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Missives (Worm)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Bailey Matutine, Jun 19, 2019.

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    Bailey Matutine

    Bailey Matutine (Verified Pooka)

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    Taylor hesitated. She examined the door one more time. Manley, J. An aunt she never knew. With her mother dead, she was the next of kin of a stranger. A deep breath, a turn of the key, and the studio apartment was opened. Through the flies in the apartment, she could already tell where her aunt had fallen, and not gotten up again. The smell of bleach made it obvious enough. The linoleum tiles were lighter there as well, now that she could see it. Outside, she could feel her father parking the moving van. He’d offered to help but suggested that she might wish to do all the sorting herself, simply passing on the heavy lifting to his man muscles, as he put it.

    She walked slowly around the room. The wall with the door was all shelves. Books on the top, boxes on the bottom. The next wall featured some sort of cabinet and a bow window with a banquette battling for dominance. From the size of the center panel, she guessed it was a murphy bed. Behind the banquette was a kitchen, a more modest window above a small sink, a corner cabinet, a stove, a set of drawers, and a fridge. Beside that was a door that she could tell led to a small bathroom. The final wall held more shelves, with a television mounted to the wall in the middle.

    There was a scratching post between the bathroom door and the wall with the TV. She made a note to bring it home for her new houseguest. The neighbor who had found Jessica’s body had gathered up the toys on the floor, Nancy’s bowls, and Nancy herself in a cloth carrier, before getting out of the way so emergency services could close off the scene. She’d already bought a new litter box and scratching post for Nancy, but having another so that both floors the cat was permitted access to had one made sense. The basement, of course, was closed off so that Nancy and the spiders wouldn’t bother each other.

    Looking around, everything but the books, the entertainment system, and whatever was in the kitchen was in the boxes on the shelves. That made things fairly easy. The books would all need to be boxed up, but what was already in boxes would just need labels, and then there’d be the kitchen to sort out. Taylor got to work, opening boxes, looking through them, slapping some blue tape on the top, and scribbling a quick description on them. When her father returned, she set him to boxing up the books, starting at the A’s, as they appeared to be alphabetical by author.

    Work passed quickly, and soon Danny progressed from boxing up books to taking down boxes, first of books and then the boxes that Taylor labeled until he caught up. “Wha’d’ya got there, Sweetie?” Taylor looked up, startled, from the box that had begun to consume her attention, as she dug through looking at various papers rather than simply slapping a label on the box and moving on.

    “Oh, just… letters, and things. I was trying to figure out why Mom never mentioned Aunt Jessica.” Taylor waved to encompass the enormity of the box of letters, some of which were now strewn across the floor before she began to put them back inside. “What made them stop talking to each other?” This box got two labels, one for the contents, one denoting that it should be set aside where she could get at it for the two-hour drive back to Brockton Bay.

    Danny grimaced. “It’s kind of a long story, and I don’t know the whole thing, but as I understand it, it all comes down to the fact that Annette’s parents didn’t approve of her choices, and didn’t approve of me. If there’s anything in there that you want me to explain, I’ll see if I can. Okay, Honey?”

    Taylor nodded and continued sorting and labeling. Soon they were carefully wrapping the TV in a moving blanket, and then all that was left was the kitchen and the bathroom. Here Danny offered to quickly see if there was anything that wasn’t a duplicate to what they had at home, or nice china and such, while Taylor checked the bathroom for anything she wanted, and then they’d trade so she could look through the kitchen for anything he missed while he took care of the litter box. After scooping up some hair care products and jewelry that was in the bathroom, Taylor moved to sit in the bow window while she waited for her father to finish looking through the kitchen. The view was beautiful.

    “Hey, Dad?”

    “Yes, Sweetie?”

    “I think I like your second option.”

    “Renting this place ‘as furnished’ until you’re ready to go to college?”

    “Yeah. There’s what, seven colleges in Portland?”

    “Colleges and universities, but yeah, something like.”

    “That’s a lot of options. I… like the idea of having options, plus I want to make mom proud.”

    “Get good grades and you’ll have all the options you want, you know she’d say.”

    “Yeah. Yeah, she,” Taylor paused, swallowing a few tears. “School isn’t getting better. My grades aren’t what they should be. What kind of options do I have? I don’t want to have to fight the school, I just want things to be better. I want to move on and move up. When we get back, can you help me figure out if I can transfer or something?”

    He paused from his work in the kitchen to give her a hug. “Of course, Honey. Anything you need me to do. You need me to go in and yell at every person working in that shithole, I’ll do it. You need me to pull some strings so you never have to look at a single one of their faces again, I’ll do that too. Your old man knows a few people. I may need to burn a few bridges and use up a few favors, but if things aren’t getting any better… I’ll see what I can get done.” Some hugging later, they returned to boxing up the apartment and then locked up.

    Shortly after that they were back on the road home, Taylor looking through one of the several boxes of letters she had uncovered. There was nothing she could do about school now, but the mystery of the unknown aunt sat ready to be solved.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
  2. Zeushobbit

    Zeushobbit I use my mind and yours doesn't matter.

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    Well, it's an interesting start, definitely looks like Taylor and Danny are in the midst of repairing their relationship. Taylor has her powers so its post-Locker in 2011 and the fact she said school wasn't improving suggests she's been back for a bit so maybe some time in February.

    From the title I guess those letters are going to play a big part, presumably influencing how Taylor goes about her career as a parahuman.

    All in all a good start and I look forward to seeing where this goes.
     
  3. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    Yeah, I'm interested in seeing more of this. Thank you for sharing it with us.
     
  4. Grek

    Grek aaaaaaaaaaaa

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    You have my interest; I want to see where this is going.
     
  5. Threadmarks: 1.1
    Bailey Matutine

    Bailey Matutine (Verified Pooka)

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    “Hey, you want to get something for dinner,” Danny asked, eyeing a billboard noting that the Ruby Dreams Casino and Restaurant was just off the next exit.

    “What?” Taylor looked up from the papers she was trying to puzzle out.

    “Food?”

    “Oh, uh, are we home already?”

    He glanced at her face, the clock on the dashboard, and a passing mile marker before he put his eyes back on the road. “No, we’re still only halfway home. It’s seven. You want dinner now or can you wait an hour?”

    “I can eat now I guess.”

    “Good. Next exit it is.”

    Taylor grunted, returning her attention to the letter in front of her. Time had faded the ink of Annette’s spidery script, and certain passages were unreadable without getting everything under the right light and maybe hiring an expert, but this line… “She’s butch as a rock but you would not believe her legs. I’m going to die over this woman,” she read aloud.

    Danny had a coughing fit, moving van swerving slightly, but managed to keep the van in its lane. “What, uh, what are you reading there, Kiddo,” he fairly squeaked.

    “Um, one of Mom’s letters. They’re kind of faded. Mom was into women?”

    “Thought she might be. Does she say who she was talking about?”

    Taylor peered at the illegible text, willing a name to materialize. “Maybe? It’s hard to read.”

    Danny shrank a little, seemingly disappointed for some reason. “Oh well. You know, she used to say my legs were my best quality.”

    “Daaaad! Don’t tell me that!”

    He shook his head. “I’m just saying I’m proud you got our best qualities. Her hair, my legs, her brain… I used to be pretty proud of my legs. I was on the track team. That’s why I let you start running in the mornings, despite how unsafe it’s getting.”

    “Oh. Thanks, that- wait, where are we?”

    Danny pulled into a space and put the van into park. “Getting dinner, like I said.”

    Taylor looked around frantically, trying to make this not be happening. “I thought you meant like a drive-thru! Not Ruby Dreams! You’re going to wear one of those stupid paper hats! You always wear one of those stupid paper hats!”

    “I look dashing in those paper hats!”

    “You look like I want to dash away from you is how you look in those hats.”

    Danny mimed a blow to his heart. “Such cruelty to your old man. If you admit that I look good in the paper hat, I’ll let you have a fudge volcano.”

    Taylor’s face wavered, her will weakening.

    “And I’ll let you bring your reading material to the table,” he sweetened with an offer Taylor had never heard before, not even for her mother.

    “Deal. You look great in that hat. You should ask for an extra five and wear them to work for a week.”

    “Hey, don’t overdo it now,” he sulked as he locked the van. “You want any help carrying that box?” She shook her head as she put the letter she was reading in on top before putting the lid on and hefting it in one hand, resting it on her left hip as she closed the door.

    The two of them moved inside and through the casino into the restaurant. Danny’s gaze lingered on one of the slot machines before he shook his head and kept moving. The two of them were led right away to a booth with a view of the Sheepscot. Danny snagged a paper hat out of the container on the lectern by the door as they passed, and had it opened up and on his head by the time they sat down. Taylor pushed the box all the way in and sat across from Danny next to the aisle.

    “Can I see the letter you were talking about?”

    “Oho, your plot is revealed! You only let me bring the letters to the table so you could read one!”

    Danny rolled his eyes. “Yes yes, please?”

    Taylor handed it over with good cheer and started trying to read the next letter. The top half was an unreadable smudge due to water damage at some point, but the lower portion was clear.

    [rry about me. The trick is to act without being seen to act. Those with power keep it primarily by retaliating against those who seek to gain it. If you express power they try to make an example of you, but if they don’t know who to make an example of that lack of action encourages unrest. Misaimed retaliations encourage more. Once people are riled enough it becomes safer to show your face and demand your rights personally, but until there’s a public demand, it’s best to just quietly put out the word that there should be rights for people like you. I’ll let you know long before I’m willing to put my name on anything. Until then, shhhh, don’t give away that it’s me asking angry questions in the bathroom.
    All the love in the world.
    A]

    “Was mom involved in-”

    “Can I get you two anything to drink?” A waitress had manifested from the ether while Taylor was distracted, it seemed to her.

    “Root beer?”

    “Make that two,” Taylor chimed in.

    “And do you know what you want to eat or should I give you more time?”

    There was only one thing Taylor ever wanted off the menu. “Lobster mac and cheeseburger, please.”

    “Fries, sweet potato fries, potato salad, or salad?”

    “I’ll have the regular fries, thanks. With malted vinegar please?”

    “Of course, hon,” the waitress said as she picked up Taylor’s menu. “And for you, sir?”

    That same pleased smile he always had when people called him that drifted across Danny’s face. “I’ll have the braised sole, with lemon buttered rice. Also, can we get the bacon appetizer to share?” He handed his menu to the waitress, who smiled and agreed before hurrying off.

    Taylor went back to trying to read papers until her root beer and a basket of bread arrived, at which point she reluctantly returned most of the papers to the box so she didn’t spill anything on them. “Oh, I almost asked earlier, was mom-”

    An interruption came in the form of shouting from the lobby. Smoke was billowing around the entrance and four people with three monsters stood in the center. “If everyone will please stay calm,” came a resonant voice that sounded like it had a microphone assist, “we’ll be out of here soon. Now, I’m sure you all know exactly how far the nearest heroes are, so nobody get any bright ideas. Don’t bother making any calls because my power is blocking the signal. Don’t try to fight back because Bitch’s dogs,” here he gestured at the monsters, “will rip you to shreds. Now, Regent will be coming around and collecting your valuables, while Tattletale breaks open the vault. Please have everything ready to hand over when he gets to you.”

    One of the people began to stroll in her direction, stopping at various tables as he advanced. He seemed to be wearing a crown, of all things. Closer, closer, putting wallets and jewelry into a backpack. “Oh hey, cool watch, gimme.”

    The man at the next table growled as he removed his watch and handed it over. “You children will pay for this insult.”

    “Yeah yeah. If you take credit I’ll insult your momma too.” The crowned cape was at her table now. “Oh cool, a box. I can use that when my backpack fills up. Hand it over. Those papers look like they might be important, so leave them in there when you do.”
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  6. Zeushobbit

    Zeushobbit I use my mind and yours doesn't matter.

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    welp, regent is dead
     
  7. Kharchos

    Kharchos Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Unique start, I like it! Very refreshing after all the established tropes. And an interesting mystery! You got me hooked.
    It looks like the Ruby Dreams heist will go a little differently this time as well. This is about the same time as the start of canon, right? The Lung fight was a few days after the Ruby Dreams heist if I recall correctly.
     
  8. ShadowStepper1300

    ShadowStepper1300 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Five weeks, actually. Ruby Dreams was late February, the Lung fight was around midnight on the 10th/11th of April. It's never been officially stated that Ruby Dreams was owned by Lung, and even if it was, it wasn't the last straw that got Lung to gather his entire gang on a manhunt. What Ruby Dreams was was the robbery that put the Undersiders on the Protectorate's radar.
     
  9. Threadmarks: 1.2
    Bailey Matutine

    Bailey Matutine (Verified Pooka)

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    Taylor hesitated. The interior of the restaurant and the kitchen were remarkably clean. Not a single bug to her senses. Outside it was still too cold for most bugs to be out and about. In the dumpster out back there was a large colony of roaches living between the plating, but they were a bit far to get inside in any decent length of time, and there were a fair number of spiders throughout the casino and in the ventilation system, but none in any kind of numbers that could disable these villains before Regal or whatever his name was could attract the attention of those monsters.

    “You can keep the papers on the table,” he drawled, bringing her attention to center, “since they look pretty wrecked already, but only if you make quick with the rest of the box.” She reluctantly placed the lid on the box and lifted it, preparing to maneuver it over herself. “Actually, you know what, you follow me with the box. I don’t want to carry it. I’ll make Grue hold it when we leave so you don’t have to worry about being taken hostage.”

    She caught her dad’s eye. He was seething. She was too. He looked down at the two papers and back up at her. “Stay safe, put the box on the ground and get away from them quickly as soon as they don’t need you to hold the loot anymore.”

    “Sure, sounds good to me. Come along, glasses girl.” Regal kept casually strolling with his backpack.

    As Taylor moved to get up some of the words on the letter still laying on the table caught her eye. “The trick is to act without being seen to act.” She murmured the words. Her dad shook his head nearly imperceptibly at her, a pained expression on his face.

    “Stay safe,” he repeated. She nodded at him. She would.

    As she was walking away from the booth, she heard the man who’d relinquished his watch speak again, softer than before. “It’s a shame nobody can slip away to a phone without them seeing.”

    Taylor nodded at that, continuing with a bit more determination. A phone. She only had to find a phone. She thought the man most likely intended for her to wait for Regal to get distracted while she was within reach of one, but she had a better idea. She concentrated on the roach colony, urging them into the building and having the spiders clear a path through their webs for them.

    A flood of insects surged inside, but where was a phone they could use? Her eyes lit on the phone beneath the maitre d’hotel’s lectern. With the angle, she was the only one who could see it right now. Her eyes flickered over at Regal. Even if he could see it from that angle, he was looking away. The roaches crept out a floor vent and towards the phone.

    Taylor took a few steps forward, making sure to take the phone out of her line of sight, then tripped over a chair, dropping the box and scattering a few pages. With effort, the roaches rocked the phone out of the cradle. Brew and Regal looked over at Taylor. The crowned cape flashed a hand signal at the other cape. “If you’re trying to hide one of the papers it’s not gonna work. Pick everything up and I’ll just stroll back this way later.”

    Taylor hurriedly picked everything up while the roaches climbed over the buttons. Near as she could tell, they were made of some weird flexible material that allowed her to push the buttons easily with her roaches. She tried to remember the cape equivalent of 911 before remembering it and typing 112. Now she just had to hide her bugs and hope that worked. It took less time to return the roaches to the dumpster than it took for them to reach the phone.

    True to his word, Regent strolled to the end of the restaurant, collecting jewelry as he went, then back, peering under the tables to make sure Taylor hadn’t missed any papers. He paused when the phone came into view. “Hey Grue, we might have a problem. There’s a phone off the cradle over here.”

    The motorcycle helmet cape strode over. “Where?”

    Regal pointed. “Under the menu thingy.”

    Grue tilted his head in thought. “Nobody was standing near it when we came in. Did anybody get close to it?”

    Regal shook his head. “Personne.”

    “What?”

    “Nobody.”

    Grue looked at Taylor, still holding her box and trembling. “Why is this girl standing up? Stranger?”

    Regal chuckled. “I thought it’d be funny to make her follow me around carrying that box.”

    “Sit back down,” Grue ordered her. “This is serious, Regent. How long has that phone been off the hook? You know Tattletale said the timing was important here. If somebody got off a call we have problems.”

    “Fine, fine, I’ll figure it out.” His eyes scanned around, lighting on the waitress. “You, come here.”

    Cautiously, the waitress approached as Grue returned to the floor of the casino. ”Y-yes?”

    “When’d the phone come off the hook?”

    “I, I don’t know. I thought I put it back after the last call.”

    Regent stroked his chin, then grabbed a steak knife off a nearby table before handing it to her. She looked at it in confusion. “Okay but for realsies. The phone.”

    “I told you I don- ahhh!” The waitress shrieked as her hand jerked, stabbing the knife towards her own chest. She dropped it. “Wh-what?”

    “Oh yeah so my power is I can make you jerk about. Don’t jerk me about, I don’t make you stab yourself.” He picked up the knife and placed it in her hand again. She stared at it like it was venomous. “The phone. Tell me what I want to know.”

    “I, I told you, last I looked- eek!” The knife thrust itself in her direction again, her hand releasing it to fly past her ear, nicking it slightly before the knife buried itself in the wall. The waitress began crying.

    “Let’s try this again. Tell me what I want to know, or else.” He forced a second knife into the sobbing woman’s hand.

    “I… I set it down to ask the chef a question. A customer called and asked me about one of the dishes. I, I must not have remembered.”

    “There, was that so hard? You can put down the knife now. Grue, we might have company any minute. She was on the phone with somebody before, and she didn’t hang up right.”

    “Shit,” he cursed. “Well, looks like it’s time to start taking hostages.”
     
  10. Belenus

    Belenus Know what you're doing yet?

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    Regent's dickishness usually gets downplayed or made into a joke. Nice to see something where he's not just an oh so zany hollywood sociopath.
     
    Zeushobbit likes this.
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    Bailey Matutine

    Bailey Matutine (Verified Pooka)

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    “Glasses girl and waitress,” Regent called, “if you’re in the lobby by the count of five, I’ll let you leave your box of paper and your knife.” Taylor’s heart stopped. She looked at the box. She couldn’t lose this connection to her mother, but the alternative… She looked at Regent, where he was standing in the vestibule between the lobby and the restaurant. “One,” Regent sang out.

    Taylor exchanged a look with her father. “K-keep these safe. I want to read them when we get home,” she choked out. He seemed about to object but she interrupted him. “So that we can go home,” Danny nodded as Taylor got up and walked towards the lobby, matching tears on father and daughter’s faces.

    “Two,” Regent called as Taylor walked past the waitress, still sobbing on the floor. “Three!” Taylor looked back at her, still unmoving, and turned around.

    “Come on, we have to move,” she tried, tugging on the older woman’s arm. She burst further into tears.

    “Fo~our!”

    “Please, get up and come with me. He’ll make you hold that knife again if we don’t move now,” Taylor tried desperately.

    “Four and a half?”

    “Please, we have to go.”

    “Five! Time’s up, looks like mister knife gets to come too! Although,” he made a show of pondering. “Glasses girl here was trying so hard to help her new friend. It’d be a shame if I didn’t reward that. Tell you what, Glassy, if you hold the knife, I won’t make Waity here hold it.”

    Taylor looked at the drop of blood on the waitress’s shoulder, from when her ear was nicked, and at her tear stained face. “Deal,” she complied, taking the knife, and beginning to gather spiders onto the ceiling.

    “Waity, get into the lobby or I make glasses girl stab herself.” Taylor looked at the knife in her right hand, alarmed, and discreetly transferred her grip to hold it by the blade between two fingers of her left hand, sharp edge pointed away from her body.

    “Come on, please,” Taylor urged the waitress. Slowly, falteringly, she stood up and trudged to the lobby with Taylor, unwilling to let someone else get stabbed on her behalf.

    “There we go, was that so hard?” Regent waved Taylor and the waitress over to where Grue had gathered three other hostages; a young mixed sex couple and a middle aged nonconformist. Taylor ran her eyes over the nonconformist's jacket and spotted zir pronoun patch on zir sleeve, nodding to herself on reflex to keep it in mind.

    “If you stand by the door and stay calm,” Grue informed the gathered hostages, “then you should hopefully all be home some time soon. We just need you to make anyone who shows up think twice before coming in. Regent, make sure they all stay up against the door while Bitch and I check on Tattletale.” Regent rolled his eyes behind his mask while the woman Grue had called Bitch ordered her monsters to stay.

    As soon as Grue and Bitch were out of sight, Regent turned to the hostages. “Now, who wants to play a game?” Silence greeted him. “Anybody? Nobody? Suit yourselves.” He reached into his backpack and pulled out a vintage Game Boy, from before Leviathan hit Japan. “This thing set me back three thousand dollars and I didn’t really want to share it anyways.” He casually threw his backpack over the back of a chair, dragged it over to a hot air register near one of the walls, and plopped himself down.

    As everyone stared incredulously at the villain, Taylor was struck by a vindictive thought, and organized the spiders in the ducts to make their way over to where Regent was sitting. They were all too happy to oblige, enjoying the warm air. Taylor heard voices approaching from where the other two villains and left, and mentally told the spiders to wait.

    “All I’m saying is, you told me that my power would be enough to block cell signals so we wouldn’t have to worry about the police, and now you’re telling me not only do you have a special phone that gets past it which you already used to tell the boss we succeeded, you also just didn’t think of landlines. This isn’t shaping up great.” Grue’s voice echoed oddly, Taylor found. “Anything else you just didn’t-”

    “Wait. If you open that door your voice will carry enough that the civilians can hear you,” a female voice interrupted. This seemed odd to Taylor, given she was already hearing them. “The boss said he’d have a plant sitting where he could see anyone approaching the phone, and raise a fuss if anyone moved towards it. If this waitress had been on the phone when we came in I’d have spotted it. Just bad luck she sat it off the cradle.”

    “Why does he even want us doing this job? The risk of failure has gone up and I’d like to know why you were bothering to take the hard drives if the safe was so easy to open. We could have been gone already.”

    “I don’t know all the details but I’d have to guess he wants dirt on this James Fliescher. Listen, I’ll explain more back at the loft but right now we have to move. I’d guess that Portland and ENE are in another jurisdiction pissing match at the moment, but pretty soon Portland will win on the basis of having Wingspan, who can get here with Maine Lion and a few troopers in about ten minutes. We need to be gone before they get here.” Taylor saw the door open and three villains emerged.

    Grue again stood in front of the hostages. All eyes were on him. Taylor took the moment to move all of her spiders into Regent’s backpack while Grue spoke. “So the good news is we’re leaving and we’re not going to hurt anyone. The bad news is that the police are coming and so we’re going to get a little insurance. Which of you five live in Brockton Bay?’

    Taylor found herself raising the hand with the knife in it without thinking about it. She looked at the knife. She looked at the villains. The villains looked at her. The villains looked at the knife. “He made me hold this,” she declared, pointing at Regent, seconds after the last of her spiders had climbed into his backpack.

    Regent looked up from his Game Boy. “Oh hey are we leaving?”
     
  12. Asheram

    Asheram Know what you're doing yet?

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    Hostage taking? Really? So much for keeping a low profile. Once Tats gets out here she's going to tear her hair.
     
  13. Threadmarks: 1.4
    Bailey Matutine

    Bailey Matutine (Verified Pooka)

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    The conversation had moved outside.

    “Put the knife down,” Grue said. Taylor was all too happy to comply. “Now, we’ll happily drop you off three blocks from a police station in Brockton Bay, as long as the PRT doesn’t follow us when we leave. You’ll be riding with me and-”

    “No.” Grue looked at the dog masked cape, exasperated. “Don’t trust her on my dogs. She rides in front where I can see her.”

    “You’ll be riding with Bitch, who will make sure you’re on your best behavior.”

    Taylor looked back and forth at the byplay before nodding. If she was going to be in their view the whole time, she would have to look like she was cooperating. She directed the spiders in Regent’s backpack to begin spinning silk to join everything in it together.

    “Put your hands here and here, then step here,” Bitch said firmly, pointing. “If you hurt him I’ll hurt you.” Taylor complied, soon finding herself astride the monster dog. Bitch looked her and the dog over suspiciously and then seemed to relax. “Good.”

    Grue and Regent climbed aboard the other two dogs, Regent first throwing his backpack over one of the spikes. It wasn’t long before Tattletale emerged from the building where she had been explaining to the crowds exactly why they should let the Undersiders escape, and why it supposedly wasn’t that bad that they were essentially kidnapping Taylor. Somehow Taylor didn’t think her dad bought that second part.

    “Guys, stop changing the plan on me. Seriously. We planned things out the way we did for a reason,” Tattletale said as she climbed aboard the dog that Grue was riding, holding onto his torso to stay steady.

    “Don’t know her, I’m watching her,” Bitch replied before climbing up behind Taylor, and holding onto the spikes in front of her, her muscular arms effectively holding Taylor in place.

    “Boss texted me. He says to abandon the van we took here. He’ll have someone take care of it. Take a left out of here and then a right, and cut across the hiking trail we’ll come to in about a mile. There’ll be another van waiting over that ridge.” Bitch nodded at Tattletale’s instructions and commanded the dogs, the group speeding off down the road. Sure enough, there was a van there waiting. Taylor mentally wondered who this boss was that they were willing to completely write off a whole van just to attack a casino. “I’d offer to leave you here but Regent just took your dad’s phone so there’d be no way for you to get picked up before you froze. Don’t worry. We’ll get you to the police and they can get you home.”

    Taylor looked around, afraid to climb down wrong and get attacked for hurting the dog. Bitch seemed to notice her indecision and lifted her down. She blushed and wasn’t sure why. Taylor watched as the dogs shrank down before climbing into the van, only noticing then that the others had already climbed in. Regent was in the back seat and, from what she could tell, had put his backpack under his seat.

    Taylor sat in the remaining seat, nearest the sliding door. As she got in the van, she carefully noted that the child safety lock was not engaged. She was thankful for that, as she might need to bail out if they noticed her spiders. She directed them to begin tearing at the seams on the bottom of the bag, first in one spot to create a hole they could crawl through, then spread out to weaken the bottom overall.

    The van began to move. Taylor separated a few spiders from seam ripping duty to begin attaching strings from the ball of ill-gotten goods to the underside of the seat. Snow swirled outside the window, glowing in the light of the dusk on the horizon, beyond the stretch of the clouds. The engine of the van purred and the vents caressed the passengers with warm air. The dog beside Taylor panted happily to be riding in the car. Bitch looked over at her and nodded approvingly. Taylor could almost feel relaxed.

    Taylor awoke with a start as the van came to a stop. She filled with panic but pushed it back down. “We’re here,” came Grue’s rich voice. “As promised, safe and sound three blocks from the police station. Just down that way, then on the left,” he pointed. Taylor got out and the van trundled on, before rounding a corner.

    Taylor could still feel the spiders as the van came to a stop. As many as she could, she ordered back into the bag, instructing a few to climb into the ball of stolen goods, with the rest clinging to the inside of the bag. It wasn’t long before the spiders in the bag separated from the spiders in the ball, and she tensed up, ready to hide if they showed signs of coming back her way. Instead, the spiders in the bag had soon left her range.

    Cautiously, she approached the van and opened it up, directing the spiders to cut the threads securing the ball to the seat. There were a lot more threads than she remembered telling them to put. It didn’t take too long though before she had the ball of goods out from under the seat, sitting on the bottom of the bag, separated from the rest of the backpack, with Regent’s Game Boy and extra game cartridges sitting on top.

    As she set to work removing them and preparing her outer jacket to carry the items in, she began to wonder what she was going to tell the police about her recent adventures. Glancing off in the direction her other spiders had left, she worked quickly to get everything in a state to leave sooner.

    As she trudged back towards the police station, strangely unbothered by the chill due to the warmth of victory, she reflected. Act without being seen to act. She’d done that today, and it had worked. She’d spoiled the victory of the small gang by recovering the most personal items of their robbery, and nobody had gotten more hurt than the waitress. Maybe she could be a good hero after all.

    An hour later, when her dad found the right police station and brought her the dinner she’d ordered, she didn’t complain about how cold it was. After the long day she’d had, it tasted like the feast of kings. Dessert tasted even better.
     
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  14. Threadmarks: 1.A
    Bailey Matutine

    Bailey Matutine (Verified Pooka)

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    Alec waved at the girl as they dropped her off. Brian drove another two blocks and rounded the corner, coming to a stop behind another van. Alec made a show of yawning and rummaging for his bag while the others got out and transferred so he wouldn’t be asked to help with anything else. Once they were all in the next van he grabbed the bag and yanked it out, not really looking as he threw it over his shoulder and hurried into a seat. Strangely light. Weird. He tossed it under his seat and went back to his phone.

    ■​

    Welcome to the Parahumans Online message boards.
    You are currently logged in, Gagnant
    You are viewing:
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    ■​

    ♦ Topic: Classic Person Above You Thread 37: Return of the PAYT Dragon's Brother's Cousin's Roommate
    In: Boards ► Social ► Games ► PAYT Containment Zone
    Barricaded_Morning (Original Poster) (Moderator)
    Posted On Mar 3rd 2011:
    Welcome, Soupies to Person Above You Thread 37: Return of the PAYT Dragon's Brother's Cousin's Roommate. I'd say you all know the rules but the 36 locked threads behind us tell me that I'm wildly optimistic. Respond in some way to the person above you. Don't be creepy, don't dox people, don't threaten violence, and for the sake of our poor mod team, please, be reasonable and don't dare tinkers to shut down the power grid of the entire Western Seaboard. Again. Now, the last post of the previous thread is technically the person above me, so I'll start. Tin_Mother, did you enjoy that cranberry muffin recipe?


    (Showing page 12 of 12)

    ►XxVoid_CowboyxX
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    Come on, Cupboard3, I'm not that bad.

    ►Cupboard3 (Veteran Member)
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    You really, really are.

    ►Barricaded_Morning (Original Poster) (Moderator)
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    Cupboard, please, it's really hard to take your side on this when you don't follow the thread rules.

    ►Cupboard3 (Veteran Member)
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    Sorry, Barri.

    ►DifferentOtherToad
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    Heya Cup. Good to see your ban from the PAYT zone was lifted.

    ►Gagnant
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    Good to see a Toad around. When you all get active it becomes pretty easy to respond and probably one of you is there.

    ►DifferentOtherToad
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    Gagnant, you are a cheater.

    ►Gagnant
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    That's what makes my name appropriate, Toad.

    ►UnpopularToad
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    A cheating cheater who cheats, Gagnant.

    ►DifferentOtherToad
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    You said it, my Toad brethren.

    ►XxVoid_CowboyxX
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    DifferentOtherToad, good to see you're doing alright. I was worried when you logged off in the middle of our game on Wednesday.

    ►Gagnant
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    You got totally ditched, Void.

    ►SapphicForSapphires (Cape Wife)
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    Let's not jump to conclusions, Gagnant. Four of the toads are on the west coast. I think DOT is one of them?

    ►DifferentOtherToad
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    Yeah, Sappy has the right of it. Sadly I lost power right as I was grabbing that last resource node, and the system logged it as an attempt to cheat, so not only did I waste my whole night, I then spent the morning pleading with the admin to overturn the autoban.

    ►Reactivity (Unverified Cape)
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    Wow, that sucks DOT. Really feel for you.

    ►SapphicForSapphires (Cape Wife)
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    Reactive, how are you still unverified?

    ►UnpopularToad
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    If I'm remembering right, SFS, one of the mods is being a floop about the fact that somebody had their cape name as a forum handle three years before they made their first appearance, and that their tinker specialty could be used to fake a verification.

    ►SapphicForSapphires (Cape Wife)
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    Toad, that makes no sense. Wouldn't faking the verification with their tinker powers itself essentially be a form of verifying their tinker powers?

    ►UnpopularToad
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    That's why I said she's being a floop, Sapph.

    ►Reactivity (Unverified Cape)
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    The Toad has the right of it.

    ►Gagnant
    Replied On Mar 5th 2011:
    BRB, Reactive, all.

    My team is freaking out about something.

    End of Page. 1, 2, 3 ... 10, 11, 12

    ■​

    Alec looked back up from his phone. There were spiders all over the inside of the van. “How the hell did all these spiders get in here?” Lisa glared at him, which just increased his confusion.

    “What did you put in that bag?” Regent furrowed his brow. His bag? What was Lisa talking about? He pulled it out from under the seat. The entire bottom was missing, and it was empty except for spiders all over it, and now all over his hand. He screamed and dropped it.
     
  15. Sub[0]

    Sub[0] Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Once again, spiders are the solution to all of Taylor's problems
     
  16. aoirann

    aoirann All of the Kink. None of the guilt.

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    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Threadmarks: 1.B
    Bailey Matutine

    Bailey Matutine (Verified Pooka)

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    Barry looked over the report that the police had sent over. The name of the witness stuck out at him and he couldn’t recall why. A quick check of his files showed that she’d had a crisis point recently, and two of the wards had conducted the interview. Well that was interesting. He called Triumph and Shadow Stalker up to his office, marking the summons as urgent. Triumph arrived first, waving politely before sitting down in the reception area between the offices on his floor. Not ideal but it wasn’t a wrong decision to wait for backup so he let it go, working on some of his other paperwork in the meantime.

    A few resolved duty reports later, Barry looked up and saw that Shadow Stalker had arrived, now sitting in the reception area as well. Triumph appeared to be looking at something on his phone. That boy. He called the two of them in. “I’ll get right to the point. Something crossed my desk and I’m hoping to get your insight before I respond to it.” The two of them looked bewildered and perhaps slightly guilty. Not a great look on heroes. “Triumph, you two visited one Taylor Hebert in the hospital back in January. What was your impression of her?”

    Triumph froze up. “Um, sir?”

    “Taylor Hebert, she was the one who was in the locker.”

    “I’m not, uh…”

    A sinking feeling was growing in Barry’s chest. “You did interview her, right?”

    “Well, not exactly. I stayed out in the lobby for more general community outreach. Sophia did the actual interview.”

    Barry could just feel a headache forming. “We have regulations regarding these things for a reason. Even aside from the liability issues, having more eyes and ears on a potential parahuman gives us more information to use down the road. By not—” Shadow Stalker scoffed. “Something to say?”

    “That loser is worthless. All she does is make baseless accusations against popular students because she’s jealous of them. No way she got powers. Besides, Rory didn’t miss anything. She was unconscious.” She crossed her arms, closing herself off to any rebuttal.

    The headache was growing. “If she was unconscious then that should have been your report so we could follow up in a week, not this ‘unresponsive, unlikely to be a factor’ report that you both signed. Didn’t you pay attention to the briefing? Subjects who are especially out of it tend to have thinker powers or aspects that they’re still getting used to. That especially seems to be the case here. I called you down to ask about her because last night, some no-name gang tried to rob the Ruby Dreams Restaurant and Casino and she was in just the right place at just the right time to capitalize on every mistake they made and get back all of the personal items they took from the civilians, which doesn’t say worthless loser to me, and considering somebody put her in the hospital, I have to wonder just how baseless her accusations are. Shadow Stalker, I’m putting you through the remedial protocol course. No further patrols until you can recite the rules verbatim. You’re dismissed. Triumph, stay.” He watched as Shadow Stalker angrily stalked out the door and returned his attention to Triumph. “I think I remember seeing that you already signed a contract to join the Protectorate?”

    “Yes,” Triumph replied, cautiously and then confidently. “Three weeks ago, when I turned eighteen. The paperwork already went through but we’re waiting another month to hide my birthday. While I’m still officially the leader of the Wards, you no longer have disciplinary authority over me. Sir.”

    “Yes, that’s true. I do not have disciplinary authority over adult parahumans. I can only advise the director and the local team leader.” Barry shuffled some papers on his desk. “I have a transfer request here.”

    “No.”

    “Saint Paul is looking to trade Hotshot. Apparently there’s some drama with her civilian life she’s looking to get away from. So far no other branch has taken them up on the offer. They all have cohesive teams that work well together,” he continued.

    “You can’t!”

    “In my role as Deputy Director, I do have the authority to transfer parahumans as long as I think it’s good for team cohesion. I have to explain myself to the Director afterwards, but I think Emily will agree with me. I’m recommending that your graduation to the Protectorate be enacted immediately, and that you be promptly traded. I understand your father had you moved to an online schooling program to help hide the scandal of being kicked off the baseball team, so you should have no trouble finishing your diploma from Minnesota.”

    “The Youth Guard will—”

    Barry allowed his anger to show on his face. “The Youth Guard is not a magic talisman for children to wave and get their way. They are an institution to protect children from the follies of adults. Adults like you now are, even if you won’t act like it. Please call them. I’ll explain that you were too busy signing autographs to check on a hospitalized girl who was the victim of a serious crime, and that when you were questioned on this a fifteen year old girl tried to take all the blame. We’ll ask them why she would do a thing like that for an adult in her direct chain of command. They will follow you for the rest of your career and question every public interaction with an underage person. Alternately, you can accept your transfer, you can acknowledge you fucked up, you can strive to do better, and you can become a name that Saint Paul is proud of. It’s your choice, really. This isn’t the first time your unwillingness to take things seriously has caused a problem. It’s just the first time I can do something about it without your daddy protecting you. Feel free to try getting him to do so. He’s political enough to see the opportunity Saint Paul is to someone who can get their head together. Now go. You need to pack.”

    Later, alone in his office, a much calmer Deputy Director Barry Rennick reassigned Shadow Stalker’s case worker and put Jill from his old unit on that duty. He didn’t trust the reports that he was reading if that was an example of Shadow Stalker’s behavior.
     
  18. aoirann

    aoirann All of the Kink. None of the guilt.

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    HEHEHEHEHE!

    Bailey: Yes! Soon. Soon! The harem comes one step closer to fruition!
    Bailey's SO: Bailey! I made perogies.
    Bailey: WOO! *Bolts out of the office as only a Pooka can*

    (You get between Bailey and perogies, you're going through the roof with how fast Bailey slams into you to get those perogies.)
     
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  19. Zeushobbit

    Zeushobbit I use my mind and yours doesn't matter.

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    Welp. Sophia is fucked, and not in the fun way.

    I like this Rennick.
     
  20. aoirann

    aoirann All of the Kink. None of the guilt.

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    Well I'm an idiot and thought Triumph was Gallant. I thought you were getting rid of Gallant to open up Vicky to date Taylor.
     
    MagicEater likes this.
  21. Threadmarks: 2.1
    Bailey Matutine

    Bailey Matutine (Verified Pooka)

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    Taylor sat in her room, looking over the box of papers. Most of them were hard to read in one way or another, and many, once she did manage to read them, said little beyond a fairly generic if flowery rendition of I'm glad to hear you’re well, I’m good too, everything is fine here, love you, A. Taylor traced one of the flourished letters with her finger. Never Annette. Just A. Simple. Bold. Recognizable. Taylor imagined that Jessica had never needed more than that to know it was her sister writing to her. She tried to copy the A. Maybe not so simple. These little flourishes must have taken as much to get right as just writing her name normally. Simple on the face of it. Real depth underneath. Taylor sighed and looked at her journal. The page she had open was full of crossed out names. Every bug or word related to bugs she had tried sounded either lame or slightly to extremely villainous. Her eyes swung to the lower right corner. In exasperation, she had simply written “bug” before crossing it out. Simple. Bold. Recognizable. There was depth there too. She scrambled for her dictionary to double check.

    A hidden microphone. A fault in the system. A verb to annoy. After her success at the restaurant, these were all things she knew she could mean to the villains. After all, a great deal of her success was the right phone call at the right time, with nobody knowing she was making it. She could be a bug. What’s more, she could be a Bug. She had a name. Downstairs, she was working on a costume. This was coming together. Taylor turned on her computer and went back to looking at letters.

    [Joan invited me back to her room after class. I don’t know what I was expecting but her roommate was there. The way Daniella dressed, you’d expect her to be shy, but she had this intensity I couldn’t fully describe without another three pages. Before we really knew what we were agreeing to, we’d pledged to show up at a rally she was organizing. Some creep beat his girlfriend in the middle of the quad with everyone watching and now the school wants to discuss whether it was really a violation of the community guidelines we all signed or not, just because he’s the star running back. The DA has already decided that his crime was only worthy of a fine and not imprisonment. That’s not right. That’s not how our father taught us a man should behave, and I know he would hate the idea of a man like that escaping the consequences of his actions. I understand more and more why he encouraged me to study law. Daniella thinks that if enough people stand outside the administrative offices and firmly tell them we want this creep gone, they won’t be able to pretend it didn’t happen.] Taylor frowned. This seemed very at odds with the other letter she’d found. If she was understanding context correctly, this was from before the one where she talked about acting without being seen to act. What happened?

    The computer made the noise that meant it was on and fully booted. Taylor had been struggling with the color scheme for her costume. The silk was coming out a yellowish grey, while the armored sections were browner. She wanted to dye it but she wasn’t sure what color. Taylor typed “cool bugs” into an image search to try and get inspiration. Or rather, she tried. Nancy wandered over and batted at her hands while she was typing, resulting in “cpp; bugs”. The result came up with some entomological photographer’s website. “Cool, pretty, powerful! Bugs!” Taylor wasn’t entirely sure what to make of that particular combination of adjectives, but cool bugs was what she was looking for anyways, so she kept looking while petting Nancy and keeping her off the mouse.

    This was a decision she did not regret. Every picture on this website was adorable. She’d had no idea that bugs could be so cute. Along the side there were names of different categories of pictures. The bees page was extra adorable but, she decided, yellow and black stripes would look maybe just a little too silly on her. She eyed the arachnids page. How could spiders be pretty, she wondered. Maybe their webs? Then she clicked and was introduced to the wonderful and amazing world of jumping spiders. She picked one and made it full screen, then sketched up a rough picture of a bodysuit, and took out her colored pencils, looking back and forth between the spider and the bodysuit, planning where to map the colors. For the most part, yellow grey with brown armor fit fairly neatly. Maybe with the yellow a little browner, the brown a little darker and greyer. The big difference was in the spider’s face. Green eyes would be easy with the right lenses. Big, round, and friendly. Black eyebrow markings above them enhanced the effect. Reddish orange for the upper face, black with a red mouth for the bottom.

    She considered. The red mouth looked wrong somehow. Cartoonish and not in a good way. All black for the lower face gave an impression of a bandit mask which, paired with the green eyes, made for a much more friendly cartoonish vibe. Good enough. She still wanted to use those red pedipalps though. A quick scribble at the shoulders and she decided that pauldrons were in, probably. Taylor looked over her handiwork. Simple, bold, recognizable. Now just to make it. First thing she needed was those lenses. She ran another search, this time for sporting stores. Prescription snow goggles would likely do.
     
  22. Zernoc56

    Zernoc56 Getting out there.

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    As of yet I’m not sure why this is in the NSFW section, but I’m invested in the story so far!
     
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