TL;DR At bottom… you know, for the people that are tired of reading my crap.

The green lines and heatmap tie-die of the world greeted me, slowly creeping into my awareness. As the outlines of the various boxes and wires of my storage-closet-turned-dormitory became clear-cut, a blurred color overlay tried to assert itself over it all. The process made it appear like I was in a World-War-II-era newspaper cartoon – you know, where the shape of the color was correct, but it was misprinted an eighth of an inch to the right of the heavy ink lines of the character’s outline. With a flicker, my camera-lense-eyes cycled, and the Radar and Thermal Imaging sensors shut off, and my world appeared before me in 13 giga-pixel glory. This whole process took a matter of seconds,

Today is Monday. It was the first day, in the ten I have been in this body, that I wasn’t disoriented from returning to awareness.

It’s different from waking up when you’re in a body, where the residues of your dreaming mind mix with your conscious mind. Like a drop of bleach in stained water, slowly clearing your awareness from a Salvador Dahli landscape into stark clarity. The main difference is the timeframes involved. Naturally, a mind prefers to take an hour to wake up. My Transfered Intelligence Chassis flips the switch from passive information streams to active ones and I’ve got full awareness within seconds.

The reason the day mattered? It was the day Century Station bid farewell to a hero. Days like those hit Sponsored and Maverick heroes alike the way an officer’s death hits those in uniform.

Well, I went, and I gave the tribute that I thought Jake may have appreciated.

After several speeches, the majority of which felt like droning lectures about the orator’s enormous pomposity, the statue was revealed of Jake Thompson, LLC. As the enormous sheet fell away from the cold stone features, I played Dust in the Wind.

The story of that inside joke goes back to the night that Jake and I spent at a bar, getting drunk and talking about theoretical robotics and nanites. I admit, the only time I ever spent with the man was that one night. It ended up changing my life, it would seem. Well, in the middle of karaoke, flagons of beer, and theoretical robotics, Jake confided in me he loved the song, and cried every time it played.

Seeing as the song was a timestamp on his emotional prime, I thought that I should, as my eulogy, make another reference to pre-millennial pop culture. I played “Don’t You Forget About Me,” and threw my fist in the air, John-Bender-Style. Then, to top it off, I fired my Particle Cannon into the sky, because Jake had said once that its visual effect was similar to the special effects they used for the Ghostbusters weapons.

The rest of the memorial services lasted for four hours. I am glad that I was able to just lock up my joints, and sit there, but I feel sorry for Hank, who apparently hurt his ankle, and needed to use me as a crutch.

Gryphon seemed to weather the proceedings well, trying to show the proper decorum. Victor was completely smashed, showing his Tecate Colors as he gave Jake a send off. Honestly, I think that someone completely inebriated at his wake is something Jake would have preferred to solemnity and tears – which isn’t to say anything against Mrs. Falkenberg! I do not presume to judge anyone’s reaction to family members’ deaths. Heaven knows that I didn’t have a proper reaction to my mothers’ passing.

One guest surprised me a bit – though it was right for him to be there – and that was Black Phantom. It seemed his anger and wounds had started to subside, and he spoke with Geist about rejoining the group.

Director Balisong schmoozed Gryphon, and offered him the position that the Centurions once held. I started to feel like she already signed our names on the Offer Letter, and was only checking in with us to make sure we’d be there for our first day.

I was distracted, however, but Zeau. The little man is incredibly intelligent. For his age, he’s got a depth and breadth of knowledge that few can fathom… But he’s arrogant and haughty. Gryphon told Director Balisong that he felt like an understudy being tapped to fill a virtuoso’s shoes, and Zeau obviously took offense at being referred to as a sub-par hero.

Zeau is talented, and uses his power to great effect, but he doesn’t understand that he is inexperienced in the grand scheme of things, and he is a relatively underpowered individual, when put head to head with major villains, such as Obelisk, Lady Hive and Phase. It took us outnumbering them to “win” at Dr. Moore’s.

After the public funeral and the private wake at Ethel’s, I met up with Lunet at Jimmy John’s – the unofficial sponsor of S.A.V.I.O.R.

“Hey, Cai. How’re you doin’, everythin’ alright?” Lunet asked, her cop-eyes probing for the truth.

Her lips quirked up at the edges when the little sandwich shop bluetooth sound system started to play some Gaelic Storm.  Bluetooth speakers are actually surprisingly easy to hack, even without any sort of hardwire connection.

“I’m doing well.  I’ve been working on what you wanted me to. In fact, the last time crap hit the fan, I only discharged my gun once, and it was at a giant wasp.  No humans were harmed in the making of that particular failure.”  My voice became monotone toward the end, as I thought about why I wanted to meet with Lunet in the first place.  “Hey, did you hear about the people posing as SWAT over there in Society Hill?  Do you know what happened with that?”

“Yeah, I saw the footage. The CSPD pulled it from the cameras around the building that was attacked.  Standard security setup and all, so it was kinda jumpy, but it was enough to know what happened.  Some of it was leaked online – and it appeared to be edited.” I looked at her in confusion, and she assured me, “It seemed to be edited to make you look good.  It skipped over the parts where you ignored the innocents, even after being notified of the danger – Cai, that’s really bad, you know that right?  Anyway…”

As she continued with what she was saying, my mind started to race through the implications of publicity footage being ‘leaked’ online.  With the conversation that Director Balisong had with Gryphon about us taking the Centurions’ place coming the weekend after it was released. The timing was a bit too perfect.

“… I looked into it as much as I could.  Tully and a couple of my other friends told me what they could, but I’m still officially a PEO.  From what I could glean, though, the officers assigned had no luck. Cyber managed to trace the vehicle going back into Brisby Flats, but lost them from there.”

“That’s out in your neck of the woods, isn’t it?  Or at least next to where your IA rounds have you nestled.” I asked.

“Yeah.  Brisby is still a cesspool, but it’s getting better. I heard Gryphon is working on improving it, but there are still pockets where CSPD is more of a fairy tale than Hansel and Gretel.  Because of that, the higher-levels of community self-policing are non-existent.  You know, ATM cameras, street and store surveillance, usage of 911 and police hotlines…”

I knew where this was going.  “So they disappeared, and because the police presence in Brisby is about as far-reaching and clean as a pay-by-the-hour motel’s sheets after a particularly busy prom weekend, there wasn’t enough blue-blood support to continue the investigation.  It died in its tracks.”

“Yep.  You got it.”

“Do you ever think that some of the officers out there are on the take from the super villain groups? Like Halcyon, Sinistry, Motherboard?”

“I think that we need to clean things up.  I don’t care much who or what is the external stimulus.  I just want things to get better.  But other than that whole thing, there’s just too much going on in the city right now.”


Beast? You think this is something specific with him?

don’t think so, wrong place wrong time. Contact with several cutting edge/influential people in research and development. Sinistry is picking up bits and pieces.

Indbur is tight lipped, no idea what was taken. (Cai didn’t say anything.) Research and samples taken from Wendel Moore.

Ok, I’ll take this to Gryphon and the rest of the groop. Oh, btw, if you didn’t know, we voted Garrick as leader of Savior, to head off arguments and lead votes.

that should help you guys, that group has been a bit non-directed

buch of stallions running in different directions.

maybe will be good for city. she hints at Savior replacing Centurions. Gauges reaction to that. Peace in city, restore confidence, sinistry on loose, etc.

I keep a straight face.

she doesn’t react any further.

told her that I spoke with the psychiatrist.

she said Good.

Get back to the place.

Talk to Beast, Victor, and Hank, and we decide to pay Dr. Wendel Moore a little visit.  I plan on asking about Indbur Enterprises, his own research, and Sinistry.

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