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  #61  
Old Apr 9th, 2021, 09:51 PM
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Josh listened through the inaugural welcoming with some impatience. It was needed information, but being a junior, he had heard it already. Some of the extracurriculars sounded interesting, but otherwise, most of it didn't mean anything new to him. The stuffy and cliche'd speeches he had heard many times before, and it was expected for the speakers to give them. Especially as the freshmen had just landed in a whole new environment from their previous high school years, and reassuring cliches tended to make them feel comfortable. Josh daydreamed and zoned out as the speakers spoke, going over mental lists of potion ingredients and steps he needed to make.

The arrival of the villain made him sit up straight, as he recognized the man. However, he couldn't remember what the former hero had done, and could only listen to the barely-contained rage with some uneasiness instead. The message was clear enough, and after what the fraternity did last school year, it was needed. A warning of what else could have gone wrong.

-----

The first week of classes ended about as Josh was coming to expect. He had been given the safety instructions for his classes, and a heavy list of reading homework on various subjects. Luckily, the quizzes and tests didn't start up for a little bit. It was mid-afternoon, and his classes were over for the day. Josh's new roommate was hardly ever in the room, but had shown up on the second day of the move-in process. Josh had learned he was from England, was a typical student-athlete, and had hardly ever seen the man because he was always out hanging with new friends that he seemed to make in a heartbeat. Josh typically wasn't in the room much himself, which made the situation work out well.

Sadly, Josh couldn't hang around much and enjoy the nice weather outside. He still had a part-time job at Fields of Flowers and had to get to it. Grabbing his backpack and a brown bag lunch from the cafeteria, Josh made his way downtown towards the florists. He was going to be closing the store that evening, giving Mr. Fields an afternoon off to go visit his suppliers.
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  #62  
Old Apr 12th, 2021, 10:51 AM
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Chris sat behind the library front desk yet again, having gotten through her morning classes. The patrons so far were a kind of controlled chaos, as the library had been given lists ahead of time of what books would be required for which classes, and so had been able to set up bundles ahead of time. This made the whole process of getting books to students a lot more streamlined, which meant she had some more time to herself than she might otherwise. Fortunately, her classes hadn't assigned homework just yet, so she pulled up her phone and checked in to see if there was any activity on the CI boards yet.
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  #63  
Old Apr 14th, 2021, 03:21 PM
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Returning to his clinic, Sylas noticed a line of people outside of the Lucky Egg Roll right next door. Patients who needed to wait for their appointments at the House of Asclepius often chose to do so at the neighboring oriental restaurant. The business has boomed there ever since the clinic started to reach out and gather more patients through word of mouth and business cards, which in turn lead to the occasional free meal for the Doc. Goodness knows he was ruining any chance he had at maintaining a decent diet, but there was something about free hot delicious food that seemed too enticing to ignore.

Most of the faces were new, but every once in a while Sylas would get a repeat patient. Someone along the lines of Livewire Cacti or Mr Dynamic often found themselves in trouble a bit more so than their peers, and this clinic was a magnet for such patients. The introduction of Chiron's mediport system left ripples in the medical industry in general. With the illusion of not having to worry about death as much while on the job, some heroes have started to act more reckless with their activities. This has in turn driven up the cost of certain insurance plans, narrowing the field of availability for the rest; which also meant more people showing up at the clinic on days that were normally slow or quiet. Requests for medical help from certain villain groups and gangs have also risen, a direct result of the heroes becoming bolder with their patrols of the streets.

Today, Sylas had the usual assortment of people waiting for him, most of them by appointment. Allergy season has made life miserable for many, and over-the-counter medicine usually does not do enough for super cases. The costs of prescriptions were criminal now, something that hasn't changed despite advances in general healthcare. One hero, in particular, arrives in a trenchcoat and hides under a very large hat. It was obvious the person didn't want others to see who they were.

Hernandez, for all intents in purposes, was in auto-pilot mode, helping run the front counter while Sylas was gone. The doc could tell though from a brief glance that something was up. The young man was quiet and showed signs of slight sleep deprivation.

~~~

Entering the flower shop and getting ready to punch in for work, Josh is greeted by the ringing of a bell and a head popping around the corner. "Afternoon! How can I hel- oh, hey Josh!" Audrey had practiced her customer service skills during her initial training phase at Josh's place of work. It sounded like she got it down pat since it sounded automatic and without too much force. Ducking her head back into the back prep room, she resumes her bundling of an order set in place for delivery later today.

"Mash Root's on the roof if you want to say hello, I think he's made some new friends up there," she smiles and briefly looks up in Josh's direction. Ever since Mr. Fields gave Audrey the okay to bring the young treant along, Mash Root has become a normal fixture in the shop. Always on his best behavior too, an incredible feat given the antics he usually pulls off while at home.

~~~

Chris has some free time on her hands now, thanks to the library's pre-emptive work in gathering reading materials in advance for the students. Pulling out her phone when it was safe to do so, she reviews the CI boards and learns that the chat feed was operating as expected. The filters in place were keeping villains out and heroes still needed to give permission to have people post on their profiles or enter conversations with them. Talk of a few groups being assembled to deal with some of the yellow and red alerts circulated throughout the feed. The CI was providing some focus for the hero community and helping direct efforts. Participation was slow going though and some missions stayed up as the events cycled through a prepared list of known problems.

One section of the chat feed has a thread now dedicated to the Oracle Report (not officially part of the actual website yet). D-Man was providing flashes of insight into what could potentially happen in the future. A few heroes were following the feed and openly questioned its legitimacy. Respected heroes though, and their questions were warranted if only because they didn't know D-Man's role in the Plant Crisis. The 'Digital Oracle' claims that in a week from now, the mysterious super killings would resume, the culprit most likely behind it being a villain known as Laughing Genocide. Scary stuff, but there were reassurances made by other heroes in the chat feed that the citizens of Atlas City would be safe so long as they were on the job.
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  #64  
Old Apr 14th, 2021, 09:14 PM
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Entering the flower shop from the side door, Josh paused at the door to gauge the flowers and the clientele. Ever since the Reserve incident, Josh wanted to keep feelers out to how the plants were feeling towards him and the staff in general, as well as how healthy they were. He also liked to know what he might be walking into, if there was an upset customer in the store or if things were busy.

Clocking in, Josh nodded and waved at Audrey. He had just heard a bell go off. "Hi Audrey. I'm going to go check on the front, but I'll say hi to Mash Root if it's quiet." The treant had been on his best behavior, and Josh always made sure Mash Root knew he noticed the extra effort. A young anything usually had a hard time being good for hours on end, and Mash Root was doing exceptionally well. Josh wondered what sort of antics that Mash Root got up to outside of the shop to make up for having to keep the fidgets in.

Heading to the front of the shop, Josh looked around for the potential source of the bell. If Audrey was in the back doing the orders, then it must have been quiet until he showed up. Someone ought to be available to take orders though if someone was in the shop, while she worked.
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  #65  
Old Apr 14th, 2021, 11:06 PM
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Seeing the line as he approaches, Sylas couldn't help but sigh, and laugh. This was the kind of business being good he could get behind. Allergy season may be unfortunate for those that suffer, but, it sure as hell beat having to deal with the countless brutal injuries spurred on by Chiron's latest machinations. Shaking it off, he opts for getting right to it, coffee might be called for even, but, it was to early to tell. He generally always had something for the guests and Hernandez, lord knows he needed it with how hard he worked. Just as he was considering how to set the man and his family up for a nice vacation, he locks eyes on the zombie of a man, and his mirth evaporates immediately. That was clearly not a good sign, and sure, it could just be poor sleep, but like any good criminal, paranoia in good doses was an important thing.

He greets his accountant as he slips the long jacket off and reaches for one of his clean lab coats, "Rough night...?" Now he would need to gauge the response. He wasn't going to accept anything like him brushing the matter aside. It would be nagging at him until a ulcer formed. Besides, it was always good to know if you had to make plans to destroy someone before you get deep into your daily work, and if anyone was messing with his happy little family, Sylas would go high fantasy on there heads frighteningly quick.
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  #66  
Old Apr 18th, 2021, 08:29 PM
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"The streets are quieter at night now. With heroes taking on a more aggressive stance against gangs and petty criminals, no one roams the streets now between here and my house, at least, no one bad that is." He sighs and looks up at the ceiling, closing his eyes for a long few seconds before opening them up again. "You'd think I'd be able to sleep. But the lack of noise has just made it worse. I no longer have portable stereos blasting music around the corner, nor do I have the sounds of gunfire or sirens to provide that white noise my family has adjusted to over the years. Now, it's just silence... and giggling." He looks away from his computer screen for a moment to look Sylas straight in the eyes.

"The skittering sound of a metal can kicked across the alleyway, and then a soft muffled giggle. I wouldn't normally be able to hear that on a normal night. I could sleep right through it. A small animal scurries out of a nearby trashcan, spooked by something. The sound of chasing footsteps and laughter can be heard. I sometimes hear singing outside my window. Singing. It's so damn unnatural. Only at night, only when I'm about to fall asleep. Maybe I'm just imagining it, sleep deprivation does that to a person, right? Make them hear things?" He rubs his eyes and reaches for another six-pack of the latest cheap energy drink around. The cartons near the trashcan suggest he's already gone through a pack today.

~~~

A lady and two of her kids walk through the front door. One of them is squawking about wanting an ice cream cone, the other tags along, copying their sibling. The mother puts on a brave face and smiles, ignoring the demands, but clearly tired to hear them. She looked like someone who had to drag them along with her for her appointments today. No one Josh knew, but all the same, a familiar type of customer. It wasn't uncommon to see someone come in to pick out a bouquet of flowers for a friend or to celebrate a special occasion. Today, it happened to be a get-well flower basket for someone recently admitted to the hospital. She wasn't sure what sort of flowers to pick for the message though, since she hardly knew the person. A coworker and all that.

"A friend at work got into a car accident, won't be able to walk around for some time. I don't know him all that well, but sometimes he would share cookies with me during lunch breaks. He was a nice guy like that. Think you can point me towards something that won't come off as being too much?"

No one else was in the shop today, a slow day it seemed, hence Audrey not being upfront when Josh came in.
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Old Apr 18th, 2021, 09:10 PM
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Blinking as he looks around, his face screwing into a sour look as he listened to the retelling, "Certainly, a lack of sleep can make that happen. A problem with that line of thought is that it sounds like it's part of the reason for the lack of sleep... Can't be a hallucination if it came before it." Sighing, he shakes his head, slipping some cheap red tie on as he adjusted the collar of his lab coat, "Hit the cot in my office, I'll take my patients out on the floor. Just try to get a little sleep."

He physically stops Hernandez from opening another can as he shakes his head, "Aside from the sugar leading to a slew of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, and liver failure... to many of those will give you a heart attack. Just... take a nap... Don't make me dart you..." So, a strange racket in an all to quiet street. He gathers the medicines and teas he would need, along with finding the key to the cabinet that had the creams he would need, and he made his way back out to the floor, pondering the matter the whole time. Well, perhaps he'd just have to look into it. Maybe it was a bored person taking the opportunity to roam the barren streets now, or maybe it was someone a little off their rocker, some disturbed person who isn't being supervised now that a family member is arrested or in the hospital. He shakes his head as he ponders it, he wouldn't know for sure until he found the mischievous culprit.

Last edited by Greaven; Apr 18th, 2021 at 09:11 PM.
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  #68  
Old Apr 18th, 2021, 09:57 PM
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Josh gave a sympathetic look to the mother, but it wasn't really his place to say anything to the kids. A familiar type of customer that wanted to get flowers, but didn't know what to get. "I'm sorry to hear about your friend! If you would like to take a look at our get-well baskets, we have some on the wall over here." Josh said, leading her to the display. Get-well baskets were typically full of "bright and cheery" flowers, as if by their sheer color, they would overcome the feeling of the blues and blahs that affected people in the hospital while they recovered. There was also a small range of them price-wise, and they were already made up, in case the mother was already on the way to the hospital.

"Or if you want to say the message literally, there are some flowers that symbolize "get well" wishes. Peonies stand for healing, for example, hydrangeas for perseverance. They aren't as commonly used in gift baskets, which make them stand out on a table." Josh returned to the counter, collecting a small basket of fluffy basket options to go with the flowers. Small plush dogs and bears in nurse costumes and holding various "get-well-soon" tags. One cat with a concerned expression was wearing a lab coat. "If you want to make a combination basket, you can pick out our smallest basket, here, and there's..." He gave a quick glance at the kids still asking for ice cream. "...another option just down the street that offers a deal on goods that you can put into the basket if you have one of our reciepts." He beckoned her towards the shop window and pointed down to the "Sweet Macaron!" sign down the street. "The flowers do last a few days before fading, so you don't have to send them today, if you want to wait until tomorrow. A few peonies tied with a nice bow with a combo bag from down the street wouldn't be too much and it would remind your friend about lunches."
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  #69  
Old Yesterday, 09:51 PM
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The customer follows Josh around, inspecting all of the available gift basket ideas. She nods her head in understanding as he explains her options. A smile slowly starts to build upon her face as he gets towards the end of his suggestions."I like it! I think a whole basket full of flowers would be a bit much, but just a few and some goodies might be something he'd like. It might help quiet these two as well," she whispers. "I didn't know shops had cross-collaborations like that though, the receipt coupons? It's pretty neat to see something like that, small businesses helping each other out. I just show them the receipt then when checking out?"

~~~

Hernandez gives the doctor a look when physically stopped from grabbing another can, but he couldn't argue the logic. The warning, as strange and comedic as it might come off being, was a serious reminder of his boss's other side. He was going to test Sylas' patience and nods his head in defeat. The cot it was. Getting up slowly and getting ready to grab his stuff, he returns to the keyboard to bring up a calendar for Sylas to review later on. "I made sure to keep load light for the rest of the day, but expect a packed weekend. The rest of next week should go by smoothly, assuming sh-t doesn't hit the fan and point towards our end of the city."

The patients were tended to one by one, the mix of people ranging from all walks of life it seemed, with one trait in common: they had nowhere else to go. One day, perhaps people would stop by here by choice, not by necessity. Time would tell. A few gang members were noticeably sitting in the lounge, alongside some heroes. An interesting scene, considering the heroes weren't hurt. There was a story behind the gang members' wounds too. They had blast marks all over their person, blunt trauma that could only be caused by energy blasts emitted by certain heroes on the field. Nothing lethal, but still the equivalent of being beaten to an inch of their life and probably left discarded somewhere to be arrested by police later on. Were these the heroes that did the damage, or just happened upon them and brought them in?

Another patient in the line-up deliberately kept their distance from everyone else, putting in a great deal of effort to hide their face from everyone. The cloak shrouding the figure was large and flowing, a few sizes too big, but made of a very durable material. Whatever it was that was troubling this one, they didn't want anyone else to see them or find out, and it looked like they wanted some privacy.
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Old Yesterday, 10:13 PM
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"It's just the two of our shops, ma'am." Josh said, shaking his head. "The owner is Mr. Fields' extended family...distant...something or other. We pay their shop what you save, and they do the same for us. They have some specials we honor as well. Usually involving sunflowers or the red-white-and-blue carnations we have in the summer."

"For us, it's pretty much just for the get-well baskets because the distant relative spent a lot of time in hospitals when he was younger and missed the colors and normal cooking. Hospital food is actually pretty good, but of course it's all healthy, mostly liquid stuff and makes people want something close to 'Grandma's cooking'."

Josh nodded at the question. "Yes, you're going to be showing your receipt to the cashier. The way it was explained to me, your receipt will say "get well basket" and a number, and they input that number into their registers as a manager override for the discount." Josh explained.

"Shall I make up a basket for you?" Josh moved towards the counter, picking up a few of the peonies and hydrangeas as he went, along with a few white springs for offsetting the colors.
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Old Yesterday, 11:45 PM
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Sylas put his nose to the proverbial grindstone as he worked his way through the line, taking a moment to set out folding chairs if there seemed to be more of a gathering than he could reasonably manage in a quick time. The gang members were promptly seen to as well, the damage assessed and alleviated until he could see more properly to them. As is policy, questions were not asked, outside of if any knowledge of the kinds of wounds or attacks were available, as that would help in the treatment. Once he makes certain they will live, and were in no immediate danger, he returned to milling his way through the line.

Recommendations were given to avoid complications, and advice to wear masks, which he readily provided, was liberally given with all the hay fever he was seeing. For the less powered, he provided what assistance he could with allergy medications, dipping into the more powerful stuff as he deemed it was necessary. Where powers were concerned, it became much more complicated, as he had to go through a list of drugs they have tried, and what degree of success had they had. Topical creams made from Audrey's plants were handed out by the jars, and Josh's infused teas were rapidly depleting, for the itchy throats, and stuffed noses. Vials of vaporescent treatments were given out practically by the hand full.

For his patients that required some privacy beyond a curtain, one of the (now) limited side rooms was offered for the examination. Due to his fairly good memory, he encouraged people to not worry to much about their place in line, and instead try to be comfortable while they waited. The curious patient taking pains to keep their distance was one such, and when it was their turn, he offered them more privacy, heading to one of the small rooms off the hall.
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