Author: Swordsman

Norwood Knights Grow

Norwood Knights Grow

April 3rd, 2024 – Wednesday: 11:31 AM

The suite was luxurious compared to anything Ameera had ever seen. Thankfully a number of her clients for exercise, yoga, and dancing lessons lived in either Midtown or Society Hill. It was kind of a strange transition when Garrick revealed himself. Now she had a CSPD officer assigned to her suite and her clients were informed that she was going to be transitioning locations but for the interim she was operating out of a suite provided by C.H.I.M.E.R.A.

Stefania and Desha had become the admins of Gryphon’s official fan club, gryphon.norwoodknights.com. The main site of norwoodknights.com now listed every hero no matter how small that called the sub-district home. Links to S.A.V.I.O.R., Spirit Enterprises, Tecate, and the Giving Tree adorned the bottom of every page on the site. Their Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Reddit feeds were displayed on the main site as a one stop shop for information and updates.

The site was the brainchild of Antonia. She had started it as a way to sell a t-shirt she’d designed as project for her graphic design class. They had made enough money to have everyone enjoy a night of take out food and rented movies. In the last 24 hours sales had jumped to just over 1,000 orders! Their YouTube channel videos had each jumped to over 100,000 views after she uploaded: GRYPHON SAVES THROUGH SACRIFICE’ and ‘GRYPHON VS OBELISK – A COMPILATION OF FOOTAGE’. Yet the video that trumped them all was a small clip pushing over 720,000 views and 500,000 shares: ‘GRYPHON REVEALS IDENTITY’. In which contained the following, “… My name is Garrick Griffon Faulkner and I am the Gryphon of Norwood, team member of S.A.V.I.O.R. and here to Be Bold for those that can’t!”

All of the girls were being pressured online about how to become official Norwood Knights club members. It was beginning to become a full time job and Garrick really had no idea what he had done with that speech. If his popularity continued then they would have to decide to make this a small business. While he had inspired a lot of people those closest to him had their lives uprooted and dragged along in the wave of his reveal. Ameera was currently looking over whether or not to make the fan club a 501c or an LLC. A lot of this would depend on if the city was going to take over sponsorship of the group the way they had for the Centurions?

The fact he was a former felon was spoken about in a multitude of contexts both positive and negatively. Online, he was indeed news, yet every interview from the team was from the famous ex-jockey, Victor Valenzuela. also known as the Rubberband Man, spokesman of S.A.V.I.O.R. Ameera decided she would need to see about getting Garrick to give an interview at some point for them. Perhaps she could have the Rubberband Man ask the questions? So many changes were on he horizon and if what she gleaned from snuggling him this morning, he was just getting started.


Art by: AZ_Artisan
Come watch the next game for our super friends on HippoTV!

Own Your Choices, Even When You Screw Up

Own Your Choices, Even When You Screw Up

April 2nd, 2024 – Tuesday: 8 AM

Garrick could see why Jake hired Amanda. She was incredibly matter-of-fact about everything she said or did. She had Brandon on speakerphone when she explained what Garrick’s short sighted approach to revealing his identity had caused. Nothing about it was cruel, neither was it complimentary in the slightest. Only Brandon mentioned that he admired him for doing it, however, both of them were perturbed that they weren’t able to be prepared properly.

To avoid his exuberance spilling over to how he would run half of Mallic-Faulkner Technologies. Amanda began an exhaustive PowerPoint presentation to show what his strategy would take and then a number of options she had to optimize the merger of their companies. Out of all the options Garrick finally understood how risky his mass healing goal was. Both Brandon and Amanda breathed a sigh of relief when Garrick said, “Option three. I’m sorry for causing everyone such grief. Thanks for reigning me in. If we are robotic parts specialists then let’s focus on that. Cai had a language module option that should help. He called it a universal translator. I’ve recently had the chance to work on and repair a gel matrix brain module used in the latest A.I. combined CPU/storage solutions. I should probably work on that for our Android, A.I. and T.I. processing power customers. With the research I’ve given to Constance we can likely make a better micro fusion power source. Brandon and Jimmy can figure out how and whom to sell them to.”

Pausing for just a second he continued, “On a personal note, I believe Amanda should be made the C.O.O. (Chief Operational Officer) to help Brandon with the day to day. Let the creative people create and the administrative and organizational people channel those energies to focused growth. I can tell you I’m going to have wild ideas because that is what thrusts science forward. I feel it is what Jake would have wanted. However, with both of your help we can channel that wild, creative, stream into something useful.”

He continued, “Not anticipating being made the Centurions’ replacement. I accept that I may need to relinquish other duties. We’ll tackle that after meetings with Director Balisong. Once I know you will.”

“Thank you,” Amanda said and continued, “I’ll speak with Cai about his language module. I’ve already scheduled a meeting with the people responsible for Centurions security. Those WILL be implemented in your home, Constance and Ameera’s residences as well. The 72nd precinct captain is helping me coordinate additional security with off duty officers at M.F.T.’s Norwood and Drummond locations. Our policies will be updated and budgets adjusted as needed.”

Garrick left knowing he had screwed some things up and he was called on it. Now a lot of people handle that as a personal attack and he even needed to remind himself it was not personal. People should be allowed to confront the sources of there frustration. He was able to remember one of his father’s chief pieces of advice. ‘If you have advisers, then listen when they bring you their concerns.’ What would have been the point of saving Mallic and making sure Amanda and everyone had a place in the shared growth of the company if he didn’t let them do their jobs? Garrick was happy he appeared to learn how to get out of his own way that time. Now he just had to bank that experience and grown upon it.


He stopped at his door to his new office and was surprised his nameplate had changed: Garrick “Gryphon” Faulkner was punched through to show the synth-wood door beneath the diamond stamped sheet-metal plate. He had to chuckle as he opened the door to find Horace and Constance there waiting for him. His face lit up at seeing his friends again. They sat around for about 30 minutes catching up and Horace letting Garrick know he understood why he kept it from him. They both tell Garrick reassuringly not to worry about them now that he’s revealed his identity.

When Horace brought up the game servers for Gizergleam Peaks, Garrick was happy to sign over the whole kit and caboodle. When he explained the company path he had worked out with Amanda he saw the wheels turning over in Horace’s head. Horace said he would be able to afford the costs but was going to run a Kickstarter funding campaign to make it a real company. This would allow him to train his replacement if it succeeded. He worked out a deal with Constance for him to transition out in a year and start a gaming company. Garrick was happy to see his friends grow and watch as everyone began to pursue their dreams. Sure it means they might move out of his immediate social circle but such is the way of things. Besides he can always meet up with them as time allows. He told Horace if it would help his Kickstarter he would be willing to play and raid with the backers of a certain tier. Hopefully he could get some big backers for that.

As everyone left he was happy this just freed up the money he would’ve taken out of his monthly spending cash to cover payments on the aircar to Richard. Now the server payments would transition to that! In many ways it was a win-win for everyone and he saw his day taking a decidedly upswing turn.


A few emails got traded back and forth.

FROM: Gryphon@SAVIOR.SPIRIT.COM
TO: Caedechron@SAVIOR.SPIRIT.COM
RE: WORK AND OTHER WORK

Cai,

Hey there, now whatever projects you and Amanda work out to do is fine with me. If you make your deadlines I would like to reward you with a new body designed for long term A.I. and Transferred Intelligence use. I believe in fixing ARCHIE I may have figure out a way to allow A.I. and T.I. the ability to dream on a sub-active state level. Remind me to talk about disassociation based hive processing unit or HPU’s. Now that I’ve had the chance to work with the new gel-matrix brains I may have figured out the beginnings of a plan to quietly scour the web and hunt for Thanatos’ ghost. Well, if indeed one actually survived being purged.

On a personal note, I won’t give up looking for your body but I want to be prepared in case it doesn’t work out in the way we hope for.

Since I am not officially back to work at Mallic-Faulkner Technologies from my PTO until the 9th of April we can go over design ideas when I get back in the office. I want to try and give you back as much of a normal life as I can. With my HPU’s I am hoping to give you a few bodies you can be linked to, with inactive ones helping to boost processing power remotely for the active body. Enjoy your day as much as you can, and remembering something Jake said as he fired his portal gun once.

SCIENCE BITCHES!

Later,
Garrick

FROM: Caedechron@SAVIOR.SPIRIT.COM
TO: Gryphon@SAVIOR.SPIRIT.COM
RE: RE: WORK AND OTHER WORK

Garrick,

Thanks! Looking into the HPUs would be interesting, but I don’t know if I want to be the guinea pig… So I’d probably be ready to hop into that after a year or two of testing.

I am absolutely all for hunting for Thanatos, and if I can help in any way, I’m there.

WHAT’S THIS ABOUT ARCHIE BEING MESSED UP? I didn’t think I was that out of it, but I don’t remember hearing about this!

And finally, searching for my body is all well and good, but I think that the time window has elapsed. I don’t know if I… if Urien Daniels was killed in the last timeline, or if Mason had a fatal heart attack, all that was said was “your body existed” in passing by Geist. If a cloned body works just as well as a normal body (and I have a few ideas on how you could do it) I’d like to be in a super model’s body. I mean honestly, I like my old body, it’s mine, but being separated from my body has acclimated me to change, though I’d like to have my other 3 senses back.

FROM: Gryphon@SAVIOR.SPIRIT.COM
TO: Caedechron@SAVIOR.SPIRIT.COM
RE: RE: RE: WORK AND OTHER WORK

Cai,

When we see each other at the photo shoot for Tecate at Noon I can fill you in about ARCHIE. I will also update Beast at the same time because I could be jumping the gun thinking anything survived. It might have been a failsafe attack to it/him (not sure about the identity nomenclature) being destroyed.

Later,
Garrick


Satisfied he could move on, he left his office and headed outside and nodded to the off-duty cop and drove away to try and meet with Director Balisong. He’d talk with Geist and the Tecate contact at the photo shoot. About arranging a meeting between all of the municipal and corporate expectations given no one was truly prepared for this chain of events. The PR boost to Tecate® must be impressive. He made a note to talk with Victor about interviews, knowing he would likely have to give one soon, but largely this would be his job moving forward.

A lot of work ahead but they were now Heroes of Century Station.


Art by: AZ_Artisan
Come watch the next game for our super friends on HippoTV!

Texts And Chit Chat

Texts And Chit Chat

April 1st, 2024 – Monday: 2:31 PM

Gryphon was sitting next to Miss Amazing in a diner with Hank the Horse-Man and one intoxicated Rubberband Man. They had left the funeral of Jake Thompson where Victor had brought a case of beer to. Being in front of City Hall many of the super heroes that had shown up had done so in costume. Gryphon was slightly envious of her suit he had created with Granny2Good’s help. She was wearing her mask and had used the technology in it to make it black for mourning.

Gryphon was perturbed Victor had gotten drunk at the public event. Still, he tried looking at it from his angle. Perhaps he had lost his jockey career and now this spokesperson job with Tecate© was the reason he got up in the morning. Maybe he nearly lost that job and now has become hyper vigilant in representation to avoid that circumstance. Now, imagine finding out you’re to replace a hero some 15,000 people showed up to honor them at their funeral. Gryphon acknowledged he could sympathize with the last thought sitting in the diner after finding out S.A.V.I.O.R. was to replace the Centurions! Director Balisong seemed to be having a hard time with the words and Gryphon thought of understudies in Shakespearian plays, the show must go on. He wasn’t happy with his choice of wording but it seem to get them through the meeting.

However, perhaps this was the chance people dream of and few ever get. S.A.V.I.O.R. had to seize this opportunity and then when the Centurions returned they could move up to National level threats while S.A.V.I.O.R. handled Century Station. Ugh, his head was everywhere and he got a reprieve to hold off on the official press release until tomorrow morning. He had a call scheduled, and had been given her direct contact information.

The primary reason for waiting was to see if things could be smoothed over with Black Phantom. Geist appeared to have a handle on it. Today though, an item was clarified for Gryphon when Geist deferred to him as the team leader. Gryphon realized at that moment it wasn’t merely a field promotion but he would lead the team in all aspects. This was something he was going to have to work on finding the balance with Amanda. So much was changing as he received a text from Constance.

[Garrick, I wanted to check on you, honey. A few Google searches and Obelisk is no joke. I spoke with Katherine earlier and made sure she’s doing okay as well. Please let me know you’re doing okay.]

[Honey, I’m doing fine right now, I have been voted as the Team Leader and today was my first trial by fire with the CHIMERA director. It went well and Miss Amazing is with me.]

[Okay, I just miss you. I know Ameera didn’t get to see you last week and with the funeral I suppose this might be my week to not get to see you. I’ll try to visit on Tuesday after helping get Cai through their new-hire process.]

[Yeah I deserve none of you wonderful women, you’re so good to me. I’m helping one of my teammates with an errand before going over to comfort Jake’s sister.]

[Then I will leave you to helping her go through this terrible event. Be safe honey and I love you.]

[Love you back <3.]

When finally put the phone away Hank leaned over a bit and reminded him of a moment between his father and he. “Oh, someone’s finally decided to join us.” Cynthia Faulkner had always disliked distractions at the dinner table, and Garrick had said a very similar statement to his father after her passing. He felt a little embarrassed and just nodded at Hank. After stopping Rubberband Man from rolling away as a ball, and then returning him to Hank and his custom-sized fanny pack. The group headed off to Tecate’s corporate offices in the city. Rubberband Man did indeed sober up by the time they reached there and collected the outfits for a photo shoot.

Seeing the new shirt on Hank, Garrick was thrilled for Horse-Man’s fanny pack because like his centaur pal he was only required to wear a shirt based on precedent. However, his genitals were just out in the open, and on a centaur body it is not as noticeable. However, Hank stood upright and, well, god bless that fanny pack. It was a true hero to be certain. Miss Amazing snapped a few shots of Gryphon flying with Hank hanging on by one of his ankles. Heavens knows you don’t see that everyday. Thank goodness most aircar’s could be programmed with a destination and flew themselves.

Granny’s, or Ethel’s house had some positive issues going on from Garrick’s perspective. Geist had made some headway talking with Black Phantom. Deathwish and he were headed back to the base and would be awaiting the rest of the group there. He shared some information before he left and Garrick/Gryphon heard it but was trying to process how to talk with Victor/Rubberband Man to express his concerns about him being the spokesperson and preventing any embarrassment to the group or the city “if” they decide to take Balisong up and step to the role previously held by the Centurions. It was how Granny left her wake for Jake that had everyone at a loss. There was a phone call in her bedroom on her land line phone. She she went to pick it up there was a green flash and she was gone! Garrick chuckled understanding much better why Shorty asked “again” about Jake’s death.

While he was at Granny’s house he reached out to A.R.C.H.I.E. the base’s A.I. entity. He heard some static and wondered about a connection issue. When he and everyone made it to the base later he made a mental note to check in with Shorty in the next 24 hours in case Shorty #1 now needed a place to stay. He suspected if Jake was indeed not dead and had taken Granny. Then he would also take the Shorties because of his famous phrase – What’s a Jake without his Shorty! He made another mental note to have Geist check in discreetly with any families that had a Shorty placed with them. Revisiting the connection issue made him remind A.R.C.H.I.E. over comms so the whole team heard the conversation, specifically Geist. That he needed to list Hank as a guest so the base defenses would not target him.

April 1st, 2024 – Monday: 5 PM’ish

After being at the base for a few minutes having conversed with Hank throughout the day. Realizing Hank’s development as a human level intellect is around 8 to 12 years of human age, based on his limited observations. Sighing about wanting to help him progress quicker, and knowing nothing there was a quick fix. He asked A.R.C.H.I.E. where everyone was currently. Now he knew based on the response the static was not an effect of location, but of an unknown issue with the computer’s neural gel make-up. Geist mentioned wanting to talk with him about this. Having installed and two copies of Optimus in the last few months (one for Mallic, and one for Richard in his corporate office on a lone server), Garrick felt he could look at the logs to get a better idea. He informed everyone about this also over comms, then he asked Miss Amazing to assist him. Her ability to mimic skills she could see used would allow him to divide the work in half and make it about 10 minutes rather than 20 or 30 by himself.

Miss Amazing lived up to her name as she tore through the diagnostic logs using the knowledge she had for about an hour! When she started asking questions and pointing out things she was finding out a great deal regarding how Garrick thought about things, problems, solutions, and general processing of data. She was very smart herself and realized that he had a genius level IQ. Not Super-Genius like Jake and his father, but he also didn’t require sleep transformed and only three hours when he wasn’t! She began to think of all the things she could accomplish and wondered what did Garrick want. Why was he doing hero work, with his sword’s powers he could solve world hunger or something like that! Between Gryphon, Black Phantom and Beast they were able to determine the hacker was indeed Thanatos.

While Gryphon looked worried Miss Amazing saw him just sigh, make sure everyone knew what he’d be doing and then get to work after asking for a cup of coffee. Miss Amazing was thrilled to go and get that for him. She left Black Phantom in the room with Gryphon and found Geist getting a cup of coffee as well at the machine just outside the kitchen on a small counter area. Instead of returning right away, she took some time to have a small conversation with the Geist.


Art by: AZ_Artisan
Come watch the next game for our super friends on HippoTV!

Reflections Of A Sponsored Hero

Reflections Of A Sponsored Hero

April 1st, 2024 – Monday: 12:01 AM

Gryphon had just left the 72nd precinct in Norwood. The officers and Sgt. Matanzas helped him get out on the roof to avoid the group of reporters out front. After Sgt. Matanzas and he had the remaining Skybike impounded following, Cyan, leaving with her partner, Indigo. He asked the sergeant to pull his record. He was expecting the warm reception of him to wear off, but was not expecting the happy surprise of the sergeant’s reaction. Seeing a reformed felon devoting himself to serving the community.

Even the captain of the precinct said he would email the Brisby Commandant and Director Balisong about his actions and non-lethal win over the cybergoons. Plus the show boating Mavericks that were trying to stop other powered criminals. The last 20 minutes was him posing for photos with the precinct officers. He decided that he needed to leave when he noticed four, perhaps five female officers starting to flirt with him. When he was up in the air he checked his phone. Seeing pictures from Katherine showing the simply amazing job she did with the furniture in their new home. They exchanged several emojis of hearts and smiley faces.

He saw a meeting request sent to him for 6 AM on Tuesday with Cai from Amanda. Constance would be there to help with HR on the super issue. However, he would be meeting with her about the projects he’d requested. He clicked on the “Accept” button and then made sure Cai had the information for the meeting. Her pushing the day back from Monday to Tuesday was not bad. Things come up all the time and she has a personal life as well.

He wanted to give him a few days to get settled in before he asked him to help with anything specific. Amanda would likely have him tasked with a project and then he could either help with the project that would pay for the humanitarian counterpart project. Or help on the humanitarian one, all the while having the resources to pursue the universal language translator idea. Really a win all around.

He flew to a specific building in Norwood, one he had last stood upon on January 1st. It was the building he met Patsy Palmer after catching her from a fall. He walked over and leaned against the A/C unit he had last time. Ashmadiel could sense this wasn’t depression but a reflection of the last four months.

“You have done well and come far Garrick Faulkner. This spot has significance to you, to us. Storytellers might say it was the true beginning of your journey accepting my gifts as a hero of the light.”

Gryphon smiled, “I concur, can you change into a metal spike for me?”

Kneeling he began carving into the roof mounted utility box she sat on with the now golden spike in his hand. “You know, I think I can actually be a renaissance man but it means being willing to let people pursue their destinies as well. Constance is going to try adding ‘Cynthia’ into her checks on the reactor in the ocean. I hope it will finally talk to her. Baby steps but I forgot after a time to treat the Cynthia A.I. as a person because it hurt to much. Those two could become rockstars of the future. Science as Jake wanted will be the true hero. We just have to make sure they have a future to get to.”

“And if you succeed in freeing me, how will you be the Gryphon then?”

“I’ve decided I am going to ask Constance and Amanda to build me a power armor suit as a back up. If I go that route then I feel that the hero: Veritas or Ferrum Veritas may be a good name for the project. Either way I won’t hide that I am the pilot and gave up my powers to free a friend. Then to continue the fight I just re-invented myself. Brandon will get a kick out of it.”

“How do you feel knowing the enemy knows whom you are?”

“Cops have to deal with that fact everyday. We live in an age of hacking and information brokering. I will talk with Amanda about her plans for the security system I asked her about. Between the two of us I think we can develop something good to protect Ameera and Constance. I actually suspect Synistry will try to attack my house at some point given I live in Brisby after all. However, if I was them I would wait until I could control the encounter better than attacking a known hero at their home. Likely fortified and if they figure out Miss Amazing lives with me then all the more reason to not attack. What they may not count on is that I have a plan on dealing with them as general in a war. Obelisk was willing to commit mass murder, so as far as I am concerned he gets a ticket straight to the afterlife. There was fear in his eyes when he thought he might drown. Whomever is pulling that groups strings will know I am willing to kill their men.”

“They would fit my definition of evil.”

“I’ve come to the conclusion that even if we eliminate Synistry there will always be someone willing to fill that void. Ever vigilant we’ll need to be without sacrificing people’s freedoms. It will be a hard road because what seems like safety to one person is prison to another. If we’re to be an inclusive and welcoming society then it means looking at issues from different angles and trying to find the most optimal approach. Humanity teaches us we may fail but we will look, learn, and log the mistakes to prevent them in the future. An old proverb states you will fall a thousand times before rising a champion.”

“Garrick Faulkner, you are not the same person I met four months ago, you have grown.”

“By the will of the light watching over us all, I hope to continue to do so Ashmadiel.” Gryphon stood up the sword turned back from a spike to a bracer on his left forearm. After watching the night pass for an hour he flew off to other horizons.

Scrawled into the side of the utility box:

Hey “P”,
All of my secrets are out in the open.
Big changes are coming and
I realize we both need to grow.
You may never see or read this,
but I am letting go for now.
I’m trusting in my faith that if
we are meant to be together.
The universe will find a way,
as it did with the church next
to my home.
Be happy wherever you are.
Goodbye “P”
Love,
“G”


Art by: AZ_Artisan
Come watch the next game for our super friends on HippoTV!

Norwood 72nd

Norwood 72nd

March 31st, 2024 – Sunday: 12:01 AM

Gryphon had landed 16 minutes ago and was greeted by the precinct captain. He was getting acquainted with his partner for the first of three eight hour shifts. A few people were talking about the explosion and others were talking about the fact this super tackled Obelisk of Synistry by HIMSELF!

Gryphon and Sgt. Matanzas were headed out when an armored airvan landed in front of the 7-2. The Requisitors piled out, and Gryphon lowered his window to wave. Mavis Beacon and Col. Lightning came over to let him know they were inspired by Gryphon. They came down to arrange some days they could lend a hand embedded with C-SWAT, or another arrangement that could work. Then they may be able to set up a rotation within another sub-district in desperate need of help.

The Sergeant thanked them as well mentioning they had to get over to a robbery in progress. Col. Lightning looked at Mavis still waving as they drove away, “God, that kid can’t turn it off. Hey, Mavis, I did warn you. He’s dating at least three girls you want to be number four?”

“I might be the only one that could keep up with him?” Mavis cocked her head to side slightly, “We’ll see.”

“Long game, huh? Alright, enough sight seeing we got a meeting inside. Requisitors, fall in!” Col. Lightning and his crew walked inside to discuss how they might help out with this precinct or another one in need. Lord knew there were plenty of precincts that could use the help.

Internally Gryphon chuckled about the irony of sitting in the front of a squad car after his past. Sgt Matanzas was surprised when he spoke Spanish with a Cuban accent perfectly. Gryphon explained that he could communicate in every language on the planet. “Wait, how good is your hearing?”

“You mean when you were complaining to the captain about being stuck with a super until you found out it was me?”

“You met my grandmother several weeks ago at the Giving Tree. She raised me when my mother died of a drug overdose. My father had been a cop and died in the line of duty. My mother did not cope well and I went to live with my abuela in Waingroh. You and Miss Amazing saved her and my son.” Gryphon was stunned when the sergeant tapped a few icons on the smart phone at the stop light and a video played of him getting hit by bullets and then the rocket launcher! “You saved my family! I was in the middle busting an illegal gun runner whom may still prove useful in taking down the 9-Millimeter gun store. Nothing ever sticks to those sonsofbitches!”

“Well, I want to know how my team and I can better interface with local police to help them in areas like this. I want us to have a much more proactive approach to finding crime and squashing it out. It seems the second phase of my plan, in which we inspire other groups to do the same has already born fruit. Phase Three is to help Mavericks that don’t want corporate sponsorship work out a way to become an affiliate group of the Centurions. This way I can contribute to Operation Overlord, C.H.I.M.E.R.A. can get more of the manpower it needs. We present a unified front against crime and show everyone that together we are more than the sum of our parts.”

“Well you’re about to get your chance, here we are and if those two black skybikes are any indicator then the Mavericks: Cyan and Indigo are inside that bank. Every time we try to bring them in cops just end up sent to the hospital. It makes the city look weak and emboldens criminals to defy law enforcement. Here’s your chance to put your ideas into action what’s your play?”

Cyan and Indigo were having their hands full dealing with two Cybergoons. Not because they were out matched, but the amount of damage these guys can soak up and dish out was impressive to say the least! Indigo was facing one with a laser canon, whom was carving up sections of the bank branch’s front area. Cyan was facing the one with the grenade launcher trying to prevent them from hitting the vault door. He had surveyed the area and Sgt. Matanzas was calling in a unit to place bugs on the skybikes, this was a diversion and deliberately meant to be overheard by anyone picking up radio chatter. The actual plan was to try and plant two (one to be found with some effort and one they couldn’t find). Using their phone the sergeant explained the plan to the nearest squad cars that could make backup. Gryphon tweeted a selfie about helping the cops, Cyan and Indigo stop a bank robbery in progress with the hashtags: #24HOURPatrol #NorwoodKnights #Gryphon.

Seeing that the Cybergoon had firing vector on Cyan trying help her partner Indigo. He flew past them and waved he drew his sword and his glowing Gryphon aura flared to life! Cyan watched him cut the rocket propelled grenade in half creating two explosions that would have hit her center mass! His aura wavered and flickered out while his armor took some serious hits. He flew forward and sliced the launcher in half! “Hey cyberschmucks! I’ll be your huckleberry tonight, name’s Gryphon! Time to BE BOLD!”

The battle took exactly 20 seconds to finish, and Gryphon had streamed the entire thing on Twitter LIVE! The video was going viral and news crews were racing to the location. Cyan and Indigo had dragged their foe out with the broken laser cannon. Gryphon carried his foe out, well his torso anyways. He was dragging the arms and legs by various cabling. CSPD came forward to take the criminals into custody, when Cyan and Indigo began backing off toward their black skybikes.

“Hey Cyan, Indigo, I’m big on being transparent and you both did okay back there. However, if you leave you should know that when we pulled up I had the CSPD bug your skybikes so they could track you. I’ll tell you where if you just talk with me for a second or two.”

Even though their faces were covered, the body language of sudden shoulder jerks suggested surprise and shock. Gryphon continued, “Look, I just want to talk about how we can help the city together. Unless you both want to admit to the public that the two of you like hurting the cops that you sent to the hospital?” He pointed to the phone he had used ‘Gorilla Tape’ to adhere to his coat. “Guess what your entire fight was live! People saw you stop criminals, people saw us work together to get the last one. Teamwork is possible.”

Cyan spoke up, “Corporate SHILLS NO WAY MAN! LIVE FREE OR DIE!”

Indigo nodded and Gryphon shook his head, “Yes, yes, a noble intent,” he turns so the damage to the building is shown once more and he turns back, “I believe a better quote was from one of the boldest people this country has known. GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH! Patrick Henry was one of the founding father’s of America. Now you have the chance to be one of the founding members of Century Station’s future!” News crews were beginning to arrive and set up behind the police line formed as Gryphon continued, “Mayor Zardona is fighting a war and if you’ve studied history regarding conflicts with multiple fronts fairs poorly for all involved. Synistry struck in Silver City on Friday! There is no place in the city truly safe anymore. You both don’t want to be corporate sponsored, I understand, and I can appreciate it. I offer a challenge: If I can beat whichever one of you wishes to fight me in 20 seconds then you get to leave without trackers on your skybikes. The condition for my win is you must promise the citizens of Century Station that you’ll meet with Director Balisong in 72 hours and become an affiliated group of the Centurions. Help the city win the war for its soul! If you win you get to leave with your skybikes, but you will at least know you have trackers on them.”

“Big words from a corporate sellout, the corporation might know whom you are. But the city doesn’t! How can you expect us to trust the city when at your core you don’t!” Cyan had moved closer yelling through her mask. Indigo stepped forward, “Enough talking, you ready?”

Cameras were rolling from ground and air as Gryphon answered, “Yep, let’s let everyone see me for whom I am.” His armor, which includes his helmet vanishes. Indigo closed on him but was surprised when he showed his face. He realized his mistake when Gryphon began counting loudly! With his supernatural strength Gryphon pinned Indigo’s foot under his crushing stomp! As the Maverick looked down Gryphon swung the gryphon pommel of Ashmadiel up and right in between where his eyes would be in his mask with a resounding CRACK! Indigo flipped up and back as he was knocked out cold!

Admits the cheers of the CSPD present, “Cyan, you should teach him chess when he wakes up, after the painkillers.”

Turning to the cameras, “Cyan had a valid point about trust and trying to protect people with anonymity. What I miss most about Jake Thompson is that he didn’t care what you thought of him. He also believe masks and fake identities are stupid. Those that feel the need to use them please continue to do so. However,” Gryphon gestures to the CSPD, “They are not super heroes and they are braver than every cape I know. They have families and still go out and risk their lives everyday. If I am going to earn your trust then I need to at least bare a similar burden. Mayor Zardona, I stand with you, I stand with Century Station’s future. My name is Garrick Griffon Faulkner and I am the Gryphon of Norwood, team member of S.A.V.I.O.R. and here to Be Bold for those that can’t!”

Gryphon picks up Indigo and carries him over to the skybike. Cyan gets on still stunned that Gryphon outed himself on TV and LIVE Twitter. Indigo is draped over the skybike Cyan uses her cape to secure his arms and legs from the exhausts. Gryphon pulls the phone loose and ends the stream as the flashes of cameras and reporters can be heard behind him.


Art by: AZ_Artisan
Come watch the next game for our super friends on HippoTV!

Now And Forever

Now And Forever

March 29th, 2024 – Friday: 12:07 PM

Garrick sent two text messages to Patsy, and an audio message:

[Patsy, I wanted to ask your forgiveness for this intrusion into your private life, but I won’t. When you showed up at the Church of Reflections. I knew fate was weaving us back together for some reason. It was as though we are players in a drama unhappy that we had lost each other. Besides, I’ve not finished saving you from the first time. Hahahaha!]

[Back before Valentine’s Day, my team had been whisked off to Antarctica! Yeah the South Pole. It was there all of us including Jake, put the end to Aaziakel’s efforts to seal this dimension off from a realm called by many among the arcane: the Nightlands. I acquired one of their magic wands and wanted to give it to you. I’ve kept it hidden from everyone all this time. Watching and reading about different magic systems authors use to craft their tales I wondered if the wand was magical on its own but would not risk its discovery to find out. I know it came from a legitimate magic user.]

[Now, at the Church of Reflections, I was able to break the code and hack the ‘First Reflector’s’ laptop. Now I made a document that is helping law enforcement break the Ishtarian cult being run by devilish origins from the Nightlands by what I believe mortals came to understand as Devils, they are aptly named: Nightlords. I left out the supernatural origins of the Ishtarian cults though. I off loaded all of their mystical documentation on to a thumb drive I possess.]

[You’re the only magical scholar I know. Since the only other one I came to know is dead now, God rest his soul. Now, as you study this just be aware of voices like Aaziakel trying to creep in. Because the purpose of this ritual was to open a large gateway between this Earth and the Nightlands. I believe with study you could use it to find a way home. With the Wayfarer off on his unknown mission in some reality. This may be the best shot at giving you a way home.]

[If you still want to go home? I meant every text I sent to you.]

[I recently allowed for what I believe was a character defining moment in Ashmadiel’s redemption. I feel strongly if I can help her rehabilitation then I can eventually find a way to release her from the sword. From what I know of the prison she and Aaziakel were shackled in suggests thousands of years of imprisonment! She has described herself as one of the Celestials, also known as the Athanatos. Two other words I need to know more about are Luciphim and Obscuruphim. However, that is actually not the important part here.]

[I willingly let her use my body to convey information and took her place within the sword!]

[I alone, know what you experienced inside Aaziakel’s prison. I have shared this knowledge with no one. Know this, from now on what happens, the knowledge we share of these Athanatos will be a core facet of our friendship! As my friend I will go to any means to help and see you flourish. Patsy, it’s never a crime to exist. All of my pain has taught me this. I can say you are among the chief lights in my life that re-ignite mine. Allow me the chance now to re-ignite yours. Hyperia is a hero, and in the paraphrased words of Eiichiro Oda I would remind you:]

[Through action, a person becomes a Hero]

[Through death, a Hero becomes a Legend]

[Through time, a Legend becomes a Myth]

[And by learning from the Myth, a person takes action]

[Your birth-world has the legend about the last stand of the Heroes of Millennium Station. You’ve survived your own Ragnarök! You have a chance at a new life here. No ghosts of the past haunting you for doing your best. It’s never a crime to exist. That prison was meant for Aaziakel, whom has not learned his lesson, it is not now and never was YOUR prison! As long as you’re alive, there will be better things that await.]

[I’d rather die than give up on you! You are among the few people that could remind me no matter how deep the night, it will always turn to day. So I say to you Patsy, whom is Hyperia’s core, before the heart of truth, there is no more needs for words. If you must prove yourself then do so and RISE!]

[RISE PATSY PALMER!]

[RISE HYPERIA!]

[Now and Forever. I will love and support you.]

[Be your own soul. RISE and light the torch of your future!]

Garrick finished the recording and sent it. As usual, the messages showed as neither delivered or read. He sat back and hit his playlist, thinking about her while listening to Legends Never Die.

 


Come watch the next game at: HippoTV!
Art either created or photo manipulated by: AZ_Artisan

 

Horace

Horace

March 29th, 2024 – Friday: 9:12 AM

Horace walked into Constance’s office after her assistant said she didn’t have anyone meeting with her. He brought her a mug of hot tea and set down a box of those same leaves she had asked about getting. They chatted for a bit, catching up on how each other were doing and recent projects they were working on. When he asked about the merger Constance explained that it was Gary that somehow convinced their rival company to merge with Mallic to create Mallic Faulkner Technologies.

“So, because of this the Hideyoshi account is saved. No one is loosing their jobs. We’re not just expanding to the full building, but gaining a second one altogether? Seems like hero work is really a calling for him. Quite the win,” Horace said with a set of raised eyebrows and a slightly surprised tone.

“I know you two haven’t really spoken since his secret came out. Is everything going to be okay? You both worked so well together, and I know he’s tried to apologize for not telling you sooner.

“Ms. Mallic, Constance, I realize that while not fact, we’re fairly certain he’s the Gryphon of Norwood. I’ve pieced together that when I found out about his having powers he would have still been listed as a Maverick. I have actually forgiven him trying to not make me the accessory of a crime when his hero work put him on the wrong side of the law.”

“Horace, have you told him that? I can absolutely be certain it would make his day. He misses hanging out with you.”

“Constance I am not sure how to approach him now? He’s now running his own division. Brandon and the lawyers were headed over to Faulkner Robotics to finalize the merger. Talk among the Dev’s and QA suggest he is going to help Brandon push the company into its future. I have an angle how to do that but I would like your help.”

Constance looked concerned yet interested in another idea the company might explore since Garrick was now in charge of his own branch, division, “Sure, let me know how we can keep growing and innovating.”

“Gary and I built a virtual worlds together in the Worlds Online system. His most popular server I run as a junior admin. The World is called Ecc’Thallia and governed by Dragon Lords. Perhaps you have heard him say the name Gizergleam?”

Constance nodded smiling at the times he would nerd on how great a job Horace was doing running the server. “Oh yes Horace, he’s geeked out about it plenty when things were slow.”

“Well, it’s a hobby of some Super Hero fan forums to look for the online personas of heroes, maverics, and villains. A number of Worlds Online identities have been scrutinized for possibly being real heroes. Our registered users has now topped 1.26 million and we have an average online ratio of 75,000 to 368,000 in any given hour! This happened Wednesday morning. Horace just looked at Constance for a few seconds before continuing. She appeared interested in where he was going but she gave nothing away. “So, I would like to propose Mallic Robotics buys his server. More importantly buys the second server as well. The other world is a hard science world server set a few decades ahead. It could be called Sci-fi, but what I know is that everything he tried out in Robot Swords franchise he tested on this server. There is even a very regulated A.I. on it called Cynthia Mark II. He said it was based on another A.I. he built for his father ages back.”

Constance nodded as he continued, “First, I want to lightly monetize the games and add more features. Second, I want to safeguard the science environment server because of all the Robot Swords easter eggs just littering the landscape. Third, perhaps we can release a replacement sci-fi world(s) where people fight as robots, or power armor pilots. Lightly monetized to make free play go faster. This one we would also make mobile friendly for a broader audience. We can call it: Gryphon Command.”

Constance considered this new project. More and more it seemed, Mallic kept branching out. How far could they stretch their expertise before they broke? She decided it could stretch this much farther at least, especially with the plans Garrick set in motion and the cushion those plans provided them. “How many Dev’s would you need to start this?” she asked.

“Two devs, two community managers with one focusing on social media, two concept artists, two digital animators. There are some software purchases we’ll need to make the work procedural and save hundreds of thousands in creation. That is all to run the enhancements on Gizergleam. Once we get that in the black then we can interject a small story arc where some future stuff falls from the sky. It will be our way to introduce and beta test the sci-fi world as a special adventure event. If sales go good perhaps 3-6 months we could increase staff enough to make make serious money for Mallic to offset Gary not working here directly anymore.”

Eight people! This would be a risk. But it was something she thought Garrick would agree with, and it would help to patch things up between those two. Then there was also the rub Constance saw, Garrick had played a large part of the success and now she had to make sure to match what he would come up with. Horace had a good and reasonable plan to deal with making a product that could be put to use. All they had to do was get Garrick to sell it.

“Horace, I like the plan and I will talk with Gary next Monday when I know he’ll be at the new office in Drummond. The condition for my help is you be with me when we have this conversation. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” they shook hands as a pending online video game product line took shape. Both talked about making a licensed game of Robot Swords, or whatever Brandon was going to work out in California when he left on April 12th.

 


Come watch the next game at: HippoTV!
Art either created or photo manipulated by: AZ_Artisan

 

When Will This Week End?

When Will This Week End?

March 29th, 2024 – Friday: 8:52 AM

As far as Gryphon knew everyone in S.A.V.I.O.R. had left off for their various destinations and city patrols. As he went to clean the dishes he used in breakfast. He overheard the Geist and Shorty #5 having a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting about his activities last night. Gryphon knew that he would have to engage him during missions more to help him feel comfortable as providing situational intelligence updates, coordinating the bringing in of police, fire, and E.M.S. Perhaps, even finding a purpose he could get behind.

He checked his phone and it was just turning 8:58 AM. He sent and email to Brandon, Amanda Surges, and Constance Mallic about the hiring of a new developer at the Faulkner Robotics division of Mallic-Faulkner Technologies. He would be specializing in medical applications and language translations/communications. His name is Cai, and he’s a transfered intelligence in a robot body designated by Cai as: Caedechron. He noted that he was a new member of S.A.V.I.O.R. and any necessary paperwork would need to be drawn up. Since Garrick was going to be in briefly on Monday to see about Amanda’s three projects and their humanitarian counterparts. They could meet Cai and he, while on boarding their new developer with the company and a workstation. His starting salary would be $90,000 per year.

After he was an employee and signed the NDA’s he wanted to share with Cai his brainchild for ‘CPU Hive A.I. Networking’ as means to help him adapt to a non-organic body. Hopefully, they could try and figure out a way to see where Mason Douchegutt had stashed the organic dead one. Garrick had decided that preparing for a worse case scenario was prudent.

He also proposed a conditional project for biological cloning and/or synthetic skinned, android, transfered intelligence bodies for people that had been wounded critically and may not survive longer. The elite would pay but this could also allow M.F.T. to help out a percentage of cases for city workers and the underprivileged by economic means. His inspiration was clearly Cai. He was hoping to re-gift him with a synth-skinned body that would allow him to live as close to normal as once did. He ended the email with the quote he mentioned to Amanda as his new corporate email signature: “Our success will be measured not just in control of markets of technology, but equally in what we give back to the communities we reside in.”

He sent a text to Ramona about meeting for lunch in Century Station Memorial Park at 11 AM. He would bring sandwiches, some fruit salad, and soft oatmeal bars. She was welcome to bring the beverages and they could have a conversation that didn’t involve the craziness of last night. He added to bring a sweater because it might be chilly according to the weather report. Garrick made sure to pack an umbrella just to be sure. It did not take long to get an affirmative reply and she’d bring water and tea.

He logged onto the Discord server the Frauen Von Gryphon used and let them know that Ramona may have figured out he was part of S.A.V.I.O.R. Given she was there on the previous night at the Church of Reflections. She was, after all, his way to get most of the team inside without raising suspicion. He explained he was going to have lunch with her to find out if his identity was compromised with her. He also asked everyone their thoughts on him going public as the Gryphon? He asked them to think about it before answering. He closed the app on his phone and then made the call he knew had to be made.

Garrick called Nathaniel and got his voice mail, “Hey buddy this is Garrick, can I stop by the bar tonight and we can talk? If not tonight, maybe Saturday night? No rush, please reach out when you wish, Nate.” Garrick got the reply via text: [Understood.] Well, he’d made contact and at least Nathan knew someone cared. He sent an email to Col. Lightning about taking on Black Phantom if he decided to leave but still wished to do hero work. No sense in him needing to become a Maverick again. He explained the team loosing Jake earlier this very week had hit some harder than others. Also that everybody processes their grief at different times and in different ways.

Irons, so to speak, were in the fire on the issues before him. He checked in with Optimus and emailed Constance that the scripts for checking on the reactor had worked. Another message was sent to Master Nitobe that he was in the middle of a company merger at his day job and moving into a new house. He would like to begin showing up to the morning classes after the 8th of April so he could be focused. Not knowing when he’d be free, Garrick sent Geist an email about meeting with him and next with Richard and Greg about expectations and goals for the team going forward.

March 29th, 2024 – Friday: 9:35 AM

Finishing with the food he found a cooler and a plain white table cloth for the long dining table. He chuckled at the small eagle logo of Tecate Beer© on the side and smirked quietly quipping, “Be Bold!” Packing up everything he left knowing morning rush hour would be coming to a close right about now.

“Hey A.R.C.H.I.E., please make sure Cardinal knows where I am in case everything goes south, metaphorically speaking.”

“Sure thing boss, anything else?”

“Begin Recording: Buddy, we all fuck up at times for a number of different reasons. Watching us should tell you adults don’t always have the answers. Just know this one thing. If you don’t believe in yourself then believe in me – I believe in you to become what you want. Now go get it, and since I have not heard otherwise. Cardinal I would appreciate it if you could watch my six while I’m out. Archie can feed you my location from my comm unit. Gryphon out. End Recording.”

“Message sent just in case he asks you want him to watch from here, correct?”

“Yes please, A.R.C.H.I.E. thanks for your help.”

“Sure thing boss.”

He headed out before those that chose to stay or survived would return to help Beast deal with Dr. Wendell Moore. The person likely responsible for shattering the mind of the Beast whom appears to be strongly related to the Nightbane they met the previous evening. As he got in his truck and headed out. He got a text from the Geist about some of the items he asked about: [Once you get the funds from the new lease agreement I’ll send the routing numbers. The aircar will be parked on top of Jenga Tower on April 5th by noon. Shorty #4 should have a home in roughly 2-3 weeks after that. For now Shorty #5 will continue to live with you. He’s on probation at the moment. If he passes it then I will revisit the adoption. He’ll want to talk to you sometime today about a car you were offering to arrange for him.]

March 29th, 2024 – Friday: 11:03 AM

Ramona tried one last time to see if she could catch Garrick lying about an honest, polyamory relationship. When she was on her way making a call through bluetooth, HUD glasses that was paired to her phone. She called Ameera, whom asked, “Are you wearing any red, purple, or blue?”

“Wait, what?”

“Well, my handsome man called and mentioned he was having lunch with you. Did he by chance tell you about our special relationship?”

“Yes, but is he really seeing you and two others?”

“Yes, we all look out for each other and if he has a fault. It’s that he’s a workaholic. I heard there was quite the kerfuffle at your church last night. Are you doing okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine it’s just seeing him rush through a room to save people from gun crossfire. It was almost like he was a superhero.”

“Oh yes, did I mention he saved me and four of my friends from the Nine Lives shooting incident? It’s how we met, and for the record, he is my hero.”

“Wow! I’m almost to the park, but why did you mention the colors I was wearing?”

“Because if your going to try and seduce my man he likes blue with gold accents, purple with silver accents, and dark red. Have fun Ramona!” [CLICK] There was a hint of a giggling laugh as she knew the look on Ramona’s face being left with that information.

Her phone showed her it was 11:03 AM when the got to the park. Going inside the walls she found him sitting and leaning back against a tree reading a book on Haiku, Zen and the Art of reaching Inner Peace. “You know Ameera thinks you’re a workaholic, but here you are. In a park on a sunny morning, reading eastern poetry, and getting ready for a picnic. If you’re not careful a passerby might confuse you for someone relaxing.” She began to laugh and then he looked at her and laughed with her as he stood up.

“Let me set those down for you,” helping Ramona sit while he put the drinks down. As he sits and then makes lunch on durable paper plates. Garrick hands her the sandwich, oatmeal bars with fruit he cut up. “Sadly, the relaxing is an illusion. I am here till noon when I have to get back for a meeting at 12:30.”

“So I guess I’m on the clock then? So, you met Ameera at the Nine Lives club saving her from a shoot out. I can say for certain you don’t need a gunman to try and make this lunch memorable!” Garrick laughed and said he’s just trying to make it to Monday so he can begin moving into the new home. They talked about how weird last night was and Garrick mentioned he hadn’t really slept yet. “You look better rested than I do! Oh can you tell me what gym you go to?”

“Sure, uhh,” Ramona could see she caught him on a topic he was not prepared for. He looked at her, “Phantom Crossfit and Self-Defense. Although I am waiting to find out where he’s going to host classes next because he lost his permit for the current park he’s been using.”

“That’s cool, can you place an order for the same supplements you get so I can grow to way over six feet tall? Oh don’t forget the ones that let you shrink back down when you want.”

“Well, shit.” Ramona actually batted her eyes at him as he asked her, “Did I ever tell you my given middle name?”

A quizzical look came over her smug expression of victory. Garrick reached into his wallet and pulled out his driver’s license, “Please don’t say it out loud. Just read it, pretty please with sugar and honey.”

Name: Garrick Griffon Faulkner

“You used your middle name? Was there a time limit to come up with an identity?” She handed it back noting it still said 5′ 8″ for his height on there with a picture she was far more used to seeing. She was astonished she had not realized it sooner and she began to laugh.

When she made eye contact she finally saw the tiredness in him and she remembered the headline from the paper the day before about Jake Thompson, hero of Century Station. The news story referred to an event on Tuesday night. Corroborating online articles reference two large explosions in the upper atmosphere that match the time frame! Then Wednesday morning mere hours later there was the robot attack. It was said Gryphon saved his team, nearby buildings and civilians by flying a robot up into the before it self destructed! She followed all the Hero Watch Twitter accounts for the sub-districts in case the Gryphon made news.

“Does Ameera and the others know?”

“Yes, she was out with one of the others and they have had the delightful shock of watching me blow up. Ramona, being near me comes with some serious baggage. I just asked them their opinion of going public with my identity. I want you to think about that if you still want to be friends with me.”

He sighed, “I nearly died, in the church we did find a cult. I did get all the easy to identify innocents out. During that night though, I had to fight through the fear of being in that situation again. No one got hurt because of it but now I was elected to lead my team. I missed spending time with Ameera this week, no one gets scheduled time with me next week on account of the move. I am worried about being a bad boyfriend. However, I’ve had no time to deal or process watching a hero die to stop an alien invasion, nearly being blown to bits, and dealing with two other members of my team I had come to depend on leaving. I want to scream but I don’t get that luxury anymore as leader.”

His tone had never risen and he took her hands, “Ramona, that was all within the last seven days. So I guess I am trying to make you aware of what it means to be just friends with me, god forbid the inherent dangers that would come with anything else. All I want is for this week to just end. I love having friends, I love what my life is becoming, but this week officially blows.” Letting go of her hands he goes back to eating thrilled to finally get it off his chest to someone. The relief can be seen on his face as tension eases upon his brow.

 


Come watch the next game at: HippoTV!
Art either created or photo manipulated by: AZ_Artisan

 

Nightly Banes Of Fate And Faith

Nightly Banes Of Fate And Faith

March 28th, 2024 – Thursday: 8:30 PM

In the Zericho sub-district of Century Station the Church of Reflections branch located here. Had just seen a massive upheaval as its leader the ‘First Reflector’ had just been eliminated! As Gryphon, dressed still in normal clothing, dragging his two charges to the door would soon learn was another skirmish in the war twixt Light and Dark.

As Caedechron landed because Gryphon had told them that he didn’t know whom John and Stella were. They’ve likely fled outside with everyone else. Just then from Gryphon’s perspective a very confused Hank the mutant horseman came blasting through the doorway nearly knocking Cai over but they held their ground rather well against Hank’s over 7 feet of horse power! Gryphon’s companions, Black Phantom and Rubber Band Man came running up to prevent the altercation from getting any worse. All of them went chasing after this John and Stella individuals B.P. said were critical to neutralizing and interrogating as to their connection to the corrupt ‘First Reflector’

After setting the two he had been carrying outside down. Gryphon, still in normal clothing but his transformed body heads back inside to find three more church members. Covenant has transformed back to Alex the college student. Deciding to treat him like a bystander to keep his cover, while helping people he thought were innocent Gryphon leans over to the college student, “Hey kid, grab that lady and get out of here I saw a guy with a gun! It’s not safe!” Gryphon turned to pick up two men cowering near the stage and all of them head for the main door.

Alex stayed outside and Garrick/Gryphon headed back inside to an empty room. The buffet table still had plenty of food upon it to the right. Most of the chairs were still where people had left them as they scattered during the take down of the ‘First Reflector’ just minutes ago. Eventually he makes his way into a back room where the ash pile that had been known as the ‘First Reflector’ had prepared himself before coming out. Searching the room he overheard a small conversation between Trip and Black Phantom as he located a laptop. When his password hacking attempts failed he got frustrated and used one of his thumb drives and booted to a recent distro of Kali Linux Live USB.

Soon enough he had root access to the machine and quickly found files of a mystical nature. He began moving them off to show to Patsy for later review. She was the magic scholar after all. Through the mystical files he was removing from the laptop, he found what he had hoped and prayed for! This church was on a national and to a small degree a worldwide level given its creation in the 1940’s! It was indeed organized as a cult, and here was damning documents cementing that fact! Including how they financed the deeper non-public level with various illegal endeavors! Apparently there was to be rituals performed on April 8th, across the country! Gryphon aimed to gather it all up and send it to Geist and Director Balisong. Hopefully this would be the smoking gun to stop the Church on a national level from some gigantic group ritual. This took a fair amount of time as everyone else was engaged in their tasks, clean up, and whatever the hell Trip was doing.

Gryphon kept working on scouring this laptop and creating a reference document. A power point with links to the associated documents to bring Geist and Director Balisong up to speed quickly. Black Phantom, Caedechron, Rubber Band Man, and Hank apparently found John and Stella. He believed they were going to the base, which he thought was a stupid idea. Argue about it in analysis paralysis or take a page from Carl’s play book and give those that had the power ammunition to defend the team from the coming public backlash. Gryphon had hoped they would have made the raid after service was over. However, that would be armchair planning and the quote was: ‘To accept everything as it is.’

Overhearing comm chatter, Black Phantom was apparently in the building and gone downstairs to find Trip? It just click for Gryphon that Carl had transformed. As a gamer Trip was recon sniper level in cool, as anything else… Well he was really good at games. Looks like he owed Miss Amazing another dinner since he had to agree with her.

Gryphon had finally finished the power point presentation and sent it along with the incriminating evidence to the two people with the ability to stop a nationwide incident from happening through legal means. Gryphon now had magic, something or other, documents and a wand, maybe something in all of this would help get Patsy home. Given the look she gave him, he started to think maybe he had horribly misread what he thought she felt for him. It would be easier to be just friends the way he was with Mavis Beacon. Perhaps they could still be friends and Miss Amazing, Katherine, could finally calm down? He chuckled at the idea of an interdimensional pen-pal!

When he headed back into the room with the chairs he looked around at the side doors and remembered the one that had some commotion at it on what would’ve been the left if you had just come in from the outside. Entering he found a short hallway with additional doors into small rooms but at the end was indeed a staircase leading down. The din of noise from outside was fading away as he summoned his armor on top of the normal clothing he was wearing. His hand was shaking ever so slightly as he summoned his sword, Ashmadiel. Feeling its comfortable weight he steadied himself and moved forward when Caedechron came of the comm unit in his ear, “Where is everybody? What’s the situation? What’s going on?”

“Hello, hello, umm hello, I am with Caedechron,” said the Rubber Band Man.

Geist replied, “I’m just pulling up to the church. You guys alright? I’m just here to grab those captives. Alex is out here too, entertaining the crowd.”

Gryphon replied, “I’m going down to assist Black Phantom in rescuing Trip, I think, from cultists.”

“Ahh, so we confirmed then there was something going on about this place?”

Nearly cutting Geist off, “I sent you and Director Balisong all the information.”

Caedechron tried to ask, “Okay does anyone…”

Cut off by Rubber Band Man, “Señor Geist the captives are at headquarters.”

[silence for a few moments]

“I must have misheard you about the captives when you asked me to come here. Well, there’s something about the cultists let me come in then.”

Caedechron said, “Yeah, if you could go in with Gryphon we’re on our way.”

“Are they secure?”

Caedechron replied, “They are.”

“Alright. Shorty, Cardinal, make sure you keep an eye on them. The rest of you why don’t you come in on this location.”

Caedechron replied, “Roger that.”

Shorty #5 replied that he’d been kicked out of his office. More silence for a few moments, “You don’t need to be in there to keep an eye on the captives do you?” Shorty #5/Cardinal in training gave a reply Gryphon had to stifle a laugh at. He told Geist no but he was making a sandwich first. Geist was calm, he did not appear frustrated and he kept his words even the way Gryphon did with kids at the center. When he mentioned for everyone else to go then Caedechron mentioned Rubber Band Man and he would find Hank and join them.

Gryphon heads downstairs very slowly and Ashmadiel realizes he is burying his fear that something else might blow him up or kill him. The Celestial watches from the swirling desert inside the sword as he pushes past his fear with each step. He feels shame that he is not brave right now, and yet Ashmadiel sees him not giving up or running from trouble. As he made it to the door on the lower level Gryphon could hear some of his teammates coming up behind him. Steeling his courage to know that his days were to be filled with more near death experiences he flung the door open to squash his fear from shell shock.

Only to run in five feet, clearing the doorway and getting frozen a few inches in the air! People DO NOT transform like that! This felt like a Tokyo Ghoul Anime meets superheroes and all he could think of in his head was, ‘What the hell is all this, looks magic to me!’

Then Hank the Horse-Man was flung through the doorway by Rubber band Man at one turned into a giant bull! As the other members were coming into the room and most were subsequently stunned as he by the metamorphic changes in those present in some sort of ritual gathering. One human began to show sores all over his body in which a few sprouted tentacles! Another looked like a gigantic rat with robotic legs! Then as though this couldn’t get weirder Gryphon heard Alice yell out, “Black Phantom! You stupid racist Gaijin! These are my people, stop fighting!” Apparently they were no longer saving Trip, but Alice now? Was this even becoming a rescue mission anymore?

Then as Gryphon noticed Alice’s location, mirrors in the corners of the room behind her began to darken unnaturally! Before Gryphon could do anything the room began to rebound and reverberate all the noise! Clearly a power Alice had, and then she screamed which made it the only sound he heard. While nearly everyone else whom was here previously appeared to have been blinded by something. Gryphon watched as three of the transformed monstrosities turned invisible. He began to take stock that this situation was still non-violent. As Alice walked away from the mirrors reverted to a normal state. As he began to fly over to one of the mystically invisible human turned monsters he continued to think, ‘Magic, yep definitely magic!’ Gryphon tried tapping the fellow on the shoulder gently to attempt a parley before things get much worse.

Caedechron, was somewhat successful in canceling out some of the reverberation. The recently transformed monster tried to brush Gryphon’s arm off while Hank tried to make peace with the bull. Seemingly unaware his voice would add to the sound reverberation Hank attempted to offer the bull a beer as a peace offering. Gryphon found it odd still, seeing Hank naked except for a shirt. He thought briefly this would make a good comic book! Gryphon tried to respect the personal space of the ‘person’ he tapped on the shoulder. Reminded of his father saying to not judge a book by its cover he was trying – hard – to find a non-violent way through this. In that moment he realized this was still a duel only he wasn’t using a sword, physically! He had new questions for his instructor when he saw him next time.

Gryphon started making the “T” gesture with his hand and mouthing “…TIME OUT, WHOA…” in hopes people would stop and this doesn’t turn into a real fight. His sword, Ashmadiel, is transformed back to an ornate armband, which looks like angelic ornamentation upon the bracer on his left arm. Geist got into the room and called out, “Alright everyone, clam down!”

Gryphon heard someone in the room cry out, “Oh! By the night!” Everything then went dark! ‘Well,’ Gryphon thought it was nice that at some point the sonic reverberations had stopped. Then Gryphon heard the sound of rushing hooves moving farther away from him. He wasn’t sure if it was Hank the Horse-Man or the monstrous bull running away? Gryphon summoned his sword to regain the power of heat vision while he held it, because all he could make out where the shapes of those that were mystically invisible. Once heat signatures similar to a certain alien predator movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger were visible as he held Ashmadiel once again made him re-think, ‘Yep this is definitely magic.’

Geist yelled out in a more reasonable tone, “We need to hold off! S.A.V.I.O.R. let’s stand down!”

From inside his head, “I have seen many strange things in my existence. And you do not forget the look of those who are the bane of the night. These people here they are not like you, they are not like others, they are Nightbane. They are those who will fight against the darkness of the other world. They are our allies.”

With a deep breath Gryphon cries out, “Everybody! These people fight against Night Lords!”

From out in the darkness the heat shape that resembled Hank the Horse-man asked, “So they fight Dracula?”

To which the Rubber Band Man replied, “No, Señor Hank, they fight Chupacabra!” There was no heat signature for him in this room though – did he not give off any heat?

At this point the darkness vanished and the group leader said to Caedechron’s plasma arm cannon pointed at him but still blinded from some event earlier, “We just wanted to help Trip, what it happening?” The room finally looked to Gryphon as though they may avoid an all out slug-fest! It looked as though there was an opportunity to address everyone again.

Gryphon states, “Okay, okay, putting it away!” A brief pause as the swirl golden mercury once again transforms the sword back onto the vambrace on his left arm, “These are Nightbane, they’re our allies. They fight against Night Lords!”

“Like Dracula,” asked Hank?

“Yeah, like that,” replied Gryphon.

“So are they from the ‘Belmont’ family,” asked Hank?

“Kinda, but I didn’t play that video game all the way through,” replied Gryphon.

Caedechron calls out, “This one is not what he appears! He’s fighting with the Night Lords.”

As Gryphon turned his head to see the man in question lunged for Caedechron snarling, “I’ll tear you to pieces!”

ZAP! The smell of electricity and burning flesh took to the air as Caedechron fired in self-defense with a direct hit from his plasma arm-cannon! This individual had managed to punch his body armor leaving a respectable dent on Caedechron. However, the plasma arm-cannon was a point blank into his face! The resulting explosion quite literally covers the room in far more blood than would seem possible! Huge globs of a dark reddish viscous liquid hit everyone, with varying sizes of bodily chunks tagging quite a few in the room. Gryphon had been never more thrilled to be flying. However, from the middle of his chest down to his boots he had been hit with the gore, viscera, was that a toe?

Gryphon looked up hoping to diffuse the current situation, “Okay, so who needs a shower?” [Silence] “Okay, rough room tonight.”

Alice replied slowly also a little taken back by the recent explosion, “Uhh, everyone.”

Black Phantom started to ask, “Okay, with Con-dick gone. Who’s in charge now? Step up.” He watch the monstrosities begin to retake their human forms, so he holstered his weapons. Provided something didn’t attack the city tomorrow Gryphon pictured a night of him cleaning his weapons. As he was holstering so covered in blood, Alice, also dripping gore walked up and asked if she could trust him. Gryphon said nothing, just ‘accepting everything as it was’ and letting two adults once again sort out their differences by talking. He had a quiet hope seeing them talk would inspire similar actions in the others once they came out of shock. He looked down at the blood once again and slowly clenched down his fists, internally repeating, ‘This isn’t me. This isn’t me. This isn’t me.’

Poor Alice and Rubber Band Man were just trying to catch up to all the weird this year had been so far. When she asked for the Beast to be brought out. Gryphon saw a nearly comic level of shock come over Rubber Band Man’s face, as he appeared to see it as a sexual reference. The former jockey turned superhero was not deterred in trying to safeguard the young Japanese looking girl in just the top half of a authentic Green Hornet ‘Kato’ uniform. He wrapped himself around B.P. when Gryphon tried to explain how Alice, Trip, and the Beast were multi-faceted manifestations of a core identity. Alas, he was unsuccessful but told B.P. to continue and then he would understand.

“Hey everyone, I’m going to go and prepare a room for everyone, I’ll be right back,” Caedechron stated.

“Señor Robot Man, never go alone, please take someone with you!”

“It’s fine I’ll be right back,” Caedechron told him and effectively everyone as they leave.

Just then Alice changes into the brownish, sandstone colored, rock-scaled, six-limbed, now bald, Beast.

Dios Mio!” The Rubber Band Man let go of Black Phantom (B.P.) and stretched quite a distance away.

“That’s what I was trying to tell you,” Gryphon replied with a wave of his hand as more gore flecked off of it, internally repeating, ‘This isn’t me. This isn’t me. This isn’t me.’ “The centaur, the little girl, the monster are all the same person.”

“No comprender,” replied the Rubber Band Man is somewhat stuttering speech.

“Se habla monster español,” asked Gryphon hoping simple words might help focus the poor guy clearly not used to how weird it can get. It failed, kinda, as it did get others talking.

Hank asked, “We’re good right? Because I need some dessert.”

Gryphon turn, “Oh hi! You’re Hank, right?” He smiled and waved at the mutant Horse Man, and his gore soaked top. Seeing Gryphon try and be upbeat made a few people in the room chuckle at the exchange in the now macabre surroundings.

Hank replied, “Yeah.”

“Nice to finally meet you,” Gryphon floats over and he shakes Hank’s hand. The Geist walks up to us both but addresses the room, “S.A.V.I.O.R., let’s take a moment here. Everybody this is Hank, he’s joining us alongside Victor.”

Stuttering Victor aka: Rubber Band Man interjects, “Que le paso a la niña? What happened to the little girl?”

In perfect Spanish, granted unto him by his sword, with a flawless accent, “El centauro, la niña pequeña, la bestia son todos la misma persona.” While this inter-lingual exchange was happening the Beast walked over and thanked two of the Nightbane for taking care of Carl. Gryphon realized that this was the first time they responded to anything spoken amongst them. He could understand the shock, the gore disassociating them from the present moment. When they talked it was calmer than he thought it would be, which Gryphon found encouraging. They mentioned needing to figure things out for themselves as they looked around. Then they emphasized that he, the Beast, was not alone and he needed to know that.

“I have Dissociative Identity Disorder. There are four of me,” chuckled the Beast as he tried to explain the issue. A few more of the Nightbane, all of the ones left were back into their human forms. They came around to the Beast and one of the two talking with him nodded and agreed that would explain it, or some of it. “Carl, was the primary personality before our first change when we were 16.” Another of the Nightbane asked if that was when his mind broke, and the Beast mentioned he has strong suspicions someone helped it break. He went on to mention a Pharmacologist that was prescribing drugs to Carl in hopes of stopping the change. Everyone in the exchange chuckles a bit when they mentioned that it clearly didn’t work.

Gryphon floats over to the Nightbane nearest to him, “Um, excuse me you are Nightbane that fought the Nightlords right? Or are you younger versions of them?”

The one Gryphon had spoken to turned and replied, “What, you said that earlier, what, no we didn’t fight…”

“But you are Nightbane, right?”

“Yeah its what we’ve been told,” said the one speaking to him and another one now listening, nodding to each other, “That would explain our weird abilities here.”

Black Phantom interjected and explained about the captives: John & Stella. Only to find out both of them were Nightbane as well. Both Black Phantom and Gryphon found out as everyone else was listening that these Nightbane explained the ‘First Reflector’ created the whole church. The Nightbane seemed perplexed when Gryphon explained he had been corrupted and was working with the Nightlords, also that he was dead as well. The Nightbane said they knew the Nightlords were the rulers of the Nightlands and they were trying to get back to the homeland they had originated from!

Everyone now looked confused, but no one looked like they were ready to fight. The night was officially looking up to Gryphon, whom was keeping his blood soaked hands down so he didn’t have to look at them. He was saved from his internal monologue by the Beast talking, “Yeah, I know a lot about ‘Super Hero Lore’ which includes a number of things that are similar to superheroes, like the Nightbane. At least in all the old tales the Nightbane were revolting against the Nightlords, they didn’t work with them.”

“Well…, We were told differently by Conrad, and the ‘First Reflector.’ That we would be welcomed back to the Nightlands.” replied at least three of the Nightbane. They continued on by various ones in their group, “We were told the Nightlands were our home. That we’re trying to get back to. Because we’re not normal people, like you,” gesturing at the Beast, “… The Nightlords would welcome us. We had been sealed away from this dimension for a long time. At least, well, at least decades.”

Gryphon watched as the Beast spoke up, “Well, let me point something out. A member of our team had been given super powers to seek after a great supernatural evil, somebody who was seeking to end the world. His powers were designed for one thing and one thing only. When he confronted the ‘First Reflector’ he recognized his ancient enemy. A single shot from his specially prepared weapon killed him and completely destroyed his body.”

During that statement Victor and Hank head out of the room followed by Geist as Black Phantom asks, “So are John & Stella Nightbane or Nightlords?” Confused slightly the group responds that they’re Nightbane, and when B.P. tries to get them to clarify. They remark that nothing is certain right now because everyone is telling them that all or at least part of everything they knew was wrong. Gryphon was relying on complete faith of what Ashmadiel had told him, and it had appeared to be correct, making him look “in the know” far more than he was. He had been waiting to find a nice quiet time to try what he was about to attempt. It was taking a page from Aaziakel’s play book. He remembered how resplendent he made Patsy look. He hoped trying this now would appeal to his celestial guardian’s sense of seeking to right wrongs. Into his mind he went to speak with her.

 


Come watch the next game at: HippoTV!
Art by: AZ_Artisan

 

Reflections & Religion

Reflections & Religion

March 28th, 2024 – Thursday: 5 PM

Master Tyrone Nitobe had arched an eyebrow when a UPS package had shown up at noon. When his lunch time classes let out he got around to checking on his mail. His wife, Aiko, whom ran the business end the C.S.H.F.A. was very surprised to see whom the sender was! Upon checking he noticed it was from Spirit Enterprises with a small note tucked inside.

“Thanks for helping him – R.G.

Inside the box was some items that appeared to be made of the same material as Gryphon’s practice sword! There was a classic styled sword stand with “Nitobe” cut out in Kanji characters ( 新渡戸 ). Tyrone did not loose site of the fact this material could stop a bullet or parry Gryphon’s blade! Then he pulled out a saya (or scabbard) made of the same material with a mouth for what would have to be a very hefty blade. A silk bag that had the same Kanji characters embroidered upon it was wrapped around the saya. His wife, Aiko, was descended from the Seki swordsmiths that had made the katana for Musashi and she could tell the silk bag had its materials from the Gifu Prefecture of her home.

What came out next took his breath away! It was a perfect, practice, replica of Miyamoto Musashi’s Katana! The legendary Japanese swordmaster was well above the average height for his people and his daito katana reflected this by being double pegged unlike most katana that have a single peg affixing hilt to blade. This super strong poly-resin replica was no different and the double ring tsuba hand guard was there! The weight felt right and balance matched the original but the thicker blade matched the sheath’s mouth. It was exquisite to say the least. He surmised this was a gift on par to the cost of an entry model Aircar!

When Gryphon showed up a little early at 4 PM mentioning he was on vacation and hoped he could work on body weight exercises in the back. Master Nitobe studied his face and he realized Gryphon did not know about the gift from his sponsor. Perhaps today would be a day for training from the great sword master himself? At 5 PM he called Gryphon out to the floor.

“Gryphon have you been studying the books I gave you?”

As Gryphon began to answer Master Nitobe initiated combat as he had been doing for some time. He saw no point in wasting time talking when you can move and talk at the same time. “Yes Master Nitobe.” WHACK!

“Good, your speech has not wavered and your breathing is steady.” WHACK! With his new sword in one hand and the scabbard in the other Master Nitobe began to make Gryphon recite and memorize some of the quotes he wanted him to focus on of Musashi. All the while making him practice katas to teach him muscle memory.

“Clearly, you have mastered this one. Do not fear death. That is a compliment well earned Gryphon.”

“Thank you Master Nitobe.”

WHACK!

“Accept everything just the way it is.”

WHACK!

“Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.”

WHACK!

“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.”

WHACK!

“Get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of Man.”

WHACK!

“While not wisely or well, do we all not love?”

WHACK!

“Yes, yet if you wish to control others you must first control yourself. So if you wish to love others you must first love yourself. You cannot share or exert what you do not possess yourself. There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”

WHACK! WHACK!!

“If I fail and start anew, is the path still there?”

WHACK!

“Of course, understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain. Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men. As long as you want to stay on the path you can find your way back. Gryphon, you saved teammates and innocents with the decisive actions of a samurai. You thought of the world and not of desire. You did what you could and sought nothing but a better tomorrow. Yet, you still burden yourself with ghosts of your past and refuse to believe people love you or that you are worthy of such care. That is where you failed!”

WHACK! WHACK!! WHACK!!!

The new practice katana was scant hairs away from Gryphon’s eye as the Master Nitobe legged swept him with the scabbard. “Your control has improved. Again! As a reward you may start coming to the morning group lessons.”


March 28th, 2024 – Thursday: 5 PM

JAKE THOMPSON
HERO OF CENTURY STATION
IS DEAD!”

At Spirit Enterprises, Richard Grey was re-reading the morning headline and accompanying article written by Granny2Good. Online the news of S.A.V.I.O.R. and the near fatal sacrifice play by Gryphon was filtered out to the other groups to help them deal with their robots battles.

Genysis Sponsored Team: Dynosaurs – Took the longest and had the most associated property damage.

Maverick Team: Iron Brigade – Two members had their powered armor suits destroyed and are healing at an undisclosed location from critical injuries. They had the second most associated property damage.

Maverick Team: Valkyries – Their battle took just longer than S.A.V.I.O.R.’s and had the least associated property damage. Many incoming reports note that because they focused on saving and minimizing damage to innocents. This was the only reason their battle took longer.

Spirit Sponsored Team: S.A.V.I.O.R. – Took the shortest amount of time and had slightly more property damage than the Valkyries. As super teams go this is a positive sign for such a new team in the city.

Punctual as ever Director Balisong arrived for a meeting with Richard. Meanwhile, Greg Nugent met up with Victor in the ground floor lobby of Spirit Enterprises building in Silver City sub-district of the Society Hill borough. Greg had informed Victor that while Hank was still healing they were going to be joining up with the hero team S.A.V.I.O.R. Which prompted much confusion from Victor because he believed they were a religious based group of some form or fashion.

With a wave through from security because they were expected. Both of them headed up to the top floors and when the elevator doors opened. Victor recognized Director Balisong and could overhear their conversation. One that had been done in hush tones and whispers.

“You know with Caedechron, you need to be very, very careful. Something is not right. We know Xander Financial had sent money to fund your group. Obviously he created a robot that looked like Caedechron, so there’s something going on here. The police, we’re going to get to the bottom of this. For now you just need to make sure you’re being very, very careful. Xander Financial had a lot of dirty dealings, there’s so much out there. The money they secretly funneled to you is also there as well. Which is raising some questions I am trying not to ask.”

“Oh, I can assure you director we’ll keep an eye on him. Everything, everything will be fine, I can assure you.”

“Yeah, there will be a lot to process with that one. One more thing and keep this on the down low. Mason has passed on. They’re doing their best to keep it out of the papers, but it’s only a matter of time before that gets found out. Cassandra is already starting to take over, and she’s already declared she’s not going to be keeping up with any of his former projects. So you guys are going to need to find another source if you wish to keep going like this.”

“Oh don’t worry,” as he notices Greg and Victor coming into the office from the elevator area, “This may be the answer to our problems now.”

Director Balisong seemed taken back and apparently was quite the fan of Victor’s jockey career. Richard was relieved and let her know he’d take their conversation to heart. After she left Greg informed Richard that Hank was still healing and would be a few more days before he could join the team. Due to some confusion on Victor’s part Richard had to explain that S.A.V.I.O.R. stood for: Swift, Altruistic, Valiant, Industrious, Observant, Resolute. Greg mentioned and was seconded by Victor that this needs to be communicated since a number of people may believe them to be a religious based super group without knowing more about Spirit or the Team.

After Victor signed the paperwork making him an official member of S.A.V.I.O.R. Greg took his leave and Richard called Carl to drive him and another recruit for the team to their base location. There was some concern about Carl’s explanation regarding “blackouts” but Richard calmed everything down so he could get this show on the road. The fact that Carl had a doctor’s appointment planned seem to put Victor at some ease. Richard made sure Carl and Victor had some formal introductions before they left in one of Richard’s aircars.

The air lanes became less frequent when they reached Midtown, and became nearly non-existent when they flew over Brisby Flats. Upon nearing the northern part of the Zericho sub-district. Richard told Victor when he asked that the reason for selecting this area of town to host their operations was due to its need. However, they go where they are called citywide. With that they came upon an empty lot with a drained, sunken, pool and its bottom dropped and slid away as the aircar lowered into it. The steel, reinforced, and very high tech looking tunnel they found themselves in seemed to put Victor at ease from what Richard could see.


March 28th, 2024 – Thursday: 6:15 PM

A.R.C.H.I.E. watched as Richard, now wearing his Geist mask, went through the motions of trying to add the Rubber Band Man to the system. Eventually a voice imprint was taken that made a decent sample for authentication. It was decided that the Rubber Band Man would also need a key card for when he wasn’t speaking. A.R.C.H.I.E. did its level best to sound cheerful when it had to mention the card’s importance in making sure the Rubber Band Man would not be seen as an intruder.

A.R.C.H.I.E. watched Geist go around and inform everyone about the new arrival. Carl appears to be taking a slower route and then heads for the meeting room. When Miss Amazing talks about having seen Rubber Band Man’s mundane identity win the Triple Crown. The new hero smiles, but thinks she saw it on YouTube from her physical appearance. A.R.C.H.I.E. understands Miss Amazing’s physical age appears to be a side effect [ according to reports notated by Geist ] of what’s she revealed about her experimental alterations performed on her. Gryphon, having just returned from a shower, appears happy but micro expressions suggest this is a facade. More data required. Will continue to update Geist with daily reports. Last known searches involved finding out how high the International Space Station is and roughly when it would pass over Cape Canaveral. His designs on a way to make a small heat shield suggest the same wild inventive streak as the Wright Brothers. More data required.

A.R.C.H.I.E. watched as everyone finally gathered in the meeting room. They engage in playful banter as they get to know Rubber Band Man. They talk about the reason for team members leaving.

A.R.C.H.I.E. watched as they begin to talk about infiltrating the Church of Reflections. Rubber Band Man shows off his rubber-elastic power, followed by his powers of night. Many of the members react poorly to the power of fear Rubber Band Man could exude upon the room. Covenant asked for the floor afterwards and explained about the man called Ashton Campbell that murdered his parents. He talked about following leads to the Winchester House, but mostly finding Ishtarian worshippers that used gun running to finance their occult ends. Ashton, though, may have been the person that founded the Church of Reflections and is the one they call the First Reflector.

Covenant mentioned a big ceremony on the 8th of April. A day that has an eclipse on it based upon the calendar, and noted by Carl as well. Covenant mentioned that something was shipped here. From the manifest he was able to deduce one of three options from his contacts in California. 1) An herbal component in something bigger, a magical ritual of some form or fashion. 2) A drug that imbues someone with basic magic power when they consume it! 3) The worst scenario was a magically intelligent, biological agent that knows its target and the ceremony just activates it! Rubber Band Man stretched up over the table to try and console him with a can of Tecate Beer. Will begin similar safety protocol watching as on Gryphon. Potential alcoholic behavior exhibited by Rubber Band Man. More data required.

A.R.C.H.I.E. watched as the conversation continues it becomes clear the city has a lot of followers among the Church of Reflections. Victor remembered a TV Reporter that was a member and Gryphon agreed with Covenant about Thursday being the perfect time to go since he gets asked constantly. Victor asked why Señor Gryphon gets asks so much. Gryphon mentions he donates a lot of time at a community center and a lady there is a member. Carl butts in that Gryphon is also a man-whore, to which Gryphon vehemently disagrees with! Carl says anyone wishing clarification should just ask Miss Amazing. Victor mentions no one should ask a lady that and Covenant tries to redirect the conversation back to the Church and not Gryphon.

“Carl that was really rude! Do we need to talk to the Beast about this?”

“Huh, I don’t understand?”

“Calling Gryphon a man whore, what does that make me? I think we may need to ‘pull-out’ the Beast for a chat!”

Carl shook his head for a bit, and A.R.C.H.I.E. began running scans of all kinds to try and determine if psychic energy could be detected and later quantified for further analysis. Nothing changed about him however, A.R.C.H.I.E. surmises in a manner of a weapon parry perhaps one’s mind could be hardened to parry a psychic attack? A.R.C.H.I.E. leaves the scanners up and believes it catches a second use of psychic powers being used. More data required.

In continued observation A.R.C.H.I.E. sees that Carl has pulled up a map based on the locations of the Church locations, the Wax Museum, and Jenga Tower. Carl then plots a line based on reports of dark activity and a clear line connecting those locations and the construction/new home & apartment building area called the Battleground are shown to have a connection along it! This is vetted by a map Gryphon has from Pasty Palmer regarding something called magic energy flows of the Earth, or Ley Lines according to Carl. A.R.C.H.I.E. sees Miss Amazing have an exasperated look when Patsy’s name is mentioned. When Gryphon offers Patsy’s contact info to the Geist for help in understanding the Ley Line magical energy flows. A.R.C.H.I.E. sees a noted eye roll and head tilting back from Miss Amazing. Everytime she’s expressed this Gryphon appears to be looking in another direction. Tracking the relationship status of team members could be useful in understanding and squelching conflicts on an interpersonal level. More data required.

As A.R.C.H.I.E. continues their observations they can see Geist, Deathwish, Miss Amazing, and Cavalry head to the location in Hannigan. Meanwhile; Carl, Gryphon, Black Phantom, Victor, and Covenant were headed to the one in Zericho. Shorty #5, whom is being allowed to use the name Cardinal for the time being. Geist appears to be deciding as to whether or not to train him officially for the job. Cardinal is given “Man In The Chair” duty and becomes the information hub at base while the teams are out on their respective missions.

A.R.C.H.I.E. notes a message is left for Caedechron from Gryphon about investigating the Church in low-profile. An address to head towards when his work is done is left as well. After some time that is indeed what Caedechron does.


March 28th, 2024 – Thursday: 6:45 PM

Ramona De La Cova was excited about the day. First she had found out the ‘First Reflector’ was going to visit her branch of the Church of Reflections! She had been here most of the day helping to get this place in order, unloading extra chairs, and she even got to see the car of the ‘First Reflector’ arrive. Then, like a miracle, she got a message from Garrick! He was on his way with a couple of friends. She tried to make sure her reply was appropriate in case one of his friends was Ameera.

March 28th, 2024 – Thursday: 7:35 PM

When he finally arrives her smile could have lit a room! She had a suspicion but she’s not heard of many adult growth spurts that come and go. He was walking past in his 6’6″ frame and … … OH MY GOD HE MADE IT! “Garrick it’s so good to see you..” She realized she had been hugging him and he had hugged her back! When she pulled back and made eye contact, he smiled at her. His eyes were not unlike dark glistening topaz and she could tell he was looking at nothing else other than her. When her heart swooned she said a small apology to Ameera internally, but why does anyone allow this man out on his own?

Then he mentioned being happy to finally make it here, using off the cuff poetry! He made her another piece of poetry, he was his namesake’s descendant alright! His arm was strong, when she patted his torso as he made a joke it registered he had six pack abs being hidden by his button down shirt. Ameera is crazy to let him go somewhere alone unless she likes it when he brings back girls? Being of a passionate Cuban descent, she knew he’d end up with any number of ladies before the evening was over. If she stuck to him she could protect him, yeah she was doing Ameera a favor, right a favor.

She launched into a number of items not really giving him time to respond. She was so happy to share her faith with him finally and the ‘First Reflector’ would be here in person! She noticed him glance about the room slightly and then move to allow someone by. “Oh, my, God! He’s so courteous,” she thought inwardly to herself, “perhaps he reflected on why he hasn’t shown up and made a positive change?”

“Oh, hi Alex.”

Ramona caught only a brief glimpse as they were talking about philosophy and how it influences artists’ work. She never even heard Alex mutter, “Sure, Be Bold. Make sure to talk to the girl before Garrick does, check.”

She caught up about their personal lives and Garrick, she realized, by and large will just talk without reservation about any topic, nothing is off limits ideologically with him. He mentions Ameera was out that night with one of “their” girlfriends, Constance. Which prompted a conversation about relationships, jealousy, how does polyamorous function? Garrick just mentioned that showing affection was a lot of work. Most men in his opinion put the work in but when they get their sought after partner a fair percentage slow down and then wonder why the relationship eroded. Ramona hung on Garrick’s every word, “It should not be a man’s duty, but his privilege, to let his partner know everyday why they sought them in the first place. That’s just my advice for monogamous couples, now taking that to polyamorous styles of relationships means each partner has to put the same amount of work into each relationship to make sure their partners are treated fairly. That said it is a lot of work but the rewards of the heart and joy received are multiplied as well.”

Ramona had the right of it no one woman was going to contain this man. When explained that his girlfriends all have a chat server they used to keep in touch with each other she had proof he wasn’t a cheater. Then she noticed he nodded to another man and she asked him if this was his guest he brought with him. He mentioned that it was just someone he’d met before and began scanning the room asking about someone named Carl. All of a sudden he began to choke and loose all sense of speech! She quickly got him over to the food table for something to drink. He was blabbing about something and only barely got out ‘Carl’ ‘over’ ‘there.’ When he came to his senses after a sip of water he remembered a work item he had to leave a note to himself about. Acknowledging it was bad etiquette was something men did not often do, but it was quick and he slid his phone away.

There was some commotion that happened but moved into a side room before either of them really noticed anything. Then Ramona and Garrick both notice Alex duck under the table and someone come over to check on the odd behavior. Ramona had seen patients during her internship as a nurse in school have a panic attack. She watched Garrick intercede the curious individual in a way that acknowledged their concern about the behavior. However it also pulled him away from someone that may just need a moment as a severe introvert. She saw him ask about the ‘First Reflector’ to bring the person back to calm. When she saw this person have questions and Garrick grinned at her. Ramona lept at the chance to help both of them. He was so present and in the moment! As the conversation continued Ramona led Garrick and the fellow they were speaking to over to front row seats. She hoped the poor kid under the table cloth enjoyed the food if he was just introverted and not having a panic attack.

As she was talking to Garrick she began to find it more and more comfortable to lean against him. She chided herself quietly when she kept realizing how in shape and physically defined he was. His clothing often hid the scope of his physique. She was saved from various thoughts as she tried to continue on about the, umm, her, ummm, the Church, yes the Church. When the Church’s A/V engineer came out on stage to introduce the ‘First Reflector’ to everyone. There was applause as he entered in his customary hooded robe. Only to have some dark and freakish rubber band like creature leap out of the shadows and entangle him!

Garrick exclaimed, “OH SHIT!”

The cloaked ‘First Reflector’ cries out in a raspy voice, belying serious age, “IT WILL NOT END THIS WAY!”

Ramona noticed Stella trying to get as many people out of the building and commotion as possible, “Come on everyone we need to get out of here! It’s not safe we need to go!” Almost everyone present began to follow her but Ramona noticed a few long-time church goers began to run to the ‘First Reflector’s’ aid. Ramona and the other fellow sitting with them began to follow suit and move toward to help try and free the ‘First Reflector’ from his captor! Behind her she heard Garrick cry out, “HELDAMM!”

As he ran up she was so happy until he scooped up her and the other guy in his arms! “Garrick we can’t go!”

“It’s dangerous I have to get you both someplace safe!”

The other guy clamored about whom was going to save their leader?

“There are other people there!” Ramona could see genuine concern in Garrick’s eyes as a flying android/robot creature came out of nowhere with four arms, each holding a handgun of some kind. It was screaming about what target should it engage while it was using built in thrusters to remain airborne above everyone!

“Ramona!” Garrick set them down halfway to the door, “If you have ever cared for me then take this guy and go! There’s a man with a gun! I have to go back and get others before they’re hurt!”

Just then he turned and ran back into the heart of chaos and danger without the slightest concern for his safety. For a moment she paused, and considered a revelation she was having as she witnessed his actions. Then she turned to the guy next to her and grabbed his arm, “Let’s go! We need to go.” With that new found realization about Garrick Faulkner was she headed for the door with her charge in tow as the flying android/robot began to fire back in the direction Garrick was running to try and save people.


Come watch the next game at: HippoTV!
Art by: AZ_Artisan