The team has some downtime and spends it working on personal projects.
Firework has been working on his relationship with NASA, at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View. With his help, they have been building a new space shuttle that will be launched into space to dock with the International Space Station. And by launched we mean “Firework will carry it up into Space.”
Firework would’ve preferred to do the work himself, and would’ve done it faster, but Jesuit convinced him that the reason the scientists and engineers were “going slowly” was because they are human, and they are taking as many precautions as they normally do, but also, they do things in a certain way. Basically, by not doing “everything” for them, they won’t feel useless.
Fireworks presence at the center has increased interest in NASA and the sciences in general by several factors, deeming it “cool” since an actual “superhero” is involved.
Launch will occur within the next month or so.
Aurum’s social experiment has become an overwhelming success. #WeCanAllBeFireworks has spread throughout the internets and has opened up a dialogue with the youth of the nation, as well as the world, about Paranormal rights. Tumblr has spawned several memes and spread the word of Paranormal injustices throughout the world.
As it stands, in certain countries Paranormals have no rights. In others, like America, Paranormals are jailed without trial if they break the law with their abilities. They are deemed too dangerous to be allowed to run free. In fact, even in the U.S. Paranormals have been lynched because of what they are (typically in the more rural parts of the nation). #WeCanAllBeFireworks has been showcasing these issues, and raising funds to help Paranormals with their plights.
Wildheart has been training with HOPE, and had his first recruitment drive. HOPE held a meeting where Paranormals could come in and learn about HOPE and about what HOPE can offer them.
No one came.
They asked Wildheart if he could help them expand, help them spread the word about what HOPE does and what it can do for Paranormals. Wildheart said he would, and would use his contacts to help reach out to people.
At the next meeting, a single female Paranormal came. She had the ability to mimic the colors of her surroundings, but not completely, and she couldn’t turn it off. She explains that she’s been harassed at work but since there are no discrimination laws protecting Paranormals, there is nothing she can do. Wildheart tells her that he and HOPE are here to help with all legal issues, and that if she comes to HOPE HQ they’ll be able to set her up with an agent.
After she leaves, HOPEs representatives say they’re grateful to Wildheart and hope that he can help bring in new members. Wildheart suggests maybe an alliance between AEGIS & HOPE, which the representatives are in favor for.
Bouncer has been having various meetings with the liaisons of the other AEGIS Paranormal Units. They’ve been going through reports about their various missions, and asking for tactical advice from Bouncer. They also wanted to get his feel on a proposal they’ve been working on.
Lately, it seems, more and more of the Units have been participating in…extracurricular activities. . Technically, AEGIS Paranormal Units are only authorized to work on cases involving Paranormals. So though a bank robbery isn’t in their jurisdiction, a bank robbery with a Paranormal involved is. But a few of the Paranormals in the various teams have been acting out of turn.
Dragon Eye took down an opium den in Emerald City. Mindblast stopped a mugger with his telekinesis in New York City. And Captain Thunder stopped a human arsonist in Freedom City. Each of these incidents they stumbled upon “accidentally” according to their reports. Captain Thunder was the most vocal, where he stated, “I saw an opportunity to help, and I took it. It would’ve been wrong of me NOT to help.”
The liaisons don’t’ want to condone vigilantism. As is, there have been reports all over the country of Paranormals acting against the law by interfering in police activity (ie capturing criminals) and if AEGIS’ own teams were seen doing the same thing, it wouldn’t look good.
Currently, AEGIS Paranormal units can only act within their jurisdiction (except for the Watchguard Unit, which travels the country where needed), and only when it comes to Paranormal incidents. The new proposal would allow all the teams free reign of the country, and the authority to help out where they were needed, including non-Paranormal activities.
They would basically become Federal Marshals.
The liaisons all talk about the benefits this would provide, why this would be beneficial in the long run, that studies shown how effective the Watchguard Unit has been, and the like.
Everyone except Dr. Brennan, who has been quiet throughout the meeting.
The liaisons would like to know what Bouncer thinks, seeing as how the Golden Gate Guardians are the most experienced with earth shattering events (no other team has fought a Kaiju…), whether he agrees with the proposal or not, and whether he would support it.
Bouncer agrees that this could only lead to the units being more effective, and would stave off the look of “vigilantism” since he admits that even members of his own unit would eventually “go off the rails” in helping people.
Bouncer gives his support to the cause.
After the meeting, Bouncer asks Dr. Brennan what she thinks. She says that though she agrees the units can do more, should do more, she feels that there were will be opposition to the proposal. As is, members in Congress are still concerned about Paranormal activity, as well as AEGIS as an operation. She worries, as well, that if the units get too much power too fast, there will be a backlash.
She says that current studies indicate that the number of Paranormals in the united states could be as high as 1% of the population. The majority of Paranormals have low level abilities, those that don’t pose much danger to the world. But potentially 1% of that number could have high level abilities, where they could very well cause massive destruction. With those number keeping steady, AEGIS and the Paranormal Units are needed more than ever.
She stands with Bouncer and his decision.
Jesuit has been visiting St. Patrick’s and helping out there by taking confessions. Since he is a well known Paranormal, and member of AEGIS, attendance spiked for a few weeks. After it was seen that he would not be performing sermons, the numbers went down, though confessions stayed steady. Several Paranormals, even nonbelievers, came to talk to Jesuit, several of them asking whether it was a gift or curse from God that made them the way they are.
Jesuit said that this was neither a gift nor a curse, just that it was life. God may have given them these abilities, but what matters is what the individual does with these abilities that will dictate whether they’re “good” or “bad.” Free will is God’s greatest gift, and every person, Paranormals and humans alike, have the capacity for good or evil.
Mike, feel free to include your speech here. It was very pretty
After a few weeks, Jesuit gets a call from the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone. He says that he would like to meet with Jesuit the following week, that he has important matters to discuss with him. Jesuit agrees to meet with him.
Fast forward in time.
Late December and winter have settled upon San Francisco like a dark, grey shroud. The leaden sky brings in a thick layer of fog onto the streets and creates a chill that settles into your bones and spirit. It’s clear the people of the city feel it, too, as they huddle into coats, hats, and scarves (some in flip flops), scuttling about their business, scarcely even looking up to the grey sky above.
The team is called into action, by a rather dreary Dr. Brennan, who informs them that a paranormal has led a gang into robbing a bank. Police are on site and waiting for AEGIS to intervene, thus, the team.
Firework gathers up his team, except for Aurum who teleports away, into the sky and flies. The city is dark, with any lights barely penetrating the grey fog. The cold bites into the team as they whisk through the quiet city.
In the financial district they meet up with a squadron of police car, outside of a bank with a window destroyed. They have their guns out and pointing at the entrance of the bank.
Bouncer talks to the police, who seem pretty miserable, being out in the cold. They don’t appear particularly impressed with the flying firework display that is the team. Jesuit does a quick scan on the police officers, and other than them being tired, sad, and lonely, nothing appears out of the ordinary.
Bouncer splits the team up, Jesuit in a sniping position, Aurum summoning a fog creature to send in, Firework sending in a spark to do recon, and Wildheart and him go straight through the front door.
Firework sees that there are 6 humans and one paranormal, who is currently pacing back and forth, one who opens up one of the bags of money and gets splotched with ink.
Aurum and Firework take care of the hostages, zipping in and out and getting them to safety (with sparks and with the Fog Elemental teleporting the other). Bouncer and Wildheart charge in (Wildheart through the closed door, destroying it) and Wildheart beats down half the mooks before they can return fire.
Two of them bolt, getting sniped by Jesuit in the process.
The Paranormal fires a blast of energy at Bouncer, who powers him up minimally. Turns out the Paranormal has a flashy power, but not much force behind it. The paranormal, a college age kid, runs into the vault, the only place around to escape to.
Wildheart comes after him, sees him trying to blast his way through the vault, but his blasts aren’t strong enough to cut through steel.
Wildheart grapples the young man, and takes him down. He talks with him and finds out that the paranormal was blackmailed into performing the bank heist, that the local gang threatened to hurt his family if he didn’t help them. He tried to explain that he didn’t know how to control his powers really, but the gang forced him.
Outside, Aurum intimidates the leader of the gang (the first one to run) into spilling the truth, that he did threaten the kids family, that he is the one in charge, and that he was the one who was going to take the money and split.
As Wildheart walks out with the Paranormal, AEGIS shows up. As they put him into the van, with a power neutralizer on, he says, “I’ll never forget what the date was yesterday, when I broke out. December 23rd. It was such a normal day…”
Aurum sarcastically goes, “Oh it’s Christmas Eve? I didn’t get you all anything.”
What’s Christmas? Turns out there is no such thing as Christmas. There are no Christmas decorations, no holiday spirit. The players know this. The characters do not. Ergo, Aurum didn’t say what he just said.
Wildheart says he’ll ride back with AEGIS and with the Paranormal. The kid is scared, but Wildheart promises that he’ll stick with him for a while.
The rest of the cops thank the team, sort of. They’re grateful, but the thanks is rather lackluster, as they head out. As Firework gets ready to bring the team home, something happens that stops them in their tracks.
There is a shimmer in the air in front of you, and you brace yourselves for more trouble. What could it be now?
The shimmer takes the form of a three individuals, two of them on the side facing away from the one in the middle, who is sitting in yoga pose. The two individuals are Dragon Eye from Emerald City and Seven from Freedom city. The man in the middle wears flowing cloak of dark blue, clasped at the throat with a circular silver amulet with a triangle inscribed inside it.
Aurum recognize him immediately from his travels, Eldritch, the Master Mage! His image remains translucent, as he spreads his cloak and holds out a hand towards the team.
“My friends,” he says in a hollow and spectral voice, “I have paused this moment in time to reach out to you.” Indeed, as you glance around, you see everything and everyone else frozen, motionless. Even the heavy fog seems to have come to a stand still.
“There is a great disturbance in the natural order,” the master mage says. “Some force has disrupted reality and things are not as they should be. I have been barred from returning to Earth’s dimension, flung into the nether realms, but I have managed to contact these two young mystics, and they have helped me send my astral form to you. I need your aid to right this disturbance and restore the cosmic balance. If you help me, then quickly reach out and take hold of my cloak.”
The team look at each other, and then at Aurum. Aurum explains that this is Eldritch, the Master Mage of this Realm, the sorcerer supreme basically. His uncle Gerald has had dealings with him, and Aurum trusts him.
The team reach out to grab onto the cloak. Wildheart, who is still psychically linked, has to make a decision, stay with the young Paranormal, or teleport back to his team. Indeed, even the truck and its passengers are frozen in time.
Wildheart decides to stay with the young paranormal who he promised to help.
A chill wind swirls around the team who touch the cloak, and the world fades as if behind a wall of snow and mist. When it clears, they find yourselves standing outside on snow-covered ground in a mountain pass of some sort.
Eldritch’s phantasmal form hovers above, a look of strain on his face. “I have expended my energies,” the master mage says. “I must return to my physical body at once, in hopes of navigating the netherworlds. The forces that have upset the natural order are close at hand.
It is now up to you, my friends. You must put things right once more!”
Before you can respond, Eldritch’s astral form fades and is gone. A cold wind swirls through the
pass, whipping up the snow, and thunder rumbles somewhere in the distance.
The team looks around and sees endless snowy field behind them, and a path that leads up an icy mountain.
Firework tries to fly into the sky, but finds that he cannot. His sparks are also quiet, and he can’t shift into the Nevernever. Aurum creates a bubble to carry them up the path, but though he can create the construct, it can’t be lifted off the ground. Bouncer can’t leap more than a few feet, either. They decide to hoof it.
Literally. Aurum creates a sleigh construct and wraps the reigns on Bouncer, who shrugs them off and they begin to walk.
After an hour, Firework & Aurum are in the lead, while Bouncer and Jesuit stray behind. They’re not used to walking to their destination, especially in such rugged terrain. Once at the top they come to a plateau where the snow covers the ground and a forest lays beyond.
From out of the forest Jesuit & Firework see red glowing eyes. A pack of grey, snow covered wolves comes out, a dozen at least.
And they look hungry.