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Discussion in 'Role Playing Games' started by Sophie, Oct 14, 2014.

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  1. Sophie

    Sophie Medical Staff

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    It was everything that had ever been written about a summer day in golden California: blue skies, warm breezes, spirited laughter... a chorizo burrito and an ice-cold can of Dr Pepper. She could barely recount the events that had led up to this point, one serendipitous conversation following another, but the fortuitous tetrad could not have selected a better day to visit Ocean Beach.

    True, a forecast of fog was predicted over the Bay later in the evening--this was San Francisco--but, for now, there was nothing that could mar the prospect of (as Ivy Monaghan had so eloquently declared when she commanded everyone into her GMC Yukon) surfing white-capped waves, watching ‘hot bodies’, and lounging out in colourful bikinis.

    Along with the commander and the doctor came Eugene Grovington and Lee Jordan, tumbling out of the backseats of the jet-black SUV to lay first claim on the surfboards strapped to its roof.
     
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  2. Lee

    Lee Agent

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    The sun was a few degrees below blistering in the San Francisco summer and the waves here were like a beginner's paradise. Lee Jordan had been surfing since he was tiny, he lived in California most of his life. With three brothers growing up, it was either surfing or fight each other in a boxing match.

    "Last one in the water's unloading beer!" Lee yelled as he unlatched his surfboard from the SUV and made a run for the waves.
     
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  3. Eugene

    Eugene Airfield Staff

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    Water was not his element, Eugene decided, but he was willing to brave it for the sake of competition and scenery. The San Francisco beach also held the obvious benefit of being warmer than what he was used to.

    Scrambling over Lee in a mad dash for the surfboards, Euge ignored Lee's proclamation of unloading the SUV in favor of shoving him out of the way with his board on the way to the surf.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
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  4. Ivy

    Ivy Commander

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    The beach was quieter today, and that meant they would have an easier time finding a starting position. The instructor in Ivy took hold when she left the SUV, wondering how to ease both @Eugene Grovington and @Sophie Conrad into the San Fransisco surf. Her lesson plan was thrown out the window as soon as temporary co-instructor @Lee Jordan started a challenge.

    Monaghan watched as Lee and Euge rushed out, trying to overtake one another as they hit the ocean.

    "Boys," she thought out loud to Sophie, reigning in some of her competitive nature.

    Ivy handed the doctor an well-loved sky blue board with a fading white stripe. "Make sure you're tethered to the board when you're in the water, let's go."
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
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  5. Sophie

    Sophie Medical Staff

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    She had spent her entire life around bodies of water, from Geneva to Rockport, Boston to San Francisco. On the water and under the waves, myriad activities had drawn her in--yet, she had never surfed. This was an odd predicament soon to be corrected.

    As Lee and Eugene hurtled with careless abandon for the frigid waves, the sound of crashing water and the scent of salted air compelled Sophie to join them. Sensibilities, however, turned her attention back to Ivy as they unloaded their surfboards--hers, loaned. Laughing from a shared mixture of amused appreciation at how the men had reacted to arriving onto the beach and their own delight at arriving onto the beach, the two women were soon jogging after.

    An hour, and then two, passed with all the happiness and innocence of being at the mercy of the rolling waves. She paddled and swam and paddled and swam some more. In the end, for all his vagaries, it was Lee Jordan who proved the most insistent that Eugene and her be schooled in the right way of surfing--his way, of course. The thrill of catching her first wave and successfully performing a Lee-approved pop-up was unforgettable.
     
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  6. Lee

    Lee Agent

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    Lee Jordan had never really taught anybody else to surf except for maybe that one hapless VILE agent that he threw into the water off New Zealand. Those were good times. After getting surfboard-smacked by @Eugene on the beach, and vowing never to help the pilot if he ever got a jelly fish sting, Lee was in good spirits.

    Surfing was something he could do well, aside from work things like digging into criminals and their pasts. It was kind of like surfing, you have got to catch the right wave, and if it's good, it'll carry you real far.

    Lee paused and sat on the beach to cool down with a nice bottle of one of those microbrewery beers @Nace Bilby and @Molly were talking about.

    "A few more hours and then we can go surf at the pros' beach," he laughed, "just need more of these beers."
     
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  7. Sophie

    Sophie Medical Staff

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    Sprawled onto gingham-smothered sand, four new friends refuelled with similar enthusiasm as four varied-coloured surfboards rested nearby. Pint-sized bottles of crafted beer and tumblers of pink lemonade stood side-by-side. Sandwiches of caramelised honey-crusted ham, tinned pineapple, and Swiss cheese were rapidly decimated.

    Having baked the ham only last night, Sophie had made a quick detour to the office of the Director of Operations in the morning. He was absent from his throne, thus she departed swiftly after putting his antique--and very sharp--meat-slicer to good use, a generous serving left behind in gratitude.

    "You should consider conducting surfing classes," she made the suggestion even as she eyed the third emptying beer bottle Lee had commandeered possession of. "The cadets who don't get to go home for the summer holidays would appreciate that, don't you think?"
     
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  8. Eugene

    Eugene Airfield Staff

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    Thoroughly worn out from countless wipeouts interspersed with the occasional success, Sophie's announcement of the availability of food was a welcome reprieve. Adding his board to the growing pile, Eugene settled onto a beach towel just long enough to enjoy a sandwich and beer. Before long, though, Euge's mind was struck with an idea. A wonderful, terrible, idea. Getting to his feet, Eugene offered a hand to Ivy. "Go on a short walk with me?" He asked with a smile.
     
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  9. Ivy

    Ivy Commander

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    Nursing a cold beer, Ivy remembered replying to one of Lee Jordan's outlandish critiques before Eugene stood up and asked to go on a short walk. A few months ago when he started work at the airfield she couldn't stand to be in the same room with him, and now... well, stranger things have happened.

    "How can a girl say no?", Ivy grabbed hold of his hand and was immediately lifted up to her feet.

    The conversation started light enough as they walked along the edges of a tide pool. They were lucky to have such good weather. Sophie is an extraordinary event planner. Eugene had a soft spot for spicy food. Ivy liked watching monster movies. There was one about hunting vampires in the theaters now and they should find the time to go... that's when the line of dialog paused, and shyly returned to how nice the weather was.

    Ivy would occasionally catch the pilot's gaze, though he always snapped his attention back forward towards the horizon or their path.

    "We should probably head back before the other two start worrying," She looked at how far they had gone, then noticed something odd protruding from the golden sand. It was a black metallic object that seemed easily overlooked, but the beach was recently cleaned and there was no other debris in the area.

    "Hey, help me pull this out," she tapped Euge's arm, "I think something's written on it."
     
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  10. Eugene

    Eugene Airfield Staff

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    Finishing his beer as he slowly walked the beach, Eugene's thoughts slowly weaved in and out of the past year. His recruitment to ACME and eventual climb to his current oversight position had been constantly marked by the abrasion of a single person. The same redheaded commander was now walking with him, laughing and smiling and... avoiding his eyes? Euge decided it was his imagination as he heard her suggest heading back, quiet but clear.

    At first Eugene thought it was his reluctant agreement that dissolved the comfortable quiet of the walk, but forcing himself to meet her eyes yet again, he realized her attention was diverted to something half buried in the sand. Getting to his hands and knees, Euge shoveled the sand away with his hands until Ivy could wrench it free from the earth. Standing with her, he peered over her shoulder, the two examining the strange object. After several moments, she finally spoke: "...we should take this back."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2014
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  11. Lee

    Lee Agent

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    Lee thought it was awkward, having 4 people in a party and when two of those go off on their own, the other two are left to talk.

    "I don't have the teaching spirit," he shrugged, "I don't like relating to people all the time, just when it's not a chore."

    Like detective work, informant work, or anything to do with crime solving. Lee never interviewed witnesses alone, he always played bad cop, and he liked his sources to be a little afraid of him. It didn't always used to be this way, he was a lot more approachable when he was young. But things change, most of it him.

    "What about you, Doc Sophie, too busy being Doc of the Director, no time for teaching either?"
     
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  12. Sophie

    Sophie Medical Staff

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    San Francisco
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    “Actually,” Sophie smiled with perfect complaisance, “I teach in the Wednesday First Aid classes. There’s a new cycle every quarter.”

    In addition, she covered the Emergency Department of the ACME Medical Center on selected days and watched over a set of field-active agents, ensuring that they were maintained in good health and that all paperwork necessary for them to go forth on ACME business were kept in proper order.

    The Director of Operations was not her only charge, although he was mandated as her most important. He had become more of a friend, of sorts.

    All these, she deemed unnecessary to expound to her conversation partner as yet.

    Leaning back onto a rolled towel, she tilted her head slightly towards Lee and balanced a bottle of sunscreen between her fingers.

    “How long have you been surfing? You’re excellent at it.”


    Lee made a face, not at the question but at the memory it evoked. “Since I was six,” he replied, remembering when his brother first threw him into the water.

    “We lived near the beach, so it was sink or surf.”


    “Ah? Did you live nearby?”


    “Not in San Francisco,” he took another swallow of beer, “but I’ve been in California all my life.”

    There was a pause as he looked at her, “‘You grew up in France or something?”


    She laughed light. “No. No, not France,” she popped open the bottle in her hands. “I grew up in Geneva. Switzerland.”


    He was quiet at that, suddenly thinking that her response explained a lot.


    “How did you come to join ACME?”

    “I’ve read of your father’s work in the community. Has that ever tempted you?"


    Lee looked at her for a second, holding her gaze. “No,” he wanted to say something else, and vestiges of a scowl crossed his brow, but he kept his answer short, “My two other brothers got that all covered.”


    “Are you the youngest in your family?”


    He ignored her question, “You got siblings?”


    She began to conscientiously dab sunscreen on her face. “No,” his diversion intrigued her, “there is only me.”


    “Then, you’re lucky.”


    “How?” she asked.

    “I’d like to think I would have benefited from someone to play with and…” There was a thoughtful pause as she considered her words, “Well--to fight and reconcile with. So much more can be learnt, don’t you think?”


    “That’s one way of looking at it.” He made a small shrug, “You want another beer?”


    Sophie paused, sealing again the bottle of sunscreen she had finished with.

    “Oh no, thank you,” she lightly tapped the rim of her tumbler of lemonade, “I’m happy with this.” Stretching to sit up from her lazing position, she reached towards the insulated cool box before looking back at him, “Do you want another…?”


    He nodded and took the bottle she gave him, snapping free the metal bottle cap and drinking easily from it.

    “I was the middle child,” he said, then, “of three boys.”


    She smiled, “The peacemaker.”


    “Something like that... more like troublemaker though,” his words were wry.

    “You lived with both parents?”


    Watching him, she thought the question peculiar.

    “I lived with my mother until I finished basic education. Then, I moved here…” she hesitated to correct herself, “to the East Coast… to be with my dad.”


    “And here I thought you grew up all ski and sunshine...”


    “Did you not live with both parents, too?”


    His laugh came out slightly awkward. “I grew up with both parents, but have lived with neither since I was sixteen.”


    “Ah…” With markedly more empathy than mirth, she regarded him, “And here I thought you grew up all surf and sunshine. Still, your parents must be glad to have such varied sons.”


    “Sure,” he made no effort to hide the sarcasm in his words, “they’re so proud.”


    If Sophie had wished to ask Lee more of what his tone belied, there was no chance. From the corner of her vision, two familiar figures were making quick way through the sand: Ivy and Eugene. She stood up to gain a clearer look. They were carrying something with them, something very strange indeed...
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
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  13. Eugene

    Eugene Airfield Staff

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    The walk back to Lee and Sophie endured in a silence much unlike the quiet on the way out. Euge's attention entirely upon the strange object, his mind did not register they were back in the presence of their surfing partners until Ivy proclaimed the oddity of their partially buried treasure.

    "It looks aerospace," Euge stated as he held the object out for all to examine, "but at the same time it doesn't look like any aircraft part I've ever seen. Look here;" he twisted the object to expose a fractured edge. "The carbon fiber honeycomb sandwich is a common construction technique, but I've never seen this honeycomb material before, and the outer layer feels like a radar absorbing material." Eugene's scowl deepened as he trailed off, his confusion reflected in the expressions of his three comrades.
     
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  14. Lee

    Lee Agent

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    Lee listened to Euge when he talked and agreed, it looked like some kind of craft, but in his experience, it looked more like a high tech skin of some highspeed boats.

    "That looks more like something that came off a sleek boat," he gave his opinion and tapped the material, "but it's so clean... too clean, like it came out in one big piece and gets cut later?" It felt like a rubber and a really fine felt at the same time, and really reminded him of a bigger version of the sharkskin suits that some competitive swimmers use.

    Wiping sweat from his head, Lee put the beer bottle down and gave the object more thought. There were grooves on the honeycomb structure like something ran through it. "Maybe it's a filtering thing."
     
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  15. Sophie

    Sophie Medical Staff

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    Keen eyes and eager minds, no other object on Ocean Beach that day would be so thoroughly inspected and Sophie watched the discussion in silence.

    What Eugene held fitted comfortably between the span of his hands, measuring about twenty-six inches at its widest part. The layers forming its four-inch thickness were skilfully compressed and resulted in a product that weighed more than it looked. A portion of its surface had sheared off, likely from damage wrought when it collided against the rocks lining the Bay area, and between yet unidentifiable fibrous laminas, Sophie recognised the markings of a membrane filtration system. An angled breakpoint on a lateral aspect of the object betrayed that it had been part of a larger structure--but, what?

    In order to find out, the mysterious article would have to be taken back to ACME Science for proper examination. It was then that the doctor turned to Ivy and spoke, in a low, calm tone:

    “I will call Zachary and tell him,” she reached for the mobile phone stashed at the side of an open duffle bag, “we will not meet him at O’Sullivans. He should return to the compound instead.”
     
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  16. Ivy

    Ivy Commander

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    Ivy wasn't surprised at the group's reaction to the beach treasure. Lee Jordan was once ACME's greatest detective, Eugene Grovington was a genius with anything that flew and Doctor Sophie Conrad's upbringing gave her a broad wealth of knowledge. If all of them agreed this was something worth looking into, then there was no argument otherwise.

    "Good call," Ivy replied as she tied the surfboards down and climbed into the driver's seat.

    They left Ocean Beach just as the sun sank into a bright orange line nestled in ultramarine blue, and reached Accolade Tower by the time stars began to show. Despite the original plan of meeting for a quick dinner and drinks at O'Sullivan's the crew seemed happy with Chinese take out, eaten at casual intervals while ACME's science lab tested the object.

    Ivy rarely came into this space. Since her promotion to Commander her time was spent with various small groups of agents on direct assignments. The labs were more her brother's domain, and as she watched him navigate the place like a creature in its natural environment she couldn't help but feel a small sense of sibling pride. The take out Chinese kept them sated, and by the last egg roll, several test results were presented.

    Eugene was right, there was a radar dampening material on one side. Lee and Sophie's identification of the honey comb shape as a filter also seemed to be spot on. But it would be a photo coming days later that broke their case. A local newspaper declared that sea monsters were spotted near the west coast of San Francisco, sighting eye witness reports and a distant photograph. Anyone who saw the object pulled from Ocean Beach would recognize the 'scales' immediately. It seemed to be composed of the same dark material, cut in such a way to minimize damage by breaking off during impact. Someone had advance technology and was using it around San Francisco. It was large, possibly a transport vessel... and it was swimming too close for comfort.

    To be continued elsewhere...
     
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