/sim/ - simulacrum

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>Date: July 21st, 2017
>Time: 11:00PM
>Location: Sanctuary City - Financial District

>The Citizen Union Bank branch is one among many in the Financial District of Sanctuary, built in a style that apes the Neoclassical buildings of the US Capitol, it's slotted into its block rather nicely thanks to having been built when the city was first founded, and as such is placed in a way that doesn't contrast it to surrounding buildings, and provides the staff of the building with a wide variety of parks and open areas within a stone's throw to ensure a better quality of working.

>In the dark of night, however, the building is empty, having closed several hours before, and the area is quiet - too upscale and empty for those who prefer the night, and too dark for those who work there during the day.

>Near the bank, silhouetted by a streetlight below them, a lone figure watches the bank, checking a display on their wrist as they do a staff is hooked on to their back, almost making it look like they have an antenna.

"He's late. . ."

>Their voice is modulated, clearly designed to through people off their identity, but still sounds somewhat feminine.


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>A blurry figure in a form fitting suit flips across rooftops nearby. Pacing themselves accordingly, they then vault over the nearest rooftop, grabbing onto the lamppost above the shadowy figure. Spinning around, Arachnid then grabs onto the pole, hanging upside down as he lowers himself onto a web.

"Hey, sorry I'm late. You never did explain why we're at a bank though."

>Looking impatient, he then also says:

"Also listen, I'm sorry about the other day. I don't know why I said that. I think I was just-"

>Noticing their staff fastened to their back, Arachnid states:

"OK I thought we were done with the whole 'extensive combat' shtick?"


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"Not using my equipment was not part of the deal, the deal was not killing or maiming."

>The figure replies in their modulated voice.

"Besides, you're ten minutes late, any longer and I would've gone in myself - I don't need you to get in anyway."

>Lifting up a gauntlet, they click, and the display on their wrist flashes.

"This bank I own, which is what brought it to my attention. But here's a riddle: When is a bank robbery not a bank robbery?"


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>Arachnid blinks and thinks to himself for a moment behind his mask.

"….Uhh….when it's intended bait? A trap?"

>Arachnid then falls gracefully from his webline on the lamppost, landing on his feet beside the armored figure. Looking up, he then says:

"You're awfully calm about someone taking money from your bank. So I'm going to guess this means it was bait."

>Seeing a nearby trash can with an open lid, Arachnid uses it for target practice, firing a quick volley of impact web spheres towards it - knocking the lid off.

"Sorry, just needed to make sure my aim's on point now."


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"Aim slightly higher, you're not fully accounting for gravity and wind resistance in the shots, it won't have a massive effect at this distance, but the effects multiply."

>The other replies, bringing a holographic display out of their arm.

"As for my question. When it's technically a legal transaction."

>The display switches to show the transaction logs for the day, with all of the money correctly reported for.

"Here. Here. And. . ."

>The figure points at several transactions.

"Here. Are all transactions approved by the head of the bank in person, the only problem with them is, I never approved them, and I have footage verifying that I was elsewhere at the time. Which means. . ."


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>Arachnid scratches the back of his head, with his gloved fingers lightly scraping against the fabric of his suit cowl.

"….Which means somebody's pretending to be you? Seriously? Who's dumb enough to try that?"

>Arachnid looks around for a moment before saying:

"Wait, how could they even pretend to be you? They don't know anything about your mannerisms or your speech tendencies. Shapeshifting doesn't give you an understanding of the person's general behavior."

>Looking at the holographic transaction records again, Arachnid then crosses his arms.

"So somebody's been watching you I guess? Recorded videos?"


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"Good, you're learning. I do have individuals who could act as me in an emergency, but none of them were involved in this - I checked."

>The holographic display fades, and the figure jumps from the streetlamp, landing on the pavement without any damage thanks to a hydraulic system in their boots. Stepping towards the bank, they snap their finger and the door unlocks.

"So first is checking the security footage. It's stored on-site for two days before being sent off to the main server, given that I'm not inclined to wait while someone robs me blind, we'll be bypassing that today."


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>Arachnid casually leaps into the air - meters above the ground. Carefully and gracefully, he lands on his feet, without causing damage - absorbing the kinetic force of the impact into his feet and their soles.

>Walking after the armored figure, he then says:

"Still don't see why you needed me for this? Why not just ask the MRD to investigate? If a shapeshifter is posing as important people to rob them, they'd be interested in that - no?"

>Walking into the bank, he then says:

"Seriously, there's so many cameras and hidden mics I'd bet. Don't see who'd bother stealing from you knowing that."

>Arachnid then waits for the armored figure's next move.


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"And let them stick their noses into my personal affairs? Of course not, those insufferable bureaucrats overreach their authority already - they'd jump at the chance to give themselves a full look of my books without an official audit."

>Apex shakes her head.

"No, we handle this internally - or as close to internally as possible. Which is where you come in, you're good muscle."

>With a careful shove, Apex opens the door of the bank, revealing the foyer within, upscale, but still very standard for a larger bank.

"Given that you're more agile than me, I'll need you to carefully remove the cameras from their positions, got it? That way I can get the footage from within."


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>Arachnid's lenses narrow slightly as he looks at the armored figure.


>Scoping out the interior of the bank for a brief moment, Arachnid then quickly leaps into the air - pivoting as he vaults from a nearby column.

"There's the first one…."

>Flinging himself to the nearby wall, the vigilante then quickly crawls up the side and finds the rear of the first camera harness. Examining the structure for a moment, he then uses his fingers to carefully remove the camera.


>Arachnid tosses the camera down - firing a web down onto a nearby desk to catch the device. He then quickly jumps from area to area of the bank, removing and tossing the rest of the cameras down.

>Then, after he's finished, he backflips off of the nearest wall down towards the armored figure. Taking the cameras and grabbing them with his adhesive hands, he then hands them to his associate.

"This better be worth the time to do this. I still don't see why you needed me for it either. You could've done this yourself."


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"I can run by business by myself as well, it's still more efficient with effective hands."

>Apex says, taking out a component from the camera and attaching it to her arm.

"Besides, I need to actually test your capabilities outside of combat scenarios, I have yet to see you actually work a case or anything similar."

>With a beep, the gadget on Apex's arm starts displaying footage from earlier in the day, and Apex fast forwards it to the time of the first transaction, looking around the room.

>As the footage plays, the figure of a scrawny man, most of his features obscured by a hoodie, approaches the front desk, and starts doing a normal transaction. Apex pauses the video as he talks.

"Wrong angle, and not close enough for sound, but that looks like our culprit, what do you make of him?"


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>Arachnid turns his attention towards the holographic display, squinting behind his cowl and lenses as he states:

"Small and scrawny. Clearly not in a position of importance given his dress style. Not familiar with the place either, since he's moving uncomfortably."

>Adjusting the silk bracelets on his wrists, he continues his assessment.

"Likely strapped for cash seeing as how he's going to a bank, and apparently pretending to be you - to get a withdrawal from your account."

>Stopping for a moment, Arachnid's mind lights up figuratively.

"Wait a minute….This guy's using illusions. Duh…."

>Arachnid facepalms for a moment.

"That's how he was able to fool them, they already had a picture of you in their mind, and their own brains filled in the gaps."

>Tapping his mask lenses, Arachnid remembers a lesson from Mosaic, making a gesture on the lenses. They begin retracting slightly as they fold in on themselves slightly, creating a ripple effect before reconstructing themselves.

"Live record feature. This guy can trick my brain, but not my cameras. Just as he couldn't fool yours. Next time I see you with my eyes - if my internal cameras show differently?"

>Lowering his hand, he then points at the holographic picture.

"Got him."

>Looking up at his associate, Arachnid then says:

"He's using your identity as a piggy bank right? He's smart enough to make occasional deposits that aren't big enough to catch most people's attention - but not yours clearly enough. Why not just keep an eye out for all the other assets you have that you'd need to visit in person?"

>Arachnid then jumps onto a nearby banking chair, landing on it effortlessly as he maintains his eye contact with his associate.

"Once you do that, I can keep an eye out for any reports of you showing up where you shouldn't be. And since this dude doesn't know who I am, he wouldn't know to try and appear to me as you, to get more info out of me either."

>Arachnid crosses his arms, satisfied.

"What do you think? Pretty smart huh?"


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"A good start, but off on some details. . ."

>Apex points at the hoodie.

"That's a high end brand, I recognise it due to having a fondness for the brand himself, so someone is clearly providing enough money for him to afford luxury goods."

"That said, you are likely right on him possessing some ability with illusions - it would explain the lack of any reports of odd behavior from me."

>Apex thinks for a moment, looking at the footage.

"We won't be playing a game of cat and mouse like that, I have a better method, but it'll take time, I'll contact you again once I have a new lead."


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>Looking at Apex for a moment, Arachnid then sighs as he says:

"OK fine. If you want to play the cat and mouse game then sure. I just hope you know what you're doing here….."

>Arachnid then quickly backflips dozens of feet up into the air - landing on the side of the wall in the bank. Looking at Apex from above, he then states:

"I'll see you in a few days then, I guess? Still not sure what our status is."

>Arachnid then jumps again from the wall and to the door with blinding speed - before leaping up into the air, holding out his hand to jettison a silk strand. He then swings off into the night, without leaving a trace.


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>Apex scoffs, shifting slightly.

"Partners, for what it's worth. . ."

>Whether the statement is heard seems irrelevant to the vigilante. . .



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>Date: July 22nd, 2017
>Location: Sanctuary City University - Residential Halls.
>Time: 9:00 AM.

>Damian ruffles his hair as he walks past the main campus grounds, passing by a pair of guys - overhearing their conversation.

"Wait, you think Mosaic would lose in a fight with Hyperia? Dude have you see what he did?"

"Yeah, yeah he lifted an ocean line cruiser. Big deal. Hyperia's done that in her sleep."

"Hyperia can't teleport though."

"She can now, that new costume of hers probably gives her new powers too."

"Man, why can't I get zapped by super lightning and get super powers?!"

"You can generate fire man. That's cool enough."

>Damian shakes his head as he continues walking throughout the edge of the main campus building - making his way towards his dormitory. Looking down at his phone for a moment he thinks:

{"Missed call from Mom - probably asking how my internship's going. James wants to know if we're still on for movie night tonight……Bella…."}

>Damian blinks for a moment then sighs, muttering to himself:

{"Yeah, well I doubt she needs me."}

>He then walks to a nearby coffee shop at the edge of the campus - right across the street from his dormitory building. Going inside, he notices the large interior and ornate decorations before saying:

"Uh, hi. Excuse me. Can I have a cappuccino?"

>Damian makes a gesture with his phone to show the card image on the screen.

"I can pay with a card or with cash, if you take that."


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>The woman behind the counter gives Damian a smile, a practiced one, filled with the usual warmth of customer service, but also, Damian thinks, some genuine friendliness.

"A cappuccino? Would you like anything like that? We take both, if you just want to tap the screen. And can I take your name? We're a bit busy, everyone's trying to get an energy boost between things, right? And we have the best coffee in Sanctuary City!"

>The woman smiles again, letting Damian process the flood of responses she gave him, blinking quickly behind her glasses in a way that almost seems like a dog's tail wagging - whoever this barista is, she's certainly a happy one.


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"Uh, sure. Damian Desmond."

>Damian says, realizing the alliteration - then sighs.

"Also, a biscuit if that's alright?"

>Damian taps at the screen and pays with his card, his mind thinking the entire time.

{'What's up with my head? There's nobody around, so what's the deal with-"}

>The buzzing sensation ends just as quickly as it began - with Damian then looking up at the barista, saying:

"Do you guys hear anything about the vigilantes in the city by the way? I heard that Arachnid and that other woman got into a fight - right next to campus."

>Looking down for a moment, Damian continues:

"That's really close by, and I'm worried that students could be in danger because of it."

>Damian says, not sure why he mentioned those two figures.


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>The barista smiles again.

"Damian Desmond, that's a nice name. . ."

>Taking out some biscuit from behind the counter, the barista bags it up for Damian and starts the coffee machine up.

"Oh there's a lot of vigilantes in the city, right? I just keep safe, don't go out a night, I can't afford hospital bills, not on barista pay!"

>Still smiling, the barista lets the machine do its work.

"If you want to wait to the side for a moment, I'll have your coffee with you in a minute."


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>Still somewhat hesitant, Damian then says:

"Alright, sure. No problem."

>Waiting at the side, Damian then continues thinking to himself:

{"I really should try and talk to her. No she'll just assume I'm getting in the way again. Typical."}

>Damian continues mulling over his situation as he waits for the barista to finish.


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>A couple of minutes pass, and another barista calls out from the counter.

"Desmond, got a cappuccino for Desmond?"

>Seeing Damian, they wave him over and hand him his coffee.

"Have a nice day!"

>On the cup, Damian can see the usual "playful" mispelling of his name, but also another note:

"Want to get lunch?"

>The note is followed by a number and a heart, and a quick scan of the counter reveals the barista from before giving Damian a cheerful wave before getting back to her duties.


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>Damian looks down at his coffee, eyeing the number for a moment, then he looks back up at the barista and mouths:

{"Sure. I will. Thanks."}

>He then walks out of the coffee shop, drinking his coffee and looking at his phone.


>After putting the number into his phone contact list, Damian then finishes his coffee, destroys the cup, and tosses it into a nearby recycling bin.


>After getting back to his dorm, Damian tosses his backpack onto the wall and webs it up in place onto the ceiling. Sighing, he then pulls out his laptop and begins looking at the mock protein folding he's set up with a remote cloud instance.

"…..The Cytosine angle is too wide - I'll have to recalibrate the model tomorrow instead."

>Closing the program, Damian then makes a series of keystrokes on his laptop, bringing up another program which scans for MRD reports. Filtering with the keywords he thought about earlier in class, Damian then says:

"…..Mystery. Trace. Confusion….Come on, give me something….."

>A few articles then pop up on his screen as he eyes them carefully.

"Bank heist with no entry…..insurance scam…..car theft in broad daylight? This guy must be good."

>After a few more hours of mapping and corroborating of MRD patrol details, Damian then sighs and rubs his eyelids for a moment.

"…..Might as well call her. Could take my mind off of this."

>Damian then webs his phone from his backpack to his hand, dials the number and begins calling the woman from before - the barista at the coffee shop.


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>It doesn't take long for the barista to answer.

<<Hellooooo, who's calling?>>


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>Damian rubs his forehead as he looks down at the small black and red interface device on his desk, beginning to fidget with it. As he does so, it produces his improvised Arachnid costume from a rough nanomesh - forming out of thin air.

"Uh, hey. This is Damian, from before. The coffee shop."

>He then takes out a pair of metallic pen-like devices from his desk drawer, tapping buttons on the sides of the devices as they spark bolts of electricity.

>Now carefully pressing at certain circuits on the suit, he "welds" connective pathways on the nanomesh of his hero costume - until the nanomesh itself entirely changes - reconstructing itself into a new design.

"Sorry about the late call, but I wanted to take you up on your offer."

>Putting the pen-like devices away, Damian then presses a small button at the collar of the suit's mask, absorbing it into himself and becoming fully clothed in his new design. Adjusting his nanomesh jacket, he continues speaking:

"But not like a huge deal or anything. I just want to talk, since you were kind enough to give me the number."

>Arachnid then stands there, awkwardly as he leans against his dorm room wall, facepalming at his statement.

{"Argh. Idiot! Why did I say that?!?!"}


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<<The cute one?>>

>The barista is quiet for a moment, letting the comment sink in.

<<Weeeeell. . . I'm free this evening. . . aaaand there's a place a few blocks away from campus I want to visit. . . It's called The P'sghetti Bar, if you know it? A streamer I watch said it's really good and isn't expensive. . .>>

>Damian can hear some shuffling about on the other side of the phone.

<<Does six work?>>


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>Arachnid does a double take as he hears the comment from the barista.

{"Cute? She thinks I'm cute?!?!"}

>Straightening himself of nerves, Arachnid then replies on the phone in his suit:

"Uh….yeah, I have. Totally."

>Arachnid then quickly begins searching for the P'shgetti Bar.

"…You said at six, right? Awesome. I'll see you there!"

>Arachnid then hangs up and looks at the time.

"….Crap. It's already five thirty?! Ugh…."

>Arachnid then quickly gets his belongings, puts them in his suit jacket. He also double checks his room really quickly, keeping his backpack webbed to the roof.

"Alright, here goes."

>Arachnid then opens up the window to his dormitory building, quickly flips outside onto the exterior wall, closes it and locks it. He then vaults hundreds of feet up into the air - and immediately begins web zipping towards the bar.


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>The P'sghetti Bar is indeed located a couple of blocks from the campus, like the barista said. As Damian arrives, he can see the barista herself waiting outside the front of the place, holding a small clutch purse in her hands.

>Standing outside the front of the restaurant, she seems to be looking around for where Damian is coming from, still maintaining the positive energy from before.


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>Damian lightly jogs into view for the barista, his hair ruffled as he wears a light overcoat. Waving at her, he then says:

"Hey! Sorry I was late! Traffic. You know how it is."

>Damian then laughs lightly, trying to lighten the mood.

"…..So, here I am. Wanna go inside?"

>He says, pointing to the side with his thumb.


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>The barista smiles at Damian again, this time with less professionalism behind it.

"Yeah, traffic's terrible around here! Do you drive? I drive! Although mom doesn't like it when I drive. . ."

>With another smile, the barista grabs Damian's hand and pulls him in to the restaurant.

"Come on! I already got us a table, here!"

>She pushes Damian along with a surprising amount of strength for her small form and pulls out a chair, moving across the table and pulling her own out. As she sits down, her eyes quickly dart across the room, looking at something in the distance, before flicking back to the table.

"This place is meant to be really good, I saw it on amestar's stream!"

>She quickly buries herself in to the menu, only coming up as she realises something.

"OH! I didn't tell you my name, I'm Nicole! I already know you're name, because you told me! But I wasn't wearing a name tag today because I forgot it!"


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>Damian stutters for a moment, confused by Nicole's demeanor.

{"She's awfully happy, especially off work."}

>Slowly sitting down, Damian then nods.

"Yeah, I did tell you my name. Well….."

>A moment passes by.

"Do you have any interests, Nicole? Like hobbies?"

>He looks down at his menu, eyeing the paper carefully as he lightly taps his foot.

{"There's that buzzing again. It's lighter this time - almost familiar. That can't be right though."}

>Abruptly, Damian then says:

"You're pretty cool, Nicole."

{"Why did I say that?"}

>He thinks to himself, embarrassed.


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>Nicole tilts her head, looking like she's thinking, it also, coincidentally, allows her to look past Damian at something, although it's probably a coincidence. . .

"Well. . . I like watching amestar's streams. . . and going out with the girls. . . and. . ."

>She stops as a server comes over, even in the uniform of the place, the server seems a little out of place. His behaviour is normal for someone in his profession, but his look is completed by two fox-like ears coming from the top of his head, and a bushy tail to match them - a meta-human, not an odd sight for Sanctuary, but still a type that is fairly rare to see. . .

"Oh, we should order! I'm going to have the pizza!"

>The server sighs subtly, closing his eyes with a weariness that's only learned through customer service.

"Of course. . . and for you?"

>He looks at Damian, then switch his attention back to both.

"Oh, and can I ask how you heard of us?"

"I saw it on amestar's stream!"

>A slight twitch of the man's lip reveals the faintest look of disgust for a moment, before it's dismissed, the man returning to the usual customer service face.

"Of course. . ."


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>Damian feels the buzzing sensation in the back of his head. For a moment, he twitches his muscles, instinctively. Quickly catching the motion in his hands, he then looks up at the man, stating:

"Sorry about that. She's just excited. I'll have a small pizza and a soda - anything works."

>Handing the menu to the server, he then says:

"Thank you. We appreciate it."

>Damian gives a weak smile, trying to make the server's job easier.

>Looking back at Nicole, Damian asks her a question.

"…Do you normally ask guys out after the first meeting?"

>He says, curious.


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>The server does another sigh and then walks off, heading to the kitchen to place the order.

>Nicole, meanwhile, watches him wander off before turning her attention back to Damian.

"Only the cute ones!"

>She gives Damian a smile and chuckles.

"You're the first I've asked out, you just seemed. . . nice, I guess?"

>Nicole looks past Damian again as the server makes his way back over to the pair, the sensation returning as he starts placing their drinks on the table.


File: 1639161564010.jpg (41.68 KB, 429x600, Damian - 4.jpg)

>Feeling a bit awkward, Damian scratches his chin lightly, noticing the small stubble of hair that's been forming in recent weeks.

"….Well. I didn't know that. Thank you, I'm flattered that you think of me in that way."

>Looking at his drink, Damian takes a sip slowly.

"Yeah, well I guess I needed that. College is a nightmare at times."

>He then lowers the drink back on the table.

"But you know how it is. Parents know you're very smart, and they expect a whole lot out of you. Well just Mom. Dad's been a lot cooler about giving me space."

>Damian then sighs as he rests his head on the palm of his right hand.

"You probably know who they are anyways. Daniel and Dana Desmond. Most famous geneticists this side of Andrea Stewart."

>He blinks.

"I wonder if they're upset about being outstaged by a twenty two year old…..Eh, whatever."

>He then looks back at Nicole, staring at her intently.

"What about you? How's your family situation?"


File: 1639162375612.jpeg (108.87 KB, 1280x1280, 6cefd2a11e8bda53fbc733772….jpeg)

"Never heard of them!"

>Nicole proudly proclaims.

"But I don't really follow that kind of thing, I'm an English major. . ."

>Nicole shrugs, taking a sip of her own drink.

"My parents live down in Virginia. . . they run a small building business down there. . ."

>Another sip is taken.

"They expected me to go in to business too, I think, so I know what it's like to have them on your back. . . but it's nice not to have to get loans, right?"

>Nicole takes a big gulp of her drink.

"Are you ok, by the way? You tensed up when the server came over - you're not ill or anything are you?"


File: 1639162653457.jpg (119.1 KB, 500x600, Damian.jpg)

>Damian nods as he takes a larger gulp of his soda, clearly attempting to shake off his nerves.

"Yeah….Yeah I'm OK. It's fidgeting. I've had that since I was a kid. Usually only happens when I feel like something's off - but it's probably the soda. Not a huge deal."

>Damian then looks at Nicole more intently, saying:

"Anything else you're interested in talking about? Because I know I'll be embarrassed if I have to give out my life story."

>Damian takes another sip from his drink.


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>Nicole twitches herself, suddenly going to stand up.

"I need to go for a sec. . . I drank too much too fast. . ."

>Without waiting for an answer, she rushes off to the toilets.

>A few moments after Nicole has disappeared, Damian's phone starts ringing, the caller ID identifying it as an encrypted number.


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>Taken aback, Damian looks at Nicole run off - about to reply, when his phone rings.


>Noticing the encrypted number as the caller ID, Damian then answers the phone.



File: 1639168860060.png (4.44 KB, 200x200, 223635-200.png)

>Bella's voice comes through the phone.

<<Good, you're free, I need to talk to you about the investigation.>>


File: 1639169222476.jpg (77.87 KB, 500x500, Damian - 3.jpg)

>Damian groans as he places his free hand up to his forehead - feeling secondhand embarrassment.

"Can you not right now? I was trying to have a normal conversation with a woman I just met."

>He then places his fingers on his eyelids with his eyes closed.

"You know what? Forget it. Fine. What do you need to talk about?"

>Damian says with his eyes now open.


File: 1639169656682.png (4.44 KB, 200x200, 223635-200.png)

<<Bully for you.>>

>Bella's voice carries an obvious air of sarcasm, even through the phone, but somehow Damian can figure that she might actually use "bully" in that context unironically as well. . .

<<While you were off playing Lothario, I was actually investigating our target, and I found several individuals within the M.R.D. database who have likely matching power profiles, narrowing it down I found an interesting pair. . .>>

<<An online streamer by the name of Amelia Cox, who uses the handle amestar online, has a matching power profile, and her younger brother, Devin Cox, has a likewise similar one, although he is less fortunate in terms of profession, from what I could gather, he's a server at an Italian place by the name of 'The P'sghetti Bar', not far from your campus.>>

<<Given that you're insistent on making this a partnership between us, I assume you can handle casing the joint. Who knows, you could even take your brand new lady friend.>>


File: 1639170496492.jpg (235.45 KB, 600x840, Damian - 2.jpg)

>Damian's eyes widen as be begins speaking softly into his phone.

"…..This is way too convenient to be coincidental? Are you watching me or something?"

>Damian looks between the periphery of his eyes, trying not to attract attention.

"…..I'm already at the P'sghetti Bar. The woman I'm with - she arranged a date here."

>Noticing a figure in the distance with his enhanced eyesight, Damian then states to Bella:

"….I think I can find the guy, but at best? I'm going to keep a distance."


File: 1639170806490-0.png (4.44 KB, 200x200, 223635-200.png)

File: 1639170806490-1.png (789.83 KB, 667x960, 3ede5e4e851fffc9b0ef4516c4….png)

<<I have better things to do than follow your comings and goings.>>

<<No need to tail him, all I need to know is if he matches the general build of our perpetrator - even if he's using a disguise in regular life, it would need to just be simple cosmetic changes at best, major differences would take too much energy to maintain over long periods of time.>>

>As Bella speaks, the server moves about the room, working from table to table.


File: 1639170956504.jpg (41.68 KB, 429x600, Damian - 4.jpg)

>Damian catches a glance at the server for a moment, before saying:

"From what I can tell? Sure. Just don't get any ideas. The guy's probably more dangerous than you're giving him credit for."

>Damian then sips from his drink, saying:

"….Still strange how my date just got up and left."


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>As Damian finishes his comment, Nicole appears at the table.

"I wouldn't just leave you like that. . ."

>She tilts her head.

"Who're you talking to?"

>On the other side of the phone, Bella's voice comes through for a final time.

<<Sounds like your lady friend is back, it would be rude for me to keep you longer, keep an eye on him while you can, I'll contact you later.>>

>The line cuts as Bella hangs up


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File: 1639172150153-1.jpg (302.29 KB, 900x842, Telepathy - 2.jpg)

>Damian sighs as he puts the phone back in his pocket.

"Someone I really like, who's a pretty amazing person. But she's also really demanding."

>Rubbing his eyelids again, Damian states:

"Almost frustratingly so."

>He then looks up at Nicole again.

"But still it doesn't matter. How are you?"

>Damian says, looking intently at Nicole.

"….This is the first time I've ever really been asked out by a girl. I mean I've had to avoid attention from a girl in class, here or there."

>His gaze looks down from Nicole's jacket to her face.

"But this is the first time I've went on a "date" in less than 24 hours."

>He then looks around.

"….The first time I've ended up at a restaurant more high end than anywhere my friends could reasonably afford."

>Looking back at Nicole, he then holds up his phone.

"Also the first time I've eaten at a restaurant, right when my 'friend' calls me and lets me know about the very same restaurant."

>The buzzing sensation returning as the server moves further out of eyesight, Damian's mind finally realizes the extent of the situation. His face then turns into a look of exasperation and annoyance.

"…..And also the first time I got a call exactly as the woman I've barely met for the first time - goes to leave for the restroom."

>Silent for another moment, Damian then puts his phone back in his pocket, his demeanor changing greatly.

"……Nicole? Really? I feel like an idiot for not figuring it out sooner. And I even had the 'buzzing' in my head yelling at me about it."

>Damian taps the side of his head with his finger, emphasizing his preternatural extra-sensory perception ability.


File: 1639172694112.jpeg (144.74 KB, 1300x1819, 75783f6e579ce81b98050d866….jpeg)

>Nicole looks around, a confused expression on her face.

"I. . . I don't know what you mean? What happened while I was in the restroom?"


File: 1639172904559.jpg (77.87 KB, 500x500, Damian - 3.jpg)

>Damian shakes his head, his conviction noted.

"For once, I actually trust the buzzing in my head. You can keep the act up if you want Bella, but this is not what I meant when I said we could be 'partners'."

>Looking up, Damian says:

"I'm going to tail the Devin guy from afar. Not sure when his shift ends, but I can wait. You do whatever."

>Noticing "Nicole's" expression, Damian then says one more time.

"My buzzing, the danger sense I have. It's the same one that told me who you were in costume. And it's the exact same one that gave away the game today. Drop the act or not, I don't care. I'm leaving."

>Damian then slowly gets up to leave…..


File: 1639240627679.jpeg (144.74 KB, 1300x1819, 75783f6e579ce81b98050d866….jpeg)

>"Nicole" sighs, adjusting her glasses.

"The subterfuge is necessary, I don't have the freedom of visiting places like this - and cover works better when the individual you're with is unaware."

>Making sure the glasses are safely placed, she continues.

"And this method was efficient, I now know who to follow, which I can do without you - I just needed your sense to pick out which one he was here."

>Beating Damian at standing up, "Nicole" begins leaving herself.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have things to do."


File: 1639241189813.jpg (235.45 KB, 600x840, Damian - 2.jpg)

>Following beside her, Damian then says:

"Yeah not so fast. You dragged me into this, so I'm seeing this through. And you're not taking this guy on alone - not when he's this dangerous with his powers."

>Looking around to make sure that nobody's within hearing distance, he then says:

"Like you said. We're partners. Like it or not, this is both our problems now. And just like how I wouldn't appreciate you messing around with my secret identity - I don't think you'd want the same either."

>Muttering to himself, he then says:

"Besides. Traction's still out there, and once he knows that you're hanging around with me - you're in big trouble yourself."


File: 1639242471638.jpeg (144.74 KB, 1300x1819, 1639240627679.jpeg)

>"Nicole" keeps on her course out of the restaurant.

"And I can handle this by myself."

>Out of the restaurant fully now, "Nicole" turns back to look at Damian.

"Besides that, we both know you wouldn't actually dare go anywhere with my identity, famous parents or not, I can very easily bury any claims you make about me."

"Your example of Traction is even more reason why it's better for you to be elsewhere."


File: 1639242793321.jpg (77.87 KB, 500x500, Damian - 3.jpg)

>Irritated, Damian's temper slightly gets the better of him.

"You may be used to sweeping your problems under the rug, but this isn't a business transaction."

>Pointing down at the ground with his finger, he continues being irate.

"Traction is going to bury you for real if you try and fight him. You don't even know everything about the Crimson Tide either!"

>Rubbing his eyelids in frustration, he then speaks.

"But I already know you well enough to know you're not going to listen. You're just gonna pretend as though you've got everything planned out to the smallest detail. You know what? Fine. Go do your stakeout."

>Damian turns around and leaves in a sour mood - not looking behind him at "Nicole" either.


File: 1639253606182.jpg (32.32 KB, 564x564, cf525f67a68b57b3140cd89240….jpg)

"Well then, it's good that I won't be facing him head on until I have a strategy for fighting him, isn't it?"

>"Nicole" responds, walking in the opposite direction.


>Several hours later

>The server from the restaurant, Devin Cox, finishes his shift, leaving the restaurant as it closes for the night. Without having to maintain a fake air of formaility, he walks with slouch, heading through the quiet night time streets.

>From a vantage point above the block, Apex looks down a rifle, following his movements, her hood over her head, with a HUD providing details on distance and other factors. As she follows her target, she speaks up, not shifting her attention.

"I'm not an idiot, I know you followed me."


File: 1639254126877.jpeg (84.57 KB, 800x800, Arachnid Suit - 3.jpeg)

>Arachnid lands on his feet after a quick somersault from a nearby water tank. Crossing his arms, he speaks with a distorted voice.

"As if I was going to leave you exposed. You're lucky I made it obvious."

>Looking at the man in Apex's line of sight, he then says:

"I'm assuming you have a plan for this."

>Arachnid says as he looks down at his wrist, seeing the glowing red nanite circuitry underneath. Making a few motions with his glowing red finger gloves, he then looks up at Apex.

"Still sure you don't want a piece of it? Mosaic doesn't cheapen out on hardware."


File: 1639254341669.png (442.55 KB, 546x716, 47.png)

"I would be able to tell even if it weren't obvious, and I don't need hand-me-downs, I'm perfectly capable of managing myself."

>Apex says, still looking down the scope.

"My plan is simple, I wait until he makes a mistake, then I take him down from a distance, we leave him wrapped up with enough evidence for the MRD to handle the rest."


File: 1639255092398.png (2.04 MB, 738x2375, Arachnid Suit.png)

>Arachnid does a double take and looks at Apex. Blinking behind his mask, he then says:

"Your plan is to wait for him to make a mistake? Seriously?"

>Arachnid walks over next to her.

"The guy can cast illusions right? How do you know what you're seeing is even real? What if he's a few steps ahead or behind where you think he is? We don't know how his power works, whether it's sight based or field projecting."

>Arachnid then crosses his arms again, concerned now.

"We should let one of the bigger players handle this. Mosaic, Omnius or even Mobius. The MRD Director dude is insanely powerful - and he's got more powers than humans have cells. Why not just let him do this?"


File: 1639257194345.png (442.55 KB, 546x716, 47.png)

"And those illusions are incapable of fooling electronic surveillance, as the camera footage shows."

>Apex shifts her rifle slightly.

"Besides that, I'm maintaining distance for a reason, from our time in the restaurant, it's clear that he prefers to keep up an illusion to present himself better than how he usually looks, with more defined muscles and unique features."

>The HUD from Apex's hood registers a slight change in wind direction, causing her to shift slightly.

"So, unless he's suddenly gained a few IQ points from the time he brazenly walked in to a bank and took money without disabling the CCTV footage - something he's done several times, I might add. This version of him that matches the footage we had, and we're beyond his effective range of illusions here."

"Alongside that, he isn't a high enough a category of meta-human to justify a response that could ensure that the proper procautions could be requisitioned when arresting him, he still has rights as far as they're concerned - unless you want to suggest the director of the MRD is willing to break the law?"

>Apex does a dismissive wave.

"But please, if you do genuinely believe that, send the evidence of that my way, I would benefit greatly from removing one to place my own choice in."

"No, the most efficient way of handling this is waiting for him to make a mistake. . . which means, by the way, for him to head somewhere quiet and out of sight, for me to take him out quietly, and then for him to be handed in, evidence and all."


File: 1639257834445.jpeg (123.38 KB, 720x540, Arachnid Suit - 2.jpeg)

>Arachnid crosses his arms again, thinking for a moment before saying:

"If you take him down now, he's going to know it was because of the bank. Which means it's possible that he'll assume it was Bella Blake who ordered him taken out - no?"

>Looking at Apex, Arachnid uncrosses his arms and points at her casually.

"Think about it. He's been on a streak of robberies so far, and if he really is as simple-minded as you think he is? The first thing he's going to assume is that Bella got pissed that he kept taking all of her money."

>Arachnid then points at her rifle, saying:

"I'm also certain that the MRD doesn't see him as much of a threat. He's a pain in the ass, sure - but he's not destroying city blocks with a sneeze. The the Alpha and Omega Meta-Humans are their real priorities, from what Mosaic's told me about their operations."

>The webbed hero then sits down on the floor, looking bored as he continues to speak.

"And I'm not gonna just rat Director McIntyre out. You may not like him - but trust me. You don't want to get on his bad side. Ever."

>Arachnid then motions with his hand, making a waving motion as he stands back up.

"Just do what you're going to do. Tranq him once you've got your opening, and we'll leave him for the MRD. Then we need to talk about your 'plan' to take on the Crimson Tide - it's a stupid plan in my opinion."


File: 1639258698956.png (932.14 KB, 1516x1489, 32.png)

"Even if he possesses the intelligence to link it back to me, he won't be able to do anything about it while locked up. Even then, there are a good selection of people who would have motive."

>Apex lifts the rifle up, moving towards a different vantage spot.

"And I don't have particular problem with the current director, I just stand to gain if one of my own choosing is nominated."

>Putting the rifle back down, Apex carefully lines up a shot.

"And your opinion on the Crimson Tide plan is noted, and disregarded. Any other comments before I take the shot?"


File: 1639258882735.png (2.04 MB, 738x2375, Arachnid Suit.png)

>Arachnid crosses his arms.

"Outside of the blackmail, you've given me basically no reason to trust you, or your judgment. So go ahead. It's not like I have a choice but to go on your wild ride anyways."

>Arachnid leans against a wall on the rooftop, crossing his arms once again.

>He then makes a gesture with his hand, signaling to her now to make her move.

"Just don't say I told you so if it goes to shit either. Remember, your mistakes are my mistakes now, and we're in this together."


File: 1639259470215.png (923.69 KB, 646x990, 84.png)

"Then let this be a good example."

>Apex pulls the trigger, sending off a shot.

"If you want to confirm before I go down, go ahead."


File: 1639259576683.jpeg (84.57 KB, 800x800, Arachnid Suit - 3.jpeg)

>Arachnid shakes his head.

"No. If I can't trust you to do this, then there's no point going forward. Let's just leave, when you're done."

>He then leans off of the wall, slowly walking towards Apex.

"Ladies first."


File: 1639261356171.png (168.12 KB, 440x279, 92.png)

"How gentleman-like of you. . ."

>Apex says before hooking a grapple on to the edge of the building and rappeling down. . .

>After a quick walk across the street, the pair come up to the sleeping body of Devin Cox. His scrawny features not changing to match his look in the restaurant. Giving him a nudge with her foot, Apex looks to Arachnid.

"As I said, easily resolved. Now we just need to deliver him to a precinct where the dampeners should mean he'll be a nice gift for the MRD officers in the morning."

"I don't make a plan without counting for these variables, Arachnid, you would be good to remember that - because that is why my plans can be trusted."


File: 1639261542240-0.jpeg (123.38 KB, 720x540, Arachnid Suit - 2.jpeg)

File: 1639261542240-1.jpg (94.5 KB, 1917x875, Webbing.jpg)

>Arachnid stares at Apex, stating:

"You're one step removed from sociopathy - but you're also pretty rich, so I guess it's not too bad of a deal."

>Arachnid then makes a quick gesture with his lowered hand - webbing up the Devin guy in an instant. With multiple sheets of strong and tensile webbing keeping him bound and restrained - he then says:

"Then let's get him over there. Oh, and you really should lose the rifle. The MRD aren't gonna be happy about that."


File: 1639262012653.png (708.19 KB, 724x1328, 31.png)

"The MRD can be as unhappy as they want. I don't fall under their juristication, and this rifle is perfectly legal."

>Apex, flicks a switch on the weapon, causing a few parts to fall off in to her hands so she can clip them to her belt.

"Legally speaking, this is an airsoft toy, the MRD can't touch it."

[The End]

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