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Everything posted by Hermit

  1. If your gallbladder didn't want to get taken out, it shouldn't have thrown the first punch *nod*
  2. Thanks guys. Alas, I think at this rate she'll outlive me.
  3. She's not worthy of Vir as a peer.
  4. Dear Ancient Abomination, Your daughter is WORKING from home some days. Key word, working. She's not wearing that head set to listen to groovy tunes, she's not on the computer for the cool vids. You have been told about this. REPEATEDLY! And yet you seem to think either everyone is lying to you, or her JOB isn't important. Not sure. You actually interrupt her work to carp about how she didn't wave back to you when you waved to her hours ago. And when she explains to you she didn't see you do it, you act like she should grovel with apologies? You hateful harridan, you entitled wretch, you toxic twit! You hope-killing hag! You are the epitome of narcissistic toxicity .......... There. I feel better.
  5. Many comparing Valerosa's build against Hussar's would assume that the short (Or as she preferred to be called 'Vertically Petite) woman would have no chance against the Winged guy with the linebacker bulk. The more observant might notice that the lady was pretty toned herself, no stranger to work outs and physical self improvement but they'd still put money on the big guy. But if they knew anything about super heroes (or for that matter, Super villains) they'd look at the costumes, and throw their hands in the air and give up on guesswork. I live in a world where a six inch tall man has taken out fifty foot tall robots. When superpowers first came to public attention so many decades ago, a famous scientist was asked if he and his peers would need to go 'back to the drawing board?' His response? "Yes, and we're going to need a bigger drawing board." It would prove to be prophetic. Whole new schools of thought have sprouted up in every branch of science, ironically leading to more superheroes and supervillains from lab accidents gone wild, prototype gadgets, and an odd number of strange meteorites found purposefully or otherwise. This, of course, leads to yet more branches and theories and attempts to recreate whatever happened. Super Science-a growth industry! But for myself, I knew pretty damn well Valerosa was about to kick Hussar's ass. I looked forward to it, truth to tell. She had been training for years to hold her own with only half the power she has now. Her Uncle taught her a lot of martial arts moves and she had taken his lessons and branched out, studied hard, and trained harder. I know a few wrestling moves, how to get up from a fall, and how to maximize my punch, but compared to Tornado or Valerosa? I was still mostly getting by on muscle. Hussar, of course, didn't realize this and despite my 'best fighter' comments (And I had to wonder if Tornado would take that wrong if he heard me say it?) was already showing signs of cockiness as she walked up before him and assumed a position. "Ready?" She asked Hussar. "Ready," he smiled smugly, "Say, if I beat you do I get your place on the New Sama-" She shifted her density, dropped down low to the floor, seemed, for just a half second, to sit on one hip, then using her other leg struck the base of his calf and leg swept him to the floor. Another half second later, she was standing up again, and Hussar was flat on his back wings fluffed out like a startled cockatoo's. "What the hell?" He snapped. "Don't lie to me," Valerosa said in a disapproving tone to Hussar giving him a chance to get up. "Lie to you?": Get up he did, looking irked. "I asked if you were ready to fight. You weren't," Valerosa commented, "Ready to talk? Maybe." "I was just trying that banter thing," he said testily, now in a more alert ready to fight stance, wings flapping a bit though he was still on the ground. "Banter is for winners, Hussar" one of us declared, and to be honest? For a moment I thought I had spoken the inside part out-loud again. Then I realized Aspirant had given into the urge to say it before I did. Hussar gave the scrawny (Relatively) Canadian a glare. And Aspirant promptly moved right behind me as if to use me for a shield if need be. In a low voice I muttered, "Hey, what would your fellow countrymen say about you being back there?" "What? Canadian brains trying to make American brawn useful?" He muttered back "They'd probably say 'Same as it ever was'" I thought of a few retorts, but damn it, that was actually kind of funny, so instead I conceded "Five points for Mapleclaw." He needn't have worried about Hussar though. No way Valerosa would let Hussar ignore her during a lesson. "So, are you ready, or not?" Valerosa said "For REAL this time." "Oh, I'm ready," Hussar said, and launched himself through the air at her. Like I mentioned, compared to Valerosa and Tornado, i'm quite the rookie at skilled hand to hand. But even I could see at least three ways this move was going to backfire on Hussar. Four if you counted her simply becoming intangible and letting him streak right through her. She went with number three, which to be fair, at least looked like work. She appeared to take the hit, but rolled off his shoulder (and wing). Actually, rolling might not be the right term, she gave some sharp jabs as she rolled, with her fist then elbow then fist again then once clear of his attempted sweep grabbed his wing and slammed into the ground with not just her own might (Which was impressive) but the extra force he brought to the party by charging her. We could feel the vibrations through the floor of the training area we were standing on. Momentum, thy name is ouch. Trailblazer's eyes were bugging out. Bramble gave a low whistle. Aspirant gave a sympathetic wince despite his own verbal jab earlier. "Flight is your edge, but you sacrifice some stability when you use it," Valerosa said, "Get up. Don't be embarrassed, I'm evaluating you." He glares as he did indeed rise "Are you trying to make me look bad?" See, this is how I know Valerosa is a better person than I am. Because I would have said 'I wouldn't say I was TRYING' and maybe egged him on. I had to remember these were students, not villains. They came for us for training, not to be taunted. Though something about Hussar really did rub me the wrong way. "Everyone looks bad when they start," She answered instead, "You wouldn't be here if we didn't have things worth teaching. Don't let your ego get in the way of your education." That wasn't a bad line, and I resolved to use it some time if I needed to. To his credit, Hussar had lost the smugness, and learned some justifiable caution. His next attempt was another flight move, but he made sure not to let her snag a wing, and instead gave a testing kick. She blocked it with a forearm, made just a tiny grunt to show she felt that one, but didn't budge. The next time, he tried a roundhouse, hoping for a quick overwhelming shot at her. Her smaller sized proved to be advantageous as she used that most honored of ninja like moves; that is she ducked. The uppercut she gave in return looked more heavy weight boxing than Kung Fu or whatever, but man did he feel it. Up through the air he went, and this time not by choice. Hussar landed on his ass, dazed and confused. I think his wings weren't in agreement on which direction to go next. "Geez remind me not to piss her off," Bramble said. "Too late for me on that," Trailblazer said to her co-student. I made a note to work on her confidence. Couldn't have Trailblazer so nervous about Valerosa's approval that she shut down. Valerosa could finish off Hussar from here pretty easily, instead she stopped, "You okay?" "Yeah," he said a touch surly, then took a breath "I mean, yes. Can you teach us to fight like that?" "We hope to give you the basics," She answered, and smiled. Hussar's question showed he was at least getting the right idea, "And help you get on that path if you want." That's when my com chimed, "New Samaritans? This is Pogo, are you there? I might need back up!" And there was a sound of an explosion in the background. "And that's class for the day!" I declared to them, then spoke in the com "Back up is on it's way, Pogo! What's your location?" Good thing I was already in costume.
  6. "So this is your battle form?" I said to Bramble. "Yeah, good enough term for it," She said, "I know I look weird but it does provide me some protection. Feels as natural as my own skin too, somehow the plant life sticks to me and constantly adapts. I don't even have to think about it." As if to demonstrate, each bark covered finger sprouted twigs, then hardened into what looked like wooden claws. "Cool," Hussar said. It certainly looked cool, I had to admit, but I wanted to know more, "Where do the plants come from in the first place? I mean, do you start out normal then suddenly plants appear from nowhere?" "I tend to draw plant material from nearby, only takes a little and it's soon it's a lot. Gr- Lady Obsidian said I had some kind of subconscious control over it on a cellular level," Bramble shrugged, "Honestly, I'm a city girl so it's not like I study a lot of plant life." "Love to get you in the redwoods sometime," Valerosa observed. "Oh sure, put me in even a city park and it's show time," Bramble grinned, "I can throw down with the best of them then. I once used an oak to stop a getaway car, but it's not like I can carry it a forest with me." I wasn't so sure about that, "Have you experimented with say pollen, ragweed, poison oak?" "No," She answered, "You think that would work?" "If you can make an oak snag a car, then I'm willing to bet you have a lot more versatility than you think," I observed, "I'm going to get you some books on Botany." She made a face, "Homework, really? I'm a grown ass woman now." "So am I, and I still study on the nature of my powers," Valerosa informed her in a tone of no nonsense, just a hint of that drill sergeant thing she had going earlier, "You're not in the minors anymore, Bramble unless you choose to keep yourself there. If Eel's right, you could be the most powerful of us all if you learn how to use what you've got to the max. But yes, you're going to have to work for it and that includes your brain." The one-two conversational punch of 'suck it up, buttercup' and 'You could be the best' caught Bramble off guard and she clearly was conflicted on which part to respond to. To her credit, she didn't look too riled by the former, and had the sense to be cautious about the latter, "You think so?" "Only one way to find out," I told her, "I think maybe a utility belt or something carrying seeds and the like might just work wonders for you." I liked the term 'utility belt' because it's really old school, and also sounded cooler than 'seed pouch'. Hussar huffed nearby, "Utility Belt? Seriously? How lame is that?" I felt like someone had just caught me watching Adam West on TV and mocked me for it. Which is, in my view, UnAmerican and Uncool. My brow raised but I let it slide. Hopefully Bramble wouldn't let his negativity discourage her. "It does sound kind of lame," Bramble admitted looking self conscious. "Call it whatever you like," Valerosa said with a brief glance at Hussar, then back to Bramble, "But it might help you take down a bad guy one day, or more importantly, save lives. It's worth looking into." "I think it's a classic," Aspirant said, his support causing me wanting to grant ten points for House Canuck, "But you've got bark over the skin, why not over the belt and then it opens when you need it if you really don't like it?" "Huh, yeah," Bramble considered and slowly nodded, "I think I could." "I think a nice belt might compliment if it looked nice," Trailblazer commented. "I'll get a fern and we'll get a demonstration of your powers, Bramble" I said. The base had plenty of 'green touches' here and there, and one fern could give itself up for science. It was an impressive demonstration. One moment, there was a simple fern in a pot, then Bramble demonstrated her ability to expand it's mass in outreaching forms and shapes so the green of it easy went five meters and was almost as strong as low grade steel. I know, because she hooked my arm and had it pull! Braced as I was, I didn't budge. "Damn, you're hard to move," Bramble declared. her brows knit. "Waves don't know me over lightly either, but you should see Valerosa when she's hit her density dial on max so to speak," I gave credit where it is due, "But this is a good pull, at least as strong as weightlifter I'd guess. You could throw your average bad guy across the room or tie him up." "Hey, you could wrap Eel up," Hussar suggested, 'Besides just the arm, I mean." "Are you trying to get me in trouble?" Bramble said to him. "It's okay, go ahead." I said "If you can keep a foe from utilizing their strength, keep him or her from getting leverage, it'll be that much more effective so go ahead." Part of me wondered if I was going to end up on the floor bound and gagged in a fern vines, my ego taking a beating all in the name of super powered training? Oh well, so be it. This was too useful for non lethal crowd control for me to not encourage it. Sure enough the fern vines wrapped around and around me, and Bramble took my advice to heart, wrapping it around joints and the like so I'd have a harder time. What really amazed me is how much the plant had to be stretching to be going around me again and again. I could see why Lady Obsidian believed there was a telekinetic component to this. Bramble's control was precise now that she was focusing on it. Each cord hardened. "I can't use it to tie you up any more, I mean... it's done" She explained, "So that's as tight as it's possibly going to-" I exhaled. "-get." She said. I inhaled, my chest swelling, and the cord like vines, strong as oak or not, snapped in sequence off my chest and I shed the entrapment like someone might push through rice paper. The reactions threw me off a bit. Bramble looked crestfallen. Hussar looked disappointed. Then he snickered. Aspirant went "Wow." Trailblazer blushed for some reason. And I swore for a moment Valerosa eyes warmed. "What?" I asked. I was missing something. "Nothing," Bramble said, crossing her arms defensively and while I didn't understand the reactions of some others, I got hers. She had given her best effort, and I had snapped out of it with apparent ease. I'd just shown her up in front of her new peers.This was a problem. I remembered my early school days under a horrible teacher named Mrs. Knells. She would call students up, encourage them to their best, then seem to take an almost perverse sense of delight in showing how wrong they were and rubbing into their faces 'how easy it was'. I had made Bramble feel like an idiot, and while that was not my intent, as her teacher, it was my problem and I needed to course correct fast. "That was amazing!" I declared with enthusiasm. "Brah, you snapped right out of it," Hussar said, "You made it look easy." "It wasn't," I stated before Hussar, who I began to suspect was the negative nancy of the group, could bring things down further, "Chest expansion is one of the tricks I've learned in the trade," I focused on Bramble again, "You did everything right, tried to hinder my ability to use my full strength, did it quickly and efficiently. Remember I mentioned the pulling we did earlier like being a weightlifter tugging? Well, if you had done that to a non powered weight lifter, and I'm talking Olympic level, there's no way that guy could get free without help." "Yeah?" Bramble raised a slightly thorny brow. "Yeah," I stated, "And villains come in all types. Some aren't super strong, and need to see to use their powers, wrap them up like that, and you've taken them out of the fight. You've got a great potential crowd controller here. I kind of envy it." Now Bramble looked dubious, "Oh come on." "He's not kidding, " Valerosa said, "It's a non lethal way to trap a foe up, maybe foes if you can do that more than one at a time ,walk away and move onto the next. Invaluable when you're facing multiple non powered enemies at once." Bramble thought about it, "Huh. Thanks" She brightened, "You still snapped out fast though." "Well, let's not mislead," I told her, "I am pretty damn amazing, but strength is quite literally my strength. It's like being surprised I breathe water." Bramble nodded, "So I should go after the non strong guys with that move... let Hussar or the like handle the big guys?" "Well, sometimes it's a change up, but you're thinking tactically," I nodded, "You're all learning what works. That's why it's better to find out here than in the field." "I already know what I do," Hussar said with a shrug, "Bet I could do what you did. With the vines I mean." "We'll find out later," I said, "But it is your turn to be tested." Hussar grinned, "Bring it on. I'll try to go easy on you, old man." "I'm in my twenties," I told him with a lift of my brow. "Yeah, well," he shrugged, "Still, I'm the next gen improvement to strong guys right?" Given he was the clone of an old superhero, I was tempted to say something really snarky. Instead, I gestured "Get into the center of the room, Junior." "All right," Hussar said eagerly, "Let's see what you got, Fish Guy." I'd been told I had a mean streak when my temper rose up, frankly I didn't see it, but I must confess I did have a brief mental image of tearing off his wings and beating him with them. Nothing I'd ever actually do, of course, just one of those little day dreams of extreme violence on some jerk we all get. We all do get those right? While I pondered if maybe a therapist might not be a bad idea, I was surprised as Valerosa put a hand on my shoulder "Allow me," and then as I turned ,she kissed me he on the cheek, and whispered, "You were very hot snapping out of the strands like that. Best Pecs forward and all that." It was my turn to blush a bit, both at the realization I might have done an 'oops I'm sexy' in front of three women, and also at the curious notion of just what the heck women these days were into if snapping free did that for them? I could ask Aspirant I suppose him being telepathic. No. No. I could NOT ask Aspirant, I decided. He might tell me. "Wait," Said Hussar, who realized he was not going to face me, but rather Valerosa, "I wanted to take on the best fighter." You know, it's debatable , I get that, but I found it easy to answer "And that's who you're getting." "Huh? I thought you were the strongest one of the Samaritans?" That was Bramble. "I might be the strongest," I said, stressing the word 'might' "But Valerosa's our best fighter." And Ariana was pleased by that, very pleased. Her eyes made a promise, and then moved on. I heard Trailblazer whisper something to Bramble, and both girls chuckled softly, borderline giggling. "I gotta warn you, Captain," Hussar said "I like the ladies, but in a fight I will kick a girl's ass if I have to." I could almost feel Valerosa gaining weight, mass and density through the flooring as she stepped up and took a fighting stance with Hussar, "You will try." Oh yes, a lesson was about to commence, and Aspirant muttered, "Anyone else getting an urge for popcorn?" I had to admit, visualizing what was to come, I got a craving for some fluffy poppy buttery goodness myself.
  7. It's a nice idea but it just won't wo- I... I surrender
  8. https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-heck-are-federal-law-enforcement-officers-doing-portland
  9. Antagonist: Grand Master Robo (From Raj Comics)
  10. NT: Scientists have identified the strange new moon that suddenly appeared. "Yeah, sorry about that, Bob was eating mozzarella sticks near the lens again" NT: When Cheese meets SCIENCE (Mad or not)
  11. The Battle of Stony Point with Continental forces lead by Brigadier General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, which sounds pretty bad ass. I mean, no one would be afraid of Mild Anthony Wayne
  12. I really hope you're right. Americans, imo, have a tendency to let apathy settle in fast even when outrage is justified.
  13. I'm on the book The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter and enjoying it a great deal even though it , so far, has fewer sword fights for Hadrian than some. Ryria have become one of my favorite fantasy buddy team ups of all time.
  14. What villain wouldn't be just a LITTLE bit proud?
  15. moderator hat Ok. This went south fast. I'm going to lock the thread and give folks a chance to cool down. It might get opened again, it might not.
  16. I meant to do lots of fiction, then that got swamped and so I didn't pick at all... so.. no promises of Fiction... but my Picks Under the blue city, we close on an image of of a chase ended, a hero caught after an act of theft from evil, he is chained, his once noble garb tattered and dirtied from an underground chase. "Where did you put it?" A sinister voice demands, "Speak, or I will show you a new definition of pain." The hero with a bloodied lip says in a tone of effete British defiance "Do pardon my language, but... Fork you" Protagonist #1: The Blue Raja Protagonist #2 & 3: Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes (The Blue Beetles) Protagonist #4: The Blue Devil (Dan Cassidy)
  17. I've got a friend named Karen. She's a nice lady. This relatively new use of her name to be mean 'Busybody on a power trip' is depressing her. But it seems to be rooted pretty quickly.
  18. Thank you. While played up in the movies, in the original series Kirk was hardly a lecher. He grumbled because Yoman Rand tempted him. He had dated other women in Star Fleet who were not under his command, but he hardly chased tail habitually.
  19. But we CAN constraint them if we want to eh? mmm Location: Jodhpur, India (The Blue City) And now? Let's dance..
  20. "I don't really want to murder you, probably. My face has a condition"
  21. To quote a favorite fairy of mine "No, blue!" I'll take Blue
  22. In the politics of OTHER Countries... https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/hong-kong-boris-johnson-pmqs-citizenship-uk-china-law-a4485601.html 40% of Hong Kong could get UK Citizenship? Wow. Is it okay to actually approve of something Boris is doing? I mean, I'm probably missing some ramifications, and I know there would be challenges (And the CCP will rattle sabers is not the least of them) but I have to admire the sheer testicular fortitude of the UK here esp if they pull it off. Mind you, if there ends up being a mass exodus from Hong Kong, I have to wonder where the HKers will end up living exactly. I suppose most would be comfy in urban areas like London. Also, it's a big brain and wealth drain off China, or perhaps I'm wrong on that? Oh And Australia is looking to protect Hong Kongers as well https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-02/australia-considering-offering-safe-haven-to-hong-kong-residents/12415482
  23. THIS is the one big unifier I've seen to the point it's refreshing.
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