Masks: Birth of Heroes

Kamil's Diary 12

The rally went well. Chance gave a nice speech about how the city should support its young heroes by building a school to teach them how to use their powers instead of locking us all away. He even convinced me it’s a good idea — for them, anyway. We had a school — a good school — until the Medics wrecked it, and I doubt the Gentleman is going to volunteer to teach somewhere new. Kind of late for a curriculum change. For both of us. And besides, I don’t think they’d like my extracurriculars, as Frog puts it.

B&E’s rally started up towards the end of Chance’s speech. They climbed up through a hole in the street and disabled the Medics that were waiting for them. HD tried to intercept them — I was worried they’d disable him too, but all they did was try to break his HOG-tracker. Frog tried to stop them by making them look like aliens so that their followers would panic and turn on each other. He’s a devious kid sometimes. So devious it’s kind of scary. It delayed them long enough for me and Chance to get there and for HD to fix the tracker. Turns out Baxter’s a HOG. (Too bad Enchilada doesn’t have the excuse of being an alien — he’s still just an idiot.) And, from there, it was business as usual right up until the Sovereign showed up.

Things get a little hazy at this point. I hit my head pretty hard when we crashed into the building. Plus, I was busy fighting Baxter. I think FF decided to stop the Sovereign, and I remember thinking that FF was probably in trouble if the Sovereign got free… FF tripped Baxter, and I caught him just right to send him flying into her. And then she found out he was an alien and tried to fly off with him for some reason…and so FF knocked her out. I knew FF was tough (she just got shot yesterday, and she’s acting like it was nothing) but I had no idea she could do that! It was awesome. (Way cooler than me dropping a building on TH.) Enchilada sees us take out Baxter, and he charges towards the group. And I, stupidly, get in the way. He crashed into me…

…And the next thing I know, I’m waking up in blue manacles with Frog jumping around, teleporting Medics into each other (somehow?) and mangling them. He got me out of there, but he hurt people to do it. He killed people. And if those other guys survived, they’ll probably be in hospital beds for the rest of their lives.

The rest of the team was pretty harsh to him. And they had a right to be. But they all pretty much acted like they couldn’t deal with it and left me to talk to him about it. I’m glad they did. Out of all of them, I’m the only one who won’t look down on him for it…but I wish he hadn’t. I wanted to make him understand how I felt — how I’ve been feeling — and what TH taught me. I tried to remember what TH said to me (it was a great speech) but I couldn’t come up with anything. And to make matters worse, it’s like he doesn’t understand that what he did wasn’t right. He doesn’t understand why everyone else is upset with him, because he got the job done. I wanted to make him see that heroes don’t kill people or hurt them like that — and that’s why FF, HD, and Chance are upset. They’re good guys — they save people. HD just turned himself in, because he thought he could help those people. FF and Chance held a peaceful rally to try to stop the violence. They’re good at being good.

And then he hit me.

We wrecked the base, but neither of us really got hurt. I’m not proud that I tried to hit him back. He just wouldn’t listen… And then I got angry and carried away — like I always do — and we didn’t even realize anything was wrong until Baxter got up and ran away. I’d forgotten that we were supposed to be watching him.

As we were standing there staring at each other and the dropped manacles where Baxter had been and the tunnel he disappeared into, Frog got a text from Chance. So, now Frog has “kidnapped” the Sovereign from the hospital. I told him not to say anything about Baxter escaping — HD did say the manacles might not work, and we can pretend he escaped while we were busy helping Chance. And wrecked the place on his way out. They’re already so mad at Frog, and what are we supposed to do with the HOG without HD anyway? This was his idea. Are we just going to leave him laying around the base? Feed and water him? What do HOGs eat? I don’t even know when FF or Chance will be back, and Frog and I aren’t exactly the brains of the outfit…

That’s okay too, though. I need to try to teach him what TH’s been teaching me. I need to make him understand that there’s a way to do this right and that you only hurt people if they really deserve it. If he keeps hurting people like that — out in broad daylight in front of the cameras — he’s going to end up in jail. Or worse.

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Entry one
From the thought record of Frank Patten

The damage is extensive, but mostly cosmetic.
My self-repair systems will fix everything that’s not.
Mostly everything.

The Sevitri are here. That much is obvious. Halliwell is either collaborating with them or is under their control.

I remember waking up on the street after my reboot to Frog [John / too flashy / occasionally brilliant/ Friend] helping Bash [Kamil / hostile personality? / trained combatant / Friend] up off the street. The three of us manage to limp to the the Chariot, and I try to explain it to them that we’ve given the Sevitri a second opportunity to create chaos in the city.

Then I try to explain it to them again. Then we get Chance [Chance / smarmy / stealth master / Friend] and Mei [Fyrefly / no powers / tactician / team leader / Friend] on the phone so I can try and explain one more time. I know she’s hurt but we’re out of time.

I can’t reach them. Worse, they’re giving me the look. The look Sister Ignatius gave me when I first arrived at the orphanage, when she said “You poor thing!” with an extremely trite poor and underlined and capitalized Thing.

Chance is with Mei, so the rest of us stay in the hideout. It gives me the time to try and build a device to track the Sevitri. I tell myself that Mei will know what to do when she wakes up, but deep down I’m afraid of what I’ll see if stop. Maybe I’d look in a mirror and survey the damage, but then I’m not sure I could keep going.

Mei has to know what to do.

I’m glad Frog came through with the VHS tapes and acetone. I use the Ferro-fluid to tune into the Sevitri brain-patterns that I experienced. The device will search every cellular and wifi network in the city and then translate every Sevitri location. It’s beautiful, to a certain perspective, but it will probably only work for a few minutes.

It’s 7:38 am when I finish. I call Mei and Chance. Then I keep calling them. It’s important but no one picks up. Frog comes with breakfast. Thank you, Frog. Bash is not here when we look around. I haven’t stopped calling Mei and Chance.

She picks up and she’s angry?

I tell her everything and ask for her advice, and all she can tell me is walk in to the trap basically. The Sevitri are planning to completely destablize the city, and have been planning this for years after the Exemplars kicked their asses and we are going to stop them by waiting until they attack and punch them until they stop.

Wonderful.

I don’t know what else to do.

Frog leaves to go run errands, and I start to pack up the device. I text Frog to see if I should visit Mei before we go to the rally, and he tells me to do it.

I think it was probably the socially expected thing to do and I’m just an asshole.
Frank Patten [asshole].

I accidentally catch sight of my face when I get on the Chariot.

It’s worse then I thought.

No one has even asked me if I’m ok.

Bash [asshole]
Chance [asshole]
Frog [asshole]
Mei [asshole]

I have to choke that down and keep going. I meant it when I said that if I could save one person from the coming disaster I would. No matter what it costs me.

First I’ll go see Mei.

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Encrypted Text 03
Folded paper tucked into the crevice of a water tower

paper lined with a familiar series of letters but the frog in the right corner seems to be covered with a bird’s dropping

Whew, I am a prick sometimes. A secret and a request for help. Gah I should have stopped for a sugar boost or something before picking up that first aid kit, or perhaps I should have snuck myself a shot of something, but then I do like to remember stuff. Forgetting would probably be bad. So, B calls ask for help and not to tell anyone, but then when did she get a phone. And why did I have to call Chance last night if she had one. Get on scene and boy can tell B was here. Poor building has water running out a busted window as a dust cloud slowly wafts from the window. I cast a small illusion as I glance around the building looking normalish while a fire connector on the building shows signs of leakage masking the running water, that and a kid running on down the street and not into the building. A quick stop as I scratch a small symbol to power the illusion outside for a couple minutes though no cops or Medic sirens so maybe I won’t run into any issues. Call out for B and hear her calling from the upper floors third to be precise. Jump up the stairs, thank you for porting. Get up there and hear her up ahead shift something about, and BAM. There is B wearing a mask. Why does she get a mask. granted I guess I can make my own, but still. She is hovering over someone. Takes me a moment or two to process as she begins speaking and then my phone chirps and I get a snarl from her when I reply to the text telling HD that yes he should probably go see Mai, tis what friends do after a fashion. But the sound of her voice and something in her eyes has me plucking the battery out and spiking the phone at the wall. Grr was just getting used to having it around. Then she swears me to secrecy as it finally dawns on me who is lying on the ground evidence of a recent removal from the rubble. Could this be why, but then does this mean G knew and was trying to help or wasn’t around. Ug, his hand, I don’t want to know why the bandage is a darkening red color or slightly shapeless. Then it just goes a blurry kinda fluid way to much in the scapes and that hand is just freaking me out a little, strip TH out of his uniform, and B goes a bit pale when she removes the guy’s mask. He looks familiar can’t place him til B murmurs something about Mai. Ya more secrets gah my head hurts to many secrets or half-hidden truths. I manage to get him to the hospital’s emergency room without getting caught myself, but he was so heavy. Went back to where B was and slumped onto a pile of debris. And I’m not sure what came over me, but boy did I light into her. Poor B. well not so much gah making me worried, and then she has a mentor or something and is out doing stuff and I’m left to do the errands while G wants me to pack back off to tiny town. Then I don’t know she is looking guilty or something, but that was the thought yes/no, maybe? And then I just add that extra dig about not visiting Mai. Am I happy or sad, exultant or depressed as her face crumples? I’m not sure. She has saved my skin so many times, why did I say it. Hey Mr. Pigeon am I jealous of her, perhaps?

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Encrypted Text 02
Folded piece of paper used in leveling off a survelliance camera

familiar looking set of characters run across the page with the frog on the bottom right

Ah peaceful up here, seemed to be intruding on Mai and Chance when I dropped the laptop and comms off, but meh can’t be any worse then the 10+ calls from HD earlier. Cams are set so should help coordination. Where is B? Haven’t seen her today, hope she isn’t in to much trouble and or safe. She is a big girl can look after herself, but gah stupid G why do I have to return home. But then he may have a point. I’ve been pretty pathetic of late usually ending up being saved by B or the others. But I guess I have a purpose, HD gets so block headed at times, I mean what did he want Mai to do jump out of a hospital bed with a wound of that type and just jump right into the fray leading us in a charge takes time to heal up that stuff. Not sure if HD is just to smart for his own good sometimes. Chance just let me know the pic is good from these. Still not sure what HD was on about, but have to watch both these event. But surely the adults can keep things in line, but then why does my head hurt. Could use another frappe or something, hmm what’s this B is calling….

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Encrypted Text 01
Folded piece of paper hidden under a brick in the Basement

A ratty piece of paper with a series of letters broken into 5 character chunks line the front and part of the back of the paper in the bottom right corner a small cartoonish frog sits

OMG, the list they gave me. VHS tapes really. I mean I am very Ludditish in terms of tech, but gah that is just ancient, and nail polisher remover ug. Had to add a few years and mundanity to my looks, gah I so want to flash and shine, but Ms. Ivy gives me the creeps. Not surprising, I found they had left me behind not that I can’t catch up, but meh. Shuffled around from store to store, guess I really probably should have been watching the TV or some such, but nope. There I am in Al’s Best Electronics lifting a new set of comm units when the caster breaks in with the big news of this counter rally or some such, and there are my ‘team mates’ living it up in the spotlight, and then Mai gets shot by some wierdo. Barely managed to get out of there with the stuff, almost blew the illusion. Flipped on the set in the ‘Chariot’ and figured out where they were holding their rally and popped up on a nearby roof. Mai is getting bundled off into the ambulance with a concerned looking Chance, must have missed something there, wasn’t Chance interested in B. I don’t understand that, but then B has been a bit more b herself. So, cool and a little freaky the other night when she saved me from that Medic. Hope she isn’t taking Ms. Ivy’s words to much to heart. But meh should take my own advice, brain in a jar, eww… Then I saw HD and B off to the side both way worse for wear. HD is looking a bit more freaky then usual kinda reminds me of a cross between cyborgs and zombies. Jumped down and cloaked him in a minor illusion and chided them to their feet. B was looking pale lips kinda blue, but maybe just lipstick, nope they pinked back up after a few. Wonder if it was cause of that figure that I glimpsed running away, and gah more blood. whew not mine, but gah another pair of jeans needing replaced. Then Frank started losing it once we were safe in the tunnels kept going on about aliens and Haliwell, and how we had screwed up again, and why am I included in this screw up I wasn’t there… I reach out to C to perhaps get some clarity on what HD is spouting and it seems like the 3 of us aren’t following whereever the train of his logic is going. And apparently Mai is going to be okay. Should probably visit, but after hours and she sounds drugged out, plus she never all that happy with me, so probably just best to stay away. Oh gawd, HD is being to make something, just looking in the direction is making my brain hurt What was that buzz, not mine probably just something of HD’s. Damn where did I put that charger….

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Kamil's Diary 11

I did it. I took out the thing that took out Mai and HD. And what do I get for it? Suddenly, I’m the bad guy. I’m the reason the Gentleman left, and I’m a terrible person, because I was too busy STOPPING THE ALIENS to visit Mai in the hospital. I’m doing what has to be done, what they can’t do. I’m the one actually making a difference. That’s obvious. Isn’t it?

Maybe calling Frog was a mistake. But I panicked, and I thought he would understand more than anyone else. I saved him, after all, and it wasn’t a problem then. So I can only hurt people when I’m rescuing you, Frog? At least he got TH to the hospital. Me and buildings, right? But if I had stopped to think, then the alien wouldn’t be dead. And it could shoot someone else or mess us up even worse. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad about TH, though. I just hope he gets it.

Also: TH is Mai’s father? Does she know that? That explains why he was so determined to find it and kill it. I wasn’t going to ask questions, but now that I know, it makes total sense. I feel like kind of an idiot. But he seemed so nice…and TH, well, isn’t. I’m too tired to think anymore about it. Hunting down the HOG (can I still call it that even though it was an alien?) took all night.

It all happened so quick. You know, I thought it was going to fight me again. I thought it was going to be me or it or that TH would finish it off. But it ran. And when the ship appeared, all I could think about was finishing it off fast before I had to fight it all over again. And if I couldn’t take all of them out, at least I could get the one that hurt my friends. It deserved to die. It’s not even human. It was a monster that would have hurt a lot more people if I let it live, so I know I did the right thing. It feels weird, though, like doing what I did shouldn’t have been so easy. But it was. Once I finally caught it, I just did it.

I thought I was going to have to fight the whole spaceship. I don’t think that would have ended well. But the weirdest thing happened instead. One of them — their leader, I guess — asked if it knew where I was from and how I got my powers. Like it would know anything about that. But then it asked if I knew why I had my powers, and it offered to tell me. It even left some HOG-tech — a communicator, maybe? — in case I ever want to find out. Yeah, right. Like I’m going to ask a bunch of aliens trying to take over the world what they know about Isselbeck and how nuclear radiation causes super strength. There’s no why — I just got lucky.

I’m keeping the HOG-tech for now. Not like I’m going to use it. Maybe it could be useful somehow?

But what if there’s something I don’t know? TG has never really been forthcoming. He’s still pretty messed up over it, I think. So what if he doesn’t know? What if I’m some HOG-powered freak that just got caught up in the blast? Or what if the HOGs were the ones who nuked it? And what if Frog’s right — what if TG does know what I’ve done, and that’s the real reason he hasn’t come back? What if Mai finds out I didn’t come visit her because I was busy putting her dad in the hospital too?

I better get going. I have a couple bucks left. I could buy something in the gift shop at the hospital for Mai and stop in for a minute. That’s one less person who will be pissed at me for no good reason. Plus, I guess I should get a get well soon card for TH. Is that what you do when you put someone in the hospital? And I want him to know that I did it. Sorry I collapsed a floor of a building on top of you. That alien’s dead. Hope you feel better soon. Sure, sounds great. He probably won’t be pissed at all.

I’m doing the right thing. I’m making a difference. I’m saving people. And I’m not a HOG-powered freak.

Right?

So, why do I feel like crap now? Why do I feel like I’m the one screwing up and doing everything all wrong? Why do I feel like I’m letting everybody down?

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Chance's Tweets 2

Chance: Sure, EMT Guy, I’ll watch over Mei WAIT WHERE ARE YOU GOING? WE ARE DRIVING LIKE SEVENTY MILES… and he’s gone. #theambulancehasbrakesyouknow

Chance: Did you see that, Mei? #nowaityourebusydying

Chance:He was your WHAT? #thatsnottruethatsimpossible

Chance: Did anybody Cliff Notes that big reveal? #thesuvetree no wait #thesiviti or is it #thesweettree?

Chance: Mei has the meds. Frank NEEDS them. #rantingroboguy

Chance: I think Frank is addicted to his “Feral Fluids” or whatever. #justsayno #hugsnotdrugs

Chance: Yay! Mai made it to the morning. #sleptinachair

Chance: Yay! Mai is doing warm-ups! #sobadass

Chance: Yay! Mai’s gown is open in the back! #huhuhuhBeavismoment

Chance: Frank is calling. #talkingtoMai

Chance: Frank is calling. #talkingtoMai

Chance: Frank is calling. #talkingtoMai

Chance: Frank is calling. #talkingtoMai

Chance: Frank is calling. #andnowIanswerit

Chance: “Chance has to go to the protest”. #whycantifakemydeath

Chance: Mai’s not going to sneak out #sekritidentity

Chance: Got to leave now, Mai. #dontwannaleave

Chance: I’m leaving now. #ihearacrabsinging

Chance: Totally chickened out. #kissthegirl #shutupcrab

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Kamil's Diary 10
Lights, camera, action!

The Chariot is done. It’s kind of cool, actually, having something like that just to ourselves. I helped HD with it, by which I mean I lifted the heavy things where they needed to go and helped clear the track. He did the rest. You know, he may not be as useless or as much of a screw up as I thought he was…

He rescued me tonight from…I don’t know what. And I think he took the hit that was meant for me. Apparently, this Human Octopus Guy stole his nanobots or something. And I think he was about to do something just as messed up to me if HD hadn’t shown up, but I’m not really sure. My memory gets kind of fuzzy about the time I ran out of oxygen.

Short story long, B&E have decided to march on the Spike. It’s not a friendly sort of march either. Since half of us are wanted criminals, we decided the best way to stop them is to inspire people to counter-march. They want to cause destruction, and we are going to not, I guess? Mai and Chance had a press conference, and HD hacked the feed, I guess, to get it out to more people. He did a thing too — why not? He’s got all those people calling themselves Drivers hanging off his every word, and he’s good at making speeches. I wasn’t sure what I could do to help, so I just kind of stood around. What, like I’m going to go in front of a camera and say violence is bad? I hurt people. I break buildings. I’m pretty much exactly the opposite of what they’re saying.

The conference seemed to go well. Actually, it seemed to go really well. They came out kind of early, which meant HD had to scramble to get everything in place, but it was all going great until this guy started pushing through the crowd. And all of a sudden, he pulls out a gun and shoots at Chance! What the hell? Mai was right there and tried to push him out of the way, so she got hit instead.

I got up there as quick as I could, and HD tried to help by monitoring him through cameras or satellites or whatever it is HD does. He couldn’t stay on the line long, though — he was being tracked somehow. That was fine — I caught up to HOG. But I couldn’t help thinking about the last time I had to take care of a guy trying to hurt my friends. So I got distracted, and the next thing I now, the guy jumps on top of me and tries to pin me to the ground!

Obviously, I wasn’t going to let that happen. But he was tough. And when I tried to rip off his mask, it didn’t come off — it was like part of him or something. And there was this snake thing that came out of his mouth, and it actually drew blood. Even Rose’s thorns are hit or miss breaking through my skin. So, even though I was trying really hard not to destroy the entire city block, I had to do something, right? I pounded his face into the pavement and a wall, and somehow a streetlamp gets knocked over, and, right then, this stupid woman decides to cross the street. I mean, really? Did she not see the massive fight and bricks flying everywhere? So I have to go save her, and I’m trying to use HOG’s face to do it, right, because I can’t let him go. Except he twists out of my hands somehow and the streetlamp lands on me instead! And then his limbs get all bendy and start contorting, and he wraps his arm around my neck and starts to squeeze.

I should have just ground him into the pavement the first chance I got.

I know I’m in trouble, and this is not good. So I call for HD…and then kind of black out, because oxygen is important, and I didn’t have any. And when I come to and can get up, I see HOG disappearing over a building and HD just sprawled on the ground. And he looks weird. And definitely not okay.

What the hell was that thing? I made some notes about it, because I’m not letting that thing get away. I’ll ask TH tonight to see if he’s ever heard of anything like it or has any idea how to track it. Honestly, I doubt he’ll help. He’s pretty focused on this other guy right now, and don’t get me wrong — that asshole does deserve to get taken down. But this guy hurt my friends. He tried to kill my friends. And I’m going to make him pay.

human_octopus_guy.gif

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Kamil's Diary 09
Generation Awesome

Weird day today. A little good. A little bad. And a lot of sugar.

So, this is my new journal. TG always said that it helps to get things down on paper, and he’s right. I think I’ll feel better after I write this down. Of course, I have to keep this journal with my mask. My other mask. That’s the only place I know it will be safe. There’s not a lot of privacy down there, and Frog gets bored way too easily.

I suppose I should start with HD’s stupid plan to rescue TA from a made-up threat. Well, I guess it wasn’t completely made-up. But it was completely stupid.

Frog got us there, and then he started hopping around and destroying everything. He was throwing guys around, dropping stuff on them… He even dropped a chunk of the Spike’s wall on some guys. It was cool, but I was kind of horrified. That must be what I look like to other people. And I don’t want him to be me. I don’t want him to do what I did. So I stopped him.

And then he teleported us up to the roof, for some reason. The Spike has these drones up there that took him out. So I took them out. And then I broke in and out of maximum security looking for TA. I found him. And B&E too. Apparently, they were the suspicious blurs HD saw. For some reason (because they’re idiots) they assumed Frog was a hostage and that I was escaping from the Spike. Or there to stop them from freeing TA. Or something. Anyway, they attacked me, I tried to fend them off, Frog helped (I think?) and the next thing I know, they’re crashing into a cell, and this guy with a shark head comes out. And there I am getting lectured by TA for a stupid plan that I wanted no part of but went along with anyway because they’re supposed to be my friends.

Fast-forward. Frog is still pretty much unconscious, and I find myself facing dozens of MeDICs. Can’t go forward. Can’t go back (drones, more MeDICs, shark guy, B&E). I have no idea what happened to Chance or HD. And I couldn’t risk letting Frog get hurt if I started a fight, so I gave us up.

They stuck me in this weird room with glowing blue lights. Power nullification field or something, I assume. Anyway, Frog and HD were shoved inside and followed by IL herself. Apparently, she feels bad for the way the Manor was seized (yeah, right), and she tried to convince us that we should give up “being demi-gods” and join society. Or something. I may not have been listening all that closely. So then she shuts the power to the room off and tells us that we can either escape and be put on her Most Wanted list (pretty sure we’re already there — I’ve seen my file, at least) or we can stand around and accept the consequences of our actions. Fuck that. We left. (HD, of course, wanted to stay. Because he’s stupid like that.)

Frog got his hands on a phone, and we called up Chance to see how he was and where he was. He had met up with Fyrefly, and they tracked down TG. TG told us to leave town until this had blown over. And I would have. I really would have. Except HD interrupted to tell him no. He told him we weren’t leaving, that we had a duty, and, anyway, wasn’t this what he was training us for?

I guess they don’t know him like I do. If he’s talking about getting involved, then this is really serious. And if he thinks we should run, then the smart thing to do would be to run.

Well, this team isn’t very smart. They’re determined to do things their own way, even if that way is the worst idea in the world. I kind of like that about them. That, and the way they come together over donuts. It made me feel like nothing had changed — and, maybe for them, it hasn’t.

But HD was right. We have to take responsibility for who we are and what we’ve done. And what that’s turned us into. For TA, I guess that meant siding with IL and pleading guilty. For the team, it means standing up to save the city from the MeDICs. And for me, that means letting them be the heroes and helping them when I can. But I’m not one of them. That’s what TH was trying to tell me, and I agreed to learn from him, but I didn’t want to listen. Well, it’s time to stop running and embrace what I am. Whatever that is.

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Kamil's (Mental) Diary 08
At the Spike

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

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