Stories of the Betterverse

For those who have a way with words.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:55 pm

Operation Inundation III: London, Part 4

Museum of London...

As Griffin was about to land, he saw eight SHADOW troopers and a giant in SHADOW uniform enter the Museum.

Griffin had been to the Museum before and he's seen the Stone being kept there, while its cupola in Cannon Street was being repaired. He knows that he hasn't got much time before they find and smash it.
Please use this map (PDF format) to track everyone's position: Museum of London Map

Griffin has just made it to the entrance. SHADOW are currently moving towards New Acquisitions and the London Stone itself is at the War, Plague and Fire exhibit.
Griffin had some familiarity with the Museum's layout which SHADOW certainly lacked. Such as the balcony that SHADOW would have to walk along to reach the Stone quickly. If he got there first, he could fly to the Stone before SHADOW could could run there.

That's when Griffin quickly extended his wings all the way forward and then snapped them backwards to move in a high-speed burst towards the Archaeology in Action exhibit, which left SHADOW confused for a second. A second that Griffin used to fly across the balcony and towards the Stone.
Griffin spends a HP to stunt his wings into High-Speed Flit: Teleport 2, Accurate, allowing him to bypass SHADOW altogether.
As Griffin arrived at the Stone, he heard a young woman yell "That's Griffin, Cass! He's safe, he's on our side!"

The second woman said in a New York accent "Are you gonna help us kill these bastards or somethin'?!"

Griffin recognised the two women. The first was a girl known all over London as Cheddar. She once magically transformed herself into a mouse but she botched her attempt to transform back, permanently leaving herself part-mouse. She's known for teaching magically-gifted children in London how to use magic to help the human race and Griffin has seen her at the museum enough times to believe that she lives in the nearby Barbican Estate. The other woman was a New York mage known as Ms. Magus, who Griffin has seen having a chat with Cheddar at the Time in a Bottle on occasion. Ms. Magus is known to fight to the death when innocents are in danger and a third Operation Inundation would be more than enough to set her off!

Griffin drew Justice, saying "Yeah, I am! The big one's mine!"
Roll Initiative! Griffin gets 26, four Advanced Trooper minions get 16-19, The Fist-In-SHADOW gets 15, four Advanced Trooper minions get 9-14, Cheddar gets 5 and Ms. Magus gets 3.

Cheddar, Griffin and Ms. Magus each get a HP for entering combat. Cheddar gains a HP for using non-lethal force. Griffin gets a HP due to his two unhealed injuries.

Everyone other than Cheddar is using lethal force.
Griffin then charged the giant, shouting "LET THERE BE LIGHT!" and planting his blade squarely in the giant's chest! While the giant fell, Ms. Magus blasted the head off of one of the SHADOW troopers.
Griffin Charges at the Fist-In-SHADOW with the Armour-Piercing Strike, getting 29, crit scored! He stunts the crit into Soul-Severing Strike: Affliction 10, Impaired, Disabled, Dying. Resisted by Will. The Fist-in-SHADOW gets 8 and is Dying! Fist-in-SHADOW gets 21 to stabilise and is instead Incapacitated.

Four Advanced Troopers fire their Blaster Rifles at Griffin, getting 7, 9, 14 and Natural 20. Griffin gets 24 and resists the one that hit him. Two fire at Cheddar, both getting 11 and missing. Another two fire at Ms. Magus, getting 23 and 13. Ms. Magus gets 25 and resists. Cheddar fires a blast of Magic at a trooper, getting Natural 1 and missing. Ms. Magus fires her own blast of magic at a trooper and gets 15, hitting the trooper. The trooper gets 10 and is killed.

Fist-In-SHADOW: Incapacitated. 7 Advanced Troopers remaining.
Griffin put all his pain and rage into a single wide stroke, felling five SHADOW troopers at once! After that, he took a blaster shot to the face. Cheddar and Ms. Magus quickly took down the two remaining troopers.
Griffin lets loose with the Flurry of Steel, getting 25, 16, 15, 21 and Natural 20, crit scored! Griffin raises the DC for the crit by +5. The Advanced Troopers get 15, 18, 21, 21 and 23, and are all dead. The two remaining troopers fire at Griffin, getting 22 and 19. Griffin gets 22 and 27 and is hit. Cheddar fires a burst of Magic at one of the troopers, getting 26. The trooper gets 8 and is knocked out. Ms. Magus fires another blast of Magic at the remaining troop and she gets 29, crit scored! She raises the DC by +5. The trooper gets 23 and is killed.

Griffin: 3 Injuries. One Advanced Trooper knocked out, seven dead.
Griffin fully extended his wings, singing "London stands forever more, ever more, ever more! London stands forever more, My! Fair! Lady!"

Ms. Magus said "Who the hell taught you how to fight like that, Griffin?! Killing five guys with one swing of a sword, that's a hell of a trick!"

Still high off the adrenaline, Griffin replied "Archangel Michael, that's who! He taught me everything I know about fighting and tactics! Argh!"

Cheddar asked "What's wrong, Griffin?"

"If either of you know a healing spell, I could do with it right now! I took a fireball and a blaster to the chest at St. Paul's on top of the blast I just took! Ask Britannia if you don't believe me!"

Cheddar said "Here, let me help with that. Just stay still."

Ms. Magus went "This'll cure ya, Griff!"
Cheddar does a healing check and gets 19. Ms. Magus got a Natural 20. All of Griffin's wounds have been healed up.
Griffin felt his pain ease and his scars fade... and that was when the Giant in SHADOW uniform got back up and suddenly grew to about nine feet tall!

Griffin went "How in the Lady's name did you survive that blow?! That was a bloody heart-shot, I felt it!"

The giant roared "HAIL SHADOW! OUR SHADE WILL COVER THE EARTH!" He then turned to face Griffin and went "STARTING WITH YOU!"

Griffin then concealed his wings and then roared "KILL HIM! KILL HIM NOW OR WE'RE ALL DEAD!"
Roll Initiative! Griffin gets 18, Cheddar gets 17, Ms. Magus gets 14 and the Fist-In-SHADOW gets 12.

The Fist-In-SHADOW Now has Growth 1.

Cheddar still isn't using lethal force, everyone else still is.
Cheddar reflexively fired a blast, hitting the giant right between the eyes. How he resisted that, she had no idea. Ms Magus had much better luck when she got him in the chest.

The giant lashed out at Ms. Magus, hitting her in the chest and knocking the air out of her.
Griffin attacks Fist-In-SHADOW with the Flurry of Steel, getting 18. Fist-In-SHADOW gets 25 and resists. Cheddar fired a blast of Magic at Fist-In-SHADOW, getting Natural 20, crit scored! She stunts the crit into Sleep Spell: Progressive Ranged Affliction 7; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated, Resisted by Will. Fist-In-SHADOW gets 20 and resists. Ms. Magus fires her blast of Magic at Fist-In-SHADOW, getting 29, Crit scored! She raises the DC by +5. Fist-In-SHADOW gets 19 and is Staggered. Fist-In-SHADOW does a minor All-Out Power Attack in order to punch Ms. Magus, getting 19. Ms. Magus gets 20 and is hit and Dazed.

Ms. Magus: 1 Injury, Dazed.

Fist-In-SHADOW: 1 Injury, Staggered.
The giant roared "KILL YOU ALL!" as he lunged at Cheddar...

... but Griffin got in the way of the almost killer blow, shouting "I'm the one you want! KILL ME IF YOU CAN!"
Griffin unleashes his own All-Out Power Attack with the Flurry of Steel on the Fist-In-SHADOW and gets 19, crit scored! He raises the DC by +7 (including Multiattack bonus). Fist-In-SHADOW gets 29 and is hit and Dazed. Cheddar fired a blast of Magic at Fist-In-SHADOW, getting 18. Fist-In-SHADOW gets 29 and resists. Ms. Magus fires her bolt of Magic at Fist-In-SHADOW, getting 24. Fist-In-SHADOW gets a Natural 20 to resist. Fist-In-SHADOW punches Cheddar with a minor All-out Power Attack, getting a Natural 20, crit scored. DC is raised by +5. Griffin uses Interpose to block the attack instead, getting 20. He spends a HP to re-roll, getting 27, and is hit.

Griffin: 1 Injury.

Fist-In-SHADOW: 2 Injuries, Staggered.
Cheddar managed to land another headshot, this one finally flooring the SHADOW giant!
Griffin unleashes the Flurry of Steel, getting 14 and missing. Cheddar fires off a blast of magic and gets 24. Fist-In-SHADOW gets a Natural 1 and is Incapacitated. Fight's Over!
The SHADOW troopers who survived both started having seizures and then they suddenly went limp. Cheddar checked for a pulse and started sobbing "I- I think I killed them! May God forgive me, I'm a murderer!"

Ms, Magus saw Griffin's eyes turn completely white for a split-second! She asked "Are you alright, Griffin?! I just saw your eyes go completely white, I thought you were having a seizure!"

Griffin replied "I'm fine, Ms. Magus. I just had a revelation from my Lady. What we just saw there was not your fault, Cheddar! I've heard this one story about SHADOW that we can now confirm, called the Umbral Protocol. It's a remote-control implant that gives a trooper a massive neurotoxin dose when activated. If it looks like they're about to betray SHADOW, all their superior really needs to do is flip the killswitch and their enemies will still be in the dark. Looks like it works very well with magic, given what Overshadow had in mind for it."
Griffin spends a HP to receive some inspiration.
"So... I didn't kill them?"

"No, Cheddar. You didn't. That blood is on Overshadow's hands, not yours! And given how fanatical SHADOW troopers get, I don't think they'd care about the implant even if they knew about it. Even if you did kill them, what you did before that was in self-defence. No one in their right mind's going to throw you in jail for this, you have my word."

"Are you certain?"

"Absolutely. You did nothing wrong here, Cheddar."

Ms. Magus went "Are you sure about that, Griffin?"

Griffin told her "I'm absolutely certain, Ms. Magus. I was taught by someone who knows what right and wrong are really like. Now, let's see if anyone's still here..."
Last edited by betterwatchit on Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit » Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:06 pm

Operation Inundation III: London, Part 5

Griffin was searching the Museum of London, looking for anyone who's gotten lost. His sword's back on his belt and his wings are out. He's calling out "It's the Griffin of London here! Don't be afraid, you're safe now! You can come on out, I mean you no harm!" repeating it in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese to be sure anyone who hears him understands that he poses no danger to them.

That was when he was shot. Both bullets grazed his wing.

As Griffin turned to see who shot him, he unsheathed his sword, going "Show yourself, you weak-souled coward!"

That was when he saw the man who everyone called the Akimbo Assassin with both his guns smoking out the barrel coming out of the Debtor's Cell, the one with the wooden walls and no door. AA said "Very well, Mr. Griffin. Consider it your last request to know who killed you, if not why."

Griffin knew that AA had recently taken a contract - word gets out very quickly when AA's on the hunt - but he didn't expect to actually be the target!

Griffin just roared and charged at the Akimbo Assassin. His objectives now were to kill the Akimbo Assassin and reduce collateral damage. And the best chance for both was to keep AA in the cell so he can't use most of his acrobatic skills.
On the Museum Map (link is in previous chapter), the Debtor's Cell is located in the Modern London exhibit on floor L2, on the western end of the Expanding City section.

Roll Initiative! Griffin gets 18, AA gets 7.

AA does an opposed Stealth Check against Griffin's Perception. AA gets 24, Griffin gets 18 and is Surprised.

AA and Griffin both get a HP for entering combat.

Griffin gets 3 HP for his Motivation (AA's confirmed bodycount alone would be just cause enough to attack him), his Fame (The 3rd Street Saints want to make an example of anyone who beats them and lives) and his Honour (Everyone who AA has killed must be avenged and there's only one effective way Griffin knows to do that and make it last!).

AA gets 2 HP for his "Honour" (When AA fights, his assumption is "two men enter, one man leaves!") and the other for his Reputation (Cape- and cop-killer who a lot of people want to arrest or kill).

In the surprise round, AA gets 28 and fires at Griffin with his pistols. Griffin gets 12 on his Perception check and doesn't hear its position. He gets 22 and is hit. It's only his calling-out that reveals AA's position.

Griffin does a Well-Informed check, getting 19. He knows that AA is an acrobatic cape- and cop-killer who took a contract recently.

Griffin Charged at AA with the Flurry of Steel, getting 22 and missing. AA fires on Griffin getting 18. Griffin gets 28 and resists.

Griffin retracted his wings and got AA in the shoulder while getting a bullet in the chest.
Griffin unleashes the Flurry of Steel, getting 29. AA gets 9 so he spends a HP. He gets 19 and is hit. AA fires at Griffin, getting 31. Griffin get 21 and is hit.

AA: 1 Injury, 2 HP. Griffin: 2 Injuries, 3 HP.

Griffin managed to hit AA behind the ear, keeping him from shooting straight!
Griffin does the Flurry of Steel, getting 27, crit scored! He raises the DC by +5. AA gets 17 so he spends a HP, getting 23 and is hit and Dazed. AA fires at Griffin, getting 22. Griffin gets 26 to resist.

AA: 2 Injuries, Dazed, 1 HP.

Griffin then proceeded to crack one of AA's ribs.
Griffin attacks with the Flurry of Steel and gets Natural 20, crit scored! He raises the DC by +5. AA gets 18 and is hit. AA fires at Griffin and gets 30. Griffin gets 28 and resists.

AA: 3 Injuries.

Griffin proceeded to cut AA up a little more...
Griffin attacks with the Flurry of Steel, getting 24. AA gets 21 and is hit. AA fires at Griffin, getting 16 and missing.

AA: 4 Injuries.

And then AA shot him in the arm.
Griffin attacks with the Flurry of Steel, getting 21 and missing. AA fires at Griffin, getting 19. Griffin gets 20 and is hit.

Griffin: 3 Injuries.

Griffin then missed stabbing AA in the side...
Griffin does the Flurry of Steel, getting 21 and missing. AA fires, getting 14 and missing.

…then he put his all into three almighty blows, nearly gutting the Akimbo Assassin!
Griffin does the Flurry of Steel with an All-Out Power Attack, getting 14, spending a HP and getting 30. AA gets 13 and is Incapacitated. AA spends his last HP on stunting Diehard to automatically stabilise. Fight's Over!
Griffin checked to see if Akimbo Assassin was still alive...

AA was indeed alive and he was helpless enough that Griffin killing him now would have been straight-up murder, one of the few lines Griffin won't let himself cross and still in good conscience call himself a human being. He put AA in the recovery position and shouted "CHEDDAR, MS. MAGUS, I NEED HELP OVER HERE!"

Ms. Magus and Cheddar both came over. Cheddar said "We heard the gunfire, Griffin! Hey, is that the Akimbo Assassin!?"

Griffin said "I gave him slightly better than I got! He's down and he's no longer an immediate threat. I have the number of a Ministry officer who'd be glad for such a collar. I also need several bullets removed from me without telling the police. That means I can't go to the hospital!"

Cheddar said "Cass, if we work together..."

Ms. Magus said "I got it. But what are we gonna do with him?"

Griffin said "I've got this," and he picked up a mobile that someone dropped and sent a text to Officer Benbow...

Code: Select all

AA severely wounded @ Museum of London! Floor L2, Expanding City. Debtor's Cell, to right of big heavy door. Bring ARMED backup & ambulance ASAP!
He then said "Now that's done... Cheddar, you know the Barbican area better than I do. Lead the way."

Cheddar said "This way, everyone! I have a flat nearby."

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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit » Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:25 pm

Operation Inundation: London Conclusion

Cheddar's Flat, Barbican Estate, London...

Griffin's on Cheddar's sofa, feeling very tired after having several bullets magically taken out of him and watching the news channels to see the full extent of Overshadow's attack. Which looked very thorough. There's a knock on the door.

Cheddar opened it, saying "Hello, Officer Benbow."

Officer Benbow asks "Is Griffin there? I need to have a chat with him."

Cheddar replied "He's in the living room but he's a bit tired. Having a few bullets taken out will do that to you."

As Officer Benbow entered the living room, Griffin sat up and said "Officer Benbow, what a surprise! Cheddar let me in willingly, you can ask her. How did you know I'd be in here? CCTV? Telepathy?"

Officer Benbow told him "No. Because I already knew that Cheddar lives here. I got a text saying that a major fight broke out in the Museum of London. Imagine my lack of surprise when I saw evidence of what looked like two separate major fights having broken out! What are you doing here?"

"I was in Woolwich when I saw Overshadow's declaration of war on the BBC Big Screen they have there. Stopped some yobs from burning down a church by knocking them out. After that, I heard an explosion in the direction of the Royal Artillery Barracks. Before I could react, I got a message from my commanding officer telling me to get my arse to St. Paul's Cathedral ASAP. I flew straight there and I helped Britannia get rid of a SHADOW APC, killing their entire assault team. After that, I made my way to the Museum of London to protect the London Stone."

"The London Stone?! I thought it was just a really old stone, nothing worth putting your life on the line over!"

"That stone is the 'Palladium', the spiritual heart of London fed by multiple ley lines that intersect at its cupola in Cannon Street, where it's normally meant to be. It'll take a while before you actually need to put it back. The legend goes, 'so long as the Stone of Brutus stands, so long shall London flourish!' And I've seen things that mean I can't honestly dismiss it as superstition! And as you've seen, I'm willing to give my life for my city, my country and my world! Anything less would be an act of cowardice and of treason against humanity! I encountered Cheddar and Ms. Magus at the Museum and we killed several SHADOW soldiers who weren't going to give us any quarter!"

"That doesn't explain why I found the Akimbo Assassin bleeding out in the Museum."

"I was searching for survivors in hiding, calling out in multiple languages that it was safe to come out now. My sword was on its belt and my wings were out so anyone who saw me could tell I wasn't a slave of SHADOW. That was when I was shot in my left wing. The bullets went clean through, but I lost a few feathers. I drew my sword and I demanded that whoever fired at me from behind show themselves. That was when the Akimbo Assassin came out of the Debtor's Cell. I only realised it was him because of his twin bayonetted pistols. I knew he'd taken a contract recently, but I didn't expect to be the one his employer was after! His response was 'Very well, Mr. Griffin. Consider it your last request to know who killed you, if not why.' I charged at him. I had every reason to believe that only one of us was getting out of there alive and he did attack me without any other apparent provocation. I focused on keeping him in the cell, because I was aware of his acrobatic feats from LiveLeak and keeping him inside the cell would keep him from actually using most of them properly."

"That does make sense when fighting an acrobat."

"When the Akimbo Assassin fell, I put him in the recovery position, picked up a mobile that someone else dropped and I used it to tell you where to find him. I put the phone back where I found it. Cheddar led me here. She and Ms. Magus both did a ritual to teleport AA's bullets out of me. They then cast healing magic on me to stop the bleeding and fix my wing. I fell on the sofa to have a lie down and here we are. I'm going to rest for a couple of hours and then go and help quell any rioting that's kicked off. Something like this, you know a lot of people are thinking 'That thing we couldn't get away with before? Now's the time!' You only need to loot a single rifle or pistol to make it look like SHADOW did it!"

Officer Benbow asked "You said that you nearly killed the Akimbo Assassin? If you want to leave here uncuffed, then I want to know where I can find evidence proving your claim that he shot first."

"CCTV from the Museum, including the camera that I saw inside the Debtor's Cell, will clearly show that the Akimbo Assassin attacked first. It'll show that my back was turned and my sword was sheathed and on its belt and I was calling out, hands to mouth when he shot me. There is simply no way a reasonable jury is going to think that I was being an immediate threat to him! And SHADOW troopers wear their own uniform, so anyone with a working eye can't mistake me for one of them. The bullets are on the table there. Ms. Magus knows how to handle them without contamination. With his arrest, the CCTV from the Museum, the confiscation of his guns and those bullets, you now have hard evidence that the Akimbo Assassin clearly attempted to murder me! Even if you can't do him for his previous murders, you've now got something that'll actually stick this time! That's a collar that'll help your career. How is he, by the way?"

"When we put him in the ambulance, the paramedics said that he was critical but stable. Given his injuries and the fact that we have his guns, it'll be a very long time before he opens fire again. I have to ask..."

"Yes, officer?"

"Why did you not kill him outright? You had him right where you wanted him!"

"When the Akimbo Assassin hit the ground, he had lost consciousness and was completely helpless at that point! I only touched him to check he was still breathing and to put him in the recovery position. I left his guns untouched so the only prints I know for a fact were on there when we left the Museum are his. Killing a completely helpless target, that is one of the few lines I can't cross and still call myself a human being afterwards!" Griffin sighed "I've never seen myself as a hero, Jill. Only someone lucky enough to be in a better position than most to get things done and actually keep them done. There's something I ought to tell you."

"And that would be?"

"When we fought SHADOW at the Museum, I received a divine revelation when Cheddar thought she murdered their men. SHADOW clones have cranial implants that trigger a massive neurotoxin dose."

"Are you absolutely certain?"

"Yes. I've never known my Lady to lie to anyone, and I wouldn't be surprised if she can't. Those implants - codenamed the Umbral Protocol - activate under certain conditions. These include attempting to betray SHADOW, taking a severe enough blow to knock them out and getting their minds read. If it remotely looks like they'll reveal anything at all or be taken prisoner, the implant activates and their enemies will still be in the dark. That would explain why they fight with lethal force like fanatics. Because anything that could keep them from fighting or being loyal to SHADOW will lead to their deaths."

"Why would knocking them out set it off?"

"To waste an enemy's manpower, of course. And since SHADOW uses clones, Overshadow doesn't really care at all if he needs to lose a few to maintain security! Knowledge of the Protocol helped me calm Cheddar down and keep her from going suicidal or even worse! You remember when those little ponies came to town?"

"That was... unusual to say the least."

"If some selfish knob or even a villain got there first, what do you think could've happened?! I knew that it was my obligation as a human being to genuinely and honestly help them, regardless of the personal risk or cost. By making sure that Hexenhammer was taken down and that the ponies made it safely home, we showed Celestia that there are people around here who actually give a toss, you know?"

"Yeah, I know. Why do you think I joined the Ministry? Someone's got to keep you lot from going too far!"

"As good a reason as any to join them, I suppose. Are you here to arrest me, Jill?"

"No, because I don't have proof of wrongdoing. I'm just very concerned about you, Griffin."

"What's concerning you, officer?"

"It's your use of lethal force, Griffin. The only reason I haven't already tried to arrest you is because there's too much evidence of your current usage - that I'm aware of so far - appearing justifiable under the law to go through the drama of an arrest and trial. And when we in the Ministry arrest someone, we want to be absolutely certain that we can prove you actually did something wrong first! I'm worried that you're going to cross the line one of these days. I know you're trying to do some good, that business with the ponies showed it."

"I try to go non-lethal, Jill. But sometimes you simply have no choice but to kill or die - as today clearly proves - and the scenarios I find myself in tend to be the sort where no-one else in the immediate area can actually do anything effective in time, forcing me to act at once to prevent unjust injury or untimely death. As for me crossing the line... I'll tell you what I told Britannia earlier today. You need to remember that a very powerful individual who cares about humanity has a vested interest in me behaving myself, is capable of keeping an eye on me at all times and has the power to instantly do something about it if I mess up. If I get violent without just cause, I'll immediately get in the sort of trouble you wished you could arrange for a power who's mad enough to hurt an innocent!"

"What sort of trouble do you mean?"

"The absolute worst you can do to me is kill me, Jill. The worst my Lady can do to me is kill me, throw me into Hell and make sure I can't get back out again, I've actually seen her do it! If I ever have to choose between an action I knew would annoy you and one that would annoy her... It won't be anything personal at all, Jill. I bet you tried looking in her head when you met her in the Guardhouse, against my advice."

"I did. I've never witnessed a mind that old or that... sharp before! I've seen all sorts of stuff in this line of work that could've had a more mundane explanation, but this... this was one of the few things I've seen in my life that simply had no other rational explanation. I would've noticed it if she had any signs of being affected by hypnosis, mind control, mental illness, delusional, psychotic or neurological disorders. I couldn't find anything that would give me cause to question her sanity!"

"When you try reading the mind of a goddess, you're lucky if she lets you keep your sanity afterwards..."

"And before you ask, the answer's yes, this means I know for a fact that you're on the autism spectrum, Griffin."

"DAMN IT! So you know my greatest secret, Officer! You know why it's in my best interest to keep that quiet?!"

"No, I'm afraid I don't."

"Because I want people to judge me by my actions, NEVER by that! Do you understand me, Jill?! I can't let this get out!"

"What are you going to do about it, kill me?"

"Even if I wanted to, I can't! If I use violence on a Ministry officer regardless of whether I had just cause - and this isn't anywhere near it - it'll prove the critics right when I'd rather they be proven to be a bunch of perma-noobs who don't know what they're on about and it would irreparably damage the one thing I need besides my powers and my sword to get anything done to any degree worth the bother of doing it at all!"

"What would that be?"

"My legitimacy. I need people to know and to trust that I can not only get something done, I can do it right and actually keep it done, Jill! The Equestria Incident is an example of this. Getting those little ponies into the Guardhouse was getting it done. Preventing Hexenhammer from killing everyone in the Guardhouse was doing it right and getting the ponies back home was how I kept it done. Princess Celestia publicly praising us on video of her own accord was just the icing on the cake, the sort of thing that proves I'm not an idiot in the face of death and danger!"

"Were you absolutely sure Hexenhammer was going to kill the ponies?"

"Yeah, he was! And you can look inside my head if you don't believe me!"

Officer Benbow said "Since I have your permission, this shouldn't hurt a bit..."

That was when Officer Benbow touched Griffin's forehead... and knew everything about the caper from his point of view. From the summons to picking the ponies up at Woolwich, the train ride, picking up the two books, the tour of London from Trafalgar Square to the Bottle, the escort mission, taking out the van of cultists, the duel with Hexenhammer, slaying him, dragging his hammer into the infirmary, beseeching his Lady to pass judgement on him, ending with Celestia's appearance.

Officer Benbow went "Griffin?"

"Yes, officer?"

"Did you really have to blind the cultists who were in the van?"

"It wasn't permanent! And it caused less drama and drew less heat compared to killing them! I used a bullethole they made to make it easier to keep myself out of the blast radius and then they were knocked out."

"Why did you slash their tyres and impale their engine? We needed a breakdown truck to move that van!"

"In case they recovered before the police got there, of course! Even if they got better in time, they couldn't get far. You need be thorough and vigilant in this line of work."

"Don't you mean paranoid?"

"No, I don't. Those cultists were a legitimate threat to the girls, meaning that my reaction was simple, basic vigilance! And in both our lines of work, you're either vigilant or you're just a dead man who simply hasn't fallen down yet."

"That's one way to put it. Now for the one thing I'm concerned with."

"And that would be?"

"Was there any way you could've taken Hexenhammer alive?"

"No way, Jill! You heard what he said! Holding back or retreating would've likely killed me, the ponies, the Guardians, you... It was the first time I've ever been in a scenario where deliberately taking the life of a sentient being was a justifiable and understandable response. I don't regret killing him, Jill. But I never enjoyed it either. I knew before but I understand now that the act of killing is a serious business and only a psychopath would ever enjoy such an act!"

"I understand. How did you feel after you killed Hexenhammer?"

"Everything I was ever taught about killing someone said that I was supposed to regret it. But I didn't. All I really felt was that I did what I had to do. I gave Hexenhammer a chance to leave peacefully, you heard me give him one! It was hardly my fault that he really was crazy enough to choose death instead! After I killed him and was dealing with the shock of having just straight-up killed a man for the first time, one of the gunmen went 'What- What in the name of God are you?!' That question helped me shake off the shock, Jill. I revealed my wings and told them who I was and on whose behalf I was acting. Those guys were religious extremists. And their leader had just been killed by an angel who could prove on the spot that he really was serving the God they falsely claimed to worship. How quickly do you think they realised their mistake?"

"Very quickly, I suppose."

"Indeed. I kept an eye on their trial and I can see why they all pleaded guilty to attempted murder and then asked for a lot of other crimes to be taken into consideration. It's pretty much the only way they can be reasonably certain to not bump into me again. So I dragged the hammer into the Infirmary, using a rope that Red Mage gave me to avoid touching it myself. The security measures in there are strict! I'm talking about you needing Dr. Green's permission to get in or out of there. With her reputation and her usual research subjects, I'm not surprised. I couldn't see any, but I'm willing to bet that she had Sakura and Red Mage place a few wards here and there to make sure. I went down on both knees in prayer, asking my Lady to pass judgement on Hexenhammer. That is not something I do lightly, Jill. A flash of light and there she was. The one Lady I owe more than anyone."

"The only one you fear."

"Not just fear, Jill. I actually respect her and I owe her even more than I owe my own family. You see, my Lady made me an offer earlier this year. If I swore to serve as her Chosen, she would give me the one thing I haven't been able to find or make for myself, something that no amount of money can ever hope to buy: a purpose to my life. And she has indeed made good on her end of the bargain. She sparked me up and in return, I do whatever assignments she gives me. Anyway, my Lady said I wasn't in trouble with her over that fight. It seems that Hexenhammer had been giving her a bad name for the past six hundred years, Jill. No one was as glad as her that I put Hexenhammer down and brought him before her at last. She picked the hammer up and told me to stand up and bear witness. She spoke to Hexenhammer in what sounded to me like an archaic German dialect, probably the one Hexenhammer spoke back when he still had his original body. If he didn't believe who she was before, he certainly did afterwards! She told him how disappointed she was with him. He was going to stand before her and explain himself. It was sad enough that his own actions and choices besmirched his own character. But falsely claiming to serve the Lady while killing innocents... She'd still give him a fair hearing, don't get her wrong, but it wasn't looking too good for him. My Lady then told me to bring everyone to the Guardhouse's library. She then disappeared in a flash of light, taking the hammer with her. Hexenhammer isn't coming back, Jill. After that, you know as much I do."

"Hang on! She was only gone for a few minutes! How could she properly pass judgement on him and get back to the Guardhouse in time?!"

"Time itself actually works a bit differently on the other side, Jill. I'm sure you heard about me having the near-death experience that made me what I am. I was professionally diagnosed as being DEAD for about 8 minutes over here. You know long that is over there?"

"An hour? Two hours?"

"No. Try eight YEARS. I spent eight YEARS learning how to be an angel, Jill. By the time my dad found out that I was even gone, I was already back on Earth! And they know that I'm a power by the way, told them the very same day I got out of the hospital and swore them to secrecy. Once my Lady got back to Heaven, she quite literally had ALL the time in the world to properly pass judgement on Hexenhammer, make sure he knew and understood exactly why he had that particular judgement placed upon him and send him wherever he was meant to go. And no, I don't know where he went exactly. I was a bit busy as you might recall."

"About this meeting..."

"Yeah, Jill?"

"I'll have to mention everything you just told me to my superiors, who are quite aware that I'm here by the way."

"Fair enough. Can't guarantee they'll believe it, though."

"The thing is, Ministry files - including the one we already have on you - are sealed by law. They require signing the Official Secrets Act just to look at, you need to convince the Ministry that it's in the national interest for you to see the file and act on the knowledge of its contents and it's against our rules for anyone to be alone in the room where we store the files. You won't have to worry about some journalist reading it."

"You have no idea how much I appreciate that, Jill. Thank you."

"What did your Lady mean exactly, when she said that she Chose you?"

"A very ancient treaty among pantheons allows each god or goddess to empower one mortal to directly serve them on Earth and they're the only ones who can legitimately claim that they do things in their God's name. The exact criteria used naturally tends to vary from patron to patron. Those so empowered are traditionally known as the Chosen by those who've heard of them. Thinking of Chosen as real-life paladins or like clerics from Dungeons and Dragons isn't off-base, Jill. I only know of two Chosen who are currently active within London. Myself and Sakura of the Guardians. There may very well be other Chosen out there.

"Sakura is empowered by a god as well?"

"By Amaterasu, the Kami of the Sun to be precise."

"I see. Are there any rules that dictate who can be Chosen?"

"The only hard rule I know of when Choosing someone is that you can only Choose one mortal at a time. You need to Unchoose - and depower - someone before you can Choose someone else. Mutual agreement, gross disobedience, betrayal of your divine patron and the death of the Chosen are all known reasons for being Unchosen. Anything else you want me to tell you?"

"No... No. You've actually given me a lot to think about, Griffin. I've got to go, stay out of trouble!"

"Good luck out there, Jill!"

When the door slammed shut, Cheddar and Ms. Magus re-entered the living room. Cheddar said "I didn't know you were on the spectrum, Griffin!"

Griffin said "It's not the sort of thing I share with anyone, Cheddar! And you can't say I don't have a reason to keep it quiet. Someone could take advantage! It's only because Officer Benbow's a telepath that she even found out at all! And if either of you tell anyone, you'll come to regret it!"

Ms. Magus replied "Well, you seem to have a grip on it. And I can't believe you didn't get arrested! How'd you do that?"

Griffin told her "Jill's a telepath and she literally got inside my head. And she was dumb enough to look in my Lady's head. Everything you two just overheard me tell Officer Jill Benbow of the Ministry of Powers... was true. All of it."

Ms. Magus asked "Are you really an angel?!"

Griffin fully extended his wings, saying "Yes, I am indeed an angel of the Host of Heaven and the current Chosen of the Almighty. There's no need to be afraid of me."

Ms. Magus went "My God..." while sinking to her knees.

Griffin helped Ms. Magus up, saying "No I'm not. I do not deserve your worship, Cass. I never did."

"You saved my ass and Cheddar's, so I still feel like I owe you."

"I saved you because it was my duty. If you feel like you owe me, I know of a way you can help me if you wish. Early next year, I'm planning on doing a world tour and I'll be heading to New York. during it."

"And let me guess, you'd need a place to stay?"

"If that's okay with you. I don't want to impose. I can even cover the relevant expenses if that's an issue."

"It's no trouble at all. I've got the room for it. But I've gotta tell you, I don't live in Manhattan. I'm from Brooklyn."

"Maybe you can show me around then. I wouldn't mind getting a look at all the Five Boroughs."

"I've gotta ask though, do you have a visa?"

"I went through the Visa Waiver Program, good for the next two years. Applied for it on the U.S. embassy's website. The waiver does allow me to legally enter America for business and tourism purposes for 90 days and it's much easier to get a hold of one. It does have a few restrictions, though."

"What are those?"

"I can't appeal for an extension to the waiver like actual visa holders can. At the airport, I must present both my ticket into the States and my ticket back out again. I don't need to go to the same country I come in from as long as I'm gone before the 90 days are up. I can't enter Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean islands unless I'm at least a permanent resident in those places. And I must use an approved airline to fly in and out. Good thing British Airways got on that list!"

"Seems like you're not a noob at this kind of thing. I've gotta ask one question, though."

"Go on, Cass."

"How in God's name are you getting that blade of yours past Homeland Security? If they find it, they'll know who you are and you'll get a glove up your ass at least!"

"Leave that to me, Cass. If my idea on the subject holds water, they won't know a thing! Now if you and Cheddar excuse me, I still have my duties to perform. Thank you, Cheddar, for your hospitality. If you need to talk, you've got my business number. Feel free to give it to Cass."

Cheddar went "Bye, Griffin!"

Ms. Magus said "See ya later, Griffin!"

Griffin told them "Farewell, see you both later."

That was when Griffin got out on to Cheddar's balcony and took off…
Griffin gets 2 PP, which he saves up, totalling 7 PP.

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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:04 pm

Monster Mash-Up, Part 1.

Griffin's House, Halloween 2016…

The sun was setting in London and Griffin has just answered his phone.

"Griffin speaking."

"It's Cheddar. Do you know where the Blackheath Tea Hut is?"

"I know where it is. What's going on?"

"Meet me and Goldwing there in half an hour, there's something I want to discuss."

"Understood, see you then."

Upon hanging up, Griffin put his sword in his new bag, which was designed to hold and conceal his sword. Then he went to Plumstead Common to take off.

Blackheath Tea Hut, three minutes later…

Griffin landed next to the Tea Hut, a legendary institution among south Londoners, particularly those who work at night. Few places within London served hot food and drink 24 hours a day, and even fewer have lasted as long as the Hut. He could see Goldwing and Cheddar waiting for him, with Goldwing having the Hut's famous Animal Burger.

Goldwing was a real griffin who arrived on Earth-Prime around the same time that Griffin attended the Expo. Griffin knew that Goldwing's been making his income by placing minor enchantments on various items. A ring that lets the wearer fall from any height without harm, animal-ear headbands that do improve the wearer's hearing, that sort of thing.

Griffin said "Evening, Cheddar. Evening, Gold."

Cheddar said "Hey, Griffin. I got your gift. I have to say, giving me a gift card for the only cheese company who still make it in the village of Cheddar…"

Griffin went "While I was recovering at your place, I was looking for something to drink when I saw you had different varieties of cheese in your fridge. And that the non-cheese contents were of various things that feral mice prefer. Milk, nuts, that sort of thing."

"And that's what gave you the idea."

Goldwing went "I have to ask… Why did you invite us here, Cheddar?"

Cheddar said "Randall Fox is inviting all three of us to his Laugh at the Reaper festival tonight."

Goldwing asked "The same Randall Fox who let fame get to his head, resulting in his crew revealing how the 'encounters' in his Ghost Chaser show were all faked up?"

Cheddar replied "The same."

Goldwing said "I've heard of those comedians joining Fox tonight. They all have their own followings on-line and in London's comedy scene. Miss Cho's from Freedom City but she does make an occasional visit here. The wiki says that she's a dual citizen, so the visits are above board."

Griffin said "Goldwing's right. And I know the films they're showing. They're all flops, but each one has its own fandom. One of them, Blood Like Wine, stars Lauren Hammond and another one, Pain Portal, stars Lily Esther. Lauren committed suicide - becoming the Silver Scream - and I don't know how Lily became Madame Macabre. And I think that she might actually be Hellsworn… And a lot of bandwidth's been used on-line, debating about the possibility of B-movie actresses somehow attracting the supernatural in real life."

Cheddar said "Bloody hell… It looks like Randall's planning to summon the Silver Scream. Taking the mick out of her films in public? He's either a complete idiot or someone told him something."

Griffin said "I don't know about Gold, but I have to accept your offer. I'm under standing orders to slay Hellsworn and the undead, wherever and whoever they are."
Goldwing does a DC 13 Pop Culture check and gets 21, confirming what Cheddar said. Griffin does a DC 12 Pop Culture check on the films and gets a Natural 20. Goldwing does a DC 13 Pop Culture check on Randall Fox and gets 17.
Cheddar passed envelopes to Goldwing and Griffin, saying "In that case, this invite will get you past security."

Griffin looked at his invite…
Randall Fox wrote:This Guest of Honour is cordially invited to the "Laugh at the Reaper" festival at the Greenwich Picturehouse at 6 p.m. on the 31st of October. As a courtesy, they are exempted from all security procedures.
Griffin put the invite in the inside pocket of his jacket as he told Goldwing and Cheddar "I know where the Picturehouse is. It's to the north-west of Greenwich Park, downhill from here. I can guide you to the market behind it, an excellent landing area when it's closed. Like it is right now."

Cheddar said "Well, lead the way then, Griffin!" as she mounted her enchanted broomstick.

Greenwich Picturehouse, two minutes later…

Cheddar, Goldwing and Griffin soon arrived at the Picturehouse. Which had a bouncer outside, saying "Invites please?"

"Here you go," chirped Cheddar

Goldwing said "Right here, mate."

Griffin went "Here you are, my good man."

The bouncer checked the invites and said "Okay, you three can walk around the scanner. But don't start anything."

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Re: Stories of the Betterverse

Post by betterwatchit » Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:04 pm

Monster Mash-Up, Part 2.

Greenwich Picturehouse…

While they took their seats, Griffin said "Have either of you two seen Mystery Science Theatre 3000? This is going to be a bit like that."

Film aficionados considered Blood Like Wine to be Lauren Hammond’s magnum opus, where the late actress portrays a woman with multiple personalities—all of them killers with varying MO's.

45 minutes into the film, a strong wind blew through the cinema, knocking out the power. Cheddar started looking worried.

Goldwing asked "What is it, Cheddar?"

"That wind… Lauren's found us!"

Griffin said "We better get ready. She's got enough of a sense of drama that she'll want to wait until the end of the film before she attacks."

Goldwing nodded.

Griffin opened his bag, ready to draw his sword.
Cheddar does a Expertise: Magic check and gets 27. She knows what the sudden chill meant.
As the film reached its climax, revealing not one schizophrenic killer but murderous septuplets, a cold wind blew through the cinema. The temperature plunged until the breath of the audience was visible. A voice carried through the wind, echoing the film’s opening line: "This. This life. You slither and slink and play-act your superiority over those who would bare their souls. And this is what you call life? So be it. I will pay what it is worth."

The lights and film flicker as they did earlier, and the seven figures on the screen turn from their intended victim and glare out across the audience, then step free of the screen, wielding blades, guns, and a hangman’s noose.

Goldwing was the first to call out "She's here, tool up!" as he took his gloves off, Griffin unsheathed his sword and Cheddar readied her wand.
Roll Initiative!

Dagger Figment: 20
Silver Scream: 19
Candlestick Figment: 15
Strangling Figment: 12
Cheddar: 11
Goldwing: 10
Griffin: 9
Revolver Figment: 9
Noose Figment: 6
Poisonous Figment: 3
Sword Figment: 2

All Figments are Minions. Griffin, Goldwing, Silver Scream and the Figments are all using lethal force, Cheddar isn't. Griffin, Goldwing and Cheddar get a HP for entering combat, Cheddar gets a second HP for reduced force.

Cheddar: 3 HP. Griffin and Goldwing: 2 HP. Due to all the energy directed at her, Silver Scream gets a +2 bonus to ALL Defences. Griffin is not violating Clause Five of his Agreement as the Silver Scream is already dead to start with, and the Figments are using lethal force. Griffin's Instant Up lets him get out of his seat as a free action, while Goldwing and Cheddar use their move actions to do so.

Silver Scream's stats are in Freedom City 3E.
Griffin went "I see her, moving to engage!", as a dagger whizzed past him. Then he heard a SCREAMING in his head, the pain was indescribable! It was all he could do to parry the figure coming at him with a candlestick.

A figment with strong strangling hands leaped at Cheddar and missed. Cheddar said "No messing about!" as she raised her wand. A shockwave went through the club, destroying four Figments!

Goldwing simply blasted the noose-wielding killer to ashes. Griffin just flew straight at the Silver Scream, striking her and making her visible! As he landed the "fatal" blow, a beam of blue light came from the ground, holding the Silver Scream in place.
The Silver Scream is invisible, but Griffin's True Sight allows him to see her. Dagger Figment throws the dagger at Griffin and gets 21. Griffin gets 29 and resists. Silver Scream uses her Psychic Attack on Griffin. The attack takes the form of a scream, so Griffin's Disability complication kicks in. He rolls a 19 and then spends the HP he got to get a Natural 20 to resist!

The Candlestick Figment attacks Griffin, getting 9 and missing. The Strangling Figment attacks Cheddar, getting 5 and missing. Cheddar spends a HP to stunt her Blast into Selective Burst Area Damage 8, ensuring that only the Figments get hurt. All seven Figments are in the blast radius.

Candlestick Figment gets 8 and is banished. Dagger, Noose and Poisonous Figments each get 18 and survive. Revolver and Strangling Figments both get a Natural 1 and are banished. Sword Figment gets 6 and is banished.

Goldwing attacks the Noose Figment with his Magic Blast and gets 26. The Noose Figment gets 17 and is banished.

Griffin Charges at the Silver Scream with the Armour-Piercing Strike, getting 25. Silver Scream gets a Natural 1 and is Incapacitated. This also banishes the Dagger and Poisonous Figments.

Silver Scream hanged helplessly in the air, face frozen in a grimace of pain as her body trembled as if held taut.

Randall Fox walked to centre stage, one hand extended to the crew, the other clutching an aging leather book. "Ladies and gentlemen, how about a round of applause for these amazing examples of London’s selfless hero community!"

During the applause, Griffin took a quick bow as he landed and sheathed his sword.

Randall continued "What would we do without them? I can tell you, we might be better off with regards to spirits like poor Lauren Hammond here—the Silver Scream. Heroes have been trying to solve this problem with punching since the fifties, and she’s still visiting her old… haunts. No, for this, London needs a different sort of hero. A Ghost Chaser."

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