Tag: Caedechron

They Say Time Heals All Wounds

They Say Time Heals All Wounds

April 10th, 2024 – Wednesday: 6 AM

Darting away from Century Plaza about ten minutes before 6AM Garrick could still hear the hum of the city as he flew in black sweats. Trying very hard to shake Ameera’s playfully, pouting, face as he disentangled himself this morning to leave for sword practice. Aircar traffic was low at this time of day so he ducked lower between buildings excited to get back to Master Tyrone Nitobe’s class.

Landing about a minute before class started the students and the teacher looked a bit surprised as to his arrival. He was now very glad about the strict no phone policy of his sensei. While he had made a number of friendly acquaintances in the class he knew most of the guys were getting tired of and use to the ladies trying to flirt with the superhero in the ‘proverbial room’. Having his identity public as Garrick only seem to embolden some of them. Master Nitobe always squashed it if it got out of hand. Today was no exception, however, he let it linger a few extra minutes as personal way of acknowledging his actions in saving everyone. When Garrick explained to the group that he was 30 to 40 feet away from two heroes getting blown apart by a few of the active clones of the Ultramarine everyone paused. Garrick looked at his sensei and said he needed today to help meditate and process those images and that’s why he showed up to class. He wanted something more normal than the last 24 hours.

A number of students whom either had been in or had family that had served in: military, law enforcement, or medical professions. Instantly understood what he had seen and what he needed, they quietly spoke to anyone trying to get close to Garrick. Master Nitobe carefully went through the group lessons and hand picked whom would spar with Garrick that day. At the end of class Garrick was surprised when Master Nitobe called him up and nodded at the class. All of them and his sensei bowed and they thanked him for his service. They could see his stunned expression and class was dismissed. Nothing else was said and Garrick was allowed to leave without anyone trying to accost him.

April 14th, 2024 – Sunday: 11:33 AM

Garrick had just looked at the last issue of the Everyman paper targeting his team

“S” IS NOT FOR SOBER – Targeting the Rubberband Man
“A” IS NOT FOR ALLY – Targeting the Black Phantom
“V” IS NOT FOR VIRTUE – Targeting Hank of all people.
“I” IS NOT FOR INNOCENT – Targeting Caedechron.
“O” IS NOT FOR OBEDIENT – Targeting the Beast and his special consciousness.
“R” IS NOT FOR REPENTANT – Targeting Garrick “The Gryphon” Faulkner

Katherine had been looking at his reaction as he read the paper. The Garrick article contained interviews from some of the other folks who were in prison with Garrick, telling stories about the “infamous” Professor Gack and the deaths he caused. The article included information about his younger days too, described in a way that obviously reflects Adeline’s viewpoint, though from an interview with her husband. He wonders if the man is even capable of remorse, noting that Garrick’s sister has been in an institution for years and he’s never once tried to make contact – for all the good it would do.

Garrick made numerous frantic calls and used A.R.C.H.I.E. to help find out what he feared. The year he was released early was the same year she was institutionalized in Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, in central Georgia. Garrick immediately flew over to try and see her, but he wasn’t allowed to see her because there was a restraining order against him, from the husband. It was filed the day after Garrick revealed his identity as The Gryphon.

That evening Katherine had Janosh set the record straight regarding those portions of the late Dr. Cuthbert Faulkner’s journal. The Monday papers ran stories about a sobbing Gryphon pounding on the door, screaming his sister’s name and “I had no idea. Your letter said you wished I was dead. So I stayed away.” Richard Gray showing up to drive him home and offer to pay for the dented door.

The narrative never belittled the husband or Adeline and their children however the facts regarding Adeline and her torture of Garrick were not sugar coated. Next to that headline was everything Garrick was willing to take to the grave regarding his sister including the letter she wrote. It portrayed Adeline as being a child having a hard time at handling grief that grew into an adult whom came to act on her brother in the manner he enabled to continue. Cuthbert Faulkner was tarnished slightly in the eyes of history for not taking a better role in raising his children.

Social media and everyone had an opinion with Garrick being seen as far more tolerant and compassionate. Katherine asked Janosh to over time make in roads and politely wear the husband down in hopes the brother and sister could both heal. Time will tell how successful that will be.

April 16th, 2024 – Tuesday: 6:02 PM

Outside the Giving Tree

Eliza Gunn was surprised when Garrick “The Gryphon” Faulkner walked up to introduce himself wearing black work boots, press tan pants with cargo pockets, and a black, denim, button down shirt embroidered with the orange and white logo for Mallic-Faulkner Technologies. He wore a rather robust golden bracelet sculpted to look like a gryphon biting its tail. It looked very secure and did not move around his left wrist. She mentioned that she’d expected a different outfit and Garrick shook her hand saying that might be a great opener for the interview and he cocked his head while smiling. Eliza finally understood what Kelly Thompson had been yammering on about.

One of the recent things that had made it onto the superhero forums was pictures of Garrick with four different women: A) A blonde, white woman; B) a blonde, middle-eastern woman with color streaked hair, C) A blue hair white woman which many took to understand as Miss Amazing out of costume, D) A black woman whom was nearly as tall as Gryphon. The term playboy and man-whore had been tossed around depending upon whom was posting and their favor of the Gryphon. Only a few people thought about polyamory as a reason for being seen with the women on a consistent basis.

“Hello Century Station, this is Eliza Gunn, reporting live in the Norwood sub-district. We’re at the charity organization the Gryphon has been a long standing patron of, The Giving Tree. With me,” as the camera shot changes from a close up to a wide angle, “is the S.A.V.I.O.R. team captain, Garrick “The Gryphon” Faulkner, all around renaissance hero.”

“Thank you, Ms. Gunn, but I’m just a man whom works for a robotics company and is a volunteer member of the C.S.P.D.

Flipping over a small pad off camera “As president of the Faulkner Division of Mallic-Faulkner Technologies by day and the Gryphon of Norwood at night how do you find time to even sleep?”

Garrick looked around, “I can think of three people that put you up to asking me that question.” Garrick gave a hearty laugh before continuing, “The fact is one of my powers is not needing to sleep. It’s interesting because when I choose to sleep it’s to enjoy using my dreams as the avenue of processing countless thoughts at the same time. I believe some people call the process active dreaming.”

“You brought up a point I know countless users of the superhero forums want to know. There are a plethora of pictures showcasing you being seen out and about with four different women. I am also curious which one of them, if any, is related to your son, Sherman Faulkner?”

Garrick made a face suggesting he was impressed how quickly and deep she dug in on him, “Okay, can bring you bring up the photos on your phone and I can answer those questions? As to the information regarding my son. None of the women are his mother. Sherman lost his family and chose to stay with me when he had nothing and I stepped up to make sure he had a place to stay. In many ways I feel more like an older brother than a father figure. Sherman to me is family now and I hope that addresses the issue for you.”

Eliza’s tech person takes her phone and taps a few things on it then hands it back. The viewers see the pictures as follows:

  • Garrick having dinner Constance.
  • Garrick performing a morning jog with Ameera.
  • Garrick having coffee with Mavis.
  • Garrick hanging out with Katherine doing bummer cars. It’s from last Saturday since she has blue hair.

As he tapped each one in succession, “Girlfriend, Girlfriend, just friends, and Girlfriend that also lives with me.” The viewers saw a blue highlighted frame on their screens as he touched each picture.

“Some of our viewers I’m sure are surprised that you would admit to dating multiple women on air.”

“I don’t know why,” he seemed perplexed as though this might be normal, “There are plenty of single parents that date, and I just happen to be in a polyamorous relationship with three of the four women. All four of them are at least aware of each other and the last two have met in person. Not only have all three of my girlfriends met but they have their own private chat server where they talk all the time. I hide nothing from the three that have graced me with being my friends and partners. You might say my life is one giant exercise in time management, but I am a very happy man.”

“It sounds like you have it all, why are you donating your time here?”

Eliza regretted her wording when she saw his brow furrow, “Ms. Gunn, it is vitally important to remember the people that gave you a hand “up” from earlier situations where you find yourself near bottom. When I was released from Gramercy years ago on parole, I vowed to be better. Were it not for the Giving Tree those first few months I would’ve starved to death. So when I got employed and even later when I got my powers I made sure to give back to the place that helped to keep me alive and whole. I learned to cook in prison and have been getting pretty good at it I might add.”

He motioned for Malik, whom was leading a group of kids with food set up a spread and began serving the T.V. crew, “I taught them how to make chicken marsala because this week’s meal was Italian. Please try some.” Eliza had some on air and you can’t fake the reaction of happy surprise. She took an extra bite before handing it back to Malik and thanking him.

“That was incredible! They could start a cooking program here!”

“Well, if you know any chef’s wanting to help people find careers. Then by all means send them over to talk with the center director.”

“How did everyone here take your revealing your identity?”

“To be fair I sprung that on everyone, while everyone here at the center took it very well. Not everyone in my life was happy to be unprepared at such a revelation. We all worked through it though and I feel have become stronger and closer.”

“Would you mind changing tracks here in light of recent events?”

“No, ask away.”

“The reports, testimonies, and video footage suggest you deliberately set off a nuclear explosion off the coast. Over a hundred clones of the Ultramarine were found alongside Synistry’s near-complete roster, with the Scream Queen currently in Gramercy. I’m sure everyone has seen the footage streamed live regarding the rogue A.I. Thanatos and Synistry. How did you even know you could do it and why?”

Garrick sighed slightly, “I knew it because my father and I had built the facility in secret before we revealed our first “public” prototype of the Bio-Dome the day I gave my T.E.D. Talk about it on YouTube. As the E.P.A. has pointed out the design is similar to the one Iron Mike used in that it left no lasting radiation. I’ve often wondered how Iron Mike got a design that from historical records emulates my father’s design. However, we were not the only people trying to replicate the Daedalus power source. So it may likely never get answered,” Eliza looked shocked expecting she would have to draw some of this out. In seconds a link appears on the screen for people watching with touch displays allowing them to bring up the T.E.D. Talk in another tab or a mini window. “As to the why, it was to save everyone but they had also personally pissed me off.”

“How so?”

“I surprised my father when I single-handedly built my first A.I. using my late mother as the baseline, Cynthia Faulkner. My goal was to be able to talk with a version of her and I wouldn’t be so lonely. I was a teenager when I did this, but I didn’t truly understand how special what I had done would be. When I realized that Thanatos had stolen a part of the code I’d lovingly refer to as the last shred I had of my mother. Followed by Synistry perverting the experiment to provide not just power but sustainable living to the planet in every corner of the globe. I finished writing the code string that would auto-execute their destruction as I cut them off from the outside world.”

“You sacrificed your past to save the future?”

“Yes, I believe in the promise of Century Station,” Garrick nodded and looked sad yet somehow impressive.

“I did some checking and you’ve been to see Caedechron a few times. What are your thoughts regarding your continued support.

“Cai was his name when he was alive, thugs of Urien Daniels were sent to kill him. They succeeded when Urien Daniels tipped them off Cai had learned about their illegal activities. Let me be clear, Cai’s mortal body died and he was effectively murdered. Just before his death he was able to upload his consciousness into a robot he’d been working on. He murdered the responsible person after he’d been physically killed. His quality of existence was irrevocably altered and he sought revenge quietly. I don’t condone murder unless it is in defense of a person or parties unable to defend themselves. However, I feel he had extenuating circumstances that need to be taken into account when the justice department decides his fate. Regardless I will stick by him and help him stand should he fall because I have no interest in being a fair-weather friend. Cavalry knows that, Miss Amazing knows that.”

“Whom were you defending in your words when you murdered Synistry?”

“You, your crew, my teammates, my girlfriends, a woman I saved on a roof top in January. My sister, and all of Century Station. Perhaps even planet Earth if every single clone had been unleashed.”

“Your sister that was reported to be in an institution you’ve never visited until very recently?”

“Yes, however, per her husband’s restraining order I am not allowed to visit and once I knew that had happen to Adeline, I tried. Given the documents that have been made public in the papers its not hard to see how I might have missed reaching out to her. Next question,” his tone impressed moving on or finishing the interview there.

Eliza weighs the risks of poking the bear and decides to move on, “Polls are indicating that Mayor Zardona will win a re-election and that the federal government is inclined to ease impending sanctions. What do you say to that given rumors about the Mayor not being your biggest fan?”

“The Mayor has a rough job and I don’t envy him. That said I want him to win because I believe he’s the right man to help restore law and order to every part of Century Station.

“Thank you to Garrick “The Gryphon” Faulkner for giving us the time to get to know you a little better?”

“Absolutely, make sure to get some more food before you go the kids worked hard to make sure there was enough,” Garrick gestured to the spread on the two tables set up. He turned to the camera to give a farewell smile and wave. The feed went down and Ameera and Ramona were waiting inside with everyone to congratulate him. Even the woman he saved with the mangled leg was there sporting her leg still in a power assisted splint until her ankle completely healed and therapy was over.

April 18th, 2024 – Thursday

‘The Magic of Books’ was Garrick’s destination during his lunch break. It was fun to drive his truck for him because people often looked for him in the sky and not driving around. When he got there the place was locked, empty and a for sale sign was up. It looked like Charlie took Garrick’s advice and got out of town. There was no forwarding address when he poked around online regarding the property.

As far as S.A.V.I.O.R. was going today had one other item of note. A psychiatric doctor named Johanna Fullard was hired to be the team’s psychic psychiatrist. This woman is the hero who was once known as Joan of Arc – one of the founding members of the Centurions. In a statement at the small press conference where the Mayor welcomed her on board the team once again. She says her “hero” days are behind her, as she’s decided she can be more helpful in this role than she ever was as an active Centurion.

April 22nd, 2024 – Monday

HyperiaA few days after discovering Charlie closed his store and moved out of town, Patsy shows up to join what’s left of S.A.V.I.O.R. She transforms into Hyperia and stays transformed, never turning back. She devotes herself full-time into being a hero and lets the work fully consume her. She maintains a good relationship with the rest of the team, but she never talks about anything personal. Whenever Garrick is accidentally charming or seductive around her she suddenly finds an excuse to leave and go on patrol or do research or be anywhere but there. She deliberately avoids doing anything that might make it seem like she’s vying for Garrick’s affections or interfering with any of Garrick’s relationships.

Dr. Fullard is concerned about Hyperia/Patsy, and they have sessions often, but nothing seems to change. When Garrick was asked by Dr. Fullard about Hyperia/Patsy he said she reminds him of how he felt a few years after getting out of prison. “Everything is very raw, and she talked about feeling unworthy of her power, that the gifts were like an intoxicating drug. Right now I suspect she’s feeling as though she has to prove she can beat the power and do good before she can forgive herself. It’s going to be a long road. In my opinion she still has some survivor’s guilt from the alternate dimension she hails from. We may all be broken in some ways but its how we deal with it that is what defines us. Time will tell how she handles it but I’ll always be there to help.” Dr. Fullard nodded silently while making notes.

May 1st, 2024 – Wednesday

Garrick was informed that the widow Imelda Zarovsky passed away that morning. Janosh informs him she left her estate and wealth to Garrick. It is noted in the autopsy that she had an odd physical abnormality – her teeth were sharper and more pointed than a normal human’s, but otherwise she seemed to have died of old age. No foul play is suspected. In dealing with her estate and personal effects Garrick discovers that she destroyed much of her personal history, though enough of it was left behind to suggest her and her late husband Emil weren’t human, but were instead aliens known as Erishik Dopplegangers who were trying to hide on Earth and live peaceful lives, defying all preconceived notions of their race. This evidence is inconclusive, and raises more questions than it answers, but that’s where that story seems to end.

Garrick makes this the house where he comes to think and wants to be alone. Over time it becomes equipped with robotic assistants he designs with A.R.C.H.I.E.’s manufacturing capabilities. The S.A.V.I.O.R. A.I. begins calling him “The Idea Man” for a nickname. Time will tell how such a friendship will affect the world.

May 10th, 2024 – Friday, after 10 PM

Public opinion of S.A.V.I.O.R. had been on a serious upswing. The “take no survivor” methods of S.A.V.I.O.R. seemed to really resonate with many folks. The Everyman was STILL experiencing a media backlash from the general public. Crime was starting to curtail given S.A.V.I.O.R.’s confirmed win and destruction of Synistry. Scream Queen being the only surviving member and stuck in Gramercy Island for the foreseeable future. Papa Zombie had eluded capture and was at large but keeping a low profile for the time being.

Garrick and Katherine had just left Constance’s place in Xenophan. Both Ameera and her had moved back to their homes last week since the security measures were finished that Amanda had ordered. All of them had a family dinner while Shorty #5, Sherman Faulkner, was off on a Worlds Online – Gizergleam Peaks raid with Horace. Before his departure that night Constance reminded him that his new Gel-Matrix brain had worked in the robot A.I. they had been testing on with flying colors. Should things go well production use could start as soon as Spring of 2025. When she asked him about the project name he smiled and told her he’d picked up on the word Nexus from all the talks of magic and ley lines. He liked the confluence of ideas it had suggested to him when he thought about it. Ashmadiel made a great project name because no one would guess it or the true friend and partner it obfuscated. He mentioned to Constance about talking with Amanda regarding making a miniature version for human subjects, especially those using cybernetics. Amanda thought it had merit and would run focus groups to check on market viability. Constance mentioned she’d help in any way she could.

Gryphon and Miss Amazing had just arrived in the air above Norwood and tapped their comm units. Gryphon informed A.R.C.H.I.E. & S.T.E.V.E. that they were on shift and would start working the southern half of Brisby that night, barring any emergency calls. Their optimistic replies made Gryphon chuckle, as he thanked them and began his patrol with Miss Amazing. Calling into each precinct as the A.I.s informed them when they crossed jurisdictional boundaries. A group of sirens could be heard in the distance alongside the crack of gunfire. “Duty Calls! Onward!” rang out Ashmadiel’s voice his head as he grinned at his partner and flew off!


Art by: AZ_Artisan
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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
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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

To War?

To War?

That is the question…

Four or Five months after March, 2024 – Earth Three

Gryphon was flying around on his mile patrol in what he could only refer to as Earth Three. Technically, from his perspective, the world holding the Earth Two designator was Patsy’s world of Millennium Station. While he had never visited that world he met someone from it. Jake was the only other dimensional being he knew of, and this world would consider “him” the dimensional being.

This Earth’s Century Station looked remarkably similar to the one he came from. To think Jake just made some calculations on the tiny input embedded upon his portal gun and found a dimension where S.A.V.I.O.R. gave in to the Atorian demands. It was roughly 4 to 5 months ahead of their world so time across dimensions may not always sync up. Things to keep in mind certainly.

He had been expecting Atorian warships in the skies above subjugating the planet and its male inhabitants. It had been explained that the Atorians treated men as slaves and were expansionists. Gryphon imagined for a minute being the servant to Miss Amazing and he thought she’d laugh about it. However, he wondered if she’d like that sort of thing? He shook his head with the notion of being a slave to anyone. He had read about bedroom games but just couldn’t wrap his head around it because it reminded him of prison and some of his most painful memories. Jake had taken Black Phantom somewhere and shown him the Atorian style of rule which had Black Phantom sharing Jake’s view they needed to be wiped out. Gryphon was certain that given the track record men had set a significant percentage of women would be on board for the restructuring of the planet.

Geist had mentioned needing to see what Black Phantom had seen before he could agree one way or the other. That was the impetus for this dimensional field trip through the neon green portal. He ran across three different thugs in his patrol and none of them cried out in surprise at him being a male. None of the Atorians arrived on the scene as each thug was being taken from their crime and dumped into a trash bin at a casino with video surveillance. He enjoyed telling them what he intended to do with them so they knew they would be on camera. Each of them were given the warning to turn over a new leaf or it’d be jail next time.

As Gryphon was flying back he was a little concerned that Jake may be wrong about the Atorians. If the guards had disobeyed their Empress and there were six Empresses in the Empire of Atoria. Then it would seem that like many governments and nations, there were factions within the populace and its government. Perhaps Jake had only dealt with a ruthless faction of their regime until now? Gryphon didn’t doubt they were expansionist if they controlled 25% of the Milky Way galaxy! Perhaps though, not every faction was ruthless or bloodthirsty? He radioed his findings to the group and saw Jake out front meeting someone approaching on a motorcycle. He would later learn as he landed that it was the Geist from this world! Later, with everyone gathered around the story he had to share was rather different than what Gryphon and S.A.V.I.O.R. might have expected regarding why Granny2Good’s House was empty.


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

 

The Day SAVIOR Stood Still…Kinda

The Day SAVIOR Stood Still…Kinda

JENGA TOWER

About two years ago one city developer had begun trying to find affordable housing options and made heavy use of decommissioned shipping containers. A number of homes and industrial offices in southern side of Zericho were built from them. One of note had been vacant for the last year, located at where Mercy Row Blvd. ended at 2nd St. was Jenga Tower. It was the architect’s seven story home made from 40 foot long, high-cube, shipping containers. When the developer’s project had met with moderate success he moved much closer to the “Hill”.

The Jenga Tower name stuck because of the use of negative space amongst the stacked shipping containers to make it appear like an actual Jenga game in play. Garrick loved that it was for sale, close to work, and used recycled items to make an impressive home. He snagged it as a cash sale for $310,000 given the track record the district was in and while comebacks were happening. The developer didn’t want any of his projects in the district to stain his rising star. Garrick’s ability for relating to the recycled motif won him over.

It was 3:08 AM on Friday March 22nd and the Gryphon was showing off the empty home to Miss Amazing from the outside and the air. She had been won over when Gryphon said aside from his office and Shorty’s room she could decorate the home as she saw fit! Gryphon informed Shorty while he/Gryphon had final approval Shorty would be allowed to design/decorate his room within reason. The paperwork had been signed and escrow would close on the 30th when Brandon and Mallic Robotics made the payment for the remaining third of the building.

Brandon and Garrick worked out 7 days off from April 1st thru April 9th to handle movers and getting contractors to begin modifying the building to handle the increase in space. Garrick’s team would take over his old office coming out of the basement workstations. Brandon would move into what was Garrick’s old bedroom, and Constance would take the other spare room on his second floor. Garrick would end up in Brandon’s old office.

His two other home purchases would go through at the same time. One was 42 Wallaby Way, and the second a small town home in the southern tip of Saritoba. He was working on setting up a foundation that would try to buy a home and then find candidates that could be given a shot at home ownership once again. Maybe he couldn’t end homelessness for everyone but perhaps he could figure out how to do so in Brisby Flats.

March 22nd, 2024 – Friday 9 AM

It had been nearly four weeks on his adjusted schedule. Having to only sleep three hours a day was a miracle! Gryphon had presented Geist with boomerangs that were white with a wider juncture to the arch. He had designed a new set of gloves to wear and when Geist tapped the back of the hand on either one. An integrated mini drone device would kick on and fly the boomerangs back to within a foot of the glove so they could be plucked from the air! After he tested them for a bit Gryphon promised he’d figure out a way to make them “ghost” like in their physical appearance. Then they would look like ghosts or spirits when they were flying back!

The Geist was very impressed by the gift. Gryphon made sure he had all the technical specs in case Geist needed to make more of this iteration or repair the ones he’d been given. Gryphon refused payment but Geist made sure to find something he could do for him. That came in the form of introducing Gryphon to a weapons expert that was able to make him a practice sword replica of Ashmadiel! Gryphon was excited to show Master Nitobe when he got the chance! Now he had a practice sword he couldn’t break! The first night he brought it home Miss Amazing only half joked with him about naming it his 4th lady seeing how excited he was.

His team kept trying to ask questions in the morning meetings to find out which superhero he was and he kept trying to vaguely answer them. Constance would visit with him thrice a week to have lunch on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Mondays they would go out to a place she wanted to try. Tuesday Garrick brought food in for them to eat in his office. Thursday was off an on because twice client meetings got in the way. Yesterday on the most recent Thursday, she walked in and locked the door. He’d been working on his keeping about 5 days ahead of his workload. Constance walked over and grabbed his chair spinning it around to face her. “Mister, the door is locked and we’ve got 58 minutes to do something naughty at work. So darling, let’s see how many HR policies we can violate while trying to not make to much noise!”

Today he was finding work a bit difficult when he saw it was lunch time. Her last text message asking how is lunch was today didn’t help. Her lunch time visit seemed to start after the one lunch he had with Mavis Beacon from the Requisitors. Even Mavis could see the need to “just be friends” when he explained he was involved with three women and they all had a group chat working out logistics and communicating. He described everything with Katherine, Constance, and Ameera as fun, crazy, exciting, and still so new and weird he needed time for it to feel ‘normal’ once again.

He did mention to her on March 31st he was going to do a 24 hour patrol for the cops in Norwood. She was welcomed to come and help and then the next last Sunday in April he’d help out a precinct of her choice. Maybe they could start making it a hashtag #LastSunday to get ‘Licensed Superheroes’ and ‘Mavericks’ to work together for a day? Worth looking into for certain as a way to extend an olive branch and perhaps get more Mavericks to come on board for the city. When the ‘Frauen von Gryphon’ heard about the lunch and his plans on bringing the heroes together to a monthly day of charity they could all just imagine what Mavis had been thinking listening to him talk about team building, selfless, topics.

He bailed 15 minutes early and spent that time smooching Katherine, and getting his gym bag ready to fly over to Master Tyrone Nitobe’s school. She reminded him they had a meeting at Spirit Enterprises. He told her that he’d meet her there after class. She wondered if he was ever going to slow down again after learning about his new ability requiring only 3 hours of sleep when not transformed, and NONE when he was? Having two Master degrees taught Garrick the value of learning the basics so they can build upon them. Master Nitobe had spent the entire month showing Gryphon poses and how better to hold Ashmadiel. He was the only other person to call the sword by its name. Then Master Nitobe would have him hold the pose and breathe for 10 minutes. The next 20 minutes was showing him how to flow between each pose. Today was a special day for Gryphon because he was going to be given another 5 minute sparring session with Master Nitobe and his practice sword! Master Nitobe was very pleased when Gryphon began showing up with it this week.

As he was getting ready to leave the school Geist called him about a bank robbery in progress from a group called the Quaternary. Soon he had files on his phone consisting of rap sheets for its members: Ace of Spades, Dust Demon, Kelvin, and Strongarm. An address for the crime in progress and he answered his comm unit would be on and he was on his way! Leaving the school he sent a quick text to Patsy that he was moving to a new house and her badge wouldn’t work after April 1st.

He landed next to the police, Miss Amazing, the rest of SAVIOR, and Jake Thompson of Jake Thompson LLC. The police said the supervillains were getting ready to grab hostages to get pass the police line. Gryphon nodded and immediately flew through the already broken glass door Strongarm wrecked. Seeing the crooks moving to the cubicle with the people trapped inside. He zipped past them as he summoned his sword. He used the pommel as he spun faster then using some extreme engineering and luck to pop the outer vault door, which was currently open, off its hinge!

He had the sword become a bracelet once more a he grabbed the outer vault door and said, “Ramming speed, Scotty!”

Twenty Minutes Later

Nearly every bank customer had been cleared of any injury or taken to the nearest hospital. All of their police statements include the Gryphon’s rescue and later the quick triage of anyone wounded by the crooks. The manager of the bank cleared only one teller to speak on the bank’s behalf, Lorrie O’Neil, teller.

Reporters for the nightly news: “Please, Ms. O’Neil, tell us what happened inside!”

Lorrie O’Neil: “I was trying to keep everyone calm when Quaternary noticed the CSPD arrive. The one with spade playing cards had to calm down his other ‘super’ crooks. Strongarm had already busted the front doors just to get his way inside. Turns out that was their undoing!”

Reporters for the nightly news: “Why was that, Ms. O’Neil?”

Lorrie O’Neil: “Seconds after the Spade dressed one made that statement a blue blur zipped in behind them and before they could turn their heads it sounded like a turbine engine had gone into overdrive followed by a GONG sound! Then, just as they were reaching the cubicle we were in and turning their heads to the sound behind them Strongarm was the only one able to say anything before it happened!”

Reporters for the nightly news: “What did he say, Ms. O’Neil?”

Lorrie O’Neil: “Oh, CRAP!”

Reporters for the nightly news: [LAUGHTER AMONG THE REPORTERS]

Lorrie O’Neil: “Another blur much closer and I felt the air so hard I had to grab the cubicle wall to keep from falling back. I peaked my head around to see the one the CSPD called ‘Gryphon’ and that’s G-R-Y-P-H-O-N. I overheard him spelling it out for one of the cops taking his statement. He had pinned them all under the outer vault door! Miss Amazing zipped up and inside with the C-SWAT team to put on the cuffs to handle supers. Then he did something you don’t read about!”

Reporters for the nightly news: “What was it, Ms. O’Neil?”

Lorrie O’Neil: “He walked the vault door back over and put it back on its hinge! The manager and I were astounded and as he walked over to give his statement he apologized for having to borrow it! Oh there he is! He’s coming out!”

The gaggle of reporters turn and try to get closer but the Gryphon almost takes off from the steps of the bank when he stops and waves at someone. Everyone looks over behind the police line to see an ambulance with a father and three kids, the youngest of the two boys is waving at the Gryphon. Seeing the hero return his wave he begins jumping up and down as his father is getting checked out. The Gryphon glides up off the ground and slowly coasts through the air to land in front of the child. He takes a knee to look him in the face. Miss Amazing taps one of the cops that had used their sound equipment to listen through the busted bank door to point it over to the child and the Gryphon. Now there are reporters and camera crews trying to video and record the audio of the meeting of a hero and one of the people he saved.

Child: “Hi!”

Gryphon: “Hi there, kiddo! You were sure brave in the bank back there. Are you doing okay?”

Child: “Yeah I just got a single bruise on my knee from being pushed around. My brother and sister got a little bruised up but were going to be okay according to the ambulance folks. Dad had his shoulder popped from the big bad guy but we’re just waiting for my mom to show up and then we’ll meet him at the hospital.”

Gryphon: “That’s good news that your dad will be okay! You should be proud how well you all did in the situation. What’s your name?”

Child: “Micah, what’s yours?”

Gryphon: “I’m Gryphon and you know what brave kids grow up to be? Boys or Girls, it doesn’t matter.”

Child: “What?”

Gryphon: “They become knights and protect those that need their aid. Shall I knight you?”

Child: “Yes, PLEASE Mr. Gryphon!”

The Gryphon raises an arm above his head with his hand outstretched and everyone can see the golden swirl and his sword appears! Slowly he brings the blunted back side down on each shoulder and finally his head before it disappears in the same golden swirl!

Gryphon: “By the power granted unto me by one of the Shining Legion. I, Gryphon, dub thee Sir Micah of Century Station. Now be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that your friends and family may love thee. Speak the truth always, even if it means you have to clean your room. (the father smirked and nodded at Gryphon) Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath.”

Child: “I will! Am I the only knight now?”

Gryphon: “Oh no, you are surrounded by brave knights every day in the form of police, fire fighters, ambulance folk, doctors like SAVIOR’s friend: Jake Thompson, and teachers. They’re the real heroes because they do such hard work, often without thanks and no super powers!”

When the cops heard that, a few photographers caught a couple of candid shots of their reaction. Aside from the Centurions it was not common for supers to acknowledge they can do what they do because of their powers. It was even less common for them to acknowledge the efforts of people doing their job with no powers.

Child: “Wow! So I can grow up to be one of them?”

Gryphon: “Yes. Follow the oath and it will help you do amazing things!

Child: “Is it still okay if I want to call you my hero?”

Gryphon: “Of course, Sir Micah. I have to go though and I think your dad could use a hug.”

The child ran over to his father and Gryphon bowed to him and thanked the EMT’s present for their service before lifting off into the air and flying away. When the reporters tried to turn back to Miss Amazing for comment all they got was a quick salute as she lifted off into the sky following her teammates back to Spirit Enterprises.

Around 10 PM they finish having dinner and Miss Amazing cannot believe how, well, amazing he is with kids. She just remembered looking at the reactions everyone had watching the tender moment. When Gryphon had described modern day knights as those various professions the effect was instantaneous. The bank manager and that lady, Lorrie O’Neil, raved about him fixing the door he had touched. Ameera had sent her a text after the clip made the evening news about how the Twitter @NorwoodKnights just made it over 10,000 followers by the time clip about him ended! The clip is beginning to go viral! “Hero claims civil servants are the real heroes!”

There was some debate about pursing the Mason Blodgett of Xander Financial that night. Since they had pretty good cases against his lieutenants and no further leads as to the physical paperwork that would incriminate Mason himself. Alice mentioned liking Gryphon’s idea to strip him of his lieutenants so he wouldn’t have the buffer to protect him from shady things he needed done. Alice added that while he would recover there would be a short window to see if he screwed up. Jake kept trying to let everyone know about a tool he had to acquire before any version of the plan to get Mason or his cronies went forward.

During all this Shorty#4 arrives dejected he missed the bank robbery and excited to show off his new power armor suit Gryphon assumed Jake had made for him. He thought to himself about an adjusted Metallica song ‘I AM IRON SHORTY’ and began to laugh at how adorable he looked. Alice seemed to also find Shorty adorable, though in a much different way. While Gryphon didn’t say it out loud he was totally going to make any future kids of his suits like that. Then he wondered about that dream he had crime fighting with his girlfriends, ‘hmmm, would Constance want one?’ Jake revealed a portal on the wall he’d made and it was decided that Geist, Zeau, Cavalry, and Miss Amazing would stay behind. While everyone else went with Jake to a secret location on the planet.

Once through the portal they find out Jake created an organization that basically did what the Men In Black did in the movie with Will Smith and tommy Lee Jones! It was back before this current incarnation of Jake but apparently when he created them he told them if they wanted his help they should model their organization to look like the movie version in case they were ever found out. When everyone arrived it was in a room very similar to the lone guard reading the paper, a cramped elevator ride, and then the interstellar star port. Gryphon was under the impression the items from the movie old Jake had invented for these guys so they could have the look down. He even became the repeated butt of the Neuralizer joke: Did you just flashy thing me?!

Sadly, Gryphon’s memory of the location is not great given the repeated uses of the Neuralizer on him. He does remember a VR goggle game a few people tried and Gryphon scored the worst but virtually lived the life he envisioned he would have had if Alpha Prime had not ruined it. Others became the destroyer of worlds, galaxy’s deadliest assassin, etc. Gryphon walked away and realized if he had not suffered and endured what he did then he’d never have met his sword or Kathrine. He would have never been brave enough to finally tell Constance how he felt or tried to save the girls that became the Norwood Knights.

He leaves the others to their games and chats up a rock based alien and another with insectoid like features. They talk about Alpha Prime and how she could have handle the situation with Dr. Sarnhoff much better. To top it off the other alternative would still have been a legal way to handle this in TMC galactic law! Gryphon thanks them and lets them get back to their coffee break. Jake thanked Agent-G or Gerard Obermueller for his help. Then he turned to every and asked if we wanted to meet President Douglas Carson!

So, Jake walks through the portal he makes after Gryphon grins and says, “Sure, why not.” Gryphon sticks his head through realizing its the real ‘Oval Office’ and President Carson is sitting at his desk with six Secret Service point guns at Jake. Gryphon pulls his head back and tells everyone which prompts the rest of the group to go in! Jake asks about Antarctica and the President, whom has only dealt with the old Jake, calls him unnecessary and a terrorist. Jake was very chill about finding out more about his old self. Gryphon asked about why the Centurions were still there if the problem had already been taken care of?

This prompts a raised eyebrow from President Carson, “So I’m to take it your group is SAVIOR?”

“AND… Jake Thompson LLC. holder of the Key of the City of Century Station,” at which point Jake produces the key and luckily none of the Secret Service shot him or the group. Gryphon asked about the Centurions, Sons of Liberty, pyramid and mages, but got nothing more than it was a national security issue. One that would be reviewed since Gryphon was even able to ask the questions he had. Jake got President Carson to agree to sit and talk with him in private if his guards and SAVIOR left. It was during this he let slip out he didn’t want another Murder Master situation. Gryphon yelled at Jake being a sonofabitch which got guns briefly trained on them both. A few questions were answered and when Gryphon left he realized Jake had done what he tried to do. He just quietly wandered off to take care of the issue. Gryphon saw a bit of himself in Jake and realized he had been to harsh.

Alice and Granny2Good used their various auditory powers to hear the entire conversation. Which pertained to a portal leading to a realm of never ending water with ice beasts! Jake returns shortly thereafter with the promise of President Carson to call “if” they can’t handle it. Jake returns and after answering a few more questions Gryphon apologizes to Jake for yelling at him and his apology is accepted.

In creating a portal to get us back we ended up at the Winchester House in San Jose, CA! Gryphon couldn’t even fathom what was about to happen to his night now however, after they made it outside. Their phones began to reconnect with the mobile networks. All of them had been getting texts and missed calls. [GET BACK! WE NEED YOU NOW!] [WE’RE UNDER ATTACK] [HURRY] [HELP, PLZ!] Someone had attacked Spirit Enterprises while they were gone!

Another portal is made and they head on through. Filing out of the bathroom at Jimmy Johns was hilarious in its absurdity. Due to the single person use of the bathroom as SAVIOR a heroic level of embarrassment and panic for its unexpected occupant. Everyone began to head back as fast as possible! Gryphon scruff carried Alice and the Covenant back at nearly full speed as he pulled them both close to him in case he had to dodge an aircar.

While there was police and EMS on scene below Gryphon flew straight over head and into the building with his two passengers. The windows had been shot at from a level position Alice noted which means the assailants could fly or had a flying car. Covenant called everyone over to a righted table with a note just as Jake, Granny2Good, and Shorty portaled into the room. The note made it clear agents of the Atorian Empress, Arcadia, had claimed our friends in order for us to deliver Jake and Granny for their alleged crimes against the Atorian Empire. Just then the aircar taxi Covenant normally uses flies up to the hole in the side of the skyscraper and Black Phantom leaps out with a quick ‘thumbs up’ to the cabbie.

Black Phantom takes the note and with some serious luck is able to see the person that wrote the note in a large metal room and they have a tri-mohawk hair cut, with side and the top of the head but in between are bald. She’s wearing what looks like diamond plate armor of some sort. She is vigorously pacing and it allowed him a glimpse of Miss Amazing, Deathwish, and Cavalry unconscious and bound on the floor. Black Phantom was able to share those images with Jake Thompson that made the leap they were guards of the Empress Arcadia and on the ship orbiting Earth based on view screens showing the planet below. Jake was able to determine where they were on the ship and he would need the ‘Skywatch / MIB’ computers to help figure out the logistics.

There was some talk about making the team look weak and SOMEHOW Black Phantom had dog shit to make himself look really bad homeless individual! Gryphon just assumed his super power was keeping that smell hidden! Alice threatened death on anyone that tried to cut her hair. Gryphon stayed transformed but wearing some simple clothes, his sword being one of the rings or steel bracelets he was fond of wearing. A long story shortened everyone successfully ended up on the ship thanks to Jake’s math and portal gun.

The team engages the guards as Gryphon flies to grab (ladies first) Miss Amazing & Deathwish to safety, and on his second trip back he was forced to fly through Black Phantom’s gunfire spray keeping the Atorian’s back. As he did a giant glowing Gryphon flashed and his armor appeared on top of the street clothes when the bullets struck him and it appeared as though the damage had been negated. It however bounced off most of the Atorians’ diamond like armor allowing them to still pursue Jake and Granny2Good as their targets. Covenant managed to shoot control panels to prevent people from running for help. Damaged but still functional Gryphon grabbed Geist & Cavalry as it looked like Jake’s flashy thing was having some effect with distracting them. Alice had been using her mechano-link as a mini-laser knife ready to go and engaged the leader of guards that had orchestrated the attack.

Jake managed to get his version of Iron Jake in armor that was painted and sculpted to look like a replica of himself! It did a fantastic job of keeping him alive and made it clear where Shorty had gotten his armor from. Shorty tried using the special gun that shot torrential wind gusts from it and this time he wasn’t having much of an effect on the galactic, imperial guards. At this point Jake produce a miniaturized neutrino bomb and finally they agreed to negotiate asking for us to back off. It seems they could not remember why they had people captive either suggesting Jake’s flashy thing had quite the impact.

Granny2Good followed Gryphon’s example and saved Zeau when Jake asked the Earth people to step through the portal. Alice took a kneeling pose which became more important as the situation continued. Gryphon, still surrounded by the glowing Gryphon nimbus waited at the portal opening as the Atorian guard leader told Alice, “I do not know what you have done here today, but the Atorian Empire will not forget. Take your servants and go.

Everyone moves through the portal as Alice sticks her head back through. Gryphon realizes he can impart his language ability on others so maybe she can overhear something useful. He touches her back (he’s never used the power on anyone in the group before). She ends up in a surprise set of negotiations with Empress Arcadia herself! In case she transforms into another self the next day she declares Miss Amazing as her proxy. There were some potentially lethal shenanigans by Jake that were thwarted by Alice in a fit of luck. Almost 5 AM on Saturday the 23rd of March our heroes break away to rest and heal.


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