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First Encounter

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First Encounter

Post by Photon on August 21st 2012, 10:37 am

Alex had programmed several filters to comb the internet looking for traces of superhuman ability. After discovering his own talent, he knew it was but a matter of time before he found others. Superheroes were, of course, already known, but it would be difficult to get in contact with any of the more famous ones. No, his research would have to begin with someone relatively unknown, who wouldn't mind relating their experiences or looking for common ground.

One of his search spiders had found a man whose limb was smoke materializing. The image was from far away, and any normal human eye may have mistook it for mist or cigarette smoke, but the spider was programmed to analyze photos looking for such anomalies. A few phonecalls later, and he had begun the drive back to the city. Driving in New York was a challenge for most, but Alex could take in the surroundings to determine an ideal path through the relative chaos. Such minutiae as the timing of traffic lights and crowd densities let him predict, fairly accurately, where to turn and maneuver. His mind wasn't perfect, yet, but he could still make his way easily through traffic to the small cafe in Manhattan that he enjoyed visiting whenever he was in the city.

He spotted a parking spot and pulled up, parallel parking with barely a glance over his shoulder. He grabbed his briefcase from the passenger seat and closed the door, taking in the sights and smells of New York City. He remembered them, of course, but each time he came things were subtly different. The fall air wasn't quite as pungent as the summer, but that faint sweet, odd scent still hung in the air, an affect that wouldn't quite fade until closer to Christmas. People, cars, chatter, all this made up the background noise, the heartbeat of a city that never quite fell asleep.

As Alex walked across the street, he scanned the area for traps, creating a three-dimensional view in his mind of his surroundings. He couldn't find anything outwardly dangerous or deceptive, but this was no time to be complacent. He walked into the cafe and ordered a cappuccino, letting the fresh smell of coffee beans envelope him. He waited for his order before sitting down at a table and pulling out his phone. He tapped out a message to let his contact know he was here and waiting, then took a sip of the hot beverage. Delicious..

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Re: First Encounter

Post by Gastly on August 21st 2012, 10:58 am

Tony was never an inconspicuous kind of guy, it was no wonder that he would get caught on footage. The media already decided that he was dangerous enough to have warnings about him. He had been standing around, drinking a can of soda and lighting up a second cigarette when he got the message from the guy who decided that he was interested enough in him to have a talk. He quickly typed a message back, or as fast as he could with a can in one hand and a freshly lit cigarette in the other.

”Hope you don’t mind, but I’m gonna have to clear out the cafe. You’ll see me when you see me.”

With that, he took off down the streets of New York. He enjoyed the bustle of the city, because that meant civilisation. Civilisation also meant people and life, and this life was something that Tony found he could help protect. It wasn’t so hard, right? Sure, maybe he had to go through the whole ‘dangerous rogue vigilante’ thing, but as long as he kept the streets as safe as he could. By the time he had finished off his cigarette, he just tossed it onto the ground and stomped it out. He was a hero, not an ecofriendly man. Tony had a distinct grin on his face, as he walked down over to where the cafe was located, waving at people and saying ‘hello’ whenever he could. Sure, nobody replied, but he thought it was nice to do something like that.

Before the cafe, however, he ducked into the closest alleyway, checked for any prying eyes, and pulled out his gasmask from his bag, putting it on carefully, but quickly. He then put on his sunglasses and he was ready to go. This way he’d clear out the cafe with relative ease, right? He took two deep breaths before transforming into smoke and entering the cafe through one of the door cracks. He quickly materialised, his hands held up like guns.

“Clear out or I’ll shoot! And try not to tell anyone about it.” he said, making fake shooting sounds as he pretended to shoot people with his finger guns. People left, nonetheless. He then turned to the Barista and cocked his head up slightly, “Make me a nice caramel latte, will ya?” He scanned the room through his sunglasses and flopped down on the seat opposite Alex, assuming that this was the guy, of course. Either that or it was one brave soul.

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Re: First Encounter

Post by Photon on August 21st 2012, 11:21 am

The phone buzzed, and when Alex picked it up he couldn't help but groan. He continued to sip the hot beverage, the steam wafting lazily into the air. Alex heard the disturbance from outside before he saw it, a cloud of smoke drifting lazily into the shop. From within the mist a man materialized just as he had seen in photographs. He smiled slightly as the other startled patrons quickly fled, probably thinking the place was about to be attacked by some villain. He raised an eyebrow at the man's get-up but said nothing. To each their own.. he thought, watching as the barista fled into the back room, probably to call the police.

"You know, the average response time for this part of the city is under fifteen minutes, and that's assuming the people you just scared out don't do something foolish like start screaming," he said, frowning. "And did I mention this was my favorite cafe?" he said, sighing dramatically as the man sat down. He took note of the guy's appearance, his facial expressions, the gas-mask, committing them faithfully to memory.

"You're lucky I took the precaution of jamming cell-phone signals trying to dial the police in a three block radius," he asked, smiling slightly. He could think of a good many reasons why this man, who went by the name Gastly, would decide to keep their chat as private as possible, but that's what parks or dark alleys were for. Of course, as far as he knew Gastly only knew him by his handle, Whizkid. Somewhat childish, for sure, but it was a respected name in the hacker community. Sometimes he thought that controlling the flow of information was an even more interesting than controlling the flow of electromagnetic waves, but one was also harder than the other.

"I suppose my first question should be...why the need to scare everyone away?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. Knowing the reason would give him a great deal of information about his new acquaintance. People often missed the power a simple answer could provide.

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Re: First Encounter

Post by Gastly on August 21st 2012, 11:43 am

Tony - or rather, Gastly, in this silly concealment of identity - just laughed as the customers fled. He just turned to watch the barista leave the room, and moved to adjust his sunglasses before lazily placing his elbows on the table between himself and Alex. He was a very, very mannerful man, after all. There was a grin behind the gasmask that was probably not the most noticeable thing in the world, but it was there. If it wasn’t there, there would be an actual problem. He was slouching as he sat, arms resting on the table, with his legs stretched out under it. He seemed to give no real care for any discomfort he could be giving the other man.

“Really? I actually didn’t know that.” he laughed, the sound of his breathing probably more audible through the gasmask. That and everything else he said was a bit more muffled. “This is your favourite cafe?” he asked, looking around in disbelief, “Wow, I’ve come here before. No offence but you’ve got lame taste.” He himself was scanning Alex, trying to remember the face just in case they ever bumped into each other again.

“You did all that just for me? I’m honoured.” he joked, “But seriously, that’s sort of wicked, jamming up phone signals and shit. You should probably teach me that sometime, Whiz.” He’d ask for a real name later, but he was too busy getting off on the buzz of being able to clear out a cafe with his presence. It was pretty cool to him, actually. Tony was the kind of guy who spent a bit of time on the internet, but with other things to do and other things to smoke, he wasn’t on too much at all. He did, however, know quite a few things.

“You’re asking me that? Well,” he shrugged and looked around before planting his eyes back on Alex, “I thought it’d be fun. I wanted to see how many people were scared of a smoke man.” and he let out a laugh, leaning back on the back legs of his chair, “Plus, I couldn’t just waltz in here with this on without people staring, right?” he motioned to himself, but mostly to his face and what he had on it. “What’s up with you and your interest in me, anyway?” his head cocked up slightly as if to ‘raise the question’ per say.

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Re: First Encounter

Post by kramer on August 21st 2012, 12:20 pm

(may i join?)

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Re: First Encounter

Post by Photon on August 21st 2012, 12:29 pm

He shrugged, adjusting his glasses slightly. He hadn't felt the need for anything particularly fancy for this meetup, though Gastly seemed to be in full hero regalia, including a fairly inscrutable gasmask that hid most of his face rather well. The Whiz was working on a pair of glasses that would prevent any electronic eyes from seeing his face. His ability to emit some low-level ultraviolet light would allow simple transitional lenses to obscure his features, providing as much identity protection as he wanted, worked for now.

"My interest in you? Purely academic," he said, holding out a palm. First one sphere then a second appeared, each rotating in his palm slowly. "Light, dark, solid...gas, all of these are physical properties. I can control and redirect electromagnetic photons and waves as concentrated spheres of energy, as well as use their power to enhance my own form. You...as I recall, you can become gaseous and incorporeal. My theory is that you can not only separate your physical form at the molecular level but control it through an effort of will. As a physicist, it is quite fascinating.." he said, stopping to take another sip of his cappuccino. He chuckled, covering his mouth after a moment.

"I apologize. I'm sure physics theories mean little when compared to results. I think that the first part of mastering our gifts is to understand how they alter ourselves or the world around us. It's also useful for ferreting out an enemy's weaknesses..." he added, discharging the spheres with another moment's effort. The globes rose from his palm and spread out, each of them disappearing with a small pop as he separated the structures holding them together.

"So, how long have you been able to turn into smoke?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. Doing all the talking wouldn't get him any of the information he wanted, and if he managed to bore his acquaintance it seemed the man would probably just leave. He took note of the clock, watching as the minute hand shifted. Only twelve minutes left.. he noted, his attention never wavering from the subject in front of him.

((Sure, the more the merrier))

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Re: First Encounter

Post by Gastly on August 21st 2012, 8:13 pm

Tony let out a low whistle at what Alex had said. This man was pretty smart, he decided, but not just pretty smart, more like super genius smart. The sunglasses made everything look a lot darker than it really was, but he could tell that Alex was, well, pretty gosh darn white. Even his hair blonde, which just made Alex look like some sort of beaming light in Tony’s eyes. He himself wasn’t too white, nor was he blonde. He felt like laughing at the contrast.

“An academic man, huh?” he let out a low, impressed whistle at the rotating spheres that appeared in his hands. “Sweet. That’s some neat trick you’ve got there!” he just nodded at what Alex was saying, fidgeting slightly from sitting, so he readjusted his position to try and gain most comfort. “A physicist? Wicked. Those electromagnetic photons, could explain to me how they can enhance your own form? I get that you can sort of condense them to make it more concentrated in one location, right? Does that mean you could toss that sphere at someone at they’d absorb all that electromagnetic energy? Because if so, please don’t toss the UV one at me, I don’t want skin cancer.” then he just laughed, because wow that was a terrible joke.

“Physics is interesting, Whiz, but then again, us ourselves seem to defy physics, right?” he shrugged and leaned back into his chair, “Alter the world around us? Enemy’s weaknesses? You should probably talk about the first part, because I’ve never actually thought... Doesn’t the world just keep turning?” he just watched, eyes following the globes as they disappeared. He let out a small laugh at that.

“How long? Uhm...” he tapped his chin and shrugged, “Few months? I dunno, I haven’t really been counting. How long have you been able to do that...” he waved his hands around a bit to try and prove a point, “that whole electromagnetic thing?” Tony wasn’t one to just up and leave when talking to someone anyway, unless the conversation was truly over. Which, to Tony, it never was.

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Re: First Encounter

Post by Photon on August 22nd 2012, 1:11 am

Alex thought for a moment, deciding how best to explain how he perceived his power worked without using complex functions. "Well, let me give you a brief lesson in physics. All forms of electromagnetic radiation, including light and such, follow what is known as wave-particle duality. Basically, light acts as both a particle and a wave, and the particle is known as a photon. Normal light isn't harmful to us, though it does carry energy. Think of the Sun, for instance," he said, sipping on the slowly-cooling drink before speaking again.

"I have the ability to absorb the many different forms of electromagnetic waves and redirect the energy to power my body. Take my leg muscles, for example. When most people run, their muscles have to produce extra energy. This comes in the form of ATP, but when deprived of this energy, they create a damaging substance called lactic acid, and that is what makes that burning feeling. I, on the other hand, can subconsciously redirect the EM energy to replace the ATP I would normally run short on. The same is true for martial arts. Extra EM allows me to get a boost in flexibility, useful when your discipline is about control and using an enemies' strength against them," he said, hoping he had explained it in a way that made sense to an everyday person.

"I can also consciously direct the energy to create explosive balls of light. I condense the otherwise random assortment of waves into a tight, dense sphere and then launch them at targets. Upon impact, the spheres transfer their energy to the molecules on the surface of whatever is hit. When that happens, that spot usually goes boom," he said, chuckling at his use of the 'common vernacular'. He could control the emissions, modulating the energy in each sphere, though he hadn't yet mastered the delicate control needed to really wreak havok, or cause serious harm with ultraviolet waves. That would take more practice.

"We don't really defy physics though," he said, moving on to the next point. "Even average humans are considered the most evolved among animals without supernatural abilities. Our particular circumstances have simply allowed our biological form to connect with our minds in mysterious ways, or alter our genetics in a way that makes us stronger. Even flight can usually be explained. Wings generate the necessary lift, psionically-minded individuals can use their minds to alter the rules of physics in a localized area. I wouldn't say that we defy physics so much as connect with the higher laws of the universe," he said, pausing for a moment to let that sink in.

"And, of course, determining how our abilities work is the first step toward improving them, and ourselves, in my opinion. It's just a side-benefit that any malevolent metahumans we encounter could be analyzed the same way to determine the best point by which to disable them. It's rather unfortunate that some would use their gifts to harm others, but that is the way of morality; without negativity it would be impossible to have a positive moral system," he finished, sipping from the coffee again. He'd been talking for at least six minutes, and it didn't take more than a glance at the clock to realize they were almost out of time. "I'd like to test your abilities, with your consent of course. I have the necessary equipment at my home about an hour from the city. We could do so today if you'd like, or if you have prior commitments, sometime in the future is also acceptable," he said, the offer sincere. Examining his powers would hopefully bring Alex one step closer to understanding how abilities were attained, but he also knew that privacy was something to respect, especially among the metahuman population.

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Re: First Encounter

Post by Gastly on August 22nd 2012, 2:06 am

Complex functions or not, Tony would try his best to understand what was being said to him. After all, he was no idiot when it came to science. Maybe his knowledge on the subject wasn’t as vast or as thorough as that of Alex’s, but he knew a thing or two about it. He nodded as the man explained the whole thing about physics and light energy. “Wave-particle duality, huh? Think I’ve heard of it but never really learned much about it.” he shrugged and allowed for the man to continue speaking, nodding as he went on.

“I always thought lactic acid was made by the muscles when the muscles did not have enough oxygen for respiration? Like... I thought there was aerobic respiration and anaerobic respiration, the latter producing lactic acid, right?” he shrugged, “I’m not sure, but I guess I’m thinking about it,” he moved to tap the side of his skull with his finger, “in a biological sense, and you’re thinking about it in physics.” he did a sort of shooing hand motion to beckon the man to continue what he was saying. He didn’t really want to interrupt him when he was already learning so much about the whole Electromagnetic photons. Nothing sucked more than learning something half way. “Sort of cool, though, getting like, an extra boost in everything you do with your power... You do martial arts?”

Tony laughed at the man’s description of the exploding ball of light. “That’d kind of suck, if this pretty ball of light was tossed at you, and turns out, it blows up.” he couldn’t help but laugh some more at the thought of it, “I was always told not to judge a book by its cover, so I guess I’ve gotta watch my back for floating balls of electromagnetic photon lights, huh?”

He listened and nodded at what was being said about the next point, trying to ingest all the information as well as he could. Tony was never the kind of guy to be able to listen to things for long periods of time and be expected to remember it afterwards, but this time, he made an effort. “So, we’re pretty much, like, the top of the evolution cycle, right? We’re pretty much able to do things that any other person would have possibly only dreamed of. Don’t you think it’s sort of cool? Being able to, like ‘connect to the higher laws of the universe’ as you put it?” he was grinning like crazy behind the gasmask, then let out a bark of laughter, “We’re superhumans! Who knows what the theory of evolution’ll give us next!”

“I guess you’re sorta right there, Whiz, I can give you that. How do you use a power without understanding it, right? It’s like asking a French dude to speak German, or asking a toddler to build a house with a hammer.” he said. Sure, those analogies were probably not the best, but he thought they described his point quite well. He hoped he didn’t sound like some sort of crazy person. “That’s where I step in; I don’t want those... those ‘negative metahumans’, those villains to be using what was given to them for bad.” he shrugged, “Test my abilities? Well... I guess I don’t really mind. Got nothing to do but have a smoke later.” he let out a laughed before continuing, “I’ve never really been able to work out my powers. Not alone, anyway.” As long as he got to keep his gasmask and sunglasses on, all was fine. He didn’t want to have this one guy know who he is and maybe spill the beans elsewhere. That’d really make him look bad.
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Re: First Encounter

Post by Photon on August 23rd 2012, 9:21 pm

He smiled when Gastly mentioned biology. "Completely correct. Generally several chemical processes must work in concert to produce ATP due to the energy required to bind the third phosphate. I meant that my power provides this energy when necessary," he explained, taking a larger sip of the beverage.Nine minutes had passed, and they only had a few left. He swirled the drink in its cup, listening as Gastly continued.

"I am a high-ranking Aikido master, and don't worry, I have yet to encounter someone who manifests their power as glowing balls of doom, so you should be alright," he said with a chuckle. He made a few more comments, and as Gastly finished, agreeing to help, he smiled. "It'll definitely be useful to figure out how you manage to manipulate your smoke form, and it'll be useful if we come across any other adversaries that use aerasolized attacks," he said, smiling.

He stood up, draining the cup of lukewarm coffee. "I think it's about time we left.." he said, heading toward the door. "I estimated that at fourteen minutes the police would start to arrive, but as long as you are concealed..." he pointed toward the trunk of his car. "They have no reason to detain me. I'll simply say I stopped by for my usual coffee and didn't know what was going on," he added, fishing in his pocket for the keys. He unlocked the car and opened the trunk with a button, shrugging. "Should be able to get you out of there after only a few blocks, and I did my best to ensure it would be a comfortable ride. I hope you don't mind.." he said, frowning. The man's temperament was the only variable he had been unable to anticipate, but he seemed pretty easygoing so far.

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Re: First Encounter

Post by Gastly on August 23rd 2012, 10:43 pm

Tony just nodded in understanding, somewhat wishing he had a paper and pen to write this down for later reference, if he ever needed that reference. “Ahhh, that makes sense.” he said, nodding, “It sounds sorta cool, I think, being able to produce your own energy like that.” He did, however, have to shuffle in his seat a bit to get himself comfortable once again. He really couldn’t sit still for too long.

He laughed, “Remind me not to cross your path, oh great master.” He was grinning pretty hard behind the mask, “Though you should explain Aikido to me some other time. I’d love to know more about martial arts, and I’d be lying if I said I knew everything about it other than people can break boards with their hands.” he laughed again, “You’re right there, Whiz, it will be useful. Especially if I come up against like, a guy with a vacuum cleaner.”

He watched as Alex stood up, and quickly followed his lead, albeit a bit clumsily, but he got up nonetheless. Tony followed on behind the man, hands dug deep inside his hoodie’s pockets. “You actually estimated that?” he let out a low impressed whistle, “You’re like a super genius, aren’t ya? And that sounds like a pretty good excuse.” he shrugged and just eyed the trunk for a moment. “Nah, don’t mind. I’ve been in worse transport.” he let out another laugh and just climbed right in. As long as the guy was a good enough driver, he didn’t mind being stuck in a trunk of a car. If anything happened, he could just gas himself right out of there, or that’s what he believed anyway.

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Re: First Encounter

Post by Photon on August 24th 2012, 11:06 pm

Alex walked briskly to the car, opening the door and stepping inside quickly. He turned the car on, setting the briefcase down in the passenger seat quickly and ruffling his suit just a bit. He pulled out and had managed to get about a block away when he was stopped by a small army of police officers. They approached the car carefully, guns drawn, but he raised his palms looking harried. "Hey, hey, what's this about?" he said, sounding afraid.

The officers kept their guns trained on him, approaching slowly. He started to look panicked, all an act really, but he figured his story would hold up easily enough. "My name is Steven Hall. I saw some crazy masked guy come into the cafe I get my drinks, and I ran across the street to hide. I didn't see anyone, so I thought it'd be safe to get my car..." he explained, hands still raised, shaking slightly. The guns were still trained on him, though they slowly lowered a bit. "My wallet's in my pocket. You can call my wife if you don't believe me.." he said, still looking fearful. He knew that the stereotype would work in his favor; super-villians wouldn't be cowering citizens, and if they gave him too much trouble, it could hit the papers that the police were intimidating helpless citizens..again.

The officer checked is wallet, license and registration (all of which had already been digitally forged) and grudgingly sent him on his way. He continued to drive for several minutes, stopping only to press one of the stereo buttons, activating a microphone in the trunk. "There were more police than I expected, but we'll have you out of there in just a few minutes. It'll be safe once we're further from the scene," he spoke, and his voice was transmitted back. Another microphone allowed Gastly to reply if he wished.

It was only a few minutes when he found a safe spot, at least a dozen blocks away, and pulled into an alley long enough to unlock the trunk so Gastly could get out and join him. He tossed the briefcase into the back seat and continued down the road. It was New York City, and unless you happened to have been described by witnesses at the scene of what appeared to be a super-villian burglary, wearing a gas mask made you look strange but not too out of place.

"I'm sorry about that, again. More police responded than I thought. They seemed about ready to charge in. Too bad they won't find anything, right? Besides, you didn't hurt anyone, so I imagine it'll all calm down once they find that nothing was stolen or damaged," he added, smiling. Of the ways this could've ended, this wasn't one of the worst. In fact, what he learned could potentially help save many people and help him get finer control over his own powers.

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Re: First Encounter

Post by Gastly on August 25th 2012, 1:09 am

Tony ended up taking his gas mask off while he was in the trunk because that thing got uncomfortable after a while, especially if you were in a small, enclosed area. He felt the car start up and just mentally estimated how many policemen would show up to a call of what could be a ‘hold up’. Or whatever people called it. When the car came to a stop, he hoped that they weren’t in any big trouble. Sure, he couldn’t exactly hear anything, but he could imagine the whole scenario if the police had pulled them up. From what Tony knew about that area was that it was probably not a traffic jam they were stuck in. Unless the whole hullabaloo caused one, but he found that sort of unlikely. He had to bite back a bit of a laugh at the thought of a bunch of policemen looking for something that isn’t there.

It seemed like an extremely long time, to him, so at that point he finalised that they were not in a traffic jam and that they were probably pulled up. The moment the car started again, he let out the breath that he hadn’t realised he was holding. Well, it wouldn’t have done any good if people heard breathing from the trunk, which was another reason why he took off his gas mask. That thing loved to make him sound like Darth Vader on a good day. At least the whole predicament seemed to be over.

Alex’s voice did, however, make him jump a bit. That was definitely not something he exactly expected. “Oh, really? Wow. I never knew I was so popular!” and he laughed, “Good job, Whiz. I owe you one.” He stuck his hand up in a sort of thumbs up, but too bad nobody would see it. When he heard the trunk unlock, he quickly climbed out of the trunk and into the passenger seat. “Thanks.” he said, sticking his hand up in a thumbs up to Alex. It was only when he sat down and closed the door did he actually decide to put on his gas mask again. He had to contemplate it, actually, since he didn’t want to be suddenly arrested. “If they ask, I’m Gotham’s Reckoning.” he stated plainly.

“Nah, it’s no big deal.” he said, doing a hand gesture to go along with it. “I’m not the kind of guy to hurt people.” he stuck up his hands in front of him like fists, “Do these arms look like the arms of a man who knows how to punch hard?” he laughed, “If I punched someone I bet I’d be the one injured!” In the end, Tony did appreciate this guy’s intelligence, and wow did he one day wish he was as smart as that.

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