MENAGERIE #46 - DON'T CRUSH THE CHIPS

What Has Come Before

The Wound between the AltFuture!Sepiaverse was closed through Charlotte and her older counterpart and AltFuture!Jaycee.

AltFuture!Jason has been beaten upon Leo and some YoungJason nanobot consciousness. Trundled back to the base.

Sablestar had a bit of a showdown, escaped when “dismissed” by Concord.

Harry and Alycia and Charlotte attracted the ire of Dr. Infinity.

(The starfish that Alycia now remembers in her memory was damaged.)

And Now …

Back in the base, licking wounds.

Alycia has had a team moment with Leo and with Aria.

Older Charlotte brought back to the base. Convalescing. Still material, IVed, etc.

Elder Harry still around. He’s tired.

Bot is still in the VR with Pneuma.

Leo and Charlotte

Leo and Charlotte share a moment of Triumph.

Since the Pony AMA – seeing Charlotte as a (Bull) rival. Someone who needs to be followed more closely. Really happy she took other people along this time, and that’s a great success. Being a leader & people person rather than doing her own thing (Influence: +Mundane, -Freak) --> Potential! Can graduate to Paragon!

She expresses appreciation for his inspiration and support while she figured all this out. Meaningful affection! (Influence, +Mundane, -Superior, both locked).

Concord

Concord gets with a Triumphant Moment with JC. “Hey, I just got this sword, can you show me what to do with it.”

Introductions and chitchat.

“Oh, also ran off the other starfield bastard.”

He convinces her to go off and spar. Does a cool thing where she can make the sword vanish and go to her other hand. Huh. Interesting idea …

She tells him he needs to work on it to get more muscle memory. Find someone who can show you more. Work on it.

No fear in her about him. (+1 Forward, Mark Potential)

Charlotte

Altfuture!Charlotte … awake, but weak. Alt!Harry has been with her. Asks for the room. He goes off.

How are you feeling?

Unspeakably tired. Grateful. Ashamed. Embarrassed. Horrified.

There have been times when I’ve done things that … were needful. But made me ashamed. Embarrassed. Horrified.

It got away from me. I got away from me, far enough ahead that I didn’t realize. Beware of that – when you have so many people looking to you for direction, you can easily be swept up the wave of their own momentum, and become –

– part of the mob, rather than their leader.

Then it’s chaos. Pandemonium.

How can I maintain my purpose when so many want me to tell them what to do?

I know the thing that needs doing. I don’t know, without help – which I was too terrifying to get – how to avoid those same pitfalls. Back in the old days, very early on, I had a conversation with Pneuma, and we talked about choices. She had some sort of scientific phrase for it – n=1 universe – what she meant to say was we only get the one chance in our time. You get the chance to see my terrible failing. You have an opportunity to do differently. Do the best you can.

We can’t change what we’ve done … next time opportunity arises.

Spent too much time about what I was for, than what I was called to by my own nature. I confused the two, and by the time I might have realized the diff it was too late. We came into being by very strange events, by entities beyond my comprehension, and I spent a great deal of time to figure out how those puzzle pieces resulted in me. And after great time, and pain, and confusion, and suffering, both to me and at my hand, I’ve come to the final conclusion, that, frankly, Charlotte, I don’t give a damn. I just wish I’d realized that sooner. Or as some old old friend might have said, you do you, girl.

[Advice: worry less about the fate, the purpose, just follow your heart.] [Teen Trope!]

[ Take +1 forward to do this (some time) and take 1 Potential when you do ]

Harry

Harry. Talking with AltFuture!Harry, share vulnerability.

Harry has chips.

AF!Harry turns from his searching. Thank God. (His use of speed is constant. But without accompanying distrubance in the air. Seems exhausting to Harry.)

So usually if I bring somone chips … whats up? Heading back soon?

Some of us have school to get back to.

Not envying you, despite the high-tech hellscape. (About a month after the Divergence, at Christmas/Yule.) You guys dodged the stuff that screwed up real bad. Things going okay?

Yeah, but things going better here, too. Saw you talking to Charlotte.

Yeah, thanks for taking that. How’s Mom and Dad? Got through Xmas thing okay? (tenses)

Dad was in the hospital for a long time for him. Getting better.

What about Chase? … everyone going okay? Not driving you crazy yet? Are they still … have you figured out phasing, yet? Didn’t figure out until …

(AF!Harry got Charlotte’s body in the big body switch.) Now it’s just Rook. We beat her all the time. And we have Jason we can come back to slap around …

(Talking about stuff in the Sepiaverse, and fear.)

By the time that happened, everyone was gone. I went there to find Charlotte. Leo wasn’t Leo. Concord was gone. Jason was … Jason. Wanted the two of us, and you saw what she was. Scary, because it was just me left. Didn’t want to deal with that. One year when Dad, Chase, Granma Swift … everyone was gone. Then we were gone. That was the worst part. Maybe you’ll be diffrent. I don’t know we’re that good without other people. I don;t want to be solo. Not who we are. We need them, those goofballs.

For all of the chips we give them …

Avoid the beard thing. Not a good look on me. Second – protect those morons. When they’re gone, we’re kinda terrible. That’s the only advice I have.

[Reaction: a lot of fear, fear of family going away, in a dangerous business. fear for friends. easy to run away from the fear. but … it’s important to remember that they’re still here. there’s still someone. even if everyone’s gone, there ae still people out there who need our help.

You think that;s what I should be doing.

You had an 18 year break. now you’re slacking off, eating chips.

… what’s the scariest thing you have to worry about.

A date

Who?

Andi

The flyer? who can punch through a wall? Dude! Who asked who out?

It’s a blur of pain. I was an idiot.

We are so pathetic.

I’m going to save the dystopian wasteland with my crippled friends. YOu have a date. You drew the short straw. Good luck. That’s kind of awesome. Do we hug?

Don’t crush the chips.

(Vuln … clear a condition, give Influence)

(He’s an adult. So he gets to shift labels. +Mundane, -Danger)

Leo

Vector (in the lower half the suit) motions Leo and Aria and Otto to come over. Down to … the medlab, the VR world chamber, where Pneuma was at.

Pneuma is sitting up on the table. Bot/Leo is walking up to her with a glass of water. They both smile at each other. And, for just a moment, that thank you smile, back and forth … Aria whispers, "Now I see the resemblance. When he smiles.

Advice to your 17yo?

Honestly, no, I want yiours. Gave me the best you could. This (taps forehead) isn’t us. I would love to be able to say that being messed with helped me figure that out, but … I don’t know if we’re making new people. I don’t know if that’s what I did with Pneuma. I feel like I took part of me and put it into them and they became a whole person. But I’m missing something, and I;m never totally me without them. I’m better when she’s here, I’m dumber when she’s not. I don’t have advice for you. NOT that bit a hypocrite. Thank you. YOU saved us. It wasn’t yourself. It was just you.

You did something for me. We’re going to take 20 years and see if it pans out. Phoenix.

Shit, you left some of it here? You’re going tomake me go find it. YOu’ve given me something else to do. (Grinning. Leo doesn’t recognize, but Aria does.)

Jason

Jason’s eyes blearily opening …

“Hello, hero.”

Scramble backwards … GAH!

Then … extends arm … nothing happens. Nanobots don’t respond .

What do you want?

(LATER)

Alycia, walking out with a smirk. [[ To be written. ]]

Back to the Present

We come back, later in time.

Harry and Alycia have both missed their dates.

(Concord comes back at a different time.)

((We’re moving through time, Sablestar appears, crashes into Concord, panicky … with an enormous Doctor Infinity reaching out with their hand …)

Hilarity will / does / did ensue.

And we’ll see Leo off …

End of Session

ALYCIA - Closer to the Team (Aria) --> +Mundane, -Freak (humanizing!)

LEO - Image of Self!

HARRY - IMage of Self!

CONCORD - Influence to JC --> +Danger, -Freak

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6569227

If anyone has specific requests for fiction, comics, or other cut scenes, let me know!

Lacking anything more specific, I’ll probably keep fleshing out second- or third-magnitude NPCs. One other thing I’d like to write up is some hints of an interstellar background. We’ve gone to the future and another dimension, leaving us with the past, and outer space, as likely comic book destinations. We also have Concordance agents, Sablestar, and other hints of what’s out there…?

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6570276

While I know you’ve done quite a bit with Summer, I kind of would like to see some easing into her super identity given next week will be her first run.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6571016

Mike said:

While I know you’ve done quite a bit with Summer, I kind of would like to see some easing into her super identity given next week will be her first run.

And having the fic be readable will make it easier for us not there (sniff) to enjoy it. :slight_smile:

As to other requests, until I learn what dire fate Doyce Parker has in mind for me, how about a series of cartoons on “Alycia Chin Housing Options,” including her rooming/domiciling with other characters on the team or in Halcyon. If it at all inspires you.

Interstellar stuff sounds interesting, though I kind of hope that we’ll get some Halcyon-based stuff for at least a few eps, if only to let Parker Doyce yank my Reformed playbook threads.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6571067

Sure, I can do that. Unlike Leo, I don’t really have plots for her, I have NPCs. But there’s a few things i want to see:

  1. Introduce herself to the families or guardians of her teammates - that means the Amaris (including Jordan), the Gales, and probably Agent Parker - and just kind of say “I’m gonna be working with this person now, I promise to do my best to keep them safe, here’s how to reach me”.
  2. Amusing A10 interactions. Discover A10 likes Harry, squee, and work to make it happen.
  3. Longer-term, I think it would be neat for Alycia to find she has to deal with her Reformed contacts and end up selling out Leo and/or Summer in some fashion.

Most of these things require the connivance of the GM. But I can have her do random crime-fighting or similar stuff on the side, yeah.

One key point is that, while she-as-Pneuma and Leo did train together quite a bit to be superheroes, they did train together. How many times did Leo ever go into a fight without Pneuma, Aria, or Otto as a partner? By comparison, Summer’s having to learn solo heroing from the ground up. I think that’s one of the reasons that having her be a zero-XP starting character makes sense.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6571085

Bill G. said:

  1. Longer-term, I think it would be neat for Alycia to find she has to deal with her Reformed contacts and end up selling out Leo and/or Summer in some fashion.

That’s kind of the plot one expects a Reformed to have at some point or another, and the Friends in Low Places mechanic is explicitly set up for those sorts of moral conundra. It’s just that she hasn’t been around for anyone to be able to track down to call in a favor (or, for that matter, for her needing a favor from any of them). Another reason I’d like to chill in Halcyon for a bit.

(“Hey, you seen Alycia Chin?” “No! She owes me a favor, I mean to call it in. But I can’t find her.” “It’s like she skipped town, but we’ve got people watching all the ways out.” “I called her mobile, and it says 'The number you have reached is currently in another dimension. Error Code 047.” “I had a guy watching that Jason Quill doofus she had a date with Saturday, and she stood the poor sap up. My guy ended up taking Quill out for shots to get him to stop crying.”)

Ideally, of course, such a plotline has everything looking like Alycia’s betrayed Leo and Summer, now captured by the bad guys, until the big reveal at the end (perhaps fiatted by a Moment of Truth) where it turns out Leo and Summer have been in on the plot the whole time (insert low color saturation flashbacks here) and were waiting until the bad guys made their move, revealed their plan, and were at their most vulnerable, to demonstrate that those titanium-vibranium bonds are actually just cardboard with a bit of titanium-vibranium paint slapped on them by Alycia …

(Or maybe I’ve been watching too many caper shows like Leverage lately.)

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6571899

how about a series of cartoons on “Alycia Chin Housing Options,” including her rooming/domiciling with other characters on the team or in Halcyon.

So far we have the teen job hunt montage and part 1 of a house hunt. Edit: part 2.

My guy ended up taking Quill out for shots to get him to stop crying.

Cue this scene.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6572080

Ideally, of course, such a plotline has everything looking like Alycia’s betrayed Leo and Summer, now captured by the bad guys, until the big reveal at the end

I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys decide to do about this, or how to play it, but I sort of imagine that Alycia (who’s already dishing to AEGIS) might be asked to go further, and lure some old Chin contacts out of the woodwork to expose their network. She’s certainly been quick to condemn Leo for what she sees as his weaknesses or compromises - I wonder how she’d face being asked to make dubious choices of her own, given that history.

For example, maybe Rosa Rook has decided to farm out “acquire Link’s robot connector tech” to an underworld group, and they’re now fishing for leads. Alycia can lure the whole group into AEGIS’ dragnet, if she gives them Summer (or some of her spare parts). Even if she did it with Summer’s approval, what would it be like to ask her for that kind of help?

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6572090

*** Dave H. said:

Interstellar stuff sounds interesting, though I kind of hope that we’ll get some Halcyon-based stuff for at least a few eps, if only to let Parker Doyce yank my Reformed playbook threads.

I wouldn’t expect anything I came up with there to appear any time soon - I agree we have plenty of stuff we want to get done in town. :slight_smile:

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6572156

I was glib about handling the betrayal arc, but that’s really a core port of the Reformed thang, and temptations and blackmail and moral dilemmas are not only possible, but expected.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6572160

Adding to my earlier list: yeah, I do think Summer would check in on Jason if Alycia doesn’t return immediately. She doesn’t know about their date, but she knows he would still worry. Ditto the Gales and Ponies and anyone else who she thinks might want to hear some reassurance.

Edit: check!

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6572220

“Alycia will be happy to know I checked in on Jason while she was gone. She does worry about him so.”

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6572496

“Alycia will be happy to know I checked in on Jason while she was gone. She does worry about him so.”

I don’t think Summer’s naive enough to assume Alycia wants her to check on Jason… :slight_smile: But that said, Summer does firmly believe that Alycia worries about him (her visit to Blintzkrieg demonstrated that much) - and vice versa.

If Dave doesn’t have time to see that conversation through (expected, since it sounds like vacation is already in progress), I have a series of comics in mind that’d present one version of events…

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6573301

To keep everything in one place, here’s the Summer Heroic Intro, played like a solo session.

And here’s the start of the 9-part comic where Summer visits Jason and doesn’t go on a date with him - one version of events where she’s letting people know the Menagerie still isn’t back.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6581422

Bill G. said:

“Alycia will be happy to know I checked in on Jason while she was gone. She does worry about him so.”

I don’t think Summer’s naive enough to assume Alycia wants her to check on Jason… :slight_smile: But that said, Summer does firmly believe that Alycia worries about him (her visit to Blintzkrieg demonstrated that much) - and vice versa.

If Dave doesn’t have time to see that conversation through (expected, since it sounds like vacation is already in progress), I have a series of comics in mind that’d present one version of events…

Alycia does worry about Jason, though in some ways it’s almost pro forma. She’s not really had a chance to progress her relationship with him since the memory patch (and hasn’t even really processed that).

For her it’s impossible that someone else be involved with Jason until she figure out if SHE is involved with him. If her relationship with Summer has taken the turn it seems, then should she realize she’s past what she had with Jason, Alycia might set her mind to getting the two of them together. Because soap opera.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6581782

*** Dave H. said:

Alycia might set her mind to getting the two of them together. Because soap opera.

This is definitely not canon, but I like it for the comedy, and the symmetry.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6582671

Heh.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6582693

Well this went to weird dark places. This is why I need more hobbies for my weekends.

Edit: I think we need a new category for comics here. We have canonical and non-canonical, for stuff that will or won’t show up. This one is anti-canonical. If it meets a canonical comic with the same number of panels, the two will annihilate each other in a release of energy.

“She’s Supergirl, I’m Batman” + Composite Superman + Leo saying “don’t dress Numina up like Alycia” back in #22 =

#OneMoreDay

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6582788

One thing’s certain. Whether Summer tries to set up Alycia, or Alycia tries to set up Summer, there’s only one possible reaction from the Ponies:

This panel is from a series called “Story of a Girl with Sanpaku Eyes”, being posted on Imgur. Curiously, it’s about a girl who looks suspicious, is very awkward in relationships, has trouble speaking what’s in her heart, but is cute anyway. I wonder who that could be…? Worth reading, no matter what.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6584652

Bill G. said:.

Edit: I think we need a new category for comics here. We have canonical and non-canonical, for stuff that will or won’t show up. This one is anti-canonical. If it meets a canonical comic with the same number of panels, the two will annihilate each other in a release of energy.

All good comics have stories of ambiguous canonicity. It’s just that it usually takes a few decades to build up that sort of probability cloud. :slight_smile:

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6588089