Chapter 4: The Initiative - Page 2 - RPG Crossing
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  #16  
Old Feb 24th, 2021, 04:55 PM
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Josh chuckled. "I used to get a lot of questions about school and work and what I was going to do with my life. Christmas was a whole bunch of curious supers poking at me, sometimes physically, or teasing me about various things. They seemed to have moved on a bit in the past few years and just tease me about work and girls. Like my uncles, and my aunt, but less blood-related. Or cousins. Once they find out I have powers, there's probably going to be a whole bunch of people going, 'WHAAAAAAT?!' and trying to poke me again to see how that worked out."

Josh sighed. "I'm not really expected to do anything by my family, but there's a lot of pressure to be successful from outside the family. We're one of the founding Super families in the city, from what I've heard of, and a lot of people look up to the female side of the family about that kind of stuff, and a lot of the science-y guys tend to congregate in the dining room with snacks and such and make comments about each other's researches. Mostly because they're trying to get hints and such for their own work. Mom and Dad only invite the nice ones they like, so less backstabbing than otherwise might occur between rival scientists, and more collaboration. However, they're still rival scientists. There are some other botanists, but they aren't a big fan of floral arrangements. I might drop Dr. Irma Tony's number, though. He was working a big fancy project from the sound of it."

Josh nodded. "Thanks. I was hoping to host a party or two, at least. A small one. Audrey hasn't had a Halloween party, and Maple didn't really have much of a Christmas or holiday party last year, either, being stuck on campus."
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 05:19 PM
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The darkly garbed doc couldn't help but laugh, "Oh, sure, I can imagine. Nothing like that in my house, I don't think I have any extended living family... Apocalypse and all that. And if I did, they would be more likely to be sycophants seeing as my Father's side is pretty well normal. All hail the high priestess or something like that. That would be insufferable." He resumes his slow meander toward the Library, no longer taking the most empty route, but still avoiding the thickest of it. It was some small comfort that Josh was here.

He blinked dumbly once more as he comes to a sudden halt, turning a curious eye to Josh, "How long has Audrey been here?" He chuckles again as he shrugs and continues, "I would have imagined she would have been chomping at the bit for Samhain... Though, I suppose the druidic and witchcraft implications are heavily lost in this day and age. Just another excuse for debauchery... It's a shame... And you should fix that. If you want some tips to make it more traditional, don't hesitate to ask, the family did extensive studies on various mystic cultures and beliefs... for, frankly self serving reasons."
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 08:56 PM
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"Well, she was down elsewhere for years, from the sound of it. It didn't sound like her family celebrated much of anything." Josh grimaced. "Well, I told you...or was it Maple? That my family likes to host charity balls and such around Christmas as well as the traditional get togethers. We visit Dad's parents every year in the summer as they can't travel around much. They tried to get here every other year when they were younger, but they find Atlas City a bit overwhelming. I think they find our super powers a bit over their heads as well, but they do try to understand us the best they can. We get a photo holo ever year and a letter. Something about traditional Christmas cards from when they were kids and their grandparents sent them ones. They also will send a small gift. Grandma and I exchange seeds every year. I think last year was the pumpkins. I have to plant them soon. I sent her my pumpkin seeds, and we're supposed to make a pie out of the biggest one."

"I'll have to ask Audrey about Samhain. I can't say I've heard of that one. I think the witchcraft ones I ought to look at. Maybe I'll get some ideas. A lot of the "witch" stuff is the stuff that's worked so far." Josh grimaced before brightening up. "If you see Maple again, ask to see the rubber duck." He said with a smile.
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 09:46 PM
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It was a strange coincidence bumping into each other on the school grounds. Josh wasn't accustomed to seeing Sylas outside of the clinic, especially without a mask on. Sticking to the outskirts of the campus at first, they catch up on things and head towards a shared destination, the library. Sylas didn't do well in crowds, and Josh wasn't needed at the club recruitment booth anymore, so they were free to talk about potentially sensitive topics without having to worry about eavesdroppers. Plans for the future and talks about family, they found some things in common.

With the focus of their conversation turning to safer topics of discussion, they slowly ease their way back into the crowds of the school or at least the ones they couldn't avoid if they were to reach the library. Soon enough, they arrive at the main entrance and find a small line of people up at the front counter, books, and bags of books in hand. Looks like Sylas wasn't the only one returning reading material back to the library. Lillian was there, with her own stack of reading material, ready to be checked out of the library. Before things went south for her, some might remember that she was an avid booker reader and spent a lot of time here at the library, given how reclusive she had been with others in the past. She is still quite the reader but is now more open to interacting with other people, her abilities now kept in check. Her eyes drift over to the front entrance, she notices Josh and nods before quickly returning her attention back to the person behind the counter, Chris.

Despite the line of people, there really weren't that many students lounging about here, mostly school faculty members getting the shelves ready and the computer stations set up.

---

Meanwhile, back at the club registration area, a new face enters the scene and looks for the best way to make a splash. The energy in the air was infectious, everyone here eager to start the new school year and reunite with friends, as well as making some new ones too! There were new classes to attend, new teachers on the roster, new clubs to join, and new faces each year to get to know. One, in particular, shined the brightest, and this was no coincidence. Dazzlegleam liked to put on a show. The theater club was looking for new creative souls to take to the stage and breathe life into famous works and original characters. The professional dance club was eager to refill their ranks after a few seniors left for some big-time choreography gigs in the music industry. And of course, the cheerleading squad was always looking for someone with just the right amount of pep and team spirit to lead their sports teams to victory! Dazzlegleam, not wanting to settle for less, or afraid to hide her identity, was applying to all three in her hero persona. The limelight was her calling, and she couldn't bear to hide herself as just another student.
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 10:04 PM
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As the duo ended up at the library, Josh saw that Lillian had made her way here as well. It looked like she hadn't meandered as much as he had, and she already had her reading material to go while he just got here. "I'll talk to you later." Josh told Sylas, motioning with a hand that he would be in the stacks. He didn't have any books to return and he could wait while those two did their thing and talk to Chris once she was free. Taking his ear pods out, he attached it to his reading holo machine and wandered over to the stacks where the supers books were. Despite audio books being over a hundred years old, and holo readers and holo books being a thing, most of the world still preferred paper and ink to anything else. Being able to attune the five senses - or more, if you were a super - to a physical story was still the best way to enjoy a book to many people.

Josh knew the appeal, but due to his having to read via audio reader and scanner, it was something he didn't really enjoy all that much. He preferred to digest what was written in the story as his enjoyment instead. Preferably a book with pictures or diagrams. Or sewing pictures. Wandering around in the supers books, Josh listened for anything interesting as he scanned the titles with his handheld. He was mostly looking for potion ideas, but if he managed to snag a book about other florapaths, he wouldn't say no. Plus, he could see the counter from here.
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 11:55 PM
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Sylas grins, nodding, "Can't say I envy the hassle, but, maybe it's the lie I always told myself growing up for celebrating nothing? You feel less excluded if you ignore the festivities." He gave a noncommittal shrug as he waves it off. Even if his family bothered, it wasn't as though they had friends in droves, and he had already covered the no family matter.

"Ah, Samhain is... Gaelic? Yes, that sounds right. It's a pagan festival from which many, if not most Halloween traditions are derived from. The making of effigies to ward off ill spirits... Such as carving pumpkins... It was a period heralding the 'darker' times of the year... Literally, not like bad omens..." He managed not to go well into it, to much at any rate, mostly just sighting that it was originally a druidic festival, witches being associated later, whether true or false being immaterial. The ritualistic practices held merit regardless of the truth of this world's history.

~~

Reaching the book repository his eyes skimmed the building, drawing a mental map of where he had to put the books back. He didn't exactly take all of them in good faith, and he sure wasn't going to make someone else put them back. Snapping to long enough to give a single a wave to Josh, he sighs and turns his attention back to the masses, thinned as they were in here. He couldn't help chuckle at the sight of Ritz, as if to speak of the devil, there shall she appear, it was amazing how serendipitous some days were.

Shaking his head slightly, he decides to wait up a moment to catch Lillian and see how things were. It had been a stressful endeavor back at the bridge, and while she wasn't a patient, he had sympathy for her struggles. He himself always felt like the school was looking over his shoulder all the time just because of who his grandfather was. The veracity of this paranoid opinion is debatable, but, it did always feel like people assumed the worst when he found trouble. That could have just been his anxieties at play, but, still, he couldn't help if that was how he felt.
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Old Feb 25th, 2021, 09:32 AM
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The layout of the library hasn't changed as much since Sylas' attendance at the school, the book repository section still being in the same general area. Much to his benefit, it was still an anonymous way of dropping off books. No id scans were required or password inputs, just a flappy door, and a metal chute. Having succeeded in returning the reading material, the Doc finds that the line of people had shrunken considerably, Chris being very helpful with each person's questions and sorting everything out in an efficient manner. By the time he was back at the front entrance, he was able to catch up to Lillian Ritzen just as she was about to leave with her new stack of books if this is still something he wanted to do. The front counter was now clear, at least for the time being.

---

Josh's scan of the titles yielded a few interesting finds in the supers section. One was an autobiography of a former A-rank hero who was a shining star in Atlas City's earlier days, eventually fell from grace and took on a chapter of villainy before finally making a full circle and donning his hero mantle one last time to make a big difference. It was a story of high hopes for the future, betrayal, redemption, and offered a guided lens of how things changed over the decades from a super's perspective in a modern-day human world. The second title was an anthology of short stories, fiction mostly, of heroic tales of old, some of them even based on true stories. A third book was more of reference material, a hero supergroup almanac that went over today's current groups in operation, who they were founded by, and what their mission goals were/are.

Though he wasn't in the section for it, he did find a super-related title on modern-day witchcraft and how they are tied to the MAGI organization. There was a subchapter on potion making and common rituals to invoke minor spells for the magically gifted. The protective cover for the book also had a list of other titles written by the same author, some of which included recipe books that made use of common alchemical ingredients. A Witch's Cookbook it was called. Unfortunately, there wasn't much in the way of literature when it came to florapaths. There was, however, a scientific journal on the study of certain hero abilities. There was a brief mention of a researcher who specialized in animal control. Not quite talking with plants or manipulating them, but it was druidic in nature and maybe a lead if Josh wanted to learn from an outside source about the existence of other florapaths.
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Old Feb 25th, 2021, 11:12 AM
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"Leisure or mandatory?" Sylas piped up just before Lillian passed, a gentle smile on his face. His large frame shifts some as he leans a bit heavier to the side away from her, as he skims over what he could see of the stack of books. "Hello miss Ritzen, how goes the... Meditation? Rehabilitation?" Scratching absently at his jaw, he seems to struggle with the word, dancing around her power in public was also somewhat trying. "Lessons... yes... let us go with that..." Realizing that he does, in fact, look quite different just now, and frankly looked a lot shadier, if possible, than his blood stained lab coat. He raises his hood to let his eyes shine in it's shadow while cupping his hand over his mouth, effecting a hissing approximation of his masked breaths like some discount Vader. Dropping the hand with a chuckle. He really didn't need anyone mistaking him for a recruiter for a certain other school, so he hoped she got his meaning.
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Old Feb 25th, 2021, 12:51 PM
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Lillian turns to look at the person speaking to her and a hint of confusion flashed across her face. Looking down at her bag full of books, she nods slowly and raises an eyebrow. "Both. Getting a headstart on the material for some of my classes." When Sylas started to talk about rehabilitation, she took a step back, unsure of the darkly dressed individual. Did she know the guy? She was trying to match his voice to one she may have heard in the past.

"Do I know you?" It was the glint of the eyes and the cupped mouth breathing that gave it away. A look of realization spreads across her face and she gives a half-smile. "Ah, we did meet. Though only briefly. You were... wearing a mask then, weren't you? Went out with the others over the bridge?" She walks away from the library entrance and finds a corner that was a bit more out of earshot of the main traffic that went through the place.

"I didn't know you were a student here," she guesses, a guarded smile on her face.
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Old Feb 25th, 2021, 01:47 PM
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He nods lightly, "Acquainted, not many know me... well?" He follows along, tapping at his chin in thought, "This is slowly, but surely, changing." Giving a scan to make certain they were not to obtuse, although, again, dressed as he was, he was starting to wonder. He couldn't help it though, he didn't have a large sum of casual clothes, and his tunnel outfit was about the extent of it unless he wanted to show up in sweats. Even the thought of that caused a shudder. "Sorry for the wording, I realize rehabilitation might take a negative connotation for you... Words can be so tricky... I meant that I hope your exercises in control are proceeding well, as well as your emotional recovery..."

The question about his student status causes a chuckle as he shook his head, lifting the visitor pass with a thumb, "Once upon a time not so long ago... Just passing through for now, returning some things I borrowed... I might not have asked..." Sighing, he laughs again, "The public library is lacking medical texts I needed to treat a few people," he mused with a shrug. "Now I'm just your friendly neighborhood drop out. Figured I'd be less of a nuisance with a lot more people... I seem to have underestimated how much I dislike these days... At any rate, how are things for you? Last I saw, you seemed to be doing better than... hmmph," rolling his eyes after a second of thought, "The Other thing that never happened... My, it is getting hard to talk about anything when you are bribed so well to make no mention of it... I suppose the bridge might be excluded, no one actually said I couldn't admit to being there... We just aren't supposed to sensationalize it to the media..."

Doing some mental and ethical acrobatics quickly, he slowly nods, "Yes... I was at the bridge...? Meh, they didn't pay me to pretend I wasn't there, should be fine... I was worried about your recovery after the... train..." He was tapping on his chin once more, trying to circumnavigate talking about the attack on the school without actually talking about it. "But, you seemed well at the bridge, though, I do not know if it is just a brave front... Seems some relationships are on the mend... slowly... as well," his eyes trailed after where Josh disappeared to as he spoke, "I know the struggles, to a degree..." he gave a soft, though weak smile.

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Old Feb 26th, 2021, 06:14 PM
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Lillian slowly grows more comfortable as Sylas gentle demeanor and careful choice of wording continues. This was her third time meeting him, but the first seeing him in a civilian state and not on the job. Realizing he was the Doc that some spoke of, she regarded his line of questioning with a little more respect and understanding. It was his job to make sure other people were doing okay and staying that way. Though she wasn't a patient of his, she nodded all the same and raised her hand up, no longer gloved. "I'm making progress, and I can have normal relationships with people, so long as I keep my mental faculties in check. It's easy to lose control when emotions arise."

She tilts her head to the side and looks at Sylas quizzically. "How much DO you know about my condition anyway?" She looks back at the shelves of books in the background, looking for a face that came to mind, but hoping she wouldn't have to make eye contact. Thankfully, she didn't see him. "Yeah, I did some things I'm not proud of. It's a new semester though, and I'm looking at it as a new start."
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Old Feb 27th, 2021, 02:05 AM
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"Not nearly enough to presume much. Mistakes, yours, or others' can have a lasting effect on how others see you. I am familiar with some happenings, that has left understandably sour feelings... All of what I know is second hand though. Something about family..." He sighs lightly, lifting one hand in a light shrug. "What I do know, is what I saw with my own eyes. You have a curious power, that seems ideal for a support roll, but, you have some issues with control, and a fear of it going terribly wrong, like before. Transferring energy in the form of lifeforce, storing it to a degree, Grandfather would call you a Mana Battery, but, he sees most people as tools, so, not the best example. Controlling the flood gates is the trick, if the dam cracks, it can overwhelm you..."

Absently waving his hand as if to dismiss something he had said, he glances around again, curious, but without much enthusiasm. "I know being eyed relentlessly for unknown amounts of time is tedious and strenuous... Constantly being judged and evaluated. Best to ignore it, well, as best you can... I still prefer to avoid the security here where I can help it, barely spoke a word to a soul during my time here, and it still feels like the were want to blame me for any incident I was adjacent to... The price of a Super pedigree that doesn't come with the suffix 'Hero' I suppose." Laughing weakly once more at his own misfortune, he gave a nod. "All the worse to be named after him I guess... Well... I shouldn't hold you for to long. Feel free to come by the clinic if you need anything, the librarian over there can point the way, Mr. Blaze too if you like. And, if it will make you feel a little better about your situation, feel free to look up The Dragon, my joy of a burden to carry. Monthly screenings at THE super max are so much fun..." His emphasis on the The to leave little doubt just what he meant, he laughs a little more honestly, "I bid you good fortune in your pursuits, Miss Ritzen."

Continuing his wave over his shoulder, he made his way, distinctively as far from groups as he could, over toward Chris with a practiced unease that made the guilty look like saints, sighing in relief only after he had made his way around them to his goal, half slumping on the counter as he fought to seem at least relatively normal. "Hello... how goes the slog?"
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Old Feb 27th, 2021, 10:00 PM
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Josh's scan of the titles yielded a few interesting finds in the supers section. The autobiography and the anthology seemed like a good listening book for doing gardening to, or his potion brewing. He was going to be very busy in regards to his homework and side projects, but if something needed babysitting or didn't involve a computer, Josh could half-listen to the stories and focus on whatever he was doing. He might have to borrow them twice or so to be able to finish them. The autobiography had a lot of stickers on it showing past readers, and it seemed like a popular book. As was the anthology. Perhaps it was supers-track required reading.

If something came up and Josh had to contact someone in an established group, the almanac might have interested him, however, he had to pass for now. He also had to pass on a scientific journal he had found. He didn't have enough time in the day to hunt a researcher down on the off chance a faunapath knew any florapaths. The researcher seemed faintly druidic in nature so Josh made a copy of the person's name in case Audrey had heard of him or her.

Josh picked up the MAGI book and thumbed through it. The sub-chapter on potion making and common rituals made him stop and find the nearest flat space to hold it open and flip through it with the reader, slowly. The author mentioned other books she had written that used alchemical ingredients. It sounded similar to what he was working with, but he was using different ingredients for similar spells. Not really what he could use, but it seemed handy for ideas. If he did some substitutions, maybe some of these would work. He added the book to the pile.

Flipping through the reader menu, Josh copied the author's name and flicked a request into the library cloud to locate the other titles. That was the beauty of the more modern aspects of the library: a student could send a query into the stacks and the location would come up on any sort of cloud reader, should the book be there. Retro books, modern tech. Given his dyslexia, it came in handy. It also downloaded to the same device as his grocery shopping cart, and used much of the same coding from the looks of things. He couldn't read a map, but he could follow directions like "turn left" and "go up the stairs".
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Old Mar 2nd, 2021, 10:10 PM
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The scanner that Josh used to get around the library and find certain titles projected a holographic trail of light for him to follow on the ground. Since his device was hooked up to the school's library cloud, this sort of feature was something that he could only use when on campus grounds, but even so, he wasn't complaining. The arrows and simple directions that the lines pointed him towards helped him find what he needed in short order.

While pulling a book from the shelf, Josh cannot help but pick up the sounds of tiny feet scurrying about, and the signature laughter of a certain little treant. " *laughs* I am Mash Root," the tiny voice whispers as a stack of books is knocked over from a nearby cart. More hurried footsteps, then Josh's phone buzzes. A call from Audrey.

"Hey Josh, got a favor to ask of you. Help me find Mash Root? He wanted to visit you so... I sort of lost track of him when avoiding this guy in knight armor."
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Old Mar 2nd, 2021, 10:17 PM
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Josh turned as he heard tiny feet scurrying about. The laughter clued him in, and he began looking for a tiny little treant. Josh had visited with Baby Mash Root a few times since the debacle in the Reserve, but always when he was with Audrey and he had yet to interact with the guy on his own. Josh began looking around for Audrey when his phone buzzed. Turning off the map, Josh answered the call. "Speak of the Audrey." He said after she spoke. "I just heard Mash Root around here somewhere. I think he's playing either Peekaboo...or Hide-and-Seek." Josh said, looking around. He had just seen a stack of books knocked over from the nearby cart. He hoped Mash Root wasn't deliberately making a mess. "I'll try to find him." He told her, adding, "I'll text you back when I see him." He said before hanging up. You're avoiding Sir Arthur? The two of them had met already at the beach party and at the Reserve. He wondered if either of them had done something.

"Mash Root? Are you hiding from me, or trying to get my attention?" Josh asked, looking around and trying to follow the noises.
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