Tag: Swordsman

Reflections Of A Sponsored Hero

Reflections Of A Sponsored Hero

April 1st, 2024 – Monday: 12:01 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“They would fit my definition of evil.”

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

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

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

Scrawled into the side of the utility box:

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

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.


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Art either created or photo manipulated by: AZ_Artisan


If God Was One Of Us

If God Was One Of Us

Clarified: six months after March, 2024 – Earth Three; same evening

Once the trio returns from CF Robotics, Gryphon, thanked Thanatos for the files from the Tron-like version of Carl. As he taps a thumb drive Gryphon holds and tells him they’re on it. Before walking away he mentions that if he’d get the materials Gryphon would be willing to build a body for him so he was not required to use Carl in that fashion. As he walks away he mentions the similar offer to Caedechron for a more uniform look. As a stop gap of course, until they find his body in their world. “Just think on it,” he says to both of them and he heads into the bathroom off the kitchen.

Not one for interrogations, especially with others that can get more out of reading people. Young Garrick would often get frustrated at good cop bad cop routines having seen to many Lethal Weapon movies and TV shows. He liked Riggs but realized the last few times he leaned to heavy on that inspiration.

Once he felt the appropriate amount of time has passed for taking a piss he nonchalantly walked into the dressing section of this world’s Ethel’s room. Using the ‘Jack & Jill’ doors he moved through the second bathroom into the living room. Sitting on the couch a realization on how Jake’s intelligence is what makes him a force for good or evil came upon him. Unsure how to proceed because they are on an alternate Earth using tech by a person that when cornered on another world became Murder Master.

Ashmadiel spoke from within his head, “Your mind is a storm of emotion. Organize your thoughts. I am here with you, Garrick Faulkner.


He’d not even realized that he’d summoned his sword, but there it was in his grip. The celestial had never steered him wrong. She had faith he’d be a hero when even he didn’t. She’d made mistakes before and was trying to help him avoid her downfall. Okay, he thought. Here goes something. Speaking out loud to Ashmadiel, but mostly for himself, he attempted to put his thoughts into some sort of order.

“It’s hard not to feel emotionally compromised by what I learned about the Gryphon of this world. But the little alien team member Marra-kesh I think their name was reminded me of a song: What if God was one of us. My mom, Cynthia, was non-denominational in her belief in God the almighty. She showed me a movie when I was seven that she felt a sci-fi kid could get behind and realize God and even Jesus may not be what we think they are. The movie was from 2002 just after the Twin Towers fell, it was called: The Man From Earth. In the end it was simply a film about Jesus being an immortal man. Later that same year I heard the song and I have always held the largely unpopular belief that God may be an elder style alien that is largely benevolent and only through not understanding certain situations, may appear malevolent. Saints and mythological characters could have just been ancient supers? Jesus, could have been the first superhero and may be a slob like one of us trying to find his way home.”

“I see both Jake and my father as manifestations of God in many ways. The funny part is I’ve been rightly or wrongly considering him a dark clone of my dad. It’s intimidating to be around them, yet I persist much as my namesake’s Dilsey Gibson did. Maybe he didn’t appreciate the help but I did finally contribute assistance today on a device to hold a portal open cobbled together from a camera on this world! That should account for something, right?”

“Then there’s you, the Celestial Sword. I often wonder now if God was not simply an elder Alien Intelligence of some fashion that helped the Shining Legion against the Lords of Night. Which got retold until we have the stories of heaven and hell, God, the Devil, and Angels to this very day?”

“The funny part, to me anyhow, is that my very science slash bardic folklore approach to this. As I see it there are two options for me that make sense. A) lash out at Jake for things he’s done and can’t be undone at this juncture. B) provide him an options to fix the errors and trust he has a soul and the willingness to not be the level of evil exhibited by Murder Master.”

“It is true he could elect to take or do none of my suggestions and I will also inform him I have people I need to protect. If he does nothing by the close of business on Monday I will let the Mallics know how CF Robotics got their start. If they don’t wish to fire me I will work at creating detection systems to alert when his intrusions happen. None of it will be designed to stop it, just track it. I will give them the data and they can do with it what they wish. I will explain to them his reasons to me for the breach and let them do as they will.”

“I understand his reasons he chose to reveal to me, and I am hurt he didn’t ask me for help but chose to steal and lie by omission to my face. Frankly, that explains a great deal of the Shorties’ behavior. Jake in many ways is just a teenager. He uses lying as a defense mechanism the way teens and children do. Once I see it that way I’m not angry anymore. I pity him. I pity a manifestation of God. It is a dark round about joke when you think about it.”

“I won’t tell him about the deadline on Monday, because I won’t issue an ultimatum. That’s a similar situation to how Murder Master got started according to him. However, I will know my worth to him and I still have people to protect from his machinations. When I get back I am shutting off all badge access to the house. I have provided Geist and the Mallics with a copy of Optimus which they can do with as they see fit. I can still work with someone that’s hurt me. Jake is just another version of Adeline stabbing me for thinking I caused our mom & dad’s death.”

“When it comes to Blake Masters or whomever at the company had access to designs. I will root them out and let Mallic Robotics deal with them as they see fit. A mole in the company we can’t have, and now I just need to figure out a way to find him or them when I get back. If I end up being the mole unwittingly then I will present that and deal with the consequences.”

“Overall, Jake in this incarnation has done more good than harm. Besides, if CF Robotics becomes to dangerous I have a back up plan no one will see coming. I always wanted to be a graffiti artist. I can feel you poking around in my head for more ideas about that but shhh, art is expression and takes time.”

“You know I endured Adeline and since Jake is no different than her I can endure Jake to. Plenty of room left for new scars, plenty of room and I’ll heal the new ones so he’s got nothing on me.”

Ashmadiel stated gently, “You are hurt, Garrick Faulkner, and saying some things you do not mean. You are stronger than those thoughts, and have the strength of others to draw upon in this time of need. You no longer suffer alone.

“You’re absolutely right,” He smiles and the sword turns back into his gauntlet as he gets up walks back in from the other direction. He looks upbeat and waits for an appropriate time to have his talk with Jake. Openly, on their world once again. He tells Geist though as the talk with the rescued Alien takes place. Based on what he’s learned his house will be shut off from the team’s access a few minutes after he gets back. After a pending conversation with Jake he might be stuck at work a great deal for a few weeks and only able to do hero stuff on the weekend. He will keep him posted as developments occur. He looks happy though as none of these things are problems just outcomes yet to see the light of day.

Way of the Sword, Learning to Crawl

Way of the Sword, Learning to Crawl

March 23rd, 2024 – Saturday 5 AM to 8 AM

Loyalty (忠義 chūgi)

Katherine woke up in her Smart Fortwo car. She felt groggy but not nearly as hurt all over as she remembered she should feel. Her seat was leaned back as far as possible. She was still wearing her outfit and mask, when she moved though the hidden plates didn’t feel broken anymore. How long had she been out? Why was she still in the hero outfit? Looking at Gryphon, whom was in his costume, “Am I dreaming?”

“No, we finally got away from our meeting with the Skywatch or the Men In Black and then President Douglas Carson only to wind up at the Winchester House in California. Once we got the messages we portal-flew back here as fast as possible. It was a team effort to save you all from the Atorians. They think Alice is our group leader because theirs is a matriarchal society. You were pronounced her proxy should she not be around. Strange Carl, am I right?”

“Yeah, why do you like him again?”

“Hey now, Trip and I have been gaming buddies for years,” he rolls his eyes but looks relieved she’s sparring verbally, “Anyhow, those Atorian high guards did not have their leader’s go ahead to abduct you to smoke out Granny2Good and Jake. Their will be an upcoming future meeting we will attend to try and put this issue to bed once and for all.”

Took a deep breath and continued, “I asked Jake to portal us near Century Station and after another surprise trip through the Jimmy Johns lavatory. I flew back with you to Spirit Enterprises so we could get your car. I didn’t want to leave you alone, or in Shorty’s care. I am sorry it took a bit to get past the police line when one of the officers recognized me from the bank robbery. They got us through without any media being drawn down upon us. It’s almost 7 AM and we are nearly home. Again my apologies for our hero work eating into your day spending it with me.”

Was he worried? He sounded in charge and yet self admonishing of wasting a single moment of time they might spend together. “All of us are aware that hero work could eat into our time with you. That’s twice you’ve come for me, Garr-bear.”

“Kitty Kat, I love you and would die saving you if that was my only way to ensure you keep breathing.”

Where was this firm and confident Gryphon coming from? He was very matter of fact in his voice, it sounded as though he was about to leap into action. It was, sexy. They pulled into the garage and he shut the door. When he got out he re-adjusted her seat and mirrors back. He came around to her side and picked her up out of the car and a bag of broken body plates from her armor. Then flew her up to their room on the second floor. He slowly undressed her and set her in the shower where he washed her. She knew he liked to pamper her but he never said a word while he did any of it. He was direct and yet gentle the entire time.

Later, in bed he made sure she had every pillow she wanted and then laid down next to her. He finally transformed back to normal stature and she swore he looked buffer than before. He pulled her close to him and spooned her. She knew he didn’t need to sleep so much and yet was doing that with her, for her. She smiled in her heart this was all she ever wanted from him. She was so turned on by him at this moment but when she tried something he put a finger over her mouth, “Shhh. No words, just rest, because you need it and I want you to feel how much I need you. Sex can happen later, let the anticipation build for a few hours. I am yours today after all.”

She cursed having to wait a year in that moment, she wanted a ring on their fingers as much as she wanted him!

March 23rd, 2024 – Saturday 1 PM

When she woke up he was laying next to her. Her phone had been set next to her. On a small fold out tray from the bed was a bowl of tomato soup! One message on her phone that said he got the shopping and half the cooking done while she was asleep. Another mentioned that there was a dinner party tonight at Ethel’s house. A final message was from Empress Arcadia detailing, or was it dictating, terms to meet later that week to discuss the issues surrounding Jake and his sister. She sent an RSVP to Mrs. Falkenburg that the Garrick and Kat would be coming along.

Something was up, Garrick was not as talkative as he normally was. He was quiet and calm? One might even say he was relaxed? She moved his arm and realize he was actually asleep this time. ‘Well,’ she thought to herself, ‘I’ve got up to 180 minutes to myself, hmmm.’ She went out and into what used to be Patsy’s room and found 17 Call of the Deep posters on the walls. She was instantly reminded that Constance had snagged backstage passes for the show in October. She’d clearly underestimated how much Garrick liked this band. Everyone had agreed to it being so far out on the agreement she couldn’t plan anything else like that till after the holidays.

All of her things she’d left in boxes were stuck on a shelving system and organized by box size against one wall. The table with its eight monitors on a data pole coming out of the center had Transformer toys facing off against five robotic-looking lions all over it and the monitors. There were a stack of books with more of the funny shaped dice next to them. The titles all started with: Monsters & Mana. She noted Garrick had broken down the bed in this room and converted it into a desk and bunk bed. The left over foam was wrapped in plastic. The was a note that said “For Donation” on it but it was the lone book that was resting on the desk that caught her attention. “Bushido – The Soul of Japan” by Inazo Nitobe and there were 18 different bookmarks in the book. Katherine thumb her way through a few and realized Garrick may have found a way to relax. Ameera said she had introduced him to a friend to help him find balance.

Some of his notes on the bookmarks were both troubling and intriguing: [Kat doesn’t seem to like the Geek stuff] [speak less and act more, Kat does not appear to be fond of long conversations] [update list of Kat’s like and add them to things to do to honor future wife] [let her decorate home to feel she has more of a say, she seems to like stuff like that??] [if I find a 4th woman she’ll have to like Geek stuff and maybe cooking, so far only Patsy had shown any interest] [Likelihood of finding someone liking Geeky stuff & cooking/foodie, hahahaha!] [Kat seems to enjoy just being with me, should we consider hikes, flying, ooh flying sparing! Hmmm] [Kat likely reads your mind all the time, probably just shut up and not over share.] [Make sure and find ways to honor Kat’s loyalty to me] [Try and find a new way a day to include the precepts of Bushido into my life] [Learn everything I can from Master Nitobe] [Oh, dumbass do random nice things for everyone. It shows a personal touch that you care.]

That comment about a 4th woman made Katherine tense up, but she forced herself to relax. This was just how he was. She realized she owed Ameera a great deal if this friend, Master Nitobe is getting Garrick to think about himself at all in this constructive way. So if she completed his hero side, and Constance completed his engineering, inventive, working and music loving side. Ameera appeared to complete his philosophical side. Maybe Mavis likes geek stuff? Oh good grief she thought! What if Patsy hadn’t moved away to start a new life? Maybe she could learn to play Monsters and Mana? She looked back at the stack of books and hoped there were other games he liked. Maybe Jenga, he bought a house that looked like the game after all.

Respect (禮 rei)

When Garrick woke up and found out they were going to Ethel’s house. He quickly made some garlic bread, and as that was baking he threw together a corn and arugula salad. He was so quiet though anytime he made eye contact he winked. One of his notes mentioned that he believed she was reading his mind all the time. So why bother talking making his thoughts redundant. She briefly reached out and read his surface thoughts: ‘Good, good, I’ve managed to nearly go 24 hours without over sharing. Do I celebrate the day we met or the day we became a couple? Web searches don’t help… …shit she’s looking up hide the phone. Close call god I hope this is one of the times she’s not reading my mind. Last thing I need her to do is see my searches for Zen and the Art of Dating. Hmmm, I am running out of stuff I know about her. Oh man have I been insulting her when I talk about learning things? She did major in science and then switch to art. Clearly she went to Everett Community College because she never used the word University when describing where she went to school and then later worked.

Am I still doing enough for her? It’s been 2 months and 6 glorious days since we met, and 1 month and six days since I realized I was in love and all of our relationship gray areas got sorted out for me. She’s so amazing I’m still stunned why she or anyone one of them like me. If they fell for the Gryphon I kinda get it, even I think if I could somehow go public I’d never change back. I’m so terrified talking to women right now. Last thing I need is a fourth girlfriend at the moment! Luckily, Mavis and I are just friends, and Mavis’s nearly as easy to talk to as Ameera and Constance. A lot of conversations with Katherine just feel like small talk though, or very in the moment and not much else. I promised her I would never pry but I don’t know what to say to her anymore. Sex is off my chart in awesome but I only know what she’s shown me and well, no one else appears to know more than she does. Constance might but so far they’re even in that area. I am trying to make new memories with her, for her, solidify her new identity. I’m really trying not to screw up smothering her like I feel I did “before” with the “other” one. She said being around supers wasn’t allowing her to adapt and come to grips being in this world. No, stop it! No tangents on Katherine’s day! She left and asked me to respect her privacy so that’s all there is. But all I really know about Katherine is:

  • two college majors of the numerous she tried.
  • Her transformation story.
  • She’d prefer to be monogamous, but is trying to let me see if I want to be polyamorous or something else.
  • She appears utterly devoted to me and I’m worried I’ll let her down.
  • I know her favorite dish is tomato soup, and various iterations of it.
  • She loves competing with anyone to prove she’s the best.
  • She seems to have a disdain for really nerdy stuff. Surprising given the one time science major, perhaps that was Michael’s major?
  • This is more of a “not sure” but given the way she treats Shorty I guess we’re not looking at kids together?
  • Oh, bread’s done pull it out and put it on the cooling rack like so.”

Katherine saw him doing just that as his phone lit up with a timer going off, she watched him confidently not utter a word as she heard his last internal thought. Just based on the sampling, he thought about her constantly was the one overall positive thing. Though a few of the things he supposed about her weren’t quite right, he was thinking a lot about honor and respecting her devotion to him. ‘There’s a change from Michael’ she thought to herself with a harrumph. He likely focused on the other women on their days just as much, which also might explain why he sought out a day for himself. Perhaps that was the day he thought about himself? Constance and her being even in the bedroom department was as troubling to her as Garrick thinking she didn’t want to have deeper talks with him. The kids question seemed to bother him but kids was a huge step for anyone. Besides they had time, right? They were going to Ethel’s for dinner, not like anything bad was going to kill him anytime soon.

March 23rd, 2024 – Saturday Night

First, he cleaned up a stain she’d made avoiding he blue tea, respecting Ethel’s home. Respecting her by quietly cleaning up the mess she made to bring the bad effects the tea was having to everyone’s attention. Then he quietly, cleans and changes all the bedding in Shorty’s room. After Black Phantom and Deathwish had blue tea influenced sex in there. He even left a note hoping her night got better. Finally, he figured out how to take all the bombs off and save Ethel’s home. Using just his sword! How could he have known the others and the new robot were disarming them as he took them off. Even Ethel was inspired to follow Gryphon’s idea. Katherine was thinking out loud, “I may never see him again. I don’t know if Gryphon or Granny2Good were in range for the signal to shut off the bombs? Oh god, please don’t let the most wonderful man I’ve ever known and loved die now! I swear I’ll share more about myself with him and be less jealous of his needs with the other women. Please don’t let him die!”

Hearing Geist speak she could only think about where Gryphon was. Then she saw Granny’s outfit in the air! Flying wasn’t a power she had so that means he lived! When he landed with Granny she ran over to him, “Thank God you’re all right!”

As Granny walked away, “I had something to live for.”

He smiled and pushed a bit of her hair out of her face as they hugged and he gave her a single kiss.

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


The Day SAVIOR Stood Still…Kinda

The Day SAVIOR Stood Still…Kinda


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


Trembling Hearts

Trembling Hearts

Sunday – 11th of February, 2024

Nicholas, wait a second,”

Professor Nicholas turns back to the blue haired woman approaching him in Everette College sweats to hide her outfit underneath, “Yes, Katherine?” He’d just taken off his long coat and put it in his trunk and was buttoning his blazer over the vest he wore as Zeau.

“Please don’t hold it against Garrick. He was with Jake, and we both know he’s crazy enough to steal a starfighter.”

“Well, there’s two positives I can deduce from this. A) You should be happy to know that when he thought “you” might be in danger he came for you, just done smarter. B) We can both take solace that he referred to “us” when he mentioned Jake and Granny2Good. Therefore he likely came with the rest of the team, and learned from running off on his own, he can be taught.”

They both chuckle at the last part and mention they’ll catch up again soon enough. Katherine heads to her Smart Fortwo car while Nicholas heads back to the get some work before heading home. He came for me!” She kept saying all the way back to home. She realized as she was pulling into the fenced yard that she just called Garrick’s place home! It had only been two days but it had felt like an eternity since she left him on Friday.

Swiping her badge, the familiar click of the unlocked door, and she pulls the door open to head inside. Her eyes adjust quickly as she bounds across the ground floor avoiding the numerous workout machines surrounding the training mat. There he is, her boyfrien…
…why is that half-dressed bitch kissing her man? They make eye contact and her anger is mounting visibly on her face. “Garrick, thanks it was a wonderful time…,” the half dressed woman walks away seemingly unconcerned about her potential nudity! Katherine’s eyes dart back and forth between Garrick and the slut whom is about to die.

Pointing at the woman walking away Garrick exclaims, “That’s a man!”

Black Phantom in the process of taking off some of his gear begins to laugh, “Yeah, that’s so much better!”

Just then the woman in the torn clothing is nearing the bathroom as her hair changes color, she bulks up to 6′ 7″ and grows and extra set of arms! A second or two later Katherine is staring at the Beast. Her angry expression melts away to confusion as Garrick points again, “See! I told you its a dude!” Black Phantom smirks as he heads over to Jake and they talk about some of the items picked off the deceased. Garrick can’t stop starring at Katherine’s new blue hair. In his mind he is wondering how hair color makes her look even more amazing.

Garrick remembers the usb stick and he inserts it into the table and grabs one of the tablets plus four of the eight monitors on the data pole at the table’s center. Aside from the documents dictating a disturbingly clear plan to mind control students through these psychology experiments. Katherine hugs Garrick when she sees that! Covenant and he explain the cops have all of it because these the are copies of the laptop files Garrick made from his house. What they found next was shared with everyone! It would appear there’s a figure of apparently unknown repute to our heroes. This individual is selling powers to people that can pay his price! Apparently, Dr. Crosby acquired his power of mind control from the individual only known as “The Dealer” to their clients. Katherine then leaned over his shoulder to read along as her blue ponytail fell down into his peripheral view. Everyone got the hint when the next sentence Garrick blurted out was…

“…I REALLY like blue!”

Garrick’s face turned eight shades of crimson, a fact Katherine did not miss and she whispered, “Boy, you sure are hot mister G.” Ad-libbing a line from a cartoon character she had seen once, many years ago. Bounding off upstairs leaving an even redder face Garrick to awkwardly bid everyone a wonderful day but he had some “research” to work on. The Shorties had already disappeared into the basement and the online world of Gizergleam and Worlds Online. After Garrick saw the last guest off he walked into exercise mat and floated up towards the second floor catwalk balcony. He found Katherine sitting on his bed and he asked if she was okay?

“I’m sorry I worried you, your thoughts though weren’t hard to read. I was worried my actions brought me back to the attention of the organization I’ve been on the run from, so I left to find out what happened to me and make sure nothing bad happened to my Garr-Bear.” Katherine shakes her head for a second, looking into Garrick’s mind she’s caught off guard by some of his more lewd thoughts as to why he thinks he likes the blue hair so much. She waits for a few seconds he apologizes being distracted by the fact somehow she got even prettier!

Katherine told him she got Zeau involved because as a teacher he’d be able to help her on campus. “Garr-Bear, please don’t be jealous though! There’s no room in my life for another man, so please don’t think that I would be cheating on you!”

Katherine saw the amorous look drain off his face and one of concern replaced it. When he called her ‘Baby’ though, there was a quiet confidence he’d not displayed before. “Look, you’re my first girlfriend at 27 years of age. However, as a scientist, I tried to study any relationship I could identify in hopes of making me a better husband one day.”

When Garrick said ‘husband’ looking her in the eye she saw a silhouette of her in a gown in his mind. His face grew older in her perception of its features. The vision of her was gone replaced by what she could only describe as a modern scene of Sodom from the bible! Naked men surrounding Garrick and taunting him from the shadows with gestures ranging from wholesome to extremely lewd. He continued, “All my previous experience in relationships comes from watching inmates in relationships. I don’t feel the being gay is a factor actually. I saw monogamous couples, harem styles (though slavery might be a better term), poly pairings (3-way groups or “V’s”, quads or four people), straight up internal prison prostitution. What I took away from that was sex was not just for love.”

Katherine saw that act as the highest form of love between a couple. She felt so sad understanding how shattered Garrick’s heart must have become from his every loss he’s suffered. Maybe he’s forgotten how to love so he’s grabbed a bit from wherever he could find a morsel.

“It could be just a stress reliever for a bad day, it could be a commodity, and it could be done between friends and never lead to anything else.”

Couples used it to deepen their own commitment to each other, and he thought of it as a handshake option!? Only pimps and whores used it as currency! Oh my did she have her work cut out for her! Then there was the erotically charged poetry and harlequin romance novels he read in prison. Oh dear god what did he consider a “hall pass” to be? Katherine had envisioned him getting drunk for certain and sleeping in, but she was starting to see how different his frame of reference was.

He continued, “The simple trick was being completely honest about each of your expectations and checking in with your respective partner or partners to make sure everyone’s needs were being met.”

Did he just reduce an intimate relationship down to a therapy session with result updates? The concepts he’s proposing are good but can be applied to any relationship. He’s obviously never had a caring monogamous relationship since she was his first. If he’s an honest scientist then time with her should make him reassess his views! A plan began to form in her mind.

Onward he went with shocking revelation after the next, “Hypothetically, if you had wanted to have sex with Nick / Zeau I would have a few requirements:

  1. We all meet and know each other a bit better.
  2. Make sure he’s okay with the fact I would not be involved due to my hang-ups.
  3. You’d let me know when you’re going and coming home, especially if it was overnight.
  4. We spend some time afterwards just so we make sure our feelings as a couple don’t suffer and don’t get brushed under a rug.
  5. That we both would study and work on “ethical non-monogamy” to make sure honesty, trust, compassion, and love are the cornerstones of our relationship. Which I feel is good advice for any type of couple or pairing.
  6. If you chose to pursue that I would likely find another person in my spare time for a friends with benefits relationship, because no one could replace the feelings I have for you or ever take your place in my heart. You can bank on that.

She pulled him close and hugged him realizing that her anger was really placed on those that had violated him. It was becoming clear to her that since the torture and rape was in regards to his sword. He may not even know to be on the run from the people in Black Phantom’s vision regarding the Wayfarer. Garrick had said many times to her that he was broken and why would anyone want him. She can tell what he is thinking and therefore should be able to mend him better than anyone else. Certainly better than Patsy, the horrible-house maid, Palmer. She envisioned him as a Kintsukuroi project that had just begun!

They lay down just slept, wrapped up in each other.

9:00 PM

They woke up about 90 minutes prior and began to get dinner together and trying to talk about non-superhero related things. Garrick has one of the eight or so white boards (a couple were transparent) normally in the basement up in the kitchen and would jot down notes about a micro reactor while he was cooking up food for them both. She felt things were starting to get back to normal, so she felt if she read his mind while asking him a question she’d see his thought process at work as he answered. She expressed the hope that Garrick’s hall pass the other night to have a fun night out with the group without her went better than her night did.

Garrick was honest about about how much he had fallen for her even farther than before. That she trusted him with no restrictions for an evening and then come back to her! Katherine now understood what he considered a “hall pass” for certain. When he talked about getting drugged she was watching most of his thoughts were on a man named Thad, but when he added the parts about the group telling him their experiences her thoughts went to the bar staff. It was the only common factor in all the drinks.

Then she learned about his conversation with Stefania as she watched and he charmed her even though he mentioned he had a girlfriend! Apparently when Garrick mentioned he had not had the exclusivity of their relationship stated she pressed on getting to know him. This girl reminded Katherine of a younger, hotter version of Patsy! Then she hears the gunshots as Garrick remembers it. She sees Garrick launch into armored Gryphon and begins saving Stefania and her friends. She can see everything skewed and knows he is in fact high based on the memory images that come as he goes through each detail he is straining to get right.

Then she finds herself trying to not show the body movements as Garrick describes the feeling of being touched. As Katherine sees the colors and trembling reminders in his mind he’s got to be a hero and not screw anyone! He didn’t want to violate his prior promise of insulting Katherine regardless of the “hall pass” gift. Oh my god! He considers the hall pass and ability to fornicate outside the relationship an item that can be a gift? She had never intended for him to get a coupon to a whorehouse! Once at Stefania’s house she gets the full run down as Garrick struggles to remember the details. However, to Katherine it was like reliving a nightmare because it was becoming painfully clear he did not associate sex with love in the slightest! He wasn’t even jealous of Zeau because she could still pick up thoughts he never felt he was good enough for anyone! That’s why he just assumed anyone interested in him would always seek a second partner or more to become satisfied!

What did she have to do to show him he was enough for her? After dinner she said she needed to sleep and she went into the other room on the second floor and shut the door. She just didn’t know how to tell him how painful everything he had said was. Katherine was worried because she couldn’t sense or see any falsehood about what he discussed. His tact though and his delivery was almost to factual. She was worried he might hold back in the future if he knew how hurt she was. That her efforts to please him physically were not associated with how she loved him.

Love. It was the first time she had really said it regarding him. Did those college girls think it was fun to take advantage of him? Did they even think of it as consent or not consent? Given his time in prison did Garrick think this was the way it worked or did he even feel taken advantage of? His father was gone most of the time and if he didn’t follow Cuthbert around by founding Dalus Dome. He’d have to endure countless attempts by his sister, Adeline, trying to kill him. Reading his mind he had tried to set boundaries to make sure he didn’t do anything wrong, however, his boundary was the moment something went inside another person regardless of location. Anything else up to that point was considered fair game! She began to loop her thoughts in a raging cyclone, crying and eventually just screaming until hoarse. It was midnight when she fell asleep.

Monday – 12th of February, 2024


Morning, she open her door and walked into a streamer of 3M clear tape. Thinking about which Shorty was about to die! She untangle herself and walked into a folding chair and square matching table. There was a number of plates with covers on them and a folded card. Hand written on the card was: 8:53 AM – Eat or refrigerate by 12 AM. Your Boyfriend <3. She saw that everything was food she told him she like during breakfast. She saw the bedazzled cased Pearphone X she’d given Jake to fix was on the table! Looking back at the tape a folded paper was on its end with a double sided note.

“Kitty Kat,

It’s hard for me not to be self deprecating if I feel I screwed up. I cook, however, the burrito place says hi and that’s where the flan came from. They told me you get it on your cheat day. I went out on patrol last night. I also wanted some time to think, and I feel I owe you an apology.

At first I thought the “hall pass” was your faith in me to do whatever and then come home to you! I was elated beyond words! It is the reason I let things go as far with the girls because not long after being there. My sword had purged me of the drug in my system. I (this was my mistake) assumed you read my mind all the time because of your ex-husband. I’ve been wondering for some time how heroes that lie about their identity maintain a relationship? Maybe being polyamorous was a path to making that work.

Full disclosure, I often don’t think I’m enough to make such an amazing woman happy. After all if you take the sword away I’m just a nerd. My father and Jake are the real geniuses. As my sister would say I’m just a poser. A perfect example of this was not having any clue you were in to me. I was fine just being friends with you. You were as amazing to me as you are beautiful so I was not surprised when I screwed up sharing to much. Not including Patsy my only social experience after prison was work. The two owners of Mallic are brother and sister, with the Sister seemingly interested in me. I have not gone after that for three reasons A) we work together B) my superhero side job has made her brother ask me to pick her or it C) the most recent reason is I have strong feelings for you.

Before my mistakes that landed me in prison I designed and built structures to end homelessness and work on other worlds! Now I suffer from impostor syndrome. I push myself at work and hero stuff because I feel like a fake. I’m no knight, there’s no damsel to save that won’t see me as a broken failure in the light of dawn. Look, you scare me because without your instruction I wouldn’t really understand “practical knowledge reference” for how to please any woman. Watching porn is like reading books, it only goes so far. Every day I am waiting for the other shoe to fall. You’ll read my mind see something about me so broken fixing it would be a waste of your time and you’ll move on. Three times now I have been trying to work up the courage to say something to you and failed. Failed myself and failed the affections you’ve placed on me.

When I saw the black outfit, I thought you had given me the “hall pass” to distract me, for a second time. The first time you lied to me when you and Patsy had your confrontation. I was mad at being lied to for what I thought, at the time, was the second instance. Ethel pulled me out of my prison defense thought process. She made me think, why was being lied to hurtful? If Jake’s bomb, big enough to be larger than WINSLOW, and Ethel nearly setting it off because she had forgotten patience and innocent lives matter more than ours. I would’ve found a dark corner and probably given Adeline what she’s been wanting since my mother died.

I still don’t understand why you like me but Ethel’s lesson has got me trying out the real side of my appearance more. I fear that trying to make use of the “Hall Pass” was what I feared, a test. I should have never gone that night but again my social cues are so fucked I let you down.

I know I don’t deserve forgiveness, but for what little it’s worth I am truly sorry if I hurt you in any way.

…sorry I was dreaming again.

With a heavy, trembling heart, apologies,


Her first class wasn’t until noon today as a senior in high school. She ate the amazing meal and noticed a text appear on her phone. Apparently, Garrick had to work late on a special project his boss was flying out to California for. There were a bunch of pre-made meals he always did for the Shorties and now her in the refrigerator. Between that and his Tuesday visit to the Giving Tree, Garrick didn’t think he was going to see her much until Wednesday morning.

When she went into Garrick’s bedroom to take a shower half of Garrick’s stuff was placed or folded neatly on his bed. A note on the empty side read: Making room for the most important woman in my life. -Garr Bear. Katherine was still out on how she felt so she got ready and headed off for her classes. She stopped at the burrito shop and picked up a Horchata rice drink. While she was in there she saw an incredibly handsome man sitting there talking with another person and both were wearing Mallic Robotics embroidered polos.

Sam, I know you must have seen that fucking fraud in his superhero outfit.”

Blake, you may not like Gary but language, please,” gestures at Katherine, “I have daughters myself, please.”

“I’m sorry, Sam, but come on you’ve had to seen what Maverick he is, tell me and a single call to the cops and he is gone! No way he’s a legal hero.”

“Blake, is that why you took me to lunch?”

“Look he’s ugly and to smart for his own good, he’s an ex-felon! Once a felon always a felon.”

“Blake you could say once a butt, always a butt,” Katherine giggled at Sam’s rebuttal.

“Ha ha, so really whom is he?”

“Blake are you daft? Gary is the reason I have my job and your director says he fought for you in the lead marketing job. You hated him then and he put his ego aside knowing your talents at your job were better than Pavek the Romanian kid.”

“Sam, I’m just looking out for the company! I saw the interview his sister gave replay on YouTube..”

“..Blake, it was ten years ago and his father died, he was not the only one to loose everything when Daedalus went offline! His project could have replaced it one day!”

Katherine was not fond of Blake at this point.

“Sam, have you seen him in his stolen hero gear or not?”

“Only what you have seen, Blake.”

“No way, I can’t prove it but I don’t believe you, Sam!”

“Blake what the heck is the bug up your butt about Gary? He’d give you the shirt off his back! I’ve known him for two years and no one works harder, cares more, or gives more of himself than Gary.”

Novia, dumped me the day he showed up at work all changed!”

“Blake, Novia, told me she caught you banging a stripper!”

“Who cares, I’m hot and it was just a stripper!” Katherine just got up to grab her drink when she heard Blake expound that. “Sam, you can only love a troll like Gary the way you love a smart puppy.”

“First, that stripper was someone’s daughter. Second, you’re pissed because Novia, whom couldn’t walk without help. Had been given that ability because the ‘troll’ whom has a bigger heart than Shrek, built her a new leg she has proof of you complimenting on style and beauty. That was done by Gary, so yes she is inclined to have fond caring for him, she dumped you for cheating. Third, Gary’s into some other girl not Novia.” Blake looks perplexed and Katherine begins to take her time picking out a straw and a napkin. “I’ve seen the Arabic girl move out and a blond girl, a hot blond girl I might add, move in. There’s no reason to hate him. You’re being ridiculous because you won’t accept Novia left you for being a butt!”

“You’re drinking the Gary Kool-Aid, Sam, wake up he’s a fraud.”

“You’re an idiot Blake, he gives charity once a week! He works harder than everyone at that office.”

“Charitable people are to stupid to make the world work for them. Nobody cares about their neighbor anymore, they care about how to make themselves better off than everyone else around them. It’s how humans judge their self worth – oh my life doesn’t suck as bad as that guy!”

Sam looks at his phone, “ahh crap, that’s Constance, Brandon gave Gary another monster assignment he’s trying to get done in a day!”

“Aww, who cares how wrecked that mule gets! I’m the one that makes that hack look good. Marketing is everything, spin is king! Coders are a dime a dozen.”

Sam shook his head and walked out Katherine followed behind him among other patrons leaving. He makes a call as he gets out to his car, and Katherine starts to head out but maintains line of sight. A few seconds later she skims his thoughts to find out the call is to Brandon about the lunch meeting with Blake. The large project is actually just getting his week assignments in early so he can take Valentines Day off. Brandon just made it seem like he needs everything by close of business on Tuesday for a trip to California. Brandon hopes Constance finding out he’s in a real relationship will make her stop fawning over him. Sam mentions the hate and Blake being dumped by Novia. Brandon sees it as simple jealousy but the legal concerns of employing a super and having that super retaliate against a normal person is a legal nightmare. Sam asked how can Gary put up with it and is told Gary said it really wasn’t anything new for him. If they let Blake go it will have to be completely devoid of any connection to Gary. The call ends and Sam gets in his car and heads back. Blake walks out and Katherine snaps a photo of him and leaves.

Garrick has never told her what he goes through at work, and she realizes he’s never talked about his job at all. He is trying to plan something for Valentines Day and not lie to her, hmmm. She made it to school when she realized how much about his day he never shared with anyone! Her anger was starting to ease up because he appeared to be trying to get his life situated around her and not other women now. School went as most days do, Shorty nodded at her in the hallway, she’d flip him off but wink, and then she’d avoid everyone as much as possible. When she got home all of her laundry was ironed, folded, and put away in the various spots of his room he had made space for. There was a new Optimus Prime figurine in the bathroom holding her tooth brush on the sink. Notes were taped to the fridge about food for Shorties and food for Kat. She broke down and sent him a text asking if he needed anything because it looked like a late night for him. His reply made he choke back some tears.

Nope. Well, if you can some how teleport in here so the door access can’t tell, then become invisible so the cameras don’t see you, and snuggle the crap out of me while code compiles. Well, now my heart feels warm so thanks for being so quick! #Kissyface.

Tuesday – 13th of February, 2024: 4:30 AM

Garrick’s room was dark broken only by the neon blue glow of various electronic buttons. A preprogrammed text has left a message on Garrick’s phone that it was sent and delivered at 12:02 AM. Kat didn’t know why she woke up, but her eyes had adjusted well to the very dim conditions. When she tried to move her head something was snagging her hair prohibiting her. Turning to find out what, she realized Garrick had taken a handful of her hair and pulled it to his nose, then fell asleep. Nothing of the rest of him was close enough to touch her. Slowly freeing her hair she sat up and looked at him. He was in boxer briefs and his normal form. Now when she saw the scars on his back she knew exactly how they got there. On his back was the disfigured skin from the glowing hot threaded rod drug across his back. There wasn’t an arm or leg free from scars and when she touched one there was a flash of mental images of her grabbing Garrick and pulling him out of a nightmare on to a beach for dinner!

She could see his chest heaving as he rolled on his back and his arms went to his sides fingers pressing in so hard in clenched fists they were white and noticeable in the dark room. She reached out and read his thoughts and got and image of a shadowy ten year old girl speaking to a handcuff Garrick:

Don’t wake Katherine, you already hurt her.
Don’t wake Katherine, you don’t deserve her.
Don’t wake Katherine, you don’t deserve anyone.
Don’t wake Katherine, no one loves you.
Failure, Murderer, Fraud, Brother.

She snapped out of his mind as he sat up lightning quick cold sweat bleeding out of him. She found cover behind the bed canopy supports against the wall. He touched where she had been laying, “Oh thank god that was part of the dream. She must be in her room, it was so vivid though. I could smell her.” He sighed and walked over to his large table tapping the screen and letting it log him with a face scan, “I have not dreamed of Adeline in a long time, I am scared of her finding out about me but I know becoming sponsored is the right thing to do.” He stripped naked and walked to the shower turning it on and getting in. “How do you ask her if she wants to be exclusive and not sound dumb? It is bad enough you got the “Hall Pass” test wrong. Your boss knows your in a relationship and he knows whom to slip that to in hopes that anyone at work will cool their jets. Tonight, let Ramona know that he can be friends but that’s it. Already let the only fans I have from the bar know it’s exclusive. Now I just need to hear her say it to confirm my adjusted hypothesis is correct.”

Katherine left the room and got dressed in yoga pants and a shirt. As the automated coffee finished, so did the shower. Garrick came out dress in tan slacks and one of his company polos, “Good morning, your up early and a wonderful sight. Oh I can wait if you haven’t had coffee yet?” Katherine realized at that moment how often he put on a happy face for everyone. She left a stern face on but smiled briefly trying to not act like she had gained a bunch of insight into him, “To be fair, I did not completely communicate what I thought a “Hall Pass” should be.” She holds up her hand as she pours him a cup of coffee, “I need to make sure I am clearer with you, we promised each other that. Don’t answer yet, take 24 hours as I hear you tell people on occasion. If you want to be with me I want you exclusively to myself. I’m not interested in other guys or girls, and I don’t want you having dates and wild nights with other women. Okay I’ve said my piece.”

Garrick nods, “For the next 24 hrs I am asking that you not read my mind so I can plan a surprise for you. I don’t want to lie about it, even for a surprise. I’m just asking that Tuesday night you also sleep in your room. I should be home by 11:30 PM from the Giving Tree and I will begin then. Thanks for the cup I have to go in now, large project.” Katherine walked over and tenderly brushed her fingers on his cheek before she walked away with her cup. Anything longer and she’d have lost the composure she was trying to put forth. She waited for him to head downstairs before coming out once more.

He stopped in the basement and found one Shorty getting ready to login to Gizergleam, Worlds Online. He made sure to get the other two up and told them he had a surprise tomorrow for Katherine. Good or bad on the outcome he needed some privacy. He gave each Shorty $25 to cover whatever they needed but they couldn’t go upstairs. Not until after 12 Noon Wednesday from 11 PM Tuesday night. They all agreed and one of them got ready for school.

11:30 PM

Garrick came home after the Giving Tree and letting Ramona know they were just friends. After this week he’d work on going to visit this church and likely bring Kat along. What he didn’t mention was that he wanted to be certain it wasn’t a cult after the psychology department fiasco. When he checked on the Shorties they have soda, water, and three pizzas with two ice chests! He nodded his approval at their prep and got thumbs up and they’re busy! Smiling he went up to the second floor he could hear music coming from the second bedroom. He set up his easel and the board and got his water color paints out to try and make a picture with her blue hair.

He used the card he made her as a guide and repainted her portrait. This time it had her changed hair color to blue. Now he had to replicate it by the morning, so he got to work. Optimus would warn him if she tried to open the door so he could cover the gift. The trick he ran into was waiting in drying from adjacent sections and moving on to others. He combined heavier white ink to get soft colors but thicker paint when needed on the face. Soon he was in a simple t-shirt that it, his hands, and his arms were covered in paint from using his fingers to force semi-dry paint to behave how he wanted it to work.

He listened to German Folk Metal from “Call Of The Deep” (his favorite band) all night on a Pearpod-Mini he kept for just this purpose. He’d found three tracks that when played on loop he could work for hours making art. His bluetooth, bone-induction headphones wrapped around his head but kept his ears free in case someone needed to talk with him. With sounds traveling through his bones and every shade of blue he owned his brush continued to glide across the taped down, heavy, watercolor paper. Soon the a sea of azure became the backdrop to his first attempt at speed painting!

He had recorded his efforts and mentioned on the video this was the last time he’d be painting this model. He mentioned to his teacher he had found two other students willing to be his models for further work. He was unsure of whether they could be compensated with credits toward electives if he chose to pay them for their time. He covered everything that he thought might give away something about him or Katherine in drop cloths. He uploaded all his work on the watercolor and heavy ink mix medium to the class online folders assigned to him. He replied that he would be happy to make a public showing once he had a few more pieces of his new models.

Wednesday – 14th of February, 2024: 5:46 AM

Katherine wakes and checks her phone and there’s a text from Garrick only an hour ago: “I’m done, hope you like it – G.” She gets dressed in workout clothing because Nathaniel should be there at 6 AM and may already be there downstairs. When she opens the door of the second bedroom she sees the huge blue painting taped to the very dense plastic slab. A clipped note talks about how hot she looks (which he did not believe could be more amazing) with blue hair even if its just a blue streak. As she looked down at the bottom left corner there was a folded red card with wax paper to drape over it. She realized it was to prevent the card from being damaged while the larger picture dried.

She picked it up and removed the wax paper and read it.

The door to his/their room is open and Garrick is passed out in his normal form and dried paint stains cover his hands and arms. She can see he stayed up all night to get the painting right. He’s still wearing pants and shoes and his legs are draped off the bed as though he had intended to untie them. Shutting their door behind her she crawls on the bed and tries to wake him. When he finally opens his eyes he smiles, “I’m sorry ma’am but I’m in a relationship now and my love has made it clear sharing is not permitted you’ll have to leave.”

Kat arches an eyebrow, “Is that so? Well I don’t see her around it could be our little secret!”

“Nope, I love her and this was her request of me if I wanted to be with her,” he yawned and Kat realized he may not be fully awake.

“What’s her name then?”

“Katherine Davis and if god let’s me win the lottery then one day several years from now it’ll be Katherine Faulkner. Shhh don’t tell her that dream I have yet. She hates it when I over share,” he giggled slightly as he finished his statement and his eyes rolled back in his head.

Lightly patting him on his cheek she asked, “Did you have a request of her to be with you?”

Yawning again, “No, she’s still terrified I might leave her for some pretty girl. I’m not sure she has realized how amazing she is. Besides I still don’t think I am worthy of her trust yet so I would ask nothing.”

“What would your request have been if you had one?”

“I love painting the human body and painting it in various locations. Just let me paint and I promise never to share anymore paintings of her so the bad people don’t find her.”

“How many have you shared?”

“Four, three head shots and one of her falling off a building as a perspective piece. She sent me a photo, it was so hot!”

“Where did you share it?”

“School, art class with only my teacher. I want her safe so I found other models that I can afford. My teacher thinks I am getting good enough for a showing. If I’m over sharing I am sorry.”

Katherine looked at his work and had to agree he was indeed getting good, “So you’d be painting nudes then?”

“Only with a clear demarcation line between the male or female model and I. Then an assistant that would be the one to help the model or get stuff for me as well. This way I can assure her of no contact! Otherwise the models would be dressed because head shots don’t require nudity. Sometimes I’m smart unless Jake is around then I’m just the less dumb kid in the room.”

“I’ll think about it but your plan is good.”

Garrick falls asleep and Katherine can read his thoughts realzing he had been speaking in a form of waking dream. She kisses him strong and hard, within a few seconds he wraps his arms around her, “Good morning Kitty Kat I have been waiting on this for days, I love you!”

“I love you too.”

“There’s a lovely beach front Italian restaurant in Garden Valley I’d love to take you to. Now don’t worry I have reservations, its called “Giardino dei Sogni” or Dream Garden. We have a table on the beach because I wanted our first official date to be special.”

Whatever she felt about the conversation with his sub-conscious or waking dream state. Everything he was saying now was music to her ears. Her trembling heart eased a bit as she kissed him over and over again.

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





“So a single idea, from the human mind, it could start a groundswell, it could be a flash point for a movement and it can actually rewrite our future. We have proof today of that very thing actually happening! We live in an age of super beings, many we humans engineered through science! We live in an age where aliens have visited us proving we are not alone! Sixty plus years ago this was a fantasy, and now it is fact!”

“Our quest, or the idea I don’t want to die with me is not new. It is nonetheless worth achieving, for if it stays inside of you an idea is powerless. If you never pull that idea out for others to contend with. Many people when they come up with an idea feel as though they have become the hero of a story yet to be told. This is a logical fallacy for if you’re the hero, who tells the tale and spreads the idea? No your job as the idea’s originator is the wizard, or wise mentor from Joseph Campbell’s description of the hero’s journey. So then, without each and everyone of you I am the Merlin archetype in King Arthur’s hero journey. The mentor with no one to guide to a brighter future. Which beseeches the question, would you help me and become my King Arthur, Joan of Arc, El Cid, Saladin, Tokugawa?”

(Garrick gestures to various people in the audience as he names each historical figure. The camera pans and much of the audience is leaning forward in their seats)

“How many of you slept in a bed you own in a house you own or lease?”

(Every hand goes up)

“Great, glad to hear it! Now with a fair amount of luck I am willing to wager if you didn’t purchase your home a good percentage of your parents did and they scraped money, got a loan from a bank or friends, family, perhaps both?”

(Audience panning and over 75% of the audience nods)

“Now you also had to weigh factors and settle for living in the house you wanted but maybe a neighborhood you weren’t so keen on. The reverse is also a likely conclusion. Then comes the new house woes of construction screw ups, or old house woes of time. Let’s not forget life with job changes causing you to have to move and resettle facing the same dilemmas over again.”

(Audience camera panning and 100% of the audience nods)

“Now this is where I get to remind everyone that with all of those issues YOU are the lucky ones!”

(A screen drops down showing the homeless of Century Station, Florida, Southeastern U.S. and the world)

“This is the quest I lay before you Knights of the Hearth and Home! We can stop homelessness in our lifetimes, and provide a redundant power grid should Daedalus ever go off-line! It gets even better! We at Dalus Dome Inc. need your help in spreading that our idea will be sent to N.A.S.A. for launch in 6 months to be tested as an environment habitat on the Moon! So if you spread this idea I am about to share, you can not only end homelessness but we can begin to colonize other planets! In future generations trips to Earth may be a family vacation one might plan! So if you’re with me and Dalus Dome show me by clapping!”

(Audience camera panning and 100% of the audience claps. The screen darkens and rises along with a curtain behind him revealing a shiny, silver, 15 ft. tall, 80 ft. wide dome that begins to rise up 10 feet showing a dome cylinder)

“Ladies and gentlemen may I present the Dome-10 heading to N.A.S.A. after this very talk is over!”

(Applause. A camera crew in N.A.S.A. jackets come out and when the door seal breaks, then slides open they go inside as their live feeds appear on several screens overhead)

“We have designed a completely modular dome house that can even simulate day and night for people living in places that don’t have access to the sky. It has, get ready, the world’s first micro fusion reactor! Small enough to fit in a hiking backpack with harness! Yet, its maximum power out put can sustain 100 people for 10 years or 10 people for 50 years! You could live anywhere and have power, clean water, nutritional meals bars, satellite Internet, long range radio, and all the amenities of home! It gets even better because once we hit production for every three homes made we can afford to send one anywhere in the world where there is homelessness! That means 10 people just got a home, because of you!”

(Between the live feed showing and validating the features of the home and Garrick’s speech. Sporadic clapping, shocked gasps, and dropped jaws litter the audience. Especially at the images/feed of a miniature, working fusion reactor)

“We’ll will have them available to any home construction company that wishes to offer them and they just have to take them off the transport vehicle and walk away! To prevent future brownouts these homes can be linked with cables that come with each of them. Allowing small communities to share power should a linked home have an issue and then send word to one of the licensed electrical companies for a repair technician to come and replace the faulty modular unit. Everything in the home is plug and play.”


“Now, I am sure some of you are wondering when would production start, and the answer is after the moon test is done so we are looking at 9 to 12 months! In a funnier analogy our company just got pregnant with and idea, and N.A.S.A. is going to help us give birth to it!”


“Now, that we crossed that hurdle, what about the cost because this is the future and the future is always expensive, right?”

(Many of the audience is pointing with finger guns as though this is the nail in the idea coffin)

“Saving the world is not free, but if anyone has time feel free to search out my papers on recycling. As 87% of the structure and everything inside it is recycled materials! Our base model dome will retail for $75,000 and the top of the line will retail for $125,000!”

(Shocked gasps)

“Yes, an aircar will cost more than one, or even two of our homes – model dependent – which you could put on the ocean floor with our airlock door feature off the coast of, let’s say Jamaica.”

(Laughter and stunned faces)

“We set the price point so low to include many families that can’t afford a common home in these days. With the modular nature they can be connected in a flat grid or stacked. They can even become bisected to allow for two families to buy one home with five rooms for each of them! The financing options at that point open up countless possibilities! Take care of your folks with a multi-generational approach. Siblings and their respective families can each have half of our Dome-10!”

(Approving nods)

“Oh, I almost forgot that if you have a disability we already have designed a full suite of options for wheelchairs, height challenged, and even really tall people.”

(Applause and approving nods)

“Here’s a wonderful nugget for all of you heroes and heroines! This particular location was picked at Copernicus University because of the number of seats. 390 to be exact. Now here’s what more exciting than seeing this entire room packed! If everyone in here were to have bought a home that means up 3,900 people have a place to live in the United States. A place with constant power! A place with clean water which could clean up Flint, Michigan permanently! What it also means is that in impoverished countries we would have sent 130 homes allowing 1,300 people to have homes that otherwise would not! If they chose to refuel the homes in 10 years then you have given homes to 1,300 people and provided power and clean water to 13,000!”

(Standing applause and cheers)

That’s how YOU solved homelessness and helped humanity reach the stars!”

(Standing applause and cheers)


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


If You Hunt Monsters Be Careful Not To Become One

If You Hunt Monsters Be Careful Not To Become One

Saturday, February 10th, 2024: 3:15 AM

Flying home as fast as possible due to the text messages Ameera sent him. Still unsure how her contact info got into his phone and why he already had a group contact for Norwood Knights. Somehow, he thought this might have something to do with Jake being left alone drunk and messing around with Optimus. Gryphon continues at top speed and pauses when he sees his home is not in flames. Going in through the top door on the roof he walks past Richard and Nathan eating some of the left over Wagyu beef. Dismissing his armor not but leaving his hero form, it doesn’t take Garrick long to realize Richard is still high on same drug used on him.

He is stopped by Nathan long enough to learn these two showed up about half past midnight. Nathan continues to inform Garrick that about half past 1 AM Carl the ‘Chauffeur’, Granny2Good, and Covenant arrived. Katherine showed up between 2:30 AM and 2:45 AM. After which Katherine immediately went into Garrick’s room while the other three are in the basement room sleeping on beds not occupied by Shorties. Garrick nods and when questioned about the drugs tells him his suspicions about Thad, but that he and one of the ladies he was with can’t confirm anything. Nathan nods mentioning that he’ll look into it as Garrick heads into his room.

Finding her in the bed she looks asleep to him. He sits on the edge of the bed and just strokes her hair SUPER thrilled she’s okay. He leans down and kisses Katherine on the cheek whispering in her ear, “I’m sorry if this feels slow of me but I am so happy you’re home and not hurt. The group needs me but I ‘love’ knowing I will see you again. Sweet dreams Kitty Kat and I adore you.” As he’s stroking her hair he finds a small fleck of glass. She’s dressed in all black, and while that is pretty normal for her. He remembered that she wasn’t wearing gloves before but it is February. She also had a different shirt with some neo-goth band on it. Thinking she had to change it for some reason he decides to ask her about it later that morning.

Walking out he can see Ethel and Alice sitting at the kitchen island. “Well, I can see you didn’t burn the place down so what’s up?”


The two ladies were still into the breakfast they had made. As Garrick followed the Richard’s voice down to the ground floor where he mentioned the group had been hit pretty bad and he had an injection dart gun holding a bowl with some vials sized for the gun in it. When he offered Jake’s morning after remedy Garrick told him his body took care of this naturally. It seemed in this state Richard did not remember Garrick is normally 5’8″ and since he was standing 6’6″ tall he was transformed. He had just taken off his magically produced costume and wearing clothing sized for this form. What few seemed to realize is that he had been staying in this form nearly 85% to 90% of the time.

Heading back up he nods at Granny2Good and waves at Alice. Granny mentions, “I don’t know what’s gotten into Richard, he’s very weird today.”

“Umm, mmm, yeah if he was hit with what I was hit with yesterday then he’s reacting very different than how I reacted but I suppose everybody has a different reaction.”

“Okay, whatever, he should have already taken the ‘cure all’ from Jake and he should be fine now. He’s just acting weird now.”

“Hmm, well that’s okay I have pants to go put on,” realizing he just talked himself into a ‘weird’ verbal corner as he was still wearing pants. Granny smiles as Garrick just leaves to change out of his suit into his super hero attire that was reminiscent of an 18th century German aristocrat. As he leaves he can hear Ethel trying to get to know this particular personality of Beast better. “So, Alice, do you really like sushi? I just, I don’t understand that.” While Garrick only picked up snippets changing but it appears the ‘Alice’ personality like steak over sushi and is a professional cosplayer. Before walking out he leaves a set of clean clothes folded on the bed next to Katherine with a note, ‘For an amazing adorable woman, -G’ and just to ease his mind he checks her vitals before heads out to everyone else. The Geist calls out that we need to go from the ground floor.

As they go downstairs Granny2Good tells Gryphon she has worked out a dinner date with Miss Amazing for the new outfit fitting. The Gryphon is excited to hear about a ‘Girl’s Night’ for them. Granny2Good asks with a grin that made Gryphon remember why the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland was a bit menacing, “So, did you have a nice night out?” Replying it might have been one of the best nights of his life to date seemed to make her happy to know. As they make it to the table Garrick and the talk of outfits moves around in his head it occurs to him that Katherine’s change in attire would be perfect for covert ops or breaking and entering missions. Was this the reason he was given a ‘Hall Pass’ last night? So he wouldn’t question anything? Finding a seat at the table he now looks annoyed, because if she has done what he has feared she might have done then she’s lied to him for the second time.

In his head Garrick remembered his nickname from Gramercy, Professor Gack. He decided if Katherine has been lying to him all this time he would just let her go and begin dating whom he wished. This group of misfits seemed to have a near impossible time working together because they want help but not recognition and legitimacy. Garrick in his heart wanted to be known as a good person again and someone whom would help people. He wanted to honor his father’s memory as a hero, rather than an expendable, exploitable, naive do-gooder dead in a ditch when no longer useful. However, because they were his team he had chosen to be with then he will NEVER betray them. So if someone hurt his teammate they had better learn to run, add on if someone hurt his girlfriend then someone is going to die!

While the Geist is pulling up everything he wants to talk about Gryphon calls Zeau, “Hey how was last night?” The groggy voice of the professor turned super hero is very evident between his mutterings of ‘Hello’ and ‘…oh man I fell asleep at my desk’ and ‘…I knocked over my papers’ while trying to talk. Gryphon asked about his stopping by her class and he said, “Umm no. I stopped in around 8pm with Starbucks and she was there.” Gryphon informed him about the mission coming up but made it clear he wasn’t required to show up. He had just wanted to keep him in the loop. Granny2Good seemed shocked that Richard was still behaving odd while Zeau seemed nice to Gryphon on the phone. Gryphon just shrugged at that thought as Zeau cautioned everyone to be careful and not end up like Cavalry. Gryphon assured him Richard was working on this issue and looked toward the Geist. He was still working on the monitors to pull up everything.

Bidding Zeau a good day he turns back to the Geist realizing he was having a hard time, while Covenant looked hung over and somehow that was an improvement to everyone else! Pulling 3 monitors out on swing arms from the mounting pole so everyone could see the map of the warehouse from Fat Lucca’s paperwork he and Nathan had found. So this boiled down to a team of Gryphon, Granny2Good, Alice, Geist whom was forced to babysit Covenant so the team could make sure he didn’t become worse.

The warehouse on the monitors was located in the Zericho at 513 Zauber Rd. It appeared to be a standard trucking warehouse with six bays, front and rear entrances. Unfortunately, the note about the address and time was all they had to go on, and everyone present agreed they still had to do this. Black Phantom spoke up at this point about checking on whom had been tracking us to spike our drinks at the Nine Lives Club. Granny2Good was convinced it was Fat Lucca, and she had co-incidental logic points to support her theory. However, all the viewpoints lacked one important item: physical evidence to back them up.

Black Phantom went on to mention the two deaths at the club last night, of a young female and male. When the Gryphon asked about it Granny2Good got him to move on when almost everyone looked at Covenant by saying, “I promise I’ll tell you later.” Gryphon realized that Covenant was clearly involved, however, according to everyone else he was on AMP. He’ll likely need help mentally if he remembers what he fears Granny will tell him later. It’s decided to take Gryphon’s Truck to the area and park a few buildings away.

Finding a quiet spot around 4 AM to park the truck in the shipping and warehouse portion of Zericho near our destination. There was some discussion about sneaking quietly with Alice’s power to silence things, and the young-looking mutant assassin confirmed it would be even quieter flying. When Gryphon was queried about flying drawing attention he said, “Look you’re wearing pink; I am dressed in blue, gold, and white; and the Geist is in a black hood. Even in the dark we stand the hell out.” Granny2Good was quiet for a few having to acknowledge the facts of the situation. She asked about carrying everyone and Gryphon mentioned carrying five girls home wasn’t an issue. Alice chimed in she was tiny in support of the idea. To be fair Gryphon looked at 4′ 11″ Granny2Good and 4′ 7″ Alice as though their concern about weight was hilarious.

The ladies took turns ribbing Gryphon about carrying five girls home. After some smirks the Gryphon put Alice on his back and put his arms around Granny2Good, Geist and Covenant. Gryphon felt bad because even when Covenant transformed after taking Jake’s ‘Morning After Remedy’ he still was suffering from constant migraine level headaches. As Gryphon lifted up he was only two feet above the roof tops and even slowed down if they saw a car to make passing over the few streets as subtle as possible. Gryphon also explained that should something happen and anyone fell they should be able to land without incident on the particular roof they were over. Weaving in and out between industrial water towers, A/C units, and other roof mounted structures they made their way around to approach 513 Zauber Rd. from the truck dock side.

Before he landed Gryphon paused ever so briefly to let everyone know, and hopefully see, the armored aircar on the roof of the warehouse. It was more of an armored or tactical airvan than aircar. Gryphon landed everyone behind some high stacked pallets. When they saw the docks with six, 53 ft. long trucks broken up into two groups of three. One group of docks was more recessed into the back of the building. That group of big rigs all had their motors running in idle, but no one in their cabs. Gryphon turns back to the Geist, “Well, with the armored aircar, and the running idle big rigs would suggest the info you found was legit.”

Chuckling the Geist whispers, “Well, looks like I’m good for something.”

Granny2Good began asking Covenant for advice about sneaking over because this was not her area of expertise. The groans coming out of the Covenant suggest that at this moment nothing was in his area of expertise. Not waiting on ceremony and dressed in dark colored outfit for her size that in the wide open night didn’t smell nearly as bad since the Shorties had forgotten to wash it. Alice quickly makes her way across the yard! Moving from shadow to shadow as though it was a super power of some kind she arrives at one of the idling big rigs. She climbs into the cab and breaks the key off in the ignition. Moving to each truck in the group of three she repeats the process. Alice found it odd she couldn’t hear any signs of commotion in the warehouse, no forklifts, nothing. Back at the pallets Gryphon spies the camera nestled in small half-domes on the building. He radioed Alice, “Be mindful of the birds in the sky watching you from the building.” Hoping that if someone did overhear his transmission he had been cryptic enough to not give away where she was. Alice crawled under the last big rig and peered in to the dock bay door which was not only up but the ramp that would normally allow a forklift access into the container was pulled back giving anyone ample room.

Inside was a group of people bound and on the ground in a group. She motioned for her teammates to join her because finally something of note had been discovered. Granny2Good ran over while Gryphon picked up Geist and Covenant flying over and setting them down against the warehouse’s wall. Alice noticed a clearly Asian woman she thought she had seen in news articles about supers. She was wearing a tactical katana strapped to her side walking toward the group on the ground. Granny2Good was gearing up to bull rush the katana wielding woman when Alice said she had a plan to get information. Gryphon nodded but agreed with Granny and made ready to strike. Alice just walked in openly and when the Asian women noticed her she asked, “Great Watashi outfit, awesome cosplay! Is this where the convention location today?” She was putting her convention and cosplay social skills to brilliant use!

The Asian woman she called Watashi raised her arm and spoke into a communication device embedded in her outfit’s sleeve. Alice continues walking toward her when a man steps out from a shadowed corner. Solid white hair, appears to be late fifties, an eye patch over one eye, very muscular. Dressed in military camouflage pants with a navy-blue shirt with a high-tech rifle slung over one shoulder and a tactical body harness with two automatic pistols towards either side. Alice recognized the group leader of the Requisitors. As Alice kept walking Colonel Lightning said in a gruff voice, “Ma’am, I’m gonna need you to step back.”

Cool as ice Alice just addressed them as a couples cosplay! If only Carl could get his groove back because clearly in this facet of his psyche he was able to be cool under pressure. Granny tried sneaking in but kept making noise on the smooth concrete with her heels and well then there’s the pink outfit that strikes a pose almost on its own. Gryphon never even tried to sneak and rose up into the air above the boxes and those figures were only vaguely familiar to him as agents of good. Hearing Granny2Good approach behind her, Alice, turns and yells, “SAME TEAM! SAME TEAM! We’re all good guys here, DON’T ATTACK!”

Col. Lightning steps forward, “Little miss, I’m going to need you to report yourself. Who are you and what team are you with?”

From above Gryphon says, “It’s kinda a work in progress.”

Granny2Good smirks, “Well, we may have one right now dear.”

Alice throws her hand slowly looking back at her team, “Aww, come on, I can’t think of anything! Ummm, Ummm, Mustang Sally!”

Granny2Good and Gryphon exchange looks! “That’s what you’re working with,” queries the flying hero?

Col. Lightning seems just as confused, “Look, I’m going to need to know if you’re good guys or bad guys as I have eyes in the sky.”

Replying Gryphon asks, “You mean the armored aircar on the roof?”

As he points up everyone, Gryphon especially notices a number of small and very silent flying drones! Out from behind Col. Lightning comes another individual from their team in a brown uniform as Granny2Good shows off her left sleeve trying to respond to the Good or Bad comment. Emblazoned upon that sleeve is her hero moniker ‘GRANNY 2 GOOD‘ in pink so bright it could be neon. Gryphon wisely kept his mouth shut regarding a neon orange bulb joke he’d heard yesterday. As the brown outfitted super heroine comes further into view the upper part of her face is covered up by very hi-tech goggles integrated into her suit. A large bushy tail appears to be attached to her outfit and Alice recognizes her as the Flying Squirrel!

Flying Squirrel was typing on a forearm mounted computer with a flexible, yet semi-rigid lcd screen that is open! Gryphon looks suitably impressed and thinks he just might be able to continue being a superhero if he finds a way to free Ashmadiel from its sword bound form. Apparently she was the one controlling the drones. Gryphon calls out, “I am the Gryphon of Norwood.”

Col. Lightning smiles, “OH! You’re the flying sword guy that harasses Starbucks employees.”

Happy to be wearing a visored helm Gryphon sighs mumbling, “No, that’s Jake.”

Col. Lightning calls out, “Alright everybody, STAND DOWN! Come on out.”

The team sees a mutant hybrid Wolf-Man wearing only pants come out from a side office! Following him was a very, very attractive African-American woman in a business suit. Then came the surprise as Nathan Fillion, the actor, came out last! Nathan began asking, “So does this happen often with other superhero group dropping in on you?”

Gryphon asks, “So were you here to stop Fat Lucca? Since we’re laying everything out on the table.”

Col. Lightning nods in the affirmative, “Yep, we got wind of the shipment and have been casing the joint for a few weeks.”

“We were in the Nine Lives Club last night and found some paperwork leading us here.”

Col. Lightning raises an eyebrow, “You weren’t part of the shootout, were you?”

Before anyone could respond Alice looses her cool and begins ‘Fangirling’ on Nathan Fillion! Going on and on about watching every episode of Firefly 15 times! Also every episode of Castle, except the last season because her opinion of that season was that it was sub-par. Ok ok, she said it sucked. Nathan just chuckles and says, “Why thank you miss.” Before they revisited the topic of the nightclub Col. Lightning seemed to be visually studying the Gryphon, “Good grief Gryphon I barely recognized you! Glad to see you made it out of the can!”

Gryphon was stunned to say the least that someone would not only know whom he really was but called out that fact with knowledge of his past to avoid using his actual name. That reminded him he would need to remind Geist to be more careful drunk dialing people on the team. “You actually know who I am under the,” waving at his outfit.

“Of course.”

“Uhhh. That’s a first.”

“Well, every girl you hook up with knows your name why can’t I?”

“That’s an awkward statement. Umm.”

“Aww come on, I know you get around,” looking back at his team, “This is the guy I’ve been telling you about. Mavis, watch out for this one,” he’s smiling and jovial about the issue while looking back at the very, very attractive African-American woman in the business suit. He reminds his team to stand down as the Gryphon removes his helm and lands allowing it to vanish in golden mist.

“So you look like you have this all wrapped up? Are we just late to the party?”

Col. Lightning mentioned they were about to wrap it up and call the cops, but they would be willing to hold off if we wanted to do an investigation. It was then he started paying more attention to Covenant sitting by a box with the Geist standing next to him. The gruff sigh predicated his next statement, “Is that your buddy over there?”

Gryphon nodded, “Somebody doped him up with AMP last night.”

“I’m gonna do you a courtesy, he might want to lay low for awhile.”

The Gryphon looks back at the Covenant making eye contact when he realizes he’s the focus of the conversation, “Do you even remember what happened to you last night?”

Shaking his head the Covenant replies, “Noooo, what happened?”

Asking Col. Lightning to fill them in he relates what he’s heard, “Reports are getting out from CSPD, they’ve got pictures and he’s wanted.” Further questioning of Covenant revealed he knew he was angry and he’s afraid he went to far. Gryphon realizing that he likely killed the man and woman from the club he was told about earlier made him want to stop Fat Lucca even more. The Colonel and Gryphon talked about what had been found and the Requisitors had only run across weapons being transported here. When asked they said they would be happy to wait a half hour before calling the cops. The group began to fan out while Nathan Fillion was really interested in a ‘super’ being as old as Granny2Good. Poor Granny did not wait around to answer any question related to her age and sped off to a far corner of the warehouse.

As the Gryphon heads for the warehouse offices the Requisitors begin taking people out for the police to have easy access to when they arrive. In the office he makes short work of bypassing the security on the PC at the main office desk. As he began to browse the files he noticed an electrical box on the wall much lower than the city code requirements for such a device junction. He couldn’t find anything about it in the file search, and when he looked on the inside it was not tapping into the power of the building. There was a single, large throw switch that appeared very old. He threw the switch causing the floor behind the desk to fall away.

Following the steps down into a hallway just big enough for two adults barely shoulder to shoulder. The destination was a store room with boxes that used inhalers to deliver the AMP drug rather than injector needles! Alice comes up behind him at this time and its decided to bring these up and hand it over to the Requisitors so they can turn it into the CSPD along with the guns as evidence to put these guys away for a long time. As they neared the end of the boxes one of them had a big 17-inch laptop on top of it. When Gryphon opened the lid and tried to bring up the log in screen a video began to play. It was Fat Lucca!

Looks like you found my stash, but if you really want to stop me…
…come to ‘Lucciano’s’ my restaurant in Javarta. I’ll be waiting. hahaha!

He chuckles but it looks like an afterthought as oppose to any genuine mirth. After getting everything upstairs Gryphon gathers everyone around and plays the message again. Nathan looked surprised at seeing crime and plot devices in real life. Col. Lightning mentioned that since Gryphon’s team had found something that the Requisitors had missed. They would be willing to let the Mavericks take Fat Lucca down while they handled the aftermath here and deal with the cops. Having dealt with AMP in the big take down almost a week ago the CSPD would have steps to handle the alien, chemical-laced drug. It would show that not all of the drug was in the hands of the authorities. On top of that they had figured out changing the delivery system from liquid injection to aerosol-based inhalant!

When the Gryphon mentioned he was willing to let them tell the cops about his hero name, and thrilled the group didn’t have a name just yet so no one else would be in trouble when the cops came looking for him. Col. Lightning told him they would take credit for it so they could avoid the issue altogether. Gryphon slid the AMP over and the Colonel mentioned they needed to get a beer. They exchanged contact info when Col. Lightning said, “I’ve been keeping my eye on you, making sure you’re on the straight and narrow ever since you got out.”

This appeared to surprise the Gryphon into remembering when Warden Harker said he had friends on the outside. He wondered if his father knew Colonel Lightning? See him puzzle over that statement the Colonel chuckled, “You’re good kid, you’re good.”

“He’s a very nice young boy and we’ll take care of him,” Granny2Good added.

“Thank you Ma’am.”

“It was very nice meeting you.”

Nathan Fillion made another attempt to try and get some information politely and Granny mentioned she was fond of his voice over work on the Venture Brothers as the ‘Brown Widow’ character. Alice retorted in somewhat mock disgust that was a comparison to his work as the ‘Captain Hammer’ character. Nathan smiled and mentioned he was preparing for another movie role and was the reason for his presence here. Gryphon mentioned that due to the need to stop Fat Lucca the interview would have to be cut short. Nathan brushed him off and tried to continue when Granny2Good just said a girl never tells her secrets and ran out trying to take Gryphon with her until she saw him going for Covenant. Alice pointed out widowhood gave her superpowers for some reason, curtsied, and ran out.

As they are leaving Nathan Fillion waved after her, “Have a good time! Hmmm, a senior citizen, is that normal to be a super hero?”

As the Gryphon is making sure the Geist has Covenant well in hand Alice pokes her head in and sees Mavis sharing many glances with Gryphon. The Gryphon is almost instinctively displaying southern gentlemanly charm. She begins to wonder if that is actually a superpower or Gryphon is just a manwhore? Once Geist is on his way out with Covenant, Gryphon floats a few feet off the ground and his armor vanishes in golden mist only to be re-summoned with the helm back on his head! He nods at Mavis tipping his gryphon shaped helm the way men did their fedora hats and bids her adieu with, “Ma’am.” Before he flies out into the dark early morning to join his super friends as he can hear from inside, “Call me.” Getting back to his truck there is only a minor scratch on the side of the door, and everyone piles in.

5:10 AM

The group passed by Lucciano’s once to try and get an idea of what they were dealing with. Granny2Good mentioned it looked popular with over 25 cars in the parking lot which made Gryphon blurt out, “It’s just after 5 AM what kind of Italian restaurant has a breakfast menu?” Granny nodded remembering it had hours of 11 AM to 11 PM typically. Gryphon remarked, “In an hour my favorite coffee shop would open up, not to far away.”

“The Vault?”

“Yep, so we just have to kick his ass in an hour and then we can get shawarma and coffee!”

Gryphon loved seeing no one doubted they could handle this in an hour, but questioned whether or not a shawarma place would be good or even open after 6 AM. Alice holds up the phone she had from her other personality, Carl, and mentions that while farther away the Bloody Flowers Shawarma is open 24/7 in Everett! Gryphon reasserts his plan and Granny agrees, especially after Geist assures her she would like it. Finding another nearby location to park a few buildings away the consensus is that this is a trap set to try and wipe us out. Granny and Gryphon seemed to be itching for a fight seeing that they both had speed to mitigate range and were some of the group’s heavy hitters.

The group lands at the front of Lucciano’s just past the packed parking lot. When the team turns to Geist for the plan he replies that he’d like to see what they come up with. Granny assumed and stated that means ‘no plan’ and goes up to the side entrance on the front and wrenches the door open so hard that the handle embeds in the wall and stays open! Followed by Gryphon and Alice directly, while the Geist brings Covenant along whom is slowly beginning to feel better but is still shaky on his legs and prone to dizzy spells.

Granny2Good shows that her powers have clearly affected her approach to danger as she calls out, “Hello? Is anyone home?” Alice drops her face into her hands as the Gryphon just shrugs considering this approach just as valid as any other. Alice speaks in Japanese about the stupidity of this approach and her panicked nickname of our group. Gryphon tries to make her better replying in Japanese thanks to his sword he had summoned to his hand that maybe just ‘The Mustangs’ would be a better choice. Following the adrenaline, ramped up, widow they all noticed the quiet silence as the only response to her declaration.

Eventually Granny2Good came upon a curtain separating a portion of the dining area. A weird smell was coming from behind the curtain, as she pulled it open she paused. The amount of blood and bodies made it seem as though Jackson Pollack and Pablo Picasso had painted the room together! Roughly 40 or so bodies littered this curtain encapsulated dining section of the Italian restaurant. Alice suggested we leave and call an anonymous tip into CSPD. Gryphon noticed a monitor and pedestals with name tags corresponding to their real identities! Trying to hide her growing concern Granny remarks, “I think we’ve been setup boys.” Gryphon flies over slowly to check it out, however, after crossing the curtain threshold the monitor begins playing a video. Fat Lucca shows up again but is visibly nervous towards something or someone off camera.

Greetings, so called heroes!
You have formed a group but you truly don’t really trust each other.
Some of you have possibly turned each other in, in the past.
Some of you have betrayed each other.
Hit the button that applies for you if you’ve betrayed your teammates.
And you will…

Gryphon lays his sword flat in both hands a presses every button at once, turning back to the others, “I’m done with secrets let’s find out whatever the hell he’s got.”

Congratulations! You have all turned each other in.
It seems no one can trust anyone.
Good news for you, when you entered the cops have been called.
Good luck, have fun!
If you survive this, meet me at Century Station Memorial Park.
At 8 AM, because lives are at stake.

“Gryphon,” Alice cries out, “fly back and get us out of here!”

The monitor begins to smoke itself in a self-destruct mode to everyones surprise. Gryphon removes the power cord to prevent an electrical fire and keeps it. He takes the name tags to protect everyone’s identities, and then flies back to help everyone get out as Granny2Good holds the door open since she is wearing gloves. On the way out of the blood bath area everyone talks about the fact Fat Lucca looks like he’s in a hostage video. Granny mentions to Gryphon as they leave she feels the cops are getting close. Once everyone is outside Gryphon gets Granny along with everyone else and flies quickly back to his truck. Poor Covenant just moans at being jerked around and closes his eyes during the short flight.

Back at the truck Granny can finally hear sirens in the distance. Gryphon points out his worry that perhaps the lives at stake are the people they ‘as a group’ care about because Fat Lucca and his “captor?” knew their real names. Freaking out Gryphon makes a group call on his phone, putting it on speaker. No answer from either Shorty #1 or Katherine. Black Phantom answers though and the Gryphon fills him in on Fat Lucca being a hostage to an unknown party that appears to be setting them up using everyone’s real name! Then Black Phantom drops the bombshell on Gryphon. Not only was the murder from the nightclub being reported on television, but there was a jewelry heist. A bunch of jewels were stolen and the value is a few million dollars worth! A number of eyebrows raised up at this point. Black Phantom went on to say that there were images from security cameras of one of the thieves having a lot of blond hair coming out from under their ski mask. Otherwise the attire was identical to what Miss Amazing was wearing when she came home around a quarter to three this morning! He continued to inform Gryphon when she saw that on the news she bolted and ran!

Asking Black Phantom to put him on speaker phone he tells Optimus to grant Nathan access to his room. He confirms his identity with a line from an old Transformers TV show. He tells him where the ski mask is that Jake gave him when they were all about to leave on that Liberty Bell dimensional field trip. He wants to know if there’s another ski mask in his room. Black Phantom quickly calls him back mentioning the ski mask, shirt, pants, and gloves. Granny2Good sitting in the front passenger seat can see that Gryphon is emotionally compromised as he follows the navigation program, quietly running in the background, to the park. At the Gryphon’s request he puts it all in a trash bag and treats it as evidence. Granny can see a disturbing calm come over Gryphon. What she can see simmering below the surface is anger.

Zeau joins the call briefly and everyone knows he made it home safely. Everyone explains to Black Phantom about the heads of seven color gangs dead in Lucciano’s which stuns him into asking if we did that. Gryphon clarifies that whomever took Fat Lucca did it. Black Phantom offers to check into the hit on our group or the shooting. Gryphon mentions that maybe check on the hit to our group from the angle of whom would know to use Fat Lucca to lure us in? Phantom adjusts his search parameters while Gryphon mentions meeting the Requisitors hero team from Veridian Dynamics. He laughs mentioning their commercial about helping you ‘most’ of the time.

As a precaution Gryphon asked Black Phantom to check and make sure that the Requisitors turned over the drugs and guns to the CSPD. In a few minutes Black Phantom mentions that there’s a record of an impending deposit to the evidence room regarding the guns and drugs. Relieved they had not just been duped by super villains pretending to be super heroes. Gryphon turns his attention back to Katherine and the Psychology 101 extra credit. For the record when someone is emotionally compromised they can hear perfectly normal statements and the only listen to what they are receptive to. Such was the case with Gryphon fearing all the evidence pointing to Miss Amazing being involved. He knew she had no qualms about lying to him when it appeared to suit her agenda. Such as investigating Patsy. She then had not come clean about it until Gryphon asked, even then she had hid details that might have prevented her being put in harm’s way. Was the hall pass to distract him? He had warned them that some kind of black ops thing might happen. He had survived hell for three years, his paranoia is what kept him alive.

As his mind was reaching survival mode and regressing to how to navigate prison scenarios. He was beginning to spiral out of control when rationally had already told her even he missed the signs regarding Patsy and the sword. What surprised him into checking his fear, and concerns was Granny2Good talking to him, “Honey, you know Katherine better than that.” They go back and forth about Kat, or Miss Amazing deserving Gryphon’s trust. Also, how he clearly needs to talk with her about the lie and how it clearly still hurts him. Granny is the one that calms Gryphon down as he drives and defends Miss Amazing as the victim. Because she to doesn’t want to live in the past, and believes Miss Amazing is not like her husband.

As he hangs up the group call and thanks Black Phantom for making sure his Shorties are safe, he sees an unheard voice mail. Listening to it on speaker phone, “Hey Care-Garr its me, Katherine. [LONG PAUSE] I don’t know what happened [LONG PAUSE] I need to go and lay low until I find out what happened. [LONG PAUSE] Keep doing what you’re doing I know it’s important. [LONG PAUSE] I’ll contact you when I can, bye.” Granny2Good smiled warmly, “See, anything she did she wasn’t herself.” Onward they continued to Ogilvie and the Century Station Memorial Park.

6:24 AM

Arriving at Century Station Memorial Park, he pulls the truck into its vehicle lot. The posted hours mention public access between 6 AM and 11 PM. A sub-district based monorail runs over one side of the park with train pods passing every 30 minutes. A small group of joggers ran into the middle archway of the park wall. Coming up the sidewalk was a sunrise yoga class heading in from the side arch providing easy access to the pond inside the park walls.

Gryphon asked Geist how he wanted to go about looking for a bomb. Catching Geist a bit off guard Gryphon pointed out that, A) if lives are at stake, B) in a public place, and C) you wanted to cause the most collateral damage. A bomb would be the method of delivery he would take. A conversation broke out about how to approach looking for a bomb. Gryphon gave Geist his truck keys and told him to keep Covenant in the truck and out of sight. If things went south the Geist was requested to incorporate our group as a sponsored team so we could get out of jail. That part of the plan surmised the CSPD would show up at some point. The Geist was honest that, yes, he would try but he was not sure if he could move that amount of money very fast.

Granny was going to take Alice and search from the ground because she had been to the park many times over her life. Alice had sound powers that would cover the sound her speed would make and any crushed bushes in her wake. Gryphon would check from the air and between their vantage points should be able to locate the bomb device. On they went with Granny2Good waiting at the steps to the great statue the park was known for as Gryphon flew overhead. He pointed out a crate to his teammates and they converged upon it. The familiar laptop was present and Gryphon pressed the space bar.

Hello, It’s Fat Lucca!
You’re here early, it’s not 8 o’clock.
What are you doing? The crate doesn’t unlock till 8 o’clock.

“Oh, yes it does!”

Well anyway, come back at 8 o’clock.

Granny tells Alice to get off her back, which was funny to watch Alice at 4 ft. 7 in. tall get off Granny2Good at 4 ft. 11 in. tall. Especially beside Gryphon at 6 ft. 6 in. tall. Granny attempts to grab the box which causes another video to play.

Any attempt to open the crate will result in death of everyone in the proximity.

Gryphon looks at her pausing, “Granny it’s a bomb.”

“And, get out of here!”

“No, we’re going to do this as a team. Alice go help Geist to get everyone out of the park.”

Alice asks before being shooed away by Granny’s reply, “What if we play by their rules? So far we haven’t had any issues.”

“Oh, many people dead is no issue at all!”

Over the communicator Alice asked, “Do we really want to risk opening it?”

This prompted a conversation between Gryphon and Granny about first grabbing the box and then Gryphon flying them both up and away from the city to save everyone from the blast. When Gryphon spotted how it was bolted to the statue he realized that plan wouldn’t work. Granny had gotten so seemingly frustrated she appeared to Gryphon as though she had stopped caring about the innocent lives around her. She wanted to be in charge of her own fate, and constantly not being in charge of your agency can make you do extreme things. Gryphon knew of fourteen dead people that could attest to him when he felt that way. Gryphon realized at that moment why Mavericks had been outlawed. Still, she was his teammate and he had to diffuse two bombs now.

The Geist calls in over the head confirming the bomb information Alice told him about. Gryphon explained the plan was to try and Cut the concrete just enough with his sword so Granny2Good can grab the box and the Gryphon fly both up and away from the city to save them from the blast. The Geist asked if that plan would allow us to learn whom was behind this and Fat Lucca’s kidnapping. Neither of them knew and the Geist wondered if they were willing to risk it. Gryphon was praying the Geist’s line of questioning would help talk Granny down. So far it seemed to be effective, and Gryphon said they would likely need the Requisitors’ assistance to keep the cops back because one of the joggers or sunrise yoga folks would throw this up on social media. While they weren’t able to get visual confirmation it was a bomb without tampering with it, all signs pointed to it being one.

Gryphon played the video over his phone for the Geist and pointed out Fat Lucca was bleeding in this video and the Gryphon feels he angered his boss above him in the criminal underworld. Trying to make it seem like the Geist was wise for waiting he saw Granny in a holding pattern trying to take it all in. So far the plan to keep her calm was working but it had only been a few minutes. Geist said he would make the call and during the short wait Gryphon just thanked Granny2Good with no context added to it because he felt the topic list was to long. Granny thanked him back for being a good friend, and that he shouldn’t try so hard because he was a good human. The Geist informed them he got a hold of Flying Squirrel and they would be there in 45 minutes.

7:32 AM

The Requisitors arrive via Flying Squirrel’s armored, tactical airvan. Gryphon verfies by flying straight up to see them on approach and then lands to update Granny. Gryphon and her continued to talk about how to proceed and and Gryphon acknowledged he would hover over it. Granny appeared to Gryphon to have forgotten how quickly he regenerates when she mentioned how often he’s been damaged lately. Gryphon just shrugged and for the first time mentioned his sister Adeline by name seemingly dreading the moment she would find out he was alive and a superhero. During all this Alice began to hit the street trying to find something or someone that could lead them to Fat Lucca’s actual location.

As she was looking for leads and evidence Gryphon noticed a shiny object between the box and the statue. He squats and pulls it out seeing foreign writing he begins to eliminate other writings he would not have noticed. Finally he stands and hands the bottle top to Granny as he hits the space bar on the laptop once more and as the video plays he asks, “Is Jake holding you hostage?” Granny looks down and recognizes it as Gryphon asks her, “Did Jake go and capture Fat Lucca just to make an adventure for us?” Her eye roll suggests that this idea is certainly not beyond some of the stunts of her brother.

Alice received information from a wino that a very, very drunk man matching Jake’s description had been there on the statue placing the crate. This caused her to begin swearing in Japanese! Granny2Good mentions this to Gryphon as she is trying to hide how pissed she is at the moment. They’re able to raise Alice on their comm units only to find out in this world Jake has a small cult following and he is the one that dropped off the box. Alice went on to describe how the homeless man holding some ‘Mad Dog 2020’ thought he was sober in comparison to how drunk Jake was. Gryphon was astounded that Jake had ‘people’ and Granny told him he doesn’t always remember that. However, he has them scattered across the universe!

There was a small discussion about if Jake was evil and Granny2Good refused to believe this iteration of Jake was evil. Granny and Gryphon both acknowledged that they likely had evil copies in another reality along with Jake. She really worried Gryphon because it seemed to him as if she had stopped caring about any of the innocent lives just past the wall of the park and cared more about ripping the box apart. She was so full of herself that she could absorb the blast or die and still absorb it all. Gryphon was concerned this could become a second Winslow, and he’d do anything to prevent that. Granny2Good was becoming a bigger and more immediate threat than Jake setting the bomb here! She was nearly 100% convinced even after Alice’s findings that her Jake didn’t do this! She was putting his life and reputation over the lives of innocents, and all Gryphon was trying to do was stall her from doing something rash.

Fighting Jake in this way was useful to him because he had an idea of how Murder Master had defeated every super hero in Millennium Station. Alice began to approach trying to figure out if her sonar sight would allow her to scan the box to determine its contents were 100% a bomb and not a hoax. She climbed up on the wall and then scrambled on top of the archway leading into the park. With her power she could see inside the box and began describing what she saw to the Gryphon. He pulled his phone out and began using a pen with a stylus tip to sketch the information and make blueprints of the internal workings of the bomb. After he was finished and thanks to Alice the status of it being a bomb was no longer in debate.

Granny2Good still wanted to rip the box apart convinced it would just blow up at 8 AM and Gryphon was convinced Jake liked puzzles and games over just raw explosions when their was a chance to prove how smart he was. Gryphon gently tried to get her to understand he was trying to prevent her from becomming another Cavalry. When he explained how Cavalry’s accident led to the Liberty Bell being destroyed Granny remembered nearly hitting a building on a previous day. Finally realizing she may have been wrong about the poor kid that never asked for these powers. She appeared calmer and then tried to agree with Gryphon and get him to back away from the bomb utterly convinced it would just blow at 8 AM. Gryphon knew that was sheer folly because if this intergalactic power bomb was even a tenth of the power of Winslow then that would mean a minimum of 300 dead and 1,000 injured. What worried him about this more was what if the bomb is worse than Winslow and the death toll exceed 6,000 and 20,000 injured at twice the damage of what sparked the riots.

7:41 AM

They began to politely argue about whom should stay when they were interrupted by Geist about moving our truck to make a clean get away later. Alice chimed in with an idea and began to run over with her special multi-device, the Black Box. She programmed it into a covering that could contain the box inside it. Gryphon began to wonder if Granny2Good wanted to die, because she tried to talk Alice into not using it. Gryphon wanted everyone to remain calm and Alice’s idea was the best one he had heard since Granny stopped seeming to care about innocent civilians and just wanting to tear this open. Alice had tried getting a special support line to answer how much of the blast this could contain but no that could answer the question appeared to be available. She left the area and they waited the remaining time till 8 AM.

At 8 AM nearby church bells toll and Gryphon takes one of Granny’s hands in case this is their final moments hearing the box trying to open. They eventually call Alice back to remove the skin and it opens. There’s a mounted laptop on the inside of the lid a metal scale and two jugs next to it. The video begins to play and Fat Lucca has a black eye to go with his bloody nose.

So as many of you might know or may not know, uh,
One of my favorite movies is Die Hard, so this is the scene from Die Hard 3.
No using your phones because if you do the bomb will go off.
Good Luck, Have Fun, Here You Go!
You need to take these two jugs, one is 3 liters, the other is 5 liters.
You need to measure out 4 liters exactly and put it on the scale or the bomb will blow up.
Good Luck, Have Fun

The Gryphon grabs the 5 liter jug and his pen. Then using the 3 liter jug he fills it and pours it in the 5 liter one. He marks off where 3 liters is on the 5 liter jug. Between there and the top he finds the midway point and marks off the 4th liter position. He fills the three liter jug and pours the remaining missing liter so it contains 4 liters exactly. Granny takes Alice away since she is worried Gryphon is about to blow himself and the surrounding area up, potentially. He sets the jug on the scale which prompts another Fat Lucca video

Congratulations, you win this time!
Uh, Umm, meet me for reals at this location
<< Address is given >>

Seeing I did not explode Granny2Good brings Alice back up as he is on the phone letting Col. Lightning know he disarmed the bomb and they can have it. Granny begins screaming that Gryphon has screwed over her brother. First, Gryphon dismantles her argument on creation citing masterminds in Gramercy and the video showing Fat Lucca. Second, when she brings up fingerprints he knows his are now all over this and he’s taking the bottle cap with alien writing. Alice touches it all over while Granny continued to berate Gryphon rather than being excited about the innocent lives that had been saved. Gryphon feels happy she cares for someone that much, but feels sad because now he believes the minute Jake is threatened she would stop caring about the whole of the Earth to save him and his reputation at her expense. He also knows being yelled at she considers him an unintelligent child. In his head he just acknowledges it is easier being hated because no one lies about how they feel then. Still they were teammates and he stopped trying to explain what he had learned about most peoples reaction to alien technology. She didn’t care to listen to someone she thought was to stupid to play his own gambit.

Alice mentioned her support of Granny’s concerns thinking of Jake as arrogant enough to not care about being discovered. Granny could see his resigned frustration and tried to mention they needed to protect Jake the way they protected Covenant. She appeared offended that Gryphon suggested the innocents were higher up the food chain in needing protection than any of them. Gryphon flew over to Col. Lightning letting him know the bomb was defused an they could take it at their leisure. While he was talking with the sponsored hero Granny2Good picks up Alice on her 4′ 11″ frame and says in Gryphon’s earshot, “Come on, let’s go make a difference!” They speed away in a flash toward the address in the Hannigan sub-district.

Granny and Alice arrive before Gryphon at the manufacturing warehouse with an entrance on the east side. Gryphon lands just long enough to make his sword appear and cut a huge hole in the razor wire fence line. Looking back he mentions in a snarky tone, clearly miffed, “Did you not say you want to get this done, you said you wanted to make a difference, let’s go.” He flies to the door at 60MPH and slams through it. Granny easily keeps up as Gryphon is ripping through things the way she talked about doing to the box. They come upon yet another laptop on a pedestal with a single chair behind it. Gryphon lands and hits the space bar as Granny2Good tries to take the opposite stance from ripping bomb boxes apart, “You know, Gryphon, dear you might want to not hit the space bar so quickly…”

The Gryphon cuts her off and his tone is less than polite, “Oh I’m sorry, did you want to hit the space bar or are you upset that I’m on board with your plan to get things done?”

The video begins to play showing Fat Lucca with two black eyes and bleeding from his face, chained up and hanging from a ceiling. The camera’s perspective is upside down. It starts out sound like Fat Lucca and then Jake comes into view on the camera! Jake goes on to bemoan about people shutting his warehouses down and turning him in. He asks those present to just sit the one thing he cares about in the world in the chair or the city blows up. Gryphon says in a soft tone, “Ethel, its you.” Granny nods and sits in the chair. The chair moves slowly and begins to go down slowly like a dark Disney ride, his voice comes on and he talks about the one person that believes in him and Gryphon follows through the air behind her. It goes and up into another room of the warehouse with the voice ending on thanking the Starbucks employee everyone harassed! Granny2Good and Gryphon see Alice, a chained up Fat Lucca, and Jake sleeping on a cot.

Alice goes to help Granny with her brother at Gryphon’s soft suggestion. Gryphon cuts Fat Lucca down but leaves him in chains and flies off with him. He contacts Col. Lightning and arranges a meeting to hand off Fat Lucca. Then his gambit paid off when both the Requisitors and the local CSPD didn’t know what to make of the bomb. Gryphon casually mentions it appeared to be made with alien ingredients (assuming Jake used some of that alcohol from off-world and weaponized it). Col. Lightning said the small tests they were able to run placed the explosive yield at just over the size of the Ogilvie sub-district! This bomb would’ve been bigger than Iron Mike’s WINSLOW! Mavis offered to bring it back to Gryphon so he could hand it off to a contact that knew Alpha Prime. However, Col. Lightning mentioned needing to keep their side of the story up so he’d use a third party company he’d used before.

Col. Lightning was curious about evidence and Gryphon mentions the laptop from the first warehouse has Fat Lucca on it. It seems he was working for someone bigger possibly from the Labyrinth, a criminal mastermind that was possibly out of this world smart! Col. Lightning mentioned they may need to team up again and Gryphon agreed. Gryphon handed over the criminal and went back to his house to await Mavis. Soon all the evidence linking Jake to any of this would be in his possession. After seeing Granny’s disregard for public safety he decided that while his normal form holds a ton of bad memories he should probably try and balance time in both forms to not forget what it means to be human.


Art by: AZ_Artisan
I don’t know where the fake commercial on YouTube came from but it is stellar funny!
Come watch the next game for our super friends on HippoTV!


Stefania, May I Have My Pants Back?

Stefania, May I Have My Pants Back?

Friday, February 9th, 2024: 5:30 AM


“Yes, Katherine.”

Trying to contain her laughter, barely, “I was not aware you could fit a neon orange light bulb in your ass.”

With an eye roll and a tossed pillow at her head, “I have no idea why it takes a minimum of a year before the color begins to fade. Besides aren’t you trying to transfer to the big C.U.?”

“Um, maybe, hey handsome look here!”

One distracting boob-flash later and Garrick is the recipient of the return throw of that same pillow. The large table in his room lit up with a picture of Nathaniel indicating a badge swipe. Katherine turns to Garrick, “Odd. Why didn’t your phone get the text alert?” Garrick replied that is setup for only two people. He didn’t let the conversation continue and Kat’s face pouted a bit. She knew who the two people were. She finished changing into her workout clothes she was issued from her high school. As Garrick went downstairs to say hi and then start the street tacos he had prepped in the fridge. One of her favorite sights was watching him cook, he denies it but she notices he hums songs when he does it and she sees him smile.

6:10 AM

Everyone finally arrives, and Garrick was so happy to see Ethel and Katherine taking a moment for some girl talk. Ethel’s workout outfit was a near identical shade of pink to her costume, just with liberal black trim and accents. Garrick joked in his head that if Ethel was 50 years younger he would be and HR violation for his team. Before she headed down from changing she had stopped over at his kitchen island to let Garrick know that Nicholas wasn’t going to be flying anymore, but not to make fun of him for helping to keep a low profile. As she turned to go she saw the second bedroom door was open and noticed a Miss Amazing costumed outfit over a chair. When she looked at Garrick he wiped an eye mentioning he needed to dust tonight. He told her that Patsy had wanted to move out and try and make a place for herself in this world. He had given her the cash to get started and she left in an UberLyft. He currently has no idea where she is. Ethel patted his hand offering condolences and said she’d let him get back to the tacos. Garrick just murmured to himself lost in his thoughts.

When he came down with the tacos Nathaniel and Ethel were doing good cop, bad cop with Carl dressed in a classic chauffeur uniform. Spurned by fear he was telling his mother, Mrs. Angela Mackenzie-Weisman, whom prosecutes Maverick supers for the city, all about their activities! As they continued politely interrogating Carl, the topic of the CEO of Xander Financial Group, Mason Blodgett, came up. The Council of Industry was not happy with Mayor Zardona not towing the line they feel he should for supporting his campaign. It seems Mayor Zardona may not be such the puppet many fear he is for the Council. Carl was able to pass the investigation and eventually the conversation shifted to other topics.

Katherine brought over a piece of paper after she checks the mailbox outside. She’s been taking classes at Everett Community College to help her transition from Waingroh High School straight to Copernicus University so she can go to the same school as Garrick. Nearly everyone knew she used to teach at Copernicus, but after the experiments she’s forced to re-live college admissions on the same monetary stipulations that many high schoolers have. In other words, without a scholarship or a lot of money there is no way for her to afford it. Luckily, having once been a teacher she knew about the scholarships to apply for and what to write to get one that offered a full ride except boarding.

However, taking classes again that she wasn’t fond of the first time, coupled with the same professor that should have retired by now. Garrick wonders if her actual age is 30’s or 40’s and then his next memory causes a dumb smirk on his face and he realizes he doesn’t actually care. She is frustrated that she got a “D” in psychology. She mentions going to take an extra credit for the psychology class at Everett which will bump her grade to the “B -” minimum for the scholarship she’s on. Garrick mentions to Nathan and her his fear regarding the black ops world they both come from and his paranoid concerns regarding this.

Alex thought about joining until Katherine explained that there was no pay involved, just the grade boost. Alex’s grades are doing just great in comparison so this wouldn’t actually benefit him to show up. Alex mentions he’s good with getting coffee and mail at the law firm as part of his paid internship for becoming a private eye. When Garrick offered to let him know if a spot opens up at his work, Jake mentions he having interviews. Shorty #1 perks up at that while the other Shorties assure Garrick they’re happy until Richard finds them homes. When the Internet being shut off is brought up they shudder. Ever since that time their homework has been done and they each do it. Garrick was adamant about making sure they all get the benefits of school. Especially since they rotate which one goes each day.

A few moments later though, he realizes he has a chance to actually talk with Jake about checking his work on a Fusion Reactor. He has his father’s work that wasn’t confiscated and he still has years of data from the fusion reactor in low power mode. If he submits these designs and asks what specifically is the alien components that would have to be re-engineered then perhaps he can honor his father and the Zarovsky family’s faith in his Bio-Dome idea. Jake was enjoying the street tacos Garrick had made, when approached and asked about checking Garrick’s work to make sure the device wasn’t alien he told him that it would be no problem. He asked Garrick if people here on Earth were using USB-C currently? When he got the affirmative response he mentioned he would dig out an adapter and bring it with him on his next visit. Garrick realized he’s seen other dimensions of Earth and been across the galaxy. Rather than even ask about what was currently cutting edge tech on this earth and what he was thinking about Garrick just said thanks, and left him to his meal.

Nathaniel headed over and tries to talk with Katherine whom just finished asking Jake when her phone might be ready. It’s not that she had left it with him, but he was making her a special sim card that would unlock every carrier and she’d never need to worry about paying for it again, ever! However, today she had already realized Garrick has not completely forgotten about Patsy even if he doesn’t talk about her anymore. So when Nathan asked about a meditation session before she left for her extra credit today her face screamed how boring it sounded to her. She loved social media! It allowed her formerly very extroverted self to have an outlet as this new had to keep on the down low at school to make sure the Nursery never found her. She almost blew off Nathan until he mentioned her “D” and the idea of loosing her scholarship snapped her back to the moment and they headed to a quieter section of the mats for their hour long meditation. Garrick was excited to know she was older than him so when he watched her walking away he did not feel guilty when that dumb smirk came back. Shorty #2 tapped him on the leg when he noticed Garrick was starring at her twirling her hair.

The highlight of the workouts this morning was Richard gathering everyone around and announcing at the beginning of the session that there would be a catered party tonight at Garrick’s house followed by a night on the town. He wanted to celebrate all the hard work everyone had been doing and a night out covered by him as the team leader seemed like fun. Everyone was excited to go except Katherine because of her extra credit would take until very late tonight, but she told Garrick in front of everyone that tonight he had a “Hall Pass” for the party. Nicholas was the other one, whom, had fallen behind in grading some of his papers. He told Garrick that he had adjunct work at the college and would pop in to make sure Katherine was fine. This seem to visibly relieve Garrick as everyone began to break into their routines designed by Nathan to help them best work on their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and training review from previous work outs.

8:30 AM

Katherine said good bye and headed off in her Smart Fortwo car. Heading into his office after making sure which Shorty had to get a move on to school. He opened his email to find Horace had begun speaking to him again. Saying that they were still friends but he need some more time because he was pretty peeved “Gary” had not trusted him with turning into a superhero first. Garrick wrote him and apologized, promising him all the questions he wanted when he was ready.

His team was asking him once a day about Mavericks in the news if he was “there” or not. Many of the people that spoke to him in the office were from shipping and techs in the lab. Shipping kept joking about when cops would show up to haul him away for doing a good deed. Lab techs kept trying to figure out which Maverick he was.

Blake in marketing still thought of him as a freak that was forcing his private life on everyone at the office. Any person in the office that showed any overt interest in how handsome Gary looked now was reminded by Blake that “it” was just a costume. Gary was still the ugly workhorse he had always been. When Garrick heard that the first time, he was about to walk into the break room. He stopped and turned around going back into his office and went back to work. He hated Blake’s opinion but he was far more worried about what they would think if he retaliated in any way. Besides it was America and he was entitled to his opinion even if Garrick hated it because it reminded him of sister, Adeline.

He stopped leaving his office at that point unless it was requested for a meeting. He kept repeating that it was easier to be hated because no one lies when they hate a person or a thing. Since nearly every aspect of his job could be done remotely over the network he spent the remainder of the day being the invisible person getting things done. His work productivity actually went up significantly and the reports for an entire three days got filled out that afternoon, in near personal isolation.

4:30 PM

Shipping sent an email out to security about a truck pulling in that wasn’t on their list. At the same moment Garrick’s tablet that’s on his network lit up showing Richard had rang his door bell. Garrick buzzes him in and then finds out that the truck is the catering company from Society Hill! Garrick runs over to the shipping area and explains the mix up to the security and warehouse workers. He then finds the driver and gives him instructions to pull in through the other side. He apologizes that his directions were not well worded and the driver nods and heads around. The dock employee asks why he didn’t just pick up the truck and fly it over? Garrick sighs, “Frankly, its easily over a few tons, and I was worried I might hurt someone inside.” With sloped shoulders he heads back and never even sees the shocked look on the dock worker’s face. Surprised that someone with powers cared about hurting someone without them.

Garrick works up a smile he practiced in prison whenever he needed one. Despite being thrilled the day would be over and his work had been caught up till Tuesday deadlines for next week. Just after Garrick gets back Nathan shows up. Garrick begins to direct the sous chef to his kitchen which gets a nod of approval about its functions and utility. The sous chef warns his workers if there are any errors tonight then he’ll be coming back here to have their replacements built. Garrick almost smiles but he can see the cooks and wait staff nod slowly as though this was not a joke. Tells Optimus to let the team run the kitchen manually unless they ask for something. He introduces the sous chef to his A.I. and as he leaves them alone he can see the professional team begin to ramp up the dishes involving very expensive use of wagyu beef, lamb, lobster!

Garrick takes a picture with the cooking staff behind him and send it to Katherine with the caption, “Miss you, dinner looks almost as Amazing as you!” He loved that he finally had a retort to her sexy pictures on Jake’s Atorian Starfighter. He smiled at her reply, “you. ⚰️. ?. ?.” As dinner and dessert was served he sent pictures and got similar replies. It was finally getting his mind off of fearing spies would nab her or think about that asshole, Blake. In between the main course and dessert Richard informed us of Jake being held up trying to get “The Goods” and was likely on another planet. Both Carl and Garrick reacted as nerds are apt to do. Carl thought he got arrested in space and Garrick just wanted to travel to another world. Richard continued by explaining he’d reserved a VIP booth at the Nine Lives Club! Apparently, Richard had been going to the club on his own getting to be known as a high roller to quote the Vegas term. Now he planned on bringing us down for some rest and relaxation. The sous chef left extra meals label: Kat, Shorty #2, Shorty #3, and Short #4 in his fridge per that request.

Ethel allowed Shorty #1 to fly her aircar home and rent a movie from pay-per-view. Which the young clone was excited because it appears that he is beginning to be treated as an adult. He did, however, make sure she had a way home before taking off for a date of the third installment in the Jumanji franchise. Thinking of others is always a good sign of growing up Garrick thought. He also found it interesting this was the first time he had noticed a Shorty wanting to spend time away from his brother clones. That was a good sign they would begin developing their own personalities and identities as individuals.

7:30 PM

Garrick took one final selfie on Richard’s custom, stretched, 2022 model of the Rolls Royce Wraith they were going to ride in to Nine Lives, and was photo-bombed but he just rolled with it and sent the photo. The reply, “UGH! SO BORING, oh ?? have a good time on your hall pass.” Carl did a stellar job driving and getting the door for us curbside half past 7 PM. However, when he showed up three minutes later from parking telling us the club owner gave him Fat Lucca’s parking spot everyone gave him a nod of approval and respect! Garrick had to throw on the charm Alex remembers from the watching him get Ramona’s contact info without appearing to try. He saw Garrick and the bouncer talk about his birthday being next month and making sure he didn’t order any alcohol. They shook on it but when Garrick said they can take the Rolls and leave mentioning the bad experience they had all of a sudden it became Alex’s birthday!

The whole line out side began cheering, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!”

Inside the club you could feel the “THUMP THUMP” of the beats in the EDM being played by the DJ on stage with their sound crew. There was a table in one corner on a raised dais with a two step climb and a red velvet curtain that could be drawn for privacy. Richard indicated with a nod and a wave of his hand that was the group’s destination. As we headed over Ethel ran into Snake Person and they caught up for a few minutes before she sauntered over in a shimmering dress. There were a few looks followed by smacks of their dates that Ethel could hear and she smiled. She still had “it” she thought to herself, eff Sharon!

Bottles had already been set up on the table and our nearest bouncer, Greg, also informed the group he would be their personal liaison for anything they needed tonight. Richard mentioned that while he hoped we might be able to check this place out, tonight the group’s primary objective was to have a good time. Granny said something supporting that but with the music Garrick didn’t hear it. Richard headed out to go dancing, Garrick headed off to the bar after seemingly depressing Ethel with his fruit laden vodka order. Garrick didn’t really drink a lot of alcohol since he knew how easy it was to pollute it making it unsafe to drink. However, he did like his drinks sweet if he was going to do that.

Making it to the bar the bartender hands him a ‘White Russian’ and nods in a direction. Garrick looks and one guy runs off, a lovely olive skinned woman that reminds him slightly of Patsy walks away absorbed in a phone call. This was how he met, Thad, a clothing store manager near the stadiums. Garrick began talking to him and after about 30 minutes he realized he had done it, again. He did his best to let Thad down gently but that it was not going to happen. Thad made sure to let him know he’d be waiting if he changed his mind.

Shortly after Thad had broken away he Ethel came up to talk with him. She was nice and checking in on him. She asked him about how he felt about Patsy and Katherine. She got the full run down of why he never made a move. She was the first person to tell him adult choices are rough but being good is not always easy. She saw Garrick think for a second and then smile and Ethel thanked the bartender for refiling their drinks. Garrick nodded and checked his phone but no missed messages from Katherine. Ethel then asked him to think about the hall pass he’d been given because Katherine didn’t have to do that. Nodding again he decided to try and talk with a couple girls before the night ended. Ethel was happy that she’d been able to make him feel a little better and patted his arm before moving on.

Garrick was sipping his drink and realizing that tonight whether or not he was monogamous was irrelevant! Katherine had trusted him to come home to her even after getting as wild as he wanted to go. According to many a relationship website she was a goddamn unicorn! Women like her were not suppose to exist. For some reason she liked him? He was so giddy that even when he saw no messages from her his face had that dumb grin again. Everything began to feel amazing like brighter colors could be seen!

He looked up and saw the lady from earlier that looked like she could be Patsy’s sister. “Oh, please would you like me to move? I didn’t think you were coming back. I’m so sorry about that,” Garrick motioned for her to reclaim the chair he had been occupying. She smiled and said, “Oh no that’s okay.”

“I apologize you’re probably waiting for your boyfriend?”

“Oh, no I…” she blushes and Garrick is forced to admit she may be prettier than Patsy. “Oh then your girlfriend, I don’t judge, apologies.”

With a casual wave of her hand, “They are all out on the dance floor. My friends dragged me out here and I… I don’t dance.”

“Alas, neither do I. We’re both moored at sea with not a drop of water to drink,” Garrick sighed and then grinned. The slightly younger looking woman smiled and played with her hair nearly identical to his former roommate. “That may be the best line I’ve personally heard, Stefania, and you are?”

She produced her hand and her took as he had practiced from watching his father so many times, “Piacere di carne, signora. Garrick, hizmetinizde.”

His mind was exploding in waves of color and her touch was the softest thing he had ever felt! It was like nothing he had EVER EXPERIENCE! When his eyes met hers she seems astounded that he had spoken in Italian and then finished in Turkish as though they were native to him! “How many languages to you know! You’re amazing! Italian and Turkish! Ci siamo incontrati prima di signore? or Eğer gökten melek misin?”

“I had a friend that is American, Turkish and Lebanese in their ancestry. However, if I had met you I would’ve remembered because while I didn’t come from heaven meeting you feels like its smiling on me.” For the first time in days he did not think about Patsy in the slightest. He did think of how amazing Katherine was granting him a “Hall Pass” otherwise he might never have met Stefania. He would find ways to make sure she knew how much he appreciated her trust in him to give him no restrictions about what happens this night.

Time is fluid to Garrick and he is wondering why everything feels wonderful. Playfully he blames Stefania for making everything about this evening so incredibly pretty and she giggles as they continue talking. Then, without warning there’s a tickle at the base of his neck above his collar. Instinctively he turns to find out about the source of such pleasure and there is Thad with another White Russian! Holy crap, Thad must’ve spiked his drink! That explains why he found the touch of a man so pleasing, he’d been drugged!

Even as mad as he was at something so rape cultured! The drug in his drink was stimulating nearly every pleasure center he had. So, he politely refuses his drink to avoid what he believes would be a second dose. Garrick even makes everything about his interest in Stefania. Once Thad leaves again he makes sure the bartender knows to send him a drink with the message that this is a repayment and he’d prefer not to take his money. It was the nicest “don’t come around me again” he could muster given the chemistry analytical nature of his mind was figuring out how to dissolve Thad for trying to date rape him!

When Stefania touched his hand and said she liked his eyes he completely forgot about Thad. Everything regarding any of his anger was melting away and was beginning to go really great until. From behind them on the complete other side of the bar screams were being heard and a huge window seemed to have exploded! Then another explosion and wrenching of metal as a car alarm begins to wail loud enough to overcome the music playing! Various folks at the tables look, get up, scream, and run for the exit by the VIP booth! Garrick was able to see the reaction of the tables and hear the fight breaking out behind him and Stefania. He takes her hand and says, “I don’t have time to explain, but you said you were here with friends we need to grab them and get out of here!” Stefania nods and when directed begins to point to her friends. Garrick is now about an inch off the ground but keeps pace with Stefania moving in her heels.

Antonia was the first of her friends they made it to as the dance floor began to stampede for an exit the folks at the tables headed towards. Antonia grabbed onto Desha. When they saw Garrick their eyes went wide as they realized a man wearing armor was trying to rescue them! Stefania noticed the sudden appearance of his armor and made sure they knew he was her friend. Then he lifted off the ground as though he was leaping and landed next to her friend from Canada, Tyra. Poor Tyra was beginning to freak out and a knight appearing from above with her friends offering to rescue her was not something she was about to pass up. The last friend had features of Stefania but blonde hair! Ameera was quick to hop on to the savior that had grabbed “all” of her friends as she watched someone get knocked over!

One final leap and they were at the door, Garrick’s armored presence caused the bouncer at the door by the stage to just back up as the Gryphon swung the door open letting them leave. He had seen Nathan near the stage and knew his friends were in action. When the gun shots were heard upon exiting Desha asked if he was the Norwood Gryphon?

“I am the Gryphon of Norwood. Now let’s get you ladies home and away from the gun fire!”

They all nodded as he lifted into the air, with Stefania on his back while carrying the other four pressed against his chest. When he asked about addresses they all began talking at once. However, Stefania, pressed her face against the side of his helm as she moved one of her arms so her fingers could graze his bare neck, “42 Walaby Way. I have a pool and a bikini you need to see. Your name is safe with me big G.”

The Gryphon replied he knew the Walaby address and began moving in that direction. It was roughly 10 minutes to her home and half of the trip was the ladies realizing they just escaped a second Florida nightclub shooting. The second half, due mainly to the efforts of the Gryphon calming them down, was the ladies realizing they were flying with the person that had saved them.

While he was aware he was high on some sort of aphrodisiac stimulant. The Gryphon couldn’t stop the feelings of having 5 beautiful ladies pressed up against him. It really felt like heaven and he could very easily see how drug addiction would never be eradicated. He was even more thankful to Katherine now because if it weren’t for her. He knew he’d likely seek out this drug in the future.

Stefania directed him to land in the backyard by the pool. When they touched down she asked him to wait one minute while she asked her friends a question. He nodded that he’d do so, and as she left him there relaxing in the fact that they’re safe his armor began to vanish piece by piece. Dissolving into golden flecks of light blown away by a soft breeze. There were some squeals and gasps when the group saw him outside his helmet.

A few minutes later the Gryphon was staring at the stars when Stefania approached him. “The girls and I have decided that to say thank you we shall be your entertainment for the night. Desha and I are both going for our Bachelor’s in physical therapy after realizing what we wanted after massage school. So let me turn on the fire pit and we’re going to give you a massage while we arrange a fashion show!”

Before he could even say a word Desha was taking his coat off of him while Stefania laid a finger on his lips. Garrick was convinced he was still high given his reaction to their touch and blowing on his ear when they would ask him where he was sore! He was allowed to keep his boxer briefs and the gold and silver eagle headed torq around his neck as the two women led him to a pool chair. Stefania and Desha then said they would be right back but Ameera would keep him company until they returned. It was at that moment he heard a jingling noise. From around the fire in the darkness came the blond haired, mocha skinned, Ameera. Dressed in a modern tribal belly dancing outfit she began to dance around the stone firepit blazing brightly. As she approached the Gryphon, silken veils were pulled from her belt of metal plaques and bells. She continued to dance around him allowing the veils to be fall upon him and often obscuring his gaze.

The dance ended with a veil draped over his eyes as he laid back in the pool chair. Then he felt Ameera’s hands reach over from behind the chair and tilt his head back as she bent down to kiss him. Pulling away his sight returned to Tyra and Antonia dressed in alternating black and white bikinis that would be more accurately be described as body floss or a slingshot micro bikini one-piece. Inside his mind Garrick had an epiphany the nearly naked women in front of him. He had wondered what Katherine would look like in these outfits? Was there a more than one way to fall for a person? He had read about the spark between people and that other times that spark is a match that grows brighter with ti…
…Tyra and Antonia are sitting on the end of the pool chair and rubbing tanning oil into each other’s back! Now they pushing the backs of their bodies up and down his legs while tilting their heads back to look him in the eyes! Desha reappears wearing pink bikini/lingerie two piece with a more athletic theme to it. She ushers Tyra and Antonia to the hot tub where they join, Ameera, whom from this angle appears to be wearing nothing. Garrick is convinced her top must just be lower than the hot tub’s edge from his vantage.

Desha begins a real foot massage and Garrick can ‘feel’ it working. In his head he knows his body is transformed and not a costume or illusion, so Blake can stuff it as far as he is concerned. “I can see you ‘really’ enjoyed your fashion show Big G.” Desha giggled as she kept working on his feet and calves, while Stefania had surprised him leaning over the back of the pool chair pressing herself up close. Having a clear view of how ‘happy’ he was. Desha mentions she going to join her girlfriends and Ameera in the hot tub leaving the mighty Gryphon in Stefania’s care.

Stefania swings around to his side and sits right on his lap. As her head turns to face him her grins grows as well, “Well, well, very happy indeed!” That sensation made his body shudder and shake and then he saw her swim suit was a two piece mesh and not meant for a public beach. When he began to reach for her she reclined into his chest resting her head on his shoulder, “I never thought I would meet someone as shy as I used to be before I met all of my friends. There’s no other way you would have such control under Molly.”

Garrick asked if she saw who spiked his drink and she grabbed his arm and began to really work on his biceps and triceps as she told him, “No, while the guy that was hitting on you was a likely suspect I don’t actually know for certain. What keyed me in was the reaction to physical stimulus, I am becoming a physical therapist and they do go over common drugs to be aware of. When the fighting and shooting started though you fought hard against what you were feeling and saved us from another club shooting like the tragedy 6-7 years ago.”

“Evil happens when good men do nothing, it’s one of my favorite quotes.”

“But do they get rewarded? You’re on a “Hall Pass” that only lasts tonight right?”

“I, yes that’s right, I kinda remember telling you at the club about getting a “Hall Pass” from my girlfriend.”

“It was sweet to watch you wonder whether it was a gift or a test. So I have a compromise, (whispers) Garrick.” Our hero raised an eye brow and tilts his head down as she looks up, “Antonia, Tyra, and Desha are in a triangle, poly-couple, however, Desha is bi and in to you, we both go to Copernicus and met in the same class for physical therapy. Ameera is technically a distantly related cousin, but you have to go back to the 1700’s on my father’s side and her mother’s side to find it. You are the first guy she’s ever danced for solo, she’s been working on that routine a little over a year. She’s been studying for the hopeful approval to get in the master’s program for performing arts at Copernicus.”

“It was enchanting to say the least,” he smiled.

“Trust me big guy I can feel how enchanted you are. So I need a simple yes or no do you trust me not to betray you?”

“My gut says yes, trust her.”

“Then I promise that if anyone kisses you tonight it will stay at the pectoral, shoulder, and shoulder blades and above. Touching with hands will be the only other allowed form of contact unless you grant otherwise. If you agree then you promise to abide by two secret requests, trust me remember.”

“Okay,” he said as his shoulder and chest was being kneaded in her hands with decent force, but felt so good because of the Molly, “I agree and trust you.”

Stefania called out for Desha to have the blindfold ready, because the Gryphon has agreed to his reward! Stefania got up and led him to the pool and he stepped into the hot tub. Desha stood up and wrapped the silk scarves from Ameera around his eyes with Stefania and Ameera looking at him biting their lips. The Gryphon was asked to sit on the edge of the hot tub and he started to until the second request was made, “Loose the underwear, that’s my second request.”

The Gryphon complied, blushed, and sat down in the water quickly among a few gasps.

Saturday, February 10th, 2024: 2:46 AM

The Gryphon’s phone had been going crazy for sometime and Ameera left the pile of bodies resting on towels in bliss to find out what was going on. When she tapped on the last message it said 2:46 A.M. All of the rest were significantly before then. Ameera realized she had the Gryphon’s personal phone and it was the Crystal Edition of the Pearphone X! She took a selfie and added her contact info to his phone. Then texted herself so she’d have his contact info. Afterwards she brought over his phone tapped Stefania on the shoulder from over the hot tub edge. She was still laying on top of him in the hot tub’s molded reclined seat. Just enjoying everything and tracing his muscles on his chest and arms. Gryphon and her looked up and when he said, “Oh the real world calls, um just set my phone on the chair and I’ll get out but I don’t want to get it wet.” Stefania looked at Ameera pained as though her dream got crushed. Alas, she climbed up and out of the hot tub followed by the other ladies and then Gryphon.

The Gryphon tried to find underwear when Ameera laughs out loud about him tracking ‘whom’ is using his front door and why is ‘Kat’ Amazing? The other girls spring the trap as they have all his articles of clothing and he is forced to fly over the larger pool several times to cut them off and get dress an article at a time. Ameera begins recording on her phone as he is naked and trying to get his clothes back from the other ladies. He professes how thankful he is that they respected his boundaries of what he considered an acceptable use of the “hall pass” given to him by his girlfriend. He promises to address the issue of whether his relationship is a monogamous or ethical non-monogamy relationship. He is certain though he would need to have a talk to make sure he didn’t disrespect her before engaging in intimate congress with any of the beautiful women. He is finally dressed by the end of it and to be nice she edits out him being totally naked, but once he gets underwear she uploads the clip from there. She uses the hashtags: #gryphon #partywiththegryphon #norwoodknights #savedfromninelivesshooting on all her social media. The rest of the girls follow suit with an avalanche of photos taken from during the night where they show themselves at the club and later partying at the house using filters to mostly blur his face.

Stefania was especially sad to see Garrick go and made sure the two of them exchanged contact information. Then she was the second person to tell him how lucky Kat was. Desha was shaking her head in the affirmative behind Stefania gesturing at the other ladies and mentioned playfully that they should paint “Norwood Knights Hall Pass” on the roof! Everyone laughed at the playful joke. Stefania, Desha and Ameera stood watching as the Gryphon took off telling his Norwood Knights they will meet again. After about 500 feet in the air he headed to Xenophon to find a 24-hour mart opened at 3 AM so he could get a money order. Stefania’s home was surprisingly fairly nice for the area – if Norwood can be said to have a “good” area her home was most definitely in it. She had lamented off-handedly during all they talked about that night that she might not be able be able to stay there much longer, since her jerk landlord increased the rent on her and she’s fallen behind. While he was flying he sends a text on his phone to Janosh.

After getting the landlord’s name and saying it wrong so she corrects him. The Gryphon smiled because the ladies likely found his coat he had deliberately left behind. He lands in an alley near 24 hour mart and goes inside to buy a money order large enough to cover two months of rent with the excess cash he had. He addresses it to the landlord, with the memo section having the house address and rent written upon it. He removes the money order’s receipt and sticks it in his pocket. After buying small bouquet that had 6 roses and bidding the clerk a good night setting the sixth rose on the counter. He walks briskly back into the alley and shoots straight into the air summoning his armor after he set the 5 roses against his chest in his shirt.

Flying back he calls out for his knights as he lands. Everyone gathers around and he can see Stefania is holding his coat. Dropping the armor and apologizing for the intrusion he produces a rose for each lady mentioning he couldn’t think of a better way to protect the roses from the wind. When he gets to Stefania at last he hands her the rose as she returns his coat. He reaches into his pocket to get the true reason for his surprise return. Summoning his armor again over the clothes raising his visor, he takes her hands in his and kisses them to thank his hostess. As he does so he slips the money order into her hands. She is smiling but then opens the money order her jaw begins to drop! “Stefania, I cannot do this for everyone, if some of your friends are in a position to be reliable roommates then perhaps you can save your home. Please though this is a gift to help repay you for keeping my name to yourself, a true friend. Just pay it forward and help someone else one day.” She starts crying and stammering repeatedly, “How are you so nice? Why are you so nice?”

The others rush over to her concerned and Desha shoots a protective look at the Gryphon. When Stefania stops and explains that he just may have saved the house everyone stares at the money order covering two months of rent! Then they slowly look back at the Gryphon. Desha’s expression is relief that he is a hero in more ways than one. A few of the other girls can’t believe it and Tyra reaches out to poke him once more to make sure its not a dream. As he begins to raise off into the air he we says, “Farewell, fair ladies, should you wish it we shall meet again. Farewell my Norwood Knights, may you stay safe and find happiness in all of your pursuits!”

3:15 AM

He flies home to talk with Katherine and goes in from the roof. Finding her in the bed she looks asleep to him. He sits on the edge of the bed and just strokes her hair SUPER thrilled she’s okay. He leans down and kisses Katherine on the cheek whispering in her ear, “I’m sorry if this feels slow of me but I am so happy you’re home and not hurt. The group needs me but I ‘love’ knowing I will see you again. Sweet dreams Kitty Kat and I adore you.”

Then head downstairs to join everyone else.


Art by: AZ_Artisan
The names for the five girls came from our guest GM’s love of ESPN fantasy football. Then the character descriptions were based off what the name results were. Everything else about them is based off people I know in my hobbies. Come watch the next game for part 2 of the adventure of our guest GM: HippoTV!


Goodbye Patsy

Goodbye Patsy

February 7th, 2024 – Wednesday: 10:32 AM

Garrick woke up this morning to a small cooler just outside the ring he’d made with the sheets. There was a post it note from Katherine:

I don’t cook. Here’s some breakfast tacos from the corner. Apparently you’re the only nice gringo. There’s a small coffee as well.
– K

Smiling about how sweet that was he soon let his team know he was awake when he gave everyone the info dump about Patsy’s Millennium Station version of Jake Thompson. “On her world “Murder Master” is that world’s Jake Thompson! It is highly likely that version of Jake has walled off this dimension. Which makes sense that only Jake could stop Jake. With this knowledge hopefully our Jake can begin researching the correct way to undo his evil self.” The real Jake, as far as Garrick was concerned, decided to help on the principle “Murder Master” was a stupid name so he had to stop him.

12:43 PM

Early afternoon Patsy wakes up. She’s confused and embarrassed about being in Garrick’s bed. She’s even more embarrassed when she realizes she’s been changed into different clothes. As the situation is explained to her (and that Katherine changed her) she relaxes a bit.

Now she looks sheepish and guilty. She can’t believe Garrick had to save her again. She doesn’t remember much after walking away from the Wayfarer and finally calling the sword. Snippets of memory. The spirit within slaying the gang members who came after her because they didn’t like that she had been snooping around. A magical circle of… communication, she thinks? And waiting for… a group to arrive. Allies. Then Garrick and the others interrupted, and freed her.

She tells of how she researched Garrick’s sword and found it had been declared lost during transit after an auction. A similar sword, she discovered, had also been purchased and shipped. She figured that could be what was in the other box! She began to investigate the gangs around the museum, and searched pawn shops all around the area. She was surprised to actually find it in a pawn shop. It was sold there some time ago. People didn’t seem to want it for some reason so it just sat there. Patsy eagerly spent the money on it, intending to bring it back and show Garrick. But once it was in her hand it started talking to her. It implored her to call upon its power, to help him continue to keep the world safe.

It said… a lot of enticing things to her about the power it could give her. The power it could return to her, which she so desperately craved. This frightened her. Not that it was offering this power, but that she was so tempted. By the time she returned home Garrick was still out. She had decided she would keep the sword’s secrets for now. Once she accepted that it transformed into an ordinary bracelet on her arm.

He would talk with her sometimes, imploring her to call upon him. Aaziakel. He would offer to share the secrets of his magical knowledge with her. He would offer to give her the power to matter again, to be noticed, special… She can’t believe she’s admitting all this but it’s so upsetting that she screwed up in such a big way. It was when Aaziakel offered to give her the power to fight Katherine, and Katherine heard his voice too, that’s when Patsy realized she needed to redouble her efforts to get home and reconnected to her former powers. The temptation had become so strong. The promises so alluring… And then finally meeting The Wayfarer and learning that he too was trapped… but Aaziakel said he knew why the world was this way. He could show her why, and he could help her. That’s when she finally…

She trails off. It’s taken a while to get this story out of her. She looks at Garrick finally and says she needs to move out. She thanks him for everything he’s done but she needs to go be on her own. She’s managed to get a passable fake ID so she has an identity in this world. She’ll never be able to thank Garrick enough for what he’s done for her. But she needs to accept that there’s no easy solution to her dilemma. She’s stuck, and it’s time she accepted it and moved on, making a life for herself here.

“You’re status as an “indefinite guest” will remain, I will move your access to the room on the first floor once you find a place and have everything moved over. Through some poor communication on my part to my partner something might have become unclear at one point. Kat and I are beginning to date, and you know enough about me to realize I have A LOT of questions being virgin or undiscovered country here.” He looks around for a few seconds and continues, “Can you step out of my room for a second so I can get something?” About 60 seconds later the doors pop open, “Now, I won’t take no for an answer, but here is $1,000 in cash, $500 to help with a down payment on a car, and $500 to help with any living deposit you might need. All I “ask” is that you let me drive you to your new place so I know you got there safely and the genie Ali Baba didn’t get you.” he attempts to laugh at his own bad joke.

She tells him she’ll take an UberLyft. She wants a clean start and hopes he can understand that. She takes the money but tells him she won’t use it since she already owes him so much. He begins to grab his phone and starts a text to Zeau.

Her phone vibrates and she checks it as he’s talking about the last of his Shorties leaving. The message reads: I might not have the courage to say what my heart is screaming, in another time, in another place, in another world even. May this picture convey how I feel since this is my memory of you. Be your own soul Patsy “Hyperia” Palmer. Just know if you’re ever in need I will find you and come for you, now and forever.

5:27 PM

Kat leaned against the air conditioner on the building’s roof like a trained sniper. Yet no gun was in her hand, she was armed with a caring heart for a man who wore his upon his sleeve. She’d been quietly watching Patsy move out boxes and luggage from a few buildings away. Two of the bags were embroidered with Garrick’s company logo on the side. Looks like he will need to get new bags for the gym. The trips outside to set things down were fairly regular. Nothing seemed out of ordinary there. By the time she’s ready to go it is nearly 6 PM. Kat has already texted Garrick back trying to give him time to say goodbye. In truth she was just trying to play along since she knows it’s important to him. She had taken some of the time to get a few extra things and clean her place before she moved out officially. She decided she could be patient since Patsy was moving out and soon she’d be able to have nothing else pulling on his heart strings.

While moving out her stuff, and her research about the area, Patsy had to stop looking at Garrick. He was sitting at his work table downstairs. She had spied over his shoulder one time and saw all kinds of research regarding how to weaponize an Einstein-Rosen bridge to break through a dimensional barrier! Still his last message to her rang in her head. …if you’re ever in need I will find you and come for you, now and forever. Patsy knew how far he had come to even phrase a statement of devotion, of love to anyone. She was so proud of the progress he had made and yet he gave everything of himself to everyone. When she came in from her last box waiting for the UberLyft. She saw him reading Kat’s text reply and his back was turned. She decided that since she wasn’t living here anymore then his rules about showing affection had to be gone as well. It was now or never! She seized the momentary advantage of the distraction to close with him unexpectedly. Seconds before he could react badly he turns to feel her warm body press up against his and kiss him.

It’s a deep, longing kiss. She left him near paralyzed with that “Kiss” and he’s not sure he’d have stopped anything further. He felt equally as weak kneed as with Miss Amazing. Then she walks out of his home to the waiting UberLyft to leave. For now. There is a long and cold shower between her departure and Katherine arriving about 30 minutes later.

8:17 PM

That night Garrick after an amazing dinner which had no second helpings because of the Shorties. Garrick finishes making sure all of Katherine’s things are on the second floor. Room authorizations are updated with Optimus. Katherine glances in his head and there is some worry he’ll never see her again, but a reminder she wanted this and he has to honor it. Garrick brings Katherine into his room and using a bowl of hot water he washes her feet mentioning he found this idea looking up things boyfriends should do. Then using light oils, he massages them slowly and methodically. Kat playfully asks if this is some sort of fetish? She’s not opposed to it if he enjoys it. She ends up enjoying it more than she expected, and it turns into a rather enjoyable evening for the both of them.


Art by: AZ_Artisan