216 - The Perils of Peri

Adam Amari has decided he hates getting attention.

First, he’s the little kid, so cute, look at you, aww. Then he grows up in his Agent form, and the Ponies (and many other people) get really weird around him. Then he says goodbye to Sol, and gets a Keynome, and then adopts Tau, and all the Concordance Agents that came to Earth are either pestering him, or treating him like dirt, or just being really big cocknoodles.

Adam is experimenting with profanity. Leo swears like a sailor. Jason had plenty too. Other older heroes sometimes do it. What Adam has figured out is that there’s a lot of emotional impact packed into profanity. He’s also starting to understand that to effectively communicate, you have to maximize your ratio of impact to words. A lot of words that mean nothing don’t have much tangible effect on achieving personal goals. But punchy prose delivers.

His dislike of attention and his experiments with profanity sometimes collide. For example, a visiting Agent, here to consult on the recent invasion by the Blot, told Adam it would be expected of him to travel to the Pleiades Supercluster and have a conference with the Seven Widows of Wisdom. Adam, in turn, told the Agent it would be expected of them to get the fuck off his planet with that shit. The offer has not been repeated, which Adam feels is a rousing success.

Still. He is older now. And he owes it to Tau, and other shards the Concordance doesn’t seem to care about, to learn more and do more. And that’s led him to use the Kepler Accelerator.

The Accelerator is the device that helped send the HHL into deep space to track down the Blot. It’s a big white satellite with four wings that act as radiators, whizzing around Earth at a very high orbit. It just concentrates and releases energy, like a magnifying glass taped to a solar battery. Adam has found he can route emotional links through it as well. He’s been visiting the galaxy like this, learning what he can, meeting new people, seeing things from a new perspective.

One thing he doesn’t like is what he keeps hearing about the Concordance. And another thing he doesn’t like is how many people out there seem to know about Earth.

Adam isn’t sure he likes Earth getting so much attention.

So now he’s on the way back.

Sablestar’s web has vibrated every time Concord travels. He’s been a reliable traveler. Reliable enough that she can time Princess Peri’s rescue missions to coincide with Concord’s absences, so that he won’t notice and interfere.

She’s just finished sending Antares Alpha-One the specs for a new mission when the web vibrates again.

She scowls to herself. I wasn’t ready yet. But maybe with these other heroes in play, it’s the right time after all…?

She updates the instructions, and Antares Alpha-One signals its understanding.

1 Like

What a pleasant surprise to see we’re going to get more Peri stories. And this time with Adam. Very much looking forward to this.

I appreciate that you distilled Adam’s primary internal conflict into the opening line of the story. :grin:

Jordan is getting the hang of this Peri thing.

According to Anty, negative energy is possessing people and giving them superpowers. This is bad, because people with negative energy do bad things, and people with powers do bigger bad things than people without them. The warehouse theft? The Void Shadow Collective wanted to see how she would do against lower-risk crimes, before assigning her to this stuff.

Princess Peri has used her Perfect Purification move on four people now. A baker, a toy maker, a professional dancer, plus the first guy. She just needs to fight them for long enough to create an opening - a point when their energy is too dispersed or unfocused or something. And then she can siphon the evil core out of them, and trap it.

She’s working on her fifth person, who’s currently a big lizard with nine heads, when Mercury, A10, Armiger, and Telekinetian show up. She notices them, but can’t worry about it.

The new tools are working out okay. She has swords, portals, illusions, and force fields. She has a gravity thingie, plus a darkness dingus. She opens with the force fields, to see how hard the monster hits (it hits pretty hard), plus flight and portals to see how fast it is (it’s pretty fast). She uses illusions to make it expend its energy hitting nothing, and portals to keep out of the way of it accidentally hitting her. And when it’s pretty tired out, she uses the gravity thingie to send it into the air, and unleashes a big blast.

As it hits the ground, Perfect Purification! Hooray, it looks like she rescued a bicycle messenger.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Peri says. “You’re gonna be okay.”

The bike messenger, confused and afraid, gets to her feet and mumbles something. Peri watches her stumble away in a daze.

She watches Mercury approaches, watches warily as Armiger follows. But Mercury holds up his hands. “Peri, we’re just here to talk, promise.”

She nods. “Well, if you promise, then okay. What do you want?”

Mercury looks at his pals, and back to her. “We wanna know what your deal is, honestly.”


Cross-referencing. A deal is a term derived from card games. They want you to explain what you're doing and what you intend to do.

Don’t these heroes ever fight people with negative energy?

There’s a pause. I have no record of any purification performed by these heroes.

Huh. Well, so they don’t know the danger then. Is this stuff secret? What should I tell them?

You are advised to tell them the truth, but omit your identity as Jordan Amari.


They will attempt to interfere with your work if they know.

Jordan doesn’t want that to happen. Okay!

“Well, my deal is, I was chosen to have this power, and I’m usin’ it to purify people who got hit with negative energy. It makes them do bad things. So I take it out of them.”

Mercury looks at his teammates, then back to her. “Chosen by who?”

Jordan admits she’s a little vague on this point. Anty, can you explain for me?

“By a group of cosmic entities who are pursuing enlightenment through emotional balance across the universe.”

Mercury nods along with this, like he knows what that means. “Like the Concordance?”

“Yes. Like the Concordance.”

Thanks, Anty!

Peri smiles. “So anyway, sorry if I didn’t do somethin’ I’m supposed to do as a hero, like register somewhere. I just really wanna help people an’ do what’s right, here in the city. Is that okay?”

Again, Mercury looks at the others, and they look at him. They’re all a little baffled, Jordan thinks.

“Yeah, it’s okay, but…” Mercury stands aside, and gestures at A10 and Armiger. “What was the thing you two were getting from her?”

“Bad vibes,” says Andi.

“There’s a definite darkness surrounding you,” announces Armiger.

“Any thoughts on that?” Mercury asks, turning back to Peri.


“It is possible you are sensing the negative energy I am absorbing.”

Armiger glances at A10, and she glances back.

Mercury fills in. “There’s another problem, though. We saw you - or someone that looked exactly like you - making a deal with the warehouse thieves beforehand. We’re concerned that you may have set that whole situation up.”

Jordan can see the others tensing up. But she’s confused. Set up? The warehouse thieves? What?

“The first time I saw those guys was when I went to the warehouse.”

Jordan can still feel the latent hostility radiating from everyone. But Mercury seems to be listening, and when he talks he’s still polite. “How did you know about the warehouse incident?”

“Oh, I got a mission, from the–” “–cosmic sponsors who empowered me.”

Anty? What are you doing?

I have detected danger. Your emotional reactions indicate that you have as well. These individuals are preparing to attack you. I have therefore engaged a security filter, in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.

You’re speakin’ for me?

That is part of the security filter.

I don’t like it.

The security filter exists for your protection. It will not interfere with your ability to help people in the field, or on missions. It is only for use in situations such as this.

Well… I still don’t like it.

Mercury still feels wary. “The people who are like the Concordance. Are they the Concordance?”

Jordan gives her best and most honest answer. “I guess? Like, I got a voice in me and stuff? Like Concord does?”

Jordan watches Mercury process all of this. He comes to his conclusion. “Tell you what. We’d like you to come with us, and talk to Concord. Okay?”

Jordan thinks about this too. I’ve done some real heroin’ now, and I did a good job, Anty said so. So he can’t chew me out or anything, 'cause it’s been going great. I’ve been a real princess, just like I told him.

“Yeah! I’d like that.”

1 Like

It’s not her original plan, but Sablestar doesn’t mind. This version of events may work out even better.

Carefully, gently, she tugs at the threads of her affective force field. The barriers that masked Jordan’s powers from the rest of the world fall away.

Earth’s “Rainbow Warriors”, the trio of Concordance Agents on the planet, suddenly sense that a member of the Void Shadow Collective is on Earth.

Sablestar smiles. Adam Amari has made a point not to interact with them unless necessary. He hates the attention. They don’t know he’s already back. They won’t bother to call him for support. That potential alliance has already been fractured, by their own actions.

She’ll have to get his attention herself. The timing will have to be just right. But Sablestar has been patient enough. It’s time for some payoff.

Mercury is just reaching for a phone when he, and the others, see the Rainbow Warriors coming in from the air. They’re still far away.

Anty prompts her with information, something Jordan had forgotten. A flare of anger comes up, and Peri speaks. “Those are the guys that attacked a hospital!”

She turns to Mercury. “Wasn’t your father Silver Streak in there at the time?”

She can see Mercury’s face harden.

Something nags at her about having said these things.

Warning. Threat Incoming. You are advised to engage defensive measures.

Jordan’s memory is pretty vague, but she does remember something about a hole in a hospital wall. That sounds bad.

“Shadow Shields - Up!”

The Warriors see a Void Shadow agent, facing four Earth heroes. She’s charging up her shields. The Concordance Agents can clearly sense the emotional radiation emanating from the scene - distrust, fear, surprise, confusion.

Tactical assessment: The enemy had just revealed herself to the Agents’ senses. Logically, she must have just appeared in front of these individuals. It follows that she’s preparing an attack.

Ongoing mission: defend Earth against the Void Shadow Collective.

Consensus: attack the Void Shadow agent.

Their first blasts slam into Princess Peri’s shields.

The first thing Mercury sees the Warriors do is unload on a would-be Halcyon City hero - albeit, one who has yet to answer some important questions. He remembers the Agents coming to the hospital. He remembers them going after Concord for helping his dad.

The others are looking at him expectantly.

Ugh. Leadership is the worst.

“Defend Peri,” he barks. “A10, Red. Armiger, Green. TK, Blue. Go!”

They go.

1 Like

Enjoying the setup for the conflict here. Excited to see the next part.

One flub I did see was Tempest being referred to as Mercury’s father instead of his mother. Could have been intentional to show Peri and Anty working with incomplete information, but figured I’d bring it up.


Fixed, thanks for the diligence :+1:


A10 remembers the story about the hospital attack, and Silver Streak. She knows more than most people, thanks to Mercury telling her about it.

Since then, the Concordance Agents have basically been alien weirdos to her. They helped during the Blot Invasion, because that was a space thing and they’re space people, so that’s kind of expected. But beyond that? She’s never really interacted with them.

She has been warned by multiple veteran heroes about the whole “heroes fighting heroes” thing, where two people with good intentions can get into a fight and there’s no good outcome.

She doesn’t feel like there’s any good intentions here. And she acts accordingly.

She plows into Red at full speed, sending them tumbling in midair. She tries a trick she’s been practicing, which is to crouch, dive feet-first at the ground, push off and engage both her strength and her flight at the same time. This move, called the “Trampoline Punch”, gives her faster speeds than her flight alone could manage. While Red is recovering, she socks them with spectacular force.

Armiger has a serious problem. He can’t fly, but Green can. He doesn’t have a really good solution for this, other than to press the attack at every moment. Can Green squirt out of his attack area? Not if he boxes them in with the surrounding terrain.

Peri was fighting whatever-that-was in a construction yard, the site of a new high-rise building. There are pipes, bricks, slabs, and assorted industrial machines in the area. Armiger rains down sword blows, always from above, and always driving Green back toward one of these obstacles.

He knows that Green isn’t really here to fight him, or this group. These people are after Peri. This is just a delaying action. Still, even if they’re holding back, the Concordance forces are pretty strong. Armiger has seen what they can do. The best thing he can do in return is not antagonize his particular opponent too much.

That sentiment comes to a close when Green finally slips under an earth mover, then lifts it and topples it down on Armiger’s position.

Of everyone, TK has the most time to think about what’s going on. He’s not trying to seriously harm Blue, Blue isn’t unloading on him, and TK has both plenty of material to work with (the construction equipment) and plenty to do with it (box in Blue, parry energy blasts, make counterattacks).

So what’s going on here, anyway?

The Concordance Agents came out of the blue. Haha, Blue, get it?

But, they came for Peri. TK remembers Armiger going after her at the ceremony. He remembers A10’s “bad vibes”. Most of all, he remembers the rush of psychic energy he felt, just before the Concordance appeared.

He thought at the time that it was them. After all, he’s never met the three of them, maybe that’s just how they appear. But he has met Concord.

What if they were responding to that, rather than the cause of it?

Are they likely to stop the fight and clearly explain themselves and their actions? Probably not.

On the other hand, TK isn’t really big on people who attack other people just for being who they are.

Maybe it’d just be more fun to beat an answer out of them.

Mercury runs, and Peri flies. They aren’t going as fast as Mercury would like, but who else can do that?

They come to a halt across town, at a truck stop which serves drivers and long-haul rigs coming in on I-95. Mercury pulls out his phone and starts texting Concord, hoping Adam is around.

“They were after me, weren’t they,” Peri says.


“I could have helped your friends fight!”

Mercury doesn’t look up. “They’re pretty good at fighting.”

“Yeah, but–”

Mercury drags his attention away from the phone to look at this strange would-be hero. “Listen. Sometimes doing the right thing means not doing what feels right at the moment. That sounds confusing, and I’m sorry.”

He lets out a sigh. “Right now, there’s a lot of unanswered questions about you, and there’s only one person I trust to answer them. If we get those answered, maybe those guys will back off. Or maybe we’ll learn you are a problem for real. None of that gets solved if you just throw down with them, though. The Concordance is pretty strong. Maybe they’d wipe us out. Then what?”

Peri thinks about this, and shakes her head at last. “I just wanna be a princess and help people.”

Mercury takes a breath, and lets out a longer, sadder sigh. “You know, I never knew how hard they’d make it to just help people.”

1 Like

The Rainbow Warriors and Concord arrive at the truck stop at about the same time.

Mercury got a few seconds of warning via A10 texting him. “We’re fine. They flew for it.”

Mercury has just time enough to text back. “You did enough :smiley:

Now with the three Concordance Agents hovering around him, he shouts a challenge. “My friends held back. If you just attack someone again without provocation, I won’t.”

Red is first to speak. “You are harboring an agent of the Void Shadow Collective. They are the enemies of the Concordance.”

“You seem to have a lot of enemies,” Mercury shoots back. “Can’t understand why, with your winning disposition.”

The trio only seem to notice Concord when he speaks. “Hey Harry. Whatcha need?”

Mercury looks up, and smiles at his former teammate. “Answers.”

Adam can feel the energy of the newcomer. There’s a definite darkness there, but something really naggingly familiar too. And he feels the screen that’s still around her, messing with emotional perception.

Honesty is here, along with Valor and Compassion. Like him, they’re hovering in the air over the truck stop. Fine, he’ll get to them.

“What happened?” he asks Harry.

“We’re trying to understand what’s going on with Peri here. She seems like a newbie hero, seems on the level. These three opened fire as soon as they ran into her.”

Adam looks at the Trio. He doesn’t need to ask if that’s true. “So if she’s with the Void Shadows, she’s the enemy?”

“The Void Shadow Collective has made themselves our enemy, not the other way around,” says Honesty, a little angrily.

Adam’s only experience with the group was with Sablestar. She was a lot of trouble. But could someone like that fool Mercury? He hopes not.

He decides to try the Concordance’s rules. “Well how about we do that Tribunal thing? If I’m still in charge around here, you all can help me get to the bottom of this.”

The three Agents glance at each other. Adam doesn’t have to hear their shared communication to know none of them are happy with this deal. That’s fine.

The four flyers descend, and Adam approaches Mercury and his charge.

“Hey. I’m Concord. What’s your name?”

“This is Peri,” Mercury says, but he’s cut off.

‘Peri’ transforms, to Mercury’s great surprise and Adam’s astonishment, into Jordan.

“Adam! I got made a princess! And I’ve been helpin’ people but it’s been rough goin’, ‘causa alla these people that keep attackin’ me!” Jordan points an accusing finger up at Mercury. “First his friends did.” The finger swings over to the Trio. “Then these guys. I’m just tryna be a good princess here, so will you please tell ‘em to leave me alone an’ let me do the princessin’?”

Adam almost falls over. It takes willpower to focus, and he’s scanning her words for Truth even while his own head is spinning.

Mercury recovers a little better, and catches Adam before he actually falls over.

“We detect a familial relationship here,” announces Honesty, with a smugness that has Adam worried. The Agent turns their attention to Jordan. “Is that True? You are related to this individual, Concord?”

“Of course! He’s my big brother!”

Adam tries to focus his thoughts. “Look, obviously she’s been tricked. Maybe Sablestar is behind–”

Honesty keeps speaking. “Adam Amari, your relationship with the subject of Tribunal disqualifies you from its administration. We will assume you recuse yourself and proceed on our own.”

Jordan, able to sense some kind of threat, turns back to look at Adam questioningly. But before Adam can act, she’s in a bubble, and the Trio and their prisoner are rocketing into the sky.

1 Like

Sablestar dances with glee. Well, emotionally.

This is delicious! This wasn’t the original plan, but it’s a brilliant improvisation on the theme.

There’s only one thing for the star of her show to do now. Make a hard decision. Such drama! The audience awaits his momentous action with bated breath!

Oh, Adam. Oh, sweet, predictable Adam. Rebel against the Concordance, loving big brother, of course you’ll want to rescue your sister. But how?

Go against the Concordance itself? Destroy the fragile alliance you’ve built with their Agents, and unleash a conflict within their ranks?

Or make another world-twisting wish, and thus reveal a Keynome for me to take control of?

She smiles, from the center of her web, and watches in anticipation.

1 Like

So that’s where we are with Peri and Concord for the moment! What will Adam do? What will the Concordance do? And how will Jordan react?

I will have you know it took me over five minutes to read these two sentences, because I continually stopped to say “Nooooooo…” to myself over and over again as I kept reading. I also had the biggest grin on myself while I did it, so please take this as the highest compliment I can give.

Never have I empathized with Sablestar more. Her reactions were very much inline with my own here.

Very much an enjoyable bit of story. But now I have to wait for the next one. What a wonderful problem to have. :slight_smile:


Fun super-battle. I almost wanted to see more of it, though text-based combat is very difficult to manage and, ultimately, wasn’t the point here.

You made clear and discernable the different individuals, factions/groups, agendas, for which a big bravo.

I love Mercury’s world-weariness.