Masks 23.5 Keri and Concord [Cutscene] [RP]

Mike said:

“I know we’ve been hanging out for a few hours but I don’t think we were ever really introduced. I’m Concord. Is it okay if it’s just Concord for right now?”

Keri starts to smile and wink at that, in what seems like full flirt mode but, noticing something in your expression, draws back a bit, nodding and more reserved.

“Concord… yeah. Totally. No problem. You still wanna go fly around?” She gestures toward the door with the drink cup she’d been sipping on while she waited. “I’m getting a little tired of all the chatter, so I was going to head out either way.”

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6039675

Adam breathes a quiet sigh of relief. It’s a bit surprising to him to see Keri calm down after being the center of attention for most of the afternoon. Then again, the “Earth’s Mightiest Abuela” act earlier on the plane leaves quite the impression.

“Yeah, I like flying,” Adam replies, wishing he’d phrased that better a moment later.

He opens the door for Keri, giving Leo a reassuring smile from across the room before they leave. With luck, Adam hopes acting like he’s not terrified will eventually turn into actually not being terrified.

Leo recommended asking about preferences,” Sol chimes in. “Would now be a good time to check in before decisions are made?

Yeah,” Adam thinks back in reply. “Hey, what day is it?

As the door behind them closes, Adam and Sol confer at the speed of thought. It’s not the most impressive of things to do, but it’ll keep Adam from passing on other obligations as well. And as a bonus, it shouldn’t accidentally reveal anything about Adam Amari.

Once he’s back to the real world, Adam tries to affect as confident a manner as he can muster and it at least mostly doesn’t descend into self-conscious arm flailing. Mostly. “So is there anything that you like to do when you go flying? Because I’ve got this thing I like to go do over at Memorial Park over by City Hall when I’ve got time. If that’s cool?”

If this goes forward, this will be the dorkiest callback to something that’s happened in game that I could think of. Perfect for Concord.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6040225

“I… Usually just… Fly. So…” She shrugs easily. “If you’ve got a plan, jevo, lead on.”

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6040525

Outwardly, Adam smiles and takes off at a slow clip. He doesn’t know how fast Keri can fly and too fast might seem like some cruel game.

Inwardly, however, the proverbial alarm klaxons are sounding.

“Jevo translates as-

I know what it means, Sol!” Adam interrupts. “You’ve kept whatever does translations on since I got my powers.”

The Universal Translation Matrix_? __That is unusual, that function should not-_“ Sol starts to say, but stops midway though. “Adam, are you attempting to change the subject?

Adam doesn’t respond, so Sol pushes. “Leo’s advice involved establishing boundaries. Subject-Keri-Super-Chica seems to assuming familiar relationships that you have not agreed to.

Things don’t always mean what they sound like.

Sol is now silent, but Adam can feel his mind at work processing this. “This is True. Our experience with the Moon Pies prove this. Does this mean that you are not going to take this opportunity this establish boundaries?

Adam quibbles for a moment, but an odd repetition in his thoughts—almost like an echo—reminds him that Sol knows exactly what he’s thinking about whether he “voices” it or not. “I’m just not jumping at every sign of trouble.

That behavior in the field would make you an ineffective Agent of the Concordance.

Do you want me to talk to you or Keri?” Sol’s silence affirms his answer.

Back out of his head, Adam notices that he’s picked up speed but Keri seems to have kept pace. This puts Memorial Park a couple of minutes away. As good a time as any for a story. Adam flies close to Keri so he can be heard and tells the story of his second big fight with the Menagerie.

“So like last month we got into this fight, the team and me, with Troll and Iconoclast. Well, I kind of let Troll get away from me for a minute and when finally I caught up to him he’d gotten off to Memorial Park. And he sort of ripped up a park bench to throw at me and made a mess of one of the walkways while Link and I were fighting him.”

Adam points forward towards the park. “The Public Works Department just started fixing it and I kind of felt bad because this just shouldn’t have gotten that bad,” Adam explains, careful to leave out the part where his dad is friends with a lot of those guys. While he did feel bad about letting the park get torn up, it’s a lot different when he knows that it’s Gerald, Eric, and the others who have to fix it. “I just sort of stop by and make sure they’re doing okay." Okay, he tells himself,_ that’s enough explanation. You can shut up now._

“You know, buy them coffee during their breaks.” Do not bring up the part about how the owner of the coffee shop says he gives you discounts because you stopped that park bench from flying through the window but you know _it’s because you draw attention when you come in. That’s going to sound creepy.

_“Yesterday I helped dig a hole.” Now you’re just rambling. “It’s a lot easier and quicker for me than auger with the… you know.” Don’t say ‘superpowers.’ Do not say ‘superpowers.’ "Superpowers.”

“This sounds really dumb, doesn’t it?” Adam asks timidly while shaking his head in short frustrated motion. He may not be an idiot like Sol assured him, but he certainly feels like one.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6040806

Keri is looking at you with with a bemused, narrowed-eye expression, like she’s trying to figure out a difficult math problem. “No… no, it sounds - when anybody says superpowers it always sounds like bad writing on a teen tv drama.” She shrugs. “But what else are you gonna call it? I can outfly most fighter jets. Pretty much nothing can hurt me? I can knock over any building around here in about thirty seconds? I’ve got powers, and they are super.”

You two coast into the air above the park. She’s silent while you wave down at the public works employees.

“Okay. So… this is probably as good a place to ask this as anywhere, since you already had a fight here.” She squares up her shoulders and sets her jaw. You actually hear her fist tighten, and yet her voice is calm - casual. She’s completely serious, but not at all tense. “What did you do with the original Concord? Are you some kinda quick-grow clone? A future version of him? An alternate evil universe version of him? Cuz if you hurt that little kid, I’m going to smack you back down to his size.”

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6041072

If Adam were Adam at the moment, his pupils would grow wide in surprise at that statement. Since Adam is Concord, however, they merely glow white hot. He’s going to need to work on that, because eventually someone’s going to think he’s charging up eye laser and that never ends well.

“I am the am that kid. Concord. The only Concord–kind of. I just… look, I’m going to let my-“ Adam struggles with what call Sol. He’s definitely a mentor of sorts, but that doesn’t fully encapsulate it. He definitively not Adam’s commanding officer. What did Adam’s dad call him again? “-partner explain, if that’s okay. He knows all the Weird stuff a lot better than I do.”

Adam reaches up to his head and pulls Sol’s sigil free. Instantly it grows into a softball-sized ball of fire, completely free of Adam’s touch. It wiggles about in the air to acclimate itself to being free and then starts flashing as it speaks. “Greetings Subject-Keri-Super-Chica. We have also not been introduced. I am Solaris-Gamma-Two, an interface of the Universal Concordance and our Agent’s…partner.”

“Our Agent has achieved his second rank, as noted by the crests, granting him the full power allowed by my limits. This was needed during the recent battle with the extra-dimensional invaders you know as the Vyortovians due to… outside interference. With the release of the Level Two Restraints, our Agent’s form needed to adapt to the increased power and it assumed its peak physical form. Normally this would be an adult of the species, but due to the outside interference this was instead limited to that of a seventeen-year-old male.“

Wait,” Adam thinks, “was the outside interference Harry? Am I big because Harry wanted to be older again?

Without Subject-Gale-Tertiary’s interference, you would instead have assumed a form comparable to your physiology at approximately age twenty-six. Given your distress at your current form and the increased stress that would come with being viewed as an adult in your culture, I believe Subject-Gale-Tertiary’s interference in the process should be viewed as a positive outcome.

Without missing a beat due to the psychic conversation, Sol continues to speak with Keri, “While our Agent’s exterior form has changed, he is functionally still the same ‘Concord’ that you would have known before. However, I believe it now to be the time-“
“You can stop now, Sol.”

“-to speak to you about your familiarity with our Agent.”

“You can really stop now, Sol.”

“Your attention shown towards our Agent today has caused him undue stress and concern. He seems unwilling to voice those concerns at this time, but we will use this opportunity to do so.” Adam would be interrupting Sol right now, but Sol’s not letting him at the moment. He’s also not letting him grab him, pull him back into him, or each reach for him. He is allowing Adam to angrily glare at him and think diatribes of words that his parents didn’t think he heard last week. “Our team leader has expressed that boundaries are needed for a healthy interaction to occur and we agree. Additionally, our Agent would like us to clarify that the “we” does not currently include him.” Adam nods in agreement. It’s all he can do to be a part of this conversation right now.

“Subject-Keri-Super-Chica, you appear to show Compassion for our Agent and while we find that a positive trait, our function is to protect our Agent. Please state your intentions so that we may gauge the Truth of them.”

In case it wasn’t obvious, Sol really wants to Pierce the Mask here. Given her actions, I think her intentions are pretty clear but no reason not to take the opportunity when the move is triggered. Note - Concord should still have his +1 Forward from his talk with Link during the training and given the topic, I imagine this is a perfect place to make use of that.

Also assuming Keri’s mostly open with her identity from the original post Bill made about her. If not, assume that Sol refers to her as Subject-Super-Chica because he’s not a jerk about outing people’s identities as noted by him exclusively refering to Adam as “our Agent” in the verbal conversation.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6041173

Keri’s eyes flicker back and forth between Sol and Adam and, every time they settle on the kid, struggling, they narrow.

(yeah. That’s with the +1 forward. Concord does not yet get humans, apparently.)

“Let. Him. Go.”

Then she punches Sol. And connects.

The shock - half of it from the simple fact there IS a shock - knocks Sol to the far side of the park.

[Take a powerful blow.]

‘Sol!’
‘I am… all right, Adam.’ He’s slowly floating back your way. ‘It might be better if you do the talking.’

And that’s two potential and an advance for Concord. Keri literally just punched you into a level up.

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6041964

Mike said:

Also assuming Keri’s mostly open with her identity from the original post Bill made about her.

Keri doesn’t worry about her identity, because she just doesn’t think anyone can hurt her or her family.

What she IS under cover about is how powerful she is. She’s already idolized to uncomfortable levels by latinx communities, often politicized on issues she isn’t comfortable speaking about, and nearly sainted by a whole country (Dominican Republic), and that’s without anyone knowing she can punch a mountain flat.

She has a pattern of doing what she did today in the training session - play support. Hang in the background. Be a distraction while everyone else does what needs doing. Sometimes she’ll let a big dude punch her while the team figures out how to take them down.

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6042015

Adam’s eyes don’t leave Sol as he floats back. This is all for show on Sol’s part after-all. Sol’s no more physically there than Adam is a 17-year-old, it’s all just manifestations and forms to make others comfortable. There’s also a part of Adam that just don’t want to look at Keri at the moment. She’s a figurative nova of emotional emanations right now: purple, blue, green, and other colors swirling together. She seems so earnest, so caring right now. But instead of trying to talk about it, she punched Sol.

“I am really happy,” Adam says quietly, still not making eye contact with Keri, “that Sol doesn’t have a physical form right now. You were right. You have the strength to knock down any building around here with ease. And you hit my friend with it. Sol can be really overbearing at times. He doesn’t get normal people. He takes little things really seriously.”

“I really shouldn’t tell you this part-” Adam finally turns to look at Keri. His Yellow light is blazing now, bursting through on his chest and arms in small patches of heatless flame. All the reverb that Concord uses to mask Adam’s normal voice is gone. “-but I’m twelve. I might not look it, but I’m still that little Concord you probably saw on TV or whatever. And I need him to be like that, or else I might do something stupid with all the powers I have.”

Adam leaves Keri, flying down to the Public Works workers. Gerald’s down there and he tells the best jokes. Adam needs that right now.

Thank you for your concern, Agent,” Sol chimes in. “Your words imply-

Can we do this later, Sol?” Adam cuts him off. “I just want to make sure these guys are okay.

Of course. Adam.

Oh man, did not expect this to shake out like it has. Obviously Adam’s a bit miffed with Super Chica at the moment (the puppy dog eyes of very definitely gone). Funnily enough, per Concord’s Teamwork move he’s totally given Super Chica Influence over him during this final exchange (by sharing a secret about who he really is). I also made the other relevant changes to his Labels from the move and he’s in a pretty scary place at the moment (he’s one wrong Label shift from a Condition on a lot of fronts).

I as a player am interested in continuing this (and Keri seems like the sort of character who doesn’t let things lay for very long), but I also don’t see Adam’s stance changing without something drastically changing (though as we’ve established, can happen when someone literally can punch you into a level-up). Ball’s in your court for that one, Doyce.

Finally, Adam took Empathize (the Adult move) with his Advancement. Seems fitting since it is his entire shtick. And I couldn’t think of a better Advancement (not wanting to change playbooks right at this juncture) to take at the moment.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6042335

Mike said:

“You have the strength to knock down any building around here with ease. And you hit my friend with it. Sol can be really overbearing at times. He doesn’t get normal people. He takes little things really seriously.”

Keri’s eyes widened in disbelief. “Your ‘friend’ just put a muzzle on you when you were trying to talk. That’s not how friends work, and I hope if my real friends see me on a leash, they punch whoever’s on the other end.”

Her eyes narrow. “And if that’s not how it is, which it looks like your about to say, then… You’re lying about SOME part of what you just said.”

She’s shaking her head as he flies away. “I want to be friends with you. Not whoever you’re hiding behind. You need to stand on your own.”

[annnnd she’s shifting Superior up, Mundane down with her new influence, if you let her.

Oh man, did not expect this to shake out like it has.

[DITTO]

I as a player am interested in continuing this (and Keri seems like the sort of character who doesn’t let things lay for very long), but I also don’t see Adam’s stance changing without something drastically changing (though as we’ve established, can happen when someone literally can punch you into a level-up). Ball’s in your court for that one, Doyce.

[she’ll definitely let things go for now unless Adam turns around. She’s not giving up on him though so this will definitely be something that comes up again later. Sorry for the delay in my response I’m up in the mountains today in the signals pretty weak. If you keep going with this particular it will be this evening before I can respond. Good seeing even if it was a little bit weird.]

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6042876

“On my own?” Adam repeats, letting the last word linger.

Adam, we apologize for actions. Subject-Keri is correct, while we acted in what we thought was your best interest, we were being a bad friend.

Adam nods, and then speaks Sol. Aloud. Like actually speaking. “Sol, can you repeat that where we can all hear it?”

“Of course, Agent,” Sol says, the sound not coming from anywhere in particular. “We apologize for our actions. Subject-Keri was correct with her assessment; we were a bad friend by shutting you out of the conversation.”

“Maybe. But you were being a good partner by making sure I was listening.” Adam looks at Keri. “Is the Override whatever still on?”

“Agent Override Mode? That is correct Agent, as you are well aware from this conversation. Would you like to disable it?”

“No,” Adam says with an easy shake of the head, “I’m good. I trust you to only use it when needed. Thanks Sol.”

“Our pleasure, Agent. Please remember, Agent Override Mode by this interface can be disabled at any time. Your consent is very important to us.”

“I know, Sol. Thanks.”

Adam smiles at Keri, though he can tell she isn’t happy with him in the slightest. For all the times he was hoping he could be confident today, now is the first time he actually feels it. “If I stood on my own, I’d be like four-foot-five and down on the ground. I think I did lie to you earlier, but I didn’t mean to. It’s hard to think about, but I’m not really Concord. These aren’t my powers. Sol and I are a team. We’re Concord. That doesn’t mean we agree all the time, but we do need to work together to be Concord. And being part of team means doing your share and not getting what you want all the time.”

“I really wanted to be your friend too, Keri. But you’re setting expectations I’m not comfortable with and you kind of scare me.” Adam crooks his head back to look down at the City Works guys. They’re staring up at the spectacle and Adam really hopes he’s been quiet enough that everyone hasn’t been listening in on the conversation. He can only live with so much embarrassment today. “I need to go check on these guys, so I’ll see you around.”

Okay, so we’re totally Rejecting Her Influence. And jeez…

Almost another 6-. The dice were a 6 and a 1, so it wouldn’t have taken much to knock it down that extra bit. Adam’s having a great day for rolls! As for the choose one option on the move, I’m going with “cancel their Influence and take +1 forward against them.” I doubt there’s going to be any more rolling today, but cancelling her Influence is the important part here. The line “you kind of scare me” should solidify that.

Is it just me or is it infinitely amusing that Sol–the alien who doesn’t think like humans do–took Leo’s advice more to heart than Adam did at first? I’m going to chalk that up to “he’s very unfamiliar with the culture, but if you break down concepts for him he’s at least capable of understanding them even if they don’t apply to him.” So congrats Link–if you needed to track Influence for Adam and Sol separately, you’d probably have both at this point. Got to collect them all.

As for some behind the scenes info into my thoughts on all this, because the parts with Sol and Adam might seem contradictory (Adam told Sol to shut up but Sol continues, but later Sol says he needs Adam’s consent to do things) I don’t agree. Adam was upset with Sol taking the reigns certainly, but could have pulled the plug still with “I don’t give you permission to do this anymore.” There’s a bit of a difference between “I don’t like what you are doing and I’m angry, but I still trust you” and “I’m angry about what you’re doing and I don’t trust you anymore because of it,” if that makes any sense.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6043370

All of this makes sense for my point of view so we’re all golden as far as that goes.

Keri’s reaction, while abrupt, is (I think) likewise within bounds for the character (pretty much the first thing mentioned about her is a big sisterly vibe toward Concord, and in any case she’s not a… Complicated person). Also, to be perfectly honest she’s somewhat an agent of the dice. When a six (5) comes out, something bad is probably going to happen that’s going to mess some stuff up and take things in an unexpected way. if Adam had screwed things up, her reaction obviously would have been different but it was the alien glow ball that did, so something’s going to get punched. :slight_smile:

And if I’m honest, this is a teen superhero game where the teens are all being emotionally level-headed and no one’s solving problems by punching them, so… Gotta balance that out. :slight_smile:

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6043675

As a player, I love Keri. I love characters who are blunt instruments in delicate situations. Sometimes they surprise you, but just watching them try to make a complicated problem easy is just fun. It also helps that she’s not wrong in this situation either (neither of them really are, it’s just a difference of opinion).

Not everyone needs to be Captain Mal in a story. Sometimes you need a character to be Jayne. Diversity of character types is great for telling stories and our fictional world is better for it.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6043702

+1^ Mike. I’ve found another damn NPC I want to play in a game. :slight_smile:

I’m still processing what’s going on in Keri’s head after this.

1. Concord categorizes “talking to a girl” in the same category as going into battle against a Yule kaiju - gotta have the powers on line. That’s… something.

2. She’s not convinced there isn’t some weird stockholm syndrome/dependency/dominance abuse cycle going thing going on with Concord, because actions will always speak louder than reassuring words with her, but she’s also been asked out of the situation for now, so she’s going to leave it be. Mostly.

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6043722

Doyce T. said:

1. Concord categorizes “talking to a girl” in the same category as going into battle against a Yule kaiju - gotta have the powers on line. That’s… something.

Wait, did I do that? It’s not wrong, but I’m trying to figure out what line sparked that thought.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6043732

Doyce T. said:

And if I’m honest, this is a teen superhero game where the teens are all being emotionally level-headed and no one’s solving problems by punching them, so… Gotta balance that out. :slight_smile:

I know a callout when I hear it, but in my defense the last two times I was ready to punch, the situation fell away from under me, and now Leo’s got a girlfriend and is mellow for a bit, so what are you gonna do? :slight_smile: When my current plots come back around, we’ll see more direct action.

I put together http://wiki.menagerie.team/Superchica behind the scenes while this was going on, feel free to annotate down the road with any of the biography you cooked up, Doyce.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6043735

Mike said:

Doyce T. said:

1. Concord categorizes “talking to a girl” in the same category as going into battle against a Yule kaiju - gotta have the powers on line. That’s… something.

Wait, did I do that? It’s not wrong, but I’m trying to figure out what line sparked that thought.

The chain of logic there is…

She’s shaking her head as he flies away. “I want to be friends with you. Not whoever you’re hiding behind. You need to stand on your own.”

Which is: “You should have talked to me yourself instead of hiding behind Sol doing the talking for you.” and which I think Adam heard and/or processed as “you need to do this superhero thing as plain old you.”

Then:

“If I stood on my own, I’d be like four-foot-five and down on the ground…" [and then blah blah blah he’s talking about why being Team Concord is important she kind of tuned out at that point because Keri].

Which she hears as: “If I talked to you as myself, I’d have to be myself, and myself is 4’5” and no just no. Concord better."

It is ENTIRELY POSSIBLE you two were talking about two completely different things and thought you were talking about the same thing and totally got the wrong message from what the other one said. Which proves they’re both human, teenagers or not.

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6043751

Bill G. said:

Doyce T. said:

And if I’m honest, this is a teen superhero game where the teens are all being emotionally level-headed and no one’s solving problems by punching them, so… Gotta balance that out. :slight_smile:

I know a callout when I hear it, but in my defense the last two times I was ready to punch, the situation fell away from under me, and now Leo’s got a girlfriend and is mellow for a bit, so what are you gonna do? :slight_smile: When my current plots come back around, we’ll see more direct action.

ACTUALLY… I really appreciated the fact that you spent the last could days putting together a couple villain teams SPECIFICALLY composed of people we can punch with a clear conscience. :slight_smile: It feels like we’re on the same page there. :slight_smile:

I put together http://wiki.menagerie.team/Superchica behind the scenes while this was going on, feel free to annotate down the road with any of the biography you cooked up, Doyce.

Will do. :slight_smile:

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6043758

[Also if Adam is currently 4’5" for real he’s probably really is due for a MAJOR growth spurt because my daughter is 12 and just hit 5 feet, and she’s not really that tall for her class. The Amaris better stock up on Tylenol.]

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6043763

Bill G. said:

Doyce T. said:

And if I’m honest, this is a teen superhero game where the teens are all being emotionally level-headed and no one’s solving problems by punching them, so… Gotta balance that out. :slight_smile:

Also, I want to point out “balance.” I like all the talky bits. I like that you guys can solve stuff that way. I just needed to balance out Riverdale with a little … well, Keri. :slight_smile:

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6043811