The Others [OOC/PG-16/Accepting]
So much to do, and so little time...
The Story So Far
(AM 11/18/2022): Discord invite link added
(PM 11/18/2022): Full OOC is now live!
(AM 11/30/2022): The RP has now started! IC link added, accepted characters tab updated, discord invite link removed
(PM 01/13/2023): Updated cast list upon Yui's departure
(AM 04/13/2023): Forgot to update the cast list again, oops
It, like every night, was dark. However it wasn't stormy. Instead it was cold and somewhat clammy. The time was 10 PM and, unlike some larger cities, the streets were mostly barren. The moon in the sky, and the streetlights on the ground, made the dark night possible to traverse without being blind.
They, in this case being Brian James Trantor and Carmen O'Conner, had gotten a message not long ago. It was from their mysterious savior/employer, Shiki. This was unusual, the first of several unusual moments, as the girl hardly ever used text messages to contact them. Though it was only a couple words, "Dagen Park" which was why they both had made their way towards said park.
Park might be something of an exaggeration. it was rather large, it would only take a couple minutes to cross it, and only had a singular bench, under an old gazebo, to sit in. Some trees were scattered around, mostly around the edge to the left facing from the street, but not many and only one or two that were truly large. A playground sat in the center of the small grassy field which consisted of a couple slides, monkey bars, and a bit of a distance from that a pair of seesaws and a swing set that creaked with the slight breeze. Off to the side of said playground, at the right edge of the park, was a concrete area for parking. And there sat a singular vehicle.
They each would recognize it as belonging to Shiki. A large van, practically a camper, that looked like it shouldn't be able to run. Yet they knew it did. Usually, yet another unusual thing tonight, this van was parked outside of their houses, or wherever they happened to be when Shiki wanted to contact them, and they'd use it to get to whatever Shiki needed them to do.
However this time it was in another location. The reason why was clear to them soon.
The third unusual thing of the night. Whenever they found said van they were the only ones who ever paid it any mind. However today there was another. For Brian this was Carmen. And for Carmen this was Brian.
Without any warning it seemed that Shiki had decided that the two of them would meet tonight. In this park. On this cold and clammy night.
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 01
180 DAYS REMAIN
“This is an imaginary story… Aren’t they all?”
-Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? (written by Alan Moore)
Do All Words Can Do
The events of the last few hours had taken their toll on Director Sekelsky. The reports of rioting were finally dying down, people were returning to their homes, and heroes were permitted to stand down, but that just meant it was time for the casualty numbers. Multiple people had been trampled in the initial panic, and several more were injured in what ensued afterward, including one of their own, a cape who went by the name of Spotlight. It was worth another few expletives. “Fucking goddamn piece of horseshit! Cass goes off the grid for who knows how long and then decides to pull this fucking stunt. Did they know? They must have known. Surely they realized what would happen next, right? So they just left everyone else to clean up their mess, huh?”
There were four other people in the room, and each of them was in costume, so Director Sekelsky mentally adopted the standard name protocols. Cape names when dressed as capes. Easy. At the opposite end of the sweatbox of a meeting room (how could it be this fucking hot in here in fucking November?) were Override, Ember, and Aeon. They were the main recipients of this briefing, chosen for a number of reasons but there was really one big one: availability. None of them had been at Hallowmas or taken the holiday standby shift (and who could blame them? It was Halloween. Even Director Sekelsky had hoped to spend the night with his husband and daughter until whatever this shit was), which meant they were actually around this morning. The fact they all had some sort of criminal record was concerning but not work scrapping and waiting for someone else.
Bard was there too, seated alone on the near end of the sweatbox next to the projection screen. His costume was positively ancient, and his mask one of those tacky theater masks that only covered half of his face, but he refused to change it, always citing more pressing issues of the time. The Director couldn’t fault him for that this time. He was taking this even harder than Director Sekelksy was; he had a pair of white-knuckled fists pushed as far into the table as he could manage, and he was shaking and muttering something under his breath. It was probably something to do with his Thinker powers, Director Sekelsky thought. It wasn't something he understood, but Bard had also been instrumental in G3’s response the last few hours and he’d been a wreck then too. As long as he was functional and managed to check in with one of G3’s counselors later, he’d be alright, right?
He sighed. Thinking things through like this helped get the anger out of his system. The only emotion that remained now was a quiet determination. From an egotistical point of view, it was his best feature. He didn’t have any superpowers, but he wasn’t powerless. “First thing’s first, where’s DEUS?”
“Helping with the riots,” Bard said. He eased up a little too now that the meeting had started. “He was spotted in Graceland a little before midnight so he actually wasn’t too far away when it started.”
“For once,” Director Sekelsky said.
“But that means don’t count on it happening again. Not that we should ever count on him.”
“Especially now that it’s daytime,” Bard said. “He’ll probably be too busy rescuing cats from trees or helping old women cross the street.”
“Or rescuing old women from trees,” the Director snarked. “So Plan A, then. Alright.” Bard handed him a trio of folders and he turned his attention to the three capes in the back. One for each of them.
“As you are no doubt aware, the Renegade Cape Cassandra predicted the end of the world at Hallowmas last night,” he said. “This is so obviously S-Class, it’s practically the definition of the term. Unfortunately, the actual words on the truces don’t agree here. They were written more for singular, concrete threats. A tornado, some supervillain who’s gotten too big for their britches, a bio-Tinker’s experiment run amok. Not something as nebulous and off in the distance as this. If we try to litigate this through the normal channels, that’s precious time lost we could have spent dealing with whatever the fuck this actually is, so we’re hoping to avoid that.”
He tossed the folders down the table, one at a time. Landing them neatly at the edge right in front of his target without anything spilling out was something that had taken countless briefings just like these to perfect, but it was worth it every time. “We do have some language in our favor, however. We just need the leaders of each of the three main gangs to agree with us, and sign a document saying as much. You three will be facilitating that.”
“In those folders are our profiles on the three gangs and the leaders,” Bard said, standing up as well. “Gibbons’ Caesar” -- he pronounced it “ˈsi zər” -- “The Zodiac’s Ophiuchus, and, of course, the Moray Clan’s three Fates. Most of it’s common knowledge, but make sure you’re up to date on it. It also has my best guesses as to how the negotiations are going to play out. Unfortunately, it is probably going to be a negotiation. Six months is a lot of time for Scarlet City’s underworld to play nice.”
“We’re going to have to play nice in return,” Director Sekelsky said. “We were the ones with the most cape activity last night. Again, the extenuating circumstances favor us, and obviously so, but they’ll be looking for any concession they can get. Also included in those folders is a copy of a temporary S-Class agreement. It won’t last until April, but it’s something we can use when the Peacekeepers get their act together, so as long as you don’t do anything stupid like make a legally binding agreement without our negotiators present -”
“Or start a fight,” Bard said.
“- or start a fight, we’re giving you a lot of leeway on this. We need those signatures, you understand? The meetings are already set up. Catty Key buzzed everyone earlier, so be sure to thank her when you get the chance. Your first meeting is with the Fates in Echo Park, the other places and times are in there as well.”
His eyes met Ember’s “Ember, you’re not going to that last one as per our existing agreement regarding Gibbons, report back here after The Zodiac meeting instead for a different assignment.”
The last moment lingered a bit longer than Director Sekelsky intended, which mattered in the face of all the time pressure, but was still recoverable. “You have a few minutes to finish your reading, ask any questions, you might have, and then get going. Leave through the back while the sixes don’t have the building completely surrounded yet.”
Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos Lanthimos, the Moray Clan’s three Fates, arranged themselves in various positions about their lair’s (for lack of a better word) throne room searching for something that might fit the correct vibe. It was the new costumes that were the problem here. They’d just gotten three matching dresses from Rajawongse made out of Clotho’s fibers -- and they were the kind of dresses that came with pockets! -- but the room had been put together with their old aesthetic in mind. They’d started out so stereotypical, even getting one of those prop replica thrones from that one show, but the dresses were some kind of postmodern art. They had a flow to them that looked especially nice when they all stood together and the blotches of color started to blur. It was a total clash. The only pieces of fabric left from their old costumes were their blindfolds.
“Blindfolds” was another one of those words that was technically true but not really. They were a solid black, but The Fates could all see through them just fine. Part of the magic of Clotho’s string was that its properties could be whatever she wanted it to be. That was one of the reasons Rajawongse had been so inspired in the first place -- a practically infinite amount of new materials, right there at his fingertips, who wouldn’t? But phrasing it that way would also sell the Renegade clothier short. He was a master of his craft even without his power. Rajawongse had created dresses that were identical down to the tiniest stitch. With them, the only way to identify which Fate was which was their distinctive manner of speech.
“Maybe it’s the room that needs to change, not us,” Clotho said.
“Sure,” Lachesis said.
“But that doesn’t change the fact we need to figure out what we’re doing right now,” Atropos said. She was also identifiable by the butterfly knife she carried with her, a helpful outlet for not just her power, but idle hands in general. The swish-clack sound of its handles seemed to punctuate everything that particular Fate said, and frequently some of her sisters’.
They settled on one of their standard formations -- Lachesis lounging on the throne flanked on either by her two sisters -- just as three of their underlings entered the room. Vi, Sibyl, and Demiurge were their names. The Fates gave them some time to get situated and even offered them some fruit in case they hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. It was still early in the morning, after all. It also gave them an excuse to get everyone up to speed on the previous night's events, the prophecy, the riots, everything.
“The Stadium isn’t our territory, though it’s close enough that it might as well be,” Lachesis said.
“And we’re going to have to deal with the smashed windows that are in our territory. Some of our people are already on it.”
“It won’t be finished until later, though. Right now, G3 --”
“-- The Generic Good Guys --”
“-- The Group of Giant Goobers --”
“-- is going to be pushing us for some kind of temporary truce until they can get their act together, and we don’t have any reason not to accept.”
“But we also have reason to believe the Gibbons aren’t going to take the deal,” Lachesis said. “There are a couple of reasons for that. The first is that, like, it’s Gibbons. There’s no way Caesar” -- she pronounced it “ˈsi zər” -- “is going to let a land grab opportunity slip through his fingers, no matter how bad of an opportunity it is.”
“That’s what happens when most of your territory is crap,” Atropos said. Swish. Clack. “Even when you have the most of any gang in all of Skitty.”
“So it’s in character for him,” Clotho said. “But perhaps more damningly, he laid out his plans this morning while Worm still had one of his walls bugged, and later we hear some Gibbons capes are on the way to our territory. So we just- we know it’s going to happen. ”
“Sorry to bury the lede like that.”
“Our people cleaning up Nola Street already know this,” Clotho said. “There are some pretty hefty capes helping out there, both ours and otherwise, and DEUS is still in the area for at least a little bit longer.”
“We’ll fight too if we goddamn have to.” The swish-clack of Atropos’ knife was especially forceful that time.
“The point is, there’s a little time before anything goes down. There are still a few preparations to make, though. More thorough battle plans, making sure complementary powers are together, that sort of thing. Your job this morning is to keep Caesar distracted, and the way we’d like you to do it is to wreck some of his shit first.”
“The target is a warehouse eleven point five nine kilometers that way.” Lachesis pointed in a direction she knew to be Northeast. This was her showing off her Thinker power and she relished the opportunity. “Pretty close to The Shimmer without getting up and personal with it, about as far as possible away from what’s going to be happening here.”
“We think it’s a lab for a Tinker on Caesar’s payroll, which means it’ll have a skeleton crew of just that one Tinker and an assistant or two.”
“The point is to get them calling for help. We’re not killing them or anything. Just roughing them up a bit to get Caesar’s attention, you know?” Clotho winked. “Of course, if they do go running to the hills leaving a trove of Tinker tech behind, you might as well take any of the interesting shit, right?”
“At the same time,” Lachesis was quick to add, “if help does show up, that’s your cue to get out of there. Remember The Stanley Principle. You’re not invincible no matter how far ahead you might seem.”
The Fates finally went silent as the invocation of that nearly-sacred rule brought a little extra weight to the proceedings. Both Clotho and Atropos shifted uncomfortably where they stood, and Lachesis had to stop lounging and actually sit in her chair. “Oh, that was a lot, wasn’t it?” Clotho eventually said. “Sorry about that.”
“Anyway, the actual meat and potatoes planning of this mission, that’s up to you,” Atropos said.
“We’ve given you the place and the goal, kinda want to just see what you come up with,” Lachesis said. “Call it a test, you know? Show us what you can do.”
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