Masks: Birth of Heroes

Session Summary 8

After successfully sneaking out of the school (riding the truck with the dirty laundry, then jumping into Spark’s ship), Spark, Maelstrom, and Feroz successfully arrive at O’Malley’s Bar. (Scathe decided to stay at school to do homework.) Spark is overdressed in a black cocktail dress, Feroz is wearing a nice shirt and ironed jeans, and Maelstrom is wearing his grubby school clothes, a hoodie, and a sling. Entering the bar, Feroz holds the door for Spark (but not for Maelstrom)…and everyone stops to stare at the purple-skinned girl. Spark is a bit surprised by the attention, but remembering how awesome she is, she strides up to the bar and asks for a beer. Cricket, who is related to people here, including the bar tender, and who has just returned from a job with Leverage, speaks up and specifies which beer Spark should try. Feroz and Maelstrom follow her over and get their own beers from the bartender, Sharon, who is a cousin of “Jimmy’s”. Sharon voices some concern about Jimmy’s friends and asks if he’s joined a gang…because one of them is purple, and, apparently, that’s a clear indication of gang membership in Continuum City.

After reassuring his cousin, Cricket leads the group over to a table where they can, hopefully, talk privately. Maelstrom explains why his arm is in a sling, and Cricket and Feroz rib him into texting Diamond and asking her out. He asks her if she wants to get coffee, and she sets the terms for the following day. Spark, meanwhile, isn’t sure if she likes the beer, but she is soon distracted by a handsome young man who comes over to chat with her. She happily informs him that she’s an alien, that her father is an ambassador, and that she’s here in Continuum City going to school. Cricket and Feroz butt in to keep her from telling this guy which school and intimidate him into going away. (Maelstrom pulls his hoodie down over his face and slides down in his seat — apparently, he knows this guy.) Irritated by the boys’ behavior, Spark leaves to join the guy and his friends at a nearby table.

Once she’s gone, Maelstrom explains that the guy’s name is Asher. He’s a pretty decent guy, but he’s part of a gang: the Faceless Hundred. Many of the gang members have super powers…but they do hurt people. He thinks Spark will be okay, though…which doesn’t stop the guys from halting their conversation to watch and eavesdrop as she is introduced to Asher’s friends.

As it turns out, they’re interested in aliens and what she can do. A guy named Miguel says he’ll “show his if she shows her’s.” Spark is super curious what this is all about, so when he throws up a beer bottle, she gives it a zap. (This, of course, gets the attention of the entire bar. Again.) Miguel, meanwhile, shows off his ice powers by creating a piece of ice between his hands. Spark would like to see more, so they agree to go outside to show off what they can do.

The boys decide to follow. You know, for Spark’s best interests. Cricket uses his ability to throw his voice to Spark, intending to whisper it in her ear. Unfortunately for him, Asher happens to be leaning in to talk to Spark as he does it and overhears. cricket wants Spark to know that she’s made them jealous, so she can come back to the boys now. She tells Asher that she’ll go tell them to quit sneaking around and let her make up her own mind.

Once she locates the boys, they tell her they’re going to a different bar and that she should come, because they haven’t even gotten to do any dancing yet. They also tell her that Asher’s not a good guy — he’s part of the Faceless Hundred, and they hurt people. This finally wins her over, but she refuses to leave without saying anything, since he’s made it a point of waiting for her. They’re not in favor of this plan, so she tells them that that’s fine — they can cower around the corner and wait for her to come back. This provides ample motivation, and they follow her back into the alley.

Spark tells Asher that she’s going to go with her friends and brings up their claim that he’s part of a gang. He takes some offense and decides to show off by using his telekinetic powers to put Feroz on top of a nearby roof. (The end result is the opposite of impressing Spark.) As he puts Feroz down, however, he notices the person who was hiding behind him: Maelstrom. He tells Spark that she should stay far away from Maelstrom, because he’s dangerous — he’s the type of guy who leaves his friends behind to die. This means the gang has a score to settle with him, and Asher is really, really sorry, because he really did like Spark, but he’ll have to kill Maelstrom. And Maelstrom agrees that this is how things are done. It looks like Asher is about to unleash some power at Maelstrom, so Feroz jumps on top of him from the roof! Cricket gets ready to join the fight as well.

Spark steps in between the combatants and demands they stop fighting before someone really gets hurt. Asher agrees to hold off…but Miguel decides, “Fuck it” and slings a bunch of icicles at Maelstrom. One of them catches Spark in the shoulder, but Maelstrom turns into a lightning bolt and shoots up to the roof before any of them hit him. One of the gang, Allie, opens her mouth to deliver a sonic scream, but Cricket turns the scream back on her and her allies. Feroz, meanwhile, picks up one of the other members and hurls him as far as he can — but not before the guy breaks his nose. Spark flies up to grab hold of Maelstrom, regardless of the fact he’s on fire, to keep him from unleashing his power on the gang below. She manages to evacuate him, but she is badly burned and passes out once she drops him off on a nearby rooftop.

Unable to do anything to help her, Maelstrom frantically texts to the others for help while Asher and his gang run away.

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Session Summary 7

Following Overdrive’s attack on the city, the students are brought to one more assembly to thank them for a job well done and to report there were only minor injuries sustained. The teachers seem as tired as the students, however, so it’s rather perfunctory. The following day, a school-wide e-mail is sent out to once again thank the students. It seems that Overdrive’s plan was stopped, as no bombs went off, but there are rumors that the entire thing was just a ruse of some sort.

The team meets at their usual lunch table only to find it occupied by a couple members of the Green Squad.: Oak and Bear. Oak is a dwarf-looking guy with leaves in his hair and barklike skin, and Bear is kind of tall and lanky with a druid’s staff and a noble lineage tht he will not shut up about. Feroz has “accidentally spilled things on them” before to make them leave the table, so they usually see Feroz coming and scurry off. Today, however, the pair say they aren’t going to move. Apparently helping to defend the city gave them a much-needed bolster of confidence. Not one to let his table be claimed by another team, Feroz provokes Oak using a series of delightful quips about his height. Bear quickly intercedes before Oak can attack Feroz and leads his friend away from the table, leaving it to Red Squad to claim their usual spot.

As the team gets settled, Feroz and Maelstrom notice a Celtic-looking tattoo on Scathe’s neck due to her hair being up for once. This fascinating conversation about whether or not that tattoo has always been there comes to a grinding halt when Agnes, who is on lunch duty today, walks up to the table. Apparently the team is wanted in Ms. McGowan’s office. Feroz immediately says that they started it, which draws a look of confusion and concern from Agnes. He decides to change topics and quips that he knows what Ms. McGowan wants. Agnes moves with blinding speed and hits him in the back of the head with her knitting needle. Agnes then escorts them to the office, and, although her eyes never leave the team, she continues to knit. (The item she always seems to be knitting is mysterious. It sparkles a bit, and there is a rumor that if you can stare at it hard enough, you can see into the future. Maelstrom once tried it, and all it gave him was a headache.)

In the antechamber of Ms. McGowan’s office, they find the guidance counselor looking somewhat unlike the cool, collected woman they’re accustomed to meeting with. She assures them they aren’t in trouble and tells them to answer his questions honestly. The group then shuffles into her office while Ms. McGowan remains in the antechamber.

In the office stands the perfect and chiseled Chance Monarch. He greets the group with a charming smile and motivational speech, although he seems slightly put-out that neither Feroz nor Scathe seem to recognize him nor care once they learn his name. Maelstrom, however, is fawning over him with a giddiness that is impressive, and Spark remains shyly towards the back of the group. Chance seems even more put-out when he finds Scathe is “one of the Gentleman’s” and ceases to acknowledge her. He asks Spark to explain what happened at the warehouse, which she does (punctuated by some fumbling over words and fiddling with her hair and blushing.) He asks if the group kept any of the items from the warehouse or the map of items, and he is assured that they certainly did not. He compliments them on a job well done and explains that he and Sovereign have been working to uncover the truth behind those items. He also explains that Bash should not be trusted, that she is not a good person and that she has no consideration for right or wrong. Scathe is pretty quick to stand up in her defense and is just as quickly hushed by Spark and Maelstrom. Spark also comes to the realization that Bash didn’t actually break into the warehouse — she used the team to break in for her. (Gasp!) Chance tells the team that she is to be taken out on sight, and he has confidence in their ability to do it effectively. Maelstrom is dubious, but he’s willing to try if Chance says to. Scathe and Feroz remain unimpressed. Before Chance goes, he tells them they can call on him at any time, and he hands out business cards (so suave!) to Spark, Maelstrom, and Feroz. Feroz stuffs it in his back pocket. The other two promise to cherish it forever.

When Chance steps outside, Scathe listens at the doorway. Although Chance and Ms. McGowan are speaking in hushed voices, it’s obvious there’s some tension there. She wants to know if it’s necessary, and he assures her that it is and they say a tense goodbye. Meanwhile, Feroz looks around the office to get to know Ms. McGowan better and notices that, although there are pictures, they’re almost all of her by herself. When Ms. McGowan comes back in, she continues to seem somewhat distressed, and she ushers them out of her office as gently as possible while still making it clear she wants them to go.

Later that afternoon, the group is preparing for an exercise against Green Squad. Feroz tells Spark and Maelstrom, who are still talking about Chance, that they can talk about Chance all they like if they win the match. This, apparently, provides ample motivation for the pair.

As the exercise gets underway, Scathe and Spark hang back to protect the targets while Feroz and Maelstrom step forward to act as offense. On the other side of the field, Oak and Bear are preparing to square off against Feroz, while Diamond is eyeing Maelstrom. (It’s apparent immediately the game is less about hitting targets for her than it is taking out Maelstrom.) Green Squad’s fourth member, Talos, aka Robot Boy, is acting as defense. As soon as the buzzer sounds, Maelstrom uses his elemental gateway powers to switch Bear (who has absorbed his staff into his arm and turned into a bear) with Feroz. The vines Oak had sent towards Feroz tangle around Bear instead. As Feroz reaches the targets, however, giant metallic staples fly out of Robot Boy’s guns and pin Feroz to the wall. Feroz grows larger and tears himself free, then uses the staples to deflect more incoming staples from Robot Boy. As he deflects them, he steps forward and grabs hold of Robot Boy, then pitches him into his own targets. Now unengaged, Feroz merrily goes around breaking the other team’s row of targets.

Maelstrom, meanwhile, has Diamond barreling at him. He creates an ice chute and skates on it towards Green Squad’s targets. Thanks to her alacrity, she is able to follow him…and once she finally catches him, she drives him hard into the ground and dislocates his arm. She advises him to stay down. Maelstrom isn’t ready to give up just yet, however, so he fires a final blast of fiery energy at a nearby target.

This leaves the girls to deal with the rampaging bear that has turned its attention to their targets. Scathe gathers her powers of darkness to slow Bear’s charge, and Spark places herself between Bear and the targets…and waits, gathering her energy. Once Bear tears his way through the shadows, Spark is ready for him and delivers a blast of energy to his chest. He staggers back, and Scathe steps forward with her shadowy sword to cut the staff out of his arm. As Bear goes down, he becomes human again, and Oak runs over to check on him just as the buzzer sounds.

Diamond helps Maelstrom to his feet and tells him she’s having a lot of fun hitting him. Maelstrom is apparently having less fun than she is. She helps him over to where the rest of the team is waiting for the platform with Coach Meatwall, then hands him over into Spark’s care. Coach Meatwall tells Red Squad that they did a really great job — their strategy of having two defenders protecting the targets while having one of their offense distracting Green Squad’s greatest weapon (Maelstrom) and destroying their defense with the other person on offense (Feroz) was well-executed. Turning to the Green Squad, then, he tells them they disgust him and to hit the showers.

As Red Squad makes its way to the nurse to patch them up, they talk about going out on the town to celebrate a job well done. Feroz knows a place, right?

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Session Summary 6

The session begins at school at 1:40 in the afternoon. Cricket and Spark are in electronics class. Maelstrom and Scathe are in home ec, which is also where Feroz is supposed to be…but he’s hanging out in the bathroom, disappointed at the lack of chicks in class.

The alarms start to blare, and the kids are all ushered into the gymnasium. (The August goes into the bathroom to retrieve Feroz, who tries to duck him but is foiled by the sensors in the bathroom.) It seems like the entire school is in there, but no one is really explaining what’s happening. The kids are sorted into their teams, where Cricket quickly hacks into the school security system to find out what’s going on. He pulls up a YouTube video, which he shares with the rest of the group. Overdrive announces that Continuum City is in danger — and not from people like him. He and his people intend to reveal this…with detonations.

The school’s principal announces that the teams are going to be sent into the city to help manage a crisis. Red team is under Athena Frost’s command, and she ushers them towards a teleporter with the orders to help evacuate civilians and NOT to engage. Maelstrom’s hopes that they aren’t going to the docks are smashed when Frost announces that this is where they’re being sent. He grabs one of the cheap masks being offered to the students. Realizing Scathe is writing everything down, the team gives her a bit of a hard time, which forces Frost to tell them to focus several times before actually achieving. The team is supposed to stay in contact with the school using audio devices.

Things start out fairly well once on location. Maelstrom makes a big fiery arrow pointing to the evacuation point on the docks, and Cricket amplifies his voice to tell people to move towards the waiting boats in an orderly fashion. Noticing people looting, Feroz moves to confront them. They aren’t all that impressed until Feroz stomps his foot and causes the ground to break up at their feet. They drop their stolen goods and run — but away from the extraction point instead of towards it. Scathe decides to send them back in the right direction by creating a shadowy wall in the direction they shouldn’t go, complete with ominous shapes lurking in the shadows. This pretty much works, except one guy gets dragged inside.

Spark decides they need to save the guy, so she heads into the shadowy area with Cricket and a reluctant Scathe in tow. They manage to find him, but Spark is forced to blast their way out of the shadows — and takes out most of Main Street with the blast. Oops.

With most of the civilians moving towards safety, the group decides to get a higher vantage point to assess the situation. There is some quibble about whether Cricket or Maelstrom should accompany Spark, but Cricket beats him to the punch. Once on top of a (now crumbling) building, Cricket notices a group of Overdrive’s minions swarming into a warehouse. Feroz is all-too-happy to lead the charge, but Spark hesitates, because they weren’t supposed to engage! Cricket convinces her to tag along by comparing them to the Royals, which provokes her into action.

Feroz arrives at the warehouse first. He leaps into the air and jumps down into the midst of the minions. Some of them are knocked back, and more of them scurry back to get out of the way. Cricket realizes their masks are somehow all connected, so he tells Maelstrom to absorb the energy from them as Scathe traps them into a pool of shadows. With the energy sapped from the masks, the minions drop.

As the group debates what to do next — go look for the bomb? Pursue the sounds of battle into the warehouse? Tie up the minions by stripping them of their clothing and using their coat sleeves as rope? — another minion comes flying through a wall. Spark takes the mask off of him and begins to hack into it as the rest of the team bicker. She manages to pull up a three-dimensional holographic map of the city dotted with flickering lights. Once she gets the attention of the rest of the group (which is no small feat), she explains that she doesn’t think these are actually bombs — she thinks they’re something else.

The group decides to spring into the warehouse from several different angles: Maelstrom is quick to offer bursting in through a sunroof with Spark; Feroz will take the front door; Scathe will port in using the shadows; and Cricket will leap in through a window in back. By the time they actually get their plan in motion, however, they arrive just in time to see an incredibly well-built woman finishing off the final minion inside.

Maelstrom and Spark both offer an awkward “hi,” which is completely out-shined by Feroz immediately trying to hit on the woman. Luckily for them, Scathe recognizes the woman as Bash — unluckily for them, Scathe is not real forthcoming with the information. Bash demands to know why they’re interrupting her, because they’re just stupid kids, “And, oh my God, now I’m saying it.” True to their style, the kids make a point of telling her that they don’t care what she’s doing here — they’re going to do what they came here for, and that is to disarm the bombs. Bash reluctantly tells them they can stay, but they have to do what they’re told.

They laugh in her face.

And then Cricket charges in without bothering to wait for the team after Feroz’s mighty stomp opens up a big hole in the warehouse floor. He disables the guard turrets by turning them against each other, and the rest of the team (and Bash) jump down as well.

The hallway they jump down into leads to a big door. Bash says she came prepared for this; they ridicule her a bit, then Maelstrom rips the door off. An alarm sounds, which Cricket and Spark are about to deactivate when a horde of mechanical bugs spill out of the room. Bash apparently didn’t expect THAT.

Scathe builds a shadow wall to hold them back while Spark, Cricket, and Maelstrom move closer to investigate. Bash informs them that these are weapons cached her by the government of Continuum City, and they are definitely not to take any of these things back to the school.

Cricket smarts off once too often to Bash, and she reaches out and grabs him. As she starts pulling pieces of his outfit off of him, he claps his hands over her ears and releases a noise that ruptures her ear drums. She tosses him and staggers back…and he notices that several of the items in the room seem to respond to the sound, as though they’re part of his suit. As he reaches for one, however, the wall finally gives, and the bugs pour out.

Using his telekinesis, Maelstrom tries to pull Bash and Cricket out so that the room can be set on fire. He manages to grab Bash, but Cricket lags behind. Catching onto what he’s doing, Spark swoops in and grabs Cricket. However, the bugs spill out and over the top of Maelstrom, and they begin to wrap him in some sort of blue cocoon. With the rest of the team safe and unable to reach him, Spark grabs hold of one of his flailing hands. The bugs begin to climb onto her as well, but she manages to pull him out.

Bash yells at everyone to get out, so Feroz grabs Maelstrom and Cricket grabs Spark. Once up top, Bash tells them they’ve screwed everything up with their thoughtless interference, that she had been intending to plant trackers in the items. She also tells them they need to get gone — blame everything on her and say nothing about the items below the warehouse. The kids are all-too-happy to have found a willing scapegoat for their misadventures, so, after she goes, they grab a few of the unmasked minions and head back towards their pick up point. When Athena Frost contacts them on the radio to ask where they are and why they aren’t on camera, they make up several disjointed stories that don’t sound at all convincing. At least Cricket manages to get the blue cocoon gunk off of Maelstrom and Spark…

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Session Summary 5

During the last episode, Feroz was in jail. “They” started a fight, and Feroz just finished it. At a bar. Where they neglected to card him. The August bailed him out — probably reluctantly, because Feroz calls him “Calendar Guy.”

Feroz returns to the boys’ room to find Cricket texting an absent Maelstrom. When asked where he was, Feroz tells him he was in jail and that it was boring. Feroz tells him too he figured he’d stay, since they’d probably just send more people after him if he busted out. Cricket fills him in on what happened with the robot attacks, and Feroz takes a bit of issue with Cricket calling Scathe “Pet” (because she’s a teacher’s pet!), but they take it no further than polite disagreement. Cricket leaves to find Maelstrom, and Feroz does pull-ups until his appointment.

Spark has been sent to the guidance counselor’s office to meet with Ms. McGowan regarding her hand in the robot battle. First, she brings up the fact Scathe hurt her, and then she says Scathe abandoned her to put on her uniform. Ms. McGowan points out that Spark sat down in the middle of the fight and refused to help her ally. She sinks a little lower in her seat as the counselor goes on and on and on about how she needs to learn teamwork. She reluctantly agrees to do this, and then the door bursts open to reveal her father, who promptly drags Spark from the room, because she doesn’t need a human counselor. Spark tries to tell him that everything’s fine and under control, but she’s so upset that her argument falls flat. It isn’t until she finally loses her temper and yells at him that this is his fault she’s here and that tearing her away will only make things worse, but that she’s going to stay and clean up his mess that he finally realizes she’s not going to come with him. He’s a bit hurt by her accusation, which immediately makes Spark feel worse, and then he leaves.

Back in the counselor’s office, it’s Scathe’s turn to talk to Ms. McGowan. Scathe leads by asking if this is about her backtalking to Frost. Ms. McGowan tries to point out that the fight with the robots got a little out of hand, and Scathe blames the teachers for sending robots into dorm rooms in the middle of the night. Scathe also blames Spark for not being good enough to fight the robots on her own. Ms. McGowan tells her she’s better than letting her anger get the upperhand. Scathe snaps back at her, and Ms. McGowan lets her continue to vent until she’s run out of steam. Once she has Scathe’s attention, she is finally able to talk some sense into her, and Scathe admits she was wrong. And, surprisingly, she feels better!

Feroz, too, is sent to the counselor’s office to talk about his trip to jail. Feroz is dressed in a nice tank top and pants, and he’s wearing cologne — and he will totally beat up more guys if it means getting a meeting with Ms. McGowan again. She tries to explain to him that it’s not okay to hurt people that badly even if they’ve started it. Being a hero is about more than saving lives. He tells her he didn’t mean to hurt them as badly as he did, but there were four of them, and he wanted to make sure they didn’t take him out. She understands, but she tells him he’ll have to undergo anger management meetings with her.

Maelstrom is in the park trying to reshape his broken chess pieces with his powers as a way to relax and train himself. Cricket arrives to point out the flaws in his artistry, albeit good-naturedly. He also tries to tell Maelstrom he should try to infuse himself with some electricity, because it would give him power. Cricket is also laboring under the assumption that Diamond was harassing Maelstrom, because she has a thing for him. He advises him to ditch the letter-writing effort and tells him that he has nothing to fear from Diamond. As he says that, one of the chess pieces floats up into the air, and Jack plucks it out of the air. She tells Maelstrom it looks something like a turd. Apparently, she’s actually here to talk about how well Cricket and Maelstrom did against the robots. The Royals are looking for a fifth member. Maelstrom says the idea is dumb. She figured that would be his response, but Cricket is much smarter…and he agrees that yes, yes, he is. This is enough to cause Maelstrom to snap; he crushes the chess piece he was floating in mid-air. His bid for intimidation fails, however, and she mockingly calls him Storm Boy. Cricket tries to intervene and tells her he’ll talk to her later. She agrees and calls Maelstorm “Stormy” on the way out. Cricket promises not to sell them out too badly, and Maelstrom picks up a piece of gravel to begin carving.

Scathe appears about then. She’s geared up and crossing the quad on her way to the gym to pound the hell out of some equipment. Maelstrom waves to get her to come over. She responds with a wave to Maelstrom, but she can’t deal with Cricket right now, so she keeps walking.

Spark is already at the gym taking out her anger mainly on herself as she tries to master a new trick in catching her own energy balls. Scathe immediately snaps at her, and Spark begins packing up her equipment. Scathe sort of tries to apologize and fails epically. Spark hurries out of the gym and runs into Feroz on her way out. She looks upset, so he asks what’s wrong. She confesses that she’s afraid of Scathe stabbing her with more shadows. Feroz convinces Spark that she shouldn’t be afraid of Scathe, and that she shouldn’t let Scathe kick her out of the gym. They go into together, and they find Scathe working out in the far room. The door is shut, and the room is completely dark. To mess with her, Spark rigs the lights in the room using alien tech to burn away Scathe’s shadows. The light burns away everything and actually hurts Scathe, because she was going all-out inside. The light continues to burn like a small sun for a few minutes. Scathe screams — something between rage and pain — and falls over. Hearing the pained scream, Spark opens the door and yells for Feroz to help get her out. He tells her she has majorly messed up, and she tells him she didn’t mean it — she didn’t know humans were so fragile! She can fix it though.

As Feroz carries her out onto the quad, Spark starts attaching small attuning stones to Scathe. Seeing the trio, Cricket and Maelstrom head over to investigate what happened and bicker over whether or not Maelstrom should ask Diamond out. Spark channels her energy into the stones, and they begin to glow. As Scathe wakes up, the rest of the team immediately works together to cover for Spark’s mistake. Diamond’s name comes up again, closely followed by Jack’s proposal to Cricket. Just as Cricket nominates himself as the moral compass of the group, Cricket gets a phone call from Leverage.

Cricket excuses himself to take the call and learns from his mentor that there is an armory on campus of weapons taken from kids who were expelled. She tells him to get a phase emitter (or something), and he gloats over the fact he has a patsy already set up.

Coming back to the group, he finds Spark trying to explain bomb diffusion to Maelstrom. (Scathe has gone back to the dorm to change.) Once Cricket comes back, Spark tries to persuade everyone to have a rumble with the Royals in response to them trying to poach one of their teammates. Feroz is all about it, but Cricket and Maelstrom think it’s a bad idea. Feroz and Cricket trade insults, and then Feroz stomps away.

Left with Maelstrom and Cricket, Spark decides to try to pry out of Cricket what his plans for the Royals is. (Because he specifically said that attacking them would mess up his plans.) He gently takes her hand and stares wistfully into her eyes as he tells her not to worry, that he’ll still be on her side. She blushes. But, more importantly, Maelstrom watches as Cricket sweeps his crush off her feet. Spark clears her throat and awkwardly announces that she needs to go.

Maelstrom and Cricket kind of awkwardly stare at each other, and then Cricket offers to teach Maelstrom how to diffuse a bomb and he sullenly agrees to it.

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Session Summary 4

In Professor Patton’s bomb diffusing class: Maelstrom is sleeping, which goes unnoticed until his “bomb” explodes. Hard Drive tries to explain to Maelstrom why it’s important he participate when Cricket speaks up telling him to just agree with the professor. (At which point he finds out that he’s on Maelstrom’s team, which is disheartening a bit.) Red Squad is asked to stay after class. The professor wants to make sure the team knows how important it is that they work together to get the most out of their studies. The talk doesn’t go well.

The rest of the school day passes uneventfully, and the kids go to their after school activities. Maelstrom plays soccer, and on the other team is a mundane girl named Kasey Fulton (Diamond) who hates him. He has no idea why. She knocks him down hard. Twice. Coach Meatwall misses the first play but comes over to investigate on the second and tells them to play a clean game. As soon as Maelstrom gets the ball, he can see Kasey barreling towards him again. He decides to take the shot rather than defend himself. The ball sinks into the goal, and Kasey absolutely smashes into him. Maelstrom gets to his feet and headbutts her, causing him to get thrown from the game.

On his way back to his dorm, Cricket intercepts Maelstrom and tells him he did well. Cricket tries to console him by telling him he’ll return the circuit board Maelstrom sort of accidentally removed from the classroom without permission. Cricket also tells him it’s just Kasey’s way of flirting with him. Surprisingly, this helps. What he doesn’t know is that Cricket is actually taking the circuit board and hiding it in his room while Maelstrom writes up various letters of apology.

Scathe had gone directly back to her room to work on her homework. Spark returns from Film Club and asks her what she’s doing. Apparently, she’s doing next week’s homework. When Spark inquires about the Ethics homework that’s due tomorrow, Scathe tells her it’s already done and offers to show it to her. Spark accepts and snatches it even as she makes a snarky remark about Scathe’s report cover.

Just as Spark settles in to read the report, Red Squad is called to an emergency drill. Spark opens the door to find a trio of robots in the hall outside their door. One leaps on her, and Spark blasts it with her energy beams. It blasts the robot back, but the energy travels back up the robot and bursts out of its eyes. The blast hits Spark…and also the table with Scathe’s report.

In the boys’ room, another trio of robots bursts in. The first tackles Maelstrom, and he responds by using his kinetic force to crush it. A bit of the floor and neighboring wall is affected by the force, and some of the wall crumbles inwards to bury the carved chess-set Maelstrom was working on. A small taser-like appendage appears and shocks Maelstrom even as he tries to crush it.

Cricket bounces on the robots’ shoulders to get by them to go into the hallway, bidding them to follow him out as he does so. The other two robots are trying to punch him, and they do get a few jabs in, but they are definitely following him.

Scathe starts throwing spikes made of shadow in an attempt to pin them to the wall. She berates Spark for not containing the robots, and Spark replies by sitting down — since she seems to know what’s best, Scathe can handle the attack on her own. Scathe answers with, “Fine, alien bitch.” and pulls out a sword made entirely of shadows, which draws the shadows (painfully) through Spark and the robots, shredding the latter. The effort causes her to drop unconscious, and Spark timidly approaches to find out if she’s okay.

Back in the boys’ room, the robot has disengaged from Maelstrom. It pulls a psi-restraint collar from it’s arm. Maelstrom decides to charge it with the goal of draining it using his powers. He is able to drain the robot — and also the entire building.

Luckily, the black-out doesn’t affect Cricket’s powers. Drawing on inspiration from his mentor, he hides on the ceiling until the robots pass by underneath. Then, he drops down on top of them and speed-hacks their CPU’s (and gets access codes to the computers.) And then Cricket runs away to hide.

After the battle, Maelstrom, Spark, and Scathe are gathered together in the infirmary with Artemis Frost, Athena Frost, and the August. (They can’t find Cricket at first, but he eventually joins them.) The teachers point out that their teamwork, er, sucks. But Maelstrom and Cricket did a good job, so that’s good! Scathe yells at Athena for attacking their room and earns herself detention for a month. Noticing that Spark is being quiet and unlike herself, Artemis asks if everything is okay…and Spark requests a new roommate.

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Session Summary 3

We begin the scene in the school gym, which makes the perfect training room thanks to the lasers and holographic projects installed by the building’s previous owner. There are two teams here competing in a training exercise. The other team is made up of Royals and is led by Jack, a girl with “kissable lips” and a bald head due to a recent chemo treatment. (She’s totally playing it off as being a punk, and everyone else is playing along because they don’t want to hurt her feelings.) The team of PCs is huddled behind a wall, and Jack has just flung a huge chunk of holographic masonry at them.

Feroz and Maelstrom both leap into action to stop the chunk; Feroz goes to grab it just as Maelstrom flings it back towards Jack using his telekinetic powers…and therefore Feroz as well. Jack catches the chunk with her telekinetic powers and tries to trap Feroz there. Spark unleashes a blast of energy at a projector above Jack; Jack hears it coming and catches it, but it distracts her long enough for Feroz to break free…just in time to get smashed with the projector Jack then sends his way. Scaith extends shadow tendrils towards the enemy team in an attempt to push them back (taking out most of the cover in that area as she does so.)

Jack turns her attention to Spark: she picks up two large pieces of rubble and tries to smash Spark between them. Spark jumps back out of the way, and Jack smashes them together to form one massive block that Spark swiftly destroys with a few blasts of energy. The shattered pieces rain down on Maelstrom, who hesitates to use his power to stop them and is promptly buried beneath them.

With her weapon destroyed, Jack flies towards Scaith to rescue her team, and Feroz yells at the team to keep her attention on them. Scaith creates a tendril from the ceiling that wraps around Jack. She is able to use her kinetic energy to try to keep it at bay, but it is definitely distracting her. Seeing Scaith about to be attacked by the Royals, Spark sends a series of blasts at the floor at their feet. It tears up the floor and manages to hold them back. As they’re trying to get past Spark, Feroz rips up some of the floor to flip on top of the Royals (with Maelstrom’s telekinetic help.) Two of the three (Cobra and Frigid Claw) are caught up in a sort of cage Feroz creates, but Bitrate (a speedster) escapes and throws herself at Feroz’s back.

Jack, meanwhile, has escaped the tendrils and is cannonballing towards Scaith. Scaith escapes through a shadow. Maelstrom creates a ball out of the floor as she crashes into it. The force of it creates a weird reality-bending pressure as she tries to escape, but he is able to hold her in. With Feroz in danger, Spark lets out a blast of energy to careen her towards him in an effort to rescue him. She does manage to knock him out of the way — but the force drives both of them too close to the reality-bending ball of floor.

When Scaith appears from the shadows, Bitrate attacks her with several run-by punches ending in a series of punches that knocks her down on her face. Bitrate kneels on her back, twists her arms behind her, and mutters, “I can’t believe your team has gotten this far. But you broke the rules. You cheaters.” Feroz Hulk-leaps over to help Scaith. (It’s the first time he’s done this, so it’s not a thing of beauty.) He lands on top of Bitrate (who is sitting there chanting, “He’s gonna miss. He’s gonna miss. He’s gonna miss. He’s gonna hit — shit!”) and knocks her off of Scaith. Bitrate immediately jumps up and starts zipping around again.

Maelstrom urges Spark to catch Bitrate, so Spark rips out some wires from the flooring and throws one end to Feroz…who refuses to be helpful. Annoyed, Spark loops the rope around both Feroz AND Bitrate. She ties them together tightly, and they tip over, face-to-face. They come to an agreement that Spark is a bitch.

Agent Athena Frost (the tactics teacher in charge of the exercise) descends from her platform and informs them rather tersely that their team did NOT win, because they broke the rules in destroying the gym. There is a lot of yelling — the kids are supposed to learn how to fight within the rules, because fighting outside them is what the bad guys do. As Frost turns on the Royals (“What’s wrong with you? Where was your coordination? They took you down like children!”), the team enjoys a moment together mocking the other team’s loss, and then they walk off together bickering about who screwed up the worst.

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Fyrefly's Journal 6
What happened....

So Dad finally got out of the hospital…so that’s good. But then he decides to barely say a word to me and he’s already to go back to his ‘job’.

So we finally have it out. I call him out on all the BS he’s pulling and how He’s disappointing me and Mom’s memory, and he fires back with the most common retort every adult seems to have. “You’re just a child, you don’t understand how the world works.”

Maybe not, but I understand how the law works. And I understand right from wrong. And I’m damn sure going to prove to him how wrong he is.

Then things get….intense.

There’s a kid over at Wannamakers. Apparently he can blow things up. But Thankfully he’s not being aggressive towards anyone. I can help this kid out. Send him on a better path. Ivy Libra seems to actually want to help young people, especially after Chance swaying the public towards the idea of a school for young people with powers.

So I land on the rooftop…and then another girl lands…dressed up like ‘Handyman’…..and I’m looking at her…and something weird is happening..cause she stands and moves exactly like Bash, and for some reason I just know…It’s her.

So that’s upsetting. And when I ask her why she’s dressing up like that murderer….she….She asked me “What’s the matter? Daddy doesn’t love you enough?

And I just break…I can’t help but look at her in shock as she would say something like that to me. I thought we were best friends. Why would she say that? Has she been lying to me the entire time? and then something even crazier happens….I just get all of these flashes of her Killing all of these people. Even that MeDIC that had his head ripped off! And It’s just…..too much. I can’t help it. I break down and cry. and She just leaves me there.

Not only that.. She slams out of the building holding the kid and makes sure to toss part of the rooftop at me while I’m curled up crying for my lost friend. What Frog had done was insane….but with him, it could have just been the one incident…we all knew what he did was wrong..we could have helped him see that.

But She’s been doing this for weeks. And she was going to take this poor scared kid off to the Handyman….induct another remorseless killer into his little ranks.

I couldn’t let that happen. This kid had to know the truth. He had to be taught control. The ‘Handyman’ would just use him like a little bomb. Like a weapon.

Just like he’s using her. Oh Bash…I’d hug you if you would ever forgive me. I get it now. Gentleman always treated you like a weapon and a Soldier. It’s what you’re used to…

I paralyzed her. I just panicked. I was boiling with rage, pain, hurt, and fear, and I just lashed out like I did on Sovereign. Leaving her there, paralyzed.

The Kid was scared…but I managed to talk him down…explain the situation….I told him to trust me…to turn himself in…He seemed to want to be able to control himself better anyway.

The cops and press praised me as a hero for what I did.

Yeah….right. Some hero…stabbing her former best friend in the back.

I certainly don’t feel like a hero right now.

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Kamil's (Mental) Diary 14

I’m going to kill her.

Okay, no, I’m not going to kill her. But if I could move right now, there would be serious repercussions.

I never even saw it coming. Up until tonight, I don’t think I would have believed it if someone else had told me what she’d done. I knew becoming a Medic would change her — it would change all of them — but I didn’t think this would all fall apart so fast. I thought we still had time. And I thought that if anyone was going to betray us, it would be HD just because he tends to get so wrapped up in himself that he forgets about the rest of us. FF has always stood up for what is right — and stabbing (punching?) your friend in the back is not even close. I sure as hell won’t make that mistake again.

And, for what? A pat on the back? Having a bunch of scared and incompetent people tell her she’s a hero? I hope you and Chance are so happy together parading around in front of the cameras and playing fetch for the Medics. Don’t worry about all the little people you’ve stepped on — the only thing that matters is that you’re liked, right?

Bitch.

Oh, good. I think I felt my little finger twitch. What the hell did she do to me, anyway? And how did she recognize me? I didn’t even have a chance to say a word to her…

At least I got Frog to TH. Hopefully, he’ll stop him from doing anything stupid. Then again, if Frog were so easy to stop, someone would have managed to do it a long time ago. I wonder what TH will say when he finds out what happened. I know what TG would say: that’s what you get for turning your back on an enemy, Bash — you should have known better.

Guess I should have.

If things had been reversed, I would have protected her. I tried to protect her — why didn’t she leave when I told her to? I always thought FF followed a code — not the same as mine, obviously, but similar enough that I didn’t think she’d do this to me — not for something so petty, anyway. If it had been me, I would have tried to find out what was happening — and even if I had to fight her, I never, never would have turned her in.

Then again, she’s tried to take out TH too.

Damn, I really should have seen this coming…

Well, the next time I see her, I’ll do what I have to do, just like TH said…assuming I can get out of this predicament. I think I can curl my toes now — oh, good, that’s sure to help.

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Session Summary 2

A day or two has passed since our last session. The news is still focused on Frog and his actions at the rally. A lot of the debate in the media has been about Frog as an underaged minor with powers and whether he should be imprisoned or educated (thanks to Chance’s success at the rally.) Ivy Libra has come forward to say she is working to create an education system but that she will be pursuing Frog to the full extent of her ability as a criminal. (Her deal with the Sovereign will hopefully land him in a school rather than prison.) Ivy Libra has also been pushing for a big press release to announce Chance’s recruitment to the Medics. Frank has also been kept busy becoming a ward of the Medics and being integrated into their system rather than going to school. Harvey Rosenstein has also been perusing Mai’s contract with the Medics to make sure she doesn’t get screwed over, and he’s been trying to take advantage of her good PR as well, which means it’s been getting harder and harder for Mai to get her Fyrefly time. (There’s also been a lot of gossip about Chance being seen with another woman directed at both Chance and Mai. Mai’s soundbyte: “I should have known what I was getting into.”) Frog has been keeping relatively low, but there have been odd sightings of him — and there were some “kid in hoodie” incidents as well. A lot of Bash’s time has been spent trying to prepare herself for the inevitable betrayal of the team turning her in to the Medics. (In her mind, that’s totally a thing.)

A meeting (a mobile meeting in the Chariot!) is called to discuss recent events, and this is really the first time the five of them have had a chance to talk together. Frank brought donuts. (Frog stays as far away as possible, in spite of the donuts.) Once everyone is there, Frank shares his news from the Gentleman with the team: that he knew about the Sevitri and that the fleet that was destroyed years ago wasn’t their main fleet. Continuum City is probably their testing grounds. (There is some pointing fingers as the subject of their escaped prisoner comes up.) Frank also asks if he can speak to the Sovereign to find out what she knows, given her reaction upon finding out about Blazer being a Sevitri. Chance promises to set something up. (They also briefly discuss what is going to happen with Frog, which comes to an abrupt and tense end when Bash interrupts to say nothing will happen to him. Then excuses herself to check who is texting her: it’s the Handyman telling her to bring Frog to their meeting tonight.) Frank shares his goals within the Medics: to unmask the Sevitri with Ivy Libra’s help. He’s concerned the Sevitri may lash out against Ivy Libra, either through killing her or discrediting her. With the meeting concluded and nothing decided, everyone is dropped off (awkwardly) at their various departure points.

Bash informs Frog that the Handyman wants to meet him. He’s hesitant, but he agrees to go.

Mai and Chance decide to be dropped off at the Treehouse. (It’s called that now, because Brendan is so easily amused.) Chance expresses a desire to make out, and Mai says she’s still mad at him for revealing her secret identity to his mom, because she doesn’t trust her not to get angry and unmask her publicly. He promises not to out her identity to anyone else, but that doesn’t score him a make out session. He then tries to butter her up by calling her awesome and saying he’s proud of her…and that finally gets him all teh smooches.

Frank goes to the Spike to start his workday. He has a meeting scheduled with Ivy Libra and the August. (Apparently, the Spike is both a super prison and a corporate HQ.) Ivy Libra wants him to begin working on the “Youth Aquisition Initiative,” which requires him “bringing in” some of the city’s superpowered youth — Frog, the kid that blows things up (Brian Underwood), and a third kid named Rashida Lagos who can walk through walls. Ivy Libra recommends he focus his efforts going after someone he is familiar with, because she believes it will be easier for him, and time is of the essence. Sensing his hesitation, the August gives an inspiring speech about what kind of hero Frank wants to be — because it’s obvious Frog is “screaming for help.” The scene closes with Frank sitting along in the room wearing his patented mournful look.

Chance sets up the meeting between Frank and the Sovereign at the Spike. They set aside an interrogation room for them to use. Frank doesn’t mess around: he asks her point-blank why she tried to run away with Sevitri-Blazer. She claims not to know anything about their presence and was intending to take him away for further study and brings up her “annoyance with Chance’s girlfriend striking her to stop her from doing her job.” Frank tells her he doesn’t believe her because of the “look in her eye” when she grabbed Blazer. She reminds him of her long history of saving the city and says she has no reason to lie. Chance wants to know what information Frank has that makes him think the Sovereign is lying. Frank outlines his problems with her story: the picture Chance sent Frank and genetics (because meta-human genetics are weird and freaky, and Chance’s are closer to the Sevitri’s than the Sovereign’s). The Sovereign demands to know if he’s saying she slept with a Sevitri — and, yes, yes, he is. She tells Frank to call Joyce Melose, who will help him work through his issues — because he’s clearly unstable and Joyce can help him with that. In response, Frank “exudes” a card showing her armor and hands it to her, which the Sovereign crushes into dust. Chance and Frank say an awkward goodbye (Frank apologizes and Chance says that even if it is true, it only matters what he does, not where he came from.) and Chance walks out with his mom. On the way out, she tells him Frank needs some help, and “it’s important that he is there for him” because she’s proud he has friends in the community. He also asks if it’s true about his dad being a Sevitri and makes it clear that he really doesn’t care — he just wants to know. When she looks at him, she is wearing a very intense expression on her face. She agrees to tell him, but only if Chance proves to her that she can trust him with her secrets. To do that, she wants him to help her stop a threat to their family: the Gentleman. He doesn’t understand how he’s a threat, but he says he’ll do it. She advises him to call her when he’s found him.

Mai takes her father out of the hospital. The media are there taking pictures of the brave little girl caring for her wounded father. As soon as they get to the apartment, however, Mai’s father gets out of the wheelchair and says, “I have somewhere I need to be.” She’s disappointed, because he wanted to talk to her when he was doped up…which he says he doesn’t remember. She breaks the news to him that she took out the Sovereign, which prompts a conversation about how she’s been putting on a costume and a wig and going out there to fight crime. If that’s any of his business, she says it’s her business what he’s been doing as the Handyman — but, no, he’s an adult, he says. She hits him hard with the “It’s about having a parent in my life” line, and he says she can’t possibly understand, because this life is “like a fire that gets in your blood, and it boils and boils and boils and never stops.” She asks if killing people makes it better and if Mom would approve — and he says it does, briefly, and that she totes would. (He maybe doesn’t say totes, though.) SHE’S JUST A LITTLE GIRL. To prove him wrong, she decides to suit up and go fight some crime to show him what a real hero does. He is not pleased.

The Handyman, Frog, and Bash meet up in an abandoned warehouse by the docks. Bash tries to apologize for putting him in the hospital, and he says it was necessary to do what they do. He asks if she killed the Sevitri and is glad that she did. He gives Frog the speech about how the city needs soldiers to fight and about how he doesn’t want to have to take Frog down. Frog is a bit afraid of his intensity and backs away a little and says he did it to save Bash. The Handyman says that it’s a good point, and that he’ll teach him how to serve the city responsibly. He also says Bash is a promising recruit, which makes her happy. He turns to Bash for advice, and she agrees that Frog should enlist.

While the Handyman works with Frog, he sends Bash out to find another kid he’s been keeping an eye on. (While he’s training Frog, it becomes painfully aware that he knows his days are numbered.) Bash is sent to find Brian Underwood… Fyrefly, while on patrol, hears about a kid causing explosions. He appears to be running from the Medics who are en route, but he is causing more property damage than anything else. She heads in that direction. They both arrive at the same time — the regular police have him pinned down in a department store. Fyrefly recognizes Bash right away. Bash tries to tell her to leave, but Fyrefly stands her ground and says the kid doesn’t need to be murdered. Bash turns it around and asks if her daddy isn’t giving her enough attention. Fyrefly’s polyglot power goes a little nuts: she suddenly experiences the full extent of who Bash is now (to the point where she actually feels like she’s on the business end of Bash’s fists), and it actually drives her to her knees. This allows Bash to jump in through the roof unhindered. Below, she finds Brian, who mistakes her for an evil ninja. She convinces Brian that she’s here to help him escape and get him to the Handyman, who can teach him to use his powers to protect the city without becoming one of those hero-types. When they burst back up through the ceiling, a chunk of concrete hits Fyrefly in the head…and Fyrefly freaks out and uses her Moment of Truth on Bash. She fires her grappling hook at her and pulls her back onto the roof, then paralyzes the shit out of her. Brian tells her to stay away from him, and she tells him she was trying to save him from becoming a murderer. Fyrefly convinces him to turn himself in to the police rather than go with Bash. She decides to escort him down and leaves Bash on the rooftop with a helicopter’s spotlight on her. The officers congratulate her on diffusing a really dangerous situation and call her a hero and shake her hand.

And once again Bash is captured.

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Fyrefly's Journal 5
Ugh....

It’s been a while. Then again, that’s not really my fault. It’s not like I could have prevented that shooting. That ended up with a hospitalization for a couple of days. The important thing was that Chance spoke to the people, promoted the rally that had been worked on for the past couple of days. And that the rally was mostly a success.

Then of course there was that march on the Spike. Things were a mess, Sovereign showed up acting like some high and mighty judge, jury, and executioner, putting people down for little reason.

Then once we find one of the Sevitri, she actually tries to grab him and fly away? She probably would have, If I hadn’t stopped her. And people doubt my capabilities. Well, not so much anymore.

Things are going well with Chance. Like, really well. We’re actually kind of official now. Though “Officially” he’s dating Ms. McGowan. But we know better.

Still…..He’s an idiot. What in the hell was he thinking going and telling his mom who I actually am?! Things are going great, and then he reveals that bit of idiocy?! I know…I get it…he was upset cause of what I did to his mom…worried about her. But….seriously? I thought we already had the privacy talk?

Ugh….and he’s a Marvel guy. (Yes I know, I like some Marvel too…but Come on, Zatanna is way cooler than Doctor Strange.)

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