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> The Stormcrow, A Superhero's Tale
SubRosa
post Sep 12 2020, 08:26 AM
Post #281


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From: Between The Worlds



Acadian: January is a Generation Z'er. She has never known life without the internet. So it is always her go-to for learning new things, like makeup and hair and clothes.

Duquesne is strongly inspired by Bill Duke from Black Lightning. More and more when I have a supporting character, I am picking a real person and using them as a base. Both for how the character looks, and often their voice, and how they behave. Duquesne's appearance, his smooth nature, his confidence and self-assurance, all come from his role in Black Lightning. However, he is not also an evil so-and-so in the Crowverse, as he is in Black Lightning.

It took her five chapters, but January is finally making some serious inroads into seriously connecting with the authorities. By chapter 7 she will be personally meeting the state attorney general. Though it won't all be smooth, or necessarily work out in the end. Jan has some serious issues with authority after all.


Renee: Pot is legal here in Michigan. Though only just recently. One of my neighbors smokes right out on the porch.

Jan can be at her most adorable when she is failing to act as cool and composed as she would like. It is one of the things I really enjoy writing about her. Her nature always shines through.

Jan will eventually get hot under the hagfish. But that will not be until about chapter 8, when she meets Hannah (who I wrote about in the Writing Process topic).

Just as Buffy has her Doctrine, Jan has her Mission Statement. It has been a long time coming, and steadily evolving all of this time. Ironically, it will also be her largest stumbling block in creating a lasting relationship with the police. Because she really does not care about arresting people or putting them in prison.

Duquesne is a lawyer, he should make you suspicious! laugh.gif









Chapter 5.18 - Crystal Death

The cluster of state police and now an ambulance began to attract attention from the neighbors. At January's suggestion they knocked on the door of the Greenwood's, who graciously let them use their home as a headquarters, or at least as a place to cool their heels while they waited for their warrant.

The Greenwoods were unimpressed with January, which was actually something of a relief for the superheroine. For once she did not have any preconceived notions to live up to. Mr. Greenwood even made a remark about Halloween coming early. That brought several chuckles from the Emergency Response Team, and one from January herself. If only they knew that her superhero career had begun cosplay…

The state troopers pulled their armored assault vehicle through the driveway of the Greenwood's house, and into their backyard, in order to be off the street. Their detached garage blocked it from view of the Death Dealer's lair, on the opposite side of the yard. An ambulance pulled up behind it. January hoped the EMTs within would not be needed.

Time dragged by on leaden feet. If no one else had been there, January would have opened up Sága and gone to work on her Artemis Argent story. But she did not want to look like she was taking events lightly. So instead she did her best to meditate, and practice her flow of energy. It turned out that may not have been much better at impressing people with her professional attitude.

Before she knew it, she has slipped into Tadasana, or the Mountain Pose. It was her usual starting position for Yoga. It was a simple standing position with her hands down, palms open and facing forward. She rocked back and forth, then side to side, until she felt limber and loose. Then she moved through more challenging positions, such as the Eight Angle Pose, and of course the Crow Pose, which now felt like something of a signature position.

Finally January opened her eyes feeling calm and refreshed. Everyone was staring at her.

"What, no one does Yoga?" she challenged police and retirees alike.

That brought some chuckles and much shaking of heads. Mr. Greenwood mumbled something about heroes in his day not needing namby-pamby stretches. On the other hand, Mrs. Greenwood brought out coffee, milk, and home-baked cookies for all. January had to admit, the latter two were quite enjoyable. Mrs. Greenwood asked about Yoga, and January spent the next fifteen minutes talking with her about it. She explained how it helped her stay limber and clear her mind, how easy the beginner poses were, and where to find classes. They even did a few of the most basic poses together.

Duquesne's phone rang, and everyone stopped to stare at him. He nodded a few times, said some noncommittal words, and hung up. Then he looked to January and the Emergency Response Team.

"We have the warrant," he declared. "Take them."

With that they all flew out of the house like bees. The state troopers split up. Half of them went around the front of the Greenwood's house, through the adjoining field, and approached the drug lab from the street. The other half went through the backyard of the Greenwoods, and began to scale the wall to the back of the strip mall.

The sniper Nyah slung her massive Hecate II rifle and climbed atop the roof of their armored vehicle. January saw her contemplating the leap between it and the roof of the detached garage next to the vehicle. It seemed a risky maneuver, given the weight of her body armor and the unwieldiness of the incredibly long gun. Before the other woman could move, January was on top of the armored truck beside her. She put an arm around Nyah's waist, and in another instant both of them were on top of the garage.

January had a nearly overwhelming urge to pull a Princess Leia and lean in to kiss the other woman for luck, nearly. But she contained herself, and instead squatted down behind the crown of the roof, as if she did that kind of thing every day. Which, well, she kind of did now.

"Next time, warn me before you do that," Nyah shook her head.

"Next time?" January said without thinking, "People are going to think we are dating if there's a next time."

"You should be so lucky sister."

'Sister', that sounded good to January. Better than she could ever expect in fact. It was not like she would ever ask the sniper out for real. That would be too complicated, in far too many ways. Still, it was nice to think that the other woman might actually like her. Just like her, and nothing more. That was a victory all on its own.

Nyah unlsung her rifle and went prone on the rooftop. She got set up with the Hecate II, pulling out the legs of its bipod, bracing it on the roof, loading a magazine, and chambering a round with the bolt action. She stared down the telescopic sight, and studied the abandoned business across the empty back parking lot. January glanced over her shoulder, and could see a colorful display of shapes through the thermographic sight.

"So what made you pick me to talk to?" Nyah asked while they waited. "Is it because I'm the only female member of my team?"

"No," January answered honestly. "It's because you're a sniper."

When it was clear that the other woman still did not understand what she meant, January went on.

"I have a friend who plays World of Guncraft." January's thoughts turned to Ryo. "While everyone else runs around like mad, shooting everything that moves, he finds a spot and just chills. He sits there and waits, and watches, and thinks, and measures. He waits until he finally has that one perfect moment. Then he takes one shot, and gets a kill from it. Every shot he takes is a kill. He doesn't miss, he doesn't misjudge, because he takes his time and thinks everything through patiently and dispassionately."

"I was hoping that those same qualities would carry over into real world snipers," January finished, "and that you would also be someone who doesn't prejudge, or let their emotions get the better of them."

Nyah nodded, but before she could say anything, Lieutenant Hunter came on the radio.

"Ready to move in," he said. "Stormcrow, you are up."

January leaped from the roof of the garage, executed a forward roll in mid air, and landed on both feet before the back door of the lab. She fished the lockpick from her utility belt and jabbed it into the lock. It hummed as it did its work. In moments the pins within slid out of the way, allowing the cylinder of the lock to swing open.

"Movement inside," Nyah said calmly. "Could be a suspect is reaching for a gun. Permission to engage?"

"Negative," Duquesne's voice came over the link. "Let our new friend do what she does best."

Then January was through the door. Nyah had been right, one of them had gone for a gun. The dark-haired man with the ponytail - doubtlessly ThunderRhino - pointed a revolver at her. It roared in the enclosed space. She was vaguely aware of the bullet disintegrating on her new cubic boron nitride breastplate. She was on top of him with a single bound, and crushed the weapon under her fingers.

She could hear the state troopers breaking down the front door at the opposite end of the building, and rushing into another room beyond the lab. At the same time more troopers streamed in behind January, and fanned out across the back wall. They leveled their rifles at the other man in the room.

It was the man Gadget had identified as Joshua Bleaker, the pasty one with the mustache and glasses. He lifted a syringe in his hand. January stared at the glowing red liquid that filled it with trepidation. Whatever that was, it could not be good.

"Put the syringe down!" Lieutenant Hunter exclaimed.

Naturally Bleaker did the opposite. He raised the syringe, and plunged the needle into his neck. January involuntarily flinched at the sight. Then she abandoned Rhino, and leapt onto Bleaker. But she was too slow, and his thumb shoved the plunger of the device all the way to its base before she could stop him.

That glowing red liquid vanished into his body. January was able to pull the empty syringe from his neck and toss it aside before he went into convulsions. The next thing she knew, he collapsed into her arms, white froth welling from his mouth. She eased him to the floor as gently as she could, while more of the state troopers rushed forward to help her.

January remembered what Emilia had said, when she had first explained the danger of Crystal Death: "Half the people who have taken it are dead, the lucky ones who survive end up in a persistent vegetative state. Some of them never even get the meta abilities. They just go straight into a coma."

"Put your hand in his mouth," Gadget's voice was calm in her ear, "so he doesn't bite his tongue off."

January did as she was told, and shoved her armored palm between his teeth. As always, Gadget was right. Bleaker bit down hard, but human teeth were no match for her hagfish armor. January was relieved that he would pose no greater danger. Apparently he had lost the roll of the dice with his own super drug. Instead of enjoying only temporary superpowers, he had gone straight to the consolation prize of overdosing.

Lieutenant Hunter called for the EMTs, while January knelt there and watched the man spasm uncontrollably. His eyes rolled back in his head, and his veins stood out like purple cords all across his exposed flesh. It looked like he was dying, in a most spectacular fashion. She tried to conjure up sympathy for him. But when she considered how many people his drug had killed in this same fashion, it just felt like karma.






Author's Note - This is not the end of the chapter. We are only about 2/3rds of the way through. Chekov's Gunmen are still out there...


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Acadian
post Sep 12 2020, 07:35 PM
Post #282


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From: Las Vegas



You are absolutely right that Jan is at her most adorable when trying be cool and having to settle (in her mind) for awkward instead. That said, I think her yoga was pretty cool – eccentric, mysterious and exotic. Perfect.

I’m also glad to see her getting along with Nyah. Having the sniper call her ‘Sister’ is an encouraging step. Whether anything pans out or not with Nyah, it looks like having somewhat of a reasonable ally is well underway.

A nice takedown, and the Stormcrow is well equipped to take down the door and intercept any initial resistance.

I shared Jan’s trepidation at Bleaker with that syringe. My concern was that she would quickly find herself in a fight with a drug-fueled temporary Super who could pose a serious threat to her and the SWAT team. It certainly appears he is simply going to convulse and die but I’m not ruling out my earlier concern. . . yet. I’m going to guess that is going to die without posing a threat, but also unable to provide info on tracking the source deeper toward the evil behind it. As you imply in your note, looks like it ain't over yet. . . .


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Renee
post Sep 14 2020, 06:56 PM
Post #283


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Smoking on the front porch sounds nice. Even if it gets legal here I would feel weird about that, but it does sound nice.

The Greenwoods have no idea who they are talking to, which is oddly a relief. Yes, I would think the constant stares and adulation would get distracting after awhile, though for Jan she also relishes this at times, right? Good for her well-being, I'd think. Of course, in Blood Raven's eyes, she doesn't want or need this so much. nono.gif And Lighthammer starts to deflate if he doesn't get it!

That is a question I had, but forgot earlier. When you game with the different Januaries in Fallout 3, Skyrim, etc., are you able to simulate her ability to draw from various elements like Earth, Water, and so on?

"What, nobody does yoga?" laugh.gif

I know how she feels. Going for a kiss at that moment is something we dream about.

Nice. Hunter says "you're up, Stormcrow." Letting her do the hard part I guess, but still...

Bam in they go. panic.gif Guess ThunderRhino did not allot any funds toward the purchase of an exterior camera system after all.

Now wait a minute though. That does strike me as odd they would want SC to take on the most dangerous part. Me and my suspicious mind, now I'm wondering if it's because the uppers (Hunter and the lawyer) want to use her, which makes the rest of their team not as liable to injury. Of course, maybe January (nor you) sees it this way. I mean, it's great she's going to get some glory, and all.

Hmm.

QUOTE
He raised the syringe, and plunged the needle into his neck. January involuntarily flinched at the sight


Yeah, me too. wink.gif

Oh man, I thought he injected some Crystal Death. That's what he should have done. At least he'd be able to Hulk out as he met his demise.

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SubRosa
post Sep 16 2020, 02:09 AM
Post #284


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Since there was a little confusion, I went back and tweaked the last few paragraphs to make it clear that yes, that was Crystal Death that Bleaker injected himself with. Also that people dying immediately upon taking it is not uncommon.

I have given a lot of thought since posting it, on whether it is too anti-climatic. I think the common route here would have been to have a big, knock-down, drag out boss battle. Instead I went this route for several reasons. Firstly was to show the different sides of Crystal Death. We were first introduced to the drug in the prologue with Chad, whose experience was standard. He takes it, gets powers, gets hella angry and a god-complex, then crashes and burns.

But as Emilia said at the beginning, some people take it and immediately die or fall into a brain-dead coma. I wanted a character to go that route as well, to show it to the readers.

But now I wonder if I ought to go back and add a fight here instead? A good story has a steady pace of action and exposition. I have been looking for other ways to provide conflict and action in this chapter, beyond simple fist-fights. Like January's misgivings about posting her own story on Crow Tales, or the showdown with the police, or the appearance of the Nazis downtown. I would like to think that we could go without an explosion every ten minutes (like in a James Cameron movie). But sometimes a big fight is just what the doctor ordered.

In the very least, fear not, because this chapter will end on the biggest super battle I have yet written.


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Acadian
post Sep 16 2020, 12:15 PM
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The clarification you added was perfect.

Given what you just said, I'd leave things as they are now. I do thank you for the clarification we could indeed consider Bleaker dead. I wasn't looking for a fight here (lol), just didn't want to rule it out in case it was part of your plans. smile.gif


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SubRosa
post Sep 19 2020, 08:24 AM
Post #286


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Acadian: January is making inroads, and becoming a lot more at ease with the superhero life. She has come a long way mentally since her first encounters with Lighthammer and the Blood Diamond Trader. Even with all of her awkwardness, she is really growing into her role.


Renee: When I play January in computer games I do my best to work with what the games offer. A lot of them have classes, which can really restrict what she can do. Though sometimes I can use the console to add in lightning spells and the like even when she is a monk or a paladin. I also mod the game to add lightning effects to her weapons whenever I can. I do that in all the Bethesda games. I also eliminate falling damage in them, and when I can mod the jumping so she can make super leaps. Morrowind has the Levitate spell, which was perfect since January can fly.

January does like the fame, to a certain extent. But she has already found it invasive. There will be more on that later this chapter in fact. Blood Raven of course, has no use for it at all. She'd much rather lurk in the shadows of a gothic steeple than be live streamed.

Naturally the cops want January to do the most dangerous part, and act as a bullet sponge. She is the superhero! That is literally her job, because she can take the hits that will kill everyone else. That is one of January's core principles. She is there to save lives, no matter what it costs her.







The situation of an African-American reverend taking over a Nazi Group is real



Chapter 5.19 - Crystal Death

January remained for enough of the aftermath to confirm that the ponytailed gunman was indeed ThunderRhino666. His real name turned out to be Lonnie Maguire. His history came up very quickly in the police computer, thanks to his long record of drug arrests. He was also the brother-in-law of Joshua Bleaker - the Death Dealer himself - who had been recently fired from a chemical company for the vaguely disturbing reason of conducting 'unethical experiments'.

More warrants were in the works to search both their homes. But Mr. Duquesne assured January that she would not be needed for either. That was something that ordinary troopers - like Emilia Mercado - could handle, rather than her and the Emergency Response Team.

"It appears that after he was fired, our Death Dealer - Mr. Bleaker - decided to go into business for himself." Mr. Duquesne flipped through a stack of print outs that were covered in chemical symbols, and stained with coffee rings. "I will admit, I have no idea what any of this means. But the dates of these batches do match up with the incidents we have on file. He must have been experimenting, tweaking the formula each time."

"And his brother-in-law Lonnie was his man on the street, handing it out to the unwitting test subjects," January frowned.

"All that is left now is to get into his PC." Duquesne walked to Bleaker's desktop computer, and its array of three monitors. A young man in a state police uniform sat there with a frown etched across his features.

"I'm afraid we're going to have to take this back to the lab." The technician turned to the deputy attorney general. "I can't make any headway against this encryption."

January said nothing. In truth, she was relieved. The last thing the world needed was more Crystal Death. She hoped that its secrets would die with its creator, assuming that the massive overdose he had given himself proved fatal.

The only thing that stopped her from ripping open the sky and calling down lightning on the entire lab was the fact that it would not go over well with the state police. She really did want to get off on a better foot with them. She also did not want to destroy the building and start a fire that would certainly spread to the neighboring print shop.

"That was good work." Duquesne turned back to January as the technician began disconnecting the computer's peripherals and packing it all up. "It was quick, and with no collateral damage."

"I just got lucky," January admitted. "I did not find them because I was smart. I only did because 'ThunderRhino' screwed up."

"Criminals rarely show discipline or good judgment," Duquesne noted. "That tends to be why they are criminals in the first place."

"I take it this means the Mills family's electronics will be returned to them?" January said pointedly.

"As we speak," Duquesne nodded, "along with an apology to the family. That is something that could have gone better. It would do no one any good if say, video of the incident were to leak to the internet."

"It won't come from me," January looked down at her feet. She did not much like the idea. But she had to admit, she was not exactly proud of her role in events either. She knew that it would certainly not endear her toward law enforcement officials. "But I cannot speak for Wayne or his parents."

"I believe the young Mr. Mills will cooperate with us in this matter," Duquesne said smoothly, "as well as his parents. The young squire has desires to become an attorney. I may be able to lend him some guidance in that endeavor."

* * *

"So where do you stand with your mission?" Blood Raven's voice intoned in January's ear, while her face filled Sága's screen.

January was perched on the roof of a black and white office building, across the street from the General Motors Technical Center. The sprawl of office and engineering buildings stretched for an entire square mile. But today only a handful of cars dotted the many parking lots and roads within. It was a Saturday, so only the most die-hard or unlucky of company men were working.

Between her and the massive automotive campus stretched out Van Dyke, a great seven lane thoroughfare that ran from north to south through Metro Detroit's East Side. Thanks to it being a weekend, the traffic below was likewise spotty, rather than its usual weekday roar. Instead it was only a muted hum in the background of their conversation.

"It's all wrapped up," January tried not to preen. She really did. "The Death Dealer is in a coma. The last I heard he was being taken to the Detroit Medical Center. The state police have his lackey, and they're sweating him for a confession."

"We were fortuitous that he did not seek a corporation or wealthy individual for a sponsor," Blood Raven considered, "elsewise he should not have been so easily apprehended."

"Yeah, I'm sure the Department of Defense would have thrown millions at the guy, just to get what had already produced." January noted. "But I guess he did not want to share. After all, if he had succeeded in making a stable drug that makes metahumans, well, he'd be our next Emperor, wouldn't he? Why give that kind of power away to someone else?"

"Indeed," Blood Raven nodded over their link. "As I said before, ever since Tunguska there have been others who have sought this same grail. Any nation, or organization, or cult, who controlled such a thing, would literally control the world. At least until their own creations spun out of their control. Thankfully, no one has ever drawn even this near to success."

"What about Bleaker's lab notes," a gruff, yet soft voice came to January's ears. "Sorry, this is Cray. I work with Blood Raven."

"Oh, it's nice to finally 'meet' you," January said, unconsciously reverting to her perky phone voice. She winced, then realized that Blood Raven, and probably Cray, could see that. So she carried on as if nothing embarrassing had happened at all. It worked for cats, why not her too?

"There were some hard copies, but nothing really definitive in them," January continued. "The real formula is locked up in his PC. It's got some serious encryption on it. Not even Gadget could crack it. I doubt the state cops ever will."

"It is a shame you were not able to destroy it," Blood Raven sighed. "This knowledge is too dangerous to leave in existence. But I realize the opportunity was not there."

"I dunno, couldn't something like this be used for good someday?" Gadget chimed in. "I mean, if it could be fixed, so it didn't drive people crazy, and kill them. I mean, someone without meta abilities might say that we are just hogging it all to ourselves, like some sort of superpowered elites. Oh, this is Gadget by the way."

"Everyone has that power already," Blood Raven insisted. "All they have to do is believe in themselves, and commit to an ideal. That is what January did. She is not special. Nor am I. The problem with drugs like Crystal Death is that they require no effort on the part of the recipient. They need no disciple, no sacrifice to attain. Because of that those who take it do not respect the power they were given, or take responsibility for the danger they even unwittingly pose to others. Even those born metahuman typically have to spend time learning to master their abilities. That commitment engenders a healthy respect for those powers, at least most of the time."

"I guess you do have a point," Gadget grudgingly admitted. "It took me years to make my first invention actually work."

January smiled in spite of herself. She remembered that. It had been a drone that he had made from three hair-dryers, a toaster, and a skate board. He had indeed spent years fighting to make it work. But in the end his perseverance had won the day. At least until it crashed into a neighbor's swimming pool...

"Well maybe we can still get at the PC?" Gadget forged ahead. "All we need is for someone to walk in and put an electromagnet next to the hard drive."

"That is an excellent idea," Blood Raven agreed. "Yet I fear that task shall not be so easily accomplished. The state police evidence lockup is a highly secure location. It shall take time, a proper reconnaissance, and planning. Most of all it cannot look like we were responsible."

"So, before breakfast tomorrow then?" Gadget laughed. January grinned at the joke, and she even saw Blood Raven crack a smile over the video link.

"I admire your pluck young man!" Cray joined in. "But I am afraid that is a job for another day. Thankfully that encryption should keep them deadlocked until we can find a solution."

"You mean until we can recruit Danny Ocean," January murmured. For an instant her mind jumped to Ryo. He could practically disappear when he wanted to. It was too bad he wasn't a metahuman. He would be their perfect ninja for something like this.

"I believe Frank Sinatra is a trifle long in the tooth for that," Blood Raven actually made a pop culture reference. Albeit one that January did not understand.

"I think she meant Clooney," Cray explained.

"Who?" Blood Raven asked. Then she waved a hand in dismissal. "In any case, good work you two. That relieves us of one threat. Now we may concentrate all of our efforts upon the Conjurer once again."

"I'll be there Downtown tomorrow morning," January insisted, "I took the day off work. So I can be there all day."

"As long as we can avoid any Imperial entanglements," Gadget mused.

"Well that is the real trick, isn't it," Cray instantly responded. January thought it was adorable how they nerded off one another. "I have unearthed some arcana on today's Nazis: the National Socialist League. They have chapters across the country. They have their own social media platform, a podcast, even a record label. But they've been in freefall lately. It seems they're a little too Nazi to be popular. They even took the swastika off their logo a few years ago, and replaced it with that Norse rune, to be a little less overt."

"But they still can't compete with the other Alt-Right groups that pretend to be more mainstream, like the Proud Boys or Patriot Prayer. They show too much of what they really believe, and that scares off the run-of-the-mill racists before they can radicalize them even further. A few months ago their leader - Mikael Scheuer - lost power of attorney over the group to an African-American reverend. The reverend now officially owns all NSL property - their website, their social media, their podcast - everything legally owned by the organization, rather than by the individual people in it."

"What?" January was not the only one to betray shock.

"Way to go Rev!" Gadget was the first to exult.

"Yeah, he sounds like a pretty cool dude," January added.

Even Blood Raven looked impressed.

"I won't even pretend to understand how all of this works," Cray went on, "but it looks like instead of just disbanding the group, the reverend is trying to gradually tone them down. To reverse radicalize them. But they are still around, and Scheuer still has control on the ground, even if not legal power over the organization's assets."

"If he dissolved the group, they would all just move to other organizations, or even restart with the same name," Blood Raven observed. "These fascist gangs fracture, dissolve, poach each other's members, and start anew at a rate only a speedster can keep up with."

"So what were they doing here?" January asked.

"It looks like Scheuer is originally from Detroit," Cray said. "But I am guessing this was some last stab at regaining power in his own organization. Maybe he wants to show his own people that he's still in control? Or maybe he wants to use the publicity to convince other Nazi groups that he is? Or maybe he hopes to use the money he gathers from donations to take legal control back? In any case, he's hemorrhaging members to other groups, like the Church Militia and the Shieldwall Network. If this keeps up, there won't be an NSL for much longer."

"I smell desperation," Blood Raven observed. "Now I see why there were only fifteen demonstrators yesterday, from a group that stretches nationwide. The NSL is a dying beast. We must take care. This will make them reckless, dangerous. They may return to Motor City Pride tomorrow. If so, they will probably go to even greater lengths to provoke violence. Blood in the streets is the only thing that can save them now."


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Acadian
post Sep 19 2020, 05:29 PM
Post #287


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I’m with January and, as I learned later, Blood Raven in wishing this Crystal Death and its secrets could be simply destroyed instead of being learned –by anyone.

"Oh, it's nice to finally 'meet' you," January said, unconsciously reverting to her perky phone voice. She winced, then realized that Blood Raven, and probably Cray, could see that. So she carried on as if nothing embarrassing had happened at all. It worked for cats, why not her too?’
- - This is an adorable paragraph! tongue.gif


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Renee
post Sep 21 2020, 08:34 PM
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Yes, Morrowind has Levitate, and Fallout 4 has jet packs (or something such). Oblivion has that broom mod which I used in Sarah Phimm's game, just in case January / Cyrodiil wants to try that, I can provide a link. That's not on Nexus.

Oh okay, so that was crystal death the Death Dealer's brother ate. Well goodbye to you, loozer.

QUOTE
Blood Raven of course, has no use for it at all. She'd much rather lurk in the shadows of a gothic steeple than be live streamed.


I also imagine Blood Raven does not need or want that ego boost BUT she wants for the larger picture to be seen. She wants people to appreciate the final effects of her work, right? She herself doesn't need any accolades though. "The peoples of Detroit have been saved," not "The peoples of Detroit have been saved because of Blood Raven."

QUOTE

Naturally the cops want January to do the most dangerous part, and act as a bullet sponge. She is the superhero! That is literally her job, because she can take the hits that will kill everyone else. That is one of January's core principles. She is there to save lives, no matter what it costs her.


Yeah but.... biggrin.gif


QUOTE
The only thing that stopped her from ripping open the sky and calling down lightning on the entire lab was the fact that it would not go over well with the state police.


That would also destroy a lot of evidence, even though her intentions are thoughtful. The defense would easily jump all over that. sad.gif

Blood Raven uses the word elsewise. I like that. My computer just underlined it in red ink, but Dictionary.com does have a meaning. My computer's so-called modern software is therefore wrong. Ha ha.

I love her perky phone voice. hehe.gif

Erasing the hard drive would be useless, right? Surely the Death Dealer made some copy. Well, maybe not, if he's not even careful enough to hide his chemical output. There was a scene in Breaking Bad in which they tried to erase someone's computer drive, which was located IN police evidence locker. They had to use a really big electric magnet of course, in the back of a cargo van.

Still, that's Tampering with Evidence. Again, a good defense would jump all over that. "What do you mean his hard drive got erased while in the police evidence locker...?" It's funny to read them all nerding out. smile.gif Just.. be careful guys & gals.

QUOTE
"I believe Frank Sinatra is a trifle long in the tooth for that," Blood Raven actually made a pop culture reference. Albeit one that January did not understand.


Hey, at least she chose a celebrity from this century! Oh wait. Well, last century.

Yikes, the hate group is not done yet. Yeah, I imagine they're pretty pissed about Branwen ruining their parade. Ha!

This post has been edited by Renee: Sep 21 2020, 08:38 PM
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Renee
post Sep 22 2020, 03:52 PM
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Actually, to revise, I am going to say that Blood Raven does not care if her ego gets stroked, but it seems that ideals are what's important to her. And in some cases these ideals are common, not always specifically hers. She wishes to see historical change, with peoples' rights and so forth. But it's not so important that she get recognized for these instances. Not specifically, anyways. She's more in the shadows. Seeing historical and political changes for the better are what pleases her.

How about that? In the ball park, or did I just get that wrong?

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SubRosa
post Sep 26 2020, 06:42 AM
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Acadian: January is at her best when she is being awkwardly adorable.


Renee: It was the Death Dealer himself - Joshua Bleaker - who took the Crystal Death. His brother-in-law Lonnie is the gamer who shot at January.

You understand Blood Raven very well. In spite wearing a very gray hat, she is entirely driven by her sense of duty and morality. That is why she is so distrustful of Lighthammer. To her, he seems to be driven by passion, rather than principle. It is also why she is so trusting of January. She can see that Jan is motivated by a need to protect others from harm.

Elsewise was a late modification. I always have to work extra hard on Blood Raven's dialogue, to keep that sense of timelessness to her.

There maybe be hard copy backups of the Death Dealer's work, either in the lab, or at his home. Which the cops will find. He would not trust the web. That would be too easy for someone else to steal.

You are right that what they are talking about is destroying evidence. But if the police cannot crack the encryption, then it does not really matter as evidence, since there is nothing to use. Given that the Death Dealer suffered massive brain damage and is in a coma which no other Crystal Death user has ever recovered from, prosecution is kind of moot as well. But if the police can crack the encryption, that would mean the Pentagon would start manufacturing Crystal Death and passing it out to the troops. Or whoever else in the government got their hands on it first.

She did choose a celebrity from last century! biggrin.gif She has no idea who George Clooney is.

Those nazis are indeed mighty pissed that Blood Raven made them look bad...










Chapter 5.20 - Crystal Death

"The deputy attorney general told me that you wanted to be a lawyer," January said. She sat on the back porch of the Mills home with their son, Wayne. Both held tall glasses of ice cold lemonade, which were beaded with condensation in the warm June air.

"Yeah," Wayne declared. "I'm going to be a civil rights attorney, like Thurgood Marshall. Especially after what happened yesterday."

"About that," January frowned. "I'm sorry I lost my temper around those cops. I shouldn't have let that happen."

"Are you shi- um, kidding me?" the fifteen-year old replied. "That was awesome! I wanted to bust those… people up."

"There are a lot of times you want to do that," January said. "But that doesn't mean we should, any of us. Otherwise we're no different. Those cops, they're like the old saying: 'when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail.' Day in and day out, they see the worst in people, until it's all they can see. We need to remind ourselves to see more than that, and show people more than that in ourselves. I guess I need to at least."

"So you mean like, be Swiss Army Knives instead?" Wayne nodded, and took a sip of his lemonade. "You sound like my mom. She's the Michelle Obama of Sterling Heights: 'when they go low, we go high'."

"That's exactly what my mom said to me a little while ago!" January laughed. She took a sip of her lemonade. It was sweet, really sweet. She knew she would have a headache if she drank too much. Sugar always did that to her. But it was good, and cool, and even though it was still morning, it was shaping up to be a hot day.

"What did your mom say to you?" Mrs. Mills - Tanisha - stepped through the sliding patio door and onto the back porch. Her husband Jefferson followed her.

"That it's important to be a better person, Mrs. Obama," January smiled.

"Oh he's going on about that Michelle Obama business again," Tanisha laughed. "He only does that when he wants to butter me up for something."

"Hey, if I'm married to Michelle Obama, doesn't that make me the president?" Mr. Mills - Jefferson - chortled.

"We should be so lucky," January murmured.

"I have to say," Tanisha smiled and sat down on a chair beside January. "You aren't at all what I expected from a superhero."

"Yeah, you're so chill," Wayne declared. "I mean when you're not being all…" He raised his arms in a pantomime of wings, and set his face into grim line. Then he began cawing like a crow.

"I do try to be chill," January said. "I work hard at it in fact. So I don't go all stormtrooper like those state cops."

"So you really do Yoga then?" Tanisha asked. "Like Gilda said you were doing with those cops, and that old lady?"

"Oh yes," January nodded. "I love Yoga. Well, what we call Yoga in America at least. Let's face it, it's hardly the same here as it is India. But it really helps me de-stress, as well as stay limber. I'm starting to combine it with my meditation and energy exercises. I think everyone else thought it was mildly amusing. I thought it would be good way to pass the time while we waited for the warrant. But you listen to Gilda Gadfly too?"

"Everyone watches Gilda on TV, or listens on the radio, or her podcast," Jefferson mused. "Whether they admit it or not."

"I noticed the cops were a lot nicer to the old white couple than us," Wayne interjected.

"Because all cops are racists?" January said. "I can understand why you would feel that way, for very good reasons. But I don't know that it was that simple yesterday at least. The Emergency Team didn't know what color you were before they came in the door. As far as I can tell they didn't do any research on you are all. If they had gotten a tip saying that the Greenwoods were manufacturing a deadly drug, it probably would have gone badly for them too. The whole reason Swatting works is because cops like them don't care whose door they are busting down. Thankfully I had already found the real dealer by then."

"Wow, you really are as nice as they say," Jefferson shook his head.

"I have to say, you have a lot of patience," Tanisha also said. "Working with those same cops after what happened. I don't think I could have been so beneficent."

"I'm whiter than white bread, so I honestly have no clue what racism is like," January admitted. "But being lesbian, and trans, I have some ideas. That's why I try to be a kinder person. I know what it's like when people aren't nice."

A look passed between all three of the Mills family members. January knew that look well. It was the 'OMG, it's a tranny!' realization.

"Oh, did I say the 'T' word?" January forced a smile. This was always the moment of truth.

Mr. Mills just shook his head.

"Damn woman, you really are a 21st century cape." January noted that he said 'woman', which was always a good sign. He was also smiling, in what she thought was a good way. "Yoga, meditation, 'let's be nice', lesbian, transgender. Are there any boxes you didn't check? I bet you eat kale and avocados too."

"Oh you leave her be Jefferson," Tanisha declared. "I think you are exactly the hero this city needs, this country needs. If we had more lesbian transgendered police, then maybe we'd have less people getting their doors busted in."

"Amen to that sister," Jefferson nodded.

"Wow, you're just like that girl in my school then," Wayne whistled. "She transitioned last year. That was wild!"

January was about to ask how his schoolmate was doing. Her own school years had varied from miserable to horrific. But then a crow landed on the little glass table between them. It stared at January, and croaked loudly.

January rose to her feet. Something was wrong. She just knew it. The crow leapt up as well, flew around her in a circle, and landed on her shoulder. It croaked into her ear, as if trying to tell her something.

Sága chimed with an incoming call. This must be it what the crow was warning her about. January looked down at her armored wrist, and saw it was not being forwarded from her regular phone. This had been made directly to her Stormcrow number. Her heart jumped a beat when she saw the name on the caller ID.

"Mr. Duquesne," she answered. "I am here with the Mills family. What can I do for you?"

"It is more a question of what I can do for you Ms. Crow," the deputy attorney general said. "I am afraid this is not a social call, so if we could speak in private, it would be appreciated."

"Sorry," January silently mouthed to the family. She strode across the backyard, to where she would be alone. The crow leaped into the sky, and winged its way southward, croaking all the way. January did not like that. It was warning her about more than just a phone call…

"It's just the two us now," she said.

"I have some information," Duquesne said. "Mr. Maguire - ThunderRhino - finally realized the depth of the trouble he is in. So he has decided to cooperate. We learned that yesterday afternoon he sold fifteen doses of Crystal Death. He does not know who the buyer was. Just that he was a white man with a shaven head, and a tattoo that looked like an awareness ribbon. He was in a van, and had others with him inside."

"It's an Odal rune." January pinched her finger and thumb on the bridge of her nose. Why did Nazi's have to love perverting her Scandinavian heritage so much? It made her regret being born with blond hair and blue eyes. "Blood Raven told me there were fifteen neo-Nazis at Motor City Pride yesterday."

"Are you sure about that?" Duquesne sounded somewhat nonplussed, perhaps due to the source. "There must be thousands of men with shaved heads and tattoos."

"That's it," January declared. She just knew it was the same Nazis who had tried to interrupt the festival day before. "It's the National Socialist League. Get the response team Downtown. Call the Detroit PD. We have to stop them."

"You believe they will attack the festival?"

"I know it. The parade starts in… frell, fifteen minutes." January glanced down at Sága's display to see the time. She had spent too much time with the Mills.

She looked over to the suburbanites and waved. Then she leaped skyward, and poured her mana into the image of her flying. Her arms transformed into wings, and she made that idea a reality. She darted south like an arrow, toward Downtown. She had miles to go, and no time to waste.

"I'm on my way now," she insisted. "I'm going to alert Blood Raven. We'll be ready."

January was thankful for the voice activation that Gadget had worked into Sága. Without it, she never would have been able to hang up on Duquesne and call Gadget.

"Gadget you need to connect us to Blood Raven and Cray, right away," she said as soon as he picked up.

He blearily mumbled an assent, and January imagined that he might have been sleeping. It was Sunday morning after all. She heard his feet thumping on stairs, then fingers clacking on one of his keyboards.

"Cray here," a male voice that was both deep and soft at the same time responded. "I've got Blood Raven on the line as well."

"Is it the Conjurer?" Blood Raven interjected. "I have felt nothing as of yet."

"There were fifteen Nazis yesterday right?" January asked, "exactly fifteen?"

"Yes, I have been working up individual dossiers on each since last night," Cray replied.

"The deputy attorney general just told me that ThunderRhino sold fifteen doses of Crystal Death yesterday afternoon," January said pointedly. "It must have been when I went back to get the glass cutter and camera, or before I got there in the first place."

Both Cray and Gadget swore at the same time. Blood Raven was silent however. January heard a whoosh of flame over the audio link, and then a thunderous crash!


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Renee
post Sep 26 2020, 03:11 PM
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That's a good point, about the nail and the hammer. Never thought of it that way.

I'm with Jan on the lemonade. It has to be "brought down" for me to enjoy. I always cut lemonade with spring water.

Whoa the mother's name is Tanisha? blink.gif Has this been mentioned before? If so, I may have picked that up subconsciously. I was looking for a name for Vicious a couple weeks ago and was going for Taneequa or something such. But then I put that name into Google and some weird Urban Dictionary stuff came up. Taneequa has a double meaning which I didn't want connotated with my Vicious. But dang, I didn't mean to use the same name!

That is one thing I noticed right away about this story, she was doing yoga in public. I still remember that. One of those things which stands out.

That part with the T word is gripping. Phew. I thought she might be in trouble there. Phew.

Shoot, there's the crow. Always something going on in Detroit. Well, at least now she has an excuse not to finish that too-sweet lemonade.

Uh oh. That lawyer's calling. Well maybe he's got an agenda which is not so underhanded as I'm thinking. Nope, he does not. He seems like one of the Good Guys in fact.

I wonder what that crash is at the end. Goodbye sweet lemonade!


QUOTE
Elsewise was a late modification. I always have to work extra hard on Blood Raven's dialogue, to keep that sense of timelessness to her.


This is fine! Your hard work is appreciated! I love antiquated words like this, they immediately make me think of Raven as somebody from another time.

When I was writing Sarah Phimm's story a few years ago I'd constantly have Thesaurus.com up and ready. Especially any time she'd write one of her journals, I'd be looking for "modern" terminology, and then I'd squash this with terms from the past. Or words which aren't used anymore. Even sentence structure. I was looking to smash my usual sentence structure habits, and turn them into something which seemed more 'old-timey'.

Gah. I'll have to post an example later of what I mean.

I am glad I got Blood Raven's intentions down pat. smile.gif Have a nice day, Florens!

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Acadian
post Sep 26 2020, 06:11 PM
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Jan’s magic continues to subtly grow as we see the familiar prescient crow that is acting rather like . . . well, a familiar. tongue.gif

Uh-oh, it’s the CrowPhone ringing with Mr Duquesne calling for Ms Crow.

Jan grows much more confident in smoothly transitioning to fully winged flight. Heh, she really does need hand free talking while flying and kudos to Gadget for crafting that into Saga.

The concept of fifteen drug-induced super-mutants on a binge is frightening indeed. ohmy.gif I wonder if they realize that buffing up on crystal death is a one way trip akin to that that of suicide bombers? I suspect not but who knows?


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