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Supervillains are fuckin' crazy. - Phoenix Talon



July 5, 1987

Did some more research on Caduceus. They don't seem to own any further property in the area. The company was formed quite recently, by people from a number of existing biotech firms who felt it was time to strike out on their own (according to their press releases, at least). Mostly companies I didn't recognize, but a few Taurus subsidiaries—though given their business, it would have looked weird if there weren't any of those involved. Basically, there's nothing there to arouse suspicion, yet they aren't so clean that they look odd, either.
    Which does nothing to allay my suspicions, of course. Mother Theresa could be running the place, and I'd want them under surveillance. Then I got the phone call.
    "Hi!" I recognized the voice of the man who had been overseeing the office arrangements. He sounded a lot calmer now. "I'm calling from the Caduceus Project, we just opened up in town?"
    "M-hm...." I was a little taken aback.
    "I don't know whether you're aware of our opening or not," he went on, "but we are using a bunch of just-declassified near-variant technology, and from experiences that we've had at companies that we've been at in the past, we've decided that it's in our best corporate interests to maintain as close a link as possible to the local variant teams, because when people break in and try and steal our stuff, we like you to know where we are."
    "That sounds reasonable," I admitted.
    "So, we're having our grand opening in two weeks, we're just wondering whether you guys would like to come as our guests?"
    "I'll ask everybody else; we'll be there if we can."
    "We'd appreciate it." He gave me their phone number.
    "Thank you."
    "There's going to be a small amount of media coverage and everything—of course," he laughed, "you guys are probably really familiar with that now."
    "Yeah, yeah. To a certain extent."
    "We're going to have a nice little jazz band playing in the background, it should be good."
    "Sounds lovely."
    "Thank you very much. You have a nice day."
    "You, too." Well that was interesting, I thought as I hung up the phone. Could even be legit. Could be all kinds of things, actually. Paranoia is exhausting.

[Aside: Scott]

[Aside: Phoenix Talon]

[Aside: Thunderbolt]

July 10, 1987

Had a meeting today. Not much going on... or so I thought when we sat down. One of these days I should have a talk with Phoenix Talon. If only I could think of what to say.
    "It's actually been remarkably quiet," Reilly told us, going over the police business from the past few week. "Other than the sudden appearance of Postal Employee Man, but we didn't even have to call you in on that."
    "Postal Employee Man?" I knew I was going to regret asking.
    Reilly nodded. "He had a stamp gun."
    "Next item," I sighed.
    "He had a stamp gun, really?" Scott asked perkily.
    "It's about yea big," he indicated a moderately bulky hand weapon, "and would fire postage stamps that expanded on contact with air, and glued people to walls."
    "Expect the next version to have more of the same. Stamps that wrap around people, razor-edged stamps, throwing postcards...." Scott sounded downright enthusiastic.
    "I'm just hoping that he comes up with a better name." He shrugged.
    "For all our sakes," I added.
    Scott was still thinking. "Unless we begin finding people folded, spindled and mutilated...."
    "You're not helping!" Reilly snapped.
    "Okay, anything else?" I tried to redirect the conversation.
    "Is there anything going on on your end?"
    I shrugged. "Been a pretty quiet week for me."
    "I'm working with the Blood Boards," Phoenix Talon announced, gaining everyone's undivided attention, which seemed to startle him a bit. He started over. "I had a meeting with the Blood Boards the other day. They've agreed to go straight. Um, I'm gonna train 'em, to help 'em to be like an auxiliary organization of ours, and try to get 'em back on the right track."
    "No costumes, I assume?" Thunderbolt asked.
    "No costumes," he agreed. "I'm tryin' to get them away from that, 'cause they keep doin' that, and it keeps gettin' them hurt, pretty bad, usually because of me. So we've eliminated that right there."
    "I feel like I should be able to argue with this logic, and yet...." I trailed off, just a bit flabbergasted.
    "So they're gonna stop being juvies, and we're gonna stop beatin' up on 'em," he concluded.
    "So you're saying that you're going to be giving the police your word that these kids won't be committing any further crimes?" Reilly asked.
    "Yes. I've talked to their parole officers. Now, I realize I'm gonna have to keep a pretty close eye on them," he added reassuringly. "I think I've got a lot of cooperation within the Blood Boards, I've been working with a few of them, that didn't go along with Manta Master there. Even the ones who were with Manta Master and managed to get away without any scratches on them, most of them are seeing it my way, too."
    Reilly looked bemused. "Hm. How many of these... Blood Boards do you have?"
    "All right, I'm willing to give this a go if you are," he sighed with a gesture of surrender.
    "But I need some ideas, here. One of the things, they don't really have any skills, they need jobs, they definitely need some money. So I'm not sure who to go about talking to, like a government program or something...."
    "This is the Reagan administration, who are you kidding?"
    Scott suggested trade school.
    "Good idea," Talon agreed. "Especially since a lot of 'em have some technical skills from repairing their boards."
    Reilly coughed. "So they're still going to be riding around on their boards?"
    "Yes. I think that's the most important thing for them."
    "Um, you realize that the public generally connects the words 'Blood Board' and 'mayhem.'"
    "We're going to have to work on that. They connect 'Revolution' and 'mayhem,', too."
    "Thank you, Phoenix Talon," I rolled my eyes.
    "It's all in how they see the mayhem," he explained, although the distinction remained somewhat lost on the rest of us.
    "Not since Albert did his thing," Scott pointed out.
    "You stop mayhem," Reilly corrected.
    "That's how we gotta start people seein' the Blood Boards." Phoenix Talon was unfazed.
    "This is going to require some work," I sighed.
    "I know that."
    "Okay...." Reilly shrugged.
    I shook my head. "I'll be satisfied if they just stay out of trouble."
    "Yeah, but in order to have 'em to stay out of trouble, you gotta give them something else to do, that's what I'm tryin' to do."
    "Like, getting into more trouble?" I reminded him. "Other side of trouble, but...."


Editor's Note: As the reader may have noticed, I've assumed a background role in the current plotline, having had more than my share of the spotlight at the end of the last campaign. This inevitably clashes a bit with the diary structure, so I can only hope I've maintained the correct degree of continuity. Due to the extraordinary number and length of the "asides" in this session, I've broken them out onto separate Web pages for each scene. Additionally, someone once mentioned that having page numbers on those might be helpful; we aim to please here at Asymmetry.

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson