39.2 - Messed Up

Consumer Science is the only class that Nono Rodriguez shares with the hero known only as Kid Kelvin. Well, he has a name, and the class knows it, but this is still privately how she thinks of him.

She has a note. She’s supposed to deliver it, then walk away. But is that really good enough? No. She’s going to do her best to sell her new friend. She knows the gist of it anyway.

“I want to get his attention,” the strange girl with the calming plasma powers had said. “Can you arrange for him to be somewhere, at a certain time? I wrote this, maybe it’ll persuade him.”

Note clutched tightly in one hand, Nono taps Kelvin on the shoulder.

“Yeah what is it?” he asks.

He sounds bored, or tired. I hope he’s getting enough sleep.

Nono musters her courage. Superheroes are talking to you now. You can do this. “Listen, um, there’s this girl…”

Kelvin brightens up slightly.

“… and she wants to…” Think think. “She wants to meet you. There’s some kinda fancy restaurant outside of Northpark Mall…?”

“Near the Sergeant Stronghold statue, yeah,” Kelvin says, slightly more curious.

“… yeah, that one. Um, will you… will you go?”

The hero mulls this over. “Is she hot?” is his only question.

What? Ummm… Nono computes furiously. The plasma was near room temperature, and had a characteristic spectral line that it cast on the classroom wall, and the girl could maintain it near her skin without injury - though that may have been a secondary power, so it was probably a non-thermal plasma, like a fluorescent lamp-- “About 10,000 kelvins,” she announces proudly.

Kid Kelvin blinks. “Is that hot?” he asks again.

“Well… yes, quite hot, actually,” Nono answers. Shouldn’t he know this? It’s in his name.

He seems to be wavering. Nono draws herself up. “Listen. This girl is my friend. She really wants to meet you. So you need to go meet her, and treat her nicely, okay?”

Kelvin raises an eyebrow, and shrugs. “Okay, okay. I’ll go.” He breaks into a grin. “Sounds like fun. Hey, how am I supposed to recognize her?”

Nono grins back, happy to have been of service to her new friend. “She says you’ll know.”

#Cutscene #HotMess

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6404247

Outside the classroom, Nono is stopped in her tracks by a boy she’s seen - one of the rich kids who attends Gardner. She doesn’t know his name.

“Say, I heard you say something about 10,000 Kelvin!” he announces, poised like a puppy about to pounce. “That’s the operating temperature of certain plasmas! Was that what you were talking about?”

“Ye… yes?” Nono gives a serviceable impression of a deer caught in high beams.

“Were you really talking about plasma after all?” He sounds even more eager.

“I was, actually…” Nono is suddenly on guard. She was just supposed to deliver a message to one boy. Who’s this guy, and what does he want with her friend?

“Good! Wonderful! My name is Pietro. The Plasma Prince of Gardner.” The boy puffs himself up as much as possible, which isn’t much. “You’ve heard of me.”

“Pleased to meet you, Pietro. I’m Nono–”

“Yes, now, what kind…” Pietro stops, and looks over his shoulder, like he’s hearing an inner voice speaking to him. “I’m sorry, I interrupted. Nono…?”

“Nono Rodriguez,” the girl answers. She lets out an inner sigh of relief. He didn’t ignore me. I should have said something, though.

“Well, Nono, let’s go talk some more.”


author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6404282

Things are going swimmingly.

Hot Mess reviews her plan. Co-opt naive and vulnerable high school girl as messenger - check. Have her deliver a message anonymously to Kid Kelvin - check. Obtain floor plans for mall and restaurant - check. Look for busiest hours at said restaurant, so there’ll be plenty of witnesses, hostages, and other useful sorts - check.

Hot Mess briefly wonders what’ll happen to Nono after this plan goes through. Will she connect the dots? Probably. Will that be a problem? Probably not. Will she need to be dealt with? Quite the contrary - she’ll spread stories about the clever girl who snuck into Gardner Academy, then disappeared without a trace. There’s no need to come back here after the fight, either.

(“Have no attachments. Allow nothing to be in your life that you cannot walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner.” “Never walk into a room you don’t know how to walk out of.” The boss is a big movie buff. Hot Mess doesn’t need school. Robert DeNiro is all the teacher a villain needs.)

_Wait. Wait. Waaaaaaaiiiiiitaminute. I was going to make her a lieutenant! Or a minion. She’s good at chemistry. Wait - if she figures out I’m a villain, how will she feel about me making the recruitment pitch after the big fight? This won’t work, it’s awful. It’s disrespectful. “Oh, by the way, I want to make you a minion.” Especially if the fight doesn’t go well. Shit! That’s just desperation. “Hey, I totally fucked up with that guy I sent you to bring to me, why not come support me for next time?”

_Okay, take a breath, you had a plan for this, you just forgot. FIRST - recruit her as a minion. SECOND - the fight. Shoot. This puts a very definite time limit on recruitment. The henchmen were easy, the correct keywords in Soldier of Fortune magazine always bring in the right mix of brave, greedy, and thick. Temporary housing came courtesy of LairBNB. But actual named minions?
Hot Mess flops down and lets out a frustrated sigh. The boss recruited her after a traumatic empowering event. What if Nono were to have an ‘accident’…? No, she might actually die. But what about staging something? That requires more planning than she has time for, and she hates to half-ass a job. Argh!

Would she just… be a minion, if asked? Probably not. There’s not much conventional academic promise in minionhood, much less villainy, and that girl is bright enough to go places. The boss says villainy is like piracy - it’s all about independence and perception. A strong-willed, self-assured villain might go for it, but the whole point of a minion is that they aren’t those things. This is actually pretty complex.

Hot Mess curls her hand into a fist and rests her chin on it, and muses. What would the boss say?

“Use the five C’s in the order you have 'em. Charisma, Charm, Circumstance, Cash, or Coercion.”

Charisma? Hot Mess doesn’t feel much confidence in that. Charm is an option. That girl certainly seemed interested in the plasma effect. Circumstance will take too long. Nono doesn’t seem like the sort who’ll be bought easily. So… that leaves Coercion.

Time to find out who her friends are. Just in case.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6407395

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6407644

“Ask Dr. M. Real People, Real Problems, Real Advice.” - http://www.askdrm.org/

Name or Nickname: Hot Mess
Asking For: Myself
Age: 16

There’s a girl I just met. She’s amazing. She and I have some pretty similar interests. She wants to be my friend, but I want to move our relationship to a different level. I’m making a pretty big life move soon and I want her in my life for it. I just don’t know if she’s interested. Plus, if I’m not careful how I ask the question, I’m worried I’ll scare her away, or she’ll tell someone about me. I thought I’d try to get to know some of her friends, and see if they’ll be useful in making the connection.

I’ve been alone all my life, I feel like this is my big chance. I don’t want to screw this up.

Is there anything else I should try?

If anyone feels inspired enough to reply to this one, go for it.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6407896

Bill G. said:

If anyone feels inspired enough to reply to this one, go for it.

We’ll see what I can come up with during my lunch break. :smiley:

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6408393

Dear Hot Mess,

It sounds like you’ve found yourself in a stressful situation. When you’re 16, many of the situations you find yourself in can seem like some of the most important in your life. I won’t tell you not to worry about as much but I will ask you to think over what you are worried about. You’ll have many relationships in your life: friendships, acquaintances, romances, colleagues, and others. Don’t think of this as your one and only shot at the relationship you want, but instead the growth of your existing relationship with your friend.

While you didn’t tell me in your question, you mentioned something about you that might “scare her away” or cause her to “tell someone about me.” While I won’t suppose to guess what this secret is, I can assume that it is something about yourself that you’re not yet willing to share with anyone else yet but that you’ll need to share with your new friend if you want the relationship you desire with them. If that is the case, you’ll need to think about what your willing to share with because they might share your secret with others. It is a hard fact of life, not everyone you put your trust in will honor that trust

This secret may be one you’re not sure whether you’re ready to reveal or one that you’re not ever planning on letting anyone else know. In the latter case, I would be very leery. A secret, once revealed, will never be a secret again. But if this is something that you are considering sharing with the world one day, perhaps this is a good first step. A small audience that you’ve selected that hopefully responds to this secret with love and acceptance.

I hope this all works out for you, Hot Mess. You may feel alone but I think the world will surprise you if you give it the chance.

- Dr. T

My one hope is that this earnest and heartfelt advice can be twisted into something horribly, horribly wrong.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6409129