or something?" I said."Not about the smoking, about Grace," she said."Maybe she'll get better," I said. I barely believed it as I said it."She did get better, the first time. Then she got sick again, and they don't get a third time," Ivy said."Sorry," I said."Yeah." she pulled out a crumpled up pack from her back pocket. "Want a smoke?">no thanks>...screw it, sure
>>4563774>no thanksCoughing with rib fractures sounds like a bad time
>>4563774>...screw it, sureWe can afford to loosen up in this sort of situation. We're like the world's most violent boy scout. We've got the dismemberment badge locked down
>>4563793>>4563792>>4563785locked inEric really is a bit of a boyscout
>>4563774>>...screw it, sureMaybe we can get away with it. Calm our self a little
>>4563831Oops late vote
"I'm ok," I said."Boy scout," Ivy said, "Did you and Kay exchange chastity rings too?"I rolled my eyes."So what's wrong with your sister?" I asked."Leukemia," she said, "What happened to your mom?""Lung cancer," I replied. Her fist tightened around the pack of smokes. "I'm lying," I said, grinning at the dark joke, "Just wanted to get back at you for the chastity ring joke. It was ovarian cancer.""Dark," she said, smiling through the cigarette smoke."Where are your parents anyway? Shouldn't they be here?""Last I heard, Maui," she said, "Somewhere warm and far away, fucking cowards. Don't worry though, our housekeeper is almost like a real mom.""Rough," I said. Maybe Ivy realized she'd said too much, she focused on her smoke until it was down to a burning cherry, letting a heavy silence hang between us."So I've got a theory about you, tell me if its right but keep in mind I'm good at spotting a liar," she said."Shoot," I said."So in detention we read this piece of Shakespeare from Henry IV, a pretty ok scene for a woman's part, in Shakespeare at least. You read lines for Henry Percy, did it pretty badly too.""Thanks," I said."A couple of hours later, a bunch of our classmates are having pizza at Francesco's when an armed robber busts in with a shotgun, takes Ayesha hostage and threatens to blow her brains out. Only he doesn't, because a super hero happens to show up right then and there, calls himself 'Hotspur' and beats the robber down like its nothing, becoming an internet sensation in the process."My arm hair prickled, my legs went cold."So cut to a couple of weeks later and Kay's on a date with her new guy. She really wants to go out but he takes her home depressingly early. Real drag if you ask me. But about an hour later out on the lake Hotspur shows up again, trashing some sleazeball drug dealer's boat and calling in the law. Again, headline news, all over the net. Let's give him a key to the city and a big parade, woo. ""Where'd you hear I took Kay home early?" I said."From Hunter, who heard it from Kemal, while he was trying to slide his hand down the front of my pants," she said, "You missed out on a fun party.""Sure," I said, staring at her cold."So my question is," she said, "Does Kay still suck at kissing?""I'm sorry, what?" I said."We used to practice together and I've got tell you she was a slow learner," she replied.I burned to the roots of my hair. She was enjoying this. "No," I said, "No she doesn't."She dropped her smoke and stubbed it out, looking out into the falling rain on the wet concrete. The wistful expression across her face, the self-concious tilt of her head on the hospital wall, matched the melancholy of the weather."So are you?" she asked, staring up to the gray rain clouds, "Are you Hotspur?">sorry Ivy, but no>...yeah, I am
taking a break but go ahead and vote away
>>4563841>sorry Ivy, but noShe's smart, she can think what she wants but we are very vulnerable right now and if this gets out we may be screwed
>>4563841>...yeah, I am
>>4563841>sorry Ivy, but no
>>4563841>sorry Ivy, but noBut if I was Hotspur I wouldn't tell anyone anyway, sounds like he's got half the criminals in the city and some from below and above the boarders after him. Besides Kay's dad made me promise to have her back, and he was very clear about what would happen if I didn't, Chicago cops are not like cops back home. Speaking of Kay does she know about Grace? Keep it tongue in cheek, deny but imply that it's not a trust thing, don't want her to get resentful because she feels lied to. Then flip it back on her to keep pressure off. maybe even ask her if she knows who put the bird in the locker.
>>4563841>Even if I was, why do you care? We're not exactly friends.Pretty sure she's got us pegged anyway. Let's see if we can find what she's after.
>>4563841>...yeah, I amWe haven't exactly been subtle about it. I suspect she's either a super herself or she'd make a decent ally. We can deny it on principle but that doesn't really change the fact that she knows the truth. Might as well try to get something out of it.
>>4563841>...yeah, I am"You think Grace will enjoy the fact that she played video games with a superhero?"
>>4564135If she knows she can't tell anyone, not even Grace
>>4563841>...yeah, I amWhy do you ask questions you already know the answer to
>>4563841>Hypothetically... if I was Hotspur, I don't think I'd go around admitting it to people."yes" but in a way that makes it clear that we wanna keep it on the down low.
>>4564043>she'd make a decent ally.In what way? I don't see what she would bring to the table unless she really is a super out of nowhere as you suggested
sorry I fell asleep
>>4563939>>4564043>>4564135>>4564174I think telling her wins unless this: >>4564294is a different flavor of no in which case its a tie.I'll wait for that guy to get back to me before locking anything in
>>4564337Definitely looks closer to a yes than a no to me, there's no telling when that guy will be back
>>4564364you're rightI'll lock in 'yes' and update in a sec
>>4564364This is right it's closer to a different flavor of yes
Nervous energy bundled up in me. I looked Ivy up and down as she coolly looked out on the rain."If I was would I tell you?" I said, "If I was some kind of super hero I wouldn't want anyone to know, not with every gangster in the city looking for me. Knowing something like that could get people hurt."I watched the rain fall, feeling every bruise on my face."But yeah. Yeah, I'm Hotspur," I said. It was a relief to say it, a weight falling off my shoulders."Cool," Ivy said.I raised an eyebrow at her. "Cool?" I said, "Is that all you've got, 'cool'?""Yeah, cool," she said, "Did you want me to do a jumping jack or something, maybe put on a little cheerleader uniform?"Her look was somehow more sarcastic than her tone. I sighed."I don't know, no," I said, "Maybe a little more surprise would be nice.""Eric, I figured it out when I first heard the name Hotspur," she said, "Give me some credit.""You can't tell anyone about this, not even your sister," I said."Fair," she said, "Though its not like I have anyone else to tell, I don't exactly have a lot of friends.""I noticed," I said."Thanks."Then I asked something that had been puzzling me. "Did you put a dead rat in Kay's locker?"She turned to glare at me. "No, who said I did?""It doesn't matter," I replied."Did Kay say I did? The little bitch.""That's my girlfriend you're talking about," I shot back. "What's going on with you two anyway, she said you used to be friends.""We were," Ivy said, "Until we got in trouble and Kaylee got out of it by stabbing me in the back. Don't be fooled by the quirky girl act, she has a mean streak a mile wide."It was hard to believe her. She saw the disbelief in my face."Believe what you want," she said."For what its worth I don't think it was you," I said, "I said as much to Kay but she wasn't convinced.""She's probably told half the school I did it by now," Ivy said."Do you know anyone else who would do something like that?" I asked. Ivy shrugged. My phone buzzed, a text from Dad saying the car was here. "I've got to go," I said.When I stepped off, she called out 'hey' and I looked back."Remember, don't tell anyone about my sister," she said, "You, I'm trusting you Eric. The last thing I want...the last thing I need is anyone's pity. You understand that, right?"I nodded. "Yeah, no I get it," I said. I did get it, walking around with everyone looking at you all worried and sad wore me down overtime. It made me less of a person and more a fragile thing people thought needed protecting, nursing. It just made me mad, and I could see how it would drive a girl like Ivy, who had sharp moods anyway, right up the wall."See you around," I said.She didn't wave or say goodbye. She pulled out another cigarette, lit it up, and turned her gaze back up to the rain dark sky.
I'm swamped with stuff to do today and tired on top of it, so I won't be running again until tomorrowHope you guys are still enjoying the quest
>>4564518Yeah this quest is great. The loss to salamander made sense, but there doesn't seem to be any way to overcome the gulf between her and Eric's fighting ability. So that definitely fucks up plans to fight the outfit much in the near future
Just out of curiosity, would things have gone better if we had waited for the cartel to leave the ship? Did it make any positive impact for Grants case? Or did we just cause a shitshow and see brain matter for no real reason?
>>4564590you'd have had a chance to personally search the hold and discovered more incriminating evidence but risked the couriers escapingalso if you'd crit failed against Salamander you would have woken up in an Outfit safehouse instead of the hospital.
>>4564518The quest is great, and your writing is amazing as always.It was... nice, in a way, to have our first real loss. In a narrative sense, but also to know our capabilities.Also>ID: P0oTHehehe
The drive home was awkward. Dad didn't try to talk and I wasn't offering any opportunities. Mrs Valdez's daughter, Maria, tried to fill the silence with chatter but gave up. Soon enough all there was to hear was the squeak of the wipers keeping off the rain.Maria looked a lot like her mother. Short, chunky, and with the same whiskery top lip. A photo of her son Pedro hung from the rear view mirror.When she got back to the apartment Dad muttered a thank you before lurching inside. I limped in after thanking her as well.I took a tylenol and went to bed, my head starting to thump, my chest aching.I'd need to heal before I could get back to doing anything, before I could put on my hoodie and leap back into action, and part of me was starting to question if I even wanted to do it again. I'd taken a serious asskicking. If Luis hadn't been there Salamander could have beaten me to death. Bullets were one thing, getting shot at, but being held down unable to protect myself, to be entirely helpless as life was squeezed out of me, that was something else.I hadn't put a lot of thought into becoming a super hero. I'd just done it like it was the natural thing to do. Maybe I was crazy, or just stupid. Or maybe narcissistic. Thinking I could do something about the city's problems or whatever.I'm an asshole is what I am.I didn't remember falling asleep but I do remember waking up. The pain wasn't so bad the day after, but I was stiff and moving too much made me sore. Mostly I just wanted to stay in bed.But it was a school day.>ignore the aches and go to school, I'm falling behind>stay in bed, stay home and rest up
>>4565582>ignore the aches and go to school, I'm falling behind
I'd made my bed, I guess I had to burn in it. And I wasn't going to drop out of high school over a couple of fractured ribs. I got my bag and my books together, and swallowing the pain in my aching legs, limped out for the bus.-My ribs screamed on Kay's hug. "I went to see you first thing in the morning but you hadn't woken up." Her head pressed into my neck made up for it. "I was so scared."We were on the lawn outside the school, right before fist bell. The others were giving us space, Ayesha, Zeke, Dane and Hunter.I pealed Kay off, my smile tight with the pain shooting up my side."Nothing to worry about," I said, stroking her hair, her cheeks. Kissing her hurt too, the split in my lip crying, but it was worth the pain. I held her hand as we went in, feeling good, like a soldier returned to his sweetheart from war. I caught some looks as we went through, I don't know if it was because we were a couple or because of my fucked up face.But once inside our friends considered the moment over. Zeke shoved between us, hooking an arm over our shoulders."So you got jacked up again," he said, "You got the worst luck. Maybe you should learn how to rap or something so maybe those down-home thugs will leave you alone.""Rap?" I said."Oh God, Zeke, just call them niggers and get it over with," Ayesha snarled at him."Wow!" he stepped back, laughing, "That's a leap right there, Yesha, I never said they were black.""Eric never said he got jumped by black guys," Ayesha followed up."You're right, maybe it was a gang of female joggers. You've got to watch out for those Karens, Eric, they can be nasty," he said."I'm getting tired of your racist ass dog-whistles Zeke, I really am," she said."Racist, how can I be racist when my mom is Dominican," he said, "I don't think I can be racist, not like Hunter.""What the hell did I do?" the lanky basketball player said."You play basketball dude, that's cultural appropriation," Zeke replied.I honestly thought Ayesha was going to punch him."Cool it Zeke," Dane said, getting between them, "We're all friends here. If Ayesha says she isn't comfortable with it, drop it.""Whatever," Zeke replied, rolling his eyes. He did shut up when Rufus came up and bumped knuckles with Hunter. Maybe he was willing to pretend to be racist for a joke just around us, but he never played that game when Rufus was around."It's good to see you walking," Dane said to me."Thanks." I'd be saying thanks a lot that morning."Coach said you can take a knee," Rufus told me.
We got to Ayesha's locker. "Huh," she said, frowning."Wassup?" Zeke peeked over her shoulder into the locker."Nothing, I just thought I had my gym clothes stashed here," she said, flipping over books as if they might magically appear."You think someone broke into your locker?" I asked, nerves pricked remembering Kay's own locker break in."No, uh, I hope not. I probably just misremembered," she said, clutching her bag self-conciously."That's creepy," Kay said. But she didn't push the issue.In class most of the teachers were ok with me missing homework. I don't know what kind of asshole you'd have to be to expect a finished book report from someone who'd just had their head busted open. It turned out Mr Sack was that kind of asshole. Gym wasn't the kind of class a guy with broken ribs should be going to, but he wasn't tolerating my condition."Consider this what happens when you get into fights, Miller," he said, gnashing his gum, "Start making better life decisions."I changed into gym clothes like everyone else. We'd be running laps today, exeercising outside in the cold autumn wind, and it made my ribs ache. I'm sure this was in violation of something, some kind of primary care law or whatever. I was well at the back of the class for every lap, just behind gasping, asthmatic Ben and slow-trot Annie, the nerds huffing and puffing as they tried to keep up.Mr Sack's whistle blew, calling us into a huddle."I hope you kids realize this is all for your benefit," he said. Ben bent over gasping next to me. "You think stuff like geometry is important, but if you can't run a mile what good is it going to do you when you're in your thirties and complaining about back pain? All your history classes are going to do is give you boring stuff to bore other boring people at dinner parties in fifteen years, but this'll keep you going strong into your old age." I don't know if it was ironic or hypocritical considering the heavy gut hanging off his belly."Jerk," Annie muttered under her breath."You say something Ms Wang?" he shot at her."Nothing sir," she said."Nothing my ass, that's twenty push ups, get to it," he said.Her shoulders slumped under a sour expression but she went to the grass and tried, her skinny arms shaking after five."The rest of you, body squats, get to it," he said, blowing his whistle, "If you do finish those push ups Ms Wu, I expect you to catch up on squats even if you have to stay back."
I went over to Ayesha and Kay. I watched Ayesha drop and rise, smooth and easy. Of course she was a regular at Prize Fight, working out with one of the personal trainers. Kay wasn't as practiced, and her face was red and dripping with sweat.The sight of them both squatting made me ache, and not just in the ribs. I tried not to stare. Not like Zeke, who was a bit too obvious in checking out the girls exercising while doing his own."Are you going to...to just watch or...or join in," Kay said, straining with effort but managing a wink. I hoped she thought I was only looking at her.I started to squat and my ribs said no. If I did it normal I might hurt myself.>sneak in a little power just to get through the period>there's no amount of whistle blowing Mr Sack could do to fix a broken rib
>>4565702>Ms WuWang, Wang. I literally just mentioned her last name a couple lines earlier.These little mistakes make me think about transplanting the text to a word document, editing it then uploading it somewhere as a corrected archive.
>>4565704>sneak in a little power just to get through the periodFuck it
>>4565707>sneak in a little power just to get through the perioduse our power for our own benefit for once
So I didn't do it the normal way. The power lurking within me flared up, the white fire dulling my pain, letting me move. I was careful not to draw on too much, to not go too hard and clue someone in that something strange was going on."See Annie, even a busted up kid like Miller can get moving," Mr Sack said as Annie clawed her way off the ground, taking a deep breath before starting on her squats. "Too much computer, that's what's wrong with your generation. How the hell can an eight year old be obese? Get the little turd moving is what I say."Kay huffed and puffed next to me."Careful with those ribs, Eric," Ayesha said, watching my form, "Maybe you should get the nurse to write you a note.""I'm good," I said. And I was. My powers had a way of making pain manageable, even good in a strange kind of way. Maybe I was becoming some kind of masochist.The bell rang, calling us off to lunch. "Oh no Ms Wang, you owe me twenty more squats, you aren't going any where," Mr Sack said. Annie bent over her knees, swallowing, eyes closed.The rest of us split between boys and girls while heading into the change room.Nobody had a nice thing to say about Mr Sack. Not even the guys who liked sport."Mr Ballsack," Zeke called him."Mr Nutsack," said Rufus."Mr Nosack," said Hunter, "Mr Noballs. Bet he can't even see his balls under that gut."I showered off, hunger gurgling. My ribs felt better even with the power gone, the sharp stabbing pain gone, just a dull ache remaining when I turned. But boy could I eat now.I tossed my gym shoes in my bag and pulled on my sneakers. Something warm squished under my toes. I sniffed, a foul smell reeking. I pulled my foot out to see brown shit pasted over it. "Shit!"I flung the shoe away. "Goddamn," I said, my foot dripping with poo as I hopped back to the shower, "Someone put shit in my shoe."Both shoes it turned out, so I was forced to put my stinking gym shoes back on."That's nasty," Hunter said, half smiling."That's straight up deranged," Rufus said, "Yo is it dog shit or like peple shit?""I don't know enough about shit to say," I said, "Anyone else got shit in their shoes? Just me?"No one did, which meant I'd been targeted, which meant it was probably Jeremy."Douchebag," I said, curling my now clean toes in disgust.I'd been warned he'd get me back.>make a complaint to a teacher>just live with it for now and get my own back later
>>4565780>just live with it for now and get my own back laterJeremy has a way of getting away with it. Teachers won't do anything without proof and I doubt he left any
>>4565780>just live with it for now and get my own back laterFind out where he lives, write ,,cumstain" on his window with white paint and leave a fat shit in front of his front door
>>4565793That is retarded, no
Did using our power heal us just now? That's interesting. We need to improve our defense somehow. Maybe just get good at dodging via boxing footwork. Boxing is pretty useless against Muay Thai unfortunately due to boxing not being a real martial art.
I'd get my own back eventually. Crying to the teachers wouldn't get a snake like Jeremy anyway.At lunch though I got asked a strange question. "Do you need money?" Zeke asked, "Because if you need money, I think there's easier ways to earn it than...""Dude, shut up," Dane said."What?" I asked, looking around to my friend."Hell I'll say it," Hunter said over a hamburger, "There's a rumor going around that you've been getting beat up so much because you're fucking dudes at parks for cash.""What."Hunter grinned as he took a bite of his burger. "That's the story going around.""I don't think its true," Zeke said, "But if it is true, man, there's got to be easier ways to earn a living.""Have you talked to Kay about it?" Dane asked, "If it's true she should know. If you're gay, bi or just desperate for money, she deserves an answer.""If it's true," Zeke said."What."It was all I could muster. I looked around like I was going crazy. Is that what people thought had happened?"I just got my ass kicked," I said, "That's all.""Why were you naked though?" Rufus asked, "I don't know any kind of nigga takes a dude's clothes after knocking him out. Well, I don't want to know that nigga.""I don't know," I said, heat burning under my skin. "Who told you that?"They looked around to each other. They'd all heard it from someone who heard it off someone else.After asking around I got it down to a source. Jeremy.So the vindictive little punk was more clever than just juvenile pranks like slipping a poo in a shoe."You can believe me or not," I said, "But I'm not a prostitute, and I don't blow old men for money.> roll 3 x 1d100+10(this is a different than usual kind of roll I want to try out. Instead of a flat DC the roll will convince a certain number of people who will believe you. DC 30 you convince your close friends DC 50 you convince your broader social group, any students who know you. DC 70 you convince most of your grade, even those who don't know you. DC 80 you convince most of the school. DC 90 and no one will believe the story)
Rolled 49 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4565842Who could have leaked the fact that we were naked?
also I don't get why Luis took all our clothes off, our outfit is mostly normal clothes
Rolled 47 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4565842
Rolled 11 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>4565842
>>4565846Panic I would imagineThough we really need to have a talk with him about how terrible he is at thinking on his feet
>>4565844Eric will convince everyone who knows him it isn't true, but the gossip is out and there'll be rumors going around for a whileI'm taking a short break. I'll be back in a bit.
I gotta go to sleep now but the way I see it we can either beat Jeremy so bad that he's too afraid to keep fucking with us, or get some dirt on him. The latter is the smarter play but the former is also tempting at this point, and Eric's a bit less stable than usual these days. But petty pranks are just gonna backfire.
"I believe you," Kay said, sliding in next to me with a smile. Ayesha sat down with her with another girl I didn't know too well."Same," Ayesha said, "Its just a good idea not to believe anything that creepy reptile jeremy has to say.""Yeah, I guess believing a creep like Jeremy is kind of dumb," Hunter agreed."This is Daphne, she's playing Fantine in the musical," Kay said, introducing us to the new face. Daphne had a narrow face and curly brown hair that made me think of a startled librarian, she kind of spoke like one too, voice quivering with a nervous energy."Hi, hi, hi," she said to everyone around the table."Which reminds me, I've got rehearsals all week," Kay said to me, "But if you're free my parents wanted to invite you over for dinner on Friday. Sound good?""Sounds great," I said."Dinner with the parents, you two are serious," Ayesha said, stabbing her salad with a fork. Kay blushed around a smile.It did make me think about what I was going to do with my time.>focus on school and studying, make up for lost work and recommit to the basketball team>I got rocked hard by Salamander, I need to double down on my training both power-wise and boxing>Do what I do and get back to fighting crime, can't let one set back stop me
>>4565881>focus on school and studying, make up for lost work and recommit to the basketball teamWe need to heal up. Perfect time to put our mind to work. Practice street fighter so we can beat Grace!
I might be back tomorrow. I think I'll leave this vote open until I do
>>4565881>focus on school and studying, make up for lost work and recommit to the basketball teamWe're falling behind. Also, maybe try just sitting and activating our power, and see if we heal faster. There might be something to our power dulling our pain.
>>4565881>I got rocked hard by Salamander, I need to double down on my training both power-wise and boxingDead kids don't care about their GPA
>>4565881>focus on school and studying, make up for lost work and recommit to the basketball team
>>4566478We need a little break
>>4566478>>4565969>>4565906locked inprobably can't update for a couple of days though, unexpectedly busy
>>4566552Was almost getting used to these regual updates. Take your time QM this quest is really good so far.
>>4566552It is cool OP thanks for letting us know
see you guys tomorrow
>>4570264see you tomorrow QM
It was a week late but I had it finished, my essay on Bleeding Kansas and the origins of the Civil War. I placed it on Ms Flores' desk and she put on her glasses, picked it up, scanning it over."Very good, Eric, I'm looking forward to reading it," she said with a smile, "Now do you have your homework too?""As a matter of fact," I said, producing it from my bag and adding it to her pile.It was worth it for her smile alone. I took a seat and focused as best I could on class, and not just on her legs.I'd been falling behind and that needed to change. Besides I could use a break from the super vigilante thing, if only to give my body time to heal. There was something newly comforting in school work that I'd never felt before, a kind of normalcy my life had been lacking over the last couple of months. Stories were going on about my around the school, about me being some kind of child prostitute, but I didn't let it get to me. The people who mattered knew it wasn't true. When it wasn't school work I was back on the basketball court, working on my layups, practicing with the team.Mr Nfume appreciated it. "Feels like your head's been some where else recently," he said, sipping from a coffee cup. I shrugged, telling the truth would do no good even if he'd believe me. "Keep it up, we've got a game coming up and you might get some court time at this rate."It was while working on a triangle play with Hunter and Rufus that I heard another story."Did you hear someone stole Ivy's underwear?" Rufus said, "Slipped it out of her bag while she was in the showers.""I'd steal Ivy's panties if you know what I mean," Hunter said, wiggling his tongue."Was this at school or what?" I asked."Yeah, after gym," Rufus said, "We've got a perv creeping around. Riley said someone grabbed her ass when she was getting a drink but when she turned around they'd booked.""You think its the same guy who put the dead rat in Kay's locker?" I asked Hunter."Dude, wasn't that Ivy?" Hunter said, "Pretty sure that was Ivy.""Nah," I said, "Wasn't her."I took a shot and got nothing but net."Nice shot," Rufus said."Yeah, manage that with a South Side kid up in your face and maybe you'll do ok," Hunter added.
School was out and I needed to be someplace. As much as I was focusing on school I couldn't let my boxing training slip entirely. I made it out to Prize Fight a couple times, working with Mr Jackson, working the bag, and pumping a little iron. I was on the short and skinny side, but even after just a couple of weeks I felt stronger, and looking at myself in the mirror I was sure I was getting bigger. In the arms and chest. Just a little.It was there I bumped into Ayesha."Hey want to hear something creepy?" she said, smiling but in a nervous kind of way."All right..." I said, not sure that I did."My gym clothes turned up," she said, "Back in my locker an hour after they went missing." My neck prickled. I really do think we have a creeper at school. "It's creepy right?" she said, rubbing her arms, looking around self-conciously. "And you know there was a time in the showers where I thought...no its stupid.""What happened?" I asked."I felt like...someone was watching me, in the steam. I thought I saw someone standing in the..." she shuddered, "It's dumb. No, it's just my imagination playing up."My fist tightened. I had a bad feeling about what might happen next, and who it might happen to, but I had no idea what to do about it.It was heading into the weekend and my dinner date with Kay's family when I went into Luis' corner store.We hadn't talked much since I got out of hospital, but there was a question that'd been bugging me. I waited until D-Mark and Smokey were out of the shop, scritched his cat's chin, then asked point blank, "Dude why was I naked?"He blanched at the question. "Holmes I don't know if you remember but you were straight up on fire," he said, "Now I could have left you to get a couple third degree burns but I figured your skin was more important than your clothes. Was I wrong?""You coulda rolled me in the grass or something man, now people are telling all kinds of stories about me," I said."Sorry but I don't come across a whole lot of burning teenagers in my line of work, or the crazy giant bitches that set them on fire," he replied, scrolling through his tablet. "And don't get it twisted, your boxers were firmly on when I left you. Hell, you'd think after all I done there'd be a 'thank you' stuffed in there some where.""Thanks Uncle," I said.He grinned. "Nah, don't worry about it," he passed me a can of pop on the house.
I sipped it, kicking along back to mine. It had been good to take a break from crime fighting, the city ticked along without me, and frankly there was a bruised part of me thinking about not going back. If I did I'd need to play it smarter, less rushing in fists first, particularly against a bad chick like Salamander. Right now I was just happy to spend my time getting ready for dinner with Kay's parents, and spending what time I could with Kay. She still wanted to come around to mine but...well...I didn't really want anyone coming around to mine.Dad and I hadn't talked since I'd yelled at him. We were keeping distance from each other. If he wasn't home I had to hope he was at work, and I guess he had to hope the same about me and school.I sat at my desk going over my Math homework when the sharp rap of gun fire shattered the afternoon. I went low, flinging off my chair to press to the ground. The screech of car tyres speeding off was followed up by a woman's scream, the primal burst of terror and grief that was all too familiar to people living this side of town. My heart thumped in my chest, my breathing hard.I looked out the window to see the neighbors across the street crowded around the corner, a black kid my age lying limp in a puddle of himself, grasped in the arms of his mom. I knew him kinda, had seen him around. He wasn't a corner boy as far as I knew, guess he was just unlucky. He kicked a little but didn't get up, didn't open his eyes. My mouth went dry. Her scream went to a beating sob running out of her, pulling her son by the shirt, looking up at the crowd with uncomprehending grief. What could anyone say to a sight like that? An old man took off his hat, someone called an ambulance.>he was gone, I had nothing left to do but school work>if I move now I could catch the car
>>4570850>if I move now I could catch the carLet's catch this motherfucker and teach him a lesson.
>>4570850>if I move now I could catch the carWe've been gone too long
>>4570850>I'd need to play it smarter, less rushing in fists firstThat said,>if I move now I could catch the carHow are we doing on our recovery?
If I moved quick I could catch them. I pulled on my hoodie, my goggles, and wound my scarf around my face. I crept out onto the fire escape, ignoring the cat swishing its tail at my feet.The rush of my power quickened my limbs, dulled my aches, and launched me out over the roof tops, leaving a pair of glowing foot prints in my wake. I landed on the neighbor's roof, spying the car rocketing down the street. Running for the edge of the building I leapt, clearing the overhead cables.Wind whipped behind me as I hit a street lamp, catching it by the light fixing and hanging by one hand. I was ahead of the car now, its hood bouncing as it sped down the street. I braced my feet on the street light pole, then shot toward it.A black guy behind the wheel screamed 'oh shit!' as I hit the hood, bonnet crunching under my feet."Hotspur man, it's fucking Hotspur!"A gun went off in the backseat as it veered off the road. I leapt up, sailing off it as the car slammed into a fire hydrant, picking up the front wheels, the hydrant ripping up its under carriage. The front wheels spun as a groan came from inside. The back door popped open and a guy slid out, holding his belly as his gun clattered on the cement. Blood spread out over his shirt, victim of his own bullet.Another guy came out the opposite side and started booking it back the way they'd come.A quick glance at the side of a building and a bit of math measured the distance between us. I closed on him in a single bound, smashing him into the cement. He didn't get up. Trigonometry was useful sometimes.The driver sat in the jacked up ruin of his car, looking beat as I came back with his buddy over my shoulder. I threw him down next to his friend with the gut shot belly."I thought you had bigger fish to fuck up," the driver said, unbuckling his seat belt and slumping back. He was a heavy set black guy with a puffy face and eyes going yellow. For his part he didn't put up a fight."I made an exception today," I said."We picked a bad day to put our name out on the street," he sighed, pulling a pack of Newports from his pocket. "You mind?" he said as he put one to his lips. He lit up while his friends groaned at my feet. I heard the distant whine of police sirens."Your boy'll live if he gets that seen too," I said, toeing his side, "Not like the boy you lit up.""It's in the game, man," he said through a cloud of smoke, "You know how it is.""Not my game," I said.He pulled himself out of the front seat, threw away a handgun he'd been packing down a storm drain. They weren't much older than the kid they'd smoked. Not much older than me.He finished his cigarette before dropping on his belly. "I know how this goes," he said, "You going to stick around, watch the whole show?"
I shook my head. "Cops don't like me much," I said."You make 'em look bad, 'Spur," he said, "You know my little brother is crazy about you? Go figure.""It's too nice a day to be killing someone," I said."As good a day as any though," he said, "My mistake for helping out a cousin. Anyway, see you 'round Spur, don't let the pigs put you in cuffs too."I nodded, feeling weird. I was used to criminals threatening me and talking all kinds of trash. This guy and his bleak tiredness took me by surprise. And he really was only a little older than me, maybe seventeen at most, but he had the haggard look of a man walking in the rain. He put his hands behind his head and lay face down, the lights of the cop car flashing around the corner as his friend moaned, squirming on his back. I looked down to where the cop car was coming, back the way I came, then leapt for the top of the nearest building, leaving the circus beneath me, hoping I'd done at least a little good as the sun started down behind me.-The click of knives on plates and I smiled at Kay across from me. We were having dinner with her parents, at a proper dinner table and anything, her siblings either side of us with her dad at one end and her mom at the other. Under the table her foot slid up my shin, toes tracing the line between my ankle and knee. My own foot slid up the back of her calf, feling it over, trying to act all innocent while her dad ranted on through his steak."So we caught the little bastard red handed trying to rob a Dunkins and the kid still tries to cry innocent with have the register pouring out of his pants. He was dropping coins like a frickin' Mario brother or something, tried telling us he was the manager on the way to the bank. Getting him into cuffs wasn't easy, slippery son of a bitch, had to give him the taser a couple of times. I swear some of these freaks like it, they want to get zapped. Anyway he must have been off his head on something because-""Butter please, no work stories," Mrs Whitman said, "So Eric, Kaylee's told us you're on the basketball team. Do you have a game coming up?""Yes ma'am, next week," I said."When I was in school I was on the football team," Mr Whitman said, "Linebacker, I could really hurt a guy too. Put a kid in traction once, skinny could shouldn'ta been on the field. Felt kind of bad about that one. What position you play?""Nothing really sir, this will be my first game," I said."Nothing? You've got to play some kind of position. Only guy I ever knew could play any position was Jordan. I remember watching him play when I was your age, nothing like it! More like watching a musician than an athlete. I feel bad for you kids with your Steph Curries and LeBrons. Don't get me wrong, good players, but they ain't MJ."
We should tell her dad that we're getting into boxing, I'm sure he'd like that.
Kay's foot slid up into the inside of my thigh, starting to move into dangerous water, with a dangerous look in her eye that sent me buzzing all over. Her toe tapped a delicate spot before sliding away, leaving me frustrated and excited, the good kind of terrified as her dad huffed and puffed over his dinner.My phone buzzed, and it wasn't my home phone. A text from Ms Grant, asking to meet me on the top of City Hall in an hour. No more details than that. It set an ache in me, looking from it up to Kay's hopeful expression."Ah Christ, I got work," Mr Whitman said, checking his own phone."Oh Butter, but we're just getting ready for pie," Mrs Whitman said, starting to clear the table."Can't be helped cupcake," he said, "Joey's out with a bad knee and I have to cover his shift." He got up and bent over the table, kissing her plump cheek."Do you mind if I show Eric my room?" Kay asked."Hell yes I mind," Mr Whitman said, eyeing me up, "But if you keep the door open and come back down for dessert, I'll let you get away with it this once.">I actually have to go too>stick around for pie, Ms Grant could wait
>>4571009I think we should go up to her room, tell Kay that we're Hotspur, and explain that we have to go. What do you guys think? Is it too sudden? I don't think it's fair to her to keep her in the dark, especially when her worst enemy already knows. That's bound to blow up in our face.
>>4571009>I actually have to go too>>4571012That sounds fucking terrible, the less people that know the better That's not even including the fact that her father is a cop and has a hate-boner for our cape idenity.
>>4571023I could agree if you said that this wasn't a great time because she has to come back downstairs and might still be freaking out in front of her mom. But we still need to tell her eventually or things aren't gonna work out between us.
>>4571009>I actually have to go tooSorry Kay. We should invite her over to make up for it, deep clean the shit out of our apartment first
>>4571037>>4571023locked inno identity confession today for Eric
"I should get going too," I said, "Thanks for having me over, dinner was great."It was too. I don't remember my last home cooked meal with a thick, juicy steak.Mrs Whitman wasn't as disappointed to see me go as she was her husband, but she didn't throw me out either. "Well you just get home safely," she said, heading to the kitchen to check on her baking.At the front door Kay stopped me by grabbing my hand."You sure you don't want to stick around for pie?" Kay said, lacing her fingers through mine with just the best kind of bad smile. "It's pretty good, and you can have all you want."I swallowed. "It's tempting," I said. Oh so painfully tempting. "Maybe you should come to my place for dinner, and I can bake you a pie.""Will your dad make you keep the door open?" she asked, drawing close."He might not notice," I replied. I could feel the heat of her before we touched, holding her on the hip as I took a little kiss, the slightest slip of tongue. Then her dad stomped down the stairs and we broke apart before he could see."Well you best get home then, Eric," he said, "I'll get yer down to the bus station. I'd drive you home but I'm headin' the other way.""Thanks Mr Whitman, but I'm good, I can get myself home," I said, stepping back out into the cold evening.He chuckled, following me out. "You're all right, Eric, real respectful. Not like the last boy we had sniffing around, or the one before that. Then there was the girl we had over and I wondered if Kaylee was...not that there'd be anything wrong with that, but I'm glad she's with a nice, respectful boy like you."I didn't really want to know about any of Kay's ex-boyfriends."Keep it up and maybe I won't shoot you, eh?" he said, elbowing me under the ribs less rough than he used to, but still elbowing tender ribs. Good to know I was getting him on side.As I started down the sidewalk into the night I waved at Mr Whitman's cruiser as he drove by.Then, when I was far enough away and under the cover of a hedge, I swapped out my clothes for my dollar-store costume, and took to the roof tops.I didn't have to leap all the way down to the Loop. Fact is it wasn't economical, energy wise. But the truth was I just enjoyed it. It was unironically joyous to feel the sharp cold wind slice over me as I broke out of gravity's control, weightless in those moments after the leap, then dragged down with exhilirating speed with the fall, hitting with a hard thump, laughing as I raced to the edge of the next building, then doing it all over again. It was a simple, child-like wonder that I never got sick of, with the city under my feet just a pattern of lights in the dark. The closest I could relate to it is a roller coaster but even that was wrong, a roller coaster was set on tracks, where I was boundless.
I landed somewhere north of City Hall, the river the last stretch between us. I gargoyle crouched on the roof of a glass skyscraper. With a hot step I burst from my perch, laughing into the wind as I sailed over the bridge, a boat puttering down the dark waters, to hit a skyscraper opposite, clinging off the side. The foot traffic beneath me paid no notice, the riot of the city rising up. From there I hopped over to the gardens on top of City Hall.Ms Grant stood with hands stuffed in her long dark coat, a cold wind whipping its tails around her legs. She grinned, bright in her naturally dark face."You got my message," she said."And I gave up some home made cherry pie for it too," I said, crouched in front of her."Well don't think I'd waste your time," she said, "I'll be sure to make it up to you. This came in last minute, and it came from a nervous source.""Nervous?" I asked, "That's a funny way of saying it.""I can't blame him, he's breaking the thin blue line by doing it," she said, "There's a shipment of guns coming in from Detroit, down at the docks on South Works, coming in at midnight with a protection detail in blue uniforms, you get me?""I get you," I said."Word has it the Outfit placed the order, and the guns are going out to every street gang this side of Lake Michigan for top dollar, but what I want is the names and faces of the cops working security. If you can bust up the shipment that's fine, send it to the bottom of the lake, but I need to know who those dirty cops are.""Got you boss," I said. Then I hesitated. "You know if they have anyone else working security?" I asked."How do you mean?""Like a half-giant chick with flames jumping out of her hands," I said."Salamander, right?" she said, "I did some digging on her. Real name is Gabriella Marino, daughter of Sammy Marino, deep Outfit family going back to the Al Capone days. She has priors for assault, a robbery charge that went no where. Was looking ready to go pro on the MMA circuit before switching it up for the family business. Ever since the Explosion enemies of the Outfit have been turning up burned alive, I hope you don't need two guesses to figure out who's responsible for that.""That's what I like about you Ms Grant, you respect my intelligence," I replied dryly."She got you shook?" she asked."She's got me stepping careful," I said, feeling the bruises under my ribs."We should keep track of anyone else like her who turns up," Ms Grant said, "I have a contact with the Tribune who has been running down stories and rumors about people like you."The squeak of a door opened sending pigeons fluttering into the night. A security guard stepped out with a flash light as I ducked out of view.
"Hey Wallace," she said, holding her hand up over the beam of his flashlight washing over her, "You going to blind me with that thing?""Just you up here Maddy?" he asked."Just me just enjoying the view," she said."Awful cold up here," he said."I like the cold," she replied. He nodded before moving on. She looked down at me crouched low behind her. "The shipment is at midnight, remember," she said, "South Works."I nodded. Midnight was still some time away.>head over early to scout it out, better safe than sorry>take it easy and recharge down in the Loop, 'refuel'
How much do you wanna bet that there's an invisible super at our high school?and what are the odds that it's Jeremy
>>4570845Invisible creep is dangerousTime to get a sturdy as fuck lock on our locker. This nigga could plant shit and snitch on us if he wanted. Hell, take the long way home just so this little shit doesn't know where we live
>>4571118>head over early to scout it out, better safe than sorryWe just had a whole steak dinner, we should be good for now. Let's get there early and make a plan.
>>4571118We need to figure some shit out. How will we get the cops names and faces? Do we need a camera? Do we just beat the shit out of them? There's lots of cops in a city like this, we couldn't just describe what they look like even if we have a photographic memory. And I have no clue how to get their names unless they're wearing their name tags or radio numbers on their uniforms. But again, we have to remember all that.
>>4571144your phone has a camera
>>4571118>head over early to scout it out, better safe than sorryWouldn't hurt to grab a few portable snacks to eat while we do stakeout if we have the time though. This calorie limitation on our powers is a real pain in the ass>>4571146Fair enough
"Time to get to work then, you really don't pay me enough for this," I said, stepping toward the ledge."Isn't doing your civic duty reward enough?" she said, smiling as licks of hair flicked across her face."Only if it comes fried with biscuits, see you in a hot minute," I gave her a playful salute then launched out into the city, leaving her behind in the cold sweeping wind.Old timers called the swift cold wind that came sweeping off the lake, bringing with it the early bite of winter the 'Hawk', and the Hawk was sweeping through hard tonight, unannounced and unwelcome. It set old bones with bitter memories and sent coats blowing open. It wasn't the night for standing around outside, but in doors some where warm, with company to drown out the howl come moaning through Chicago, sending the waters of Lake Michigan choppy, rising in dark protest on the shore.I'd heard of the Hawk but not got to know him yet, now I was getting an intimate greeting as I bounded down southward to South Works by the lake. My hoodie wasn't warm enough for when it hit me with its full blast, and when I leapt I was doing it blind before its howl, landings falling off the mark, causing me to slip where I thought I'd make a clean landing, nearly sent me flying into the side of a wall.I caught my knee on a brick railing, hissing as I pulled myself over.The trees of a park beneath me bowed before the mighty Hawk, branches groaning against its awful moan. I crouched, waiting for the wind to slow, for the terrible moan to fall to a bitter mutter, then leapt again more cleanly.I came to a clear patch of scrub still marked by the factories once stood here. Now it was openland, flat and empty, thought of as a park but not a place anyone would go for a picnic, overlooking the dark lake waters with no shelter from the bitter wind. A fire burned in a steel drum, homeless clustered around it for warmth, torn up old couches and filthy mattresses dragged closer for bedding. If they saw me they paid me no mind. One of them gave a hacking cough sounded like a motor wouldn't start. Across aways over the Calumet River was the lights of the Port of Illinois. Tankers resting in the night as forklifts and cranes ported off goods, to be taken to waiting trucks and train cars.The ships came in under the bridge, pushing and towing gargantuan industrial scale containers.Until you sit and watch it, its hard to comprehend the scale of it. And this was a slow day, to imagine a port choked with steel monsters trawling the water, hundreds of them, I couldn't quite grasp it.
I ran, leapt up into the night, and landed atop a water tower looking over it all. It became a toy trainset, unreal even as I watched men work late through the night. No one had seen me yet, so I hunkered down, waiting through the cold as the afternoon shift ended and the workers one by one filed out. A sniff built up in the back of my nose. I was craving hot chocolate.I checked my phone to watch the minutes tick by like hours then days. I stuck in my headphones and listened to a little music, knowing at least I had the drop on them.It was nearly midnight when cars what weren't supposed to be here turned up. They were sleek black vans, the kind you see ride convoy in bad political thrillers. Goons in cheap suits hopped out.But that wasn't my concern. I was looking for cruisers.One stood guard at the far entrance as another rolled into the grounds, cranking to a stop, carriage dropping as the uniformed cop got out, ambling over to an Outfit thug directing it all. Apacket switched hands and the cop pulled the brim of his cap down in respect.Too far away for my phone to get a clear picture, I had to get closer.> roll 3 x 1d100+15 dc 70
Rolled 87 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4571223
Rolled 55 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4571223Now all I must do is not critfail
need one more and I don't mind a reroll
Rolled 33 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4571259Aight
>>4571225ok, good resultwriting it up
Zoom.Zoom.Zoom.I was way too far away to get a good shot even at maximum zoom. Waiting for a good moment, I leapt from the water tower to a nearby building, some kind of administration office, and hoped they didn't see the flash of white light that errupted from my feet. I hit the gravelly roof top, skidding over broken crash, takeout wrappers and empty beer cans. I kicked over a thickshake that had been left out since I don't know when, scrambling to the ledge.The cop bent into the window to chat with his partner. I put on the zoom, the face clear in the car light, catching them both in profile with a quick press of my finger.My blood froze.Officer Clarence Whitman grinned in the snap shot, his partner a Latino man of a similar age.I nearly dropped the phone, my hands shaking as I put it away. Kay's dad. It was Kay's goddamn dad.For a hard second I considered deleting the photo.Instead I took a breath and shook myself out, going over to the other side of the admin building, looking for the other pair of crooked cops, the two keeping an eye out by the entry road.One of the cops had stepped out to take a piss, I caught his face when he turned back to zip up. The last one didn't get out of the car, and I couldn't get an angle to see their face.I went back to keep an eye on the Outfit carting the smuggled guns into their anonymous black vans, but my attention remained fixed on Officer Whitman. Slowly the cold shock began to turn into a hot rage."What's that in the water?" an Outfit goon called. Officer Whitman's flashlight came on, swooping over the black waves, hand to his sidearm."Musta been a tree branch," someone said, "You get all kindsa junk in the river.""Hell I could of sworn it was a..." the thug trailed off, "Nah, its nothing."Then there was a sound, when I turned my head I saw an erruption of water, exploding upward from the river.It landed on the stone dock, water pouring off its body. It was eight feet if it was an inch shorter, with a dark hide and a broad face that came to a sharp point. no nose I could see but a gaping mouth filled with rows upon rows of razor sharp teeth. It turned its head, swung it one way then the other, hunched forward so its long wiry arms dragged over the ground."What the fuck!" a thug yelled, "Who the fuck are you?"It spoke in a harsh man's voice. "A shark has no name."It swung an arm, caught a goon and pulled him toward its maw. The rows of teeth sliced through his shoulder and neck, through fabric and meat with little effort, spraying blood across its broad nose and down its muscled chest. It wrenched back, swallowing a thick clump of meat and bone, the thug in his grip gone dead white, shuddering in horror and panicked death throes.
"Jesus Christ!" guns came out as thugs backed away, stummbling over each other, dropping the crates of ill-gotten weaponry.Small black eyes, a doll's eyes, took them in above a bloody red maw. It had no expression as it moved toward them, the dead thug swinging from its fist. My bladder clenched as it took a long step toward the black vans.>help the gangsters>help the shark>stay the hell out of it
>>4571297>>help the gangstersMore stop the shark from cannibalizing a bunch of dudes than actively helping
>>4571297>help the gangsters
>>4571338>>4571309>>4571307locked intime to fist fight a shark
I couldn't just sit back and watch them get torn apart. Whatever kind of low down piece of trash hoods they were, they didn't deserve to be eaten alive. I couldn't leave Kay without a dad, not like this.Gore slopped down from the shark's half open mouth as he flung the corpse at the Outfit gun thugs. Then with arms swinging he galloped with shocking speed among them. He grabbed a man's arm and pulled, popping it from the socket, then by the wet noodle limb swung him into his friends. When he was done swinging the thug around he gripped by an arm and leg and sunk his jaw into his belly, ripping through the tender flesh and into the gristle within.I lunged from my hiding spot, trying not to vomit as the man-turned-chum slopped from his mouth and onto the wet port ground."Hey now, this is no all you can eat buffet!" I said, voice shaking with terror. I had to joke or I'd either puke or wet myself.The shark turned its head toward me. He loomed."Hotspur," the shark's voice was a sharp rasp, a sandpaper voice, "Another childe of the falling star. We share a glimmer of purpose. We should not fight."I was starting to think it wasn't so much I was short as I kept running into giants."I can't let you kill these people," I said, raising my fists, "Cannibalizing a bunch of gangsters, that's not in my code."Small nostrils flickered on the side of its sharp nose, its dull black eyes staring unblinking."You are resolved," it said, "Then stop me if you're able. It is not cannibalism for a shark to eat a man, and a shark must feed."He continued to walk toward the gangsters clustered behind their vans, their guns ready. Maybe they were too terror struck to use them, but I wasn't too scared to do something.The hot fire burst through me as I lunged at the shark, ready to stop him.>roll 3 x 1d100+5 dc 75
Rolled 12 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>4571358Use our speed to dodge out of the range of his attacks and quickly lunge in with a jab to the nose. That stuns sharks usually, they have a bunch of sensory nerves there or something. When he's stunned hit him with the full power strike. This is an untrained fighter, with tactics we should have the edge I'm hoping write ins could maybe give a bonus to the roll so I made a plan just in case
Rolled 41 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>4571358dice gods please cut us some slack I don't wanna have to make up a cover story for getting dismembered by a shark on the way home from Kay's
>>4571358You gotta put "dice+1d100+5" in the options field anon
Rolled 12 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>4571358Fuck it I'm just gonna roll again. We're gonna fail anyway
This shitty luck is really sucking the fun out of the combat of this quest
Rolled 97 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>4571358oh god oh fuck oh god
>>4571408sad that three was the limit
>>4571408Fuck I should've just waited. Sorry anon. Nice roll though. Hey OP how would you feel about letting us vote for options in combat instead of just rolling, might make us feel a little bit less at the mercy of the whims of the dice gods and a little more in control of what happens
"I don't want to hurt you," I said."The sentiment is mutual," the shark said, turning as I lunged toward him. My fist hit him square in the nose, it staggered him, back knee buckling. I saw something creep into his beady black eyes as he stared at me. He straightened up. "But I will not be detered."The more he spoke the harder it was to see him as an 'it'.He swung for me but I lunged backward, avoiding the swipe of his hand, fists raised to box. I bobbed back in, hammering him in the chest. The power fueled punch right to the kidney would have dropped a normal man, but the shark wasn't normal. He loosed a front kick, the bottom of his foot driving for my head. The strength of it whipped past my ear as I ducked around.Power quickened my steps, keeping me light on my feet and out of his reach, but I couldn't close the gap on his monstrous reach."Keep your eyes on me," I said, "Smile, Friendly, show me those teeth."He kept coming for me, moving away from the gangsters. I stepped back. Something wet squished under my shoe. I didn't want to look. An open hand swung around, I dropped under it only for his other hand to clobber down on my shoulder. My knees bent under the weight, braced against the pavement, pain roaring down my chest. Whatever he was he got by on pure strength, but for him pure strength was enough.The next blow knocked me upside the head and spit flew from my mouth. I wobbled, wanting to vomit as nausea washed through me, but I didn't drop. I backed toward the water, throwing out a jab on uneven legs."Your resilience is as admirable as your convictions," the shark said, "But this farce must end.""Yo, boss, Hotspur's fighting the shark," one of the gangsters said."Waste 'em both you idiot!" his boss snapped.The snap of guns being readied turned us back to the parked vans. A line of ill-fitting suits with dark submachine guns faced us."No gratitude," the shark said, shaking his monstrous head.He took a step back and leapt for the river. I was a step behind him as machine gun fire burst behind me. The slap of cold water was a shock, then it soaked into my hoodie as it pulled me down into the murky depths. Above my head bullets flew, a couple pitter-pattering into the water. I swam awkwardly, not sure the direction I was going, when the shark's large head broke through the murky darkness, beady black eye right against mine.
In a panic I tried to swim away, but he grabbed me under the arm pit and with one hand began to swim up river, the gills on his neck flaring. My lungs began to burn, my scarf choking me as it clamped to my face, sucked into my mouth with the fresh lake water. I pulled it free with a spray of air bubbles, pulled along helpless by the shark.When we broke above the waterline I gasped, lungs on fire, chest heaving as I sucked down sweet air. We were far from the shore, the port lights a distant twinkle on the horizon.The shark stared at me. There was nothing human in his inky black eyes."You're a boy," he said, "A child." He stated it plainly, I wondered if he still had human emotions, if he had ever been human at all."And what are you?" I said."I am a shark," he said."I meant before," I said, "Were you always a shark?""What I once was I'll never be again," he said, "I will return you to shore. You did not best me but you gave those gangsters distraction enough to flee, saving their lives.""I was just getting warmed up, give me another round and I'd have a pair of shark skin boots.""Perhaps," he said, "Let us call it a draw then."He grabbed me around the shoulder. With one arm he began heading to shore. The cold wind blowing over the freezing water set my teeth to chatter, soaked clothes hugging to my body. By the time we reached the shore I was in no state to fight, and worried I was suffering from hypothermia. Then I remembered my phone, patting down to see if it was still with me. More importantly checked to see if it was still working.Success. I dropped to my ass on the shore, shivering, staring at a picture of Officer Whitman taking the bribe."We have no cause for conflict," the shark said, kneeling in the water, "We share a purpose.""What's that, a fondness for sushi?" I said. The image of him threshing another human being was still to alive in my memory."The destruction of evil," he said, "The stink of it draws me. As I believe it draws you."I sneezed. "My sense of smell ain't that strong, pal," I said."Yet still you come, a fellow warrior," he said. Waves lapped around us as I struggled to bring back my energy, to stoke the fire inside me into a warming furnace that chased away the chill, my teeth no longer chattering, and color returning to my face.I lay back, staring at the stars. "I don't know what the hell I am," I said, "Or what you are.""I," he said, with great significance, "Am a shark."
"Do you have a name?" I asked."A shark needs no name," said Shark. It was eerie, the almost smile stuck on his face, the black dolls eyes, but he made no violent movements, his raspy voice was calm. Then he rose, all eight feet of him. "I must err the waters lest I suffer," he said, plodding toward the watery depths. He had a funny way of talking. He stopped to look back. "If we should chance to meet again, Hotspur, battle would not be my choice."Shark strode into the water, out until it swallowed him, and he was gone in the dark line where the night and lake met.I dropped back, lake water soaking the ground beneath me, the Hawk whipping wild off the lake with a lonely cry.First I found out my girlfriend's dad is crooked, then I got into a fist fight with a mutant shark man, then I got shot at by the people I was trying to save, and finally I almost drowned but was rescued by the monster I was trying to stop.This had not been my night.But I had the photos Ms Grant needed.The photos of Officer Whitman. Photos that could send him to prison. I opened my phone and looked at the picture. Looked at the delete button. It would break Kay's heart to have her dad dragged off in chains.>delete the pictures, Kay didn't deserve it>keep them, Officer Whitman deserved what was coming
>>4571432>keep them, Officer Whitman deserved what was comingJustice is blind and all that. All of the Spidey impersonations we've been doing give us Parker luck in rolls and in life.
>>4571410its something to think about. I'd need to figure out how to make it work organically if I was going to do it.I do try to measure different factors when I put down a dc, as well as bonuses and negatives, and keep Eric's personality and training in mind when I write up fight scenes
>>4571432>keep them, Officer Whitman deserved what was comingHe's been betraying his family and the people of this city for possibly years
>>4571438It doesn't have to make a huge impact on the way you do dice, maybe a good write-in could lessen the consequences of failure. Plus it's just good flavor for the scene too.
>>4571432>keep them, Officer Whitman deserved what was comingHe's part of the corruption of the city. He'll be in prison but he'll be alive.
>>4571432>keep them, Officer Whitman deserved what was comingIvy best girl anyways
>>4571434>>4571441>>4571448>>4571472locked in(sorry got distracted)
The tip of my finger hovered over the 'delete' button.And moved to close the window. Officer Whitman had made his decisions, and now I made mine. Whatever came of it would fall on his head.-I'll get back to this tomorrow
Can we still break that shipment, or is that long gone?
>>4571432With her father in jail, Kay will be more emotionally vulnerable. Perfect.
I met Ms Grant north of South Works, by the lonely sign of a 7-11 glowing in the dark.If I staggered when I walked she'd have to forgive me, I wasn't in the best shape. Getting knocked around by an 8 foot tall shark man then nearly drowning in Lake Michigan will do that to you. She sipped a coffee as I came stumbling over, a knitted cap pulled low on her head, sitting on the hood of her car. It must have been 2 in the morning, maybe later. Earlier. Whatever.I held up the phone. "The pictures you requested," I said.She slid down from the hood. "How are you?" she asked as I slumped over."Sore," I said, "I had a surprise run in with another super freak. Some kind of big shark man with a hell of a wallop and an apetite for gangsters.""I got pictures of three cops and the trade off. There was another dirty cop there but I couldn't get a good angle, so you'll have to make a case with what I got," I handed her the phone. She flipped through the pictures, nodding at each, then sent them to her own phone."Do you need to go to a hospital, see a doctor?" she asked, genuine concern in the purse of her lips.I shook my head. "I just need to eat," I said."You did good work tonight, Hotspur," she said, "Did you manage to stop the shipment of guns too?"I shook my head again. "I was a bit preoccupied with the walking, talking wood chipper.""The dirty cops are more important," she said, "If we can clean out the dirty cops from Chicago PD then maybe this city can start standing on its feet again. Connect them with other corrupt officials and gangland figures maybe we can take the whole thing down."It was optimistic thinking, I don't know how likely it was. There was a rot in Chicago but I wondered if it went deeper than just a few public servants on the take, something more than just the choices of a handful of individuals. Systemic. But my head was throbbing and I didn't have the education to elaborate on the thought. Right now I was more worried Ms Grant was going to catch a bullet before she could see her work through. She was out here waiting for me at two in the morning, I wondered if she ever slept or thought about anything else. Did she have a life, or had she sacrificed everything for this crusade of hers?Maybe she was more dedicated than me. I was feeling sore, and it wasn't all physical. I could have taken Shark, I know it, if I was stronger, smarter, better trained. He had just been primal strength and he'd had a lot of it, but he'd lacked the honed skills of Salamander. If there was ever a fight between the two of them my money would be on her.
"Give you a lift home?" Ms Grant said, gesturing to her car. The light of the 7-11 cast an amber glow on her cheek, mist curling from her lips."Part way at least," I said, climbing into the back. Leather interior chairs and the smell of pine needles. I slumped over the back just about ready to sleep while she ducked into the driver's seat. Light soul came over the speaker, soft vibration from the bass.I must have passed out because next thing I knew we were stopped in a whole different neighborhood, somewhere down town, and she was passing back a paper bag. "Hey, eat up," she said.I opened it to the smell of hot tacos, a four pack. I turned away from her, pulling my scarf down, trusting she wouldn't try to spy out my face while wolfing down the tacos. Hot sauce dribbled over my fingers, running with the grease poured out of each bite of the tortilla. Eating was mechanical and nearly tasteless, I barely chewed. Wiping my chin I pulled my scarf back up, legs groaning and tense. I could use a massage."You been doing a lot for me, Hotspur," she said, "I feel like I haven't been giving a lot back. Gratitutde only goes so far, I know that."I sat in the backseat resting my head on the soft leather, hoping the drum pounding behind my eyes would stop."If there's anything I can do to help you out," she said, "Let me know.">helping you is helping me out, Ms Grant>you know I could use some money
>>4572604I need someone who can fix me up when I'm hurt, off the books. I can't get away with another suspicious hospital trip and I've been getting the shit beat out of me on a consistent basis.
>>4572603>>4572615This and we could probably use some equipment as well.
>>4572615SupportingA doctor who can keep their mouth shut. That and food
>>4572618We need something to increase our defense for sure, our power does almost nothing for us in that regard.
>>4572604Supporting these two >>4572615 >>4572618We need a suit and a surgeon, since contrary to any rumor or hearsay, we aren't exactly bulletproof
"I could use a doctor," I said."You hurt?" her eyes turned sharp in the rear view mirror."Nah, I mean, I could use a guy off the books if I do get hurt," I said, "I've had some close calls with suspicious hospital trips. If there was someone I could go to when I need stitching up it'd be a help. Maybe I didn't make it explicit enough earlier but I'm not bulletproof.""Can take a hell of a punch though," she said.I'd have laughed if I wasn't so tired.She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel. "I can hook something up," she said, "But remember you're putting other people in danger the more you pull into this.""I know," I said."Also I could use some new threads, discount hoodies and third-hand goggles don't exactly strike fear into the heart of the underworld.""That might take a hard minute," she said, "But I'll see what I can do. It could be good PR, get you in something stylish, slick.""Knife resistant," I added. She laughed.We pulled up on the block of my hideout."I'll let you know through the line," she said, holding up her phone, "And I'll keep you informed on what's going on with those cops.""Thanks Ms Grant," I said.She frowned at her steering wheel for a sec, then back up to me. "Call me Maddy," she replied, "Ms Grant makes me sound like a school teacher. We're partners in this, I'm not your boss.""Yeah, ok Maddy," I said, backing up, "I'll catch you later.""All right, sleep tight," she winked before driving off.I waited ten minutes before pulling off my still damp hoodie and goggles, banking them in my hideout before tripping my way home. If there was trouble out on the street tonight I was lucky in avoiding it. I got back to the apartment and pulled myself up the fire escape, muscles crying as I did, then shimmied open the window. The mangy cat shivered in the cold night, looking desperately to the gap i the window.I sighed, hooking it under the belly and pulling it inside with me. I collapsed on the bed while it licked the back of my hand.Nothing for it but to sleep, and dream of blood-stained shark teeth.
The next morning I found Dad sitting at the breakfast table, a fifth of a bottle of whisky in front of him. He looked bad, dark pits under his eyes, unshaven jaw shaded in stubble."Take a seat Eric," he said, transfixed on the bottle.When I sat he started to talk. "You were right about what you said at the hospital," he said, "I haven't been here. Your mother...losing her like that was hard for me, but its no excuse. I lost my wife, but you lost your mom. And if I'm being honest I've had trouble drinking since before she...before she got sick. There were times when you were a kid I'd go buckwild drinking, and not for any reason but the need for it. When she was gone you needed me to step up and instead I slid down a bottle."I crossed my arms, listening."There's got to be a change," he said, "I can't keep living under this cloud, it's not fair on you." He got up with the bottle, going over to the sink. He turned it over, pouring it out down the drain. He dropped it neck first into the sink. It was a dramatic gesture but I couldn't help but wonder if it would stick. "I don't know where I'm going to go, maybe AA, maybe somewhere else, but I'm going to get help. You deserve better Eric.""So do you," I said. He looked up, haggard. "I...Dad, you don't deserve to burn out. Killing yourself with alcohol, you deserve better that that."His tired smile put a spark in his eye. "You're a good kid, Eric," he said, "She did a good job raising you, wish I could say I had more of a hand in it."He went to the stove, getting out a skillet. "Now what do you say to some bacon and eggs?" he said."I say that sounds pretty good," I said.And he put on some Springsteen as he started frying up, and for a moment I thought maybe him and me, maybe we'd be ok.-taking a short break
Kay and I met up that Saturday down the Loop.People talk about the pizza here, I was ready for the pizza. I still wasn't ready for Chicago style hotdogs. "It's a whole ass pickle," I said, "And a whole ass pepper and slices of tomato all crammed on a bun. Its not a hotdog its something else.""It's delicious!" Kay said, half way through hers."Yeah, ok, I'll admit that," I said, having downed two of them. It was a cloudy early afternoon. My shoulder ached, and I hoped she hadn't noticed my slight limp. I was scared to ask about her dad but I guess nothing had come from it, she was acting carefree as ever.A funk band busked before a mural of raised black fists beneath an underpass, the singer with a wild afro and a harmonica hooked in front of their face. We stopped to listen with a good chunk of a crowd, a student set down from the university. It's stuff like this made me love this town, you could turn a corner and find fresh live music after picking up some tasty bites, someone was always performing something even a juggling act or whatever, and you had people on street corners preaching their stripe of religion or politics, handing out the propaganda to anyone dawdles longer than a second. Add to the scene a cart selling fresh churros and we were wiping cinnamon off our cheeks by the time we moved on."Check out, wild sighting," Kay said, pointing down the street.Ben, Chad and Annie were out and about, and not in the typical way. Annie wore a headset with a mic, holding up what looked like some kind of radio antenna over her head, eyes up on the sky. Ben was stalking back and forth bent over some kind of Geiger counter, scanning the pavement. Chad cradled some kind of big bulky camera, but I had a sense it wasn't meant for taking photographs.It was out of the ordinary to see the three of them down at the Loop. Their usual haunt was a comic shop on the north side of town, arguing over the latest nerd stuff."What the heck are they up to?" Kay said with a curious smile."Looking for aliens maybe," I was only half-joking, having heard enough of their heated arguments in class.We walked up not meaning to intrude, but Ben was so transfixed by what was in his hands he bumped right into me."Sorry," he said by reflex, "Oh, hey, its you.""What do you want?" Annie said, stalking over and jutting her chinless face at me, "Don't you have a basketball to dunk or something?" She had the kind of agressive posturing told me they'd already caught a round of jokes from someone else. Whatever it was it had nothing to do with me."What are you guys up to?" Kay asked, scanning their instruments.Annie shoved her glasses back up the bridge of her nose. "We're conducting an experiment, highly theoretically, we're looking for evidence of the nunya particle.""Nunya particle?" Kay asked."Yeah, nunya business," Annie smirked.
"Hey Annie, there's no need to be a jerk," Chad said, coming over. He looked to me then Kay. "You might not know this but we're standing at exactly ground zero of the Chicago Explosion. About fifteen hundred feet above us the 'atmospheric phenomenon' detonated, scattering energy across the city. We're hoping to pick up something, radiation signatures, photon dispersals, something, to give us a clue what really happened that night.""We wanted to put up a drone too but couldn't get clearance," Ben said, "All though there's been plenty of drone sightings of unknown ownership. Maybe military, maybe something more sinister.""Yeah but why?" Kay said."Why?" Annie repeated, "Why? Is scientific curiosity not enough? Doesn't just asking a question have its own value? Dunderheads, we're surrounded by dunderheads." I'm not entirely sure what a dunderhead is but its not a compliment."And have you found anything yet?" Kay asked, words now icy behind her smile.Annie blushed while Ben cringed. "We still have to collate the data," Ben said."And when you do will you even know what it means?" she continued."We'll figure it out," Annie said."What we do know is whatever it was coincidede with the appearance of people like Hotspur," Chad said, "Not just him but other people too. You can read all about them online if you know where to look. Who knows how many are real, but Hotspur definitely is.""Now that is kind of interesting," Kay said. Chad blush. "Right Eric?" she looked to me and I thought I saw Chad die a little.I shrugged. "I guess so," I said, trying to act like they hadn't mention me twice as an example."Do you think you'll get in trouble?" Kay asked."We're ready for trouble," Annie said with a confident smile."Well, good luck I guess," she said, moving on. It was only once we were out of earshot she added "weirdos" with a roll of her eyes.We ran into the others down near an arcade. Ayesha was eating an Italian ice, nice and vegan friendly, while behind her Hunter and Zeke slaughtered their way through zombie hordes with the clack of electric guns."Hey love birds," Ayesha said with a smile, biting on her spoon.Zeke shoved his gun in the holster with an angry snarl while Hunter just grinned. Game Over flashed on the screen. Dane slunk up from the depths of the arcade."You ready for the game we got coming up?" Hunter asked."Yeah," I said.Hunter's smile grew and he shook his head. "No you're not," he said, "If coach puts you on the court just try not to lose it for us.""Well I'll be there ready to cheer you on," Kay said, hugging my arm.The day went by like that, us kicking around the Loop just joking, until night started to fall and we started breaking up for home. Hunter's words kind of stung a bit. He didn't take me seriously, most people didn't. Maybe that was a good thing. If they had even a clue what I did at night they'd look at me different.
We were coming down the street, Kay, me and Ayesha, when a man bumped into me, colliding so hard it stepped me back, the others walking on without having noticed."Sorry," I said, checking myself."No, my fault," the man said. He was small and a little fat, old enough he was starting to lose his color but not 'old' exactly. He wore a drab three piece suit with gold framed spectacles, and carried a cheap briefcase in one hand. "May I have a word?"Very polite."Yo Eric, you coming?" Kay asked, waving from the bus stop with Ayesha."Sorry man, I'm busy," I said, not in the mood for whatever he was selling, not with Kay smiling like that."I really think we should talk," he said, then said softer, "Hotspur."My back went up and I glared at his face. Dull and serious, he stared back."Lives are at stake," he said, keeping his voice soft. I wanted to ask who the hell he was, I also wanted to get the hell out of there.>have a word with him>get away from him
>>4572842>have a word with him
>>4572842>have a word with himI feel like we're neglecting Kay, but this matters more
>>4572842>have a word with himWill have to make things up to Kay later
>>4572842>have a word with himYell "I'll catch up!" to KayMaybe we can call this man our uncle or something as a cover story
I have to go, I'll update this tomorrow
>>4572842>Mention that there are more subtle ways to catch our attention and that he better watch himself if he wants us to listen to him.>Give our phone number and tell him to send us a time and place when we could meet to furrther discuss.
>>4572979ill support this if write ins are allowed
>>4573081write ins are always allowedI'm in too bad a mood to run today. I'll try to pick this up in a couple of days, sorry
>>4573795Sorry QM, I hope everything is ok and your mood improves - I really like the quest and the way you're running it!
>>4573795Sorry to hear about your bad mood OP, just binged thread 1 and wanted to say your writing is fantastic, this is easily one of the top tier cape quests. You've got a new reader and hopefully I'll be all caught up when you resume.
>>4572842>have a word with himCouldn't resist continuing to binge and oh shit this last updateOne other piece of equipment we could get, we seem to keep busting our knuckles/hands up so we could get wraps or padding or something to protect them.
>>4573795No worries QM. Take the time you need
>>4574149I think we used handwraps recently while training, not sure if it's a part of our usual getup though.
>>4574149I'd go for some lead-shot gloves
I'll run tomorrow
"There are better ways to catch my attention," I said, nervous for the attention he was drawing. I don't know how he knew who he was or who had told him, but it spiked my nerves. "Look, here's my phone number, text me a time and place and we can meet up.""I'm afraid I'll have to insist on now," he said, and pulled back his coat to show a pistol stuffed into his belt.I frowned. What lives were at stake that he felt the need to threaten me?I looked to Kay and Ayesha at the bus stop and forced a smile, waving over to them. "I'll catch up guys, be a minute."They exchanged a frown as the stranger lead me aside, into a busy cafe.He took a seat at a booth, placing his briefcase on the table between us."Please sit," he said.I sat down, glaring at him."How do you know who I am?" I asked as the door clinked open as customers came and went."Before we start my name is Andrew, Andrew Givens. And I didn't, not really, not until right now," he said. He really was gray, not really from age but just a general colorlessness. "We are the same in one respect, we share fantastic abilities. Developed from the same event, I think, after I was knocked down during the Chicago Explosion.""Not so loud," I suggested.He smiled with bitter humor. "Don't worry, no one is listening. People as a rule don't listen to strangers." He raised a hand to call over a waiter, and it took some time for the young woman to notice him, then longer to take his relatively simple order of a straight black coffee and a slice of cheesecake. "How do I know who you are," he said, "I didn't, but I knew where you were. I know where everyone is, every living human on the earth, if I have a name to put to them. I have become something of a human GPS if you will. To find you I only had to think about you, and go to where you were. I was surprised to discover you were just a boy. I couldn't believe it at first.""And that's how you know lives are at stake?" I said, "Because of this GPS ability.""Not exactly," he replied, "Though in a way."The coffee and cake came and he thanked the waiter, leaving it to cool before touching it.
"When I first discovered my power I used it to entertain idle curiosities. Following my co-workers in my mind, musicians I enjoy, silly things of no consequence. Wondering where my manager went on his lunchbreak.Then on a slow day at work I decided to see what my wife was up to. Was she watching television, was she shopping, or going to the gym? I wondered how she filled her day. To my surprise she wasn't home. To my further surprise she was at my brother's house. I didn't think they were particularly close."He took a long sip on the bitter coffee. Took a spoonful of cheesecake."So then I thought 'where is my brother?' It was no real surprise to discover he was home too, but it was curious. They were occupying the exact same spot. The exact same spot, for over an hour."His gray hand tightened around the coffee cup as he stared into the inky depths of the coffee."They're still there," Andrew said, "I suppose they'll stay there until someone notices the smell.""I'm used to not being noticed," he said, "Isn't there some irony there? The man who is never noticed, knowing where everyone is.""You killed them," I said."I did," he said, "And I may kill again. I don't know if I want to so much as I have to. You see the neighbors saw me arrive and leave. They'll connect me to the murder and put me in prison. I suppose I deserve prison, part of me wants to be punished. But I'm scared too, I really am the most basic coward."He looked at me and smiled. "So I thought I would put my fate in the hands of a real hero. You see the life in the balance is my own."He drew the gun and placed it between us. "I mean to kill myself," he said, "Unless you stop me. Part of me wants to live but another part knows I deserve to die. So I'll take the cowards path, and let you decide. Should I live, or should I die?"He placed a hand on the gun, staring at me, smiling oddly. He was serious, I could tell. Tears began to stain his eyes."I loved her," he said, "She didn't deserve to die.">let him pull the trigger>stop him
>>4577415>stop himWe definitely don't have the gall to just let this man kill himself. make him go to prison if he wants retribution
>>4577415>stop himIt's one thing to get cucked, it's another thing to get cucked by someone who you considered a friend or family. She deserved it.
>>4577415>stop himHe should turn himself in I think
>>4577415>stop himYou can help people with this gift. It's not too late for you.
>>4577415She didn't deserve to die but you offing yourself isn't going to make things right, help people with your power, maybe that will clear your conscious, maybe not, in both cases you still make the world a better place
"She didn't," I said, "But neither do you. Not because you're innocent, but you've got a gift that can help people. You can find missing people, help with search and rescue. You can save people.""Maybe I don't want to save people," Andrew said, "Maybe I don't deserve to save people. We aren't all as selfless as you. And after what I've done, how could I dare."He placed the gun on the briefcase between us, the dark weight of it heavy on the case. It was a viper and I didn't know in which direction it would strike."I'll either die now or die in prison," he said, "A quick death might be better, before I get a chance to hurt more people. My wife, my brother. God I loved them both. How can such evil be allowed to exist. How could I have been...I never knew I could do something like that. To people I love, loved. That I could be so unloving I could drive her away, then to be so selfish I killed them. God, how could anyone forgive that?" Tears leaked down his face as he stared at the gun, the same one he used to murder his wife and brother. "We have a daughter, a little girl. How can she live with a father like me?""I don't know," I said, "But if you use what you know for good maybe it can make up for what you did. Save five lives, ten lives, a hundred, maybe it has to balance out.""You think so?" he said. He looked to the half eaten cheesecake. "But who would be so cruel as to forgive me? How evil must I be to forgive myself?" He reached for the gun, hand moving slow toward it, but I closed my hand over it before he could. He hesitated, staring."Turn yourself in," I said. Then with a flush of power, squeezed, crumpling the pistol under my grip. "You don't want to die, not really. If you did you wouldn't have looked for me. Call the police and turn yourself in, and try to find a way to make up for it. Not for your sake, but for your wife and your brother. For your daughter. They deserve it, not you. They deserve your time, use it to do some good."He stared at the crumpled lump of metal that had been his gun. Tears dripped down his saggy cheeks."It never even occured to me, not once," he said, "That I could use this gift to help people."Then slowly he rose from his chair, and with despair stumbled from the cafe.I sat for a time staring at the half-touched coffee and cake. Then I got up as well. I met Kay and Ayesha at the bus stop, still waiting in the busy street. "Hey hot stuff, you were gone a while," Kay said. I didn't speak, I just wrapped my arms around her, held her tight.She relaxed into my embrace, resting her head on my shoulder. I held her, silent until the bus came.
Andrew Givens made it on the news but without any mention of his powers. 'Local Man Slays Wife And Brother' was the headline, with a brief mention on the news, in between a story about a pair of cops using search warrants to rob family homes and a puff piece about a local rapper putting on a benefit concert for his old neighborhood, something about getting basic school supplies.How many of us were out there? Shark had called us a 'Childe of the Falling Star' - a poetic turn of phrase that I didn't like. It made it sound like destiny instead of a freak accident, and I had no reason to believe it was any kind of fate. Not when it gave powers to people like Salamander and Andrew, and who knew who else.It was a question I didn't have answers for. I'd just have to wait until more of us started revealing themselves. For now all I could take care of was my own business, and that started with hand wraps.It meant getting ready would take longer, but if that saved me from a broken finger and busted knuckles it was fine by me. I was still hitting the occasional corner boy and banger when I found the time, but I was busy with other stuff too. Boxing, basketball, and of course Kay. There's only so many hours in a day.I also knew hitting corner boys wasn't really solving my problems. The Outfit was still choking the city, pouring all kinds of military grade weapons into the hands of street gangs. Blood was running thick in the gutters and they were the source. Then there was this 'Navaja' and the Mid-West cartel, flushing the streets with poison. I'd made a dent against them but I didn't know much about who they were. At least with Rooster and the Outfit I had names to put to faces. Maybe I had to stop reacting and start being proactive in running these groups down, put my name in their mouth and fear in their heart.But there were only so many hours in the day, and in the night even less.>investigate the Outfit>investigate the Mid-West Cartel>leave that stuff to people like Ms Grant
>>4577537>investigate the Mid-West CartelOutfit has Salamander so they're too scary
>>4577537>investigate the Mid-West CartelDamnI hope we see Andrew again. Killing two people sounds like life - I hope his powers get him out of that.
>>4577537>investigate the Mid-West Cartel
>>4577545>uses his powers to find a lawyer that can win his caseOP if possible
>>4577577I'd rather he help us out with cleaning up Chicago. Not sure how trustworthy he really is though.
>>4577577that's not really how his powers work
The Mid-West Cartel and this 'Navaja', whoever she was, had been the main customers of Nicolas Bellavanche's smuggling operation. I'd busted up that one but I doubt it had done more than trouble their day. I needed to know who she was and what they were capable of. I knew about the Cartels generally to know they were bad news, especially down on the border and in Mexico, but Chicago was as far as you could get from Mexico without being in Alaska. Whoever these guys were, the more I knew about them the better.Chicago has some pretty big Latin neighborhoods. Mine was split between black and hispanic, with the rest of us fitting in the tiny 'other' percentage on the census. Going down the street I was likely to hear a bit of Spanish in the air, even if it was just pumping off a car speaker.I went to where I normally did for info on street gangs. I hit up Luis' corner store."Yo Rico, how's your school work doin'," D-Mark said out the front, Smokey half-way down a bottle of malt. Some boys around my age were throwing down a tag on the wall further down, can of spray paint hissing. "Doin' good," I said."Doin' well, got to be careful with that grammar son," D-Mark said.The bell rang over my head."You know there's some kids spray painting your wall?" I said."Street art's good man, part of the culture," he said, "Unless they drawin' dicks or somethin'. You see what they doin'?" I shrugged as I got a drink out of the back fridge.The bell rang again and a guy came in, bought a pack of New Ports and a lottery ticket, flipped through a couple of magazines."I heard you been working with the DSA lady, Grant," Luis said when the customer left, "You think you can introduce me? She's fine as hell.""You serious?" I asked. He just grinned. "I was wondering if you could do something for me, there's some big time pusher named Navaja I want to know more about, part of the Mid-West cartel." Luis' face went dark and he pulled away from the counter. "What's the matter?""Nothing, just wondered why you want me dead so bad all of a sudden," he said, "The MWC ain't ones to mess with. They stacked bodies to carve out their independence from the bosses down south.""Worse than the Outfit?" I asked."Just a different kind of terrible is all," he said, "The difference is the Outfit ain't my people, you dig? If I push back on them its just a proud Latino protecting his community. Push back on the Cartel though, and Navaja is going to take it personal.""So you know who she is?" I asked.
"Barely," he said, "Mostly by reputation. They say she used to be a hooker, took over from her pimp after feeding him to his own dogs. Started working her way up, making friends with the bosses down south, then took over the organization in a week long blood bath ten years back. Like any lady gangster she's twice as crazy as the men. She'll kill on principle then pay for your funeral, laughing the whole time. And that's if you're lucky. Make her mad and what she does will end up as jerk off material for the sick freaks on the dark web. I tell you kid, the world will be kinder when she leaves it.""Any gang with even a bit of spice kicks up to her in this town," he said, "So whatever you're planning to do with that, you do it far as hell away from me."Bad news."So where can I find her?" I said."Jesus Christ kid, you just don't listen," he said. I grinned."You know I won't let it come back on you," I said."Yeah, you'll try but...look getting to her is like catching smoke. She doesn't step out on the corners no more, but if you swing by a brothel her group runs maybe you can catch a lead. I hear she likes running business through them 'cause most guys let down their guard when they have a pretty girl feeding them drinks. Not here though, you'll need to head down to Little Village for that."Little Village wasn't far. 'Little Mexico' more like. That wasn't racism it was just a straight up fact, Little Village had more Spanish spoken than English and most folks there hadn't been born this side of the border. Prime recruiting ground for a woman like Navaja, and the logical place for the stronghold of her criminal empire. I drank my drink and felt a squeeze in my ribs. I was still a little tender, and had a hospital check up I was meant to get to."You know if she's got any weird kind of enforcers?" I said, "People like me?"Luis shrugged. "If she do I ain't heard it yet," he said, "You really aren't going to stop until half the city wants you dead.""Guess so," I said, "Thanks for the advice, Luis, I think I got it from here."
Before I could do much more with the information I'd got from Luis, I had to get checked up at the hospital for a follow up examination. Dad was insistent, worrying about how I was doing. He didn't care about the medical bills, he said another couple thousand wouldn't make a difference at this point. We got a ride from our downstairs neighbors again, driving through an overcast sky out to Rush University Medical Center.It's there I got to be poked at by an intern, checking my bruises, my breaks in a private room, a cold stethoscope held to my chest to check my breathing."You've healed up quick," the young doctor said, flipping through the notes, "Real quick. Benefit of being young and healthy, but its good, good. You've been resting, eating right?""Yeah," I lied. If Ms Grant, Maddy, came through this would be my last visit to a hospital. If I ran into Salamander again I might need one, but from now on I'd be getting more private care if I got messed up. The doctor rolled a lollipop around his mouth, clacking on his teeth as he scribbled notes."Looks like the fractures are pretty much healed," he said, "Give it another week and you'll be back to normal.""Thanks Doc," I said.Being at the hospital I couldn't help but think of Grace.>visit Grace, I promised her a visit>it was probably better to let her rest
>>4577651>>visit Grace, I promised her a visit
>>4577651>visit Grace, I promised her a visit
I'd promised her another game of Street Fighter and I kept my word. I told Dad I'd meet him out the front, and strolled down the hospital wing. It was quiet the way only hospitals could be quiet, the soft hum of machinery and the care staff trying to get their work down while giving the patients rest. The soft murmur of conversation behind screens and the tap of foot steps on the bright floors.The tranquility gave way to the strum of guitar strings and soft singing. The hairs on my arm picked up at the sound, growing more distinct as I came.I knew the song, it had played at Mom's funeral. I had to slow for the hot emotion starting to rise up in me.It came from Grace's room, the door half open. Ivy sat on the edge of the bed, strumming a guitar in her lap, Grace sitting up to listen. The little girl looked worse than last week, paler, the pits under her eyes sore. She had more tubes in her for I don't know what reason."Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house, maybe you'll think of me and smile. You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse. Keep me in your heart for a while."Her voice was smokey and cool. I stopped to listen as she crooned to the little bald girl."Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo."I leaned on the door frame not wanting to intrude, hot emotions thumping in me making me want to turn around and leave, but the guitar started to slow and her singing trailed off, her fingers flat on the guitar strings, head bowed with volumes of dark gold curls falling over her face."When do you think Mom and Dad will be home?" Grace asked."Soon," Ivy said, not raising her head, "By Thanksgiving at least.""Do you think I'll be well enough to see your play?" she asked, "I'm really looking forward to it. Do you think Mom and Dad will be back for it? They'd be missing out.""Maybe, I don't know," she bent over her little sister and put a kiss on her head. "I think you have a guest," she said, spying me through the door."Eric!" Grace was so delighted to see me it put me back, "I didn't think you'd come.""I always keep my word," I said, stepping into the room, "Especially to girls.""How long were you hovering out there?" Ivy said, eyebrows furrowed in suspicion."Not long," I said. "If this is a bad time I can come back later.""No!" Grace howled, grabbing at my wrist. It was amazing how she could move with all the tubes sticking out of her. "We have to fight. I've been working on my combos all week.""There's nothing in the world more boring than watching other people play video games," Ivy said, getting up from the bed with her guitar, "You two have fun and I'll be back in a little while.""Going to have another cigarette, huh," Grace said as her sister stalked off. "She shouldn't smoke you know, its bad for her."
Grace hopped down from her bed and set up the game, handing me a controller. We fought it out a couple of times, Grace giggling at every one of her victories, but it was clear the girl was tired, and her head started to nod, her responses slow. I won the last match more from her not being able to muster the strength to play than any skill on my part."Um," she said, rubbing her eyes, "Are you and Ivy friends?"The question took me by surprise. I didn't see any sense in lying. "Not really," I said."I didn't think so," Grace said, " I think she needs friends. She'll be all alone when I'm gone."A numb wave went up my back to har the girl say it so normally. Grace stared at the tv screen and the fighters bobbing in place against the cartoon background."Could you be her friend, Eric?" she said, "I really think she'd like you. I like you."My guts tightened.>yeah I'll be her friend>only if she wants to be friends
>>4577697>yeah I'll be her friendShe seems like a good person, I'll watch out for her for you
>>4577697>yeah I'll be her friend
I'll leave this vote open and update tomorrow
>>4577697>yeah I'll be her friendDamn. Choking up a bit
>>4577697>yeah I'll be her friend, but don't just give up like that
>>4578076she's not giving up, she just understands her situation
locking that in
I used to think Ivy was just a stone cold bitch. I guess she still was but I had a better idea why now. Grace waited for my answer with pain-filled hopeful eyes."Yeah, I'll be her friend," I said. I could try at least.A weak smile flittered over her face. "Thanks," she said, "She acts like she doesn't need anyone but that's not really true.""We all need somebody," I agreed.She was clearly too tired to keep talking. She had buried herself in the back of her bed with her court of stuffed animals, the ancient rabbit pulled into her lap. I left her there as she was nodding off to sleep, and in the corridor bumped into Ivy again, her guitar slung behind her.Ivy hugged her arm self-conciously, looking anywhere but at me. "You didn't have to do that," she said. Her tone was oddly accusatory, even offended. It put my back up."What's that supposed to mean?" I said, forgetting for a second the promise I'd made her sister."No, I didn't," she winced, then gave a frustrated sigh, "I didn't mean...I mean 'thank you'. You didn't need to go to all this trouble.""I wanted to," I said, "She's cool.""Yeah, but she scares people," Ivy said, "Not everyone's ready to deal with a dying kid. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't want to deal with that."I shrugged uncomfortably. "Guess I'm used to somethings more than other people," I said, "And you know, I'll be back. When I find the time.""She'd like that, she likes you," Ivy said."What about you, do you like me?" I said, half-joking.She stared at me a moment, more seriously than I expected. "The jury is still out on that one," she said."Well if you ever want to hang out or talk, just send me a text," I said."'If' is awfully big for a two letter word," she said, but we swapped numbers.I waved goodbye but she was already heading into her sister's room.By the time we got home it had started to rain again, rivers of rain water gurgling in the gutters, trash streaming and bobbing in the urban currents. Even in raincoats people were heading quickly for cover. Nothing but a steady rain seemed capable of clearing out the corner boys and pushers, leaving the streets all but abandoned in the gray curtain that fell over the city.We got inside and I rung out my shirt, Dad drying his hair.He'd been making an effort lately to cook dinner, and when he was dry enough went to it.I had some homework to wrap up, and at my desk I scribbled it out. A soft mew caught my attention, then the scritch of claws on glass. The mangy cat shivered on the fire escape, rain plastered and shivering in the cold downpour. I slid the window open enough for the cat to slide in, where she took up a spot on my bed, nesting in the depths of the comforter.The rain was a soft comforting hiss as I finished my work.I lay down my pencil and considered the week ahead.>concentrate on crime fighting, put the screws to the cartel>I need to up my game, focus on training>school work, school work, school work
>>4578263>school work, school work, school workWe're still tracking leads for the gangs, but I think we'll get farther with DSA help then alone.
just so you guys know because the mechanics are 'hidden' but your bonuses in fighting scenarios improve the more you train
>>4578263>I need to up my game, focus on training
>>4578263>I need to up my game, focus on trainingSalamander is still out there
sorry have to do something, I'll be back in a bit
If I was going to fight every gang this side of the Great Lakes I needed to train harder. With my powers, and in the gym. Mornings before school were spent experimenting with my powers, my control of the white hot flame that burned inside me, in the sparse grounds of the abandoned factory I had made my hideout. Afternoons found me at Prize Fight Bozing, working a heavy bag or going through drills with Coach Jackson."There are three kinds of jabs," he explained to me, "Broadly speaking. There's the slapping jab, the breaking jab, and the shattering jab. The slapping jab gives you your measure, your distance. Let's you feel a guy out. The breaking jab is what you use to tell a guy to back the fuck off, to defend yourself. And the shattering jab, that's the one you use to hurt somebody. Okay let's go through it."He had me square up with a big south side boy, a black kid called Emilio. Jabbing the way he taught us felt more like fencing than a straight up fight, the two of us circling, feeling each other out. Shuffling our feet."Stick and move!" Ayesha called from the side.Coach Jackson ignored his niece. "Don't shuffle those feet, step proper," he said, "Keep them a good space apart and mind your knees. That's right."Without using my powers I was always reminded how uncoordinated I was, though maybe I was getting better at that the more I worked at it."Do you dance, Eric?" Coach Jackson asked after a training session. I mopped sweat from my face with an old towel."Dance?" I said."Fighting and dancing have a lot in common, Bruce Lee danced the cha-cha," he said, "Anything that helps you get your body in tune with itself is good for your training.""I play basketball," I said, "Got a game saturday night.""Basketball? That's ok," he said, "But you move different on the court, its too much about speed, running the other players down. Dancing teaches you a lot more.""You teach dance classes too, sir?" I said, not believing it of the big man.He scowled. "Is that so ridiculous?" he said, "And no I don't, but Diana does. She's looking for more students. I told her I'd loan her some of my boys, the ones who could use more lessons. So that's you, Stink, and Kye. She's going to teach you how to tango, literally.""It sounds like you aren't giving me much of a choice there, sir," I said.He grinned. "It does seem that way, don't it."So I guess I'd be learning how to tango now too as part of my boxing lessons. Great.
I'd say this for the class though. It was taught by Diana, they all wore tight leotards, and they were mostly young women and girls my age. Ayesha was part of the class too, so it was good to have a friend there, but I was nervous about any jokes that might follow me to school.It was set to a slow tempo, violin strings purring from a speaker. I was partnered with Ayesha. Stink was with an older woman, and Kye was with one of the only boys voluntarily taking the class. Kye didn't seem to mind, while Stink was tripping on his own feet, embarassed by the close press of figure to figure, the more experienced woman kindly offering him advice on how to lead.It was weirder for me. I was with Ayesha. Ayesha was a good friend. A good, very attractive friend wearing very tight clothes. I had a hand half on her hip, a nervous lump in my throat."A little firmer than that Eric," Diana said, stepping us closer together, close enough I could feel Ayesha's breath on my neck. This close I could make out the freckles on her dark skin, her eyes bright without her glasses. Ayesha smiled, she really had a cute smile. As we went through the steps my hand went from her hip to the small of her back, sliding up the fabric. I was painfully aware of everything, including the fact she and my girlfriend were best friends."You don't have to be shy," Ayesha said, "It's just dancing."For all Roy Jackson's talk I didn't see how it related to fighting, or maybe I was too preoccupied by the heat between our bodies. Ayesha was a lot more practiced than I was. I apologized about five times for stepping on her foot.When the lesson was over we broke apart, her face bright with sweat."You're a lot better than you think," she reassured me. All I could think about right now was a cold shower, and trying not to think about her having a hot one. My girlfriend's best friend, I reminded myself, and my friend too.
School work had slipped out of my hands but I was keeping up, I think. At least no teacher had cause to pull me aside yet. I fought a little crime but with the weather getting wet it was keeping people in doors and it turned out fighting crime in the rain was a miserable experience. Still, I kept an eye out for trouble.The only real problem I had to deal with was Hector, the junky who'd threatened Mrs Valdez with a knife, trying to break into a car out the front of our building. A hard look sent him running.The week swept by to Saturday, the day of my first official basketball game as part of the team. I was more nervous than I should have been."You're going to do great," Kay said. We sat together over a basket of fries, rain torrenting down outside. "We'll all be there cheering you on." She wore an oversized sweater, the collar rising to her chin, and she brandished a fry like a knife. "You've been training hard, I'm sure Mr Nfume will give you some court time.""And if I screw it up they'll never let me forget it," I said."So don't screw up," she said, like it was that simple.But I couldn't ignore the flutter in my belly as the game approached. I was more nervous about this than scattering a gang of drug dealers.The game was at the school, lit up in the late afternoon with the sun setting behind it. A bus had pulled up with a south side team, all but one a black kid. Cars filled the car park. It wasn't football but the school took basketball seriously, and we'd have a packed house tonight for the first game of the season.Mr Nfume was waiting with Howie by the change rooms. He wore a dark turtle neck and a gold chain, a dark sports coat over it. He tapped a clipboard as we turned up, checking out our names as Howie passed out clean green and gold uniforms.."Go get 'em, go get 'em," Howie repeated at each of us as we passed."Thanks Howie," Rufus said, "You cheer us on and we can't lose."Howie went bright at that. "Get the ball in the basket!" he ordered me."Got it boss," I replied, heading in to change.When we were ready coach had us in a circle."Are you here?" he asked. We nodded. "No, I need to know. Are you here?""Yes coach," we said."Doesn't sound like it. Let me know, are you here?""Yes coach," we repeated louder."Are you here?""Yes coach!" louder."Let them know it, out there. Let them hear it. What time is it?""Game time!""All right," he grinned. We jogged out, out of the locker and into the bright lights, a cheering crowd calling down from the stands. We were in green and gold, they were in black and purple.I checked the crowd for my friends, my heart rose at the sight of Kay waving, a school pennant in her hand.We went to the bench, coach sending out the starting line up.>ask Mr Nfume to be put out there>wait, my time would come
>>4578471>ask Mr Nfume to be put out there
>>4578471>ask Mr Nfume to be put out theregimme a shot coachPLEASE
taking a short break, sorry
sorry I fell asleep, getting back to it
"Put me in, sir," I said.Mr Nfume looked down on me under the bright court lights, cheering coming down from the stands behind us."You sure you're ready Eric," he said, "You've never played a game before.""I'm sure," I told him, "Got to have my first time some time, right?"He tried not to grin. "Don't know if I liked the way you phrased that, but hell, get on in. Timothy! You're off for now!" he looked down to me as Tim came jogging off the court. "You got a minute, if you mess up you're off and Tim's back in. Understand?""Yes sir," I said, grinning as I ran onto the court.I heard Kay's 'Woo!' rip out. I looked up and gave her a little salute as she stood on her feet, clapping hard, grin splitting her face. Ayesha was on her feet next to her, with Zeke and Dane behind. Kay clasped her hands on her face, blushing behind them.A couple rows lower Dad came shuffling in, Mrs Valdez with him. They sat with Dad leaning forward, eyes bright as they followed me onto the court, a tall thermos of coffee in hand. Since quitting drinking he'd been looking rough, now with me on the court he looked nervous, hot lights making him sweat under his scarf. Mrs Valdez said something that made him ease up, but his attention never left me.The seats were full on both sides, a whole crowd come up from the south side looking to see their boys push in the faces of a north side school. It was the street vs the suburbs and it felt weird to be on the side of the suburbs.The ref in his black and white uniform stood between Hunter and a tall black kid, basketball in hand. He gave a sharp blast of his whistle and tossed it up, the boys springing up for it, trying to bat it to their own side.A sharp breath caught in my chest as Hunter's fingers hooked under the ball, swiping it back toward Rufus.It was on.>roll 3 x 1d100 dc 75
Rolled 47 (1d100)>>4578833100 incoming, were the new larry bird
Rolled 41 (1d100)>>4578833I don't know how much I trust my luck to roll here but here goes...
Rolled 23 (1d100)>>4578833nice double dubs
Rolled 30 (1d100)Why the fuck are our rolls so cursed? Rollan again to get the bad luck out.
Eric is kinda shitty at everything except beating up normies with his powers
And we fuck it up again.Something is going on with these rolls
The white boy on the south side team sprung into action, driving forward to intercept. He bounced around Rufus, and when I got up in his face passed the ball off to one side, snatched up by a team mate who made a rebound from the three-point line.A klaxon blew, the score board lit up.Rufus swore, throwing a fist at nothing.I got the ball, passed out to Hunter.Hunter drove forward, Rufus off to a side, another guy behind him, trying to set up the triangles coach had us drilling. He passed to Rufus and Rufus passed back to the other guy while I came up to mid-court.He took a shot but a south side boy sprung up to defend. It was back in their possession, and we were scrambling to head them off, sneakers squeaking under the cheering crowd, the dribbling ball a drum beat.They were good but not that good. I knocked back a shot but could snatch the ball up. When I blocked again I did it trying to bat it toward Rufus but again the white boy got in the way, snatching it and popping up for an easy lay up.Mr Nfume called time out to pull us in. They were ahead with us still at zero."Get your heads together," he told us in a huddle, "They're driving nails through the defense. Get the ball and starting hitting them back."We nodded."Eric," Mr Nfume caught my eye, "Can you keep up?"He sounded doubtful.> yes sir (use a bit of power for a bonus)> take a knee and let Tim back on the court
>>4578897> yes sir (use a bit of power for a bonus)I sort of doubt we'd pass the roll even with a bonus at this point but fuck it
>>4578897>yes sir (use a bit of power for a bonus)
>>4578897>yes sir (use a bit of power for a bonus)Nothing ventured, nothing gained
I'll update tomorrow. I'm tired and not feeling well.
>>4578897>> take a knee and let Tim back on the courtBeing mediocre at sports isn't so bad and even works as a cover, we trained for what 2-3 months? suddenly going out there dunking on players who trained their whole life is going to bring at least some attention.
>>4578897>take a knee and let Tim back on the courtNo power in public use, we don't know who is watching. Also, honor n shit.
>>4578897>yes sir (use a bit of power for a bonus)What 15 year old would not do this? Just a little...
>>4578897> yes sir (use a bit of power for a bonus)Just enough to turn things around a bit
>>4578897> yes sir (use a bit of power for a bonus)Only enough to sustain continued pressure, no superhuman movement but superhuman endurance. Make them tired by going your max baseline human capacity for an unnaturally long time.
>>4579271Uh, I think if we don't turn this around quick we're gonna get benched.
"I can keep up," I said.I could more than keep up, but I had to be careful.Mr Nfume gave me a hesitant nod then clapped my shoulder."Show them what we can do," he said.We jogged back onto the court, the south side team impatient and ready to ball.The referee blew his whistle marking game on again. This time I let a small thread of power flow through me. My feet felt lighter, my attention tighter, and the movement of the other players seemed to slow.Rufus stole the ball and we moved down the court, a trio. He passed around one player to Hunter, who faked a shot only to pass back to Rufus.The score was still 0-5.Rufus glanced back to me. The white kid on the south side team bobbed in front of him, looking for the ball. The bottom of Rufus' sneaker squeaked as he suddenly lunged forward, around the white boy.But he was quicker and with a scoop of his hand stole the ball out from under Rufus and started driving down the court.Right toward me.>roll 3 x 1d100+15 dc 75
Rolled 77 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4579726Bet we still fail
>>4579740only if someone rolls a 1
Rolled 97 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4579726
>>4579773even bettertry not to critfail
Rolled 90 + 15 (1d100 + 15)>>4579726Here I go lads
>>4579807>>4579773Where have these rolls been when we kept failing everything else
He came up quick, looking to dart around me but I stayed on him. Then in a second where the ball seemed to slow, I slapped it out of his hands and between his legs, curving around to collect the ball, and drove down the court, ball slapping on the palm of my hand. The other team all seemed slower, clumsier, as I drove through their defense, deftly swerving around a big defender.In the stands my friends got to their feet cheering. Dad was leaning over the next row, shouting. But it was all noise next to the level of concentration I had on the court.I was in their perimeter, closing in on the basket. They came on me, swarming, trying to block me off, hands up and too tall to shoot over.A hot burst from my foot and I leapt. Air Jordan style I launched up and through them, ball up behind my head. I brought down hard. The ball dropped through and I caught the hoop, net swishing, hanging off it as the crowd roared around me, the south side team looking like they were ready to throw down. The feeling I had hanging there as the score board flickered from 0 to 2.I dropped."That's it, that's how we do!" Rufus said, slapping my hand. We jogged down court as the ball came back into play.The South Side boys weren't willing to give us a second to enjoy my dunk and were back on us, the ball quick between them, making our defense look like trash.One went for a shot. I hopped up, slapped the ball from the air to Hunter, who took it five steps before passing off to a team mate, who did the same before passing to Rufus. Rufus came up to a clear shot and from behind the three point line made the shot with a swish of net.Scores were even, we'd turned it back.Then a South Side boy, coming up with the ball, just happened to drive into Rufus knocking him down, and when he tried to get up stomped a foot on his ankle.Rufus barked with pain as a boo ripped up from the crowd, with Hunter and one of our team mates giving up on playing to get up in the player's face, ignoring the ref's whistle. Hunter grabbed the front of his shirt and got a palm in his face for his trouble, both spitting wear words at each other.The South Side bench got up, closing in behind their team mate, then a fist got thrown clocking Hunter in the side of the head.It was on. The ball got thrown away as north side and south side boys closed on each other, the crowd shouting in disgust as fists and elbows started flying.>jump in and fight alongside your team>stay out of it, let the ref break it up
>>4579849>stay out of it, let the ref break it upI wouldn't fight anyone while still hopped up on our power, too suspicious.Can we just grab Rufus and pull him out? he seemed like he got fucked up
>>4579849Get in there but try to split people up only, switch off powers and stay calm
>>4579849>stay out of it, let the ref break it up
>>4579849>jump in and fight alongside your teamturn off the powers tho
I'm reading this as a tie so I'm going to give the vote a little longer before flipping a coin
Rolled 2 (1d2)all right I'm flipping a coin1 you jump in2 you stay out
I stepped back as the brawl got bigger. Tim came flying off the bench to throw into it, chucking a chair overhead as he did."What's happening, what's happening?" Howie sobbed. Mr Nfume clutched his clipboard, face blank with fury.I watched Rufus try to crawl out from under the feet of the brawling players, his ankle twisted bad.I ducked down stretching out my hand. Rufus clasped it by the wrist and I hauled him out from the brawl."Come on," I said, propping up against his shoulder to help him limp over to the bench.The ref's whistle screeched but it wasn't doing much. Hunter swung a long arm, fist smashing into the side of a south sider's head. He winced, shaking out a busted knuckle. Just watching the loose limbs flying around I could see the difference between some kid hauling off to take a swing and someone who knew how to actually punch. I felt I should be in there on some level, helping my team mates out, but with my power I didn't want to hurt someone and Rufus needed looking after.Teachers started moving in to separate the players, including Mr Nfume."How are you Rufus?"We turned to see Ms Flores heading over with a first aid kit."I'm going to take off your shoe, let me know if it hurts."She knelt in front of him. His foot shook as she slid the shoe off, hissing, yhe shout of teenage boys behind her. I watched the tangle of flailing limbs and hot angry faces tumble over the court.Mr Nfume separated a south side boy and Tim, holding them a wide arm span apart."Children, this is basketball not ice hockey," he said.The brawl lost its steam as the boys were separated, the ref and the coachs off to the side. Mr Nfume spat furiously at his clipboard, in the face of the South Side coach like their own little fight was about to break up. The teams limped to their seperate benches, heads low, dark with anger.Hunter sat, head down, clutching his arm. "I think I broke it some how," he said, tears of pain in the corner of his eyes. On the other side of the court a South Side boy flipped us off. "Mother fuckers," he hissed.Finally the ref sent the coaches back to their respective sides."Good news," Mr Nfume growled, "We won. Ref's disqualified the other team for starting the brawl. Not much of a way to win if you ask me." His glare took us all in.The crowd stirred in confusion. It was clear nobody was happy with what had happened or understood what the result was."We tied the score at least, so you all have that," he said."Next time I guess we can roll on our bellies and just get pissed on," Hunter said.
"Next time you get me," Mr Nfume said, "You play the fouls, you don't start fights. This is a game gentleman, one we play to win. You're lucky it wasn't called a wash with you both disqualified.""We still won though," Rufus said."There's a right way and a wrong way for everything," Mr Nfume said, "This is the wrong way. You beat the team on the court, not through technicalities. No one's impressed by street ball hood shit.""Yes sir," Rufus said, head low."Let's get you all looked at," Mr Nfume said, "Make sure none of you are really hurt.""I think its just a sprain," Ms Flores said over Rufus' tender foot."My arm," Hunter complained, holding it in his lap. And Tim's face was swelling with a black eye, and a couple other kids were complaining about busted this or that. Only me and Howie had come away without some damage, and Howie was still in tears.Hunter would need a hospital trip but the rest of us were able to limp out. We met our friends out the front."Yo, that slam dunk was sweet!" Zeke said."It really was something else," Ayesha added."I got the three point shot," Rufus muttered, but he did it still leaning on me for supporter."Guess you're a real jock now huh," Kay said, finger hooked in the front of my shirt."Kemal's throwing a post-game party if you're down," she said, "Come on so we can celebrate your first game."The rest of the audience was pouring out of the auditorium, heading for their cars or bus stops. An ambulance had turned up to cart Hunter off to hospital.I had to admit, I didn't feel too good about the win.>a party sounds good though, hit it up>there was nothing to celebrate, it was no kind of win
>>4580002>there was nothing to celebrate, it was no kind of winWouldn't be the same without the team. Maybe hang out with Kay one-on-one?
>>4580002>a party sounds good though, hit it up
>>4580002>a party sounds good though, hit it upNeed to have a little fun once and a while
>>4580002>a party sounds good though, hit it upsucks but what are we gonna do when they stomp on a downed player and then attack ustime to move on and get our mind off it
"Yeah that sounds good," I said, not feeling the victorious flush I should have felt after a game. Still they were pretty hyped up about my dunk and letting me know it, so that was cool.I met up with Dad and Mrs Valdez out the front of the school."So this is your girlfriend?" he said when I introduced them to Kay."It's nice to meet you Mr Miller," she said."It's nice to meet you, Eric's been a real jerk not introducing us sooner, but I can forgive him," he winked at me as they shook hands, "So what are you kids up to?""We were going to go to a post-game party if that's cool," I said.Dad smiled. "First time you've ever asked me if its ok to go somewhere on a weekend. Yeah, have fun and be home before midnight. Stay safe." Then he gave me a rough hug. "Proud of you boy." I was embarassed by the kiss he put on my cheek, but Kay didn't mention it."Your dad's a sweetheart," she said as we walked away hand-in-hand."He's all right," I said.A car horn honked. Kemal waved to us, his big shaggy head split in a grin out the driver side window. Jamal was riding shotgun. I climbed in with Kay and Ayesha."Squeeze in a couple more?" Zeke asked, him and Rufus trying to get in."Sure," Kay wiggled up onto my lap to make room, totally illegal but I wasn't complaining as I hugged her around the waist, pressed right against my chest. Ayesha squeezed in tight next to Zeke and me."Let's hope there aren't any cops around," Kemal said, smiling at Kay in the rear view mirror.Kemal it turned out lived a little further north than the rest of us, in a really nice neighborhood with big homes with proper lawns. Other cars were pulling up on the wide green lawn."This is your place?" I said."Yeah, but its not just me, my cousins live here too," he said, "All the old folks have flown out to Egypt for a wedding though, so I'm in charge.""Drinking is haram," Jamal mentioned like Kemal didn't want to admit it."Hey, can't keep halal all the time. God'll forgive me, even if the teachers down the mosque won't," he said, pulling up the drive.Kay slithered out of my lap and we stepped out. I helped Ayesha climb out, Zeke behind her.
"Thanks," she said, popping up next to me."So we got a pool in the back, heated of course," Kemal said, "And I got us a couple of kegs to celebrate our boy Eric's first game. Help yourselves.""Any food?" I asked, belly gurgling."Any food?" Kemal laughed so loud his head tipped back like a muppet, "Homie, we got all kinds of good eats. Now I got one rule and its don't be a jerk. I think most of you can manage."Tim and some other team mates came in another car, and so did a bunch of other students I didn't know too well. We flocked up to the front door, finding inside a quaint wood paneled floor with a white ceiling set with an electric chandelier, a huge flatscreen tv and a playstation set up with a stack of fighting games next to it.Kemal's cousin Nasim sat in the depths of a leather recliner reading a paperback book. She looked up smiling."Did you win?" she asked Kemal."Hell yeah we won," Kemal said, leaving out the details. There was a long dining table with a row of pizzas open on it. I was on that before anything else, Rufus limping up behind me.I stuffed a slice in my mouth, struggling to chew. "Hey brother, thanks for pulling me out of there," Rufus said, pouring himself a glass of pop. "I owe you one."I said 'don't mention it' but through the mush in my mouth it came out 'mont mention mit'. I swallowed hard, just about hurting myself.Music started thumping from a speaker. People I didn't know were coming up to congratulate me. Kay stayed close, hooking an arm around my waist, beaming with pride.Kemal offered me a beer. "We've got to have a toast," he said, offering me the frothy cup, "That was a sweet ass dunk.""And a three point throw," Rufus muttered.I looked at the amber beer in his hand.>thanks but I don't drink>what the hell, one won't hurt
>>4580085>thanks but I don't drink
>>4580085>thanks but I don't drinkNot now, not ever
>>4580098>>4580093locked in but I'll update tomorrow.sorry for the short one
>>4580085>what the hell, one won't hurtmaybe if we get enough support for drinking the lock in will be reversed
I could see justification for either vote but Eric hating alcohol since his dad's an alcoholic makes a lot of sense to me.
>>4580085>thanks but I don't drinkA distaste for the bottle seems in character
"Nah man," I said."You really don't drink at all do you," Kemal said, "All good, more for me!""He's a better Muslim than you are Kemal," Jamal said, pouring a cup of coke for me and one for himself.Drinks were handed out, then Kemal raised a toast. "Hey all, listen up! We've got a couple of sport heroes here tonight. Let's give it up to Rufus who made a sweet three point shot." A cheer went up with cups raised, "And here's Eric, who made the sickest dunk I've seen outside SportsCenter! Cheers!" I blushed as cups were raised and the cheer went up. Kay gave me a kiss on the cheek, then Ayesha did too and a girl I didn't know, giggling in my ear. I didn't need beer to feel a little drunk with everyone coming up to congratulate me, it was a rush. I understood why the football guys were the way they were after that.A few more people turned up. Brian came in on crutches. "Wassup niggas?" he said as he hopped to a chair, both his legs in casts. I could guess how that had happened. Behind him came Ivy with a plastic bag full of drinks."Tribute," she said, handing the bag over to Kemal.Kemal rubbed his hands greedily before opening it up. He pulled out full bottles of vodka and bourbon. "The good stuff," Kemal said, admiring the bourbon in particular.I gave Ivy a friendly nod. "Hey jock, you start dragging your knuckles yet?" she said."Not yet but give it a couple more games," I said."You didn't cheat did you?" she asked, half-joking."What does that mean?" I replied, acting dumb.Kemal poured her out some vodka which she topped up with pop. She knocked it back. "So what's next, are you going to give Kay your flower?" she said, pouring another, "When it happens try not to get too emotional."I don't know if she was picking at me or it was just her rough sense of humor. It was hard to tell with Ivy sometimes. I didn't get a chance to ask since a couple of seniors swung by trying to get Ivy's attention. It kind of put my back up seeing older students hit on her, and it put my back up further when she played along into it. Either way she went into the party, pulled off to where some people were dancing.Fine by me, she could do whatever."Hey," Kay hook my hip with her arm, "Can we talk about something? In private?"My chest began to buzz. "Y-yeah," I said. She lead me away, up stairs. We found a bedroom and my nerves started to spike. Inside she closed the door, the lights left off. I was on her and running my fingers through her hair, kissing her soft cheek, trying to get to her lips, starting to pull up her sweater. She held me back gently."No, no sorry, it's not that," she said. Then in the light coming through the window I saw tears in her eyes."What's wrong?" I asked, moving to sit with her on the bed.
"My dad," she said, "He's been suspended. I think...he's not telling me anything but I think he's in trouble.""I'm sorry Kay," I said, guilt striking my heart. Officer Whitman had done it to himself, but I'd provided the evidence. "What do you think it was?""I don't know," she said, "He's keeping secrets. I hate it. I hate secrets. It's just another way of lying and I'm sick of being lied to." She bowed her head against my chest, shaking. "I'm sorry Eric. You don't need this dumped on you. Tonight's your night and here I am being selfish. The needy, over emotional girlfriend.""No way, no way," I reassured her, pulling her into my arms, "You're going through something. I'm here for that, whatever it is."She sniffed, managing a smile. "Thanks Eric, you're such a great guy."She kissed me and I could taste the tears on her lips. She stepped back, pulling off her sweater. I swallowed at the sight of her in a tight white bra."I'm not ready for...for everything," she said, drawing in her bottom lip, "But um, I'm ready for a little more..."I sat on the side of the bed, tight, nervous. I didn't know what that meant but I was ready to find out. I pulled off my shirt. She came and sat beside me. We started kissing, and then we were lying down, exploring each other. Not everything, not even close to everything, but a little more than I'd ever done before.By the time we were finished I was breathing hard, the sound of my heart beat filling the room. The splash of the pool outside broke through the heat trapped room. Kay stared up at me, head on my bare chest, hand moving down to...down there."I think if I could go all the way with someone, it could be you," she said.A knock at the door broke our peace. Kay scrambled to find her shirt. The door cracked open, Tim's head popped in."Oh shit, occupied!" he called behind him with a laugh. Daphne, the girl in the school play, popped her head in trying to catch a look."Ooh!" her eyes widened at the sight of us half dressed together, "Scandalous!""Whatever!" Kay said, tucking her shirt into her jeans, hopping away from the bed. I pulled on my shirt, pulled up my pants. Whatever her embarrasment, Tim gave me a look of respect."Sorry for the cock block bro," he said as we got out of the room. He had a small crowd with him, and a bag of weed in hand."Mashallah, don't tell me you...you...you profained my bed!" Nasim said, furious in her hijab."Cool skateboard collection," Kay said, head down and heading for the stairs.Nasim's fury turned into confusion. "Thank you?" she managed as we fled, shocked laughter still following us.Down back in the party Kay was bright pink. "Well that was embarassing," she said."Hey girl, where'd you go?" Ayesha said, coming up on her with a couple of drinks. She saw me though and our mutual red faces and her smile turned sly. "Oh, had some fun huh?"
"Please God, end me," Kay called to the cieling.Outside by the pool guitar strings plucked. We wandered out there where Kemal was playing music by a fire pit, strumming out a Beatles tune. We sat down to listen with some others. "Yesterday," he crooned, "All my troubles seemed so far away."Kay put her head on my shoulder as we listened. "Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be. There's a shadow hanging over me. Oh, yesterday came suddenly." His voice was sweet and melancholy, it lulled the audience into his mood, quieting the party. He strummed the song to a finish, and there were a few wet eyes in the audience."Oh fuck that, this is a party!" Ivy called."Okay you got a request?" he said."How's about a Beatles song that doesn't sound like a suicide?" she said, "Give me that guitar."He handed her the guitar. She struck a hard note. "I'm back in the U.S.S.R. You don't know how lucky you are, boy. Back in the U.S.S.R!" She had a voice as good as his with a rock and roll growl.It did the trick of getting the party thumping again. "Oh she would sing that," Kay said with a strange meanness, "You know her mom is a mail order bride? Straight from the Ukraine." I had to admit the nasty way she said it put me off.We sat together as a music duel errupted between Ivy and Kemal. He brought out a second guitar so they didn't have to keep trading. Eventually it stopped being a duel and more of a duet, going over to old country songs, Johnny Cash stuff. It was cool whatever it was. Kemal knew how to throw a party, and how to entertain at one too. When they finished Ivy was sweating and he got her a drink. She chugged it back then whipped the rest over her shoulder to a couple of seniors cheering.>maybe I could help Kay and Ivy patch things up>the last thing I needed to do was interfere in their feud
>>4580626>the last thing I needed to do was interfere in their feudI don't know how we could explain why we care about their friendship without revealing everything about Grace, which Ivy explicitly asked us not to do.
>>4580626>the last thing I needed to do was interfere in their feudI think we just don't know enough yet
>>4580626dang I missed the vote but >maybe I could help Kay and Ivy patch things up>>4580634We can say we care about her not holding a grudge her whole life.>>4580636Sometimes you gotta jump in and figure it out as you go.
Whatever was going on between the two of them the last thing I needed to do was get between it. Not everyone needed to be friends and get along.Kay got pulled away by Ayesha and some other girls. She waved as Ayesha tugged her away. Then Zeke, high as a kite, wrapped an arm around my shoulder."Dude," weed breath right in my ear, "I heard you got lucky. Nice. Hey but you know I like you but, Kay's my friend so if you hurt her I'm going to have to, I dunno, break your leg or something.""She's been our friend since first grade," Dane said, coming up behind him. He swirled a drink in his hand, took a sip. "You're a pal Eric, but not that kind of pal."There was something more serious in Dane's tone, maybe even jealous the way he half glared at me."I'll do my best," I promised."Man, Eric's a boyscout, you don't got to worry about him," Rufus said, joining us by the pool. He was also a little high, eyes pink and smiling."Maybe," Zeke said, "But between his boyish good looks and his new sport star rep, maybe he won't be so boyscout if a girl like, uh, Marcy or someone threw herself at him.""Marcy? I don't know her," I said. Zeke pointed to the pool, where a girl rode Tim's shoulders, wearing just a wet black bikini, jousting with another pair in the heated water. She was Latina, light brown with thick dark hair, and thick in all the right places. Yeah, I could see what Zeke meant but my gaze went to Kay standing with her friends beside the pool, soft light brushing her face, and I smiled."Nah man," I said with a grin, sipping my drink."Between Mr Sportstar here and that damn super hero running around I don't even get a look in," Zeke complained, "You know I had to listen to Ayesha go on and on about Hotspur all last night in DMs? More like Hot...turd, am I right?" He looked to us for support with no hope of getting."What were you doing in Ayesha's DMs?" Rufus asked, his turn to be jealous."Talkin', we talk," he said, "We've been friends since middle school. We DM. What do you care?"The jealousy was mutual. "I think we have to fight," Rufus said."Yep, its the only way," Zeke said, setting down his cup. Rufus cracked his knuckles."Hold on boys," Dane said, "Do you really think Yesha's going to like that? Man, think. Even if you guys beat the hell out of each other do you think that's going to stop her being Hotspur's number one fangirl?""Nah, probably not," Zeke admitted."That damn superhero," Rufus lowered his hands, "Yeah, fuck it, and fuck that dude. Hot Turd is right. Stealing her, one of the hottest girls, without even knowing it. How can a brother compete with that?""It's not really his fault," I muttered, "He probably isn't even into her.""No one knows who he is though, right?" Dane said, "Now i'm not saying this is a good idea, but maybe one of you could dress up like him to, I dunno, turn her off him or something. Turn up to turn her down."
Zeke and Rufus exchanged a look like they thought it was a good idea. "Maybe you can say he isn't into black girls or something," Dane added, "That might really put her off, you know how she is. She'll thinks its problematic or something.""But actually don't do it, its a stupid idea.""If it came from you, its definitely stupid," Ivy said, strolling into the conversation. Dane got a sour look, while Zeke and Rufus started wagging their tails."Hi Ivy," Zeke said, forgetting Ayesha for a second.Ivy rolled her eyes. "Hey idiot, are you done talking to these other idiots? I want to ask you something," she said to me."Oh man, all the hot girls," Zeke whined, which got him Ivy's glare.She grabbed my collar though, pulling me inside. "We've got to talk in private about something," she said, "And it's not school stuff, if you know what I mean."I really wasn't sure if I did."In faith I'll break thy little finger," she said to my confused look. Hotspur."What's up?" I asked as she shoved me into the kitchen pantry. We stood uncomfortably close together, under Count Chocula's fang bearing grin."You need to do something about the pervert," she said, "The one at school whose been creeping on girls. The invisible one."I'd heard the stories. "Have they gotten worse?" I said."How much worse do they need to get?" she asked, "I had my underwear go missing, Eric, right out of my bag. And worse, girls have said they've felt something brush against them but there was nothing there. Do we have to wait until something really horrific happens?"Each word she spoke darkened my anger."Did he touch you?" I asked, grim.She shook her head."Can you deal with him?" she asked."I can try," I said, "But it'd be weird if Hotspur just showed up at school out of the blue. People might figure it out, guess that he's a student there.""Don't worry, I had an idea about that," Ivy said, "You know your little fangirl has set up a Discord group for Hotspur sightings right?" I did not know that, and I don't know if I was comfortable with it. "Yeah, I'm part of it. Its where a lot of these stories have been put together. If they put out a public post on twitter or something it could be good cover for you to jump into action.""Do you have any idea who it could be?" I asked.Ivy shrugged. She didn't, but I might.>I think its Jeremy>I'll keep any suspects to myself for now
>>4580736>>I'll keep any suspects to myself for now
>>4580736>I think its JeremyJust a suspicion though
taking a break to sort something out
>>4580736>I'll keep any suspects to myself for now
>>4580736>I'll keep any suspects to myself for nowI actually don't think it's Jeremy, because if it was him we'd have seen more serious retaliation by now.
"Do you have any suspects?" I asked."In a school of four thousand with over two thousand horny boys? Yeah, I've really narrowed it down," she said.The sardonic bite just made me grin. "So we shouldn't assume its someone we know," I said, even as Jeremy's face was in the back of my mind."God I hope not, could you imagine?" a disturbed expression crept into her eyes, which she shook away, "Actually, you're the only guy I'm certain it isn't.""I'm flattered," I said, "If anyone can figure out who this guy is, it's you Ivy. You're one of the smartest people I know." She brushed her hair back behind her ear, fighting a smile."We should get back to the others before they start thinking..." I said.She rolled her eyes, opening the pantry door. We slid out into the kitchen."Seriously," Nasim glared in disgust, fridge open with a bottle of juice in hand. "You are shameful, Eric, shameful.""Hold up-" I started.Ivy just laughed it off. "Please, do you really think Eric is my type?" she said, shooting me a look over her shoulder. Did Nasim buy it? Ivy certainly convinced me. She knew how to make her words drip with contempt. When she strode away it was with a haughty lack of concern, the whole episode dismissed.Nasim's eyes were still narrow, but as much from confusion as suspicion.I liked to think school was a break from the super hero stuff, but if there was a creep out there targetting my friends I was more than willing to bring my powers down on his. When I was back out in the party I couldn't help but wonder, looking around at the guys, most drunk or high, if maybe it was someone I knew. Dane or Zeke, even Rufus. Someone I considered a friend. I shuddered, it really was an awful thought, but suspicion had my nerves perked.I went back out to the pool where Kemal took a running leap, shouting 'cannonball!' Water burst over us watching, girls shrieking, guys laughing. Dane got pushed in behind Kemal then Zeke jumped in still fully clothed, the pool filling up. Some stripped to their underwear before jumping in, Ayesha and Kay included.But I couldn't enjoy it, and couldn't join in. I remained outside watching, wondering just who it could be.
I have to stop here for now.I might be able to post sporadically over the next couple of days but don't expect much, it being Christmas and all
>>4580898Understandable. Happy holidays OP!We might need to work with Ivy or some other girl to catch the invisible guy, because I don't think he's gonna pull tricks around any boys.
>>4580898Merry Christmas OP!Thanks for keeping this running for this long, Too many quest drop after 3 updates
>>4580898Merry Christmas QM! Thanks for running
>>4580898Merry Christmas!>>4580896Maybe we can arrange a visit with the GPS tracking guy. Describe "somebody who can turn invisible" and see if he can find them.>>4580990We probably will, but didn't he shit in our shoes?
>>4581168That was probably Jeremy. Invisible guy has no motive to do that to us, he hasn't messed with any other boys.
>>4581168Visiting GPS guy is a good idea. Might help if we gathered more info on the invisible guy first.
Merry Christmas everyone
Merry Christmas OP, really enjoying this so far. We should get our DSA friend to at least get us a bulletproof vest and some of those padded gloves with knuckle armor so we don't bust up our knuckles constantly.
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=With%20Great%20Power%20Questarchived just in case I can't get back to this before the new year
happy new year all.hopefully I can get us up and running with #3 some time in the next couple of days
>>4589732No rush OP, hope you enjoyed the holidays
>>4590540link to new thread