Tabula Rasa

This is the place to recount your superheroic deeds for all to gaze upon with astonishment and wonder.
Cosmic Scion
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Location: Pekin, IL

Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by Michuru81 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:19 pm

McGuffin wrote:She's never, ever coming to Vienna, right? Promise? Because right now she scares me more than the Alphabet-guy.
I can't say what happened prior to enrollment (Cyndi's rich, and has been, like, everywhere), but since the game started, she's not been to Vienna.
Horsenhero wrote:So true. You know it's funny, even our villainous player characters aren't that bad. I mean the Vienna group nearly imploded after a little threatened throat slashing and actual eye gouging. I don't think we could survive a pc like Cyndi.
What's funny is Cyndi is far from being the most villainous of the group. Wait until one of the PCs offers to help frame an innocent man for murder... but only if the price is right.

Cosmic Entity
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Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by Shock » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:57 pm

Michuru81 wrote:
Shock wrote:That's toned down quite a bit? Yikes.
Cyndi is... difficult...

By this point in the game, she has indirectly caused the expulsion of two students, created a villain, caused a death or two, destroyed a marriage...

She's really good at riddles, though! Like, you have no idea how good.
See Arkrite? Suddenly Robin doesn't seem so bad does she? :mrgreen:

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Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:34 pm

Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by Rhukatah » Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:53 am

By this point in the game, she has indirectly caused the expulsion of two students, created a villain, caused a death or two, destroyed a marriage...
None of that is her fault. She had a difficult time adjusting to the school. Why should she not have? She came from an environment where the behavior she exhibited at the beginning of the year was what everyone expected of her. Cindy moved from one world to another. That kind of transition can be difficult for even the best of us.

Maybe if her new world would show Cindy some consideration for the difficulty of her transition, there would be less pain all around. As it was, Cindy's new world did nothing but judge her and sneer.
Wait until one of the PCs offers to help frame an innocent man for murder... but only if the price is right.
I don't remember this happening. I do recall a brave teen stepping forward to provide testimony to bring a superpowered authority figure to justice. And I remember that a wealthy philanthropist was moved by this act of bravery to put some money in trust for this teen's future. It's certainly a story that deserves to be told to the world by someone of your reputation.

On the other hand, a lurid tale of some malefactor of great wealth bribing a student of the New Vindicators Academy of America to fabricate evidence to assure the conviction of a personal enemy? That is a story that should either stay on one of the many anti-SPB conspiracy blogs or be prepared with both evidence and deep pockets to defend itself in court.
Derryl Isaacson, Pianist.

Cosmic Scion
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Tabula Rasa #2

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:06 pm

Chapter II: Corrode
“Missus Jenkins’ husband returned home this evening, and found her lying in bed. When he went to check on her, he found that she had died—apparently of an aneurism. I’m sorry.”

Eric was dumbfounded by this news. “I don’t understand,” he said.

The headmaster looked sullen. “We were going to be announcing it in the morning, but I felt it would be best if her students heard the news first-hand.”

“No, not… I mean… How could she die? She wasn’t that old.”

“Sometimes these things happen, Eric.”

“Yeah, but not to people like… Mister Himura, Missus Jenkins was married to one of the Vindicators, wasn’t she? They fought Sanguine a few nights ago-”

“An investigation will undoubtedly be performed.”

“Are we in—if Sanguine found out where one of the Vindicators live… Mister Himura, don’t Lodestone’s three children and Blitzkrieg’s son all go to school here? If Sanguine found out about Missus Jenkins-”

“This school is hardly defenseless,” the headmaster explained. “We have no less than four former Vindicators on staff, and that’s not counting the many other faculty members who are more than capable of protecting this institution. For now, please rest assured that you and your classmates are in the safest place on Earth.”

“If you say so,” Eric said, hardly convinced.

The headmaster nodded. “In the meantime, I wanted to let you know that any time you need to talk about this, my door is open—or, if you prefer, you could talk to our school counselor.”

Eric nodded. “Thanks,” he offered apathetically. He started to head back to his room when something stopped him. “Will we be allowed to go to her funeral?”

Mister Himura smiled. “I don’t know if she ever told you, but she was a student here—before I even began teaching here. She was as much a part of this school as it was a part of her: I don’t know what arrangements her family will make, but we will be holding a service to honor her life, as well as her service to this school.”

“All right,” Eric said, nodding again. “Thanks for telling me.”

“I’ll let you try and get back to sleep,” the headmaster said. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to finish notifying her other students.”

Eric turned and took a step. Instantly he was back in his room, where his roommate was sitting up, waiting for him. “Sorry to hear about your teacher,” Derryl said.

Eric looked back to the door. The headmaster couldn’t have told Derryl already. Besides, to the best of his knowledge, Derryl didn’t have any classes with Missus Jenkins; there was no reason to even inform the boy.

Before Eric could question it, Derryl posed a query of his own: “You really think that someone did her in?”

That cinched it: it was one thing to know about Missus Jenkins’ death, and another to know what Eric had said to the headmaster. Was this an aspect of Derryl’s powers… whatever his abilities were?

“Missus Jenkins was married to a Vindicator. Last night, the Vindicators went up against Sanguine, a Neo-Sapien who controls blood. Missus Jenkins died of an aneurism.”

“Ockham’s razor suggests that most often, the simplest explanation is the correct one.”

“You think it’s more plausible that she simply suffered an aneurism?”

“If you only knew a portion of the things I’ve seen,” Derryl insisted, “you’d know that there is very little I don’t find plausible. The only question is: what does the faculty here find plausible? The Vindicators? See, I’ve got to assume that they’ve seen their share of crazy, and maybe for them, the simplest explanation is that Sanguine found out where one of the Vindicators is, went to his house, and used her powers to kill his wife…”

“What’s your point?” Eric asked.

“Even if it’s the simplest explanation to people who have seen a lot of crazy, it’s still crazy. Stop and think for a second: you’re a villain who controls blood; you find out where one of your enemies lives; you go there, kill his wife, and leave?” Derryl shrugged. “Me? I’d want them to know who did it. I’d probably make this woman’s blood shoot out of her body, onto the wall, writing out some sort of warning—and I’d do it in iambic pentameter. Not enough villains issue their evil messages in iambic pentameter.”

Eric sat in silence, parsing his roommate’s theory. “What… what if she didn’t want them to know she did it?” he asked.

“Why wouldn’t she?”

“Well, maybe she was worried about them coming after her?”

“Then attacking their loved ones in their homes is a poorly thought-out plan of attack.”

Eric had to admit: that made sense. If Sanguine was looking to get away free and clear, why not just go to ground? Lay low and wait for things to blow over?

“I don’t know… I mean, if it wasn’t Sanguine, then… it had to be natural causes, right? I mean, who else could do that to her?”

“Control blood?” asked Derryl. “Well, one of the Vindicators, for starters…”

Eric was perplexed. His mind ran over the roster of every branch of the Vindicators scattered across the globe: New York, London, Paris, Vienna, Geneva, Moscow, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New Deli, Sydney, Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro—to the best of his knowledge, none of them sported a member with the power to command blood. Even the extensive roster the San Francisco team—the Guardians—boasted didn’t have anyone like Sanguine. “Who?” he asked.

“Simulacrum,” Derryl suggested. “I mean, his team did just fight Sanguine, and his power lets him mimic the powers of other Neo-Sapiens, right?”

“Yeah, except that Simulacrum’s probably Missus Jenkins’ husband,” argued Eric. “Why would he kill his own wife?”

Derryl shrugged. “Insurance money? He found someone else and didn’t want to go through a messy and public divorce? Maybe he found out she was cheating on him? There’re plenty of reasons for someone to kill his wife…”

“Yeah, but not a Vindicator!”

“Okay, you said ‘probably’. Maybe she was married to one of his teammates and he was jealous?”

Eric stroked his chin thoughtfully.

“Maybe Simulacrum’s in love with one of his teammates, and bumped off your teacher in the hopes of having him all to himself?”

Eric reached for the laptop charging beside the nightstand. “What are you doing?” Derryl asked, watching as he powered the computer up.

“I’m going to figure out who Missus Jenkins was married to.”


“I figure her personal information has to be in the headmaster’s computer, right?”

“You’re a hacker?” Derryl asked incredulously.

“I dabble.”

“Well, that inspires confidence in spades…” Without another word, Derryl pulled a chair over to sit next to Eric, leaning around to look over his shoulder as he plied his art.

The atmosphere in the classes Cyndi had bothered attending was a somber one. One of the teachers had died, she had learned. She had never heard of the woman. She wasn’t sure if she had any of her classes. All she knew was that news of the woman’s passing was postponing something called The Drafting Ceremony, which Cyndi imagined had something to do with the students all wearing togas and drinking Kool-Aid cut with Strychnine.

“Actually,” Jim said, walking her to her fourth period class, “it’s this event all of the new students go through on the first Friday each year. You know how, for sixth period, we have P.E. on Tuesday and Thursday?”

“And on the other days I have Dance,” Cyndi said, rolling her eyes.

“Only on Monday and Wednesday,” Jim explained. “On Friday, we have a Wreck Room exercise.”

“We exercise?”

“Kind of. Okay, the gym and weight room and pool… all of that stuff is in the basement. Below that is another level. The sublevel’s where the Wreck Room is. This place can bring anything to life: any environment; any opponent. It’s where they train us.

“See, everyone is put onto a team of four students. For the rest of your time here, that’s your training squadron. Every Friday, the squads compete against each other. Points are added up, and at the end of each semester, they declare a winner.”

Cyndi feigned a yawn.

“It’s actually a lot cooler than I make it sound,” Jim said. “Last semester, Missus Cron proctored the exercise for Halloween—she had us fight Godzilla.”

“So, the other teams pick us?” Cyndi asked. “You’re going to pick me for your team, right?”

“I would if I could. No, the teachers will decide your team for you. They’ll call your name and three other students, and you guys will be a team. Then, you guys can pick a leader, if you want, and decide a name for your team…”

“Which team are you on?”

“I, uh… I’m on Team Loder.”

Cyndi smirked at him. “Who came up with that one?”

“Well, the other guys on my team… They just…” He sighed. “It makes me sound like an egomaniac, huh?”

Cyndi held up a hand with her thumb and index finger just barely apart.

“Anyway, I’ve got a pretty decent team, I guess: Abe can teleport, Greg controls minds, and Captain Billy-”

“‘Captain Billy’?”

“It’s… what he likes to be called.” Jim shook his head. “Canadians: what can I say? His powers are… different. I mean, there’s a few uses, I guess, but in combat, he’s pretty limited unless whoever is proctoring that week’s exercise throws a robot at us or something.”

Cyndi raised an eyebrow at that. “Why?” she asked. “Do his powers let him control robots or something?”

“No,” Jim explained. “It’s more to do with their arms… You know what? It’s complicated.” He looked at the plague resting beside the door. “And we’re at your class. We’re still on for tonight, right?”


“I’ll meet you in the Common Room?”

Cyndi nodded and Jim leaned in to kiss her cheek. “I’ll see you later,” he said.

As Jim turned to walk away, he almost walked into Aisha. Cyndi’s roommate slipped around him. “Is that your boyfriend?” she asked.

“I wouldn’t call him my boyfriend,” Cyndi said. “We’ve hung out a couple of times. Tonight’s the first time we’re going out on an actual date.”

Aisha frowned. “Lucky you,” she said, holding the door open for Cyndi. “You’ll be out with a cute guy, and I’ll be back in our room, bored out of mind, wishing that guy in our art class would just notice me.”

“Which one?” Cyndi asked, her face contorting into an expression of pure disgust. “Freckle Face or Split-Ends?”

Painting appeared to be popular amongst the female constituency of the school—no doubt thanks to Mister Reagan, the handsome man who taught the class. There was a girl whose skin kept changing colors, an Asian girl who—unlike the rest of the student body—actually possessed a fashion sense, a girl Cyndi had pegged as a lesbian… There were several girls who had enrolled, but only two boys had signed up for the class: a lanky senior, with a mop of mouse-brown hair topping a face plagued by freckles and acne, and a boy with long, dishwater-blonde hair rife with split ends who didn’t appear to own anything he hadn’t acquired from Goodwill.

“Matt,” Aisha said, dropping her voice to a whisper as they took their seats.

Cyndi couldn’t have looked more apathetic if she tried. “Which one is Matt?”

“The blonde,” said a blushing Aisha.

Cyndi shrugged. “He could be cute if he tried. He seems way too happy…”

“His roommate is in our Algebra class. I was thinking about asking Ken if he could feel him out for me—see if he likes me, or something…”

“Wait,” Cyndi said, suddenly remembering the photos of Aisha and a young man that speckled their room. “I thought you already had a boyfriend? I mean, all those pictures in our room…”

Aisha frowned. “That’s my ex,” she said, correcting Cyndi. “Daddy didn’t approve of me and Ebb. Actually, he sent me here to keep me away from him—said he was tired of Ebb using me for my powers.”

Cyndi raised an eyebrow. “What kind of name is ‘Ebb’?” she asked as the bell rang, signaling the start of their next period. “And what the hell are your powers?”

Aisha looked forward as Missus Belcher rose up.

“All right,” the teacher said, looking around the room, “it looks as though Mister Vaughn isn’t with us today. That’s expected, considering…”

Cyndi leaned forward, still looking at Aisha. “What the hell are your powers?” she asked.

Aisha looked nervously to Cyndi and then rolled her eyes towards the front of the room. Cyndi looked towards the teacher and back. “What are you powers?” she asked again.

Missus Belcher stepped up to the two girls. “Miss Brightman, Miss Stein, I trust there’s not an issue here?”

Cyndi rolled her eyes and turned to face the teacher. “I’m sorry,” she said, “do you have tenure?”

Missus Belcher looked confused. “What does that-?”

“I apologize again: I didn’t realize you didn’t understand English. ¿Tiene la tenencia?”

“I understood you,” the woman said, a hint of agitation in her tone. “I just don’t un—no. No, I do not have tenure.”

“So, what you’re saying is… your position here isn’t exactly secure? I mean, I make a phone call to my daddy, he calls someone over at whatever government agency runs this place, and you’re gone. Is that right?”

Missus Belcher narrowed her eyes at the freshman. “Would you like to see the headmaster, young lady?”

“Would you like to see an unemployment line, old lady?”

The rest of the class began to practice harmonizing, moaning, “Ooo…” in synch with each other.

Missus Belcher retreated to her desk, and opened one of the drawers. Pulling out a stack of slips rubber banded together, she set about to writing out a referral slip for the headmaster’s office.

As Dirk sprang out of his chair, his body began to simultaneously swell and flatten. Soon, he had transformed himself into a human curtain to block John, Kim, and Suzette’s view of the television. “Dirk,” John whined, as Kim exclaimed, “C’mon, man! We can’t see the TV!”

“That’s the point!” cried an alarmed Dirk. He looked to the girls and his face became the image of apologetic. “I’m sorry. Someone must be playing a cruel prank on us. John, find the real movie.”

John sighed. “That is the real movie, Dirk.”

Dirk looked confused. “John, you told me that we were going to watch a documentary about President Nixon’s impeachment.”

“No, I didn’t,” John protested. “I said we were going to watch Deep-”

Dirk looked to the door he’d wedged open—Dirk insisted on keeping the door open if the girls were going to be joining them—to make sure no one was outside. He dropped his voice to a whisper all the same: “This movie is practically pornographic, what with this talk of… of…” Dirk began to blush, just thinking about the word.

“Orgasms?” asked John.

“Language!” hissed Dirk.

John shook his head. “Dirk, ‘orgasms’ isn’t a bad word.”

“Well, it’s hardly the sort of language we should use in front of ladies!”

Kim shrugged. “I’ve heard of orgasms before,” she admitted. She chuckled suddenly and gently brushed Suzette’s shoulder with her knuckles. “And Suzette’s even more familiar with them, ain’tcha?”

Suzette’s eyes bulged and her cheeks, impossibly, turned more red than Dirk’s, which were now a shade of red bordering on violet.

“It’s just sex,” John said. “What’s the big deal?”

“Yeah,” Kim said.

“It’s… it’s not…” Dirk sighed, but refused to step aside. “What would you do if your parents found out you were watching this?”

“Rita?” John asked, stifling a laugh. “Who do you think bought it for me? Rita got me this for Christmas last year.”

Dirk stared at John as though he was the strangest creature he had ever seen. “I just… I… Your mother… She… Did she know—what I mean to say is, did she knowingly supply you with… John, that movie is bad! And it’s hardly…” He motioned to Kim and Suzette. “They shouldn’t-”

“I’m fine,” Kim said.

Dirk sputtered for a moment, caught off guard by her confession. “Well, we’re making Suzette uncomfortable.”

Kim rolled her eyes and then turned to her roommate. “Are you uncomfortable?” she asked.

“A little,” Suzette said timidly.

“See, she’s fine!” Kim roared. “If you don’t want to watch it, that’s fine, but we’re going to watch it, so…” She motioned for Dirk to step out of the way.

Dirk looked to John with pleading eyes. “C’mon, Dirk… Be cool.”

Dirk sighed. “Suzette? Would you like to join me in finding more appropriate entertainment for the evening?”
Suzette nodded emphatically and bolted out of her seat and out the door. “Have a good night,” Dirk said, fixing the others with a glare that dripped with judgment.

“You too,” John said.

When Dirk had made his way out into the hall, John waited a moment before climbing to his feet and running to the door. Peering out into the hall, he checked on Dirk’s position. Wanting to avoid another lecture, he waited until his roommate was out of view before he pulled the doorstop back and let the door close.

“Sorry about him,” John said. “Dirk’s a nice enough guy, but he’s so…”

“Closeted?” Kim asked.

“Exactly,” John said. “It’s like… I thought maybe if he watched this-”

“-he might grow up a little!”

“Right!” John shook his head. “I mean, it’s not even that bad!”

Kim scoffed. “It’s pretty tame, actually. God, can you imagine if we showed him some S&M stuff?”
John had fixed Kim with a confused expression. “I thought you said you hadn’t seen this?”

“I haven’t,” Kim said, nodding.

“You just said…” John shook it off. “Never mind.”

“What’s wrong?” Kim pressed.

“The way you were talking—saying how it’s tame… It seemed like you’d seen it, but I… I guess I just-”


“Yeah,” John said.

“Yeah,” Kim said.

John picked up the remote and began to rewind the movie to the point where Dirk had risen up in protest. “Suzette’s going to be okay, right?” John asked. “I mean, she’s not going to be traumatized by this, or anything?”

The blonde girl shook her head. “God, no! Suzette’s… She’s all bashful now, but it’s just… Okay, she’d kill me if I told you this, but last year, Suzette was seeing this guy—Remington, right? Anyway, they start going at it like rabbits. Remington is… He’s hard to explain. He’s a little full of himself, and his powers are worse than anything. Get this: his ability? He has hollow bones. Sure, he’s light on his feet, but one good punch and he’s in a body cast.

“Anyway, lame powers plus the ego on this kid equal him not being that popular. Still, he’s kind of cute, and Suzette was over the moon with him. She’d do anything for him, and he knew it. So, when one of the popular kids comes to him, asking if he can borrow Suzette for the night?”

“You’re kidding,” John said.

Kim shook her head. “I went out with him for a while. After we broke up, he basically just started trying to bang his way through the school. Anyway, he goes to Remington, asks if he can nail Suzette, and Remington—desperate for the popular kids to accept him—says to go for it.”

“Oh, God…” John winced. “Man, the balls on that guy…”

“I know, right? Remington’s ego is so huge, he actually thought she’d go along with it. He just walked right up to her and said, ‘Hey, how about you go screw this other guy tonight, so I can sit at the cool kid’s table?’ At first, she just said ‘no’, but then Remington pushed the issue. He basically called her a whore. He was the only guy she’d ever been with, and here he was calling her a slut. She slapped him so hard, she broke his jaw—which isn’t saying much, because… well, hollow bones.

“Thing is, what he said kind of hit her hard. I think that’s why she’s so… bashful all of a sudden.”

John sighed and shook his head. “Whatever the reason behind it, she’s perfect for Dirk.” He shrugged. “I guess he’s kind of perfect for her, too: I mean, there’s no way Dirk’d ever pressure anyone into the sack.”
Kim smirked at him. “So, what about you?” she asked. “Any horror stories in your love life? Any psychotic ex-girlfriends?”

John shook his head. “Nope,” he said, pressing play on the remote, “I’ve never even been kissed.”
Kim gingerly took the remote from his hand and paused the movie. She inched closer, leaned in, and kissed John.

She was smiling roguishly as she slowly pulled away. Then she turned and pressed play.

John grinned sheepishly. “I’ve never made out with a girl either,” he confessed.

Kim paused the movie again, tossed the remote over her shoulder, wrapped her arms around John’s neck and pulled him to the floor.

“Put this on,” Cyndi said, handing Aisha a long-sleeved shirt. “And put this on over it,” she said, handing her a black hi lo dress from her closet.

She watched as Aisha began to strip and began waving her hands overhead. “Never mind,” she said, snatching the clothes back. “I keep forgetting you don’t have boobs.” Cyndi returned to the closet in search of something more suitable. “God,” she growled, pushing aside her clothes, “could they give us a smaller closet?”

Aisha frowned. “I’d kill for a closet,” she muttered, looking to the corner where her clean clothes sat folded.

“Okay, try this,” Cyndi said, throwing her roommate a pale, yellow tunic. “Maybe with some skinny jeans?”
Aisha held the tunic to her body for inspection. “I have some tights-”

“Why?” asked Cyndi, making a disgusted face.

Aisha suddenly felt very hot. “I, uh… I think my mom packed them. I didn’t want to make her feel bad, you know…”

Cyndi rolled her eyes. “I suppose she was the one who taught you how to how to put on makeup, too.”

Aisha pouted and dropped onto the edge of her bed. “I forgot about my makeup…”

“It’ll be fine,” Cyndi said. “You act like this is my first rodeo, sweetie.”

“I just can’t believe he actually said ‘yes’!” Waves of euphoria not only washed over Aisha—they dragged her down. A moment after she leaned back, she shot up erect. “Are you sure Matt and I aren’t intruding? I mean, you said this was your first date with Jim…”

“You never want to seem too eager,” Cyndi explained as she began to strip down. “Turning our first date into a double date? It’s only going to make Jim work harder.” She pulled the long sleeved shirt she’d initially offered to Aisha over her head and then picked up the hi lo dress. “Hey, we never got to finish our talk from earlier: what the hell are your powers?”

“Okay, I think about a person, right? I concentrate on them, and suddenly I see what they see, hear what they hear… All of my senses get turned off, and I share theirs.”

Cyndi raised an eyebrow at Aisha’s abilities. “And your ex-boyfriend was using you for that?”

Aisha nodded. “Yeah, he… Well, this one time, he had me skip school with him. We went to this bank in L.A. so he could get a safety deposit box. Anyway, it was all so that I could get enough information so I could piggybank on this woman’s senses—learn her login information.” She paused to rummage through the trunk that rested at the foot of her bed, coming back up with a small jewelry box. “He used some of the money to buy me this.”

The necklace she showed Cyndi glittered even in the muted light put out by the energy-efficient bulbs the school utilized. Diamonds wound their way over every inch of the platinum chandelier necklace.

It wasn’t the necklace’s opalescence that stunned Cyndi—she was used to her father regularly giving her such trinkets—but the source. “Aisha, you realize you were an accomplice, right?”

“Yeah, but there’s no way anyone was ever going to find out! I mean, like Ebb said: how are they going to prove that I can do what I do? There’s no visible sign when I’m using my powers—even the teachers here can’t tell that I’m using my powers!”

“They can’t-?” It hit Cyndi then: there was a reason that bubbly, ditzy Aisha was enrolled in the advanced classes: she used her powers to cheat on every quiz—every test her instructors gave. All she had to do was find someone who was doing well in the class, learn enough about them to use her powers on them, and copy their answers. “Oh, my God… You’re a genius.”

Aisha smiled, and started to get dressed. As she pulled her hair out of the neck of the tunic, she hesitated. “Can I ask you something without you getting mad at me?”

“Maybe,” Cyndi said, suddenly suspicious.

“Why are you being so nice to me all of a sudden? I mean, when the week started, you were pretty mean…”

“We’re roommates,” Cyndi said, matter-of-factly, “and it seems that no matter what I do, nothing is going to change that.

“Now shut up, and let me do your makeup right for once.”

Even though Eric had failed to crack the headmaster’s computer, it hadn’t taken them long to find out about Missus Jenkins’ personal life. The school library kept past yearbooks, and their hours of operation meant nothing to Eric’s ability to distort space.

It was the 2006-2007 yearbook that yielded the best results: Missus Jenkins was just Addison Truman then. It was her senior year, and her class had welcomed a new student: a boy named Drew Jenkins.

Eric and Derryl deduced that this must have been where Addison met her husband. They immediately went to work comparing Drew’s picture with pictures of the Vindicators. Granted, eighteen years had passed, but they could still see some similarities between the boy in the yearbook and Simulacrum, one of the most powerful of the Vindicators.

Simulacrum’s power allowed him to mimic the powers of those around him. By staying in proximity to his teammates, he had the ability to transform his body into liquid, run at breakneck speeds while generating electricity, command magnetic waves or the forces of gravity, create crystalline shards, or move water with his mind. He also had the ability of whomever they faced. Eric recalled seeing the news footage of the Vindicators’ battle with Eclipse last Christmas: Simulacrum had copied the twins’ power to manipulate the darkness and turned it against them; when they fought the Order of Chaos, he simultaneously used Forecast’s ability to command the weather and Solar’s power to generate blasts of light.

The more Eric listened to Derryl’s theory about Simulacrum using Sanguine’s powers to kill his own wife, the more he found himself forced to admit that the theory had legs. His mind quickly went to work on weaving a juicy conspiracy to enthrall him even more: a Vindicator, using powers borrowed from a villain, kills his wife in the heat of passion, only to blame the villain for the deed. The idea of a supervillain—innocent of the crimes of which she was being accused—doggedly pursued by the widower’s zealous teammates practically had the teen salivating.

“What if,” he had postulated, “we’re the only ones to consider this? What if the Vindicators—blinded by their loyalty to Simulacrum—never even considered him a suspect?

“We have to dig deeper…”

And like that, the two boys were cutting the rest of their classes to watch the Jenkins’ apartment. In order to step to a location, Eric needed to be able to imagine where he was going. He needed to be able to see inside of the couple’s Carnegie Hill penthouse. Once they had arrived at the base, Eric set about to traversing the rooftops of adjacent buildings. “It’s that one,” Derryl said, moments after they arrived on the second rooftop.

He wanted to ask his roommate how he could have known—how he had instantly known which apartment belonged to Drew and Addison Jenkins. He knew that asking Derryl anything was a lesson in futility: the boy surrendered nothing personal about himself. It was frustrating, and something Eric didn’t have time for.

“Someone’s in there.” As Derryl said it, the binoculars showed Eric a man taking pictures of the room. “So much for sneaking in there, huh?”

Eric crouched down, suddenly afraid of being spotted, and having to answer some very uncomfortable questions regarding what he was doing there. He was not nearly as deft at dodging the truth as Derryl was. “He’s gotta go home at some point…”

“They’ll probably post a man at the door,” Derryl mused.

Eric frowned, knowing his roommate was right.

“I could take care of that, though.”

Eric lowered the binoculars and fixed the boy with a befuddled look. “How?” he asked.

Derryl shrugged. “I’m a man of many talents.”

“Obviously,” Eric said. “Sort of like how you knew Missus Jenkins was dead before I even told you.”

“Like I said: many talents.”

Eric rolled his eyes. “Do you get off on being a tease, man?”

If Derryl was shocked by the accusation, he hid it well: his face was as stony and unreadable as ever.

“I mean, you don’t want to tell anyone anything about yourself, and yet you’re constantly teasing us—dropping hints. I mean, if you don’t want me to know what your powers are, why even let me know that it’s in the realm of possibilities that you somehow know things you otherwise shouldn’t know?”

Derryl fixed Eric with a level look. “You’re not a bad detective, you know?”

Eric rolled his eyes. “So, what is it? Telepathy? You read my mind when I got back to the room this morning, and scanned the apartment for anyone?”

Derryl shook his head.

“Do you have some sort of astral body or something and your disembodied spirit was there when I was with the headmaster?”

“Try again.”

Eric mulled over the possibilities: maybe Derryl was somehow able to see the future? Maybe he was so secretive because if he said anything, he risked his altering things too much? What if it was some sort of remote viewing, and he could share another person’s body to see what they saw?

“Ockham’s razor,” Derryl had said this morning, “suggests that most often, the simplest explanation is the correct one.”

How had Derryl heard what the headmaster had told Eric? What if he simply had some sort of super-hearing?

Eric casually put a hand over his mouth and softly whispered something.

“I don’t think so,” Derryl said.

Eric grinned. “So, super-hearing?” he asked.

Derryl smiled at him. “Like I said: you’re not bad.”

“You heard what the headmaster told me, and you heard the guy in the penthouse when we stepped to this rooftop.”

Derryl nodded.

“Amazing. So, you can hear what the guy in the apartment is saying?”

“He’s not saying a whole lot, actually,” Derryl said, “but he breathes through his mouth. Also, there are two cops in the hallway. One’s name is Paul, and his wife has been nagging him to fix her sister up with his partner, Logan. The man across the hall is on the phone with his attorney, who’s trying to convince him to use his wife’s infidelity in the custody dispute. The woman in the next apartment is typing on a keyboard. Someone in the next room is watching television… Sounds like the Weekend at Bernie’s remake.” He nodded towards the edge of the rooftop. “A woman on the street is flirting with her doorman, a guy is trying to describe his destination to a cabbie, and some woman is on the phone with her priest, talking about bringing cookies for the Sunday School service.

“Shall I go on?”

Eric stared at his roommate in wonder. “How do you keep from going insane?” he asked. “I mean, if you can hear that far, what keeps you from hearing everything all at once?”

“I focus,” Derryl said. “It’s not too terribly taxing, you know.”

Eric looked over the ledge to the Jenkins’ apartment. “You said you could take care of the guards posted outside. How?”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“I asked how you…” Eric froze as he realized that he couldn’t hear his own voice. It hit him then that he couldn’t hear anything: the hustle and bustle of life going on, the birds looking to fill their bellies—all of it was suddenly gone, and in its place was only a faint hum in his ears.

“I can hear that far because I can manipulate sound.” Derryl’s mouth was moving, but it was Mister Altair’s voice that was coming out. “If I want, I can cancel sound.” Now it was Headmaster Himura’s voice that came from Derryl. That soon changed, becoming a perfect imitation of President Freeman: “Or I can imitate whatever I want.”

Eric grinned. “So, once the coast is clear, I can teleport us over, and you can make it so no one hears us inside?”

“Yup,” Derryl said, using his own voice.

Again, Eric held up the binoculars to scan the apartment’s interior. “Sounds like a plan,” he said. “All we have to do now is wait…”

Last edited by Michuru81 on Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cosmic Scion
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Tabula Rasa #2 [Part II]

Post by Michuru81 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:06 pm

“So…” Suzette timidly said as she and Dirk made their way to the Common Room, “what do you want to do now?”

Dirk looked back down the hall. “I should have grabbed my bag. We could have headed to the library and quizzed each other with my astronomy notes.”

“Is that how you’d normally spend a Friday night?” Suzette asked him.

“Not every Friday. The first Friday of the month is Family Fun Night at church. Man, it’s hard to believe that it was just a week ago, I was getting creamed in Pit, stuffing myself with that guacamole Pastor Dave makes.”

Suzette raised an eyebrow. “Pit?” she asked.

Dirk recoiled in horror. “You’ve never played Pit!?!” he asked, holding open the door for her. “Oh, man…”

“So, it’s a game?” Suzette asked.

“Try ‘The Greatest Game’! It’s this card game, right? Well, you’re like a stock trader, buying up corn and oranges and-”

Suzette grabbed Dirk by the hand and pulled him towards a short bookshelf off to the side. “We have a bunch of board games here,” she said. “I’m not sure what all there is, though…”

Dirk scanned the boxes stuffed into the bookshelf. “How can you guys not have Pit?”

“Hey, Suzie.” As Dirk turned towards the speaker, he spotted Suzette cringing, with her eyes closed as tight as they could.

The catalyst behind such behavior was a tall, thin boy with pale skin and high cheek bones. With him was a girl with reddish-brown hair and green skin. He’d seen them both around the campus—he seemed to recall the girl’s skin being blue though—but wasn’t very familiar with either. “You’re looking good tonight,” the boy said.

“Go away, Remy,” she pleaded.

The gaunt boy chuckled softly. “It’s funny: I was just telling Nikki here about when we used to go out. You know, I still have that video we made. Nikki and I were gonna go back to my room and watch it. Would you like to come, too?”

Dirk looked to Suzette, and was surprised to see her tearing up. “Please, just go away, Remy.”

“Aww, don’t be like that…” He reached out and gently put his fingertips underneath her chin. Softly, he made her look up and look him in the eyes. “You know, my friends… They like you, Suzie. They think you’re cute. I told them about how wild you could get—said you probably wouldn’t mind showin’ them just how wild.” He whistled to three boys—two of which Dirk was familiar with: Abe Chobanian was the one who had banished John to the front lawn, while Greg Foster was the one who controlled Dirk’s mind. The other boy was an enigma to the freshman. “What do you say, Suzie? Think you could make them happy?”

Dirk glared at Abe and Greg—an act that won him more of their contempt. “What the hell are you looking at?” Greg barked at him.

“Language!” Dirk hissed.

The other boy laughed. “He doesn’t like bad words, huh?”

“How’s about you kiss my ass then?” suggested Greg.

“Spencer W. Kimball said, ‘Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to-” He stopped, realizing suddenly that he was outside the school. “Right. Teleporter. Right.”

Dirk began to stretch his body. From where he’d been placed, he still had a clear view of the Common Room. As his body neared one of the windows, he made himself paper-thin. He effortlessly slipped back into the room. Granted, his legs were still being retracted back to his torso, but his upper body was still in the room.

“Jesus teaches that we’re to turn the other cheek,” Dirk said. “So I won’t-” His legs caught up with him as he fell down onto the grass lawn outside the school. “Okay, that’s beginning to get annoying.”

Once more, Dirk stretched across the lawn, slipped under the window, and glared at Abe. “If you do that again, I’m afraid I’m going to have to report this to… the…” Again, he found himself facing the school. “Headmaster.”

Someone appeared out of thin air and grabbed Dirk by the hand. “C’mon, chief!” the boy said. A second later, Dirk and the boy were back in the Common Room. Another boy had planted himself between Suzette and the squadron of bullies.

The long-haired boy was crouching low, with one hand flat on the floor. Bands of darkness shot out of his shadow in every direction, and coiled around Suzette’s ex and the others. “Try me, Remington.”

“Fine,” Remington spat. “Just… just put us down, Miles!”

The shadow-forged tendrils lowered the four boys to the ground and slithered back down their bodies and vanished once more into Miles’ shadow.

They tried to look cool as they retreated—not wanting to lose any more face than they had being beat by one boy. Miles wasn’t about to let them have that. “Oh, and Remington? One more thing…” He motioned for the boy to come closer; Dirk was surprised when the boy complied.

Once Remington was close enough, Miles dropped his voice to a whisper. “You may want to go delete whatever copies of that video you have lying around. I mean, unless you want to keep video evidence of statutory rape lying around.” He shrugged. “Just sayin’.”

Remington glared at Miles, then at Suzette and Dirk each in turn. Only then did he stuff his hands into his pockets, and skulk away.

“Sorry for any undue emasculation,” the other boy said, offering Dirk his hand. “Marlon Winter.” He motioned to his friend. “Miles Lancaster.”

“Dirk Wolfram.”

Miles grinned at Suzette. “Your boyfriend’s got some major stones,” he said, flipping the hair out of his face. “It takes a lot to stand up to jerks like them—but it takes even more to not succumb to violence.”

“We’re—I’m not her boyfriend,” Dirk stammered as the two boys walked away.

“Well, you should be,” Miles called back. “Don’t wait too long to make your move, man! If she stays single much longer, I just might make a move.”

They had left, leaving Dirk and Suzette alone in the Common Room. “Who are those guys?” Dirk asked, staring after them.

“Miles and Marlon,” Suzette said. “They’re in the same year as me. They’re roommates, best-friends, and teammates.”

“How did he—what did Miles do to them?”

“Miles can animate his shadow to bind people,” Suzette said. “He puts his hand on his shadow, and he turns it into those… those things. They grab people and hold them. If he wants, he can squeeze them, throw them… They’re like an extension of him.

“Marlon just teleports.”

“Like Abe?”

“No, not like Abe. Abe… I don’t know. Marlon only teleports himself. He can take a little bit of mass with him, but not much. And he can’t go very far. I think he can go a couple of miles if he really pushes it.”

“They seem pretty nice,” Dirk mused.

“They are.”

Dirk grimaced. “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to do much more than make a fool out of myself. I don’t like violence, and hoped that this could have been resolved by talking. Not only did Miles and Marlon take action, they did it without raising a fist in anger.”

Suzette dabbed at her eyes with the back of her hand. When she was finished, she forced a smile for the boy. “So, looks like we have the room to ourselves: wanna play foosball?”

Dirk motioned for her to lead the way. “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever played foosball before,” he said, making his way to the table.

“Well, it’s no Pit,” Suzette teased, “but it’s okay.”

Matt relaxed his fingers and the ball flew from his hand. Landing with a thud, the red and gold speckled ball spun done the lane, curving ever so slightly left. Clipping two of the pins, Matt was beaming as he turned back to the face the others.

Jim raised an eyebrow at him. “What the hell are you smiling about?” he asked, pointing to the monitor. “You just finished with a sixty-four.”

Matt continued to smile. “I’m just enjoying myself,” he said, dropping into his seat beside Aisha. “It’s just a game—what’s the point if you don’t have fun?”

As he swung his arm up into the air and then down behind Aisha, her face lit up from excitement. Her hopes were dashed the minute she realized he was only grabbing his drink from the cup holder. “Thank you for inviting me to come along, Cyndi,” he said. “This is a blast.”

“Yeah,” Jim said icily, “thanks for inviting him, Cyndi.”

Cyndi ignored her prospective beau’s rudeness. “Ugh, I can finally take the world’s ugliest shoes off…” Cyndi stretched her leg out towards Jim and wiggled her foot until he relented and took her shoes off for her. “Thanks,” she said musically as he carried her rental shoes back to the counter.

At the sight of what she mistook for chivalry, Aisha hastily kicked off her shoes, and nudged them towards Matt’s feet. Shoes in hand, the blonde boy rose up from his seat, and followed Jim out of the sunken lane.

Aisha sagged in the plastic chair. “Did I suddenly manifest invisibility powers or something?” Aisha groaned.

“You’re trying way too hard,” Cyndi said. “Look at Jim: he’s miserable. He clearly wanted it to be just us tonight. Having you and Matt along, though? It only makes him want it more. It’s going to make him try harder.

“If you want Matt to like you, don’t act so desperate. Play hard to get. Act like you don’t even notice him.”

Cyndi quieted herself as the two boys returned to the floor. Wearing a playful smile, Jim tossed one of Cyndi’s shoes to her underhand, evoking a squeal of surprise from her.

Matt’s eyes fell on Aisha’s rental shoes. “Oh, did you need me to run those back for you?”

Aisha looked the other way. “Oh, did you?” she asked. “I hadn’t noticed.”

“Um, okay,” said a baffled Matt. He bent down, picked up her shoes, and jogged back to the counter.

“How was that?” Aisha asked excitedly.

Cyndi slowly shook her head. “Oh, honey… That’s so cute, but it’s also so horrible.” Cyndi turned to Jim and rested her head on his shoulder. “She’s trying to get Matt to notice her. The boy is oblivious, though.”

“Hey, it’s 2025—girls are allowed to be forward.” Jim smirked at Aisha. “If you want him to know you’re interested, make a move. Kiss him. Grind on him. Grab his ass. Whatever.”

Cyndi smacked Jim in the chest. “For the record, I am not grinding on you. Or grabbing your ass.”

“But you’ll kiss me?” Jim asked.

Cyndi smiled flirtatiously. “Maybe.”

Jim smiled. “I’ll take it.” As he leaned down and kissed her, Matt returned with shoes Aisha had never seen before.

“These aren’t mine,” she said, throwing herself forward, and out of the chair.

“Sorry,” Matt said. “It’s just what the guy gave me. I don’t even remember what your shoes looked like…”

“They’re not even women’s shoes,” she whined on a second inspection.


A moment later, Aisha was in the right shoes. Jim and Cyndi—hand-in-hand—lead the way out of the alley. Matt walked alongside Aisha, still wearing the dopey grin he was frequently seen with. Aisha simply stewed.

“Oh, Christ,” Jim groaned, as a man approached them. Matt began fishing bills out of his pocket when Jim barked, “Get a real job!” at the homeless man.

Matt walked up to the man and handed him what he had in his pocket. Aisha clearly spotted a twenty in the wad of legal tender.

“You know he’s just going to use that to buy drugs,” Jim grumbled.

“You don’t know that,” Matt said.

“Why do you think most of them are out here, Matt? It’s because of drugs, or because they’re too lazy to just… go get a real job.”

“Or their crazy,” Cyndi said. “This one time, I went to Chicago. There was this bum just sort of wandering around, screaming at everyone and everything. I couldn’t believe the cops didn’t do anything.”

“It’s not like he was doing anything illegal,” Matt argued.

“What if he hurt someone, Matt?” asked Cyndi. “Those people aren’t well. They could hurt themselves, or a normal person.”

“They are normal people,” muttered Matt.

“They live in cardboard shanty towns,” Jim scoffed. “There’s nothing normal about that.”

“They’re normal people!” Matt thundered.

Cyndi rolled her eyes. “Okay. Whatever you say, Matt. Chill.”

They continued to walk to the corner, when two more men—more disheveled looking than the man Matt had given money to—approached them. “Jesus Christ,” Jim grumbled. “You see, Matt? They’re like pigeons: throw some crumbs to one, and a whole flock swoops in expecting you to throw them more.”

Jim rounded on the duo. “Get lost-” He was cut off by one of the homeless men punching him in the chest.

As Jim doubled over from the shock, screams went up from Cyndi and Aisha. Matt looked up to see two men grabbed them. “Let them go!” Matt roared, taking a few steps forward. When neither man listened to him, Matt held out his arm and unleashed a stream of plasma into the air.

The two men froze. “Let. Them. Go.”

Jim coughed. “See?” he asked. “Nothing normal-”

“Shut up, Jim.” Matt continued to stare down the two men. Thunder rolled in the distance. “I’m not going to tell you again: let them go, or the next one won’t be a warning shot.”

Behind him, Aisha spotted another homeless man sneaking up, clutching a power cord he’d torn off of some appliance or another. “Matt, look out!” she screamed.

Matt turned, and the man brought the cord down like a whip. Matt cried out, and suddenly everything went dark. “Aisha!” Cyndi screamed. “Use my eyes!”

Aisha concentrated on Cyndi. “Cyndi Brightman, Cyndi Brightman, Cyndi Brightman,” she chanted. She imagined her roommate’s face—heard her voice echoing in her head. Suddenly, Aisha shut down her own senses and was able to see perfectly.

She saw Jim flailing at the air, while Matt was down on the ground, futilely fighting off the one with the cord.
Cyndi had broken free in the confusion. She grabbed the guy holding Aisha and his grip loosened. Aisha turned to watching him crumble to the ground; he was lying next to his friend now. “What the-?”

“We need to run!” Cyndi said, grabbing Aisha’s hand.

“But Matt-”

“Matt can take care of himself! We need to get the hell out of here!”

It was always a hassle to use her powers while moving: she saw the world remotely—from Cyndi’s point-of-view a few feet ahead of her. As they ran, Aisha stumbled a few times, as her own perception was slightly askew. “Why did everything turn dark!?!” she heard herself shout. It was another aspect of her powers: while she was effectively deaf while she used her powers, she couldn’t hear herself to modulate her own volume. Hearing things through Cyndi’s hears helped some, admittedly, but only ever-so-slightly.

“These are my powers,” Cyndi explained, not stopping for anything. “I inherited my powers from both of my parents. My daddy can put up this bubble around him that devours all light. Inside it, he can see perfectly fine. My mother, on the other hand, can sap the life out of any living thing she touches.

“Me, I can only drain something’s life force if they’re shrouded in darkness.”

As it the sky began to pelt them with rain, Cyndi ducked into an alley to stop and catch her breath. “Okay,” she said, “I’m turning the lights back on.”

Aisha released her powers and found she could indeed see again. She looked up to see Cyndi searching through her cell phone. “Son of a bitch,” she growled, “I don’t have a number for the school. The only students I know are you and Jim. Shit, we need to… Do you know how to get a hold of anyone?”

Aisha reached for her purse, only to realize she’d dropped it when they had been grabbed. “I lost my cell phone,” she said.

“No worries.” The two girls spun at the sound of the voice. Cyndi was startled to see the figure walk out of the brick wall. Aisha wasn’t: she knew it was well within the scope of her ex-boyfriend’s abilities.

“Here you go, Aisha,” Ebb said, handing her back her purse. “Now, shall we go home?”

The moment Derryl announced that they were clear, Eric grabbed his arm and stepped from the rooftop to the Jenkins’ living room. He looked to his roommate and pointed to his ear. He wasn’t sure how to mime “are you using your powers to cancel noise?”

“You can talk,” Derryl said. “No one will hear us.”

Eric swiveled his head, taking in the living room. “Well, the headmaster said that Missus Jenkins was found in her bed, so… I guess we’ll start in the bedroom.”

Derryl followed Eric towards a door. Eric opened it, only to pull it closed again. “And that’s the bathroom,” he said.

As Eric moved towards the next door, Derryl continued to stare at the handle. “I feel like we should be wearing gloves,” he said. “Not that anyone would have any reason to suspect you killed her, but… I get the feeling that it might be hard to explain how your fingerprints got all over her house, if anyone found them.”

Eric was too busy going from room-to-room, searching for the Jenkins’ boudoir. “Found it,” he said, waving for Derryl to follow him in.

The bed was turned down, with tiny plastic tents set up on the right-hand side of the bed. Eric crept closer and looked down at the pillow. “Blood,” he said. He scanned the room, only to sigh when there didn’t appear to be much else of note. “I thought maybe that there would be something that’d get overlooked…”

“Uh, Eric?”

Eric looked back and found Derryl staring at an elderly man, standing off to the side. The man was bald on top, with short white hair on the sides. A neatly-trimmed beard adorned his hard face, half-hiding an angry scowl reserved for the two boys.

The man didn’t budge as Eric ran forward, grabbing Derryl’s wrist and teleporting back to their room in the school. “That was close,” he said wearily.

“It still is.”

Eric and Derryl turned around, only to find the man now standing in the corner of their room. “Go get the headmaster!” Eric said, pushing Derryl back. By merging the administrator’s office with their room, Eric was able to banish his roommate to the first floor, staying behind to hold their guest back.

“Are you the guy who killed Missus Jenkins?”

The man simply stared at Eric, as though he were sizing him up.

“I want answers, old man!” Eric roared. “Start with who you are, and what you’re doing here!”

Suddenly, the man was standing inches away from Eric. “You want answers?” the man asked. He put a hand on Eric’s shoulder. “So be it.”

The school vanished. In its place was a hellish landscape: a plateau forged from molten rock, jutting out into a narrow canyon, under a crimson sky.

The heat was sweltering.

Eric swatted the man’s hand aside and concentrated on the school. He stepped, but nothing happened. “How did you do that?” he asked. As he tried to step away again, he found himself trapped here with the mysterious man. “What did you do to my powers?”

“Nothing,” the man said.

“Then why can’t I step back to the school?”

“Because you’re already there. Look around you, Eric: this is Roosevelt Island.” The man pointed out across the gorge. “There’s Queens. Over there is Manhattan.

“Welcome to Oubliette-6.”

“Matt, look out!”

Matt turned, and the man brought the cord down like a whip. Matt cried out, and suddenly everything went dark. “Aisha!” he heard Cyndi scream, somewhere deep in the darkness. “Use my eyes!”

He could feel the man drop to the ground, and feel for him. He tried to fight the man back, but armed with that makeshift whip, it was difficult. Matt’s kick had connected, but the man reciprocated by raking Matt’s face with the prongs of the cord. He could feel blood oozing over his eye and on his other cheek. It stung, and he wanted to fight back with his powers—he wanted to just unleash a jet of ionized gas at the man—but he suspected there was nothing nonlethal about his abilities, and he just couldn’t bring himself to take another life.

The man used his weight to pin Matt. He could feel the man’s hands fumbling up Matt’s chest and finding their way to his neck. With his leg keeping one of Matt’s arms down, he was able to hold his neck with one hand and pass a length of the cord to it with the other.

The cord dug into Matt’s neck as the man fought to strangle him. “Stop it!” he hissed. “I don’t want to fry you, man, but I will!”

Suddenly, the darkness dissipated. Matt’s eyes rolled up in an attempt to see if Aisha and Cyndi were okay. When he couldn’t see them, he looked back to the man, snarling as he fought to choke Matt.

Thunder rolled in the distance. There was a thud, and the man’s grip loosened. Matt could breathe again, and the man was collapsing atop him. Jim Loder was standing over them, holding a glass bottle by the neck.

Jim caught the homeless man by the neck of his shirt, preventing him from sprawling over Matt in an unconscious heap. Before Matt could register what was happening, Jim brought the bottle down over the man’s skull, sending glass and blood flying.

Matt frantically scooted away, only to watch in horror as Jim thrust the rest of the bottle into the man’s back, and twisted it. “Jesus!” Matt screamed as Jim threw him down to the ground. Jim didn’t stop: he kicked the man in the face, forcing him onto his back. Raising his foot high, Jim stomped down on the man’s face.

Leaping to his feet, Matt grabbed Jim and pulled him off the man. “Jesus, man! He’s down! He’s…” Rain pelted Matt’s face, causing the bleeding wound across his face to run into his mouth. He wasn’t sure if it was the taste of his diluted blood or the sight of what had once been this man’s face that caused him to vomit; he didn’t care.

At the sight of what Jim had done to their companion, the two who had jumped Aisha and Cyndi scurried away. Jim turned and grinned fiendishly at them. “Oh, no, you don’t,” he whispered. Matt followed Jim’s outstretched arm to their retreating backs, and watched in horror as lightning shot down from the skies to strike one of the men.

The sight of the man being flung by the blast caused Matt to look at Jim in disbelief. “Did… did you just…?”
Jim looked to the other man and watched as a second bolt of lightning stopped his flight.

“Jim! You… What the hell, man!?! What the hell!?!”

Jim pushed Matt off of him and bent down to pick up the discard cord. Rising up, he folded it over before stuffing it into his back pocket. Perplexed, Matt could do nothing but watch as Jim leisurely made his way to his next victim. He felt for a pulse before tearing a button off the man’s jacket. “What are you doing?” Matt asked, baffled as Jim rose up from another body, and made his way to the next.

“We should really get moving,” Jim said, pulling the third man’s shoelace through the aglets of his ratty sneakers. “Cyndi and Aisha could be in trouble, and we need to go save them.”

Rising up, Jim slipped the shoelace into his pocket, along with his other two trophies.

Aisha was paralyzed with shock at the appearance of her ex-boyfriend. “Come on,” Ebb said, grabbing her wrist, and pulling her to follow him, “you’re coming back to where you belong.”

When her roommate looked back to her with a helpless expression, Cyndi leapt into action. “Okay, you’re a Neo-Sapien. You can walk through walls. That’s great. Wanna see what I do?”

Suddenly, the area was wrapped in a bubble of pure darkness. By using her powers, Aisha would be able to see. They could get away—she just needed to make him let go of Aisha. “Cyndi!” Aisha cried. “Don’t touch him!”

Cyndi grabbed Ebb’s shoulder, and experienced a pain unlike any she had ever felt. Out of reflex, Cyndi pulled back her hand, only to find her fingers missing halfway up. Panic set in, and as the darkness faded, a scream filled the alley.

Ebb chuckled as he turned to face her. “My powers are… well, they’re hard to explain,” he offered. “You see, I don’t just ‘walk through walls’: my ability allows me to destroy matter on a molecular level. I can break myself down so that every cell in my body permeates solid matter, or disassemble myself only to reform anywhere else. I can also heal damn near any injury I suffer…

“But I digress. Your arm… See, my power can also be used defensively, disintegrating whatever touches me.”

Aisha snapped her arm away from Ebb. She threw an arm around Cyndi and hurried her out of the alley. “Can you make it go dark again?” she asked her.

Cyndi only barely registered the question through the shock.

“Cyndi!” Aisha screamed. “We need you to focus!” She stopped when Ebb appeared in her path. “We can’t outrun him, Cyndi, but we can get away if you make it go dark!

“Please! It’s the only chance we have!”

Pushing past the phantom pain, Cyndi concentrated and soon blanketed an area in total darkness. “You need to go big, Cyndi! As big as you can!”

Cyndi pushed her powers to the limit as allowed Aisha to lead her on.

“Okay, Cyndi… I know you’re hurting right now, but I need you to do something else for me, okay? I can only see what you see, so the only way I’m getting us anywhere is if you look forward. You can’t keep looking down, okay? I need you to keep looking forward, so I can see where we’re going…”

Cyndi looked forward, and the two girls pressed on, praying that they had lost Ebb somewhere in the darkness.

“What the hell is this?” Eric asked. “What’s an… oo-blee… what?”

“Oubliette-6,” the strange man said, slowly looking around, and nodding, as though he approved of what he saw. “This is another dimension, Eric. It’s a dimension where things happened a little bit differently than they did on your world, and this…” A heavy sigh escaped him. “This is the result.”

“I don’t think I understand. Dimension? Wait, who are you? How did you even get us here?”

“I don’t expect you to understand. Derryl would, yes, but not you.” The man chuckled. “I think you’d go insane if you knew the things I know.

“Suffice it to say, you’re playing with forces you can’t even comprehend. I don’t doubt that that woman’s death was a terrible, terrible thing. I don’t doubt that she’s leaving behind loved ones—people who will miss her very, very much… but I also don’t doubt that it was a necessary evil.

“You don’t understand, and you probably never will, but your teacher had to die, in order for us to prevent what happened to this world from happening in yours.”

Eric looked around at the horrors that had been unleashed upon New York. “How?” he asked. “I mean, what happened here?”

“A great and terrible force was loosed here. Infinity rose, and no one was strong enough to stop her.”

“Her? So Infinity is a person?”

The man nodded.

“And she does… all of this? She destroys the Earth?”

“You don’t understand,” the man said. “Infinity didn’t just destroy the Earth: she destroyed this dimension. Time and space are fractured here. This dimension—Oubliette-6—it’s nothing. There is no life. No day or night. Nothing.

“Oubliette-513, Oubliette-9410, Oubliette-685, Oubliette-94… They’re all in the same shape. Infinity rose in each of those worlds, and now… they’re just like this one. That is why I had to move. That is why-”

“So, you killed Missus Jenkins!”

“I didn’t not kill your teacher.”

“Then who did!?! Simulacrum? Sanguine? Who?”

“I pray you never find out. I pray you keep the memory of this desolation, and allow us to do what must be done.”

“You’re insane!” railed Eric. “How do you know what must be done? What, you’ve seen the future, or something? Then why don’t you do something else, like, oh, I don’t know, kill Infinity when she’s a baby or something? I mean, you obviously don’t have any issue with seeing innocent people killed, so… what’s keeping you from just nipping this in the bud, huh?”

“My boy, you don’t seem to understand: no one knows who Infinity is! One day she simply shows up, and begins destroying creation! Our only hope lies in giving the universe a savior—one who can fight her on her level.”

And like that, Eric found some clarity: “Simulacrum,” he said, beginning to understand. “You’re trying to prepare him for this.” The gears turned in the boy’s head, as if grinding out the horrified expression now affixed to his face. “Did you kill Missus Jenkins because you thought Simulacrum’s attachment to her would jeopardize what you’re preparing him to do?”

The man sighed. “Yes,” he said, reaching out to touch Eric once more. Eric stepped away: with a thought, there were several yards between them. The bearded man never stopped reaching, however…

Shock flashed on Eric’s face as the man’s arm stretched to impossible lengths. His hand fell on Eric’s chest and gently pushed him backwards, just as Eric had Derryl minutes ago.

Eric fell backwards, only to find himself stumbling into the headmaster’s office. Himura peeled his eyes away from the television set into his bookshelves, startled by the youth’s sudden appearance. Before either could question his arrival, Derryl too spilled into the room.

Eric immediately understood: he had been sent back in time, arriving seconds before he charged Derryl with getting help.

“Sir,” Derryl said, “Eric told me to-”

“It’s fine,” Eric said. Derryl spun around and fixed Eric with a perplexed look. “He’s long gone.”

The headmaster looked from one boy to the other. “Who?” he asked.

Eric groaned. “It’s kind of a long story.” He wasn’t sure how to explain without mentioning their cutting class all day to break into a murder scene.

“It may have to wait,” the man said, turning back to the television. It was a live feed from a helicopter, flying over a massive dome of darkness that looked to encapsulate most of Long Island City. “I suspect that one of your classmates is at the center of this mess,” he sighed. “By any chance, could I ask you boys for a favor?”

Inching their way through absolute darkness, Aisha and Cyndi were flanked by the sounds of chaos. Aisha had no inkling how far Cyndi’s powers extended, but she had to imagine it was far: all around them, she could hear the sounds of Queens reacting to suddenly being unable to see.

The pain in Aisha’s right hand wasn’t helping matters. Unless she used her powers to piggyback on Cyndi’s senses, she would have been just as blind as everyone else. Unfortunately for her, that meant she got to share in the experience of missing the ends of her fingers.

Blinded by pain, she almost missed the sound of Cyndi’s cell phone ringing.

“Is that you?” she asked, nudging Cyndi slightly. Cyndi didn’t react, forcing Aisha to grope for Cyndi’s purse—an impossible task, as she couldn’t feel anything with her own hands. “Okay, hold up,” Aisha said, halting their slow procession back to the school. “I need to stop using my powers…”

Aisha was blind again, but able to feel again. Fumbling blindly in Cyndi’s purse, she was glad for the respite from Cyndi’s pain.

Once she had the phone, she found herself unable to detect how to answer the call. With a sigh and a deep breath, Aisha used her powers on Cyndi once more. Her hand ached, but she could now see the screen.

Sliding her thumb across the screen, she brought the phone up to her head. “Hello?” she asked. She heard nothing, and cursed herself for forgetting that her ears were momentarily useless. Again, she ceased to use her powers.

“-man?” the man on the phone asked.

“Sorry, I didn’t get that.”

“Cyndi Brightman?”

“Aisha Stein,” she offered. “Who is this?”

“Aisha, this is Mister Himura—the headmaster.”

“Oh, good! Sir, you have to save us! Some bums attacked us, but Cyndi and I got away, and my ex-boyfriend came to take me away, but Cyndi jumped him, and now part of her hand is gone!”

“We can help you, but we need your help. First, we need you to have Cyndi stop using her powers, Aisha.”

“No!” Aisha exclaimed. “Cyndi’s powers are the only thing keeping Ebb from seeing us, and I-”

“Aisha, we can get you out of there. Once Cyndi powers down, I need you to take a picture of what’s around you, and send it to this phone number.”

“Sir, I can’t-”

“Eric Vaughn is with me. He’s a teleporter, Aisha, but he needs to be able to envision his destination. He can’t just blindly jump to your side unless he has a picture of your location. If you need to have Miss Brightman use her powers again, do it, but make sure you can send us that picture first.

“Eric will come right to you, and bring the two of you back to the school…”

“There’s more,” she said. “Matt and Jim were with us, sir, but the bums got them… They’re in trouble, too!”

“And we’ll save them, too, but right now, we’re going to focus on saving you. Right now, I need you to focus on doing what I told you. Can you do that?”

“I-I think so.”

“I’ll see you in a moment, Aisha.”

The call ended, and Aisha saw to explaining the plan to Cyndi. “We’ll be able to help you, but you need to stop using your powers for a bit…”

Cyndi nodded in compliance and the darkness receded back into her. Immediately, Aisha took a picture, and set about to sending it to the number the headmaster had called her from. “Okay, go ahead and use your powers again,” Aisha said, watching as the image was sent.

Cyndi summoned the darkness once more, and once more Aisha borrowed Cyndi’s senses, letting her scan their surroundings for any sight of Ebb.

Just as the headmaster said, Eric appeared out of nowhere, and he’d brought the cavalry: the headmaster walked out of thin air, leading her Biology, Painting, and Dance teachers, amongst others: while she knew Doctor Himura, Mister Reagan, and Missus Meinstein, the two men with them were strangers to Aisha.

“Miss Brightman?” the headmaster asked. “Miss Stein?”

With some urging from Aisha, Cyndi once more powered down. “Get them back to the school, Eric,” the headmaster said, scanning the street for any signs of trouble. He nodded to the two men whose names Aisha didn’t know. “Eli. Joshua.”

Gale force winds came spilling down the street, caught the two men, and took them up and into the sky. “They’re going to head towards the storm brewing west. They’ll call once they have eyes on the boys.”

Eric wrapped his arms around the girls, and suddenly they were in the infirmary, located in the school’s sublevel. “Which is the one with the injury?” asked a gaunt man with graying hair and glasses.

Aisha led his attention to Cyndi’s hand. “What happened?” he asked.

“My ex-boyfriend,” she explained. “He’s a Neo-Sapien who destroys matter on a molecular level. Cyndi touched him, screamed, and when she pulled back her hand…”

The doctor set about to bandaging her hand. “Young man,” he said, without looking away from his work, “what is the range of your ability?”

“Uh, maybe… two-thousand miles, if I push it,” Eric said. “Why?”

“The leader of the Vienna branch of Vindicators has some healing abilities. If we could bring him here in time, he might be able to save this girl’s hand.”

Eric grimaced. “I’m sorry,” he said.

“For what?” asked the doctor.

Eric looked confused. “For… not being powerful enough to step across the Atlantic Ocean?”

The doctor grinned at him. “Oh, you may not be able to get from here to Vienna in a single teleport, but you could still do it in bursts.”

“Whoa!” Eric barked. “Are you telling me that I should just… what? Step into the middle of the damn ocean?”

“That’s one idea,” the man said, rising up from his stool.

“I don’t think that’s going to work. I mean, maybe you missed this part, but… I don’t walk on water.”

“Of course you don’t,” the doctor said, making his way to the sink. “That’s why you’re going to take me with you.” He turned on the water, then made the stream flow diagonally up into the air, forming into a sphere that floated beside his head. “Doctor Peter Titus,” he said, smirking back at the freshmen. “Give me a minute to call over. I’ll let Fluxx know his expertise is needed, and then we can get moving.”

John opened the door for Kim. “Are you, uh… doing anything tomorrow?” he asked.

Kim grinned at him. “What did you have in mind?” she asked.

“Well, I thought we could actually watch the movie this time.”

Kim laughed. “You mean, you don’t want to spend tomorrow night making out, too?”

“Well, I do,” John said, “but I also wanna watch the movie.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said, leaning in to kiss the boy goodnight. “Wear somethin’ sexy.”

As she turned to head back to her own room, the door to the hall opened, letting in a boy John had seen around the campus.

He couldn’t have been more than a year John’s senior. Armed with his crew cut, clothes straight from the Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue, and smug aura, he bore an uncanny resemblance to everyone John didn’t like in junior high.

As he made his way down to his room, he flashed Kim a devious grin. “Hey, Kimmy,” he said without breaking his stride.

“Who’s that?” John asked, raising an eyebrow at the boy.

“You know how I told you about Suzette—how this boy just asked her boyfriend if he could have her? That’s him.” She began to blush. “That’s my ex-boyfriend, John.

“That’s Jim Loder.”
To Be Continued... wrote:As the freshmen get assigned their training squadrons, Matt warns Cyndi about Jim...

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Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by Horsenhero » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:26 pm

Wow. I never thought I'd feel bad for Cyndi and we are. While I'm certain Martin will fix her right up...ouch.

And Jim Loder's "bi-polar" disorder is a bit more subtle than his dad's it would seem.

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Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:17 am

Horsenhero wrote:Wow. I never thought I'd feel bad for Cyndi and we are. While I'm certain Martin will fix her right up...ouch.

And Jim Loder's "bi-polar" disorder is a bit more subtle than his dad's it would seem.
The biggest threat in this game is Infinity, but the Radical Tomato (you'll see) and Jim create a plethora of problems for our heroes, as this goes on.

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Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by flynnarrel » Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:59 pm

Happy to have a cameo! Ebb's powers are much like Fluxx's, though he teleports where Fluxx transmutes. And he is yet morally ambiguous.

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Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by Michuru81 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:58 pm

flynnarrel wrote:Happy to have a cameo!

Yup! It may not come up in the story, but I've got the NVAE PC's scattered around the globe. The Vienna branch of Vindicators is Fach, Felsic, Fiore, Fluxx, and Ursa. If it weren't for everyone's favorite werebear, they'd be the Alliteration Squad. :(

Magnitude runs the Nairobi branch, leading Caritas, Haboob, Manticore, Mutt, Niloticus, the Rhino, and Warder. Prodigy is saving the world in his own way, Current is a rock star, and Greystone is a solo hero in Detroit.
flynnarrel wrote:Ebb's powers are much like Fluxx's, though he teleports where Fluxx transmutes. And he is yet morally ambiguous.
Here's Ebb's powers: Corrosion 5 (Extras: Affects Corporeal [+1], Aura [+1], Duration [Continuous, +2]), Immunity 9 (life support), Insubstantial 4 (OH MY! vulnerability), Regeneration 6 (Recovery Rate 9 [Bruised {no action}, Injury {no action} Power Feats: Regrowth), Shield 13, Teleport 3 (Flaws: Action [full round, -2])

To this day, the players still haven't figured out what it is Ebb's vulnerable to while intangible, so that one's a closely guarded secret (and I know at least three of them read this).

Essentially, I wanted a villain who was going to be able to take better than he dished it. I originally considered going with a pure tank--Impervious Toughness out the whazoo--but Eric alone would solve that problem in no time. It hit me that by making him untouchable, the villain would be a nightmare for the cast, given that--with the exception of Matt and Derryl--they are a very melee-happy bunch. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go with an energy aura or insubstantial, then I considered building a Johnny Storm knock-off. Somehow, I ended up settling on this guy who goes intangible by breaking down his body on a molecular level.

After that, I thought about other applications of his abilities. I like the idea of insubstantial people having insane defense--that's the Shield power. If Ebb can see the attack coming, he can phase his body to avoid it completely. Coupled with his base +2 Defense, and Ebb's Defense +15 becomes the sole reason he's a PL 10.

From there, it was just a hop, skip, and a jump to Regen and Teleport. With only a +1 Con mod, the odds of him healing each round aren't that great, but given how incredibly defensive he is? He tends not to take much damage. What he takes, he tends to get rid of before he takes much more.

Admittedly, the Life Support is a bit power gamey of me. It's pretty hard to justify that.

In the end, I have to admit that I have a lot of love for Ebb. If it weren't for the limited scope of his motives, he'd be my favorite villain I've run. The Tabula Rasa PCs have faced him more than anyone else, thus far. They've had one good victory over him, only for him to return as part of a team of villains. Ebb is great, and I wish there was a way to realistically bring him to Oubliette-137.

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Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by Horsenhero » Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:30 pm

It's really too bad Lluvia isn't on the Nairobi team. If he was, the Toto song: Africa could be our theme. 8)

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Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by McGuffin » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:00 am

Horsenhero wrote:It's really too bad Lluvia isn't on the Nairobi team. If he was, the Toto song: Africa could be our theme. 8)
:D Thank you for making my morning H! :D
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Why crawl when you can walk? Why walk when you can run? Why run when you can fly?

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Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by Michuru81 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:10 am

Horsenhero wrote:It's really too bad Lluvia isn't on the Nairobi team. If he was, the Toto song: Africa could be our theme. 8)
Gaspar's busy...
Tabula Rasa Bible wrote:Eldritch Technologies
Based in New York City, Eldritch Technologies is a company that strives to improve the planet through scientific breakthroughs.

In 2011, Jason Lamperouge graduated from the New Vindicators Academy of America and immediately put his Neo-Sapien power of hyper-intellect to work. Within months, he unveiled a renewable, clean air alternative to fossil fuels. Decreasing the country’s dependency on foreign oil and helping the environment, Eldritch Technologies was born.

In the years since, Eldritch Technologies has come to employ several Neo-Sapiens whose gifts lend themselves to advancing mankind: Blaine Papagos, Gage Morris, Jessica Hague, Jesus Manuel, Melynda Halcyon, and Will Loder. Together, Eldritch Technologies has pioneered a renaissance of aeronautics and space exploration, as well as advancing medical equipment.

The profits brought in by Eldritch Technologies’ many patents funds the Arthurian Foundation, the company’s philanthropic branch, which is spearheaded by Lamperouge’s wife, Eve Robbins.

The Arthurian Foundation
Founded in 2012, the Arthurian Foundation is a philanthropic organization that aims to channel Neo-Sapien powers in a manner that makes a profound difference in the lives of those occupying impoverished countries. Its charitable actions are substantially funded by Eldritch Technologies.
Eve Lamperouge, co-founder, acts as the organization’s CEO.

Disaster Prevention
Since 2012, many natural disasters have been successfully prevented thanks to the Arthurian Foundation’s employment of Gale Weathers, Gaspar Zorrilla e Higueras, and other weather-manipulating Neo-Sapiens. With the help of early detection, an agent is dispatched to an area to employ their abilities in driving back hurricanes, monsoons and other such weather affects.

Feed the Masses
With the aid of Randy O’Shae, the Arthurian Foundation harvests and distributes food crops to soup kitchens and third-world countries alike. The Arthurian Foundation is careful to only provide food to the hungry, and ensures that their work does not take jobs away from farmers.

Medical Aid
Neo-Sapiens with abilities allowing them to manipulate another individual’s biology are deployed to eliminate disease. Taegan Mallory and Darwin Straus spearhead this branch of the foundation.

Other Aims
The foundation has many other aims, including combating human trafficking, providing education to third-world countries, distributing laptops to children around the globe, and other such philanthropic ventures. With their assistance, they have developed solar and wind farms to every corner of the world, not only supplying the globe with safe, dependable energy, but improving local economies by creating new job markets in maintaining these facilities.
One of my rules for this world is that Jay is not evil. It was really hard to resist when I got up to the Scoundrels story. Fortunately, when I was scratching my brain for a replacement, a really cool twist popped into my head. I can't begin to tell you how anxious I am to show you this moment.

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Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by Horsenhero » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:37 am

And I can hardly wait to see it...well, read it...but you know what I meant.

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Re: Tabula Rasa

Post by flynnarrel » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:26 pm

Michuru81 wrote:
flynnarrel wrote:Happy to have a cameo!

Yup! It may not come up in the story, but I've got the NVAE PC's scattered around the globe. The Vienna branch of Vindicators is Fach, Felsic, Fiore, Fluxx, and Ursa. If it weren't for everyone's favorite werebear, they'd be the Alliteration Squad. :(

We shall rename him "Fursa". He's furry, it fits.