Terra: The low and rhythmic beat of the drums came in perfectly and shortly after the vocals slid in smooth as spread peanut butter. The song really only lacked one element and Tara aimed to provide it her hands gripping the large guitar shaped controller tight as she struggled to hit the notes as they flew buy on the screen of the television before her. Each missed note brought forth a sharp and disharmonious note that only caused the crowd to boo louder, making her angrier by the second. Narrowing her eyes and tightening her grip further Tara refused to be beaten by a song she had killed in expert mode a thousand times.
Her fingers slid up and down the buttons with increasing speed as her frustration grew and her successes did not. The lingering grease from a recent plate of pizza rolls certainly didn’t aide her in any efforts toward virtual rock stardom. A low rumble seemed to be building as she failed again and again but Tara seemed to care little or simple not notice as her abilities impacted the very ground on which she stood.
At least until something glass and most definitely now broken could be heard hitting the floor in the kitchen. Muttering something best not repeated Tara slid the strap from the controller over her head and dropped the whole thing to the floor. Moving with a quick but not terribly so pace Tara made her way toward the modestly appointed kitchen in the next room. Despite the relatively low square footage of the apartment in which she lived the trip took sometime to accomplish.
Between the television and the coffee table a pile of laundry could be found and just past that a precarious stacking of half eaten pizzas could be found in the place cardboard went to die. Whenever she passed it she thought perhaps she should have gone to go play hero in the dessert. The offer had seemed like a trap at the time and Tara knew she should be cautious. Looking back though she couldn’t see how now, and sitting on her ass had grown old.
For the longest time she had thought all she really wanted was a safe place to lay her head, the truth it seemed far more complicated. Making her way into the kitchen to see just how bad the damage had been Tara found a single plate shattered across the floor. Yet again had the pizza rolls come back to fuck her afternoon.
Something had to change, she couldn’t put up with this domesticated bullshit she had fallen into for much longer. No matter the danger she knew the time had come to roam once more.
M’gann : THEN
“Or you could actually do something productive to justify the oxygen that you’re using up.”
She’d been quite alone when she entered the kitchen, or at least it had appeared that way, no sound and no movement had given away the snooty looking blonde who’s now perched on top of the place that had previously been occupied by the plate that is no more. Rather, she’s occupying the space directly above it, because despite a cross legged posture there’s no part of her actually touching the counter. No sense in getting her pants dirty, as if she weren’t in absolute control over that sort of thing to begin with.
No open windows, no suddenly developed holes in the walls, to give a point of entry to the apartment, it’s like she’s been here the whole time and just was somehow never noticed. She’s barely noticing Tera, either, seemingly absorbed in mile-a-minute texting on the phone in her hands. One leaves the device to be held up in the air between them, an indicator to stop that becomes a finger twitched back and forth.
“Don’t bother. Best case you bring the whole place down, worst option is I get bored and decide I don’t really want to do Deathstroke a favor after all.”
It’s a casual thing, as if refusing the mercenary was a thing people just glibly considered, let alone ones that look like spoiled, fragile, teenage girls. Her entire air takes the ‘don’t care’ to another ‘can’t be bothered’ level. The truth is, the Martian does care but she is never anything but fully committed to a part and this particular one wouldn’t. It had also seemed like the best option, out of the literally endless choices she had, for the approach based on what information she had about the other occupant of the kitchen. The one that actually was supposed to be there. Which was actually a great deal more than would probably make Terra comfortable. Then the roaming would have even more reason to begin, and while that worked for M’Gann, she needed it to not be pointless roaming.
Terra: Tara stopped so suddenly at the sound of the text happy blondes voice she nearly slid on the just slick enough linoleum that started just inside the kitchens confines. Luckily for the sake of her meager pride Tara found her footing and stopped in time to avoid this minor humiliation. Clenching her fist and concentrating Tara made the building shake even more then it already had been the rumbling effect increasing by second.
Holding her hands up in surrender she willed the world still again and just like that the floor found its stability once more. The room grew quiet again with only the sounds of distant car alarms and barking dogs disrupting the calm. That and the not so distant tic tack of rapidly pressed virtual keys on a Smartphone.
“You know Slade? Did..did he send you?”
Lowering her hands she moved to the counters edge nearest her side of the room and there she leans back placing her hands behind her for support. Well support and to palm the three small stones she had left sitting there earlier. It was unfortunate she didn’t realize just how futile attempting a surprise attack would be on her present guest.
“If you are I’d think he’d be bright enough to tell you not to just show up…”
With the question asked Tara waited her muscles tensed as she prepared to bring her hand around and using her unique talents send the stones flying at speeds likely beyond even that of a bullet. Regardless of what the small discs clocked in at they had usually been more then enough to drop anyone who had ill intent toward her.
M’gann: It looks, to all appearances, as if the young woman perched on and/or above the counter-top wasn’t paying attention to anything at all, let alone Tara and it’s unlikely she would have noticed the abrupt halt that almost wasn’t. But then, she looks oblivious enough to have not heard the entrance at all and she clearly had. She was anticipating an attack, and the way the room and entire building around the pair of them (and everyone else unfortunate enough to be inside of it) vibrates and shakes only proves that she was right in the assumption. Is that because it’s incredibly difficult to surprise a telepath? Had she been briefed? In this instance, it’s a little of A, a little of B.
“Do people generally namedrop Wilson to you if they don’t?”
A light brow has climbed high enough on her forehead to be plainly visible over the rim of her sunglasses, but thumbs are still busy tik-tik-tiking away at the screen in front of her. Truthfully the meta in front of her isn’t someone to be lightly dismissed, while it would be difficult forwarned as M’gann is to inflict any real harm on her, the Martian doesn’t actually want any harm brought to the innocent civilians in the building. Which there aren’t actually very many of at this exact moment, since most had just remembered something important than they needed to go and do before her appearance. An irritated opponent is more prone to making mistakes, and an irritated mind is more susceptible to. Well. M’gann.
“As much as I’m usually down for debating the intelligence, or lack thereof, of my psuedo co-workers… he’s not the boss of me. And I’m not always super great at listening to adults.”
She finally stops texting. With one hand at least, in order to push those sunglasses up onto the top of her head revealing vividly red irises, in an otherwise perfectly regular face, though the levitating had probably given away the fact that she’s not. A rise and fall of her shoulders preceeds the phone finally being lowered, and slipped into a pocket.
“He didn’t send me so much as I worked out a little quid pro quo situation. And Slade is a little busy with a road trip with a different blonde, and so here I am. So. Super Blonde… hmmm… feeling a decided trend here. Wonder Princess. You know the one. You think her offer still stands?”
The instinct to attack and run continued to climb in Tara which each new word from the strangers lips. She had been told in no uncertain terms and with considerable repetition that she should trust no one. In fact the very man they had both mentioned a few times already would be the one who had drilled this mantra into her brain. She had little doubt Slade Wilson would already be halfway to being knee high in spent shell casings by this point in the conversation. If a raging gun battle could be considered any real manner of communicating that is.
Tara knew she could only stall whatever this was for so long before it would be forced down one of the limited paths before her. She needed time to think and knew she simply didn’t have it. Quick thinking could not be said to be a skill Tara possessed unless one counted not thinking and simply doing as quick, most just called her impulsive. Tara took a step forward a hand out as if she intended to respond her lips parting as she looked about to speak.
Instead one of the smooth stones she had now revealed to be in her palm flew forward at unnatural speed curving at the last moment away from her guest and into the living room. The sound of shattering glass and a bright flash followed as the stone impacted the television still broadcasting the game Tara had been playing. Or at least it was as now it only smoked a bit from the sizable hole the stone had made with the occasional spark illuminating the now darkened living room.
The two remaining stones flew from inside her palm at a much slower speed and began to fly around her body there speed randomly slowly and quickening, as if the two were acting as her tiny yet deadly sentry.
“There…NOW…I can think and actually hear you without all that distracting noise.”
Tara would never admit most of the noise continued and had originated from the chaos outside on the street, she mostly just wanted to smash something and show off a little. The small grin that thought had brought to her face disappeared at the mention of the offer from….what was that girls name Candy?
“Is that really what’s this is all about? What you want me to go play hero too? Your both wasting your time, I’m not hero material. I’m not interested in helping anyone…no one ever helped me..”
Her words trail off as her mind drifts to the day she learned her mothers true motives and how heartbreaking it had been. Tara had loved her mother but her mother had only thought of her as a fascinating meta human experiment. In truth her only remaining hero could be said to be Slade, the man who had bought her freedom at the end of his sword.
“You can do better…”
M’gann: There’s something primal and frightening about what Tara can do, a natural and normal fear that rises in humans and animals alike when the earth beneath and around them begins to behave in any way other than what they’re used to. After all, it should be still, silent, unmoving and not making an uncaring effort to dump you on your ass while it works out a serious case of indigestion. Or in this case, obeys the whims of a petulant meta-human. If it’s not rocks fired like bullets, it’s the ground swallowing you up and both of those are pretty difficult for even a superhuman to deal with. Unless, of course, they don’t obey the laws of solid matter themselves.
M’gann lives in that particular space of existence. It wasn’t the only tool at her disposal in order to deal with the earth manipulator, though. Red eyes follow the direction that the rock had gone, almost languid in the path from hand, towards the smoking, sparking remnants of the television.
“What else are you going to do with your time? You just destroyed your TV. But no, sweetie…”
This time, she puts the phone down completely on the counter beside her. The Martian hadn’t been intangible for the first non-attack, just prepared to counter it with a telekinetic push, but as squirrely as Tara is acting she wants to be prepared to shift her form. And not break her phone in the process. Getting another one wouldn’t be hard, it’d just be a pain, and she has other things that she’d like to do with her day than have to mind control some mobile associate into doing their job properly.
“I want you to go along with it, report back to Slade anything fun and interesting that they get up to, and get paid. Like I said. Quid pro quo. He’s busy, or he’d be the one bringing this to you. Plus I was in the neighborhood.”
Tara’s like a big, loud, raw nerve and the way her thoughts move from place to place makes M’gann feel a little bit like Marie Kondo faced with a truly horrific episode of Hoarders. There’s a compulsion to tidy things up, to organize, to put things where they really ought to be. She doesn’t, but what she does begin to do is subtle little nudges. Yes, she could force the other girl into doing what she wanted. There was always a chance for accidental lobotomy if there was too much struggle against her influence, and since Miss Martian wasn’t actually lying about her connection with Slade, that was a can of worms she didn’t want to open. Or even dent. But the adventure of sneaking into that goodie-goodie’s crew? Of pulling one over on exactly the kind of people who would try to control what she wanted to do? That was starting to sound appealing.
“What the hell…I’m in.”
Tara offered back with little obvious consider of the proposal. She only smiled and walked over to the refrigerator and opening the door removed the single beer inside. Popping the top she looked back to her guest and asked…
“So when do I start?”
Synopsis: Faye Gunn, foster mother extraordinaire, stops in Harper Row’s shop to have a old gaming console repaired. Harper supplies her with a working gaming console and several more games that she had before. Faye advises that she will come by with one of her folder children to drop of her television for Harper to repair.
People visiting Harper happened often given her reputation. Whether they got in to see her was another story. When the van pulled in front of her shop a few people took notice as it was definitely more than a few years old. It sounded like it was in needed of new muffler. It was one of the stops that the owner was going to be making today, but this was a more important stop given the information that had been shared with her since she set out in search of a young boy that seemed to be quite adept at hiding in plain sight it seemed.
Opening the door she stepped out looking around while drawing her coat together. Clearing her throat she shut the door behind her before moving around to the opposite side of the passenger van. Opening the door she lifted a box up. She moved well, but it was a lot to maneuver.
“I got it ma’am.” A young boy wearing a boy scout uniform ran over to shut the door for her.
“Thank you, young man.” She smiled over at him while she walked over towards the shop. He opened the door for her while she walked in with the box in her hands and her purse hanging off her arm. She gave him a nod stepping into the shop looking around tipping her head to the side for a moment looking for the proprietor.
“Hello.” She called out taking another step inside her eyes gazing along the shelves before setting the box down upon the counter. The door was open so they had to be open. Hopefully. It was the Narrows.
Opening her purse she reached in to retrieve a piece of candy while she waited.
Harper Row sat at the larger of her two work stations in the hidden rear section of her shop. She had intended to begin working on one of her many pending projects, but then as they say the rhythm got her. So instead she found her hands moving in a faux rhythmic drum movement of the music blasting over old school book box that presently sat in the corner of the shop and all but ignoring the monitors for the front room. The goggles intended for use with a welding torch swung forward and back again as Harper moves her chest ever so slightly with the movement of the song she had found herself truly enthralled with.
“Twenty..twenty four hours to go….”
Harper continued to mime the minimal but no less potent drum portion of the song despite having not a single drumstick on hand, the long slender wrenches would have to suffice for now. Spinning one of the tools in her fingers she finds it slipping from her grasp and sailing into the air. A sound best described as the mournful cries of a heartbroken and possibly randy gibbon escapes her lips as she scrambles to catch up to the rogue wrench.
Her distress can only rise as the wrench strikes the boom box sending it teetering back and then over to fall to the floor the music it produced ending far to abruptly for her taste. Waking over to inspect the damage she stops as her eyes catch site of the monitors for the outer room. Taking a few short steps to the laptop the monitors were linked to Harper zooms in on the older woman in what some might call. A lobby, but only if they were being nice.
Tapping the microphone icon on the laptop Harper begins to speak.
“Can I help you?”
The woman continued to look around pausing when she heard the sound of the girls voice across the intercom. Taking a step back she scanned the lobby turning her attention to any cameras she might come upon.
“Hello there.” She waved. “Perhaps. It all depends.” She moved towards the box holding it up. “I heard you’re a bit of a fixer and I have something called a Super Nintendo Entertaining System.” She shrugged. “The fellow I bought it off of said it needs to be fixed. Most laughed when I set it down before them started talking about X Station and Playbox.” She shook her head.
“Whatever those are. All I know is that this was thirty dollars and if it’s salvageable then i would like to give it a shot for my kids. I think they would like it. It would be a bit of a treat for them. Could you take a look. Let me know if it’s possible?” Setting the box back down she stood there waiting.
“I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I couldn’t…”
Harper said in reply, then tapping the microphone icon again to mute her voice she moves to pick up a nearby broom. Snapping the dustpan free she takes a quick moment to sweep up the bits and pieces that her wicked wrench solo had caused to come loose from a clients boom box. She supposed that project had gone from competed to once more being on the pending list.
“Be right out.”
A moment passes and the door to the interior shop sides open following the sound of at least three locks disengaging. Stepping into the lobby Harper moves closer to Faye taking a moment to wipe her now gloveless hands against the grungy overalls she wore before offering one to her new client.
“Harper Row and you are?”
“Sounds like I’ve come to the right place then.” A warm smile spread across her lips. She did want to get this fixed up for the kids. A bit of a reward for doing so well with their schoolwork and chores. She seemed to be quite pleased with Harper’s responses. Hopefully this won’t cost too much. There was a budget that needed to be followed and she rather find a way to give the children something to enjoy without having to send them out to the arcade. If they went to the arcade then they were limited in the number of games that they could play.
“Of course.” She stepped through the lobby noting that it could use a good cleaning, but it is a workshop not a home, but a good cleaning could do wonders.
When the door opened and Harper came into view Faye offered a polite smile one that seemed familiar while she stepped towards the box.
“Well, look at you.” She reached out to shake the young woman’s hand. “Miss Gunn. Most call me Ma Gunn.” Releasing Harper’s hand she took a step back the other could take a look at what she had.
“So I take it you do well in your science and math classes. STEM is what they’re calling it right? Is that what you want to study when you go to school, engineering?” She paused.
“Apologies for prying. I just find it refreshing to see young people so curious and interested in science and technology. So many have no idea what they want to do or what even interests them.”
Harper moved to open the box the system sat in her movements careful and deliberate. Clearly she held the system in a high regard and knew just fragile an item she held. Taking the lid to the box and laying it on a nearby countertop , Harper places the Nintendo on the lid clearly to keep it from the grime of the actual counter.
“I wouldn’t know…”
She said in reply containing to work on accessing the inside of the system stopping just long enough to slide a pen light from a pouch on her chest. Clicking it on and aiming it inside inspecting the simple inner working a moment before looking back to Faye.
“Did you try blowing into it?”
Harper,s face remained impassive and without emotion for less then a second as a wide grin moved across her formerly serious features. Turning back to the system and again aiming the small but powerful light inside.
“I haven’t been in school for awhile Miss Gunn, life sort of demanded I pick it up on my own…”
Faye watched the young woman while she examined the item in question. It was definitely second hand, but seemed to be clean enough. It would power on, but it would not read the cartridges when one was placed inside. “Yes. The game box itself and the cartridge. The person I purchased it from said that that might be required. Something about older games being quite sensitive.” She shrugged.
“If I need to get my money back then I will have to undertake that task, but I think it still has some life left in it. So I thought best to bring it into a repair shop. I’ve heard that you had a bit of a magic touch. I was in the area, so I thought I would pop in and see what you would say.” She moved towards Harper watching as she worked a bit.
“Well, that’s unfortunate. I gather you’re a bright young lady. Hopefully someone appreciates your talent, but I understand. Life doesn’t always unfold the way we would like. We can either let it have its way with us or we adapt. Though I do hope that if the opportunity of school presents itself that you will take it. Sometime tells me that you would do quite well there and perhaps teach the school a thing or two.” Faye might be buttering her up a bit just to get a good deal on a the price of a repair or she could be quite honest or a bit of both.
“I want my children to finish school. If it is not for them there is nothing that I can do about that, but they have the opportunity. I don’t want them to ever think that it was not possible. After they’ve graduated then they can make the choice to continue or not continue. It was the promise I made to them. It’s also one of the rules.” She smiled a little.
“Their my foster children. They’re dears and monsters. Their children.” She laughed. “I love each and every one of them. We make due with what we can, but they have to do their part and I have to do mine. Good home. Meals. Clean clothes most of all, all the love and support I can give them even if it feels like I’m being the monster, because I won’t let them do whatever they want.” She made a bit of a sound.
“Sorry. One of my free days and I’m boring you with the prattle of old woman. I usually meet with my friends to play a few hands of poker or bridge. They’re used to it. I’ll let you get back to examining the game box.”
Clicking the pen light off with her thumb and placing it back into its spot in her grease stained overalls as she turned around to face Faye again. Moving to lean on her palms as they were placed behind her against the counter the system sat on. Harper listened quietly as the older woman spoke nodding a few times until she again paused.
“Ill give you a free pass this once I suppose..”
Jerking a thumb over her shoulder at the system.
“This I can fix in the time it takes me to grab something from the back room. It you have the right part and an obsession with old tech its not hard to repair at all.”
Harper had known the moment she had looked inside the system that it was truly screwed, but she also knew she had at least three working Nintendo, and a box of games her father had left behind somewhere in her workshop. It wasn’t as if he would be coming back for either item anytime soon, little time for games during thug time…
She looked towards Harper with a smile. “Thank you. Once I get going sometimes I don’t how to stop.” She chuckled shaking her head, but smiled when Harper said she had what she needed to fix the game.
“That would be fantastic. You are a life saver. I knew when I came in that you were the right person to speak to. Miracle worker you are.” She smiled over at the young woman. “Perhaps I can pop again with another item, that’s been giving me a bit of trouble. Television set. Might have to have one of the boys come with me to carry the thing, but it’s been a bit twitchy. I should really buy a new one, but it hasn’t gone out on me completely.” It’s something that needed to get repaired.
Still, it’s possible that Harper had other work that she needed to do.
“Only if it wouldn’t be too much of a bother. It’s my own set. Had it for years actually. Probably due for a new one, but I have to focus on our expenses. Enough for a repair, but not a new one yet unless the repair is going to be quite steep. I might need to consider my choices, but the only way I’ll know is if have someone look at it first.”
Have to start somewhere.
“I don’t see why not…”
Turning from Faye and walking to the keypad alongside the door into her actual working area, Harper presses her thumb against a well worn and greasy biometric scanner. A moment passes before a series of sounds can be heard from the other side of the door. The moment the sounds stop and the locks cease opening the door itself slides into the wall to let Harper enter.
From within the shop Harper again speaks out to Faye.
“Give me a minute…five tops…it’s in here I swear..”
The voice comes across muffled and difficult to fully understand as Harper moves further into the shops interior searching for the needed device. The strange series of sounds emanating from within the room that Faye can hear now with the door open likely only add to the break down in communication.
Shouts Harper emerging back into the light of the outer waiting room with a sizable beaten and faded cardboard box, its contents clearly held in place with due to the liberally applied duct tape and the odd dinosaur sticker.
Harper sets the box down in front of Faye and steps back to allow the woman to look inside for herself.
“Splendid! I will pop by in a few days to drop it off. Pick it up in a few days.” There was a schedule to keep. Today was a bit different she had a bit of time to spare, but most days there was work to be done. Faye’s lips curved into a warm smile at the prospect of getting her television repaired. Now if she could get this gaming system fixed then everything would be perfected.
Of course, she would have to devise a schedule and perhaps the children would now be more inclined to do complete their chores and school work in a more-timely fashion. She knew it wasn’t the latest and greatest, but it was better than nothing.
“No worries, dear. Take your time.” Far be it for Faye to rush the young one. She seemed to know here way around electronics. She watched her go in to what she could only assume was her workshop. Interesting the precautions she took. It made Faye wonder if there was something dangerous behind the door, expensive perhaps. They were in the Narrows and one never could be too careful.
While she waited, Faye walked the length of the front room counting to herself silently while taking another pass with her eyes while running her finger along the counter glancing at it few times before turning back towards the direction that Harper went when she cried out that she had located what she was looking for.
“Have you…” Faye blinked several times stepping toward the box. “What is this?” She took another step until she was close enough to look inside of the box to see what was inside.
“Oh my…” She glanced towards Harper then back into the box. “This is quite generous.”
Harper waves off the comment about her generosity in as nice a fashion as she can muster, she didn’t want to appear dismissive. Stepping up closer to the box and leaning over to reach inside her hand grasps one of the games inside and pulls it out holding it up toward the dim light overhead. Tilting it to better catch the light her eyes light up as the label gains new clarity with proper illumination.
“Ikari Warriors…a true classic.”
She holds the cartridge up for a moment longer and with a brief sigh places it back into the box, her hand now free moves to slide into one of the side pocket of her overalls. From within she removes a card which she holds for for Faye to take.
“Just call ahead and I can make sure I’m about to let your kids in with the television.”
Whether she was waving it off or not, Faye, didn’t care. She meant what she said. This was quite generous and unexpected. To provide this to her for the children. It made Faye’s face light up. It was far more games than she originally brought it.
When the game was brought up into the light Faye looked it over. “I’ll be sure to mention that. Perhaps the children can teach me to play. I’m sure I can keep up if not I’m sure there’s something in there that’s more my speed.” If not there was always cards right?
Reaching for the card she looked it over before she moved in to give Harper a good-natured hug. “Oh, I know probably too much, but I can’t help it.” She stepped back looking into Harper’s eyes. “The children are going to absolutely love this.” Faye transferred some of the games she had from her original box into the larger box. No sense in carrying two of them.
Slipping the card away she nodded. “I’ll make sure to send them in and you have my word they will be well behaved. If not they know that I will be quite disappointed with them and they will be reprimanded appropriated.” She did hate the word punished.
Slipping her arms around the box she lifted it up. “If you could help me with the door. I need to get this in the van. I have a present to wrap up.” She sounded positively giddy.
Harper nearly falls over herself when she realizes how truly terrible a person she was being. Running the two steps it takes for her to catch up and pass Faye she sweeps the box into her hands as gingerly as she is able.
“I got it, no problem.”
With that she turns and opens the door using her foot and then moves to take the box to Faye car.
With a smile Faye walks towards the door but Harper’s already pushing it open with her foot. Walking towards the van she opened the passenger door so Harper could load the box inside.
“Thank you, Harper, for everything.” She came in to get a repair and got more than she anticipated. “Now, don’t linger to long it’s a getting nippy out. Oh..” Before she forgot. She reached into in her purse to get what she needed and pressed it into Harper’s hand.
“I think that should cover it for everything that you’ve done.” She hoped eighty dollars would cover it. She felt it was fair. Perhaps there could have been some more, but she moved around to the other side of the van before Harper could say anything. “If it’s not enough let my boys know when I come by with the television and I’ll add a little more.” She slipped into the van starting it up.
With a wave and a smile she shifted the van into gear and began pulling off from the curb with a light double tap on the horn.
Synopsis: Aaron takes his broken stero in to Harper’s repair shop to get fixed. He also makes a request for a piece of equipment.
JASON: Two days had passed since my mother’s repast. Two days which meant the moment the door shut behind the last of my guests there was work to be done. Work that would ensure that when the landlord returned within a day’s time and Johnny perhaps less than that everything that I valued would be gone. The apartment would be picked clean as if a den of thieves had made themselves at home here and departed just as fast. The moment I returned after getting out of the hospital things were marked into three categories:
- To my mother or father’s friends.
Most of everything that we had in the apartment went to category three. There were some items that found their way into category two, but category one. well, that was rare. It was few and far in between. The things that I gathered to keep were the first things to go. They were transported to a safer place than the apartment, they were sent to what I affectionately called the Nest. The things that were going to be given away to my parents’ friends were delivered quickly.
The items to pawn or in some cases fence that went to the appropriate associates that shared their condolences, which I milked to get better prices, because they would be stashed in to their appropriate spots. I no longer had my mother to worry about raiding my accounts or my piggy banks, but there were debts that had to be settled and I rather handle them on my own. It was better that than a shake down.
When Johnny came for his money he would find nothing there for him to break or shake me down for instead he would find a neighbor who had an envelope with the money and a note saying that it’s settled. If he comes for me then I will respond appropriately, but as far as I’m concerned my mother’s debt is settled. With him, there were others and I would work my way down the list, but his was the most immediate that needed to be handled.
I have no idea what went down in the alley, but I’m sure he wasn’t too happy at the fact that I got away, but I wasn’t too happy that his poison killed my mom. I think we can come to an understanding. The lanlord had gotten the rent before my mother died so he was settled so what I paid him was the next months rent which was more of. You don’t know where I went and if CPS comes knocking you don’t have a clue and make up whatever you wanted. They wold try what? Two times tops unless Thompkins pushes them.
Of course, this left me with no place to live, nope had that taken care of, because there were times when I needed to disappear to get away from the bad moments, because there were plenty with my mom. Sadly, it didn’t really become available until my dad was sent away. When he got sent away it became mine, fair and square. It was my retreat from all the crappy things. It was the Nest. It’s all I had that was mine despite the fact that it wasn’t, but I’ll take what I can.
However, right now I caught the bus into the narrows. It’s where I needed to be to find a fixer, because I was in need of one. Why? Of the things that I kept, I kept the stereo and right now it wasn’t working as well as it could be, so I brought the unit in to get it repaired. I heard there was a good fixer in the narrows which meant one of several things. I could barter or cash. Luckily, I had cash, but let’s find out how much the repair work was going to cost before I went dolling out any. It might be a situation where barter might be better…maybe.
HARPER: It had been several days since a random bump in the road a literal one in this case had sent Harper sliding into an alleyway, and a mouthy upright Roomba of a cybernetic woman. The truly sad fact is this could not be said to be entirely unusual in a town like Gotham. Nor could it be said of the cloaked woman who emerged from thin air with a quarter staff to retrieve the Roomba moments later. Harper herself had never encountered the stranger elements of the city beyond a chance encounter with the Batman months back. So to say this most recent one had been a significant moment in her life would be an understatement.
The long, slow trip home as she pushed her busted and only means of transportation had been one of reflection. Something had changed in Harper after seeing Batman in the flesh and this had only increased in it pace of growth after meeting The Huntress. While some doubts remained about whether or not she could actually pull off the role she had chosen to play she knew she had to at least try. A part of her wished she could ask someone for advice on the matter but what would Cullen or Steph even know about playing hero? Or of what would be required to become one.
Could you even imagine what Stephanie Brown would wear!? Probably something bright purple.
At the end of her long and slow trip and her deep thoughts on vigilante..ism? Harper had rolled her scooter up to the entrance to the shop she worked out of in her role as the neighborhoods resident handyperson. That had been days ago and she had not yet left the shop the projects at the front of her mind were just to important to allow for interruptions. Lifting up the goggles she wore while using her blowtorch Harper held up what she hoped would be a suitable set of body armor.
“UGH…Hardly Bat certified level here Harps…”
Lowering the goggles again she aimed the torch down again and started to fuse the panels again. Perhaps she should start with the weaponry she would employ that she knew she could handle. Halting the torches progress she turns to look to a set of gloves on a nearby workbench.
“Shock gauntlets. YES.”
But first she had to finish her current project, being distracted would only guarantee another faulty seam.
JASON: When the bus began to approach my stop, I glanced down at the slip of paper where I had written the address down and rang the bell beside me. Moving to my feet I picked up the unit and made my way to the front of the bus. The entrance was closer. Holding on to the bar I waited for the bus to come to a step before moving past the all-important yellow line. The doors opened, and the driver gave me a look.
Yep this is where I wanted to get off at. Holding onto the stereo unit I walked down the stairs looking around. Not that the Narrows was a step up by any means it was at a bit of a crossroads if someone liked to think of it that way.
I didn’t care much else with me beyond what I had in my arms. My money was where I could get to it, but again I would have to have a discussion about payment. The stereo itself could fetch a price, but not much especially since it was busted. I headed down the street making sure to keep my eyes and ears open to everything around me without making it obvious. I knew a few people in the area, but I wasn’t about to go look them up. That would invite them into places that I didn’t want them.
Instead I made my way to the workshop with no incident, so things were looking good, at least for the moment. Pushing against the door to open it I glanced around getting my bearings as it was my first time here.
“Hello?” Was there a bell?
HARPER: There was in fact no bell or any other means by which you might signal your arrival. In fact the front of the shop had the look of a place that had not been used by anyone in sometime it could easily be mistaken for abandoned. Harper preferred it this way and used a purely word of mouth method of advertisement, which only backfired when someone couldn’t keep their mouths shut. The receiving area contained little except for an old and dusty desk piled with folders and old books, behind it were somehow dustier bookshelves also piled with random and ancient texts or so it would seem to someone of Jason’s age. The three folding chairs to the left of the door by the wall with the peeling wallpaper might have offered a place to wait if they too were not over encumbered by a leaning towers of mostly Popular Mechanics magazine.
What it lacked in bells the receiving area made up with its hidden camera and the sudden alert it sent to Harpers phone. Feeling the buzz in her pocket she turns off the torch and gently places it on a nearby table. Pulling the glasses up to sit on her head Harper removes her phone from her pocket and opens the alert.
Someone was out front, someone she did not know. Tapping the alert again she brings up the microphone function built into the camera.
“I am the great and powerful Oz! Whatta ya want?”
JASON: “Yeah, well, I guess the Emerald City has seen better days…years.” By the looks of it. My eyes moved around to see if I could spot the camera, but obvious moves would pick up what I was attempting to do. Despite the look of shop, it was obvious that the front of the house was not utilized that often or wasn’t the real front of the house.
“I’m looking for Harper. I was told that she was good with electronics. I have something that I need her to take a look at. Two things actually, three if she’s any good.” I don’t know. I mean it was all word of mouth and apps only tell you so much like anyone can buy or make an app these days. He arched his brow turning so he could find a spot to set the stereo down.
“Its work so do you do that kind of thing or do you just claim squatters rights? Also, if we’re talking Great and Powerful Oz.” Who was actually a charlatan, perhaps someone after my dad’s heart. “I’m not looking for a heart, brain or courage. Home is what is, Gotham. So, I’ll take a hovercycle. I don’t know any witches, but big Bertha comes close. So, if I dump a bucket of water on her you can make the hovercycle happen right?”
I really did need the stereo fix, but she was the one that all L. Frank Baum on me.
HARPER: Harper couldn’t help but to grin at the response she was given, this guy talked like a kid from Gotham. Peeling off one of her heavy duty gloves and then the other she lays them on the table careful to keep from placing either to close to the still warm end of the torch that she had placed on the same table. Harper turns toward the actual entrance to the shop stopping to wave a few times at the air to disperse the odor welding had dispersed throughout the shop. She loved making things but had never come to enjoy the smell a blowtorch put into the air, now the sizzle of electronic that was a different matter entirely.
Walking toward the door to her shop she scoops up a small device as she makes her way out to speak with Jason. Her hand on the panel to open the door she stops again and turns back taking a moment to slide a tarp over the objects on the main table like her body armor.
That done she taps a panel next to the door to disengage three separate sets of heavy duty locks she had placed on the door. Despite the sound proofing she had installed the sounds of this happening likely still filtered through the walls. Stepping out into the front room the taser like device still in her hand Harper looks Jason over a few times before speaking.
“I might be Harper..I might be Dorothy. I usually only work on referrals.”
She said crossing her arms over the Sex Pistols t-shirt she had on under the tool belt that hung on her like an under arm dual pistol holster. Whether or not she was Josey Wales quick with the wrenches and assorted tool in the belt would be anyone’s guess.
JASON: I waited patiently to see what was going to happen. Was the counter going to slide away revealing a hidden staircase that lead to the actual shop which lay beneath the “decadent” exterior. Or was there going to be a wall that split a part or opened out to welcoming me to the inner sanctum? That would be pretty cool, however unlikely as I heard the three deadbolts that unlocked themselves.
Perhaps in another life, another Gotham, because in this one it sounded like someone who was into security. The only thing that was missing was the rod that slipped into the little box n the door and caught along the floor.
One could never have too much security, especially when they did they type of work that Harper was alleged to do. People to tend to take anything that’s not bolted down, and when it is bolted down it just means that need to come with the right tools to make it theirs. Of course, that brings me to allegedly. Why do I say allegedly, because I haven’t seen any of her work. There’s no real proof and until I see with my eyes it is rumor and hearsay.
Also, it was the word that got me the Spelling Bee trophy in third grade, well it got me into the tie breaker. Incarceration got me the trophy.
When the proprietor finally stepped out Jason tipped head to the side. Maybe he can get a kid discount. She was probably what a year or two older at most, maybe three. She had bags under her eyes. Probably best not to mention that. His nose caught the distinct scent that comes blow torch work.
“Blow torch or acetylene.” Of course the moment I said it, Blondie’s <i>The Hardest Part</i> passes through my head. It can’t he helped. Nor can me noticing the Sex Pistol’s shirt she has on. Pretty hard to miss that, or something that looks interesting from afar in her hand. She looked me over a couple of times. I guess I passed the test, not really because she still holding that interesting item in her hand.
Trust. It will get you killed if you’re not careful.
“You don’t look like Dororthy. Maybe DG, but not a Dorothy.” Points for catching the reference since we’re all about Oz or something. Maybe she has a Scarecrow fetish. I’ll try not to visibly shudder about that. Next thing I know she’ll be chatting me up about the Mad Hatter.
“Harper most definitely, but I could be wrong, and I got a referral. You fixed a dishwasher for a neighbor of mine.” Three blocks over and two blocks down. “For a bucket of chicken and peaches. The peaches I get, because she gives everyone peaches. The chicken. She said you were a little reluctant. I bet you’re Popeye’s kind of girl and she was only dealing in the Colonel.”
The sad thing about this. It’s not the most absurd conversation I’ve ever had.
HARPER: “I try to avoid fast food it goes straight to my thighs.”
While Harper couldn’t claim to remember every person she had helped in the Narrows she absolutely remembered Miss Brenda, and her bucket of KFC. Of all the things you could invest in Gotham that might kill you fast food could still be considered one of the worst offenders in Harpers mind. Still she had placed the chicken in the fridge and had found it gone the next day. Cullen pleaded innocent but also refused to show her his fingers, tainted with grease no doubt.
“Okay then if you know Miss Brenda then we can do business.”
Harpers mind drifted to her long list of important projects and how she really shouldn’t work on anything else right now, still it might raise suspicion if she turned anyone away. Taking a step back she gestures for Jason to go first.
Grinning just a little she gestures inside with the object in her hand.
JASON: “Uh huh.” I left it at that, because it was best not to comment on things of that nature. Girls go upside down and sideways about it, usually against a guys head, so yeah no comment. I’ll play the innocent little lamb when it comes to that.
“I do. She says hello and something about coming to see you about her clock radio.” Message delivered. Turning towards the counter I lifted up the stereo unit and proceeded to step behind the curtain so to speak though I had no idea where I was headed really
“If you insist. So straight ahead into the back or am I making turns? Is this some kind of ploy to look my butt? I’m a little young for you aren’t I?” There might have been a hint of a smirk while I headed towards wherever we were going.
“Now if it gets me a discount feel free to look, but I may feel ashamed in the morning.”
HARPER: “Not really no, but I reserve the right to sneak a peek later.”
She could tell him it really had to do with keeping a knife or worse from being stuck into her back, she wished she could say it had never happened before. Of course Cullen would never hear about that particular incident, he worried enough as is. One bad apple had ruined it for everyone else and now Harper insisted clients go first where she could keep a good eye on them.
“I don’t prescribe it puritanical concepts of shame it’s a total waste of energy….unlike this.”
At this she sparks the device in her hand to give Jason a good look at the super taser she had been holding since he came in. The possibility excessive amount of electricity the device emits lights up the darkened front area and illuminated the shop just inside the door, as well as Harpers best don’t mess with me face.
“You can unload your stuff over there…DO.NOT. Touch anything.”
Harper points to a table on the far end of the room and well away from the center table covered by the tarp.
JASON: “I’ll go slow mo if it gets me a hovercycle.” Yep I totally said that. Whether or not I would do it another story, but we are talking about a hovercycle. I was doing my best to keep light, because let’s recap on what’s going on here.
- Stranger shows up on your door step asking for you to do some work for him.
- You work in the Narrows where lies are candy and betrayal dessert and people tend to eat dessert first all the time in the Narrows, East End, well, just about everywhere in Gotham and if you wanted something more decadent head over to Bludhaven. It’s like’s Gotham’s Red Light district.
- I’m pretty sure she has more than one weapon ready for me if I do decide to clown out on her, but totally not what I’m here for.
“Well, that’s good, because ashamed means for me I get a pint of ice cream and forget about what I was supposed to be shaming myself about.”
With a turn of my head my eyes catch the sparks of the taser making note of it.
“Wait I can set my stuff down, but don’t touch anything. What happens if my finger touches the top of the counter. Is that included?”
HARPER: Harper considers giving Jason a good zap for his sass or at least she would if she herself wouldn’t have likely said the same thing. Instead she spins the taser in hand and slides it into one of the empty holsters hanging at her sides. Thankfully she doesn’t fling the weapon across the room this time, that had proven to be a bit of a disaster. Thankfully her neighbors cat had only gotten a little scorched and it’s hair eventually grew back in, of course Purrrcevil did his best to avoid her to this day.
“My fee goes up by the sass just FYI”
In contrast to the outer office Harpers actual shop is meticulously sorted, with just a smudge of chaos here and there. Where she had tools placed on the walls they were arranged in order of size and or condition, clearly a few had seen better days. In addition to the large center table covered with a tarp she had the table she was pointing to against the wall it was smaller and mostly clear except for the strange gloves she had forgotten to put away.
Spotting them Harper mutters something under her breath and hopes Jason doesn’t ask to many questions. Stepping head of him she moves in to moves the gloves aside before he sets his stuff down near them.
“Just put them on the table sassmouth.”
JASON: There had to be a little sass. I mean what’s Gotham without a little sass or wit coming from some direction. Without it, we’d be a failed Metropolis, or at least that’s what people like to think. Me, I see potential, potential for so much more, so much better, but setting it aside I couldn’t help the smirk at the fee business.
Setting the unit on the table as instructed I stepped back while taking in the shop. There were things put away in places, all neat and tidy and the tiny bits of chaos I suspect are from just finished business, in the middle business, or just started business. Things she didn’t mind people seeing.
Then there was the don’t look at me, but can’t but notice me tarp business which would likely get me a zap from the taser and if I was a betting man I’m pretty certain it’s set for twitching on the floor, foaming on the mouth sucks to be you if you have a pacemaker setting. So no peeky under the tarp.
Of course it made me wonder where other such things were that weren’t being worked on were.
“So, I guess introductions are in order less I get stuck with sassymouth, but given where your eyes were sassypants would work too.” I just can’t help myself. “Jay and I’m here because my precious has stopped working right. Tape decks running slow and the turn table is even slower.”
HARPER: Harper walks over to the table where the stereo had been placed and slowly moved her eyes over it. Leaning in a bit and pulling a small pen light out of one of the pockets on her belt she clicks it on moving it’s bright and slightly bluish light over the mentioned tap deck and then the turn table. If she even heard Jason’s comments she made no reaction to them, nor would she while she worked.
A minute or so later she turns and aims the narrow beam at Jason and then the tarp on the table, then back to Jason. Seemingly satisfied she clicks the pen off while still holding it up and after twirling it in her fingers places it back in its place on her belt.
“I think I see the problem…it’s a piece of junk.”
Offering a quick shrug followed by a rapidly fading grin Harper again turns back to the stereo.
“I’d recommend jacking…or maybe buying an iPod or phone or something. I hear Spotify is just the best.”
Her hands reach forward and begin removing the front of the stereo a tiny screw driver having appeared in her hand as of by magic. As she continues to work at removing the face of the unit she again speaks.
“But if you’re dealing with an emotional attachment I get it and…give me like five minutes?”
JASON: While Harper focused on the stereo on unit, I took a moment to look around the shop. I didn’t touch, I didn’t even try to see what was on the tarp I just looked around before looking over my shoulder at Harper as she holstered her taser. “There’s a lot to look at. I’m just taking it all in. I’m behind the curtain without a little dog running back and exposing you. I think I’m doing good.” Smirking he turned back towards her nodding.
“It’s my piece of junk and if you can get it up and going then I’ll be a satisfied customer. I like to keep it analog sometimes.” Simple as that. At least that’s the way I wanted to keep it. Don’t need to talk about any other reasons.
“So, if you can get it squared away I’d like that a lot and then I would like to talk about another project if you’re up for it. One that doesn’t deal in peaches. Deals in presidents. Dead ones.”
HARPER: “I’m not interested in joining your crew…if your looking for a criminal I’d suggest looking up my dad.”
Harpers eyes had not yet left the stereo as she removed the face and then began working on the tape deck itself. Jason had lucked out in that Harper had experience with fixing devices as old as this one, her youth had seen dozens if not hundreds of such things smashed in fits of rage or outright sold to make ends meet or even more likely so her father could buy some illicit substances. Far to often she would come home from school to find the television missing and be forced to find a cheap replacement, which she would then be forced to make work.
It had been a maddeningly predictable cycle but it had been what had made her the tech wiz she was today. No amount of skill or strength came easily or without trial and Harper would not claim to be different.
“So…Jay right? If that’s what your after you can get the hell out of my shop. I’ll still fix your stereo because I’m nice like that but…”
JASON: “Do I sound like I have a crew? Do I look like I have a crew? Talk about emotional attachments?” I pause for a moment shaking my head. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Just saying that I’ll pay you in cash. ” Did I hit a nerve probably. Wouldn’t be the first time. Walking over towards the table where she was working on the stereo I leaned up against it watching her work.
“However, I am in need of someone that has expertise in your area. Fixing things, possibly modifying them that’s all. Currently in need to be able to see someone coming that’s all. There’s a bit of business that my parental involved herself in, and due to a change in her status I am now probably on the hook for it more than likely so I want to try and be prepared if I can. My living situation is….” What’s a good word.
“Tenuous at best. Meaning I could be sleeping and someone might come knocking and I rather be in position to make a quick exit if need be. So, I need to see if this is or isn’t out of your wheel house. It could cost so hence the dead presidents.” He shrugged. “Kind of looking for night vision goggles, but not big clunky ones. I was curious if you worked on anything like that before.”
It was no big whoop if not. “Not all of the street lights are lit and I find myself running through the streets or trying to make a quick exit through various buildings I’d rather not impale myself.” I would say fourteen is too young to have a crew, but we both know that’s not true.
“As Nancy Thompson said. I’m into survival.”
HARPER: Harper stood up from the stereo and turned to face Jason holding both her hands up in apology. Twirling the small screw driver in her fingers as she lowers her hands again her mood leveling out again as she basically forces it to do so. She might have made an assumption and that wasn’t right of her.
“Okay I may have over reacted a touch…but..”
Stepping back to the table she placed the screwdriver down and brought out the pen light again. Thinking a moment she places the light in her mouth and picking the the screw driver again gets back to work.
“Night vision goggles that is some vigilante level stuff and those are illegal I hear… but yeah I can totally do that.”
Both her hands move to work their way into the stereo as the light does what it does best, illumination. A few second pass and Harper begins to place pieces back onto the stereo and again takes a step back.
“That might have done it.”
JASON: “It’s cool. I get it. I mean. It’s the environment we live in. Crime’s a way of life for some of us. You never can be sure, but trust there is no crew. I’m not crew material. Remember, I’m Mister Sassypants. I wouldn’t last a day, may not even an hour. My mouth would get me in trouble. Probably why I’ll be picking up an unwanted debt. Too many clapbacks for my own good.” My shoulders rise and fall while I watch her work.
“That they are, but sometimes to survive you have to risk it. As much as I would like to turn to the cops that usually makes a bad situation worse, and judging by your reaction I think we both can agree that not ever cop is a stand up individual.” Not in the least, but I wasn’t about to walk that winding road. I had a stereo to get fixed and goggles to see about.
“Cool. Now I can have tunes again. Sweet, sweet tunes. So let’s see. How much for the repair job? How much for the goggles, and when should I expect my hovercycle?”
HARPER: “Honestly this thing barely required any amount of effort…so we can call it even for now.”
Scratching at the side of her head with the screwdriver as she accidentally flashes Jason with the pen light still in her mouth. Eyes widening a bit she takes it out and clicking it off places it back in its proper place.
“I can look the goggles and I’ll let you know what I’ll need payment wise in a few days…and pal I make a hover cycle it’ll be all mine.”
JASON: “Aww really. Not even a box of Popeyes?” I couldn’t help it. I was completely amused, by the entire thing. Also there was a box in my fridge, because I helped Ms. Brenda with carrying in some groceries and moving furniture. I’ll take what I can get.
“Few days. Alright. I’ll drop be in a few days to check in. Oh yeah for sure. First generation is all yours. I’ll take the next one after that after all the bugs are worked out. That’s really generous of you. I guess you really are the great and powerful Oz. I didn’t even have to douse any witches.”
That’s when she flashes me with the light. Looking away I cast my eyes down for a second before looking up again. “Well, that was fun.”
Reaching out for the stereo I thought about before turning back towards Harper. “Actually…” Taking out my wallet I pull out a few bills and set them into her hand.
“Here’s seventy-five for a down payment. If it costs more we’ll discuss in a few days about payment. If it costs less well, I’ll open an account or something because if I break them someone’s going to have to repair it right?” Right. They were probably going to cost more. Either way I picked up the stereo. “Thanks for the work.” I wait for a moment. “So same drill as the first. I walk ahead of you and you see me out?”
Red Robin: “Stanford? And you’re saying that it was his idea,” the way in which a gloved hand strokes squared jaw tells a story. “Hrm. So many questions, but this wasn’t a social call this time.”
At this point in Cassandra’s life she should be getting used to a great deal many things. However I’m fairly sure that I just managed to scare the bejesus out of her. If it wasn’t when her phone came alive on the hotel dresser and grew wings with which to flitter across the room to where it could cast a hologram of the Red Robin next to Cassie’s bed? Then it was probably rousing to find Red Robin next to her bed.
“He’s not here,” the reassurance is as much about how we know he would react to my presence, as it about cutting her off in the immediate search for her boyfriend in the bed next to her. “His handlers summoned him earlier this morning to be Honor Guard for what’s going on in Khandaq.”
“Fortuitous, actually, because you won’t need to worry about misleading him this time. I’ve sent a file on your next assignment to your phone. It’ll also be a good chance for you to make an impression at the Tower, since she’s there. Unlike Freeman, this isn’t a cake walk. She doesn’t know it, but your next assignment is in trouble. You might not have to deal with Conner, but if she’s within the Tower’s incomplete sensors then you know Nowhere is aware of her too. If she’s not already been made, she will be any time now.”
“No training wheels this time, I’m still recovering and Batman says he doesn’t think you need a babysitter. If you need Backup, your phone has the Flash’s emergency card number. But for now… he is your only backup.”
It’s then that Cassie will realize that this isn’t a call. It’s a voice mail. The digital hologram variety. Because it repeats. Over and over. Until she actually touches the phone to turn off the message. Properly marked as ‘Urgent’ in her inbox. It will take slightly more time getting Razerbeak to pull in it’s wings and resume being her cellphone.
Cassie: Wonder Woman’s not a morning person.
Actually, a better assessment would be that while I’m not really a morning person, I can manage the rise and shine part just fine. It’s being woken unceremoniously that I happen to be struggling with, in the form of my brain not being able to process what project it should get to work on first, getting tousled blonde hair out of my face so that I can fully see, or the moral question of what’s more important: making sure I’m between Tim and any eye lasers that are about to get shot at him, or getting anything that’s uncovered that I don’t want him to see covered. If my brain moved at the pace that Conner’s does, then I probably could have come to a couple clear conclusions a lot more quickly. If I was actually awake I probably could have managed in a more respectable fashion.
What it actually looks like is some semi-undignified thrashing under the sheets of the bed. I haven’t been asleep nearly long enough, which explains why my boyfriend leaving didn’t wake me up at all, and neither did the phone doing what it apparently does now. It’s only the familiar voice that had jerked me awake and sent me into a befuddled, panicked whirl of motion.
“What the Hell, Tim!”
Hearing that ‘he’s not here’ soothes me a little, so we’re back to just being a touch grumpy about being woken up, and the intrusion. I want to ask how he knows where we are but, that’s a stupid question. That and he carries right on past my objections in a very Tim Drake sort of way, because the mission. Leaving me to snug the sheet up under my armpits and fold my arms across my chest for good measure, mentally attempting to suppress the blush. There’s not really a good reason for it because it’s not like our best friend, of all people, doesn’t know exactly what we get up to. Mostly because Conner Luthor has less than zero shame, and he’s a perceptive guy anyway.
“You actually think I’m going to need backup? Giant crocodiles was fine but…”
I already have realized at this point that Tim’s not really there. Why would he be? Other than a very brief emergency trip to Gotham, and a mission to Central, it’s the only way that I’ve ‘seen’ him since he left Metropolis after his father’s death. It might be a family thing for all I know, holograms, not the death portion. Ugh. What a morbid thought. It hadn’t occurred to me, however, that it was pre-recorded, so there’s a moment of confusion when he begins to repeat himself. Though, I suppose it explains the talking over top of me. Leaving me grumbling, and poking and prodding the very fancy phone, while still keeping the bed sheets up because, well. The media likes to pretend that our cell phones are spying on us but… they have no idea.
“…I’m putting you in the drawer next time…”
Terra: Standing in front of the jukebox in the back of the bar she had wandered into only moments ago, Tara ran a recently manicured fingernail along the upper selections of songs and paused almost immediately. Tapping her finger a few times as if carefully considering her options she reaches into her pocket and finding a quarter removes it. Sliding it into the slot and then another and still another Tara begins to move to the beat as T.N.T by AC/DC begins to thump through the bar much to the chagrin of the late night patrons who when she had entered the place seemed more interested in sleep then anything else. The mood had been rather somber and that just wouldn’t suit Tara at all.
Each one was a little louder then the first as she began to sing along to the words and make her way back toward the large and well neared man manning the bar, without even asking he slid an overflowing beer toward her. Perhaps he hoped drinking it would at least put an end to the singing. Snatching up the beer and drinking most of it in a few deep gulps Tara spit out a little of the beer as the chorus kicked in again.
“T…N…T…come on Metropolis….live a little..”
Shrugging as not a soul moved to join in her antics Tara begins her dance again and moves back toward the jukebox, she had had a good night and was determined to make her mood infectious. It had been a month or more since she had stopped those muggers with her abilities and her eyes had been awaken to just how much fun she could have with them. She had been warned against just this sort of thinking, but Slade had been absent for months, years even.
Really what’s the worse a little shaking and sliding to her benefit could bring down on her?
Cassie: Whether or not Superman’s on the other side of the planet, I know how very little time that takes to change. Logically, I also know that Red Robin thinks I’ve got enoughtime, otherwise I would probably have been roused as soon as Conner was out of earshot. Getting dressed doesn’t take much time, and other than a brief glance in the mirror over the state of my mop of blonde hair I don’t need to do much else to prepare outside of reading up on what information I’ve been given. The latter of which I do while deciding that bedhead for me doesn’t look a whole lot different than post-flight, wind ruffled hair and just leaving it be.
Where I actually lose a little bit of time is in my brief trip to Coast City. He hadn’t been wrong about the appearance where the Tower is being erected, even if there’s only so much buzz I’m going to generate in the middle of the night. It’s a very short trip by air from Stanford, where Conner and I had actually been visiting for the weekend to do a little research. Not on Coast City, or the Tower or any of what Wayne Enterprises is doing out there. Very mundane scoping of housing, actually, in the normal teenage rite of passage that is preparing to apply for and hopefully attend the college of your choice. Very little doubt of getting in, full of myself as that sounds, because of my grades and test scores and zero for him because he’s a Luthor who pretends to be just good enough at basketball to be incredible but not superhuman. I guess normally we’d have a parental escort and not be shacked up in a hotel together but… my Mom’s apparently an Amazonian badass, and his Dad’s President for Life. Not factoring in my God Dad, and his Kryptonian one. There’s nothing normal about that situation at all. I spend a little bit of time zooming about as I finish reading the dossier.
She used to be here, but not anymore. For more current whereabouts I have to go back to Metropolis. Clear on the other side of the country. Thanks a lot, Tim, you couldn’t have given me this on Monday morning? But I believe him about the time press. He wouldn’t have said it otherwise. It takes me a shade over fifteen minutes to get from California to the East Coast, rocketing through the dark sky, and finding myself wishing I had more time to enjoy the night flight than what I’ve got. Mostly because this? Is the best part about my new life.
A little more time wasted in a brief trip to my house in order to grab clothes. Not to change more to… cover up. Because I’m not trying to out this girl, but I also don’t want to out myself. Hopefully the spangly red of my suit passes for leggings under the skirt I pull on, and the hoodie that gets settled over my upper half, and hair as I’m pushing my way into the bar.
Believe it or not, this is a first for me. A bar. Unlike the girl I’m here to see? I actually look old enough to be in here, but that’s only because the Wonder Woman suit comes custom made with facial alteration hologram technology. Adding at least eight years to my face, and subtly altering the structure so as to make me unrecognizable. I bypass the bar proper, instead letting blue eyes wander over the patrons. There’s only one option here to fit the description.
Terra: Tara had made her way back to leaning on the jukebox at this point and her concentration had fully been given to it. Her hands sat with a loose grip atop the box as she slowly moved her hips to what by now had changed to Judas Priest. Her eyes closed Tara moved her head now to the song as one of her favorites choruses kicked in prompting more singing.
“Breaking the law….breaking the law…YES.
The volume of the song combined with her own off key additions to the harmonies nearly muffled the sound of her name, or at least one of her names being said by Cassie. Nearly, but not entirely and having heard it her grip on the jukebox tightened considerably.
Her head turned slowly to face Cassie, confusion quickly overtaking her features, and maybe just a little fear. Had that girl Sublime told someone about her?
“My name is Mackenzie…you must have me confused with someone else.”
With that says her eyes move back to looking through the songs on the jukebox.
Cassie: I may not be the ace detective of our little… conglomerate… but I’m still observant enough, especially when I’m already wary about how this may, or may not go. Beyond that, my vision’s sharp enough to notice the flexing, if not whitening, of her knuckles on the top of the juke box. I don’t close between us, so much as sidestep closer to the wall, if not closer to Terra herself. Letting the overly loud English rock band compete with my words to reach anyone else’s ears past the two of us, as well as trying to not make her feel cornered. This is so very different than my last solo attempt. Because it’s more personal, a one on one instead of a battle-forged connection. Then there’s also the danger of exactly what I want to try to prevent and… why this needs to be done while Conner’s busy with whatever is going on in Khandaq.
“Okay. Mackenzie, then, if that’s what you prefer.”
It doesn’t matter to me what I call her, it’s more about her comfort. Besides. I’m currently wearing a disguise, over top of a costume, and wearing a face that’s not actually mine. Who am I to judge on this particular front? Pushing my hands casually into the pockets of my sweatshirt is a non-threatening posture as I lean my shoulder into the wall, but it also exposes more of the glittering gold of my gauntlets.
“But I don’t have you confused with someone else.”
So, Cassie. What would you have wanted someone to say to you, after that first time you ripped the gym door off the hinges like they were paper? Or when you tripped and powdered the concrete into fine dust and you were confused, and scared, and felt so very, very alone? I still had the anchor of my Mom though, and while I can’t know for sure, her moving around the country and being in a bar in the middle of the night tells me this girls’ probably way more alone than I ever thought I might have been.
“It feels good, doesn’t it? Using something that’s scary about yourself to stop something real and scary out in the world?”
Terra: Dropping her head down her eyes shutting tight for a moment before she pushes off the jukebox and turns to fully face Cassie. Her eyes move quickly over the girl in front of her as she takes a step closer looking down to the small hint of gold on Cassie’s arm.
A quizzical expression moves across her face as she sees the strange object. Leaning in for a closer look she turns her face a bit closer to Cassie’s and begins speaking in a low tone.
“Well aren’t you a regular After school special…I don’t know who you think I am…
Stopping a moment as she gestures to the door.
“But you have the wrong person…I’m just a normal girl next door type. Mundane in every way. Now you skip away to a Pep rally or something I’m busy.”
Cassie: There’s a brief moment, very brief, where I want very badly to look down and double check which skirt I actually put on when I left my house. I don’t exactly have a lot of them, I’ve always been much more of a tee-shirt and jeans kind of girl but I still own a couple. A solid chunk of them, however, are cheerleading skirts, or the plaid of Saint Mary’s blue and grey prep school uniforms. No. I wasn’t so tired after my flight as to have made either that tactical error, or fashion fashion faux pas. I’m a little taken aback by her defensiveness but I recognize pretty quickly that I shouldn’t be. I more or less tried a similar denial when I was first approached by my abilities.
I’m being a lot nicer than Conner was to me, though. Or at least, I was trying.
Pursing my lips, I change tacks, pushing my hoodie back off my forehead enough to expose the golden tiara that’s the newest addition to my Wonder Woman attire, thanks to my Mother.
“We both know that’s not true. I’m not going to push you. But if I know? Then so do people who are not going to try to be your friend and will skip straight to detain and neutralize. Especially here in Metropolis. You were safer in Coast City.”
Terra: If Terra were to be perfectly honest her first impulse when Coast City is mentioned is to drop the entire bar into the sewers underneath them all. This decidedly stupid course of action is tempered by the fact doing so would likely kill everyone else in the place and while she was a lot of things Terra was no murderer. So rather then make herself a headline she instead burst into laughter her arms crossing her chest as she nearly hits the floor from the giggles now coming over her.
“OMG…what is that?!
Taking a deep breath and visibly forcing her bellyaches away she composes herself and holds up her hands in apology. The immense grin on her face however seems unable or unwilling to leave.
“Okay..okay…what the hell let’s talk Princess…my god a tiara…”
Cassie: The burst of laughter takes me a little by surprise, easy enough to tell by the widening of blue eyes, though that expression doesn’t turn to annoyance so much as an arched eyebrow of amusement at what Terra’s found so darn funny that it has interrupted her denials and attempts at getting me to leave her alone. Does it really look that ridiculous or is she just…stressed? Defense mechanism? If that’s going to set her off into hysterical giggles than it’s doubly good that I chose to put the skirt and hoodie on over the rest of my outfit. Which I thought was pretty ridiculous when it was first presented to me, too.
“It’s an heirloom. Probably an antique. I didn’t ask, didn’t want to offend the person that gave it to me by implying…”
That my Mother is an antique herself. Which she may very well be, no matter how she happens to look. One of the many facets of who I am, that I know now, that I haven’t fully wrapped my brain around yet. Going from your biggest concern being prep school bullies, to hiding superpowers, and then straight on to Gods are actually real and your father is one was a lot to take in. And clearly, the info dump hadn’t been about to just stop there.
But. Clearly it hadn’t been the identifying mark I had hoped that it might have been. I suppose it hasn’t exactly been part of my ‘uniform’ for a long time. Or maybe I was reaching with the assumption that this girl would even care, or pay attention to, who Wonder Woman is. Moving away from the wall, and the jukebox, I sweep a hand towards one of the back booths.
“Unless you’d rather go outside…?”
Terra: Tara took a moment to compose herself taking care not to glance back up to the tiara. Cassie wouldn’t know this but seeing it had actually put Tara at ease as she knew the men who likely still pursued her would never have sent someone like this. No those men favorited all black everything and did not announce their presence in such a well mannered way. So it would be out of curiosity that Tara would entertain the woman standing before her.
“Riiiiight….the only heirloom I was given was a battered postcard from a place I barely remember.”
Giving Cassie a shrug of her shoulders that said she really didn’t have any fucks to give she turns and begins walking toward one of the unoccupied booths closest to the back and right up against the wall. The man who had taken her from Markovia had insisted often and loudly that she always maintain proper site lines in case she had to run. While it could not be said she listened to everything he said this she had retained.
Sliding in on the side closest to the wall she holds up a hand with two fingers up for the bartender to see, once he nods she aims them at the table.
“I appreciate the beer by the way…you do have money in that thing right?”
Tara says with a devilish smile across her lips as Cassie moves to sit across from her.
Cassie: I feel a little silly, I suppose rightfully so given my attire, but I’d been left with two not so great options. Show up to speak to this girl in my normal clothes, using my real face, and I’m not anymore old enough to be in this bar than she is. Or turn up in full Wonder Woman regalia, drawing attention to myself and therefor her. So I’d gone with this hybrid of the two. I’ve been spending more and more time in the red, clingy spangles of Wonder Woman but usually it’s when I’m fighting, or doing something that doesn’t give me time to second guess my attire. This is a little… different. I let her have the seat she wants, because which one I sit in doesn’t matter to me. Not only because I haven’t had it drilled into my head tactically as the lesser of the two options to have my back to the room.
But because I don’t really think anything or anyone in this room is really going to be a threat to me that I can’t deal with. Maybe that’s cocky of me. Maybe Conner’s rubbing off on me… sliding into the side of the booth that’s left, I pull my hood back up over my hair, and the tiara as I look at Terra with interest.
“Oh? Where’s that?”
I used to love collecting postcards, from all the places I went with my mother on her digs. But that’s Cassie Sandsmark’s childhood past time. Not Wonder Woman’s. The first real look of concern that crosses my face is when she signals for drinks, and my lips purse. She’s not old enough to be drinking I don’t think. I’m definitely not old enough to be buying, even if I might look like I am at the moment. And this outfit doesn’t exactly have pockets, except for the sweatshirt that I’ve brought nothing in except my phone. Well. Hopefully Tim made the thing with all the usual capabilities of a phone.
“As long as they take Apple Pay. Is this a normal… thing for you here? Because he doesn’t seem to mind bringing them for you. But none for me, thank you.”
Why am I thanking her? She wants me to pay for both of them. And I probably should just refuse but… I don’t know. I want to do this ‘job’ that I’m still not sure I’m fully equipped for, or capable of. So. I just go on winging it, like so much else.
Folding my arms on the edge of the table, I turn my attention away from Bartender With No Problem Serving Minors, and back to Terra.
“Do you have somewhere safe you can go? I don’t want to assume, after the way you’ve moved around the country but..”
Terra: The expression on Terra’s face only widens at Cassie’s reaction to her ordering drinks. She holds up a hand while the other reaches into the purse she had previously had dangling by her side but now sat on the table. Sliding out a card rectangular object that as she slides it across the table reveals itself to be a drivers license.
“Why would he mind? I’m twenty one as of…”
Taking a moment to glance back down at the card on the table she then continues.
“A month ago. Apple Pay.”
Tilting her head to look to the bartender who only shakes his head at the unspoken question about if they accept that particular form of currency. This causes Terra’s amused veneer to fade for a fraction of a section while she fumbles around in her purse for the cash to pay. Finding it she quickly hands it over and takes both beers.
“It was…nowhere important I shouldn’t have said anything.”
Sliding one of the beers closer Terra let’s her eyes fall down a moment as if something sad had just hit her memory and she could not easily shake it. With the beer close enough to sip she does so once then again.
“I have lots of places to go, if any of them are safe is anyone’s guess. No ones found me yet.”
Cassie: Tilting my head to the side, my eyes drop to the driver’s license that she’s slid out onto the table thinking that perhaps I had misjudged exactly how old she appears to be, but after a partial squint at the identification in question, mixed with her having to look at the thing to know when her own birthday is? It’s surely fake. Which takes me back to the bartender probably doesn’t really care. As for me, I’m left shrugging my shoulders in the apology that I won’t actually say on the matter.
“Uh huh. I didn’t expect to find you here. Or to be making any… purchases. But I can…”
Give you money like a charity case? Already she doesn’t exactly read like someone who would go in for that, and I don’t want to push her away now that we’re sitting here and talking, so I quickly course correct that thought.
“…go get money to repay you.”
I don’t miss her reaction, especially with the backtracking on the subject and that makes me not want to press the matter. At least not right now. I don’t really want to make her uncomfortable, or to shut me out any more. So I let the conversation be steered along with the original purpose of my visit.
“I did. And someone I work with found you before I did. There’s another group out there. NOWHERE. That could have, too, already. I’m trying to help people like you. And me. To have options that aren’t just government detention and conscription.”
Terra: Terra reaches out for the I.D with the the one hand not yet clutching a beer. Catching it just at the edge of the table between two of her fingers she brings it up closer to her face and quickly looks it over. Barely restraining the urge to roll her eyes as more then one typo reveals itself in the inspection. Still it had done the job up to this point, so it would be placed back into her purse.
“Well you got me there I guess…”
Bringing the beer up for another series of sips as she listens to Cassie try to convince her of just how much trouble she was in. The only problem being that Terra had been in trouble since the day she had left Markovia. As if she had been given a choice in the matter. Terra hated being told what she had to do because for as long as she could remember someone had been telling her what to do.
It had started with her mother a scientist, and then it was Slade the hired killer and now it was some girl wearing a tiara.
“You want to help me? Well aren’t you just a regular saint….what’s in it for you and your friend huh? I don’t know you or Nowhere and I don’t much trust you.”
Cassie: The corner of my mouth tugs upwards as I fight a smile at her admission. I have no way of knowing if NOWHERE is onto her or not, but I have to just assume they are. As Tim had said, if the half-finished sensors on his ‘little’ building project in Coast City had detected this girl, then chances are being so much closer to the center of things here in Metropolis had definitely caught some notice. Especially with her heroics. Which aren’t a bad thing in my mind, just an activity that draws attention.
“No, I’m not. And I don’t pretend to be, either. I’m someone who thinks that people like us can do a lot of good. Do do a lot of good, and could do more if we were allowed. In it for me…?”
I seem startled by the question, and I think I might actually be about to let myself be a little offended. But I remember that conversation with Tim Drake, or rather, Red Robin in my Mother’s office and his correction about my agenda, or lack thereof. Yes. I have one. Maybe my head doesn’t like to think of it in those terms, and the connotations that might come with it, but it’d be a lie to pretend there’s nothing that could be ‘in it’ for us. Blowing out a soft breath, I lean back into the booth and push my hands into my sweatshirt’s pockets.
“You don’t have a reason to. Which I understand and I’d like to be able to change that. I’m looking for more people like you, who might want to do that good in the world, to maybe join my friends and I. But if you don’t want to choose that, then at the very least? I want to keep NOWHERE from snatching you up off the street and taking away what choices you do have. I won’t force you to do something you don’t want to do.”
Terra: Turning the beer up for another sip only to find it empty Terra sits it back and on the table and then moves it to the side. Her eyes move to the second bottle I’m front of her but for the moment she does not reach for it. Despite what her body language might suggest Terra listened intently to each word Cassie had to say. Her expression would paint a picture of disinterest and outright dismissal out of habit more then anything. Terra simply couldn’t help but project the sort of vibe that kept people off balance.
“Look..it’s not like that’s unappealing.”
Throwing up her hands in a small show of frustration Terra now reaches out for the second bottle, but only slides it closer and does not open it.
“But I’ve spent most of my life hiding and for good reason…and what you want to go out and play hero?”
Cassie: Well. This is really going nothing like any of the other pitches had, is it? In my head, I’m jokingly telling myself that maybe Conner’s recruitment/pep talks might not be the totally wrong way to go, except that I meant what I said. I’m not out to force something on anyone. In my eyes, that wouldn’t make me any different, or better, than NOWHERE. Maybe this all just goes better when there’s some sort of conflict in progress, in order to really show where you stand, and who you are… or maybe she’s just not someone who’s going to be impressed. Or let herself be. I don’t exactly need a map drawn for me. She’s talking now about spending all her time hiding, she spoke earlier very, very briefly about somewhere she barely remembers but was important enough to hang onto a postcard for, and the also brief sad look she’d had before it had gotten quashed back under the indifference and attitude.
And that’s okay. No, it’s not how I might have wanted this to play out but that? Not up to me. All I get to do is try my best to make her want to trust me. And I don’t get the feeling that’s going to happen tonight.
“That used to be me, too. I thought I had to hide what I could do, who I am, from almost everyone. Maybe it works out better for you, but I didn’t want to live like that anymore.”
And maybe I also wouldn’t have chosen this life either but once I got pushed out there? I know there’s no going back for me. I couldn’t do it. And I don’t want to either. I also know that I’m lucky. That Conner affords me a level of protection that other people don’t get, and that’s a leeway I’m taking advantage of right now. Eventually it’s not going to hold up anymore, and then I need to be… we all need to be prepared. There’s a faint shrug of my shoulders, as I purse my lips for a moment but otherwise refuse to rise to the bait of ‘playing’ at being a hero.
“How did it make you feel when you stopped those men? Were you just experimenting and decided eh, not for me? Or did it make you feel something else? You don’t have to answer that. Just… think about it. Here. I’m going to give you an address, and…”
Dropping my eyes for the first time, I’m digging out the sleek red phone from my pocket. I’d placed it on silent mode before coming back to Metropolis, though I wasn’t sure that would actually do anything since Tim’s intrusive holo-messages had made it through just the same. I suppose he’s probably got some super-access since he made the thing. Or it’s just part of the whole Bat-thing of being where you’re not expected to be. My nose actually wrinkles as I cringe in my seat at the litany of missed alerts that seem to have come in, in the last fifteen minutes, and who they’re from but for the moment I disregard them to pull up the information from Red Robin’s database that I’m looking for.
“…ahem. If you want to keep hiding, or need to, that’s your call to make. Not mine. This is a place here in Metropolis that is safe if you feel like someone is trying to push you into something you don’t want. You’re free to use it. No catch. No expectations.”
I’m sliding myself out of the booth’s seat even as I talk, thumb still whirling through screens and information until I find what I need.
“I apologize. Apparently I need to go play hero…”
Okay so maybe I didn’t totally let that one go.
“… but if you want to, or need to, get a hold of me there’ll be a way to do that there.”
JACKSON: It was the assignment that no one wanted. Another exhibit being brought into the Metropolis Museum of Art. When Perry’s door opened to try and get someone to cover the assignment all the seasoned reporters made themselves scarce or had already been assigned. Rather than waiting for it to be assigned I took a little initiative and volunteered for the assignment. Which Mister White found a bit surprising and he was a little unsure that he wanted an intern covering the story, but I thought I had been here long enough to do the piece.
Most called I fluff. Who cared about Kahndaq. Relations with the country was tense at best and it wasn’t like anyone of importance would be there to ask questions besides the museum curator who I considered to be an important person. Whether I won him over or he was tired of looking at my face I got the assignment. I would be responsible for the entire article start to finish including a few pictures. I considered myself lucky so much so that I started doing my research a few days in advance of the actual interview. Standard fair along with a few extra questions I thought I could toss in. I would take my notes, take pictures, and show Mister White that I was quite capable.
He thought he would throw me a bone and ask Olsen to come with to make sure that I didn’t embarrass the paper, because most of the work I had done so far was mostly blog post on the Planet’s online edition. However, this was going to make into the paper. I was pretty sure that I was going to be able to make it happen, but Jimmy got snagged for another assignment.
Something about showing Mister White’s new assistant the ropes. Didn’t matter I was confident that I could handle assignment. What was the worst that could happen?
That’s how it started that bright lovely afternoon. I was already in the museum taking a few pictures of the exhibit when the storm gathered the rather odd storm. That’s when it all went downhill. What was supposed to be a standard piece turned into a survive the night situation.
One moment things seemed to be in order the next as I was on my way to meet Dr. Sandsmark the next there were people who were yelling and screaming? Why? It seems that the museums exhibits had come to life, and while many of them appeared that they would come to life, because of their authenticity, they were literally coming to the life. Like Night at the Museum come to life without any of the snappy banter. Snappy banter had been replaced with life threatening danger.
Joshua told me to fit in. To be the student. To be the intern. To keep my nose clean. I was doing that and here I was in a situation that looked all too familiar.
”Garth, this is neither the time or place this.”
“Bring it down a level, Kaldur. I’ve learned a few things. Just want to test it out. You’re always telling me I shouldn’t be afraid of what I can do. Of my magic. I’m taking your advice….”
It had been a quick flash it came and it went, the sounds of scream from the children were enough to spur me into action. They needed to get clear of the building which meant getting them, their chaperones and teachers out of harm’s way.
Boring assignment. Anything but. If asked about it I would discuss it with Joshua, but he couldn’t fault me for doing what I could…you know picking up anything I could to be back whatever exhibits I could. I’m sure the museum would put out a statement of some kind which I would be there to get but if they wanted to continue to receive patronage it would probably be best if the exhibits didn’t hurt, maim and in some instances, eat their patrons.
In some cases, there were items used within reach to help me and when they seemed to not cooperate water pressure built in some areas bursting pipes to provide the cover and distraction that was needed to get the various people that I came across out of danger. I focused on the area I was in. Any more and I might get a lecture if not worse. I might have to leave the city and I rather not do that though some security cameras might catch slightly unnatural movement of water once it escaped the pipes.
Within the hour things seemed to calm down and started to return to normal as the storm began to retreat from the area. There was this need to investigate instead I took pictures and told Mister White that I would be in with information as soon as possible, but it was probably best if I stayed in the area to get a few more firsthand accounts and quotes from people in the area.
I had a story to tell and right now it seemed that a boring assignment might…might get me on the front page. Which may or may not be a good thing.
I don’t know if that screamed low profile like Joshua wanted. Either way I took some time to meet with anyone that was gathered around the museum to get their stories. I had my press pass, so it was completely legitimate.
TARA: Tara would on most occasions not be caught dead in a museum or even near one. To say she found little of value in the lessons to be learned there would be an understatement. She had never much cared for school back during her time in the lab she had grown up in, despite her mother’s attempts to make it fun. At the end of the day she was still confined and still always being watched.
So the cold and clean environment of a museum only served to remind her of a less then ideal time. Today however she had accidentally found herself at the Metropolis Museum of Art entirely due to her lack of familiarity with her new home. Normally she made use of whatever app she could find directions on whatever phone she was currently using, today that plan did not work out.
“Damn it…work you piece of..”
Stopping mid rant about the stolen phones failing battery as all hell broke loose outside of the museum. Still outside at the time Tara glanced up once and immediately knew what she had to do. Run.
Making a quick about face Tara made to escape when everything went white. When next she awoke she found herself sitting on a curb her jacket sitting on her shoulders as an EMT looked at the gash on her forehead.
“I think you’ll be fine miss….?”
Narrowing her eyes at the well meaning medic she consider the question a moment before answering, best not to give her real name.
Nodding he continues to look over her wound ignoring the vulgar muttering of his current patient.
JACKSON: I was in the middle of finishing my interview with one of the individuals while her grandmother partook of the oxygen they had available. She had left her tank in the museum in all the commotion. Not something you would want to think about. Her grandmother was going to be fine, but she needed a moment while the commotion died down.
While most of the other reporters were held back at the perimeter that had been created I was able to get more information from individuals as I was part of of one of the groups that came out of the museum. Some of the other people in the immediate area that had come out of the museum spoke about a man in the sky and a woman with a rather fiery temperament going back and forth. Someone got a picture of the one in the air, but not of the woman, but then he rushed inside. I made a bid on the picture to have it transferred to my phone provided the with the number so they could be compensated. I got another picture of the woman from another bystander securing the photos for the planet.
I move on when I hear the vulgar muttering. I speak to the EMT’s partner to get his perspective
“Jackson Hyde. I’m with the Daily Planet. I was hoping to get a few quotes for the story. Can you describe the scene as you approached the area? I was told that you were part of the first response team.” The EMT looked at me and I flashed the Press Pass, because let’s face it they knew who the reporters were in the city and I didn’t look like any of them. However, upon seeing the press pass he began to open up about the scene as they approached how angry the sky looked, but it was unlike anything he had seen before. The storm was centered over the museum and no where else, almost like it was deliberate.
TARA: “Are you shitting me!?”
Tara said with a low but forceful tone as the EMT leaves her sitting unattended. Reaching into the jackets inner pocket to find the phone that had brought her to weird shit central it’s battery had completely died by this point but it’s wasn’t completely useless.
Holding the screen up just so to use the screen to catch her reflection she tries to see just how bad the damage was. Bringing a finger up to touch the gash over her eye Tara winces at the contact and starts cursing again as the contact causes a small trickle of blood to run down her face.
“HEY. I might be dying over her pal…what happened anyway?”
Looking around where she was siting her eye falls on a bloody jagged rock laying on the grass near her. A rock. Tara of all people had been taken out by a rock.
JACKSON: I was speaking to his partner so I didn’t see the other EMT get up to stop what he was doing to see what was going on. “I think your patient is calling.” Screeching is more like it. The last thing I wanted was to get in the way of anyone doing anything. I stop my digital recorder before turning my attention to the woman that had the gash on her forehead.
“Not sure yet. Conflicting stories. Some thought it was ghosts. Others say aliens, but it sounds like there was a metahuman dust up occurred out here. Not quite sure what went on in the museum, but it sounds like it could be related.”
I step back so the EMT can get back to what he was doing. He got a little chewed out by his partner. He was supposed to be taking care of the woman. They needed to clean her up and probably take her in for some stitches.
“Don’t think we’ve seen anything like this in Metropolis in a while.” Sure you heard about Superman and Wonder Woman sightings in the city, but this was something entirely different from a robbery gone wrong. “Sounds like the rumors are true. Superheroes are on the rise again.”
TARA: Despite her protest about being ignored Tara bats at the hands of the returning EMT, before relenting and holding up both her hands to signal her surrender to his efforts. He takes it all in stride and wipes away the blood being careful not to touch the wound itself and cause further bleeding. Tara keeps her hands up the entire time only lowering them when he finishes.
“Well ain’t that grand…look at this place.”
Pausing a moment as she has a new thought about things a clearly more important thing.
“Look at me!”
As she raises her voice Tara tries to stand stumbling a bit in the process but remaining in her feet. She hadn’t really looked around the scene since she had woken up on the sidewalk, she did now.
“Super idiots is more like it.”
JACKSON: “It has seen better days. I’m afraid that it was a lot worse inside at least that’s what I’ve been told. I haven’t been allowed back inside since I was evacuated from the museum.” It makes me wish that I had done more, but I have my orders. So instead I lean towards what I’ve been trained to do report the news.
“I heard that there were a few fatalities, but there haven’t been any confirmations yet. Either way this is definitely going to leave a mark on the city.” Things were going to get a bit tense with individuals that felt that meatahumans caused more problems than they solved.
“All of it was a bit odd and that’s putting it lightly. Exhibits attacking people inside, meteorological events outside.”
TARA: “Meta humans…are just the worst.”
That said she chucks the dead phone over her shoulder and then uses her now free hand to find the pack of cigarettes from the pocket on the other side of her jacket. Seeing the expression on one of the EMT’s gives her Tara flashes her middle finger at the man before sending the hand back into the pocket for the lighter.
“Do not lecture me okay. I am having the worst…wooooorst day.”
Quickly lighting the cigarette and taking a drag she blows the smoke away from the group around her,see she could be a little courteous. Today had not gone at all like she had expected.
JACKSON: Commenting isn’t what I was here to do. i was here to see what people said and it seemed that this was someone that had something to say about it. How much who knew.
The EMT said nothing at first, but pointed out the fact that if she didn’t want her gash to scar she was going to have to go to the hospital to get that stitched up and there was no smoking in the ambulance. Simple as that. He resumed his work and unfortunately for everyone the wind was blowing in her face sending the smoke of her cigarette right in their direction.
Win-win for no one.
“Do you mind if I ask you remember anything? Were you in the museum?” Back to doing my job. Despite the gash it was at must superficial. Probably wasn’t pleasant and it’s not anything anyone would want to experience, but her skull wasn’t cracked so there was that. I had seen a few other injuries that made hers look like child’s play, but no one goes out looking to get injured unless they’re into that.
TARA: Tara had no intention of going to the hospital, she liked them even less then museums. The smell alone brought up the worst of her memories of childhood. She didn’t much like the idea of having a scar but going to a hospital usually meant answering questions and that she would not do.
“I was outside I wasn’t even going to the museum…just passing through.
Reading the room so to speak Tara puts out the cigarette it keeps it between her fingers, sometimes that helped the cravings.
“Anywho..it’s time I hit the road. Watch your ass dude.”
Sliding an arm into the sleeve of the coat that had till now been sitting on her shoulders Tara slides her other arm into the second sleeve as she begins walking away.
“Watch out for those super heroes could be anywhere.”
Gesturing with a pair of fingers a she walks off despite the EMTs protests.
JACKSON: “So you had a clear view of what happened on the inside.” I was about to ask her if she would like to give her account, but she was already getting up to leave. It seemed that she wanted to get as far away from her as she could. I couldn’t fault her for that. Though from the look of things she must have been here when it began. Most of the other people that was around the museum were brought back to the perimeter that had been created. Given everything that happen it definitely could have been a lot worse.
“Those are the times we live in.” Super heroes are a fact of life. How it’s handle only time will tell, but it will be interesting to see what happens next.
The EMTs were unfazed by her reaction they had pretty much seen it all when it came to people they tried to help. Some welcomed it some not so much. Either way he had a story to get ready for print.
There was also another item that he wanted to speak to Ms. Sandsmark about. He still wanted to do the story on the Kahndaq exhibit, but there was another piece of business that he wanted to talk to her about.