Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 27, 28, Epilogue)

This is the place to recount your superheroic deeds for all to gaze upon with astonishment and wonder.
User avatar
Arkrite
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 11094
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:02 pm
Location: The Frozen North

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 18 & Interlude)

Postby Arkrite » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:49 am

It was pretty easy to miss. It happened in the final season set after the "So the Drama" movie... which was originally supposed to be the end of the series.

Anyways, Ron discovered that all of that running for his life dodging explosions and badguys actually carried over to football.

Sadly the last season just never lived up to the ones that came before, but what can you do?


As for Mel, I'm happy to hear that she came across right. That was what I was aiming for.

I often felt bad when I wrote this because, as H&H said, Sean and Melissa got the short end of the stick.
Which is sad because A) I don't really like doing that to other people's characters and B) I like Sean and Melissa.

But I felt it added to the story I was trying to tell. Hopefully it's entertaining, and hopefully I made their sacrifices meaningful.

But I suppose it's time for put up another chapter, isn't it?

User avatar
Arkrite
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 11094
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:02 pm
Location: The Frozen North

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 19)

Postby Arkrite » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:11 am

19

The world shifted again as his body shivered against an oppressive cold he hadn't felt in years.

The street faded and shifted to grey stone, with walls growing up around him. The flames of the burning building intensified until the entire world was alit with a distant red glow of flames.

Tired, angry, confused, cold and lost he felt the frustration grow as the world around him turned into a maze.

"Damn it," He looked around then slammed his fist against the side of a wall in anger. The wall didn't shift, "What the hell do I do now?"

"There are rules to survive here, Richard," came the quiet, bored, voice of the Melissa he'd known years before, "I know them all now."

"Melissa? Where are you?" he started to turn to face the voice.

"Never look back, Richard. You can't take what you see with you, it'll only trap you here until it's too late."

"But-"

"Never look back. No matter what you hear. No matter who you hear, you can never look back. Life doesn't stand still, it doesn't go in reverse, you need to keep moving or you stop all together."

Richard hesitated, "But where do I go?"

"Follow the red star," The voice said calmly.

Richard looked to the sky, then around in front of him. Still seeing nothing he started to turn only to have Melissa's voice hiss in his ear, "Never look back."

"I can't see a red star!" Richard shook his head.

"Oh," Melissa said, the surprise muted but still evident, "Well you are in luck. I will guide you again from death back to life."

"What-"

"Forward," Melissa said firmly, "Then left."

Richard starting moving. Or at least he thought he did, but at times it felt like he was standing still and the world was moving around him. Occasionally he'd blink and the world would be different than it had a second before.

"Rules are important here, Richard. Don't look back. Do not eat anything. Don't stop. Don't agree to any deal. Follow the red star," Melissa said quietly as Richard lurched through the maze, "And der wille zur macht."

"What?"

"Sorry, eternity with philosophers will do strange things to the way you speak," She said dismissively in as an apologetic tone as he'd ever heard from her, "It's not enough to want to live. You have to turn your desire into life into a force that will give you life."

"I don't understand," Richard said quietly. It was getting colder and colder, in spite of the glow of fires burning just out of sight all around him. He was getting dizzy and confused with each passing step.

Melissa almost laughed, "And that is why you succeed. You don't understand why you shouldn't."

Richard rubbed his head, trying to make heads or tails of what she was saying. He just kept walking.

He kept walking when he heard Vicky calling behind him. When his Dad starting yelling at him for not being there when they needed him. His mom calling after him to wait, and that she was lost. He was willing to take Melissa on faith, especially when he heard the voices of his dead parents.

His resolved cracked when he heard Jeanie screaming in pain behind him. He stopped dead in his tracks.

"It's not her!"

"But-"

"Richard, it's not her. She's alive. This is death, if you stop here you'll never be able to save her from Omega," Melissa's voice was as hard as steel, "If you stop that voice you hear will be real, and it'll be your fault."

He swallowed hard as he heard Jeanie shriek again. It cut him to the core, and it was all he could do not to turn and run back.

"I died for you," Melissa said simply, "Trust me."

Richard blinked away tears and stomped forward as the screams grew louder and more horrific. He felt a piece of him die as the screams disappeared into gurgling rasp and then nothing at all.

The rest of the trip was a blur. Melissa talked him around monsters, through fogs, over impassible rivers until finally they reached a gate.

"Now what?" Richard asked as he looked at the gate blocking his only path.

"Open the gate," Melissa's annoyance was evident.

Richard grabbed the bars with all of his strength and pushed. It didn't budge at all. He paused then tried pulling, with the same result. He pulled to the left, then the right, again, with no apparent change. He grabbed the bars of the gate and lifted with all his might, and then he felt the slightest bit of give.

He paused to catch his breath, then braced himself and pushed. The gate gave a little, and it lifted just above the tip of his boot before it stopped moving again.

"Is that all?" Melissa asked quietly, "This is the strongest man alive? It's just a gate, Richard."

"It's a damn heavy gate," Richard grunted as he tried to shift his grip to push again. He felt it inch a bit.

"You're taking too long," Melissa's annoyance was growing by the minute, "Do you understand what's at stake? Your sister is waiting on the other side, but the longer you take the less likely you are to see her again before it's too late."

"What?"

"It's the end of the world, Richard. Sean didn't make it. Lots of people aren't going to make it," Melissa's voice took a sad quality to it, "But you can stop it. You're the last hope for stopping the death, and you're here struggling with a tiny gate?"

Richard growled and pushed harder, "It's heavier than it looks."

"So that's it then? You'll just give up? Fine. Turn around and stick with me while all you friends and your family die. We'll wait for them together," Melissa spat in anger, "We can watch it from here."

"Never," Was all Richard could find the wind for as he shifted his hands and pushed yet again.

"Then stop whining and lift the gate!" Melissa yelled at him.

"I AM!" Richard yelled back. His arms shook under the weight, but he was angry now, and with strength born from that anger the gate suddenly shifted and inched higher and higher until it was up to his knees.

He slide his shaking arms under the bottom of the gate, kneeled and in one last desperate effort shoved up with all his might as he scampered under the opening he'd managed. His arms gave out as he fell to the other side and he heard the gate crash down with a mighty boom.

Then he stood up, looking back at the gate. And a sad looking Melissa. She looked the same as he remembered from years ago. Black hair, pale skin, black cloathing, big heavy boots, and a face that would have broke men's hearts if she'd spent more time smiling and less time looking like the weight of the world was on her mind.

Then it dawned on him, "Ah, crap! I looked back-"

"It's okay. It's okay now, Richard," Melissa assured him quietly, "You're on the other side."

"Other side?"

"This gate is the barrier between life and death. And for the second time you've passed though it under your own power," She smirked, "And you will never truly understand how exceptional that really is."

Richard grabbed the bars, "Hurry up, we'll get you out too."

Melissa reached through the bars to place a hand on his arm, "It doesn't work that way, Richard. I learned the rules the hard way. There isn't enough left of me to pull back through."

"But, you're alive out there!"

"That isn't me, Richard," Melissa said firmly, "I accepted a deal to learn how to get us out. The cost was too high."

"I can't just leave you here!"

"You have to. Richard I can't come with you, no matter how much I wish I could," Melissa looked at him sadly, "And there are people who need you. You can't stay here."

"But..."

"I died for you, Richard Dunn," Melissa said firmly, "You will live for me."

Richard set his jaw, and nodded.

"Oh god, I'm so sorry, Melissa."

"I am not," She said, the pointed, "Now go."

Richard turned and walked away from the darkness towards a doorway in the distance.

"And do not worry, Richard. I will be here to guide you when the times comes," Melissa's voice called to him from a great distance, "I've found a lovely park. I think you will enjoy it..."

"Thank you, Melissa," He whispered as the door opened before him, "For everything."

User avatar
Arkrite
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 11094
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:02 pm
Location: The Frozen North

Albright Institute: Memini Interlude - Melissa (The Past)

Postby Arkrite » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:12 am

Interlude - Melissa (The Past)
Written by Shock

Shoes.
Jeanie had talked her into going shopping for shoes. It had all started with the dress Rich's little sister had gotten her for Christmas.
When she'd found out that Melissa hadn't even tried it on yet (since there hadn't been another date), that set her aghast. Moments later, they were in Melissa's room and Jeanie was making suggestions so it would look just right. It was then that she discovered Melissa didn't have shoes to match and a crisis ensued. After a short debate, Melissa decided it would be easier to just go shopping rather than try to talk Jeanie out of it. She assumed the conversation repeated itself between brother and sister because Richard ended up tagging along as well.

Now, mission complete, they were on their way back to the bus stop to head home. Richard walked behind the two girls carrying the bags. The handles were one of the few things he could grasp without having to worry about destroying them. In addition to the dress shoes, Jeanie had talked Melissa into a more casual pair of shoes and another outfit. Not to be left out, Jeanie had also gotten some socks and a pair of shoes for herself. As usual, Jeanie was carrying the conversation.

"I told you that place is the best consignment shop in the city. They always have something I want and it always looks brand new."

Rich piped in from a couple steps back. "We've yet to go somewhere that didn't have something you want."

Jeanie turned and stuck her tongue out at her brother. Melissa had to yank her to the side so she'd miss walking into a mailbox.

"Ow!" Jeanie stopped and turned around again, frowning. "I bit my tun!"

Richard started to respond when a woman's scream interrupted him. It came from the bus stop, a hundred yards ahead. They all turned to see a figure fall to the ground while another ran into the nearest alley. Melissa's face flashed with intensity. "Wait here." She leaped forward, covering a dozen feet with the first step before settling into a run. Seconds later, she arrived at the stop to find a woman laying on the ground
bleeding. She could see the woman's life force fading. Her survival wasn't certain. Melissa kneeled down next her and put her hands on the wound.
The woman gasped in pain. A moment later, the pain faded but the bleeding didn't stop.

Melissa rose and took a step back as Jeanie arrived with Richard right behind. He was pleading with his sister to stay away. Melissa spoke to the woman. "I'm sorry. Your Fate is out of my hands." The woman's eyes widened in fear.

"What?" Jeanie grabbed Melissa's arm. "You have to help her!"

"I tried. But her destiny has already been decided." The goth pulled her arm away. "I will see that her attacker's fate is fulfulled as well." As she turned to the alley, Melissa saw Jeanie pulling out her phone. Then both she and her brother were forgotten as the assailant was spotted climbing a fire escape. It would be a simple matter to catch him. Melissa jumped, bounced off the opposite wall and onto the ladder. She jumped across the alley again and pushed off to go even higher. A third jump got her to a landing ahead of the mugger. Her eyes flared red. "Stop."

The mugger stopped, limbs frozen with fear. He lost his grip and fell 4 stories to the pavement below with a muffled thump followed by a cry of pain. A moment later, Melissa landed next to him. His leg was obviously broken, possibly in more than one place. Again, she placed her hands on the wound. Some of the damage disappeared but none of the pain. His leg straightened but his ankle remained mangled. "Your pain is deserved but Fate is kind to you." Satisfied, she rose and returned to the bus stop. Sirens could already be heard approaching. Jeanie was on her knees, holding a bloody cloth against the woman's abdomen. Richard stood next to them (but not too close), looking ill.

The ambulance arrived first. The three teens got out of the way and let the paramedics work. Jeanie held up the bloody cloth, frowning. It was her new top. She tried to wipe her hands clean but it was too saturated. Melissa retrieved her own new shirt and handed it to the other girl.
"Don't worry. We'll get them clean." Then the police arrived and took statements from the three. Fortunately, the officers on the scene didn't seem to recognize them and bought their story about the mugger falling from the fire escape while fleeing.

As they waited for the bus to arrive, Jeanie questioned Melissa again. "I don't get it. After your power didn't work, you still could have helped that woman. And you healed the mugger instead. Why?"

"I don't choose who to help. Their destiny was written before I was ever born." Melissa shook her head. She didn't want to be evasive with her friends. "I don't know why my power works or doesn't. So I give everyone the same chance and let Fate decide. I don't know any other way to be."
Last edited by Arkrite on Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Arkrite
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 11094
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:02 pm
Location: The Frozen North

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 20)

Postby Arkrite » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:20 pm

20

Richard Dunn was not very smart, compared to the people around him most days. He wasn't the fastest on his feet. He wasn't clever, or good a smooth operator with the ladies. But he had always been quick to react, and he'd always been strong.

So when he opened his eyes to see the shadow creature hovering over Vicky he didn't hesitate. One bound took him right into it's path once more, and a heavy right cross sent the creature reeling back as it passed through the creature's face like a hand through mist.

"Damn you!"

"Get away from her you monster," Richard snarled, taking another swing.

Again his hand went clean through it, but it didn't seem to like coming into contact with him. So much so that it let out a yelp of pain. It convinced him to swing again, and again until the creature fled down the alleyway.

"You fool, I will destroy you!"

"Not if I get to you first!" Richard spat, bringing his fists up, "And I'm going to be coming to get you for what you did!"

The shadow creature hissed at him, then faded back into a wall, "You really are clueless. We will meet again, Richard Dunn."

Then he and Vicky were alone in the alley.

"Is it gone?"

"Yeah," Richard turned and gave Vicky a hand to her feet.

She shook her head and wiped away some tears from her face, "God, I don't know how you stood up to that thing. It's fear incarnate."

"I knew a little girl who was scarier than that," Richard said flatly.

"You remember?"

Richard's head throbbed, "Remember what?"

"You don't remember?"

"Remember what?! What am I supposed to be remembering?" Richard demanded.

Vicky looked at him then started tapping at the computer built into her suit. A holographic image of a generic male body appeared. A red image appeared around the skull, but otherwise it was blue across the rest of the body.

"You're healed, but the memory loss is still there? That doesn't make sense," Vicky shook her head, "No, no, no, that can't be right."

"Why is my head red?"

Vicky smacked her hand on a button and the image disappeared, "It's... it's just a glitch."

She turned to him with pleading eyes, "You have to remember something, anything!"

Richard shook his head, "Vicky, all I have is today, and five years ago."

She looked like he'd just kicked her in the stomach. He looked down to his arm, and shifted his body around. For the first time since he'd woken up and found the end of the world happening he finally felt good. His body didn't ache at all as he moved and his left arm was no longer broken. His ribs seemed firmly in place too as he took a deep breath. If he could have just shook the splitting headache it would have been perfect.

"Damn, damn, damn, damn," Vicky looked on the verge of panic.

"Hey, Vicky. Vicky, look at me," He waved his hand and pointed to his own face until he got her attention, "Okay. Look, this is a good thing. I'm back up to a hundred percent, even if the memories are missing I'm still here. Okay? So what's the next step?"

Vicky looked at him for a full minute before she spoke. He expected her to deny what he'd said, but instead, "We have to go back to the base. We've got a secret lab set up close to the Goodman building since... well, you know they probably targeted that first."

"So you had somewhere else close by to be. Smart."

"Mom thought so. Okay, so we get you there then... we get you there." She looked Richard up and down real quick, "How fast do you think you can move?"

"I'll keep up, just go."

Vicky nodded then ran, extending her legs so that each step took her a quarter of the way down a block. Richard ran after her, discovering after the first step that he had to be careful about how hard he pushed with his legs while he ran, after he nearly ran into a building.

"How many of us made it?"

Vicky gave him a confused look.

"The Albright crew, how many-"

Vicky's face darkened, "Richard you don't want to know."

"What happened to the rest of them?" Richard said firmly.

"Doctor Shock kidnapped and killed Haywire. Lin and Liz went into another coma and haven't come out of it yet. Miko became autistic. Berlin turned into a statue, Max teleported out and never reappeared and Gabriella... She..." Vicky shook her head, "I'm sorry, Richard, but the Terminus mutations that gave you your powers were always unstable and most of them... their own powers ripped them apart. For every person who came out clean like Champion or Tracer there was three or four who ended up like you or Sean or worse."

"Oh," Richard said quietly.

Sean was dead. Melissa was dead. Adam was dead. Three others were locked in their own heads, and another bunch of people he hadn't even met yet were already gone. It was a horrible blow.

"I shouldn't have said anything."

"No," Richard said firmly, "I need to know. I can't keep getting blindsided by everybody I used to know being... different."

"Then you probably should know that the deaf girl is working for Dovetail now," Vicky frowned, "She's... unique."

"Really? Jenna seemed pretty level headed to me."

Vicky gave him an incredulous look, "She's the biggest daredevil I've ever met and you say she's level headed?"

Richard shrugged, helplessly.

You thought you knew a person...

"Here!" Vicky called, ducking down another alley, and slapping her hand against a brick wall. A moment later the wall shifted and opened wide enough to allow them in to what looked like a small elevator.

"Well, I've got good news and bad news," Vicky said quietly, mashing a button on the console.

"What's the bad news?" Richard asked as the elevator lifted.

"The internet and public media just went down. Omega's forces must be going into their endgame."

Richard took a deep breath to steady himself before asking, "What's the good news?"

"So are we," she gave him a little smile as the elevator door opened once more.

kirinke
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5201
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:14 pm
Location: Behind the mayo, to the left of the cheese, next to the mystery meat leftover from last week

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 20)

Postby kirinke » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:39 pm

Hmmm. How come I have this sneaking suspicion this isn't what we think it is?

Shock
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 12051
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 9:21 pm
Contact:

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 20)

Postby Shock » Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:28 pm

And Rich still doesn't know he can fly :lol:

Horsenhero
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 13293
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:24 pm
Location: Riding the range

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 20)

Postby Horsenhero » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:19 pm

What I don't understand is why the Omega Drones attack him. He looks just like one of them to them. In fact, I wonder how many people have met Rich and thought "wow, he's the same (ethnicity, alien race, whatever) as me" only to end up completely confused when they see a photograph of him (since his power would have no effect on a digital/photographic image).

It seems there are a few PP spent on Rich's sheet that never get full use in-game...or story for that matter.

User avatar
Arkrite
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 11094
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:02 pm
Location: The Frozen North

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 20)

Postby Arkrite » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:37 pm

The Omega Drones are easily explained.
You see the Omega Drones are made out of any races that happen to be left alive after Omega goes through. The survivors are then put through a process which covers them in the Omega Drone armor, brainwashes them, and turns them into mindless warriors.

So they wouldn't see him as being an Omega drone because they'd see him as the alien race they were before they'd been converted into an Omega drone.

As for the points... yeah, there's more than a few things on Richard's character sheet that never get used, or refferenced that often. I mostly just put them there to help me round out his character, or to add some neat concepts to him.
Concealment to psychic powers is far less useful then one might think, and his ability to look like other ethnicities/races hasn't been refferenced much. But then, considering how much was paid for that ability it was never meant to be something the story hinged on.

That and I couldn't think of much else to spend the points on besides more super strength or covering up the rest of his immunities ;~)

As for Shock's point... He should know how to fly, some characters have already made offhand references to it, sadly with Richard's memory loss he doesn't know that he can, or remember how.

As for Kirinke, couldn't tell you. What do you think it is?

kirinke
Cosmic Scion
Cosmic Scion
Posts: 5201
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:14 pm
Location: Behind the mayo, to the left of the cheese, next to the mystery meat leftover from last week

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 20)

Postby kirinke » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:42 pm

I'll PM you about it. :) Wouldn't want to spoil it for others if I'm right. :wink:

User avatar
Arkrite
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 11094
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:02 pm
Location: The Frozen North

Albright Institute: Memini (Interlude 2)

Postby Arkrite » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:17 pm

Interlude 2 - The Past

Richard had been more excited than he'd ever been in his entire life. For the first time ever he was going to get to meet superheroes.

He'd gotten up early, done all of his chores, ate his breakfast, had his stuff packed and ready to go. He was doing everything to prove he was the most responsible ten year old around. He even got his little sister ready for the big day.

Arriving at the event was awe inspiring, people everywhere, booths every. People were selling all sorts of superhero stuff. His dad had to assure him repeatedly that the superhero gear that was for sale was just toy replicas, and that he couldn't just buy a magic sword, or a force field projector and become Freedom City's newest hero.

He rushed from place to place, looking in awe at the heroes who'd actually shown up for the convention.

"So, see anybody you want to meet?" His mom asked, messing up his hair affectionately.

Richard looked around quickly, "Yeah! But I don't know where they are."

"What about the Bee Keeper?" His dad suggested, pointing to a nearby booth where an older gentleman was gleefully greeting the few people who took the time to talk to him.

"He's funny looking Daddy," Jeanie declared loudly.

"Funny looking?" The man looked over at them, "My dear, you're just saying that because you haven't seen me in costume!"

He laughed, coming around the desk and untied one of the helium filled balloons in the shape of a yellow and black bee, "Here you go. From your funny looking friend."

Jeanie, five years old, accepted the balloon from the kneeling man with a solemn seriousness, "You're a hero?"

"Oh heavens no. I was a bad guy when I was young. Robbed banks, schemed schemes, stole kisses from all the pretty girls," He said giving Jeanie a wink.

Jeanie, wide eyed, clapped a hand over her mouth to prevent any kisses being stolen.

The old gentleman laughed again, then stood and turned to their parents, "You have a lovely family. I'm quite envious."

Richard's dad shook his hand, "Thank you. You were always one of my favorites back in the day."

"Only one of your favorites? Not number one?" The older gentleman aped a deeply hurt expression.

Richard's dad laughed, "Well, you were number two after Gypsy Moth."

"Ah, well, I couldn't hope to compete with that lovely vision, could I?" the older man chuckled.

Richard looked around frantically trying to see through the crowd.

"Who are you looking for?" His mother asked.

"The Atoms, they said they'd be here," Richard said.

It wasn't easy being so small. He couldn't hope to see anything through the crowds.

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," The bee keeper said earnestly, "Last I heard they'd left early."

"What?!" Richard yelped.

"I don't know, there was some kind of problem," The old man said with a shrug, "I'm afraid I wasn't informed as to what."

"I'm sure we can find somebody else," Richard's dad said with a smile.

"But..." Richard shook his head, "But they're why I wanted to come here."

"I know, champ, but what about somebody else? How about that GravStar guy?"

Jeanie gave her Dad a serious look, "He's not the Atoms."

"What's so great about the Atoms?" their dad asked, looking confused.

"They're the Atoms, daddy," Jeanie said with a careful nod, as though that explained everything.

"They're our age, and they go on adventures, and they're good people and, and..." Richard shook his head.

He couldn't find the words to explain it. They were normal kids, except that they had super powers. The only thing that really was different was that they had superpowers. They were good people, something that had been in short supply before the Terminus invasion had been defeated, and even now the news still glorified the superheroes that Richard just found scary.

And most importantly they'd been the heroes that had given Richard hope.

When he was five the Terminus Invasion had happened. He'd been in the middle of it, and nearly died. A super villain saved them when things had gotten bad, and then when all seemed lost Centurion appeared to turn the tide, push Omega back through the portal and end their invasion.

But Centurion, the world's greatest hero, had died for his efforts. Richard's favorite hero had died, and for years he lived in constant fear that the invasion would happen again. That Omega Drones would come down out of the air and fire beams of light into his friends and family.

That Omega would destroy him.

During the days he could forget it, but at nights he lay in bed and worry until he passed out. Then the nightmares came. He spent every moment of every day being scared. He jumped at everything, refused to leave his parent's side, and cried himself to sleep on a regluar basis.

Until one day he read a magazine where they interviewed Tesla Atom.

"Weren't you afraid?" they'd asked her after the latest attack by some super villain.

"I'm always afraid," Telsa had said, "But my brothers and sister need me, so I just keep going anyways. There's nothing wrong with being afraid."

And just like that he'd discovered that superheroes were scared of things. And maybe Centurion had been scared of things too. And maybe he could be a bit more like them, if he could just learn how to keep going anyways.

He'd spent hours searching every newspaper and magazine for any article he could find on the Atoms, and used them as an example. He put on a brave face every day and did everything he could. He still went to bed afraid, he still lived in constant terror, but suddenly he wasn't hiding from the world, he was living in it.

And he wanted to thank them.

Honestly he wanted to be them. To have the superpowers so that maybe he'd never need to be afraid again. He dreamed of joining them on their adventures. Anything that got him away from school couldn't be a bad thing.

But now he couldn't even meet them.

"I just have to meet them, Dad. I have to!" Richard pleaded.

"I'm sorry, partner, but-"

"Actually, there may be something," The bee keeper looked around conspiratorially before leaning down and giving the kid a searching look, "You're a good kid right?"

"Yes sir."

"And you're not just trying to get an autograph to sell on e-bay, are we?" He asked suspiciously.

"What's e-bay?" Richard asked, earnestly.

"Hrmm..." The bee keeper rubbed his chin, "I think I believe you kid. I'm a good judge of character, and you have it. And so..."

He looked from left to right, then leaned forward, "I have it on good authority that one of the Atoms loves the Salt Water taffy that they sell at the south end of this building."

"Let's go!" Richard yelled, running down the walkway.

"Richard, you're not allowed to go off alone!" His dad yelled in an authoritative voice.

Richard ran back, grabbed his Mom's hand and pulled desperately.

The bee keeper couldn't help but smile as he pointed in the opposite direction, "South is that way, son."

Richard looked at him blankly for a moment, "Oh... uh... thank you, mister!"

The trip to the south side of the conference center seemed to take for ages. He looked from left to right, trying everything he could to look in all directions at the same time. When he found the booth he nearly dislocated his own arms trying to pull his Mom harder in that direction.

He also narrowly avoided getting stepped on by an AEGIS agent who was marching by like he owned the place.

"Watch it kid!" The man snapped.

Richard only spare five seconds to glare at the man before he went back to looking everywhere. But there was nobody there. He refused to move from the spot for ten minutes until his Dad had to take Jeanie out to the washroom.

His mom bought him the last back of Salt Water Taffy, and handed it to him, "I'm sorry, kiddo, but it was a long shot."

"I know," Richard said pouting, "I just wanted to see them."

"I know, honey, I know. You want to get going?" She asked gently.

"Can I just sit here for a bit?" Richard asked, "My legs hurt."

"Okay dear."

Richard sat down next to the stall with the bag of candy sitting on his lap. He knew he shouldn't be pouting, but he couldn't help but feel heartbroken. Everything else had been a bonus, but meeting the Atoms had always been what he'd been looking forward too.

He sighed and stared down at the bag.

"Hi, do you have any taffy left?"

"Oh. I'm sorry, Miss Atom, I sold the last one ten minutes ago."

Richard's head shot up and his jaw dropped. Standing only a few feet away was a skinny, almost gawky looking girl in a red jumpsuit with long brown hair. He'd have recognized her anywhere.

"Oh," Tesla Atom said, the disappointment readily apparent on her face, "Well, thank you anyways."

Richard shot to his feet and stepped forward holding the bag out, "Uh, um... uh... here."

Tesla looked down at him with surprise, "Oh. Are you sure?"

Richard suddenly forgot how to speak, and could only nod enthusiastically.

"Oh, thank you, thank you," She said taking the bag and giving him a quick hug, "You're my hero."

"I-I am?" Richard squeaked as his face turned bright red.

"My mom used to buy me these," She said happly, clutching the bag to her chest, "I just don't get to have them that often anymore."

Richard's Mom, who he'd completely forgotten about, stepped forward, "Would we be able to get a picture with you and him?"

"Of course," She said, smiling, setting the candy on the ground at her feet before throwing an arm around his neck, giving the camera a peace sign with her free arm.

"Smile!" Richard's mom said.

Richard didn't need to be told to smile.
He couldn't stop smiling for the next three days.

User avatar
ClassDunce
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 7372
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:34 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Interlude 2)

Postby ClassDunce » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:21 pm

I'm really enjoying this. I love what you've done with Graham and the hinted at love triangle was just perfect.
"When they ask how I died, tell them: still angry." - Quellcrist Falconer

User avatar
Arkrite
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 11094
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:02 pm
Location: The Frozen North

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Interlude 2)

Postby Arkrite » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:07 pm

I'm glad to hear you're enjoying it and happy to hear that you like the triangle.

I'm afraid a lot of the story of what happened in the future is left somewhat vague and is left more for the readers to figure out.
Sometimes I worry that I am being to vague, but unfortunatly I don't have the time to write it all out, or the skill to make it all as interesting as it deserves to be.

User avatar
Arkrite
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 11094
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:02 pm
Location: The Frozen North

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 21)

Postby Arkrite » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:51 pm

21

When the elevator opened Richard found himself feeling like a ten year old waiting for Santa Claus. He'd been in the Goodman building and seen the Atom's laboratories only a week or so before... he had to remind himself that had been five years ago.

Still, it was just too exciting to see what the Atom's secret headquarters looked like.

He wasn't disappointed by what he saw. It reminded him of Star Trek, the white and steel of most of the surfaces and the blue lights that seemed to come off of every display. But instead of feeling sterile and cold the place just felt full of life, like a glimpse of the future yet to come.

The room was well lit and filled with the sounds of subdued conversations. It wasn’t hard to wonder if they even knew about what was going on outside.

It was a passing thought, and one proven wrong when he noticed Jack Wolf, the Atom’s former caretaker, watching a series of camera feeds from around Freedom City. In the center of the room was a large cylindrical device with wires and circuit boards sticking out of it. Surrounding it were some people he didn’t know, including a couple wearing white t-shirts with “Team Defender” written on them in blue, a few AEGIS technicians, a few superheroes he couldn’t place the name of. He bet, based on their armored combat suits, that they were super genius types. Leading it all was Doctor Atom and Tesla Atom, both of whom had their backs to Richard and Vicky.

Around the outside of the room were a few more people. A few AEGIS agents carrying rifles, a few police officers, a couple of paramedics who looked like they’d needed to patch themselves up, and more than a few civilians. The only other superhero he saw was Max Atom who was standing off to the side watching everything in the room as if he expected trouble at any moment.

Across the room he saw somebody waving to him.

“Jeanie. Oh thank god,” Richard whispered as he waved back.

Max glanced at Vicky and Richard before walking down to the center of the room to speak with his Mother and Tesla.

“Hooo boy,” Vicky mumbled nervously to herself as the made their way down to join them.

Doctor Atom nodded but didn’t look up. Neither did Tesla, though she did say, “You’re back. Are you alright?”

“I’m okay,” Vicky said, “But there was a little problem…”

Tesla stepped back from the table and turned to face them, “What’s the problem?”

Richard’s eyes nearly popped out of his head as he saw Tesla’s swollen belly, “Oh. You’re pregnant.”

He couldn’t help but feel a little pang of jealousy as his schoolboy crush was stomped out. Of course, he thought, she’s a beautiful woman. Of course she’d get married. He also took a quick moment to remind himself that he had as much of a chance of going out with her as he did of dating a supermodel or an actress he’d never met.

No point in feeling disappointed.

“Congratulations,” He said smiling.

It had been the wrong thing to say, apparently as he watched Tesla’s face go through a gamut of reactions. First ther was surprise, then confusions, then annoyance, then anger, then a careful examination of Richard’s face, then more confusion, then shock, then horror, then anger once again.

“VICKY!” Tesla shrieked, turning to find her sister had fled while she was reacting to Richard.

Freed from Tesla’s attention Richard quickly did the same thing. He had no idea of how to handle a pregnant woman to begin with, but a furious one was nothing something he wanted to face. Imperious hide or no.

He quickly ducked back towards Jeanie.

“I thought she was going to fly after her firing beams from her eyes,” Richard said as he leaned up against the wall next to Jeanie, watching the room.

“She can’t, remember? They’re afraid the radiation will hurt the twins,” Jeanie said shaking her head, “Don’t think that’s going to save Vicky though. She looks pissed.”

“Yeah,” Richard chuckled, “So, Ikka-Bikka-Boo?”

“Huh?” Jeanie gave him a confused look.

Richard mirrored her expression, “Ikka-Bikka-Boo?”

“Uh…” Jeanie looked at him for a long minute, “Oh, uh, Hoo-Shaa.”

Richard felt dread creeping into him. That was the correct answer and if you liked the Kim Possible cartoon you’d know that. But Jeanie never responded that way.

“Ikka-Bikka-Boo?” He growled, turning to look at ‘Jeanie’.

“What the hell is your problem?” She demanded.

Richard grabbed her by the front of the shirt and slammed her into the wall with one hand, raising the other in a fist, “When is your birthday?”

“Uh…”

“What’s my middle name?”

“I-“

“What was the name of your Teddy Bear?”

“It was, I…”

“What was your favorite cartoon show?”

“Kim Possible!” Jeanie blurted.

“Where is my sister?!” Richard roared in her face.

Dead silence answered him. He could almost feel everybody’s eyes on him.

“I-I don’t know what-“ Jeanie’s face went from terrified and confused to pissed off and annoyed, her voice changed entirely, “Damn it, I told her it wouldn’t work.”

She flickered for a moment and for a brief moment she was an Asian girl made of glowing blue light, then the light faded revealing a normal looking teenage Asian girl.

“Congrats, you figured it out, now put me down jackass,” She snapped.

Richard leaned in and through bared teeth repeated slowly, “Where is my sister?”

“Like I’m going to tell you,” She rolled her eyes as his knuckles popped, “Oh, what, you going to hit me? Like-“

Richard put his fist clean through her chest.

“Jesus! What the hell are you doing!?” The girl yelled angrily as blue energy sparked and flared from the hole in her chest, “You know how hard it’ll be to build a new body right now?!”

“Where’s my sister?” Richard yelled, “Tell me or I break your puppet!”

“Go to hell!” the girl yelled back, giving him the finger.

Richard closed his left hand around her neck and crushed while he tore his arm out of her body sideways. Glistening blue shards of energy floated all around him as the form of the Asian girl slowly faded to nothing.

She still managed to get out a, “You assh-“ before her head dissolved into thing.

“The tribe?” Vicky asked dumbstruck.

“The tribe,” Richard spat.

He wasn’t thinking now. He was angry, and he was scared. His little sister had been replaced by a doppelganger. He went for the door. He had to get out there and find her.

“Wait, just hold on,” Vicky pleaded as she expanded to block his path.

Richard walked right through her knowing she’d be unable to hold him back, and that her stretchy form would protect her from being hurt. Vicky refused to give up without a fight and wrapped herself around his arms and legs in an attempt to tie him up.

He hardly noticed as he continued walking.

Max stepped in his way next, but without growing to a massive size Max Atom wasn’t much stronger than a professional athlete. It wasn’t enough to keep Richard from pushing him aside like a child and he was bounced into a nearby wall.

The rest of the people in the room got out of his way. Except when he got to the elevator he found Tesla waiting for him. She stood there, patiently, arms crossed and resting on her stomach.

“Get out of my way,” Richard demanded.

“No,” Tesla said.

“Get out of my way or…”

“You’ll walk over me? You’ll push me out of the way?” Tesla placed her palms on her swollen belly, “I know you well enough Rich. You’d never lay a hand on me.”

Richard glowered at the woman. She was right enough, he wouldn’t risk hurting her, but there was more than one way to skin a cat.

He reached out to put his hands on her hips, to lift her up and put her down out of the way.

The instant his hand touched her hip she screamed and clutched her stomach.

Richard jumped back in horror, unable to take his eyes off of Tesla even when he felt something bounce off the side of his head, “Oh god, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, are you okay?”

She stood upright, calmly, as though nothing had happened, “I’m fine, Rich. What about you?”

“I-“ He shook his head, Tesla had just played him like a fiddle, “I’m going to find my sister and you can’t stop me.”

Tesla lips started to quirked a smile which she quickly smothered with a serious look and then asked, “And where is your sister?”

“I don’t know!” He snapped.

“And how are you find her?”

“I don’t know!”

“Then how is leaving going to help?”

“I don’t know! At least I’d be able to do something,” He ran a hand through his hair, and heard Vicky mumble a curse as he accidentally poked her in the eye.

“Vicky didn’t tell you why you’re here, did she?”

Vicky’s head came around his shoulder on an extended neck, a hand rubbing her left eye, “Tes, you can’t. There’s no way-“

Tesla held up a hand to cut her off.

“Richard, you’re here because we need somebody to get Omega to ground zero.”

“Ground zero?” Richard looked at the device over his shoulder, “That’s a bomb?”

“Not like a normal bomb. A normal bomb wouldn’t kill him without destroying most of the planet. And from what we know he’ll just come back,” She pointed to the device, “This? Well, this will put him where he can’t hurt anybody for a very long time.”

“And without him the Terminus forces are more likely to turn on one another than they are to continue the invasion,” Max said, stepping over to stand next to Tesla. He shook his right hand repeatedly as though it hurt.

“So… I’m supposed to find Omega, beat him up and drag him here?” Richard asked incredulously.

“He’ll find you.” Vicky mumbled.

“And why would he do that?” Richard demanded.

“Because you’re dressed up like Centurion. He’ll come down to crush you himself in an attempt to crush any resistance that’ll be built on you defeating him,” Tesla said firmly.

“That’s just… he’ll never do that.”

“You crushed the Alpha Centurion, and Megalus. You’re dressed up like the guy who kicked his butt last time,” Vicky said, shifting off of Richard to stand by Tesla, “And you’re one of the most famous superheroes in the world. It’ll work.”

“But… this is a horrible plan!”

“We know,” Tesla smiled, “It’s yours.”

“What?!” Richard sputtered, “But, I... I’m an idiot! Why would-“

“Because everything else failed,” Tesla’s smile faded away and she looked down, “And the only other hope is that you’d be able to beat him like Centurion did.”

Richard swallowed hard, “And what are the chances of that?”

Tesla refused to look up. Vicky turned away. Max didn’t say a word, but simply shook his head.

“Fear not,” came a voice from the elevator as it opened behind Tesla, “You need no longer tarry on that coward. A true hero has arrived.”

A tall man with broad shoulders, and massive arms a body builder would have been envious of stepped through, nearly knocking Tesla over. He had long black hair and a beard in desperate need of a trimming, not to mention eyes that were just a little too wide, and wild.

“Know this! The one who shall slay the foul Omega has arrived!” The man crowed, “Magni the god of strength has arrived!”

User avatar
ClassDunce
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 7372
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:34 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 21)

Postby ClassDunce » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:29 am

Magni needs to be punched in the face. He's overdue...
"When they ask how I died, tell them: still angry." - Quellcrist Falconer

Horsenhero
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 13293
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:24 pm
Location: Riding the range

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 21)

Postby Horsenhero » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:28 am

ClassDunce wrote:Magni needs to be punched in the face. He's overdue...


I dunno, at least he's fairly sure of himself. I've got to admit, having worked for years in EMS and other professions where decisiveness is a factor...Rich is beginning to get on my nerves with all the whining and angst. Sure, it plays great to the Twi-hards, but at some point it just becomes annoying..and Rich is rapidly reaching that point for me.

Constant tantrum throwing isn't actually character development.


Return to “M&M Story Hour”



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest