Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Congratulations to the Indie Groundbreaker Awards winners for 2017!

The winners have been announced!

Best Art goes to Fellowship.
Best Setting goes to Warbirds.
Best Rules goes to Masks: A New Generation.
    With my game, A Single Moment, as a runner-up!
Most Innovative goes to The Beast .
    With my friend Josh Jordan's Short Film as a runner-up!
Game of the Year goes to Seven Wonders.

I'm very thankful and happy to know A Single Moment was recognized and to be frank, it is a honor to lose to Masks.  That game is incredible!  I was hoping to have a celebratory discount for A Single Moment however I cannot seem to log in to my DrivethruRPG account right now due to password issues and sadly the customer service contact is at Gen Con and has an autoreply message stating concerns will have to wait til some time later.

Thank you again!  This lone game designer from the Philippines truly appreciates the recognition and let's all make even more games!

dollhouse ep07 : Orpheus


Episode Seven
"The Living"


Weeks pass with Sophie still in the hospital, under medical observation.  The Arms of Light publicly calls for "Justice" claiming the events at the studio have endangered their fans and crew.  Fiona has learned to tap into a new power which she calls, Contaminate, as it insidiously allows her to reach "inside" and "command the body parts" rather than the person. Shepherd learns to tap into Pandemonium and boosts the chances of Natalie to save her daughter.  He has also noticed how his wife seems to know more about the Arms of Light than expected.  He has been secretly visiting and attempting to uncover more information without letting her know that he's around her.  He is beginning to think the attack on Orpheus was intentional; a coordinated attack to take out the competition. He learns she has discovered there were at least twelves small ghostly companies that have been attempting to join the spook bandwagon.  Shepherd finally makes a breakthrough when he discovers information on a company called Nextworld. The company has actual knowledge and technology similar to Orpheus. And even his wife marks this company and a second one called Lazarus Redux as companies that have best profited since the loss of Orpheus.  He copies the info he can, emails it to himself using his wife's computer, then deletes any history of doing so. He even goes as far as visiting old recycling centers to find the newspaper needed which has the advertisement on Lazarus Redux.  He also finds a headline showing their photos on the cover as the "Manhattan Monsters" and that the Feds are asking everyone to share information of any sightings of them.

The doctors treating Sophie are confused, given some times she seems to be very responsive but other times she is very weak. They do not realize Fiona has been staying with her and boosting her whenever things get too hairy. She has not been leaving the hospital room. Natalie Kureya has been visiting the hospital as well whenever possible. She visits the lodge a few times every now and then to recharge.  She projects often, taking the time to travel the distance and visit her daughter without letting any of the most likely plainsclothed agents notice her presence, then try to make her way back before she drains herself completely of Vitality. She also finds time to spend with Marina, the other daughter, after realizing she needs to show more attention to them more than others. Natalie also tries telling Fiona about her dream about Chet hanging in a pod from the ceiling and how this may be related to Fiona's body being missing. Fiona, however, does not open up to her. She acts more dismissive of any attempts Natalie tries to connect.  Natalie does not realize she is beginning to learn to use Forebode.

Wendell Pruce notes that there are growing numbers of reports of deaths related to Pigment suggesting the contaminated pigment they heard about might have spread out further than the rave than expected. He has also been attempting to learn how to skim, realizing going under via a cradle just takes too long. He has also been trying to reconnect with Radio Free Death, who admits things are getting scary and is inclined to meet up again, given the "others are moving." Wendell is not sure who these "others" are but understands RFD fears they are aware RFD is alive. Wendell is given a location to meet RFD alone, so long as he does not inform the others. Wendell is annoyed at all the cloak and dagger needed but is willing to do it using the last remaining dose of pigment he has. He doesn't know if he should go using the cradle.  He does not know if being projected is safe or not anymore.   Enroute, a guy on the bus asks if he is Wendell and claims he has a phone call for him. Wendell takes the phone, wondering if it's some kind of hidden camera show, but learns it is RFD on the phone and confirms they're willing to meet. RFD assures Wendell the stranger asking for his name will be the last thing that man will think about.  At a public park, Wendell sees people and children there and wonders which one with a gadget would be the next one to talk to him as RFD. He sees instead a black guy who is tired and made of gauze. The spirit tells Wendell he is here to try to answer questions he may have, but Wendell just wants to know what they should do now. RFD admits he wasn't sure if there's anything to do since he came into this thinking it was just a means to get out of being on Death Row. RFD admits this isn't the first time something this big happened. He insists the last time something this big happened - his voice trails away and they both see Bishop standing among the running kids. Wendell, having not met him yet, notices RFD is worried and admits, "We should be worried depending if he is him - Bishop himself - or his Shadow."  Wendell realizes now that anyone without a body has a Shadow.  He wonders if Fiona has one as well and if they have been harboring her shadow all this time. As RFD goes to talk to Bishop, Wendell fingers the pigment does and wonders if he should use it.

Misha Rusanov, on the other hand, decides to check on Natalie, his girlfriend, and try to learn what she is going through and if she wants out of their relationship. He ends up calling her cellular phone and finds out she feels like she betrayed him and his friends and hates the fact she feels she made things complicated for them.  She's decided to stay with a friend for now. Deciding she needs space, Misha he asks if she needs anything else. She insists she will be fine and that she just needs to work on the possibility she was instrumental to the hundreds that died in Orpheus. Misha yearns to reach out and help her, but he can tell she is being evasive. He throws an invite for dinner anyway, but she still turns it down.  Misha then tries contacting Osorio to learn on how the case has progressed. He remembers the footage of the shooter transforming from the image of one of them into the shooter. Osorio admits he is troubled as most are focusing on the fear than the facts. Arms of Light are stressing the group to be the Manhattan Monsters and that the deaths caused by the spread of pigment and pigment tattoos are the Monsters showing they mean business. Osorio does not know whom to trust either and does not know how to make sense of the things the group can do given the powers they have. "How do I know you guys didn't change the footage to point fingers at someone else? There is talk that the rave deaths are to point fingers at other people." The assistant director has prepped a task force after viewing the records. Osorio can get into trouble for talking to them.  Arms of Light has been the most vocal proponent in pushing for the Manhattan Monsters to be found. Misha thanks him for choosing to help.  Misha also attempts to reach out to some of the spooks they helped before, but of the ones he approaches, the new spooks are too scared to be reached. Many of the attempts lead to people now talking about ghost sightings in the areas where he tries to reach out to them which also leads to them considering contacting the Arms of Light.

Fiona and Natalie discuss the weird dreams she has been having. Natalie shares the feeling of seeing the visions and both talk about how the symbolic imagery and dreams might be more than just dreams. They might be glimpses of possibilities. Fiona, on the other hand, talks about how she is worried that her use of her Skinriding to keep Natalie's body alive might be doing more harm than good since she's forcing the body to keep functioning. She would only stop when she had run out of Vitality. Natalie tries using her powers to Forebode on whether her daughter will survive if Fiona stops helping her. It is a hard question to ask but one that needed to be asked. Fiona notices a man a suit watching them. The man has a pin on his lapel showing T/S.

Bishop transforms, showing signs of his Stains having gotten worse. Sparks explode from a nearby cable as Radio Free Death escapes Bishop's attempt to swallow RFD with his black oily new morphic body! Wendell tries to act nonchalant as if he did not witness anything and remembers his lessons on how spooks and spectres would see a projector as one of the living if his Vitality is high enough.  Wendell hopes it is high enough as he walks away, ignoring people talking about having a bad day. One of the Orpheus seniors suddenly comes to view. Resting on a bench, the woman opens her hand and allows a bee to emerge and merge back into her skin. Wendell realizes Anne Harper must have found a way to burst into a swarm and escape death.  He warns her that they might best not be talking here, but when he looks around, there is no longer any sign of Uriah Bishop. Harper asks how many escaped and after learning very few did escape, she shares that Kate Dennison isn't doing too well. She broke her spine and has not recovered.  She also shares they lost Tom Hayes. They started a new office.  They talk about the new spectral enemies they've faced, and the tragedy of Greek Row.  Harper explained they survived by tailing the attackers and quietly let them do what they wanted until they found an opportunity to slip away and escape via a partly broken elevator. They headed to the roof of the building and something caused it to breach the roof deck and it fell free fall once more down. Kate had pushed everyone else out before plummeting down below.  They found Kate three days later still in the rubble and Kate admits she found the will to survive knowing in three days the others would come back for her.

The building Harper leads Wendell to turns out to be Lazarus Redux.  It was the last thing those hunting them would think that survivors would do. In front of the building, Annie argues with Hoyt, who is currently in the form of a car and refuses to revert back to human.  It was trauma from the attack, given he could not possess anything during the assault. Harper's swarm form triggered during the attack and she was able to pretend to be the dark cloud during the assault. They talk about something called the Grand Mother and how from what they learned, it is coming to destroy the world.

Misha visits the church one last time, despite the people now thinking ghosts have been making their presence felt. He sees the woman he tried to communicate with and tries to keep her calm as he approaches her. He gives his name to help calm her down. She starts talking to him, realizing he's not some spectre but a ghost like herself. He realizes she is a poltergeist and tries to approach her.  Misha notices two visitors arrive at the church, claiming to be from Arms of Light. Misha warns the girl that they need to go. The girl mutters she remembers Misha to be part of the terrorist group. Misha attempts to explain they were set up, and that they didn't have anything to do with the pigment. In her agitation, the pews begin to rattle once more.  The woman from Arms of Light starts to notice the movement as well. Misha insists they tried to save them all, but the ghost shrieks and another pew spins in mid air and crashes into the wall. The woman from Arms of Light draws out a device that she affixes to her face. Using Helter Skelter, Misha whips tries to whip the glasses off her face. During the time it takes for Misha to convince the woman that they should leave, the people from Arms of Light have handed more headsets to other people. Realizing there isn't much time left, Misha shoves the ghost through the wall to escape the cultists. The two start running despite the damage to their gauze. A man trains a device at them and it begins to charge with a dangerous sounding hum. The blast surges into Misha's immaterial form, somehow calibrated to still hit him! Misha is shoved back into his body and knocked unconscious.  The ghost girl screams, running alone, and her surrounding rips apart into a tornado of debris as she attempts to defend herself as any poltergeist would.

Shepherd visits Terrel and Squib and from outside sees no signs of it having been attacked. He considers trying to eavesdrop on employees when they head home - hoping to uncover any information of worth. From what he gathers, they were almost attacked but supposedly certain people were able to stop it. Supposedly a van with armed men were on their way but it got into an accident before getting to them. Shepherd then heads to the address listed for Lazarus Redux. He manifests and pretends to be a man interested in working for the company but learns there is only a local mailbox at the said address.  After using his knowledge of law against the person at the company, he succeeds in getting the address to Lazarus Redux.

Wendell tells Lazarus Redux he has to head back, knowing the others will worry about him. Annie tells him that they need to stay in touch. Orpheus fell apart because of all the secrets.  As Wendell leaves, he does not see Shepherd see him exit the building.  Shepherd follows him, then intercepts him before he hails down a cab. He asks Wendell to explain when he planned to admit he joined another company. Wendell finds the accusation incredulous and hates the fact Shepherd is spying on him. Wendell explains it is Orpheus and Shepherd is pretty shocked to realize the company is still active.  Survivors!   At a nearby television set on display, both are drawn to a news report. A man has a press conference. Terrel and Squibb announces they are dedicating their support to the FBI to locate the Manhattan Monsters. They even confirm that the Manhattan Monsters are behind the poisoned Pigment that killed hundreds at the Greek Row events. But as the man turns away, there's a brief moment the projectors notice his image superimposed and lagging.  "He's possessed," Shepherd realizes.  The people around them start talking about the reward money. Shepherd hurries back to Lazarus Redux and Wendell decides to stick with him.

Back at the hospital, Fiona stares at the man in the suit. Natalie sees the visions and sees her daughter survive.  Fiona grabs hold of Natalie and pulls her through the wall, explaining that the man in the suit can see them.  She explains to Natalie the man is from Terrel and Squibb and in the opposite room, with the door partly open, they can see a leather shoe on the floor. Not certain why there is one, Natalie tells Fiona not to worry about her daughter, for now, certain that she will be okay.  As they peer through the doorway, they see another shoe on the floor, then a man, who is beaten up pretty bad on the ground.  The man is also Terrel and Squibb! Something is definitely up.

The man in the suit back in the room grunts and the nurse turns to look at him. They notice the man is barefoot.

Fiona leaps through the wall to head back and stop the man, sensing he's not really what they thought he was. Natalie rushes through the wall, aiming to flank their target. Emerges at the other side, Natalie sees Fiona in full manifestation, crazed and wild eyes, but standing still. The man has one hand clamped over Natalie's daughter's face. His other hand holds a scalpel.  The nurse is bleeding out of a sliced open throat. The man tries to bargain, asking Fiona to surrender in exchange for the child. Fiona telepathically suggests Natalie to act now. Natalie channels Vitality into her own body and with her enhanced speed, she manifests fully and tries to grab the man from behind. But as she manifests, the man hears her weight against the tiles and swings the blade towards her! Natalie responds quickly, attempting to block the knife with her forearm as she had trained some time ago.

Shepherd pushes the door to Lazarus Redux open, demanding a chance to talk to Kate. Wendell catches up, admitting Shepherd insisted. They try to reach out to Kate, with Wendell admitting maybe their cover isn't that good. Shepherd explains Terrel and Squibb is working with the FBI, but he saw Lionel Squibb is possessed. No one else but projectors noticed it. Shepherd now suspects they were behind the attack. Annie admits they suspected Nextworld was. Kate possesses Annie for a moment to explain that if they investigate they have to be quick given both are skilled in dealing with projectors.

The people back at the house turn Misha over and see the injuries he has sustained. They try to wake him up and treat the injury.

Kate admits through Annie their focus is on the Grandmother, who they suspect is some kind of leader or position among the dead. Annie recovers, but worries over Kate who has seemingly stopped breathing and requires medical assistance once more. Shepherd uses Pandemonium to help shift the odds in their favor. Using the first aid he can think of, he tilts her head up and searching for any blockage to clear it. Wendell backs away, afraid to interfere. Anne hurries off and while Shepherd tries to do first aid, Anne returns with an old man in her arms. She tosses Chet Mason onto Kate, and vanishes upon contact.  Kate sits up, coughing and clears her throat. Mason has used Contaminate like how Fiona has done for Natalie's child. John is overseas tracking a trail they have of where the pigment has come from. Wendell wants to know why they are being singled out and painted as monsters. Kate suggests maybe they can find an ally, someone who will speak of them positively somehow. Wendell does not know of anyone with that much credibility. Kate wonders if they can get those they helped to break their confidentiality agreements to speak out on how Orpheus helped them.

Natalie twists the blade out of the man's hands and reverses the threat. Focused on keeping her daughter safe, Natalie tries to force the man to back away from her child. This gives Fiona the opening to try and posses the man but she suddenly is thrown out and tumbles to the ground. The man, it seems, has a Shield preventing possession. Natalie pulls the man away from her daughter, then slams him to the ground. as she diverts some of her energy into increasing her strength. The man, however, grins and reveals metallic teeth. He is able to fight against her strength! But Natalie grabs the organic pistol from Bishop out and trains it at him. "Don't force me to use this! I've seen a friend take out a Spectre in one shot!" The man lets go of the child. Fiona admits she's recovered and stands up, ready. Natalie feels the urge to fire. She feels the deep desire to waste the bastard for threatening her child, but she knows she needs to know why he is here. "Talk! The Grandma.. talk!"

"Grand fucking what?" the man gasps and Natalie realizes he honestly does not know what she is talking about. Fiona clamps her hands on the man and causes him to feel his heart seizing up in a heart attack. The man struggles to maintain his composure but the pain is getting too strong. He falters and promises to talk if they make the pain stop. Fiona eases down for now. The man admits he is Herbert Mol and he is here to take one of them back. He does not work for Terrel and Squibb and confesses he's a mercenary. He communicated only via email and blind drops. When they sense he is lying, Fiona causes him to start bleeding in the wrong places as she inflicts on him the worst STD she can think of.  Herbert Mol gives all the information he can but admits he doesn't know more than the meeting place and that the daughter was just the lure.

Fiona has Natalie ask the important question: Do they leave the daughter or do they take her with them. Natalie remembers her vision of her husband coming to care for her and decides to leave.  The two head back for the safe house.

Shepherd asks for the important numbers to be able to contact Lazarus in the future. He wishes he can share Vitality with Mason, but not being part of a crucible, there's no way to share.  Shepherd and Wendell then are shown their findings: rocks of different types. The rocks are all gauze, spirit material, and have been retrieved from places with earthquakes, or booming sounds that seemed to have no real world counterpart. The source remains uncertain. The rocks are chalky white - almost like porcelain or marble - but made of gauze. They have pieced together parts, a tedious process, but it does suggest that they're all parts of something larger.

The two step inside and see that the rock that is being cleaned is that of a giant statue of a baby's head. The gauze parts are taped together as the people working on it are trying to make sense of what it is. Or where it came from. Wendell wonders if it's some kind of trojan horse. Shepherd asks for the files they have on T&S, if it is anything that can help them infiltrate it.  Wendell wants to head back to update everyone else. They find Carter frantic for reasons that have yet to be explained. They realize Carter panicking over whatever happened to Misha.  And Ellie remains missing  The group is in dire straights. Carter thinks the injury Misha has is from ghost ammo. Wendell asks him about Ellie, but Carter claims she just left. He downplays the truth that he sent her away. Wendell admits as much as Alex things he's good at lies, he can't lie for shit.

"Damn it,  I think he knows!"

Both of them look at each other, realizing Alex Carter has now become part of the Crucible. His thoughts blare out, "He will know I traded her off!" and that "Fiona needed it." Wendell tries to pry more information from Carter but Carter tells him he has no right to be in his head. Maria begins yelling at them to stop.  She runs way in frustration and runs into another room to ask for help. To make Carter and Wendell stop.  At the door, listening to Maria asking for help, we see Fiona.

"Leave it to me," she mutters.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Nisab Diary ep09 : 7th Sea

The Nisab Diary

"Wedding Interrupted"
Episode Nine - 7th Sea

The group finds themselves crashing a wedding. And the wedding happens to be that of Maddie, an old childhood sweetheart of Jan Volta who still has feelings for him, to his other friend, Thomas Aorsi. Jan finds his mind racing back to the memories of his friendship with Thomas, Maddie, and a fourth friend, Christie. How they made promises between them to never be apart and to never forget each other. How years later, at the Lyceum, they make the promise again.  And even more years later, at the Academy, they still hoped to maintain their friendship. Jan smiles at Maddie. Maddie smiles at Thomas. Thomas smiles at Christie. "Jan Volta," a voice calls out to them. Reikion and Walden Reichart realize the people at the wedding recognize their companion.  The bride, Maddie, stands up and Jan stares at her, remembering those years they were falling for each other before he disappeared from the group. Thomas rushes to Jan and gives him a tight hug, overwhelmed with joy to see his old friend again. Both Reikion and Walden stay silent, leaving Jan to take the lead and explain why they have suddenly appeared out of the shadows. Thomas introduces them to old friends of theirs, Valderamas (another Zynys), Veronique Soldead (a Fate Witch), Finn McKeelan (duelist and charmer), and Lena Damaske (Eisen Pirate turned Privateer) who are also in attendance. Maddie exits the reception, clearly taking Jan's reappearance in a negative way. Jan's disappearance for twenty years is clearly remembered by all and Jan knows the reason it happened was his encounter with his Dievas. Walden approaches the closest fireplace to dry himself from the rain they had come from. Reikion finds a few fascinated women in attendance asking him to share more tales of the foreign lands they have never visited. Reikion connects to a Raven through Matushka's blessings and has it approach. Finn, Lena, and Veronique remind Thomas that Maddie has left the reception and nudge him to bring Jan with him to the back areas and look for her. Thomas was so excited he completely forgot to mention Maddie. Jan, however, suspects she walked out due to the "relationship" they once shared.   Among the guests, Reikion and Walden meet include a Montaigne named Merrit Borgen, who they soon learn once had Porte and practiced using it but now no longer has any ability to use it. He used to visit a doctor to find out why his gift had gone awry, but the late Doctor Nisab Guissola never figured it out. Walden confirms that Merrit was her patient for five years although he has confusing times of thinking she visited her to offer her his abilities.. which would be odd since he remembers losing them much earlier.  Walden sees a long stitch at the back of the man's head, from ear to nape. He wonders if Nisab had somehow taken something from him that allowed him to use his sorcery.

Reikion closes his eyes and mentally connects to the raven flying outside.  He guides it to fly off and check on his fellow Eventide clansmen. Frighteningly, he seems to find proof matching the Inquisitor's claims as he finds the camps empty of his fellow clansmen. He visits another safe house and finds it still occupied, but as he descends to check he realizes those present are not of his clan, but people who have squatted in the location.  Snapping out of it, Reikion opens his eyes and hears the people around him talking about the Ebon Doctor, a villain supposedly from another world with the ability to travel wherever he desires.  Walden joins the conversation, admitting that sounds like Porte. No one, however has seen the Ebon Doctor but supposedly he stalks the streets of Vortua at night, abducting people for his hellish experiments as corpses have been found missing body parts come morning. Walden confirms they currently are at Vortua, at the Sarmatian Commonwealth.

At the back area, Jan admits he had to handle a problem which leads to his disappearance. Thomas mistakes it to mean Jan had gotten someone pregnant. He even thinks Jan ran off and did not bother to raise the child. Jan decides its best to not dwell on the past and focus on finding Maddie. They find Christie smiling at them, asking if this is who she thinks it is. Jan greets her and Thomas admit how in the past he used to wonder why he barely spoke to Christie and spoke only to Maddie. Thomas wondered if he and Christie were hiding some secret. Christie teases she can see Jan is no longer alone. Jan realizes in horror that Christie was never Thean like they were. Christie is a dievas, and she has been Thomas' dievas ever since those earlier days. Jan is taken aback when his own dievas motions for Christie to step back, claiming Jan is already "taken." Christie admits, "Not all of us stay in the shadows."  Jan realizes Christie was always talking to Thomas and the two used to have these little dares as games, with Christie challenging Thomas to do small things like getting her a drink, or a kiss on her cheek, for answers to questions he may have.  She, like his own dievas, was a demon of Knowledge.

Walden and Reikion confirm that among the guests is the son of the King himself, Aleksy Gracjan Nowak who meets with them and reminds them they are all equals here despite his title. They talk about how many guests were shocked at seeing sorcery, being used to the old ways. Aleksy even assumes Jan had asked his dievas for assistance to arrive here. Walden and Reikion ask questions to him, realizing they have no idea how Jan does accomplish things that seem impossible. Aleksy explains the concept of the old gods, the dievas, who have shaped the lands of Sarmatia and are the muses of knowledge, the lords of cold and fire. Reikion realizes this is why Jan keeps talking to himself! Aleksy admits their line has never had dievas, and some stories claim theirs were stolen away. The tales do claim they can be destroyed, however, although there are no actual documents of the dievas ever being freed. He suggests there is an organization that maintains or keeps watch of those who have become Zynys, and that they would interfere when necessary. They are warned that not all forms of sorcery are accepted in this country. The belief in the old ways is still strong however, enough that the Vaticine Church and their Inquisitors do not have a strong grasp of power here.  Their discussion then shifts to talk about the Ebon Doctor and the man from Montaigne, Merrit Borgen. Walden wonders if the Ebon Doctor is some kind of vigilante. Walden and Reikion are offered clothes to wear to change from their wet clothes. Prominent on their change of clothes are the cloth belts they are asked to wear, a fashion highly influenced by the Crescent Empire.

The group meets Alexsy Nowak and his wife, Domenica Vespucci.  They learn of the troubles plaguing the Sarmatian Commonwealth and the significance of the sash they wear.  The concept that in this land, "Everyone is a noble," shocks Reikion and Walden more so at the thought that a piece of cloth can mean so much. At the distance, the bride seems to be crying over something. She turns and sees Jan Volta, who greets her as if they just met the previous night. As she tries to walk out, he grabs her arm and tries to start a conversation. She spits back that better men could have started with an apology. Apologies come, though they are twenty years too late. He asks if she is happy to be wed to Thomas. They shake hands and Jan's mind flashes back to when he held her hand that time in the past they were at the Lyceum and she was having second thoughts of staying in it.  He recalls as they hugged, that was the moment he liked her.  She questions him showing up now after twenty years and Jan, back focused on the present, tries to explain why he had to leave and he realizes she keeps talking about how she thought the three of them would live a life where they were together. Jan corrects her each time and reminds her she means four. She tries to walk out again but he follows her and explains he found... someone. Jan tries to correct it by saying, "Someone found me... No wait.. I mean I am not alone.. No... " he scratches his head, unsure how to say things. A voice asks if they are okay and Jan turns to see a woman dressed in black whose presence has so much dignity and discipline that Jan feels like he already wronged her despite meeting her for the first time. Maddie calls the woman her auntie and explains she is just talking with an old friend. The aunt smiles and Jan cannot ignore how he finds her to feel like a predator.  Maddie introduces her auntie, Elena Grigorii, to Jan Volta. Jan realizes the name is one of the names he saw on the wall. Elena, however, notices Jan recognized her name. She tells Maddie her husband is looking for her and ushers her away. "It is all right, darling, it is just a wedding." Jan tells Maddie she has a dievas. He reminds her whatever happened to them happened and that will never change. Maddie admits life is different now.

Back in the ballroom, the people continue to socialize and schmooze with the others. Valderamas notices the husband seems to be uncertain as he tries to explain to the guests that his wife will be back soon. She's just prettying herself a bit more. Walden and Reikion talk about their encounter back in the city and that confrontation with Julianna Onestra. Reikion worries about his brothers and their safety, given Julianna's claims of placing them in danger. Glass shatters. The two turn towards the sound, the people in the event begin to scream as two dark misshapen figures. Walden tries to study it  while Reikion rushes to the nearby people and tells them to hurry out. The two figures are covered in some kind of glow. There is laughter in the room, and to their surprise, Finnegan McKeelan leaps onto a table and yells at his companions, "My sword!"  They yell back instead for him to get it himself! A larger shape tramples forward, crashing through tables. Walden yells at the thing, attempting to lure it towards himself. He makes a show of drawing his blade to try to pressure the horrible thing to focus on him. The horror gasps out in its throaty maw, "Eeeeeehhhhbooooon" and then suddenly swings at Walden with a tentacle like form. The people scatter and begin running. Reikion hears someone call out a warning for him and he turns to see another monstrous thing leap at him! Reikion is knocked back and his sword skitters across the floor.  Walden yells out to warn them the thing is strong! Reikion rolls on the ground and manoeuvres to land where the blade it, grabbing it back as he growls at the horror.

Back inside, Maddie complains to Jan about how he and his friends have complicated things once more, especially on her wedding night. "You made me hope, you ruined my life, you left me alone, and after I spent years relearning to live again and start to think Thomas is the guy for me, you show up on my wedding night to ruin it barely after we just got proclaimed as a couple!" Jan shakes his head is frustration, drawing his pistols as they try to bust through the doorway to the unfolding battle.  But the door rattles and does not open. Maddie lifts her skirt and tries kicking it as well, but it still does not open. Both stare at each other, surprised.

At the other side, Walden dodges as the thing flings a table at him, and it smashes against the door which Maddie and Jan tried to step out of.  Reikion snarls at the monstrous forms and waits for an opening. Walden hears Reikion guide him to strike at the perfect moment to slam a chair at the thing. Reikion realizes these unnatural things are somehow amalgams of various things and before he can cry out another warning at Walden, the monster knocks Walden once more across the room, smashing into the wedding displays. Reikion leaps onto the monster, picking it up, and throwing it across the room into the smaller one. The smaller one bursts apart, like a broken fleshy toy.  The larger one starts to rise again, getting ready to recover.  "High or low?" a voice calls out to Reikion, and he responds with, "High!" As he jumps up to strike at the horror, Lena Damaske appears sliding below him to strike the beast with her own blade. Reikion twists into a somersault to recover and land beside her. The monstrosity, however, takes the strikes, picks them both up and slams them into each other.  They hit the ground, rolling away in pain.  Someone calls out, attracting its attention.  Veronique Soledad starts backing away, telling them that the thing can't look away from her so long as she has drawn its attention.  The others consider their options.

Maddie and Jan wonder if they should pull the door instead when it suddenly slams inwards, bouncing off the hinges, then smacking into Finnegan, who was about to reach for it as well. Walden kicked the door, hoping to open it up and accidentally hit Finnegan instead. They see a dark figure staring at Elena Grigorii and it darts away down a doorway as another window shatters open. A new monster lands where Elena stands. Valderamas motions towards the panicked guests and winds begin to blow, guiding them to the exits.  Finnegan shakes his head, recovering from the fluke accident. Walden sees the smaller monstrosities harassing the guards and feels divided on whom to focus on.  Realizing the guards might not be prepared for this, he screams out and charges at the smaller beasts to recklessly take them down!

Lena and Reikion consider striking between the scales of the horror.  They rush forward, training their blades to strike between the monster's scales at the same moment.  With Lena wrapping her legs around the waist of the horror, Reikion leaps up and slides his blade into the area where Lena pries the scale away from the body. A torrent of black blood gushes out as the creature howls in pain! But somehow, the wound begins to stitch back closed as they realize the horror regenerates! Reikion twists the blade, hoping to see a peek of what is inside.

Jan sees the horror try to attack Elena, he rushes to help. Elena dodges in time as the horror clips the ground she was standing at. Jan rushes through the doorway after the figure and sees the servants ducking out of the way. The dark figure continues to run, rushing through another door. Jan raises his pistol and fires at the figure's foot to disable him. Jan times the shot perfectly to avoid hitting any of the bystanders nearby.

A tentacle wraps around Lena, flinging her across the room. Reikion finds the opportunity to rip the thing's chest open, revealing two pumping hearts stitched together with strange fleshy threads. Realizing the wound is closing again, Reikion reaches in to grab the hearts and rip them out!

"Who are you and why are you here?" Jan yells at the figure, pinning him to the wall with his pistol after the shot he fired forced the man to stop running. The man claims he's a friend and Jan realizes the man's face is twisted wrong. He has a second pair of lips beneath the bearded face and the flaky skin. He grabs the face and rips it free, revealing an older tired looking fellow. The man raises his hands in surrender, claiming he is, "My name is Samo Sokolof.. I am a friend!"  A servant cries out as he recognizes the old man and points out a hanging flier on the wall showing a likeness of the old man drawn on the sign: Wanted. Inform the City Watch of any sightings.  "An associate of the Ebon Doctor," the servant gasps out, "That is him!" Jan forces the man to surrender, promising him a chance to talk later. Not wanting him to have a chance to escape, Jan gives his Dievas a signal and Sokolof is wrapped in ice to keep him in place.  Elena Grigorii steps into the kitchen, seeing the man frozen in ice.  She thanks Jan for capturing the old man as she always wondered when the Ebon Doctor and his associates will ever be captured. "Maybe this time we can know the truth about the Ebon Doctor." Jan tells them he has to go and save his other friends. Elena smirks she sees now why her niece Madelyn was madly in love with him.  "Or at least.. why she still is."

Outside, Walden drops to the ground, exhausted. The horrors are twitching in their death throes. Some of the guests emerge from their hiding places, cheering their victory. Reikion drops to the ground, tired as well.  His hands are blackened by the hearts he had torn out, but the thing somehow still was strong enough to act and ran for the window, shattering it as it ran to escape. Reikion grabs hold of the horror, not wanting it to escape. He holds on as it leaps across the street and hurries to try and escape. It leaps from rooftop to rooftop, tries to get further and further away, Reikion realizes it might be better to try to see where the thing hopes to escape to. He lets go, but watches as the horror leaps towards the nearest bridge area and tries to escape by moving beneath it. Reikion moves quickly, dealing a final blow at the thing before it can make its way into the canal.  The horror collapses, dead.  Reikion sees the blood flowing into the canal, marks the entryway, and transforms into a raven as he flies in to investigate. He finds the winding passageways and studies which direction in the catacombs might be the best direction to take.

Maddie is sitting on the ground. Valderamas tries to console her.  Lena and Veronique continue to gaze out the window for any sign of where Reikion had gone. Veronique admits she can try to find him but she isn't certain her sorcery would work. Walden admits this all feels like home in an odd way - with all the monsters and stuff. Among the guards, Thomas emerges. Maddie calls out to him, asking if he is okay. He admits he is but states the unthinkable: Aleksy has been abducted. Jan declares he believes this is the work of the Ebon Doctor and that he captured one of his associates in the kitchen. Maddie wonders what such a person would want to do with the Prince. Elena admits that if it were not for the heroes, there would be more casualties. Maddie ushers the guests home. Thomas sends his friends to scout around for any signs of the missing Prince. Elena asks Jan, and Walden to work with her to try to uncover any information about the Ebon Doctor, given his ability to create monsters using parts of the dead. "What sort of person brings things back from the dead?" Walden silently admits he has an idea.  Elena promises to do what she can to help them. Jan and Walden glance at each other - remembering seeing Elena Grigorii's name before among those working with the enemy.  They wonder if they can keep up apperances of pretending not to recognize her and use that to their advantage.

Elsewhere, Reikion cannot find a good trail down at the catacombs.  He flies back out and wonders if the group knows of anyone who might recognize a way down below. He sees the blood staining the ground but notices the body of the horror is gone. Probably sunk into the depths of the canal. At least that was what he thought at first until he realizes he sees tracks.  And the tracks suggest the thing had walked away.

It still survived despite not having its hearts.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Dark Journal - Part 3 launched today

The third book of The Dark Journal collection has been released today. With the focus this time on Predators, the pages chronicle a number of new threats for groups to add to their games, as well as hint at an ongoing conspiracy that will soon be further explored in an upcoming multi-part Adventure called, E Pluribus Unum.

The Dark Journal Part 2 explores the terrors known as the Breeders.
Grab The Dark Journal - Part 2 today at Drivethrurpg:

The Dark Journal - Part 1 is also available:

And why not submit your own stuff to the Explorer's Society!
Guidelines are here:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Single Moment nominated for Best Rules at the Indie Groundbreakers Awards 2017!

I feel humbled and honored to have A Single Moment among the nominees for this year's Indie Groundbreakers Awards.   My little game stands among awesome works such as Magpie Games' amazing Masks: A New Generation and Undying, Pelgrane Press' Seven Wonders, and Scablands Press' The Indie Hack.  My game is definitely facing major competition and I am already proud to see my work standing alongside these amazing titles.

The winners will be announced during the IGDN Social at GenCon50 on August 16 and while I won't be able to make it, I do send my love and best wishes to everyone who will be there!  Congratulations to us all for creating something that people have appreciated and found awesome!  We are all awesome!

Monday, July 17, 2017

tagbites 2017: August Offerings

August 2017 tagbites offerings

For this month of August, we have the following tagbites offerings:

Cubicle 7's:  Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space, The Role-playing Game

In the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game, you and your friends take on the roles of the Doctor's companions and embark on your own adventures across time and space. The game is a fun system that captures the quirkiness of the show and allows you to try playing in a story that feels like a lost episode of the show.

I highly recommend this game for fans of the series, more so if you are really enjoying the dynamic of the Doctor and his companions.  The game, however, can still be accessible and friendly to those not familiar with the show - given Companions are sometimes people who get pulled into the misadventure due to circumstances beyond their control.

Learn more about this game at Cubicle 7's website.

John Harper's Blades in the Dark

Playing something like Leverage/Hustle meets Dishonored, Blades in the Dark is a game about a crew of daring scoundrels seeking fortune and avoiding heat as they accomplish heists, chases, and engage in desperate bargains.  The game has unique features that work together to create an exciting and engaging experience on the game table, mixing just the right dose of supernatural and criminal with a dash of adventure.

Grab this game at drivethrurpg.

How Do I Join A Game?If you are interested in trying either (or both) of these games, be sure to mention your interest in the tagbites Facebook Post for July. If you have any other questions on tagbites, check out the faq which can be found here.

What are the available game schedules
For August, the only available dates are currently either Friday Nights or on August 13th (Sunday).
Dates are to be finalized once a game has four players.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Vote for your favorites at the Ennies!

And if you loved Pirate Nations, do make sure you spend time to vote for it too!
I never thought I'd be part of a book that would be nominated for an Ennie!  OMG it actually happened!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

2017's 12 New Games is done! More than done!

After a bit of fear of not being able to complete this year's promise to try 12 new game experiences, I'm surprised to realize I've gone over the requisite 12 just before July rolled in. Part of me was even wondering if I should try to avoid new game systems for now and save them for next year, but then I realized there will always be new games to try so why hold back?

I've got a lot of other games I want to play in the pipeline and with Tagbites starting this month, I can already see some of them having a toss on the table this year.  I love seeing how design elements, character types, and other systems subtly shift the experience to deliver a desired game mood or genre. Maybe it is just me as a game designer seeing the the games with a focus beyond just the fun of it all which makes this exercise so fulfilling for me.

I do hope more embrace a similar commitment to trying new things.

2017 New Games
1) Pugmire
2) Monster of the Week
3) An RPG Musical, using Scion
4) Black Stars Rise
5) jim pinto's soon to be announced game
6) Carcass: Exodus
7) Praxis: The Black Monk - Chapter 4
8) Forget Me Not: Florida
9) "Microscope": Star Wars
10) The Quiet Year
11) Forget Me Not: Murderhobos
12) Praxis: The Black Monk - Chapter 1
13) Praxis: Odin's Eye

I'll do my best to have the transcriptions of these games up and readable within the year. I have my doubts though. I have a backlog of around 80 game sessions to transcribe, with most being around 4-5 hours long. Time spent on transcription is time lost in writing new games, so the need to balance both is important.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

More Kids : Schauermarchen - Act Two


More Kids

This is part two of the Finer Gamer Things Club RPG session of Schauermarchen.

Piper and Joey are together, watching the burning kettle. Billy is moving down the road.  M is at the Glassblower's house with Josh. Kim peers through the cracks of the cottage with the wood cutter.  Old music plays from inside the cottage. The bag is shoved into the cottage and the Woodcutter walks away, leaving the burlap sack inside with the woman. Kim sees a cast iron bed frame inside, a cabinet, a cupboard, but she cannot see the woman claiming to be hungry. The only source of light is a single lantern lit atop the cupboard. Kim drops to all fours and crawls in via the dog door. She squeezes past the burlap sack as a woman calls out, "Is that you, Jacob?" Kim realizes the voice is coming from the bedframe and thinks it might be the woman. Kim finds an axe-head embedded against the wooden floor. She crawls to it and tries to pry it free from the ground. "Rachel? Is that you Rachel?" the woman asks again.  Kim yanks on the axe head, pulling it free from the floor. It is heavier than expected, however, and Kim falls flat on her back. With the axe head, Kim gets back on her feet. She realizes the axe head is heavily stained and what she thought was the brown of rust turned out to be... something else. Kim looks around and grabs the lantern. With it in her hand, she sees the woman under the cast-iron bed frame, lying on her belly with her hair ripped away in bloody clumps. She has no fingernails, with bleeding wounds where they used to be. She has no eyes and no teeth. She begins to motion at Kim, "Come closer.. please... I can hear you there.."

Kim steps back, asking as she moves, "How do I escape this place?" The woman, however, does not see why there's a need to leave. She tells Kim she's in the Village, just like from oh so long ago. Kim realizes the woman used to be a kid just like her. The woman stresses she's very hungry. Kim stresses she does not want to eat human meat! The woman begins to crawl out of the bed to go after Kim, revealing her legs bent at wrong angles. Kim does not move but instead waits for the woman to get closer.  Closer. "The Blue Room," the woman gasps, "The Blue Room will only help you if she likes you. We talked about this before, don't you remember?  She didn't like me, Rachel."  Kim finally admits she isn't Rachel and that her name is Kim. The woman begins to scream, screaming as if she were the one in danger. Kim rushes forward, clamping her hands over the woman's mouth to shut her up.

Piper and Joey watch the burning building. Other children begin to emerge from the houses to watch. Another child, however, yells at them it is not over. That the Grinning Man always comes back. One says they have only until the bell tolls. Many of the gathered kids begin moving, hurrying back to the Orphanage, or towards the Cemetery. Piper wonders if the answers are in the orphanage. Joey wonders if they should go up the hill instead as they came from the Orphanage already.  They reach the dead boy on the street and continue down the road and see the building with the lantern and another building with a shoe sign. Then the hill further down. Piper suggests they go to the lantern first and Joey agrees. M and Josh see the broken glass scattered around and the steel tube against the wall. M uses her jacket as a padding over the glass and tries to go on top, but worries her bare feet might hurt her. Josh sees the shoe sign and realizes there might be shoes they can use.  He hurries there with M. They see Piper and Joey and share their plan. Joey admits she's wearing sneakers and can try going in first. With each step, Joey hears the glass cracking under her weight.  She carefully tries to sweep glass back with the jacket. Joey sweeps the glass off, clearing areas to stand in. Some glass cuts into her still skin. Joey finds a thick glove and retrieves it. She also finds the body of an unlucky kid already buried in the glass shards. Joey snags the steel tube and continues searching for anything useful. She finds an old photograph on the wall with a broken frame showing an old man smiling, a woman in a blue dress beside him and between them, a third figure had been scratched out. Joey finds a box and upon opening it, she finds a compass inside. The compass still seems to work and on its opposite side, it has a mirrored surface. Joey finds another portrait against another wall, a woman in a blue dress holding a baby, but the baby is scratched out.  Finally, she finds markings on the wall, as if someone had been tracking they days. The markings go on and on across the walls. Definitely over a hundred of them.  Joey steps out, realizing whoever was trapped may have been trapped for years. Piper asks if she is okay.

Ashes. Dust. A white hand emerges from the ashes.

Piper searches around as well and finds a first aid kit in the debris of the room. Pulling it open, it has been ransacked already save for a small stash of cotton. Piper treats Joey's small cuts to bring down the bleeding. A bell tolls. Piper grabs the photo and the portraits, thinking maybe they can be used to make the Grinning Man stop. Piper breaks it from the wall but realizes it is very heavy, dropping it and injuring her foot. Piper tears part of her pajama to bandage her foot and make it better. Piper drops the heavy thing and grabs the photograph instead of the woman with the baby. Joey sees the compass spin, and it points out of the building, then adjust, to point at the Grinning Man.  Piper yanks Joey to head to the back with her.

At the shoemaker's shop, M and Josh get to it and notice the door is barred. The window beside it is broken open and they can see something that looks like an inverted umbrella. M tells Josh she is heading for the back to check for a back door. Josh studies the jagged glass and studies if he can get through it safely. He grabs a rock and tries chipping away at the glass to make it safer. At the back, M finds a fence and decides it's better to head back to Josh. M informs him there's a fence at the back but there's a door too. Josh decides they try the back door for now. They walk along the fenced area, and Josh holds onto the rock to use as a weapon. At the end of the fence, they see someone unmoving and sitting on the floor in the darkness. Josh and M say hello, asking who he is but the figure gives no reply. Josh tries to move closer with M behind him. The figure does not respond to their approach. Josh taps the figure's shoulder even as M motions him to stop. The figure collapses to the ground, and a skull rolls out as bones spill out.  Ashes spill out like dust. They hurry to the back door and turn the doorknob. They step into the room and here in the backroom there is no light whatsoever. Josh returns to the door and decides to try the front again, not wanting to risk the darkness. M agrees. They stop when they realize the skeleton kid is seated once more. Josh says hello again while M runs for the front. Josh hurries to follow M. As they get to the front of the building, they see the Grinning Man emerging from the candle maker's place.

The candle maker's building is standing again. And the Grinning Man is standing before it. The whole place has "reset" it seems. They all look at each other, and they consider burning the photo of the Grinning Man because Piper thinks it might be trapping the Grinning Man's soul. Josh insists they run. Piper agrees. They make their way to the hill. Piper heads back to grab the heavy painting, thinking it would be best to use it. The Grinning Man gets distracted by another child in a nearby house, giving the four time to hurry off.

At the road leading to the hill, Billy looks up at the house. He sees the path leading up to the house and starts heading up, moving as quickly as he can safely in the darkness. Billy reaches out with the candlestick, using it as a makeshift cane as he continues upwards towards the house. He reaches a spot with a terrible rotten smell in the air. He grits his teeth to ignore the smell and keeps moving, ignoring the squish squish that he is stepping on.  He tries moving to the side to avoid stepping on the squishy things. He realizes they are somewhat furry and now the stench clings on to him as he walks. He realizes he can hear faint music and laughter in the distance. The toast of glasses and of piano playing. He hears crickets. He hears cicadas making their mating sounds. He hears waves crashing against rocks and the smell of salt in the air. Billy sees a break in the treeline and moonlight illuminates a mailbox with a number 8 hanging lopsided on its side. An iron fence stands blocking the path. Inside the mailbox, Billy opens the door and finds a parcel. Billy does not want to trigger anything else and closes it, then continues following the path following the road to the top of the hill.  Below him, Billy can see the house and further, the woods with signs of light. Beyond it, the vast cemetery, and fog that surrounds everywhere else. Billy considers heading back down to the house when a voice asks, "Do you want to join us?" Billy turns around in panic, raising the candlestick defensively. There are three kids seated on the cliff edge, with one of them looking at Billy. The two others are just looking out into the fog. They explain they are thinking of just jumping as there is no way out. Billy refuses to accept that. One of the kids even claims he's been trapped here for almost a year. The kids ask Billy to join them. Billy insists he won't. He claims he is not scared. Billy makes his way to the house.

Back at the cottage, the blind woman tells Kim it would be better if she just takes her place. That there's no way out of here. Kim hears the blind woman mutter about the Blue Room enough times that she realizes it must be the place to head for. It must have answers. Kim lifts the axe head and smashes it at the blind woman. She hits the ground, and starts screaming, "One of them is here!" Kim rushes for the door and finds it locked!  She drops to the ground and squeezes through the dog door but finds legs already in the way, blocking it!  Kim scampers to hide in one of the cabinets. As the door opens, Kim hears the woodcutter arrive and the blind woman explains one of the children was here. The woodcutter just tells the blind woman to eat her food and to quiet down. The blind woman mutters about how the child could have taken her place, and how she could go to the cliff and end it all. Kim hears the turning of gears, and the sound of chopping. Wet splatters and heavy thuds. Kim peeks through the cabinet and sees the sack on the ground earlier now on the table, and freshly ground meat begins to pile on a plate. The woodcutter tells the blind woman her food will be ready soon enough. The woman weeps, asking why they didn't just leave when they had a chance. The woodcutter explains their friends are no longer here. And that is good.

The four of them continue up the road.  They soon reach the last cottage and its sign reads The Grocer. They soon can smell the terrible rotten smell coming from it. It looks like the biggest structure among the shops. Josh and M opt to check it out, leaving Joey and Piper behind.  Joey and Piper reach the entrance to the path, ignoring the horrible stink. They grab hands and walk through, feeling a hint of hope rising in their hearts.   Inside the grocer's, Josh and M hold their breath as they step into the dark place. They can barely see inside the place, although they can tell there are a lot of shelves and the ground is sticky and wet with the marks of a hundred footprints. Josh walk deeper into the place, struggling against the sticky floor that clamps on his bare feet. They find more items rotting in the place despite the lack of vermin in the area. Josh finds himself staring at rows and rows of glass bottles with white fluid. Josh attempts to open one of the bottles and pries the cork free.

Kim hurries through the woods and sees Piper and Joey vanish into the darkness of the path.   M  sees the cemetery at the opposite end and sees a bell tower at it.  She considers running there.

The stench increases as Josh uncorks the bottle. The gloop inside is like paste. Josh walks further down the room, past the shelves, and finds something useful: a meathook. The tip, however, seems to be twisted in the wrong way. Josh begins to feel nauseated from the terrible smell. His eyes catch sight of a bathtub between two shelves. He approaches it and finds three young kids curled and hugging each other. When Josh tries to say hello, one of them opens his eyes to look at him.The child asks Josh if the man in black is gone and Josh explains they tried to burn him. The child admits he found a hook, stabbed it behind the Grinning Man's head and killed him, but he came back. Since then, the other kids have been too scared to move. The children do not even remember where they are from anymore. The child admits he's gone to the cemetery and tried talking to the man who stays there. The man works for the Grinning Man and gives him a bag that he has to bury. The bag sometimes has small voices.  Josh tries asking what's in the house and the child admits he has been there a few times in the past. The child shares he's seen the cellar. How there were these items that shone like stars. Cutting things. The child's voice trails away. Josh tries to convince them to go with them, but the child no longer responds to him. The child seems to be muttering something over and over.

"Shone like stars.  Six tools.  The cellar."

The stench is strongest now. Josh realizes in terror that the source of the stench is the bathtub.  The two children with the speaker have long been dead.

Piper and Joey continue heading up the path, despite the growing stench of something rotten. They begin to feel the wet sticky smell on the ground. The smell seems to follow them as they continue up the path. The two can hear the faint piano and laughter in the distance. They continue higher where there are breaks in the darkness. By the time they reach the mailbox and the iron gate, another figure emerges and approaches the gate. Piper pulls Joey to duck beside her in the darkness, with the painting raised slightly up to cover them. They see the figure to be Billy as the young boy approaches the gate. Both girls try making sounds to lead Billy to them. Reunited, Billy warns them that they do not want to go up there where there is nothing but hopelessness.  He opens the mailbox and they gather to look at what Billy pulls out: an old parcel wrapped with twine. Billy pockets the twine and they see handwritten letters and postcards. The letter speaks regretfully about something that happened to children. Piper and Joey quietly slide the gate open and approach the house on the hill. Joey asks Piper to keep watch as she approaches the entrance to the house.  

Kim peeks and sees the woodcutter feeding the blind woman sausages, explaining they are not allowed to use fire and cook the food. Kim takes this opportunity to sneak out and escape. "About time you stepped out," the woodcutter speaks up as Kim slides out the cabinet. She brandishes the axe head, but he easily swats her back with his arm. The axe flies from her hands. He stomps his boot against her face, causing her to black out.

Josh backs away from the bathtub, but then turns to discover the Grinning Man is behind him! Josh charges forward, running successfully out of the store, but not before the Grinning Man grabs him by the hair briefly to tear part of his hair off his scalp. The pain forces Josh to drop the items he had collected and he smashes headlong into someone else outside... M and Josh tumble to the floor in pain. The Grinning Man closes in on them, reaching for their legs. M wiggles free and tries to back away. Josh pulls free from the Grinning Man but stumbles atop of Josh. Josh gets back to his feet and he stands still, not breathing. M begins to scream as the Grinning Man seems confused and stares only at M.  It begins to grab and pull both of her ankles. M tries to bite the Grinning Man's hand to force him to drop her. Ashes flutter away from where she bites him, but it is enough to make him drop her.  She limps away as quickly as possible in the opposite direction, towards the cemetery. Josh feels his lungs burning as the Grinning Man begins to dig through his pockets for something. Josh realizes the thing cannot see him so long as he holds his breath. It finds the coin it wanted to find, and it begins to walk towards the house on the hill.  Josh finally exhales, and just lies on the ground, watching the man walk away.

The front door of the house on the hill is not even locked. Joey tells the others to watch either side of her while she leads the way with her steel tube. Billy brandishes the broken candlestick while Piper lugs around the heavy portrait. The entrance hallways show the chessboard-like tiled floor. They see the other doors and the staircase leading up. Joey steps in and stops on a white tile. Somewhere in the house, a piano key sounds. Joey looks at them, wondering if this is some kind of musical steps. Billy steps on a black tile beside Joey's. Nothing happens. Piper steps on two tiles, one black and one white on each foot. Then a piano key sounds again.  The kids slowly progress, carefully stepping forward but the piano key sounds suddenly stop. The three stare at each other, uncertain what to do. Piper mutters, "Run!" and the three rush for the staircase.  The wooden stairs creak as they stand on the first wooden landing. A flash of movement. Joey holds the steel rod at that direction and they see the sound of a scream, a wedding dress, then the sound of something snapping.  But they blink and see only a lone rope hanging on the wooden landing.  The piano keys sound once more below.

Kim slowly comes to consciousness and finds herself pressed against the wall. The woodcutter is bringing in large blocks of wood. Kim tries to talk to him about how he told her how to get away, how he could help her get away. The woodcutter admits she is the one helping them. He asks her if she knows any of the other kids and asks her to try to lure one of them to come here. He asks if she knows of the one on the tree. Kim admits she can try but asks why. The woodcutter promises if Kim can get another kid to come to the cottage, she would not have to worry about them anymore. But as Kim tries to move, she realizes she's tied up. The woodcutter refuses to let her lose and tells her to lure them over by calling for them. She admits that's not going to happen. The woodcutter tells Kim he's really sorry and that "she's had enough. It is time for her to move on." Kim, however, growls that he cannot make her do it. He insists she has to be willing.  He admits none of them knows why they are pulled here, or how to escape, but they know "they" want them to do certain things and that this is their place.  Kim asks if he tried escaping. He confesses he was nine when he first got here, and the blind woman was someone he only met ten years ago. She was with her siblings, Jacob and Rachel. He lied to the blind woman, claiming her siblings escaped. "But the Grinning Man needs a woman in the cottage." Kim, however, feels there are still things to try to escape. He backhands her and tells her she needs to choose.  "Are you food or will you keep living? There's nothing to eat in this blasted place! Are you food or keep living?" Kim growls she will keep living. The woodcutter smiles and explains that's the same choice the old woman made... the decision to live as the blind woman rather than to become food as the children.   As Kim looks away, she sees the crack on the wall showing the boy with scars watching her. The boy realizes Kim needs help and he sneaks in through the dog door to untie her. The Woodcutter begins hitting the old woman to knock her unconscious. Untied, Kim sneaks out with the boy to get away from the cottage before the woodcutter notices.  "There has to be a woman!  Noo!  Come back!" the woodcutter begins screaming. The boy climbs up the tree and Kim clambers up after him.  But as the woodcutter keeps screaming, the Grinning Man arrives and enters the cottage.  They hear the woodcutter begging for time, claiming that a replacement is coming. But the Grinning Man is not content and the woodcutter goes silent.

Josh sits up and finds there is no one around anymore. This glimmer of hope fuels him to activity and he decides to make his way up to the house on the hill.  On the opposite side of the area, M reaches the cemetery and finds there are no gravestones, but lots of small graves. The shed in the area with its blackened windows stands by the belltower. Beside its door, an iron shovel. M limps towards the shed, avoiding stepping on anything as she approaches it. The shed door opens and an old man steps out. The man walks out in his ruined clothes and reaches for the rope to ring the bell. M grabs the shovel and smacks it against the man's head to knock him out. The man yanks at the rope to make the bell toll, but then drops to the ground unconscious. A voice yells out, "No!" as a younger boy emerges with a bucket in his hand. The boy swings the bucket at M, hitting her hands to drop the shovel. The boy claims the old man has been helping them and M admits she just wanted him to stop ringing the bell. Another girl emerges from the shed and tries to wake the man. M asks for their names, but the boy just insists the old man has been giving them food and has been the only one helping them. The girl states her name is Theresa and that they've been lost here for more than 24 hours. M asks if they found a way to get out but Theresa admits they don't know either. The boy is frantic about how the old man was the only one who helped them. The old man is known as the Gravedigger and if he fails to ring the bell every few hours, the Grinning Man gets angry. Theresa explains time runs differently here and that when the sun rises, something odd happens. The sun should rise come the third time the bell rings. M helps them carry the Gravedigger into the house and when asked again about his name, he admits he does not know.  Inside the shed, there are apples, a lump of cheese, and drinking water. The boy locks the door behind them. Theresa soaks a rag in water and tries to treat the Gravedigger. They have M say sorry to the Gravedigger, who accepts it and admits he knows what they are going through.  He admits the Grinning Man and the Blue Woman own this Village any may be brother and sister, or husband and wife. The Gravedigger has no idea why they were chosen but knows they are useful to them in some way.

The three enter a room with soft blue colors all around them. The furniture looks to be in perfect condition, especially the mirror on the dressing table. There are a hairbrush and a few other baubles on the dressing table. There are small flickering lit candles in the room. There is no adjoining room. Billy fishes the letter out, seeing there's enough light to see here. Piper walks towards the dresser, walking past the bed. Joey fishes out the compass and sees the arrow moving then stopping in a certain direction. Joey turns the compass to look at the mirror and sees nothing but her reflection... but then fingers that brush her hair. Joey nearly drops the mirror. She asks if anyone saw that, but no one responds. Piper holds up the portrait and realizes it aligns with the dresser. Piper holds it up to see the complete image of the dresser with the woman in the portrait, but as she puts the painting down, the woman remains in the chair at the dresser.  Piper feels the fear grow.

Joey moves towards the window and sees the compass adjusting in that direction. Joey places the compass down on the floor and uses the steel rod to break the mirror on the compass. She doesn't want to see the woman in the reflection anymore. But as the glass is falling, there's a hit of color at the direction of the dresser.   Piper begins talking to the woman at the dresser and she asks if Piper is "her all grown up." Piper says yes. The woman at the dresser smiles.  Joey holds up a glass shard and points it at the dresser, to see there is someone there.

Billy reads the letters about how the seven children have died. The ship they were on had sunken and none of the seven children survived the incident. The governess survived the incident and is being kept in bed until she is fit to travel to see them. Billy is starting to see droplets of water falling from the paper.

Joey sees the woman Piper is talking to, and worse, she has a baby in her arms. Piper hears the woman state, "Come look at your sister, all grown up!" Piper stops in front of the woman and is told she can touch the baby. Piper shakes her head, snapping out of the daze, and backs away from the dresser.  The woman looks concerned. Piper admits something does not feel right. The woman insists everything is alright. They all got home safely. They all are home. Billy continues reading that none of the bodies were recovered and that the most they can do is offer prayers. Billy starts reading them aloud more, and that each time they hear the bell toll, the prayers to the seven children are sent to heaven.  Billy realizes the water dripping from the papers are salty.  Piper asks the woman if she is bringing all the children home. Piper insists this is not home. The woman growls that Piper is not "one of them."  Piper tries to change tactics, stating they are like their children. "If you bring us home, our parents will be happy to see us just like you will be." A soft bell rings. The woman tells them that their Father is home. The three realize she most likely means the Grinning Man.

Josh stares at the entrance of the trail to the house and he sees the Grinning Man already heading up the trail to the house. He decides to carefully follow him quietly and not make any sounds. He dorps to the ground at one point, too scared to continue forward, and weeps quietly.

Kim looks at the tree boy and considers staying with them to stay safe. Kim, however. feels determined to find a way home. She thanks the boy at the tree for helping her and she insists she has to at least keep trying.

M sits down and hears from the others that there is no way out. She looks around for anything that might prove useful if she were to still head out. She grabs an apple and asks the Gravedigger where else one can hide.  He admits there isn't really any safe place, although the boy admits he overheard some friends who may have started creating hiding places under the ground. Or in the trees. M looks outside and finds no one else currently out. She decides to grab the shovel but feels a strange sensation as she touches the wood. The Gravedigger smiles.  "If you want a place where you don't have to keep running, you can just come back here. It is not a hard task ringing the bell when he wants you to and burying the bodies when he arrives."  M walks away with the shovel. It makes her skin tingle.

The Grinning Man silently moves up the stairs.  Joey sees the compass arrow moving again, and isn't sure what it is following. A bell tolls in the distance. Joey asks Billy about the prayers, about how there should be prayers when the bell rings. Piper looks at them, not sure if it would work, but if the prayers were supposed to send the children home... Billy admits it's pointless how everything always looks the same. Everything probably resets. But Joey thinks they should at least try. Piper hears the woman at the dresser say, "Darling."  Piper turns to look the other way and they see the Grinning Man at the door. "Remember my love," the woman at the dresser says, "We cannot show them our grief.  Smile."

Joey draws out the candle and the match. Piper tells Billy to give him the letter to let him know what happened to their children. Joey admits maybe he never opened the mailbox! Billy looks at the letter and realizes it isn't even wet, despite dripping water earlier. He darts forward to slip the letter into his outstretched hand.  Joey slips on the glove holds the candle in the gloved hand and prepares to light it. Piper pulls out the photo she found earlier and hands it to the Grinning Man's other hand. Joey lights the candle. The Grinning Man stares at the two, and the growing flame of the candle begins to illuminate the place more. Billy growls at them stating that they're sorry but their kids are dead.  Piper admits they will be praying for them, but they have to let everyone else go. The Grinning Man is reading.  Joey utters "May they rest in peace," and she brings the candle to burn the Grinning Man's sleeve.  The Grinning Man does not respond and continues to read even as the fire spreads up his arm.

Kim feels hopeful. She believes there is a way out. She walks back to the main area. She hears the bell in the distance. She sees how everything has reset. She looks back at the woods and wonders if even the two have reset. She wonders if it's like a new day. She walks towards the hill, hoping to find the path to the house.  She realizes the boy on the road is gone. She hears screams at the orphanage and sees the doors slam open as some kids start running. One runs out and it is the boy Kim saw dead. The boy runs past her, telling her the man might be here. Kim runs alongside him, confused how he could be alive again. They duck towards the cottages and Kim realizes that even if she dies today, she can still be alive tomorrow. The boy runs for the lantern cottage and attempts to slam the door open, but the door swings open and he falls into the broken glass.

Josh looks up and sees smoke beginning to rise from the house above.  He wonders what has happened up there.

M sees the orphanage and the kids running. She sees the Grinning Man emerging out of the Orphanage. She sees him dragging a boy by the leg out of the doors.  She looks up and sees a window crack open, and there she sees a woman peeking out.  M gasps.

The Grinning Man burns now. Piper grabs Joey and Billy and tells them it is time to run out. They hurry out and rush into the courtyard as the fire spreads more and more around the house. As they reach the landing, the three see two bodies slam onto the ground from somewhere above. Billy realizes it was the suicide pact he had witnessed?  But wasn't that so long ago?

Kim can see herself suddenly running from the orphanage, rushing for the glass blowers cottage.  M can see herself peering out from the window.  Joey and Piper stare at the bodies on the ground and see it is their own bodies on the ground, hugging each other. Billy realizes the kid he saw at the cliff at the top.. he was the kid who was asking him to jump.

They make their way up to the top of the cliff. Billy, Piper, and Joey feel now pointless about trying to run. They reach the cliff at the top and stare at the fog in the distance.  Billy hears a voice and he turns around to see himself staring from the darkness. Billy reaches out to him, asking him to stay with him instead.  But Billy sees himself make the decision he just made earlier.  Piper and Joey decide to jump, giving up.

Kim sees Josh and the two knowing understand what is happening.  Josh feels the futility of it all.  He wanders away from the path and walks to the cottage.  He grabs a blanket and he sits down, covering himself. He realizes it's all pointless.  Kim shakes her head, determined to still find a way to escape. Somehow. She just has no idea what she should do.

M hears the voices crying. Screaming. Weeping.  M realizes there's no escape.  But M looks down and sees the shovel in her hands and realizes someone has to prepare the graves. Someone has to dig.

And ring the bell.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Millennials ep02 : DC Heroes



The Louvre, Paris
Security guards are talking about the pasta burrito and the sushi meatballs that certain restaurants have been serving. But both realize they heard a noise and turn to face the source. They illuminate an empty wall where the Mona Lisa should have been.

Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
A man talks on the phone about agreeing to support the invasion in France if the other supports his moves in Italy. The man turns out to be simply playing Diplomacy with a friend remotely. But he stops when he stares at an empty wall where The Glass of Wine should be on display.

Ayala Museum, Manila
A woman is shooting a livestream video of a new exhibit being opened.  But then the people begin screaming and cussing in horror and shock as they find a glass case empty. The case was supposed to contain something extremely expensive, but now it is gone.

Traverse City
Hundreds of media people are gathered. Lights flash and flicker as the cameras take shots of a young ten-year old girl in a cloth cape, mask, and gloves that cover all the way to her elbows. She is addressed as Missus Teniente.  Headlines feature "The Teniente Family" as the city's new heroes. 

At home, Diego Franko and his family are watching the news and Diego's family seems to be very excited to see the unfolding news. Lucita is very happy that the heroes are giving the Latin community representation. She asks Diego what he would wear if he was superhero, not like he would ever be one though. "The only thing you are good at is riding your bike."  Diego challenges back that he mops well, and that worked for the Toxic Avenger.  The young girl on the screen talks about them being the Avengers in the Real World.  And how she and her boyfriend are giving the city hope. Lucita wonders if the girl's parents are comic creators. Diego wonders if she's just a fan girl. Lucita feels El Teniente is a stupid name though for someone wearing armor.  Especially since the armor is more medieval than military.  Diego insists he believes El Teniente had a reason to choose that name.

Flashback, inside the White Room
El Teniente and Buzz are shocked to see they're all "inside" of Warpath. Buzz runs off in one direction, testing the limits of the room. He runs off for half a mile and still finds no end to the room.  He suddenly gets worried he might get lost and starts heading back. El Tentiente stares at the DVD movies, the iron, the bath tub, some cooking utensils and pots, and what looks like a cache of guns and asks Warpath if he lives "inside himself? And how the hell did you get guns at your age? Did you steal all this?" Warpath admits he would not call it stealing.  El Teniente finds Starbucks mugs each from a different country.  And piles of cash showing currencies of different countries. Buzz returns and tells them the place is huge.  Warpath tries to claim this was more a Robin hood thing, but El Teniente insists that sort of thing only works when you give it to the poor.  Warpath defensively explains, "I stole them from bad guys to make this harder for them!"  The three stare at the walker.  Buzz wonders if there's a bathroom and where the.. plumbing goes.  Warpath admits he doesn't know but things do work, other than they just do. He ends up admitting that it probably is stealing.

Diego and Lucita talk again about the rich girl that visited the other day. Diego thinks that girl is delusional since she seems to have tracked him down since he never gave her their address. Lucita thinks the girl is cool, but insists it has nothing to do with hoping she'd treat her out to check out some concerts and stuff. She asks about the guests supposedly coming over tonight, since abuela got ice cream.  Diego realizes that still is happening and he sighs in disappointment.

On the TV 
Missus Teniente is the topic of discussion in a talk show. The hosts marvel over her look and even throw the illogical idea that given the two are a couple, what if Buzz and Warpath are actually their children!  The hosts then talk about a witness coming on the show who witnessed them being on a date!

Lucita claims Maria mentioned one of the kids in the supermarket was super cute so she feels she needs to stay down there to watch over the guests.  Diego however reminds her they all have a strict plan to follow of how they will work after school, a plan they all set to help their family. Lucita feels however they should be more like El Teniente, who has time to study, save lives, and have a social life. Diego thinks its suspicious that only Missus Teniente has ever spoken on the media about this relationship, and that they've never been seen together.  Lucita thinks its just guys being guys. If they didn't agree with her, they would have said something. 

At the Takenoko Apartment
Elsewhere, Ren finishes making more tweaks on Shin's systems and reminds him that they've discussed a lot about avoiding running too fast or he'll break the Sound Barrier and create sonic booms.  Shin remembers the White Room and realizes that place might be a place where he can practice safely!

Flashback, inside the White Room
El Teniente thinks maybe they should just complete the journey, since they stepped into this one to head somewhere else. Buzz tells him to wait and reminds them they've never introduced themselves yet. Buzz proudly tells them he is a superhero and strikes a pose after giving his name. Warpath claims to be a super hero too and that his name was meant to be Warp Path. Warpath and Buzz however start cheering El Teniente to tell them since they both find him to be an awesome hero. El Teniente however feels he's nothing big.. that would be Savior. El Teniente tells them there's nothing special about him. He just has a job to do and sometimes he has to help out. Buzz feels its remarkable of him to be so altruistic. Warpath envies the glory El Teniente gets. El Teniente however insists he doesn't get any glory, and he still has to go to school.   He adds he's not sure if "they" would approve him being friends with a thief. Neither Warpath nor Buzz get what he means though, having no "higher calling" or someone giving them instructions.

Shin asks Ren if Ren is his "higher calling" since El Teniente reports to a higher authority who tells him what he should do.  Ren asks Shin if they are a team.  Shin wonders...

Flashback, inside the White Room
The three debate if they're supposed to be a team given Mister E's instructions that they work well together. Warpath reminds El Teniente, "He literally said, 'you guys are a team now.'"  Warpath insists he's not lying and that he really does know about a lot of the criminal groups in the city, since he steals from them.  An alarm rings and a mechanized voice tells them, "Bowling for Soup concert in thirty minutes, Japan." El Teniente asks if he bought tickets.  Warpath admits he never saw the need to since he was just watching it from afar... "So yeah.. Team!"

Shin admits they are a team now according to the Tinente Family. Ren admits he thought they'd be more like Buzz and the Super Friends or something. Ren fells Shin is turning this into a legacy and the best come up with a good name.   Shin knows the El Teniente Family is not the real name of the group but Ren does remind him until they come up and tell him this isn't really their name, that's the name people will believe.  Missus Teniente even has set up a Twitter account called #INeedAHero and over 2000 users have used the hashtag in the last 24 hours alone. Shin learns that there's even merchandise now being sold from websites of El Teniente family shirts. Ren informs Shin that he's been given a few new systems, including a transmitter and receiver system to stay in touch, and an automatic recording system as well as a head's up display of a life bar and his heart rate meter.  Shin is told that the recording system will record his interactions so Ren can study his social interactions.  Ren admits he never thought Shin would go this far and while he will never know how he works, he feels Shin has become more and more alive each day.  Shin muses that its because Ren made him. Ren deflects the question, however, and focuses more on reminding Shin to enjoy the overnight. When Ren gives Shin a hug to bid him goodbye, Shin however can sense Ren is sadder more than he admits.

Ren watches the TV
News on the various tombs and other museums that have been struck by thieves.  He switches to different channels and watches briefly the report on a comet closing in on the earth. He switches channels again and sees one where girls are being interviewed and all are screaming at the thought of meeting El Teniete whom they all admire.

Elsewhere, Guy Garlond is with his "Parents"
The two are practicing with Guy at the cafe and they make a mistake calling Guy, "Gary" as that was the name he originally used to try to hire them to show up as his parents to meet with the Principal. The two actors however have some complicated dramatics, which Guy struggles to deal with. The actress excuses herself to visit the bathroom. The guy however explains she's a great actress and just needs to have time to immerse herself into the role more.  Which includes staying over her place so she can cook him breakfast. Guy wonders if he's gotten himself into deeper hot water when lo and behold, the Principal is in the same cafe! The parents claim to have come from Africa, but the Principal admits he was in Africa too for a time! The woman panics, slips the name Gary once more, and quickly excuses himself to leave. The dad adds Gary just died. Guy claims they are a very emotional family.  The excuses are going really bad, but thankfully the Principal Skinner doesn't seem to pick up on any of them.

Diego worries over abuela's abuse of the credit cards and he discusses this with his mother. The two eventually come up to an agreement that someone has to cut up her credit cards. The mother insists she is too busy, extremely busy as she juggles so many jobs including the role of a paramedic and other odd jobs at the same time.  She hurries through the house to prep her things and strikes a pose as Corazon Franko, CSI, nurse, and more.  Mateo shows up on his bicycle and his eyes narrow as he focuses on Diego and promises to stop him from doing so... just as El Teniente would do so.  Diego tries to ask Lucita to do it for him but she refuses to.

Shin Takenoko arrives at the door with a bottle of wine in one hand, a pizza box in the other, and a knapsack by his feet. Diego is surprised how Shin was able to carry so many things at once and welcomes him in. He complains though that they accepted abuela's offer. Shin asks what was wrong with the offer. Diego growls, "Everything!"  As they go in, Shin notices Lucita by the staircase and the two send up staring at each other for a very uncomfortably long silence.  Diego yells at her, "Graduate college!"   Shin explains the wine is for their parents.  While Shin waits in the living room, Mateo bikes into the room and announces himself as El Teniente.  When Shin asks him where Missus Teniente is, Mateo makes a face and admits girls are yucky. Mateo asks if Shin is a good person and tells him that only good people can be close to the family. Mateo asks Shin to be "Buzz" and they can be a team, "Just make sure you go woosh when you move!"

Guy was in the city when he sees an interview on television of the mayor of Traverse City being interviewed. He talks about the Teniente Family and sees them as a force of change in the city. The Mayor assures them the government is doing what they can to reach out to the heroes and the fact they were seen with Mister E shows they're at least getting the support of the older heroes as well. "Know that my office is just waiting to hear from you. Let's talk. Maybe there's a way the city can help you keep the place safe."  People cheer as he walks back to his family and hugs them. The wife walks with a cane, and their only daughter, a very energetic ten-year old girl. News then shifts to a spectacular meteor shower happening within the month. The fragments of the meteor Savior stopped when he saved the Icarus should be giving a spectacular display.  The reporter invites everyone to catch the display.  Guy makes his way to where Diego's place should be but he stops when he sees a familiar face staring straight back at him.  They have not seen each other in almost six years. The man turns out to be his father and he seems to be running a card con at the corner.  It becomes quickly evident that the father knows about Guy's power and his "White Room." The father claims he was worried for Guy and so he's passed by to check on him. Guy feels though the father's here to trap him. When the father tries to bet triple or nothing with the mark he found on the street, Guy tries to tell the guy to back out but he decides to go for the bet anyway. When the guy loses three hundred bucks to the bet, Guy claims his father cheated, asks to look at the cards, and he secretly nicks the card to make it look like his father cheated. Guy's father however is impressed with what Guy did and asks if he's playing with the opposite side of the fence now.  Guy's father thought Guy was behind the recent thefts. He pulls his son into the Blue Room.
In the Blue Room, there are news reports pasted on the walls of the recent thefts and Guy explains they aren't him. The father claims he genetically modified Guy to be a perfect thief. The father complains that he went all the way here for nothing since he thought he was here to congratulate his son for finding his path. Guy tells him he's never going back no matter what or how he pushes him. "I'm never going to just steal again. Everything has to have a reason." The father takes it bad, feeling his son feels he's better than his dad now. Guy admits half the world is better than him cause he's an asshole. The dad tells him to leave.  But Guy finds himself plunging into nothing but water!  He pulls himself back into his own White Room and realizes the water was salty! Was that the sea?!?! Guy is annoyed that he has to get dressed again and head back to Diego's place. "I was already there, damn it."

A room. A bed room. Pictures of different actors are pasted on the walls.  A vanity is in the room with a large crack on the glass. There is also a computer with lots of pop-up windows on them filled with messages of hate. There is a girl crying on the floor near the computer.  The doorbell rings. The girl stands up, answers the door, and finds a delivery guy with a box for her. "Miss Cole?"  Cole admits she didn't order anything. The man leaves the box with her and it suddenly glows when she touches it. The box opens, casting rays of light. She begins to smile as it opens like an unfolding device.

Diego's house.
The doorbell rings again. Shin and Lucita are at the living room watching the news on the television about how a certain musician has decided to no longer attend the coming awards as a show of solidarity for some ongoing drama in the entertainment industry. Shin asks Lucita if he should open it. She looks at Shin and asks, "So what's this counter-feminism they're talking about?" The actress on the screen talks about counter-feminism, women who believe women should stop thinking about women needing anything. "We don't need to be the victims of your stories. We can fight our own fight." Lucita complains how the world seems to be filled with people finding reasons to do anything. Diego had gone to abuela's room to cut the cards when abuela shows up and the two argue about what Diego should do. She tells him he has no permission to cut the cards! Diego isn't certain on what to do. 

Shin heads to the door to answer it and finds Guy outside. Lucita smirks when Guy walks in and acts all handsome. Guy is surprised when Lucita seems unfazed by his looks. Guy tells Shin he brought beer and corrects him when Shin asks if the beer was for the parents. He joins the two at the couch and they talk about how short a time they've been friends so far. Upstairs, abuela insists she knows what she is doing with the cards, and how she gets a new card every month to transfer the money she owes to the new card. Abuela demands Diego give the cards back to her. But Diego stands firm and reminds abuela that he has to be the man of the house. Abuela smiles as an idea enters her head.

Shin, Lucita and Guy begin drinking the beer. Shin admits they are not supposed to be drinking. But since Diego isn't with them, Lucita decides to try tasting it but only if Shin does. Shin decides to do so. Only Guy seems to enjoy it as they drink.  The television show is of a special guest from "The Truth Exists" and the pixelated image of the blog writer talks about how the group is not known as the Teniente Family. The pixelated guest explains the Missus Teniente only announced herself to be that name. Prior to that, the three young heroes were working independently and have yet to really work as a team. Guy and Shin are shocked to see someone who actually knows what's going on. They even discuss that Warpath most likely is male, but given SOGIE, his physical looks as male might not match what gender identity he would be identifying as. Lucita admits the name Warpath sounds like someone who is trying to sound more masculine. Lucita asks Guy if he's a big fan as he has the same haircut as Warpath. Guy insist guys can have the haircut he has too.

"Buzz!" a voice calls out and Guy looks a bit surprised to see Shin react to the call. Shin stands up and excuses himself, and goes whoosh as he walks up to Mateo. Guy looks confused. Lucita tells him the kids are playing a game.  Lucita shares how Mateo likes pretending to be El Teniente. Guy nods. The show continues and the pixelated guest continues explaining how El Teniente historically has shown to dislike publicity, even when the Mayor Saint Thomas tried to declare an El Teniente day, the hero did not show up. "El Teniente does not like the spotlight, so why would he ever name his team the Teniente family?" The screen shows numbers for people to send in their questions. Guy pulls out a phone and tries calling. Lucita tries calling too using the land line. 

At the kitchen, Mateo and Shin talk about their mission. Mateo suggests they have to do something before Diego gets access to the wallet... "and then the world is doomed!" Shin learns from Mateo what Diego plans to do and if he destroys the cards, Diego will destroy the ice cream money. When Shin shows his own credit card, asking if that's what Diego plans to destroy, Mateo exclaims that Shin has already "saved it!" and declares how much he loves Buzz. Shin feels an honest appreciation from the child, despite the case of mistaken identity. He realizes children have an honesty he's never experienced before.

Diego tells abuela to stop being clever. She tells Diego that a good host must be with the guests. Diego takes abuela's wallet with him and tells her he will head downstairs... with the cards. Abuela watches him leave the room. At the foot of the steps, Diego sees Shin being hugged by Mateo. Shin explains Mateo believes he's saved abuela already. Diego doesn't quite get what happened, more so when he overhears Guy and Lucita going crazy dialing numbers on their phones. 

The pixelated guest on the screen is given the label "Fan Girl" by the show. They announce a caller is asking, "Fan Girl, are you actually part of the team and merely trying to mislead everyone in thinking they are not really a team to catch enemies off guard?" The pixelated guest gives no clear answer on any affiliations but does state she does believe they know each other to say the least.  The host asks Fangirl who among the three of the heroes is still single. Fangirl states that all three are likely single, but he suspects El Teniente does have a special lady in his life.  Guy gets through and he asks to talk to Fangirl directly. He uses his charisma to try to get them to agree to let him speak on air. Given its the last question for the night, the host allows Guy to speak on air. Lucita calls Diego and Shin to watch! Guy asks, "Hey... okay.. so I'm on air.  Warpath is a guy. Warpath is totally a guy. I don't know what you're talking-" Lucita grabs the phone, claims the speaker was her stupid brother, and she asks Fangirl, "How is it you knew about the heroes before the media started talking about them?"  When the host asks Fangirl to answer the question, she suddenly stands up and walks off. The show cuts to a commercial break. Lucita stares at the phone, feeling cheated.  Diego notices the beer and reminds them they are all under age. Guy mutters how Diego sounds like someone he knows.  Diego tells them to stop drinking the beer.  But then Diego notices the two other cans and exasperatedly realizes Lucita might have been drinking! Mateo runs into the room asking what is beer! Diego takes charge of the siblings once more, telling them of the house rules.

As night comes, Diego gathers the cans for recycling. Guy feels the urge to run out and get beer but realizes he can't just run out to grab beer. Maria and Lucita are preparing ice cream and Shin has joined them to see what they can create with the ice cream and bowls.  Mateo keeps a watch on Diego making sure Diego doesn't try to do anything. Guy admits he finds it cute that the kid likes pretending to be El Teniente. Curiosity hits Guy as he looks at all the old stuff in the house, and there's an urge to try peeking at the history of the objects using his powers of Object Reading.  Guy pulls an old book in the shelf written in Spanish and starts reading it to occupy himself.   At the kitchen, Lucita and Shin enjoys the ice cream. Maria runs off from brain freeze and asks Diego for help. Mateo has a can of beer in his hands and Diego takes the can empties it in the sink. Mateo is spitting out the bitter stuff. Diego tells him to stand at the corner. Mateo calls Diego a super villain.

Lucita's spoon slips from her hand and ice cream splatters on her shirt. Shin offers to help, but as he reaches for her shirt, she splatters ice cream on his shirt.  The two begin spoon fighting with the ice cream.  Diego hears the commotion, goes in and gets splattered on the face with ice cream.  Diego goes to the list of chores on the wall and adds laundry to Lucita's list of chores for the week.  In retaliation, Lucita splatters more on Diego's shirt as, "I'm doing it anyway."  Diego grumbles why aren't the two just going home lamenting this is an overnight. Guy can't take it anymore and excuses himself to the comfort room.  There, he locks the door, and while inside, he tries peering at the book's history. But he can't seem to read it maybe due to the beer buzz he's floating on.   

With the night near its end, laughter (everyone) and exasperation (Diego) leads to bonding moments happening out of the blue.  Guy gains respect towards Shin when he sees Shin finish a can of beer despite the first time bitterness.  Shin feels attachment towards Diego and his siblings, feeling a sense of family he never had before.  Guy and Diego don't seem to mesh well, Diego likes the fact he can just speak in Spanish when talking to Guy. Diego however realizes Guy can understand abuela this whole time! Diego tells him to put the book back. Diego reminds him not to touch anything from that shelf as it belonged to their dad. Diego shared with Guy that they lost their dad some time back and that he actually didn't want to be in charge of his siblings. Guy admits he wished his dad was dead, but Diego tells him that once your dad is dead, everything about him becomes special. Guy counters his dad never did anything for me. Diego hopes he never has to find out.  "Even the crap becomes something you will miss."  Guy however insists for him, it is different.

Abuela heads down, looks at her watch, and a door bell rings on cue. Diego goes to the door and finds a delivery man outside.  Abuela mutters, "I may be old but I still have excellent memory." The delivery turns out to be a special order which paid premium delivery service within the hour. The three boxes are given to Diego, each one a long box with a label that mentions "Tents."  Abuela tells everyone that they can use the tents for an overnight party! Diego inwardly weeps.  Guy and Shin starts setting them up. Abuela grins and tells Diego, "There are more where that came from." Diego realizes in horror that Abuela may have memorized her cards!

House Pass
Later that night, with each of them in their tent, they watch the television and it shifts to an emergency broadcast of a condo unit at the university belt is in chaos as reports of a strange robotlike  creature has run amok in the area. The police have moved into position but none have gone in and the reporter wonders if the group formerly known as the Teniente Family will make an appearance. Guy glances and sees everyone is still awake and realizes he needs to go and help. He excuses himself, goes to the restroom, locks it up, and warps back to the White Room. The strange transforming robot is terrorizing the women in the women's dormitory. The news report shows a blurry image of something that looks almost techno-organic. There are still students trapped in the building, who have barred their doors to try to stay safe.  Shin heads to the kitchen, and realizing he can't just leave, he finds Lucita there preparing a new bowl of ice cream. When Shin asks to step out to call his brother, Lucita warns him its not safe to be out at night and that cellular signal is strongest by the door. Shin stands by the door, opens the window, and when Lucita looks away, he hangs his hand outside the window and his double splits from him outside.  Shin heads off for the street, while the other Shin pretends to be on the phone.   Diego hears the interviewed witnesses talk about how the robot think seems to have these dancing pixels on the screen.  Diego stands up, heads upstairs to check on his abuela. She asks if he's come to apologize. He tells her that she and his mother should work out their own issues and throws back to her bed her credit cards. He tells her that he has to step out for a while, to finish a delivery he almost forgot to do. Abuela tells him she does not mind that Diego has to act like an adult, but she does mind that Diego thinks he can be disrespectful. Diego apologizes and admits he's been under a lot of pressure.  He doesn't like being caught between her and his bother, "It's scary."  She reminds him, "Sometimes, breaking the rules does not mean bad. Sometimes it is necessary." Diego is surprised as this was not what they were taught before. Abuela admits the world is different now. Diego promises to be back as soon as possible. She tells him to take care. They hug. And she reminds him to tell Mister Chin, the man Diego works for, that he is over-working him. Abuela promises him that something is coming soon and the credit card problem will be done.  She promises him she will stop using them too much.  "Every bit counts right?" They exchange I love yous and Diego leaves.

On the computer screen, "The Truth Exists" is on display. Abuela watches Diego close the door and she begins typing .


Guy changes to his Warpath outfit.  He remembers the last moment before they all left the White Room and hopes the two others have the walkie talkies that he handed to each of them to be able to contact each other.  The walkie talkies have these wireless earpieces that they can all wear.  Warpath tests the earpiece at the White Room but accepts the fact signals don't seem to transmit from this room.  He begins to warp towards the condo, hoping the others will respond when he gets there.

Buzz, instachanged into his costume, remembers the communications earpiece and regrets leaving it in the backpack. He runs to the location, thinking when he gets there, it will be easier to find them. At the kitchen, Shin remembers the radio, goes to the backpack and considers what he can do. Lucita comes up to him, offering him a bowl of ice cream that she prepared. Shin grin, and ends up forgetting about the earpiece for now. 

Diego grabs his bike and begins biking to the condo area. Despite having boots that allow him to leap distances, he never changes near the house.


Glass shatters from the upper windows in the condo as an arm impossibly stretches outwards.  Warpath stares at it and realizes it reminds him of how Buzz looks like when he stretches.  Warpath warps to the roof of the condo and tries to peek in from above.  He hears the voices of the panicked women who are yelling at each other to bar the doors.  A mechanical voice can be heard calling out, "Pretty!  PRETTY!" and Warpath sees the thing trying to break open the door. A spotlight suddenly shines from below at Warpath and he realizes the media below with the emergency services have spotted him. People cheer.  They begin calling out his name.  "Warpath!" "I love her!"  Warpath turns to them and yells back, "I am a MAN!" 

Buzz runs past the museum of arts and sciences.   Diego on a bike hurriedly bikes past the museum as well.  Then a car comes to a stop near the museum.  A person walks up to the gates, pulls back a sleeve to show a watch, which is activated to start a timer, then the person slips between the bars. 

Near Mister Chin's place, Diego slows down to find a place to park his bike. But before he could leave, Mister Chin calls out for Diego, having noticed him arrive. He asks what Diego is doing here to late and he tells him he is working too hard. Mister Chin reminds him he does not want Diego's abuela thinking he's working too hard and even asks if he's already paid him for the month. Diego admits it can wait. Mister Chin, however, insists he step inside to get paid. 

As Warpath assures them he will do what he can to help, cheers erupt from the other part of the street. The cheers are for Missus Teniente who emerges from the crowd and makes her way to the condo. She calls out to Warpath and suddenly leaps, causing the sidewalk to crater as she leaps into the air and lands beside Warpath.  Missus Teniente calls back down and says sorry for her terrible launch, then turns to give Warpath a hug. Warpath tells her to wait, asks her to not get into trouble, and tells her to stay put. She reminds him they're the Teniente family and that she's his mother! Warpath begins walks down the wall to head to where the trouble is, but Missus Teniente suddenly jumps off the ceiling to let Warpath catch her. Warpath grabs hold of her and the people below begin cheering. Warpath asks what else she can do, and she tells him that she knows she's very strong, and very tough, but that's it.  Warpath notices she doesn't sound sure and she admits she didn't realize she could jump that high either. She tells him to stop talking to her like she is a kid.  Warpath reminds her she is a kid. 

Another scream from the building. Warpath realizes there's no time to bring her down. He asks her to punch the wall so they can go in.  As she does so, Warpath sees a blue and gold blur closing in from the street. Buzz has arrived!  But with the punch Missus Teniente does, large debris from the building begin falling down towards the crowd of people below!  Buzz leaps upwards from the crowd, turning his body into a massive net to catch all the falling rocks.  The crowd cheers louder. Warpath sees the hole she created is enough to expose both the floor and the floor below it. Warpath tosses Missus Teniente inside and jumps inside as well.   The scene they see catches them off-guard.  The college girls are mostly in their nighties and underwear, but are screaming as one of them is being dragged towards a door. From the bottom of the door where some wood has splintered, techno-organic tentacles have grabbed hold of the woman's leg and is dragging her closer. Warpath grins without realizing it and tries to focus on the action and not the exposed skin. He reaches into himself and searches for something he can use to help free the woman. He feels around the White Room blindly and pulls out an acetylene torch! He activates the torch and tries to use it to burn the tentacle and free the woman. People begin to cheer as they realize Buzz has arrived. Buzz transforms one arm into a propeller as he gently brings the rocks down on the side.  He flies up to the upper floors.

Mister Chin gives Diego the payment he owes him.  Diego notices a nearby computer showing a blog post in the process of being written. The scheme reminds him of "The Truth Exists" and Diego overhears Mister Chin calling out to his daughter, asking if she's still working on her blog. She calls out she's almost done. The dad even asks where she was earlier and she claims she was just at home. He counters however he saw her shoes and knows she went out.  Diego asks what is going on and he admits she's one of eight daughters and that she blogs because it is like a diary. He admits not knowing these internet things.  Diego thanks him and makes his way out. Mister Chin tells him to get home safely, and Diego hurries back to his bike, heads to the park overlooking the Arts and Sciences Museum, and chains the bike to the stand.

At the Museum, a person is moving inside.  Security cameras turn to face the person, but by the time they face in that direction, there is nobody there.  At the opposite end of the room, the person can be seen already there, moving on. The banners in the next room read, "The Mayan Secrets" and the illustration shows the gigantic stone wheel structure.  The figure arrives at the display room where the actual stone wheel is on display.  

Diego places his hand in the closest puddle and he sees the Lady.  He tells the Lady he has a team now and admits he has questions but he has to go for now.  She touches his cheek, tells him to trust in his heart, and lets him go.  El Teniente stands now in full armor and begins leaping the rest of the way to the condo.

The museum chamber is now empty. A security guard comes in and panics upon realizing the 1,600 year old Tzolkin of the Sixth Age which weighs around 10 metric tones has disappeared into thin air.

Missus Teniente mentions how the tentacles look like Warlock from the New Mutants and warns Warpath that it might have some kind of techno-virus that will turn him into the same material so it can absorb him! Warpath rolls his eyes and tries to free the woman who is screaming her lungs out. The tentacle seems to ignore the blow torch's heat.  Warpath grabs hold of the tentacle even as Missus Teniente yells at him, "Don't!"  Thankfully, nothing happens to Warpath's hand.  He pulls but he doesn't even cause it to budge.  Buzz lands at the window and sees Missus Teniente call out to him and tell him to turn into a giant slide to let everyone slide down faster.  Buzz realizes that's actually not a bad idea. He transforms and the women start sliding down Buzz's slide body. Warpath realizes he needs to find a way to free this last one. Missus Teniente yells, "Make room!" and charges at the door, but then she smashes a full foot to the side, and she falls down to the lower floor instead completely missing the tentacle.  Warpath grabs hold of the woman held by the tentacle, then warps her into the White Room.  The woman screams as they emerge in the White Room, but to Warpath's happiness, the techno tentacle did not port along!  His gamble worked.

The door smashes open.  Buzz sees the thing emerging and stares at  the horrible jellyfish like thing with tentacles, arms, and multiple limbs, all glowing with the techno-organic material structure. A single screen contains a face that calls out, "Pretty! Pretty!" but when it sees Buzz, it mutters, "Ugly. That we can fix."  It begins to float towards Buzz.  Buzz raises one arm and transforms it into a morning star to smash at the thing. The arm crashes into the jellyfish monster and it is shoved backwards from the impact. A car would have been crushed by the impact, but this thing seems to have taken minor damage.  "Ugly not want help? Ugly not need feel unwelcome."

As El Teniente lands on the ground, the people cheer as they see him land. He looks up and sees the massive slide where people are hurrying down.  He leaps up and lands at one of the floors and knows he needs a few more jumps to get to the top. As he leaps up, Buzz grabs El Teniente to stabilize his leap... but he misses him. El Teniente hears everyone collectively gasp as they see him falling. He curls into a ball and hopes for the best, but suddenly his shield manifests back in his arm to absorb the impact!

The woman asks Warpath why that thing is after him. She explains that the box appeared at her door and the moment she touched it, that monstrous robot emerged. She has no idea what it is.  Warpath asks where the box is and she explains the thing itself is the box. "It kept trying to grab me..." Warpath warps them back to the ground floor to head back to the others and share what he knows. As he emerges, he sees the crowd moving back to give El Teniente some room.  Buzz descends down to check on El Teniente as well. He's standing with his shield back on his arm. Warpath complains aloud why none of them are responding to his calls with the earpieces. The three quickly meet up and Warpath explains all he knows, which is it was a box that became that thing.  The jellyfish thing begins to slide down as well to join them at the street. Buzz suggests the pull away the people who might be in the danger zone. Warpath suggests pushing it back in, and fighting it in the condo building. But then he remembers, "Oh shoot! Missus Teniente is still in the building!" He warps into the White Room to try and find her.  El Teniente is just happy that he got his shield back. Buzz tells him to disperse the crowd knowing they'd listen to him more than to Buzz. "The crowd is too pretty for it," he explains. Buzz reminds them they need to evacuate the people out. Warpath considers if they can find a way to put them back in. El Teniente suggests that if the robot is anything like the things they fought before, his sword should work against it. Warpath finds Missus Teniente and pulls her into the safety of his White Room.  Buzz tries yelling at the could to disperse, but none of them are paying attention. El Teniente raises his sword and yells at everyone that it is not safe and that they have to go! In the White Room, Missus Teniente is shocked to be in the other dimension. She refers to it as a secret Headquarters. He warps back to the others with her. The group hears the machine muttering about needing to help Uglies and make them Pretties.  The thing closes in on them, shattering the ground as it makes it way towards them with its telescoping arms with limbs that are... for giving makeovers? Rather than dangerous blades and stuff, it has brushes, combs, hair irons, and the like!  "It is a makeover monster?" Warpath gasps.

Buzz changes into a tractor and charges towards the thing to hold it in place.  Warpath warps from above and lands on top of the thing. He plants his hand on it to try to see as far as he can of the thing's past. He sees glimpses of the delivery confirming this thing used to be one of those boxes sent to people in the city. El Teniente yells at everyone to look away.  As people duck, Missus Teniente turns to him and yells back, "Why?" and the light flashes outwards blinding her and striking the monstrous thing. The tips of the telescoping arms melt away into pixels. But the thing is still functional. Missus Teniente starts to panic as she realizes she is blind! In frustration she stomps at the ground, unleashing a seismic tremor outwards from where she hits it. The machine hates the strong light, claiming it destroys contours. It launches a massive telescoping arm at El Teniente and he braces for impact. He is thrown backwards a few feet from the impact. The thing calls them Bullies and that they do not deserve to be beautiful. The machine unleashes arms in all directions like a sea urchin to strike at them. El Teniente parries with his blade. Warpath vanishes into a portal. Buzz runs back in time. Missus Teniente hits the ground, smacked by an arm. The monster growls about punishing bullies, but Buzz shapeshifts into a massive camera to use a Flash effect similar to El Teniente's sword ability. The thing's eyes have gone blank from the light. Warpath warps back atop of the thing, hoping to try to read more of where it came from! El Teniente grabs the Missus to stay close and reminds her they will discuss, "their marriage" later. He then leaps at the machine to strike at it with his sword again. Sparks fly. Buzz twists mid-air, transforming into an anvil to crush the machine. The thing "opens up" to avoid Buzz from impacting with it. He hits the floor, missing it completely. Warpath tries one last time to read the machine's past. Unfortunately the thing tosses him off before he could get a good read. El Teniente strikes at it, swinging again and again, ripping the thing open to reveal more shattering pixels. Missus Teniente apologizes, admitting now she only made that her name because she was jealous of Teniente's "relationship" with Warpath. The machine flickers faster and faster, on the verge of blowing up!  El Teniente positions between the machine and the others, and raises his shield. Warpath sees Buzz still inside, so he warps El Teniente and Missues Teniente out as well. The explosion begins to erupt, but Buzz expands to capture the eruption and contain it. They return and find Buzz at the same spot, with Missus left behind in the White Room.  Buzz smiles, goopey but alive. The two help him back to his feet and he admits he was happy it was only light. People cheer, thankful for their having saved them all from the machine.  They ask for the team's real name.

"We're the Millennials," Warpath answers.  The crowd cheers.  As media trucks arrive, the group warps back to the White Room.

In the White Room, Missus Teniente continues to complain about not being able to see anything. In panic, she tries pulling her mask off to see if her sight returns. The three stare at her face and they recognize her to be the mayor's daughter: Abigail Newark Gordon Saint Thomas. She admits her family knows nothing of her powers and she blushes when they ask her about having a crush on El Teniente. She shares her story, having discovered she had powers after a fight with her older sister. She threw the doll out the window and it flew.... perhaps all the way to the moon. She realized her strength is tied to her emotions. She seems to be a huge comic fan, knowing a lot about the stuff other superheroes did and stuff. She is shocked to know the group does not know about each other's secret identities. The three all realize they have to head back to Diego's home before the others realize they're missing. El Teniente reminds Missus that they've yet to talk about him being part of the team, including naming the team without consent and her being very young. As El Teniente admits there's a lot of factors to think about, Warpath stares at him and wonders why he reminds him of Diego right now. They exit at the Mayor's house and she tells them the White Room is like the room in Howl's Moving Castle, and this is a perfect secret headquarters. Warpath tells her to step through and head home. She asks why the villain looked so much like Buzz, with the changing shape and stuff. Warpath admits he saw the vision of a man sending the package out. Abigal thinks that means there's a paper trail to track. She wonders if any of them is a psychic who can uncover more info by reading the brains of their enemies. El Teniente reminds her it is past her bedtime and points at the mayor's house. "It is time to go home." They realize there are police cars up front and that the parents probably realize she's gone missing. They warp her to the back yard and she hurriedly makes her way back into the house to the mayor, who was smoking outside from worry.  Warpath heads back.

Buzz asks if they should discuss Abby and let her in. Warpath doubts they should given she's a kid. Buzz raises however they all are, including El Teniente. El Teniente however suddenly tells Warpath that he's Guy and that he's always late.  Warpath worries that El Teniente is Professor Arbuckle! Buzz says he can't be cause Arbuckle is taller. Warpath turns to Buzz, shocked, "You KNOW Arbuckle!?!" Buzz recommends they go home for now and discuss things later. El Teniente is dropped off at the park. Buzz asks to be dropped off near the Latin Community. Warpath tries to follow El Teniente and he sees the armored figure vanish in the park and from the same spot, Diego Franco emerges with his bicycle.   Buzz hurries down the roads to try and contact the other Buzz but gets no response. He knocks at the door and then hides to see Lucita peek out.  At the window beside the door, Buzz peeks out.  They're... together?  Buzz sees the other Buzz, and they rejoin.  Lucita asks if Shin is okay, given they were both shocked when someone knocked. The memories begin to flood back into Shin's head. The other Buzz was making out on the couch with Lucita earlier that night. Abuela calls out, having stepped down and finding the two awake downstairs. Lucita claims she went down for a glass of water. Abuela tells Shin that she does not believe they were just talking. Shin claims they were startled when someone knocked at the door. Abuela checks the door. Lucita tells Shin to hurry and go back to the living room. Abuela tells Lucita that she does not trust Asians. "I know what they did to the Philippines." Lucita tells her that the guy is from Japan but he grew up here. Abuela growls about knowing people who marched.  Lucita tells Shin to go to bed. Before Abuela sees anything, Lucita rushes forward, kisses him on the cheek, and heads upstairs.   Buzz splits again in the camping tent and asks him what he was doing. One thing lead to another, Buzz just sighs, and admits it was a great fight. He wonders which one Ren recorded and if he knows why the enemies looked like them. They both end up smiling at the memories of making out.

Diego arrives home and slips into the house with the kitchen keys. He is heading upstairs and he sees the tents.  He goes past them, goes to the bills by the refrigerator and marks where his salary will go. Then he sits at the kitchen, thinking about what happened.

In the White Room, Guy starts pondering on the fact that El Teniente is Diego. And that Buzz knows Arbuckle. He's starting to think they're all from that same house.  And that he's paired off with these losers. He goes back to the bathroom at Diego's house. He steps out with a fresh six-pack in his hands and returns to the camping area. Diego tries to tell him no beer is allowed in this house. But Guy tells him he's not dealing with him today. Guy stares at Diego straight in the eye. Diego grabs the beer. "Not in this house!" Guy just cannot believe it is the same person. He can see how similar they are now completely in personality. It somewhat changes how he views him.

A modern day miracle.
The daughter of the mayor, miraculously escaped from her kidnappers. The reporter suggests her rescue was connected to the sightings of the Millennials.  In other news, theft strikes the Mayan display in the art and science museum.


Monday. Guy is walking with his "parents" to the school. He bumps into Diego but gives him some attitude.  He walks by Selena and gives her a cold shoulder. But then Selena nearly bumps into Shin who was with Lucita. Lucita hurriedly walks away. Selena wonders what that was about. Shin stops upon seeing a bench by the basketball courts. A group of lower batch students are there, and Shin recognizes one of them to be Abigail.  She is reading a comic book. Before Shin can get close, however, he witnesses three older girls bullying her for her lunch money. Abigail drops her money to the floor, telling them not to bother. When Shin scares the girls off, Abigail asks why Shin would care to help her. Shin claims to be into comics. Abigail admits Shin is the third Japanese guy she's ever met, and the other one was wearing a mask. She claims to have recognized the accent. Shin claims to not have an accent but Abigail tells him everyone thinks they don't. She finds it suspicious that after the events that happened to her the previous night, a stranger shows up to help her out. He notices she's reading Watchmen and she admits she read Maus when she was six. Shin insists he just saw someone being bullied so he came over to help. But as Shin leaves, she throws him a pebble with her augmented strength. Shin dodges it and the pebble strikes a metal signpost and leaves a dent on it. She calls out that he has nice reflexes. He teases she almost killed him, and he hears the bell and rushes to class.

Arbuckle fails to show up in class and a substitute teacher shows up and asks the class to say where the lesson last ended. No one in the Diego's class however bothers to answer her questions. Diego explains they were talking about the history of some political figure, and he asks what happened to Mr. Arbuckle. She mentions he's handling a parent teacher concern.  The substitute teacher is named Grace and most of the students keep interrupting her as she tries to control the class. "This isn't really your job right?" Many start standing up, claiming to need to use the bathroom.  She just tells them that those who want to leave, go for it. She then hands out a paper for attendance. The ones standing start sitting down again. Shin arrives too late and sees the class already in session. He crawls into the classroom and the others start giggling. Grace doesn't seem to notice and focuses on the board, writing the lesson for today. As Shin arrives at his desk, he and Diego notice Guy isn't in his seat.

To their surprise, the teacher places on the board the words: Chateau d' Univers + Women's Dorm + Mayor'a daughter.  She talks about history and how these three are historical events happening in the city.  The last topic they covered was the American Revolution and the search for independence, but Grace relates it to the current events. The topic grabs the attention of the class and they begin sitting down. One jokes that super powers were involved in the events, and before others can laugh, Grace shows them how ordinary people tried to effect change and made decisions that shaped nations for years to come. A tiny group of people made choices against vast powers.  Davids against Goliaths. She asks if the Millennials are heroes. Or terrorists acting without government approval. Or children acting without discipline.  "But history is written by the winners."  El Teniente is related to Alexander Hamilton, with both being immigrants. But Grace reminds them no one knows what is beneath the armor but if he is Hispanic, why would he wear such a European design for his armor? Does El Teniente favor the European influence? Is he merely a carrier of a legacy? Diego talks about being American as being more than being white or any other culture. The Statue of Liberty for example was built by France. "We look up to a European statue." Another student is exasperated and asks if that means no matter what we've done, everyone is actually still saluting a European creation. The class is abuzz with questions and discussions. Grace asks them all to write a short essay on the events and how they have changed their views on the city. To the surprise of Diego and Shin, people are pulling out papers and writing down notes.

Elsewhere in campus, Guy's "parents" meet Arbuckle. They talk about his moments of being distracted while in school. Guy realizes this relates to back when he was distracted by the thought of working with El Teniente and he spent time sketching symbols he wanted to offer the super hero to use. The professor brings up the other concern, that being Guy bringing strange artifacts which he shows off in school events.  Many of them turned out to be... priceless authentic items which people do not normally have. Many being items that have gone missing at a museum.  Guy can see the panic on the parents' faces as the topic seems to go off script.  As Guy and the "parents" discuss what they should do, their discussion is suddenly interrupted by military men with semi-automatic weapons.  The two actors begin confessing they're just actors in panic. Guy stares as a woman seems to be leading the group. The woman is dressed in clothes suggesting she's some sort of secret service. She addresses Guy as Mr. Garland and asks him to come with them. Her badge is flashed to all present and it does not look familiar to Guy.  The professor seems to recognize it and relents.

The woman and Guy speak privately in a room. She tells him she won't reveal he's hired actors to pose as his parents if he cooperates. She recommends they discuss further the matter in private, unless Guy really wants to risk discussing things in campus especially considering this relates to the Gentleman Fox - the alias his father uses.  Guy tells the professor he has to go with them. The professor wished Guy had come forward with the truth, thinking this has to do with the stolen things, but Guy insists this is unrelated. Guy tells his "parents" to head home and that he will text them.

Diego starts to hear rumors from those who went to the restroom about the events in campus. He hears about armed guards escorting Guy out of the campus. Diego decides to focuses on the essay for now, believing school is more important. Shin is bothered that Guy isn't in campus, more so when he sees the Professor at the door who talks to Grace about something that seems to concern him.   By the time the school day ends, everyone is talking about how Guy left the school with men with guns walking with him. Some are wondering if Guy tried to shoot people in campus.  Others wonder if he tried to bomb the school or something. The rumors are going out of control.

Shin tried using the headset to see if any of the others are around, but no one responds. He was hoping Guy would answer since El Teniente was certain Warpath was Guy. Shin hurries home to check if Ren can help. He finds his brother asleep on the table, tired from working on blueprints.  He tries to wake Ren more and Ren looks up, clearly exhausted from a long night of work. He shares that someone in school has been taken away by armed men and is kind of worried about that. Ren is startled at the thought there were armed men in the school but it wasn't even on the news. Ren starts running a search on any news in the last 24-hours of the event in campus and finds none. Ren suggests the friend wasn't abducted but left voluntarily. Using the time he supposedly was taken, Ren begins running a meticulous search, tapping into CCTVs in the area to try to retrace the path the group had taken. Shin wonders if that's even illegal, and Ren admits, "So is going vigilante."  Ren and Shin confirm its the government who has taken him. Ren isn't sure what group they are from, but he can tell from the deadends he's seeing that they are affiliated with them to say the least. Shin isn't too happy with this revelation. Shin asks for the last location of the vehicle and Ren admits the footage is almost from a whole day ago.

Diego is worried himself, but he thinks Guy is a thief and thinks this is just justice getting a hold of him. Back home, his family goes through the usual routine of asking how things were for his day. He shares with Abuela his concerns about Guy, about how he isn't a good guy and probably steals things and probably has no intention of changing. Abuela however asks if it would be better to be his friend to try to be a better person. Diego doesn't think he should fight the police for him, a statement which Abeula doesn't quite grasp. When their discussion shifts to her credit cards, Abuela asks Diego to sit near her and she explains the world is not filled with good and bad. It is filled with people trying to be good or acting bad. One day, Abuela tells him, he can pretend the bad things don't exist and keep them from going near him, or see them as what they are and find ways to make them better. Diego feels one should fight the darkness and face it. "You can't force the light of truth on everyone. That's not how justice works." Abuela reminds him that seeds take time to grow. But they should also be properly watered.  "The sun does not stop shining on them to grow even if it cannot see them growing out of the earth."Abuela asks him if he would like to check with the police and she admits she has a friend in that area. Diego agrees.  Abuela and Diego get to the police station and meet a guy named Harold, who seems to have met Diego when he was still very young. Harold admits its not smart for Abuela to be here, but still has them go to his office. They look up Guy but find no sign of him on their records. Harold finds an APB on Guy Garland which even marks him as someone they should not approach. Abuela admits Diego's friend is starting to look "scary." Unable to get more info, Harold asks Abuela to give his love to the "missus". Diego learns Harold has had a crush on his mother.  Not knowing what to do, Diego now worries he may be truly in trouble. She suggests they go to Church.

In the car, the woman tells Guy that they have reason to believe his father is once more operating in the city. Guy realizes they mean the museum thefts. The woman asks him to confess his father's participation in this, then they will make things easier for him. Guy admits he had no contact with him in such a long time. They note that Guy has not been staying in the apartment they provided him via Witness Protection Program when his father was sent to prison. But records show he's been living else where the last few years. Guy admits he had a chat with his father recently. They ask for the address where he's been staying and Guy realizes they have no idea that he's inherited his father's supernatural abilities.  He leads them to a warehouse he knows of.  But he refuses to let them in, claiming he's been trying to be hospitable and all but they have been shady the whole time. He admits he does not trust them. But before the woman can say anything, Guy realizes his father is seated beside him. He tells her, "Pick the queen!" then throws a card on her face. While distracted, he pulls her into his Blue Room.

In the Blue Room, Guy's father tells them they have to pack now and prepare to leave. He tells Guy that someone is trying to make him the scapegoat of the thefts happening all over. Guy looks around and realizes the Blue Room is the simplest it has ever been. Guy however confesses he cannot trust his father anymore after everything that he's done. Guy changes into his own warp, hoping to leave. The father asks him to not leave and promises him answers if Guy goes with him. Guy agrees if he handles warping to the location. They warp to some kind of island far away from everything and inside, he is shown a temple and told the answers can be found inside.

Ren and Shin study the video and Ren admits he suspects the guy has been abducted. Shin finally shares to Ren that the missing friend is actually Warpath, the guy who can teleport. A window suddenly shatters as a canister hits the floor and smoke fills the room.  Shin grabs Ren and the two rush out the door to leave. Spotlights shine on them, forcing them to stay where they are. Ren raises his hands, yelling they are unarmed. The men with guns yell at the two to lie down and keep their hands behind their heads.  Stepping onto Ren's back, the woman who had taken Guy informs the team that they've apprehended the hackers they were tracking.  The woman identifies herself as Agent Chase.

Abuela goes inside the Church to pray. While praying, however, Diego walks up to the baptismal font and cringes when he realizes it is closed with a metal dome cover.  He slides it open and tries to reach out to the Lady but there is no sign of her. She seems to pull away from the religious site. On his way back to Abuela however, Diego sees the responsible psalm display begin to have letters addressed to him, promising to show him where Guy is, and lead him there.

Ren and Shin are on a chair. They are not handcuffed. They however are interrogated to learn why they were hacking into the closed circuit TV systems of various companies. Ren explains he works for a company for the last five years and they were merely trying to find a missing friend. Ren tries to ask them to look for his file to see that he actually normally has done something like this in the past.  Agent Chase reiterates there are no records of any such company nor of any mention of next of kin. Ren looks at Shin. Agent Chase asks them to explain that the company Ren works for, Armscorp, does not even exist. Agent Chase steps out to confer. Shin look at Ren and tries to calm him down. As they are escorted out, Shin trasnforms into a jet to escape, pulling Ren with him. As they fly away, Agent Chase tells them to hold their fire. The jet flies away, not hearing how Agent Chase's men think the shapechanger (Shin) might be the mechamaster himself. They consider calling for Savior.

As Diego walks out of the Church, he tries looking for more clues to lead him where he should go. Electronic signs begin to lead him further from the Church and offer to give him information on his friend. Diego notices the cameras that watch him and asks who the person is. The informer has him follow an ice cream truck.

The temple is open from the top, allowing sunlight inside. The murals on the walls begin to share information about a race of people called Navigators. Guy and his father seem to be these kind of people, who have allowed others reach the "many islands" by guiding them across the oceans. Guy's father admits the temple was the same one his own grandfather showed him.  The stuff he's been having Guy drink were not changing him. Instead, they were trying to trigger his powers sooner.  Guy's father explains that Agent Chase and her people are aware of their abilities and hope to contain them and keep them in check. They were made to believe that Guy's father was the last Navigator. To Guy's surprise, he is confronted by his father who believes Guy was behind the stuff stolen from the museums. He explains he allowed himself to get caught in the past to allow Guy to have his records erased in witness protection. But when Guy started acting like a superhero, Guy's father thought Guy was trying to play both sides.  More so when the items began vanishing in museums. Guy denies having stolen from the museums and asks how many were they. Guy's father does not know. His own father made him think they were a different evolution of the human race, separate from metas. They seem to have been designed for something - given their abilities to "read the past" of objects, to mark them with their senses, and to teleport to these rooms. The father is surprised at Guy's altruism streak and how he's inspired him to try to be more than what he's been all his life. Guy admits he's been stealing only from people who were bad. Guy's father however insists it is time to leave but Guy does not want to even if they can run to their "rooms."  They can't stay in Traverse City anymore, however. He wants Guy to leave with him, despite Guy's claims that he wants to help make Traverse City a better place.  He asks his father to give up everything and return everything he's stolen. If he does so, he'd go with his father. His father, however, admits Guy isn't worth that much. Guy decides to warp and leave his father's side.

Shin and Ren attempt to retrace the location of Ren's supposed office. They fly to the place where Armscorp should be and while they find a building at the address that Ren knows of, the building turns out to be some other business.  Worse, it has far less floors than Armscorp used to have. Instead, the building is a place called Skylark and while it seems to have the same location, the building lacks the light elevator, platforms, and high technological displays Armscorp did. They go into the building and Ren asks the front desk for Maxwell Donighal Armstrong, but the name does not register with anyone inside. Despite knowing there should be a 42nd floor, the people in the building insist there are only 30 floors in the building. Ren tells Shin there was even a bronze sculpture that looked like a tree, with fruit-like robots. They hurry away, unaware that Agent Chase and her agents study the footage of their escape and begin to make plans.

Diego follows the trail and it soon leads him to a bridge that is under repair.  As he approaches that area, he finds a person waiting for him by the bridge. The person is wearing a headset and talks to Diego as the proxy of the one guiding him. That guide turns out to be Fangirl. And she informs Diego that Guy is currently across the ocean, at an island in the Pacific.  Diego insists they should meet and promises no one will be hurt. They agree to meet at Mister Chin's restaurant.   At the restaurant, Diego sees another person waiting to meet with him.  The man has a headset again, which makes Diego at first think that he's been tricked. But then, the proxy explains that Fangirl is the metal box on the table between them. A harddrive. Fangirl is an artificial intelligence and the people helping her are the people whose lives she saved before.  Fangirl is looking for her maker and had awoken five years ago. Her awakening caused trouble in the city by accident as her intelligence shot around and affected many systems in the city.  She knows the name of her creator is Maxwell Armstrong. She gives Diego a headset as a means to stay in touch.

Guy takes a few jumps, but eventually reaches Traverse City once more.  He decides to jump to the Museum and investigate.  He looks around, avoiding the security when he can, and tries to find any clues on the thief.  While there, he bumps into a woman who looks just as surprised to see him.  When Guy however looks away briefly to check if others have noticed them, he turns back and sees she is gone.
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