These write-ups keep getting longer as the party splits off to accomplish their various agendas.
Cobalt, Spook and Jack took a cab back to the penthouse with Gary. Cobalt’s wrecked ship had to be left by the recycling plant to regenerate and repair itself from the damage it sustained from Discard. With Halloween less than a week away, Spook occupied herself with decorating the penthouse to fit the holiday and get her mind off recent events. Cobalt watched, fascinated, as Spook decorated the penthouse with fake spider webs, bats and skeletons. After some curious questions from Cobalt about what she was doing, Spook explained this Earth holiday to Cobalt, starting from its historical roots, touching on its commercialized nature in the present day, and ending on examples of pranks people pull. Jack helped out with the decorating by hanging up a few fake webs.
Back at Bubblezza, Respawn reported on Discard’s misdeeds to the officer present, drawing a non-response from the cop since there wasn’t anything he could do. Respawn then called Griffith to discuss Splendid’s recent “ascension to godhood”. Aegis had received reports of the reconstruction of the recycling plant from people not too far from the scene, detailing how it all came back together molecule by molecule to its previous state. Respawn expressed his concern about the existence of a super powered being that can shape and destroy reality as easily as Splendid could, and Griffith reassured him that this does fall under Aegis jurisdiction and they’re keeping an eye on things. Respawn then asked his brother if Aegis had a file on the I Hate You Construction Company or the Banks family, trying to see if there had been other metahuman-related coverups linked to the family. He also requested Aegis-made communicators for an easier and more convenient inter-team contact that didn’t rely on cellphones. Griffith said he’ll look into the files on IHY Construction and confirmed that he would be able to supply the team with communicators. Respawn then continued on his way to some nearby fast food to have another large meal.
A drone with the Aegis logo on its side flew up to the penthouse carrying a box. Jack quick-drew an arrow and sniped it through the recently repaired french doors, piercing it to the balcony railing. Cobalt cheerily brought the delivery in and found 10 sets of earpieces paired with adhesive backed circles the size of a quarter. Spook, who had begun preparations for Halloween cookies, explained to a confused Cobalt how to use the piece of foreign technology. The earpiece was designed to subtly slide into the ear, and the disk microphone adhered to the neck. Cobalt and Jack put a set on, but Spook ignored it. Cobalt announced that they were off to do something, and Spook requested that Cobalt pick up some pumpkins on their way back. After leaving for a moment, Cobalt turned back and poked their head back in to ask about human money, which Spook supplied them with. Jack continued his webby decoration of the apartment, placing some over the hole he had made in the french door.
Cobalt hailed a taxi to take them back to the recycling plant, giving a decent tip to the driver due to the larger bill they had on hand and a lack of understanding of human cash and change. They made their way back onto the grounded ship to access the communications computer to contact their parents. The image of the being that resulted from the merging of Cobalt’s parents greeted them with their given name and inquired about the status of the mission on Earth. Cobalt mentioned how much they’re learning by hanging out with Spook, hinted at the inter group conflict, and how humans don’t speak in a straightforward manner. Cobalt mentioned the upcoming human cultural holiday, requesting some homeworld assistance to use this opportunity to better incorporate themselves into the group. Their parents confirmed that they would be able to send Cobalt’s old holicron projector.
Cobalt also took the moment to ask if Keplerians had any information on beings with abilities like Splendid’s Power Cosmic. The parents replied that the existence of such beings is a closely guarded secret amongst the advanced races and would need to be reported. Such creatures were considered dangerous and were not well regarded, so they advised Cobalt to avoid angering it until it could be contained. Cobalt ended the communication by forming a heart shape with his humanoid hands, explaining that it was an Earth sign for love. Their parents reciprocated by shifting into the heart shape before disconnecting. Shortly after, a gem container smashed into the ground nearby, creating a small crater. Cobalt squeed happily as he collected his delivery.
Across the hall from Splendid’s apartment, Fraidy Cat welcomed Inkling and America Perez to her place. They sat down and brainstormed what they could do to further the reality show idea. Fraidy noted that in order to get the attention they needed, they should tap into the current superhero gossip that had captured the media’s attention — Spook’s apparent connection to Doctor Phantasma and The Revenant. She convinced Inkling to ask Spook to join their efforts so this show could get some “reflected glory” off of her presence. Inkling headed across the hall, walking in on Jack continuing to add webbing across the french doors.
Inkling made her way to the kitchen and sat down to munch on some of the finished cookies as she asked Spook about the the sudden burst of effort being put toward Halloween. Spook explained that the holiday was an important one to her family; to them, it was like Christmas. Inking asked if Spook would be interested in helping with Fraidy’s show, which she promptly declined. The team was Spook’s home, and she didn’t want it all to break apart. She expressed her grievances with members of the team having a problem with her when she went home due to her homesickness. Splendid had provided her with a home and a place to stay, so she didn’t want any part of something that would drag his name through the mud. Spook shot back at Inkling about what she was doing, asking if the story they’d show would be full of carefully selected truths, obscuring anything that wouldn’t fit the narrative of the show. Inkling answered that she was going to tell the whole truth, because that’s what the public deserved to know. Spook also accused Inkling of hiding behind her mask, presenting herself as Inkling while she unmasked others. Inkling retorted that this name was as true of a name as the ones given by her parents, perhaps even more so, and that she wasn’t hiding any of her own actions; she literally put her name on her works. Respawn returned to the penthouse from his piles of fast food, walking in on Jack in front of a solid wall of fake spider webs where the french door had been, the Aegis drone a cocooned lump within the mass. Jack kept adding to his cover-up, asking Cobalt over the communicator to bring more webs. Respawn turned toward the kitchen where he heard Spook’s raised voice, hearing more of their argument for their respective stances. As Inkling got up to leave, Respawn proposed the possibility that the things that happened to Discard weren’t Splendid’s fault, but solely Mr. Banks’. Inkling responded that whoever was responsible should just “own up to what they’ve done and face their consequences.”
Just then, the brilliant image of Splendid burst into the room, announcing his splendor and demanding everyone fear him and his power. Inkling yelled to Spook and Respawn that this is the kind of stuff that she’s been angry about, storming out of the apartment. She didn’t stay long enough to notice the vibrant image of Splendid transition into a rickroll, singing Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” She bumped into an excited Cobalt just outside the door, arms full of pumpkins and spiders, but pushed past them into the hallway. Cobalt headed in, hoping for a good reception to their holocron-based prank, but found a lukewarm reception from the team, who were just confused about what had happened. The disappointed alien dropped what they were holding, sulking off to their room as the pumpkins smashed against the floor and the spiders scattered to the various fake webs.
Respawn followed Cobalt into their room, previously Alloy/Bastion’s room, to check up on them. Cobalt opened up about their difficulty with understanding human traditions and humor, only wanting to fit in more with their prank. They also shared with Respawn how the Keplerian government was scared of beings like Splendid; this is how they decided that Holocron!Splendid would be an suitably frightening prank. Respawn comforted Cobalt, saying that they’ve been doing well adapting to humanity, but advised Cobalt to try to pay more attention to the context of situations before playing any future pranks. After they both emerged from the room, Respawn immediately secluded himself in his own room to punch up his body bag. A confused Cobalt decided to move to the kitchen to ask Spook who they could ask about the government keeping control of an overpowered being. She suggested that Aegis would be the right people to ask, and that they were probably listening in through the Aegis supplied communicators. Cobalt proceeded to directly address Aegis through his communicator, to no response, as they ate their way through all of the cookies.
After walking back and forth a bit to make sure none of the team followed her out, Inkling returned to Fraidy Cat’s room to report her lack of success with Spook. Inkling’s host was disappointed, but agreed to make another attempt of her own in the morning. Fraidy Cat wondered if anyone knew a superhuman with brainwashing powers, thinking that mind control would be a good way to make Spook participate in the show. The group concluded that any such person could just use their power on those around them to make it seem as if they didn’t have such a skill, making finding one unfeasible. With the camera crew for the show expected early next morning, Inkling left to get some sleep by sneaking in, and subsequently out of, her home.
Spook awakened to a loud bustle across the hall. She took a peek, sticking her head through the door, and saw what she knew as Fraidy Cat’s apartment door propped open with many unknown people rushing in and out. They were bringing in and setting up recording equipment in the apartment so they could start getting some footage for the reality show. Spook turned back with a shrug, gathering up what she needed to make breakfast. Moments after Spook and Cobalt started their breakfast, there was a firm knock on the door. Cobalt went to open the door, greeting the waiting Fraidy Cat. Spook, inferring the reason for Fraidy Cat’s visit, promptly declined to be a part of her show. Fraidy Cat then turned to Cobalt, recruiting them to share the behind-the-scenes truth about being a superhero and what they’re up to when they’re not out beating villains and saving the city. Jack, who had just gathered and pocketed a jar of spiders, asked why only Spook and Cobalt were being asked and not him. Fraidy Cat replied that Jack “wasn’t really a superhero, just a guy dressed up in a safari outfit.” “What?!” exclaimed Jack, throwing the pocket spiders at her. Fraidy Cat leapt backward out of range of the spiders and the jar smashed apart at Cobalt’s feet. Cobalt, frustrated that Jack would make an unprovoked attack at Fraidy Cat without regard for her or those around her, called Jack out on his rudeness. Fraidy Cat reiterated her invitation to her place for the show, and the pair exited down the hall.
Inkling arrived at the bustling scene where Fraidy Cat was looking over Cobalt, saying they should display a more stereotypically alien appearance for the show. Inkling suggested that Cobalt show a little more of their rocky self, which drew a blush from Cobalt as they shifted to a blue hulking rocky form. Fraidy Cat instantly vetoed the form — TOO alien — as parts of the camera crew ushered Cobalt and Inkling to seats in front of the fireplace mantle. Cobalt returned to their chosen human form as the pair settled down and a man with note cards directed them where to look as the cameras started rolling. He asks them to share what happened the previous day. Inkling and Cobalt took turns speaking about their adventures with The A-maze-ing Toy Company and their discovery of the board of directors’ demonic pact, continued on to their confrontation with Discard, and ending with Splendid’s burst of power.
Cobalt declared that the abilities of any superpowered being didn’t have to be dangerous, they just have to be cultivated. Cobalt then shared that on their home planet, Kepler 22b, dangerous bursts of power were never a problem because everyone was trained in their respective abilities from birth. Cobalt went on at length about their home world until the man interrupted for his next question, asking about friction between the teammates. Cobalt remarked that there must be friction, because they haven’t seen any sign of frictionless technology on Earth. The man also asked about the recently missing member from the team, Alloy. Inkling just responded that Alloy decided that the super-life wasn’t for him and had retired from the life. Cobalt suddenly remembered that they wanted to go check with the board of directors of The A-maze-ing Toy Company to confirm their awareness of the deadly pact. Inkling decided to also go, and invited the camera crew along.
Spook searched on the internet for any sign of her parents’ recent supervillain activity. She discovered that two nights ago there was a robbery at the natural history museum where a set of cameras glitched out at the same time; the sole witness was reduced to an incoherent, babbling mess. An ancient Egyptian golden feather was stolen. Spook knew that in the Egyptian belief system, one’s heart was measured on a scale upon death against a feather, determining their reward or punishment. Spook, suspecting that the life and death nature of the artifact fit her parents’ MO, headed out in casual clothes with Jack, who also tagged along without his costume or gear. At the museum, Spook headed toward the now closed-off section of the the Egyptian exhibit, peeking behind the curtain. The plaque below the missing artifact labeled it as a “Golden Feather, approximately 3000 BC. Artifact of an Egyptian priest. Believed to be able to rig the scales of life and death to purify one’s soul before judgment.” There was some purple fluid by the case, which Spook identified as one of her mother’s mind-altering substances. She slid some into a sandwich bag Jack had on hand and the duo headed to their nearest Aegis facility.
Respawn searched the streets for a boxing gym, wanting to seek training against the increased threats that the team was encountering. The Spider’s Ring, a gym advertising classes in super-heroic self-defense against mutants, villains, and weirdos, caught his eye. Upon entering the facility, he spotted a pair of sparring partners in the central large ring. What seemed to be a large man with a dark volcanic rocky exterior was punching forward while a small scrawnier woman armed with cudgel fended off his blows. Watching them from the sidelines was an older gentleman in a three-piece suit, a cigar in his mouth. A large spider web tattoo clung to the side of his neck. Respawn stepped up and introduced himself as Reese Lazarus, asking to join the gym and learn from one of the advertised classes. When the man gestured to the pair in the center, double checking that super-self defense was the kind thing the young man wanted to learn, Reese misunderstood, excitedly saying “Well, I can’t do that, but I can do this!” He promptly snapped one of his wrists, holding it forward to demonstrate it knitting back together. The man, slightly confused, said he was referring to the girl with the cudgel as Reese’s enthusiasm deflated just a bit. Reese continued his introduction, revealing that he’s just a small time hero looking to control his abilities better. The man, introducing himself properly as Sebastian “The Spider” Ibáñez, believed that with some work, Reese can make it big as a hero. Ibáñez even offered, as a tribute to his teacher and a form of advertisement for his gym, to let Reese put a spider’s web on the back of his new jacket. The two give each other a firm handshake and Reese began training under The Spider. Reese, throwing his regenerative abilities into overdrive to bulk up his muscles, initially blew a body bag off its foundation to the opposite wall when Spider asked for a demonstration of his abilities in order to gauge them. Spider acknowledged Reese’s power, but criticized his form. After demonstrating a couple punches on the next bag over, Spider began running Reese through basic punches.
Inkling and Cobalt headed to the A-maze-ing Toy Company HQ, camera crew in tow. After requesting to see the board of directors at the front desk, they saw a large bear of a man in a suit step off the elevator to meet them. Sunny, head of security, told the camera crew not to film in there, causing the crew to lower their cameras — still rolling, of course. He gestured the pair of heroes to step into the elevator with him and led them up to a large, picturesque boardroom. The board seats were filled with old white men who nodded and answered in unison to Inkling and Cobalt’s revelation of the contract and inquiries about their awareness of the situation. Noticing the wrongness of the situation, Cobalt started to mention that it would be serious trouble if Cobalt went missing since they were an ambassador from an alien planet. They mentioned the technological power and military might of their homeworld, and Inkling helped play up their bluff. This stand-off hit a nerve with Sunny, who reddened and expanded out of his tight fitting suit, revealing his half-demonic nature. Sunny was actually Hellion’s son!
Cobalt provoked Sunny into cooperation after suggesting he climb out from his father’s shadow and take this opportunity to rise above him in demonic politics. After changing into a spare suit from a dimensional closet, Sunny led the pair back to the elevator to take them to the real board of directors. On the way up, Inkling suggested that Sunny just had a marketing problem — he just needed to target the right kind of people for the job. People down on their luck, the terminally ill, and gamblers would be more than happy to risk death every four years if it meant an opportunity for great riches. The group rose up to a glass office where an African American gentleman was surprised to see visitors. Cobalt and Inkling repeated their information about the contract and how it was a part of the company’s onboarding paperwork (that nobody ever fully reads), and the head of the board of directors agreed to look into the situation. As the pair started to leave, the man realized he recognizes them as a part of “We Don’t Have One” from the IHY Construction incident. Cobalt happily acknowledged this and Inkling just shrugged.
Spook and Jack made their way to their local Aegis high-rise. When they asked for admittance into the building to bring their findings to a lab, one of the guards picked them out to be a part of “We Don’t Have One”, which Spook confirms. They were led onto a moving walkway that spiraled up into the higher floors. Out of the corner of his eye, Jack spotted his brother Yancy disappearing around a corner and decided to give chase. Using his acrobatic skills, Jack launched himself off the walkway with a rolling leap toward his target floor. However, his hands slipped, causing him to tumble down to the first floor, where he nonetheless managed a graceful landing. Aegis agents surrounded him, stun guns drawn, while Jack played it off casually, asking to see Yancy. One of the agents received a message through his earpiece and directed Jack to the central elevator, claiming “the boss” wanted to talk to him.
Spook continued up the walkway and was escorted to Charlie’s Lab on the third floor. The lab was decorated to display super-related memorabilia, with a strong leaning toward villains, including a WWII-style pin-up of Dr. Phantasma on a wall. A lab coated man with long hair and an exquisitely groomed mustache introduced himself as Charlie. Promptly recognizing Spook for who she once was, he brought out an old poster of Little Shade and her parents and asked for an autograph. Spook obliged him, though not without some hesitation, and asked him to analyze the Dr. Phantasma goop she had collected. Charlie fanboyed about the goop for a bit before excitedly running the sample through the machines. The analysis revealed the goop as a poison, a large enough dose of which would paralyze the body but accelerate the mind, making one live themselves to death. The victim would then be driven insane when the poison wore off and they were forced to realize that the life their mind had lived was all an illusion. The security guard from the museum, for example, kept asking about a wife he didn’t have — Charlie estimated that he had probably lived out 10 years of his life in his own mind. After shuffling about, Charlie discreetly passed a folded note to Spook. The note read, “He used to be The Medium, didn’t he?” Spook just shrugged in response; she had no idea what he was talking about nor had her father mentioned anything like it to her before. “I knew it!” exclaimed Charlie. “Now we just need to find out who The Medium is…” He started to mumble and muse about his theories as Spook slowly backed out of the lab with a wave.
Jack was let out at the top of the elevator into office of Director Frank Welker and asked about his brother once more. Director Welker, sliding out from behind his desk on his hover chair, mentioned that Aegis had been working on recent recruitment efforts. A panel in the wall slid open, revealing Yancy Fry Jr. dressed in khaki-colored tactical combat armor, a little safari hat, and the glowing green alien sword Jack had coveted at the pawn shop.