Twinkle Twinkle

It's a day like any other. The sky is calm, society is dealing with another American tragedy.Things continue on the same as they ever were.

Four unsuspecting people will have their lives irrevocably changed today. In the sky, four stars are moving out of sync with the rest of the universe.

Somewhere in an observatory, one lone scientist records their movement. But before anything can be done about it, they come crashing down to Earth.

With their arrival, all of humanity is as well irrevocably changed this day.

(Ok. We'll start with each of you making a character and then posting what the character is doing during the day. Right now you are normal people in your normal life.)

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Trapturtle's picture

James Piotte

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[James leans back in his chair. Looking over the score screen, he won the round handily. He minimizes the game for a second to check the time.]
{4:15 A.M., plenty of time. Don't panic.}
[He quickly tabs over to the blank word document that he has to turn into an essay in the next few hours.]
Why the hell did I have to take the 7 AM sociology class? I'm going to need some help.
[He walks past his snoring roommate to the mini fridge in the corner.]
{All we've got left is one Monster. Ugh, that stuff tastes like piss, but it looks like this is the only way I'm staying awake through class.}
[He walks back to his chair. Throwing one of the empty ramen cups on his desk into the already overflowing garbage can to make room for the energy drink. He starts looking through the tabs of research he had brought up, but hadn't gotten around to reading. He accidentally tabs one time too many and brings back up the game screen.]
{Well, one more round can't hurt. I've still got plenty of time.}

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Forge's picture

Steve Irons

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[Steve has to remind himself not to stare up at the skyscrapers anymore. It's hard not to. The tallest building he had ever seen in his native country was 10 stories, tops. Walking towards One Madison Avenue, for what he has been told will be his "final" interview, he's forced to stop for a second to calm himself.]

[It's all or nothing. The company that sponsored his visa to the US will ship him right back out if he fails this interview -they told him so. Even if he lands the job, the sponsor company will still take half his paycheck, before taxes, so he'll end up receiving just 20% of what he earns. But that's enough for him. 20%, in dollars, is more money than he's ever seen put together. And he needs it. He has debts to pay. He has family counting on him back home. He made it to the land of opportunity. His english could be better. But he has to land this job. Credit Suisse. Interview in the 12th floor of One Madison Avenue. He has to make it. He can't afford the rent in his tiny little one-bedroom apartment in Queens, even with a roommate.]

[He stops and looks at his cheap plastic watch. He still has 10 minutes to kill. He sits in a bench in Madison Square Park, right in front the imposing and beautiful Credit Suisse building, and goes over his introduction, in his head, for the hundredth time.]

{Hi, Steve Irons. [smile]}

{Hi, my name is Steve Irons, nice to meet you!}

{Hi, I'm Steve. And you are?}

{No, no. ... .. Good morning. I'm Mr. Irons. Shit.}

{I can't blow this... I made it this far...}

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DarkMoonINC's picture

[The game takes more time than he had imagined. As the clock ticks ever closer, James is in a mad scramble to finish the paper. It's a deluded haze of writing, caffiene high, and sleep deprivation. These are the hours of the day when time works differently, when memory and reality are too blurry to control.]

[James comes to out of his stupor at the school campus. The flash drive is in his hand, he's sure there's a paper on it. What quality, he doesn't know. He's walking from his source of transportation to the front of the school. His head is a rush of game rounds, writing and editing, and more Monster drinks.]

[For one brief moment in time James turns to look up at a shooting star in the sky. Some subconcious part of him decides to make a wish on it. A wish that somehow life was different, better. That the rat race of homework and financial woes would come to a head. But James can't shake this feeling, and he knows that he has to get to class. His roommate is probably still snoring.]

[That's when the shooting star is upon him. The blur of reality from writing the paper and playing games and drinking that metallic piss water energy drink finally came to a clear here in the soft cold wet green grass of the college lawn. Now that his lucidity has finally grasped a moment from reality to think and act clearly, the shooting star hits him and the world blurs again. There's a thunderclap sending a dozen other students flying and knocking the world from James.]

[James spirals back through the air, smashing into a parked toyota truck.]

[James awakens about five minutes later, the demolished shell of a truck curled around him like James was a cannon ball. He doesn't feel any pain from it, and despite his clothing being a bit torn, he's unscratched, untouched. Unbreakable. James is able to climb to his feet to see a crowd of people staring at him, whispering mass confusion.]

[James looks down at the hole burned into his shirt. Over where his heart is, there's a strange symbol of writing from a language he's never seen. In absentminded checking, James finds the usb flash drive is somehow untouched in his front pocket.]

(James has acquired Invulnerability to normal damage, Super Strength, and Mach Speed flight. However, he doesn't know these yet. Feel free to say they are psychic, magical, alien, mutant powers, elemental based, or whatever tickles your aesthetic fancy. Feel free to have him accidently discover his powers now as you see fit. The story is yours to run with.)

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[The ten minutes crawl on forever. Like the terrifying anxiety of approaching some apex, only to have everything fall apart or galvenize in strength. Solidify it's structure. Steve hopes it's the good ending, and not disappointment and a trip back home.]

[Luckily for Steve, today is a lucky day. Despite all his nervousness and a bit of clumsy anxiety during the interview, and the slow eternity of waiting beforehand, the actual interview goes well.]

[The keys to a great future are in his grasp. The employer, a Mister Phillips, gains a great impression of Steve immediately. They joke, they laugh. It goes as good as he could have imagined.]

[Phillips tells him he starts tomorrow, and all he has to do is just finish the last bit of paperwork and everything will be fine.]

[It's out on the street, walking away in complete disbelief, paperwork in hand for his first real American job, that it happens. The ideas are overwhelming. A secured Visa, a secured place to live. Finally, freedom. America. Streets are paved with gold and all that nonsense.]

[He sees a shooting star and part of him wishes for his dreams and hopes. Then the shooting star comes directly at him and Steve is frozen with horror. The force of it slamming into him throws nearby pedestrians to the ground. Taxis driving by are flipped over. The sound and fury of it blind him for a moment.]

[When Steve awakes, he's in the subway, laying across the tracks. His clothing is ripped and frayed but mostly intact. A hole in his shirt shows that over his heart, the tattoo of a strange symbol has grafted into his skin. It's nothing he's ever seen before. But he's unharmed, not a single bleeding part or even a scraped knee. His body has defied medical science. Rubble strewn around him. Down the line a subway train is headed right for him. The cement and metal around him are going to cause it to derail right after it plows into him.]

[Steve and the train operator's eyes contact at that moment and they both realize what's about to happen.]

(Steve has acquired Invulnerability to normal damage, Super Strength, and Mach Speed flight. However, he doesn't know these yet. Feel free to say they are psychic, magical, alien, mutant powers, elemental based, or whatever tickles your aesthetic fancy. Feel free to have him accidently discover his powers now as you see fit. The story is yours to run with.)

(Also, sorry to place civilians in danger automatically but these things happen.)

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Forge's picture

Steve Irons

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[Steve is convinced he's dreaming. He has to be. This has to be a nightmare. There's no other explanation. Maybe he passed out after the interview. Maybe it was the happiness, or the relief, or the fact that he hasn't had a good meal since he boiled that 1-dollar pack of hotdogs and ate it with stolen ketchup bags from McDonalds. All he remembers is walking out of the building, with paperwork burning in his hands... and then... a star?]

[But there's no time to think! A subway train is coming! How did he get here? Did he fall through some manhole, perhaps? Did someone throw him here?]

{It's a nightmare. It has to be a nightmare.}

[For a fraction of a second he glances at the symbol in his chest, and this convinces him he's actually dreaming.]

{But if I know I'm dreaming... then that's called "Lucid Dreaming", isn't it? I can control it!}

[Positive that he's going to just wake up the moment the subway train hits him, Steve decides to simply stand up, close his eyes, take a deep breath and open his arms wide, welcoming, bracing for something that will surely be painful.... before waking up from this dream-turned nightmare and rehearse his Credit Suisse interview again...]

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-=[Live Forever]=-

FryFroFella's picture

Flynn McDaniel

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[Flynn gathers his things}

"Alright, I gotta go guys. Gotta get to work."

[The three other men in the diner say bye as Flynn gets out of the booth]

"Work? Where you workin at? No one even told me you got a job," [Malik asks between bites of his eggs]

"Well maybe you should get out more often. One day your mom's gonna stop payin the fuckin Xbox membership and you're gonna have to get offa Call of Duty and go outside -

[Malik cuts him off] "Oh, you don't even know Flynn, you don't even know -

"And, and - I wasn't finished - and you're not gonna be prepared for the real world." [Flynn stops smiling and leans in close] "Dead serious, I mean I'm not trying to be the bad guy here, but you could really use a nice sun tan, you're getting a little pale -

"Aw, get outta here, go, just get the fuck out," [Malik is focusing on his eggs and ignoring the other three men, (Flynn, Juan and Stephen) who are giggling like schoolgirls].

[Flynn is already out the door of the diner and trying to untie the result of a headphone orgy in his pocket when Juan catches up with him]

"Hey, you gotta finish a story or somein?" [Juan asks, tapping Flynn on the shoulder]

"Yeah, I gotta do it for a contest and I'm behind. Why?"

"Nothin important, just text me when you get done later" [Juan says, and returns to the other guys]

"Alright," [Flynn untangles his headphones, put them on and steps out onto the street. Flynn walks quickly, trying to get to his apartment in twenty minutes at the most. While he's walking and compulsively pressing the 'Next' button on his mp3, he settles for The Roots. From South Philly, nice. Represent. Flynn had lived in Philadelphia all his life, despite some trips out into the Pennsylvanian countryside, and a year long excursion into the Australian outback when he was 18. Just a few months ago, actually. And New Guinea. Try not to think about New Guinea.]

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DarkMoonINC's picture

[Flynn has all the world pumping into his ears, the pure bliss of being inside his own headspace. It's so awesome that Fallon got the Roots as a house band, shooting a dominantly underground band straight into the spotlight of primetime television.]

[Static eats through the music like bees. Flynn can't place why it would do that. Then he sees a shooting star in the sky. Electric interference. He picks up a radio transmission for a brief few seconds.]

"...man was seen flying through the air, and destroying a truck. This just after reports of the man who derailed a subway in New York..."

[It seems to be headed to Canada, when it's trajectory changes almost ninety degrees. It comes falling at him and as Flynn tries to escape it, the object plows into him.]

[Flynn flips through the air and smashes a food truck in half. Migrant workers and hipsters scatter in all directions. The owner of the foodtruck is unconcious in a pile of meat and lettuce at the back of the truck, having narrowly escaped death.]

[Flynn awakens with the truck halves curled around him like a hug. Someone is talking to him and he is coming out of a head fuzz. There is not a scratch on him but his headphones are smashed and his clothing ripped. A hole through his shirt reveals a tattoo of a strange symbol he's never seen before.]

[The person talking to him helps him lift to his feet. It's that girl he likes, the one who works at that place.]

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DarkMoonINC's picture

[Above Steve there's a tunnel hole dug through the ceiling. As best he can figure it out, whatever hit him smashed him so far through the street he landed on traintracks. It hurt. But only the way it hurts when you get hit by a dodgeball. Which just leads to all sort of questions.]

[As he braces himself, he can feel the energy coursing through his veins. Closing his eyes, listening inside his head to mostly silence, the beat of his heart is alien. The normal human heart is there. But behind it is a massive echo of some power in his heart that is extraterrestrial and massive. Whether it's from aliens or gods or who knows, it is certainly something foreign to human kind.]

[The train tries to stop. The noise of brakes is a nails on chalkboard tsunami all through the tunnels, and even up into the streets. The train pushes him, like he's being tackled in football by high schoolers. A train hops and skips, metal grinding, people screaming. Steve stops moving, the sound of the the crash dies down. The moans and crying and screams of passengers now replaces the crashing noise.]

[Steve can see the train is thirty feet ahead of him. The front is crumpled in around a man shape, roughly the same size as himself. The train is scattered all around the subway tunnel behind it. Steve realizes the hole that was above him is now almost a half mile down the tunnel behind the tail end of the trainwreck.]

[Steve looks down and realizes that not only did the train "nudge" him a half mile and send him thirty feet further, he's untouched. The train tore his clothes slightly more but he hasn't even a bruise. Then he looks down and realizes he's three feet off the ground, hovering in place in the middle of the dark tunnel. Steve Irons is levitating in the air, still in his his spread arms "Come At Me" pose.]

[Above him in the city he can hear sirens.]

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Trapturtle's picture

James Piotte

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What the hell!?
[He climbs out of the wreckage, peeling off parts of the car like it was made of tin foil. He looks back at the car, then to the people around him that are watching.]
{What just happened? This can't be real. It hasn't been that long since I've had sleep, is it? I'm probably just seeing things. I guess running on nothing but caffeine and microwave food takes a toll after awhile. Whatever, I need to get this paper in. Fuck it, I'm not even going to stay for the lecture. All I need is a good night sleep and a decent meal.}
[Just as he dusts himself off he hears the school's clock tower start to chime.]
{And now I'm late, great.}
[He takes off running as fast as he can, hoping beyond hope the professor got caught in traffic or something.]

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DarkMoonINC's picture

[The crowd parts, watching James. He's going quickly across the lawn. A look at his scratched timepiece and he realizes there's not enough time. He's going to be late, and this professor is very strict. Part of him pushes up towards the class on the second floor with instinct.]

[Without even realizing it, James is crawling through the open second floor window. He blinks, looking down, and realizes he went from ground to window in a single fluid motion.]

[The professor has his back turned, readying his paperwork. Most every seat is filled and a sea of students gawk at him curiously. As James steps into the room, he realizes he's gliding across the floor without effort. His feet hover inches from the floor. But the paper is with him, he can turn it in on time.]

[The professor doesn't even notice him.]

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Forge's picture

Steve Irons

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[Reality comes rushing in, like the sound of water suddenly bursting through a cracked dam. Not only did Steve not wake up... but the dream got even more real than before.]

[He stares ahead, confused, for all five seconds. At the train, crumpled in front of him. At the hole above that leads... holy Christ -he can see the Credit Suisse building, with its famous clock, up there. He checks his pocket: the papers are there.]

{Is this... real?}

[He looks at his feet, hovering over the ground.]

{Jesus Christ, someone has me on a wire!}

[He checks above him, thinking it had to be wires. Thinking there had to be some sort of explanation.... but how do you explain a train with a man-shape crash crumple near the front? And the people crying-]

{Oh my god. They're hurt!}

[Forgetting for a moment whether it's a dream or not, Steve rushes back to the ruined train, scared out of his wits, and moving his legs as if he was running until he realizes... he doesn't have to. He doesn't have to move his legs. He really is flying...]

Oh Christ, I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry! [he says to no one in particular as he closes in, trying to remember whether or not it was rush hour and the trains were packed with commuters] Oh god, I'm sorry! [he looks around for an MTA officer, or a policeman] please! Somebody call 911! People are hurt! Please!

[He doesn't know what to do, he approaches the nearest wounded person, and cradles him or her in his lap, trying to hold back the tears from the shock of what has just happened -he looks to see if anyone is trapped, if anyone...]

{Shit, they're hurt. They're hurt. please let it be a dream... oh god, please let me wake up...}

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DarkMoonINC's picture

[Within minutes, workers are pouring into the subway tunnel. EMTs, Firefighters, Police. Volunteers. They are pulling people from the wreckage at the back of the train closest to the station.]

[Steve finds he can control the flight. By just thinking he's heavy, he can contact the ground and move like everyone else. But if he wants to go somewhere else, like straight up a thousand feet, it seems like gravity won't even check his credentials. He has a free pass as far as gravity is concerned, if he desires it in his heart.]

[The workers are treating people. The people Steve is trying to help near the front of the train aren't badly hurt. Banged heads, minor scrapes. No major injuries. Just a lot of visits to the chiropractor. A few disability claims. But nothing much that can't be treated by anything more than a school nurse.]

[The cars at the very back have suffered the worse. There are two people dead, but mostly a lot of them are are roughly banged up. One of the middle cars is sandwiched between the front and back sections, requiring teams to use a jaws of life to cut them out.]

[Steve can't do much for the people but try to comfort them. No one at all seems to recognize him at all. Steve can choose to exit with the other survivors and leave. The situation is just too unbelievable right now for the authorities to know exactly what to do if they did discover who Steve was. One of the chubby construction workers just getting off shift turns to him as Steve weeps.]

Hey man, calm down. It'll be ok. Act of god. It wasn't like you were responsible. The train just hit something out there on the tracks. Don't get survivors guild.

[The man pats his back and moves on to help the workers at the middle cars. As Steve looks around the cabin of passengers here in the front car, his eyes connect with the driver. The man just gives him a sad glance, a knowing recognition glance, and returns to helping passengers.]

[Officials have shut down the entire Subway line as the crew works. The entire process will take the teams about twenty minutes to get most of the survivors out. It takes another two hours to help remove all the people trapped in the middle cars, and get them to the hospital. It's expected, over the radios, that the entire cleanup will take weeks. All of this is about to happen.]

[But right here in the moment, Steve is faced with a series of choices. He can confess to the officers, and deal with the legal ramifications. He can use his abilities to save the people trapped inside the middle cars, but at the risk of discovery. He can help out as much as he can without revealing anything. He can simply leave. There's another dozen things he can do. If he really is some new sort of indestructible flying person, there's no telling how the world will react.]

[Right here in the moment, Steve faces a decision that will influence the rest of his life.]

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Trapturtle's picture

James Piotte

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{How did that just happen? That's not possible, is it? I just really need to get back home. Hell, I'd be happy to just pass out in the backseat of my car right now.}
[He looks up and notices everyone is staring at him.]
{Damn, I must be in worse shape than I thought. Alright, just drop off the paper and leave. It's that easy.}
[Carefully, he makes his way around the edge of the room towards the teachers assistant.]
Here, I can't stay, but I need to drop this off. Thanks man.
[He heads for the door.]
{This is probably just a dream. I'm going to wake up at my desk, and have to rush to class. Now this class is invading my dreams. Why did I have to take the 7 A.M. course?}

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FryFroFella's picture

Flynn McDaniel

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"Sasha, Sasha are you okay?"

[Sasha is very confused] "Am I okay? You're asking if I'M okay?"

[Flynn shakes his head quickly, manically, pacing around in a circle, wiping the ash off himself]

"Come here, come on," [Sasha pulls Flynn to the side and sits him down on the sidewalk. She takes off the remnants of his hoodie and drapes her own coat over his shoulders]

[Flynn knew this would happen eventually. Loud music, absentmindedness and busy inner city streets did not mix well.] "Are the people in the car okay?"

[Sasha suddenly looks upset]

"Oh, Christ, are they dead?"

"No, no they're not dead." [Sasha shakes her head] "I mean, it was just you. No car crash. They're saying it was a bomb, a rocket. There was an attack on a subway in New York, too."

"Wait, like, terrorists?" [Flynn sounds skeptical]

"Yes. Like terrorists." [She says. They both sit in silence for a short moment, but the tension and adrenaline in the air stretches it out. Police rush out to the scene, firefighters run down the streets carrying houses, news crews are already out and interviewing.]

[Sasha shakes her head, looking at Flynn. A mixture of concern and curiosity.] "I don't know Flynn, I really don't...I saw you get hit. You got hit. Maybe the blast like through you back or something...but even if it did, you went right through that food cart! Everyone saw it..."

[Flynn stands up and hands Sasha her coat back] "I'm going to New York,"

"What?"

[Flynn shrugs.] "I don't know. I'm just gonna go see what's going on in New York. Do ya wanna come?"

"Flynn...what...New York is being attacked. We can't just go there."

[Flynn starts to back away] "Sorry Sasha, but I need to. Thanks, really, but I need to go."

[He starts jogging to the train station, an image of New York clear in his mind]

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Forge's picture

Steve Irons

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[It faded away, eventually, the wishful thinking. There never was a single moment where Steve snapped and realized this wasn't actually a dream -it was rather like a tide slowly coming in, relentless... the overwhelming force of the now, with the wounded and the helpers, crowding out the rest of his scattered thoughts.]

[Steve will be eternally grateful to that man who comforted him while he was crying about the two people who died. Those two deaths will be forever in his conscience.]

[Also, he doesn't know what to think about the fact that he can fly. Part of him wants to be glad! Part of him wants to celebrate, to imagine a million adventures and interviews with TV news-hosts.... but he just can't feel anything but weighty mourning right now. The subway tragedy is what deserves to be in the news. And he will take responsibility. He was raised to man up, to own his own acts. At the same time... he always dreamed of flying, as a child... so many conflicting emotions...]

[He looks at the train car squished in the middle with the people trapped.... there is zero hesitation. Lives are at stake. The chips will fall where they may, and although he can somewhat glimpse the consequences of revealing himself... well, lives are at stake. He could never walk away from this.]

I... I can help! I... just... excuse me. I can help. I..

[He exhales, and just ... flies there. Through the crowd of workers who were struggling with the crumpled metal, he just flies there, and sticks his fingers in the panel, and just pulls apart the twisted train car walls like a man opening a can of tuna. Then he does it again, and again -until there is a clear path to get the people out. He helps anyone who can't get out by his own means... and he'll keep on helping for as long as there are things to help with and nothing else becomes the focus of attention... but part of him knows he will become the focus of attention... and soon...]

{I don't know why I can do these things. Flying. Pulling metal like this? Maybe they'll go away, these powers. Maybe it's temporary. Jesus, but these people got hurt because of me. I gotta make it up to them somehow. Oh shit, I'm gonna be in a sea of trouble. They're gonna send me to jail. They're gonna dissect me in jail to find out why I can fly. Jesus, I can fly! I should get out of here. I should run away while I still can. Oh god. I can't. Gotta help this people. Just a little more. Then I can escape. Oh, she hurt her knee bad. That man is bleeding too much. Oh God I can't believe this is happening. I always dreamed to be a superhero. But I feel like I'm about to pass out!}

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DarkMoonINC's picture

[The assistant looks at James, jaw agape.]

Assistant: Oh...ok. Yeah. Yeah paper. Sure man. Head off. [A glance at the busy professor, then back to James.] He's sort of setting up a movie but- nevermind dude. I think you got more important things.

[The students start whispering among themselves. James finds himself easily down to his destination. The day is free ahead of him. He finds that by willing his heart, his steps can stay to the ground. But if he desires to be above the ground his body just goes where he wants. He can finally hop up and slap the top of the entrance doorframe without trying after all those years of missing it.]

[The dream doesn't seem to be ending. He finds that his hands can crush anything he wants. A simple squeeze and he can smash a soda can as small as he can fit in his palm. Gravity and physics are on his side today.]

[Outside, the campus police are trying to make heads or tails out of the crumpled wreck of a truck he'd fallen into. Seeing it now, from across the campus, he realizes what kind of damage his body did to the truck. And still, not a scratch or bruise.]

[The sun is climbing the sky. The entire city is alive out there. The entire world.]

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DarkMoonINC's picture

(I have to say, this is an amazing post for Flynn. I like how you actively fill out the npcs on your own. Unlike previous games where SH took NPCs and players were confined to their own, this is a lot more loose of a story.)

[Sasha wishes him goodbye, one last hug, and then watches him leave. She looks at the number on her phone, thinking about calling him later. Sasha watches him go out of sight and then continues on her day.]

[As Flynn moves along the road, willing himself to go faster, he looks down and realizes his feet are dangling. He's a foot off the ground. He's head foreword, legs behind him at an angle. As he focuses on New York, his body lifts up past the buildings and it becomes a blur. Behind him the sound barrier cracks and ripples like thunder: he's a jetplane up here. Wind paddles his face but it's bearable. The ground is a blur below him, such a fascinating and new experience. Within minutes he's hovering in the air above New York. It feels like if he truly desires it, his body just does it.]

[While he's up there, Flynn realizes that basketball will never be fair again.]

[Flynn's feet absentmindedly land on a building. Down below him is the chaos. Police cars and firetrucks and ambulances fill the streets. A tiny handful of survivors are exiting out of the terminal entrance. There's a hole in the cement, a tunnel down into the subway. One the size of a man.]

[Flynn can see the evidence of what happened. Something plowed through the ground and then derailed a train. His instinct tells him he knows what happened to him is connected to that hole.]

[Crowds are gathering around the scene. A lot of people are hurt down there, but the radio chatter is a sea of confusion. No one seems to know exactly what just happened. Suddenly a cry comes up and spreads around the crowd.]

He's saving them! Holy shit! He's saving them! The superman!

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[The survivors just stare at Steve gape jawed. Even the police are stunned, their brains trying to register what they're seeing. Steve is able to easily peel the cars open. It reduces the entire event to a mere hour or so at this rate.]

[Workers watch in amazement, unable to conjure what to say to their lips. Steve has, in five minutes, opened passage to all the injured. Lives were saved today.]

Man who patted him on the back: Sweet Jesus.

[After the shock wears off, the workers rush in to pull people out. One of the EMT snaps a finger at Steve, pulling him out of his thoughts, and points to the injured. Then he points to the hole. The resourceful EMT is asking him to take the wounded by gurney straight up through the hole.]

[A cry goes up around him.]

He's saving them! Holy shit! He's saving them! The superman!

[The police are eying him cautiously, but aren't doing much. The EMTs and Firefighters are more interested in saving lives. Their focus is on getting Steve to take the worst out the quickest.]

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Forge's picture

Steve Irons

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[Work makes time go fast and occupies the mind. A mind occupied with work has less room for fear, less room for being anxious about the future. All those thoughts about being sent to jail and dissected slowly take a back seat as Steve works with the paramedics and other officers, doing everything that's needed, being as helpful as he can. He hopes nobody saw him cry earlier on.]

Up there? Sure. Yeah, I think I can do it. Give me just a sec to make it a bit safer-

[He flies up to the hole in the ceiling and quickly sinks, bends, or breaks off any sort of spike or protruding iron or jagged edge that could scratch or present a risk to anyone as he flies through. He hopes it doesn't take him more than a few seconds, then he flies right back, nods to the paramedic, and carries in his arms the first of the wounded to be taken up]

Hi [he says to the girl with the broken leg] Don't be afraid okay? I widened the hole a bit and made sure nothing can scratch you or anything. Up we go.

[And up they go. He does it quick, but not so quick to scare her, and he emerges out in the Madison Square Park, in front of the building where he just had his interview (trivia: these same subways were the entrance to Necrotopia in the Red Wolf game) and quickly delivers her, gently, to the nearest ambulance.]

There're a lot others down there, I'll bring them up in a minute, okay? You can line up the ambulances -it'll be a second!

[And it is. He is down through the hole in an actual second, since he has no one to worry about this time and can apply some speed. The speed scares him at first, but it does so in an exhilarating way -like a rollercoaster ride. He starts to enjoy it. But he tries his hardest not to smile. If he can just forget for a moment that two people lost their lives here -and sometimes that's not easy to forget, and he prefers not to know details about them- he can start to enjoy the act of flying up and down the tunnel, and the faces of the people who see him, and the paramedics. He's just a kid. Right out of college, 22 years old. But he's doing something, now. He's... being useful and appreciated. Such unique feeling. And Jesus Christ, he can fucking fly!]

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[With Steve helping, the survivors are evacuated within the hour. One of the workers asks very loudly about how they're going to get all these subway cars cleaned out of the tunnel, shooting looks at Steve.]

[The crowds around the area have gathered thick. Phones are out and scenes of Steve flying survivors out of the hole are already on youtube and facebook.]

[But right now, as he's moving people to ambulances, he can sense that all the police, EMTs, firefighters, and any one else with legal power are all very happy with him. No one is pointing fingers or blaming. Everyone is thankful he's here to save lives.]

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Steve Irons

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[With every passing moment, Steve feels less nervous and more useful. He tries to act as if he doesn't notice the cellphones taking pictures, and he tries his hardest not to smile -every time it seems like a smile is about to break out, he reminds himself two people died, and tries to focus again in the now, which works.]

[The wounded people are all on their way to their respective hospitals.]

The subway cars? I can get them out. Where do you need them? It doesn't look like all of them should be scrapped, right, you could fix most of these. Except that one I guess [he points to the one crumpled at both ends] I could scrap that one for you. Let's see what I can do!

[It turns out what he can do is quite a lot. He can crumple the crumpled car even further. In fact, he can compact that thing until it's the size of a small VW beetle, then even more until it can fit through the hole. Once he's fairly certain it can fit, he flies it out and deposits it gently on the grass outside. Then he flies back in, and starts straitening the rest of the salvageable cars back on the tracks -as long as their wheels can spin, they can wheel them to the MTA's repair areas. Some need a little repair -he can bend metal rather easily though, and he has nothing but time now, so he makes sure to clear the entire tracks]

[When done... he goes to stand on the platform. And for the first time notices his ragged clothes. He tries not to blush... he is not in bad shape at age 22, but was never exactly muscular either. He goes to the officers and paramedics]

Anything else I can help with, sir?

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[They uncomfortably shuffle, nervous eyes to one another, looking at their hands, then back to Steve. It's like a bunch of young boys just met Bruce Lee in person. One officer at the front has his hat in his hands, he speaks short and clearly.]

What do we call you?

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Steve Irons

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Uh, Steve. I'm Steve Irons. I just arrived a month ago... [he runs his hand through his hair as the avalanche of thoughts rushes back -suddenly the comfort of being distracted by the busy-ness of the present is gone. He is now forced to think of the future again...]

I... can I borrow one of your coats? So.. I can get back home, I mean.... [he grabs a coat, if offered, with the letters "SECURITY" emblazoned across.] I... should go.

Listen... I. I want to talk to someone about what happened. I don't know who though. I'll figure it out. I. Yeah. It'll be okay. Okay? Yeah.

[he takes a step back.. nods, makes an awkward goodbye gesture, and just flies out the hole, back to the surface, wearing his "SECURITY" coat, then flies around a building, lands quickly behind CUNY's Baruch College, hopefully unseen though he can't be sure... and just starts walking, trying to blend in with the crowd. He even searches his pockets to see if he can buy a delicious lamb-on-rice from the street vendor... he needs to eat to calm his nerves... and unlike before, he's now hoping with all his heart that this is not in fact, a dream, and that the powers he was gifted will not be temporary....]

{Oh God. What am I gonna do? This is gonna be on the news. Tons of people took pictures and video. They're gonna look for me. Shit, I gave them my name. Wait, that's okay. I gave them the american version. No one knows my real name, Esteban Hierro yet.... oh shit, but I turned in my ID at Credit Suisse. Mr. Phillips is going to recognize me from the TV... he's going to talk to reporters. ... they're gonna get my address from him. Oh God, what should I do?}

[He eats the lamb-on-rice, with double-white and half-red sauce, as he always ask for, but unlike the previous times, it doesn't quite calm his nerves..]

{I can't go back to my apartment. I need a place to stay... to lie low...}

[He checks his pockets and finds the last of his savings. 40 dollars. Then he looks up, and finds the Carlton Arms Hotel just down the block. It'll be perfect. It's a quirky little place... it'll be fine. He hopes...]

[He puts the hoodie from the Security coat over his head, and hopes whoever will attend to him at the counter won't pay too much attention... then he nods, exhales, throws the styrofoam from the lamb-on-rice in the trashcan... and gathers his wits as he walks towards the tiny door of the hotel..]

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James Piotte

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{It doesn't seem to be going away, and I'm not even tired anymore. I feel better than ever. Either this is real or I've got some serious brain damage. Either way, I've got to find some new clothes, it looks like I've just been mauled by a tiger.}
[Lucky for James, he hadn't gotten around to taking his newly clean clothes from the laundromat out of his car. He discards what's left of his clothes in a nearby dumpster and changes into his old faded blue jeans and white tee shirt.]
Lets see what I can do.
[He lets himself rise above the ground, slowly at first then gradually increasing his speed. Looking down at the ground he can see the landscape becoming a blur beneath him. He practices a few loops and turns before returning to Earth, out of breath and excited.]
{Does this mean I'm a superhero or something now? Crap, I should really be more careful. If people find out they'll want to run tests or something. They'll lock me up and study me. Also where the hell am I?}
[James looks around at the unfamiliar rural landscape around him.]
{I must be miles outside the city. How fast was I going? Alright, first I need to get back to campus, and I don't want to fly. Until I figure out what's going on I don't want to draw attention to myself. Though it might be a little late for that.}
[He remembers bending the car and flying through the window to the amazement of his classmates.]
{I think that's a gas station over there, it's hard to tell from here, but they should have directions back to the city.}
[He begins to walk to the building in the distance. Taking every ounce of his self control not to take off and fly.]

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Jimmy Pryce

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[Steve sees something on his way that really impacts his heart. No time to stop, but he'll face it when he has rested. The children. All the children in the crowd outside, watching him with startled awe as he passes.]

[As the hotel clerk starts to sign him in and take his cash, the phone rings. The clerk excuses himself and answers it. He seems confused. The clerk turns to Steve, and lifts the phone up saying it's for him. The voice on the line is a young adult male.]

Esteban Hierro? Or, I'm sorry. Steve Irons?

I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. Meet me at Accel tower in one hour. If you do, we chat, two minutes. If you don't, the entire government makes your life a living hell. Easy choice.

You can return to your little hotel room if you like after that, hand me back to the clerk and your room is paid for on the house.

[The phone disconnects, the speaker is precise and quick giving Steve little time to respond. After the conversation, the phone rings a second time. The clerk answers, looks at Steve, and smiles. He informs him that someone has just paid the room off for an entire week under Steve Irons.]

[Accel tower is one of the landmarks of the skyline, a revolutionary tall building constructed six years ago in the foorprint of the Six World Trade Center. Steve's marveled at the beauty of it ever since he arrived, but it was so unreal he can't imagine being invited to that building.]

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Jimmy Pryce

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[The gas station outside lights are on, the clerk inside is reading a newspaper. As James approaches, the old payphone on the wall outside rings. There's no one for miles. But the phone rings.]

[If by instinct, James feels compelled to pick it up. The voice on the other end is a young man.]

James Piotte? Took a little while to locate you, in the sticks. Wave for the camera. Always fun hacking into closed circuit.

[James can see the security camera up on the gas station roof is focused on him.]

I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. Meet me at Accel tower in one hour. If you do, we chat, two minutes. If you don't, the entire government makes your life a living hell. Easy choice.

[The phone disconnects. Accel tower? One hour? James can't believe it. That's a famous corporation building in New York.]

[The clerk inside is fully capable of giving him all the direction he needs to reach town.]

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Steve Irons

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[The color drains out of Steve's face -he's caught. They caught him.]

{They caught me. I'm gonna go to jail. He just wants me to go myself so as to not make a fuzz. ... that's what it is, isn't it?}

[he tries not to look nervous to the clerk behind the counter, manages to squeeze a smile and an awkward nod, before taking his key, and walking back out to the street]

{The children looked up at me, back at the subway. Maybe I'm in videos already. Youtube, maybe. Oh God. I should have covered my face or something. I wasn't thinking!}

[Steve steps outside to the street, and looks up at the skyscrapers while running both hands down his mouth, thinking and getting ready for... what?]

{What are they going to do to me? Wait. I have rights. This is the United States of America. I'm not a citizen, but I have rights. .. I think. No! I do! I must. This is America. They have to send me to trial first. There has to be a trial. Oh God, two charges of manslaughter. But... video. Video will prove I landed there unconscious. Oh God, but then I stood up and let the train hit me. Oh God, why did I do that? I thought I was dreaming!}

[All this goes through his head, as he walks, originally to the same 23rd street station to take the F train downtown -he knows the Accelletrix building is in the Freedom Tower area, but-]

{I destroyed the F line. And the M line. Oh God. I'd better.... I'd better take a cab!}

[He approaches third avenue again, but finds it a hot mess of emergency vehicle lights and sirens, and -he's not sure, newscasters? He turns around, and walks back to 1st avenue, to try to hail a cab there...]

{How did they find me so quick? How did they know I walked in to the hotel? Cameras?} [he looks up, and of course, finds a myriad cameras in the heart of New York City... which make him cover his head with the SECURITY hood again...]

Taxi! Taxi! [he tries to flag one, but even just a month of living here has taught him this is never easy...]

{I could just fly.... no. No. No more drawing attention to myself!}

Taxi! Please!

[But he's ignored again. Of course. It takes at least five tries on average, and he sees other people walking upstream to beat him to the next taxi.]

{Motherfuckers.}

{How did they find me? Accelletrix... don't they make pharmaceuticals?} [he wracks his brain trying to remember all he possibly knows about that corporation. Vague memories of newscasts he half-paid attention to, about contractors in Afghanistan. Something in the Alex Jones show about the New World Order] {Of course that's all Alex Jones ever talks ab- oh!}

TAXI! PLEASE! TAXI, TAX-mo{therFUCKER}.

{That's it, I'm flying. I don't care.}

[He walks back into a building's entrance -just deep enough so they won't see him- then he just shoots out into the sky, like a bullet, hoping the speed makes people not see him fly-]

{WHOOOAAA!}

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Jimmy Pryce

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[The building spirals up into the sky. It looks out of place among the old 1970s and 1980s architecture of most of the buildings. It's like something out of Dubai. Some streamline shiny glass science fiction building. It rotates and changes shape slowly. The bottom has a business entrance, but in the air Steve sees the helipad sticking out of the penthouse office. At first he thinks there's a giant hole in the platform, but as he closes in Steve realizes it's a pool.]

[Feet touch down and he sees wide glass doors standing open. The office has beautiful blue carpet in colors like ocean waves. There are desks with no chairs, covered in complex blueprints. A watercooler, filing cabinets in the back, a few couches.]

[At the back of the room is the central piece. It's a set of a dozen big screen monitors that form one giant screen. Each monitor has a report up, some of them are playing youtube videos. There's clips of Steve being slammed through the ground, and then others where he flies things out of the hole.]

[Steve sees two other men on the screens. One is a young man smashing into a truck and demolishing it, caught on college campus security. The kid also flies into his class, and flies away from the campus. Then there's a man in Philly who is thrown through a food truck, gets up, and flies away.]

[Yet those aren't all. More videos are playing. A man up in Canada pulling trees out of the ground. Another man in Mexico, showing off for the camera. There's one in Egypt of a man picking up a car. A man in China being hit by a diesel truck only to have it wrap around him, from which he walks away untouched.]

[The man from the phone call is here watching the monitors. Steve's seen him on a cover of Forbes at magazine stands. Jimmy Pryce, late 20s. He's in a wife beater and boxer briefs, looking between a blue suit and a black suit. When Steve approaches, the man lifts his head as if listening. There's a bluetooth receiver in one ear.]

I said an hour. You really just rushed over here, huh?

[Jimmy lays the suits on his main desk, turning around with a cup of coffee. He sips it and looks Steve up and down.]

I don't like repeating myself. And I was hoping you would be here in one hour with the others. What to do, what to do.

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Steve Irons

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[Steve is amazed -truly mouth agape at both recognizing Jimmy Pryce- {isn't he the guy who started Google? no wait. A different start up. He was 14 though! I remember reading about it!} -but his surprise rises to an entirely different level when he sees, literally, the "Big Picture" in the other screens...]

{Oh my God, I'm not the only one. How many people are doing this? It's happening all over the- is that Mexico? Oh boy, it looks like it. It is! I recognize the signs..... oh man. What's going on here?}

I.. I was going to take a taxi... it's rush hour, it would have been one hour, I think.. er.. you're Jimmy Pryce, right? {God I hope I spelled it right} Look.... I don't know what's going on. All I remember is I was walking out into Madison Square Park and I thought there was a star coming at me. I have this symbol [he open his SECURITY coat and lifts the tatters of his button-up shirt and burnt-off tie to show the strange marking]... and I don't know what it means. I don't know why me, I don't know anything! ... all I know is I woke up and the subway car was basically on top of me. I'm very sorry for what happened, you have to believe me. I tried to do my best to make things better. But I... I just don't know what's going on. You said in your message something about police. I think. I don't want any trouble with the police. I just got here.. er.

[Steve fails to understand from Jimmy's words about him being early, that this means there are others coming too, in one hour.]

I, er, I could come back? [He's nothing if not polite -his parents raised him that way]

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Jimmy Pryce

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[Jimmy sips his coffee and looks back at the monitors.]

From reading your immigration records, watching the video of your actions, and hearing you now I take it you're a decent good guy. You can imagine the US government is a little nervous now. We have three people in the United States displaying superhuman ability. We have over fifteen reported individuals outside our borders.

The government wanted me to figure out if any of you are a threat to national security and how exactly to defeat you if you are.

So. That's all I need to know. How can the government trust you won't commit mass genocide?

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