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Jan 22, 2019 11:28 AM
a new killer on the block
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"Sounds quite lovely."

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"I hope so."

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Maystadt leans toward Quicksilver and murmurs, "Start dinner."  Quicksilver nods and practically jumps out of his chair, heading toward the kitchen.

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"I'm also generally curious about some of your history. How you got started, experience you have, if you've ever been part of a team..."

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"How I got started," he says, with a flourish in his voice.  "Well.  I don't know if anyone here has ever tried to be a good person, but if you have, you probably know it's not pleasant.  I don't know how everyone else can stand doing it all their lives.  I tried, for a long time, but I couldn't do it.  So many things you must not do, constantly pressing on the surface of your mind like branding irons.  But until my abilities first manifested - " he holds up a finger illustratively, and curls it backward into a tight spiral like a chameleon's tail, "I didn't feel I could do anything about it.  When they did, I was faced with my first real choice, whether to be virtuous or happy, and I decided I was tired of being virtuous."  He unrolls his finger and puts his hand down.  "Since then I've been a wanderer, which is not always easy, but it's fulfilling.  To survive living a life like mine, you need to learn to steal and threaten and hide and kill, and I think I've become fairly skilled at each.  I've pilfered food and money by stealth and by force, I've assassinated civilians, I've killed and defended myself in battle - both with ordinary people and, once or twice, small-time superheroes.  But to answer your final question, this is the first time anyone else has caught my eye, and will be the first time I've tried working alongside anyone else."  He smiles conspiratorially and leans in: "I did once consider trying to live a double life as a superhero, but I don't think I could've made it last."

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"Can't say I've ever tried this 'good person' thing! My mother tried to have me exorcised when I was small, apparently. I've been utterly horrid my whole life."

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Slimebones laughs delightedly.  "I'm glad it didn't take!"

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"Inspiring that sort of deep horror in someone is dreadfully fun, though I'd be quite disappointed if an exorcism did work. I am so thoroughly myself, I should hate to think such a little thing could influence my behavior."

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"That's an interesting sentiment.  I don't think I ever considered how much myself I am.  I certainly wouldn't want to be changed back to the person I used to be, but more because he was just so unhappy than anything else."

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"It's not something most people think about, it seems."

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Slimebones makes further pleasant conversation with his fellow serial murderers as the evening proceeds.

The next day, it's time to demonstrate powers in greater detail.

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Decima can shut down powers hard, but only a handful of people at a time - two or three while she's being distracted, potentially as many as four or five if she's standing still and concentrating purely on that - and running away from her is plenty effective. Her exact range varies (and she's downplaying it), but 'a couple hundred feet' gets him out of 'easy' range pretty quickly.

Egni can do lightshows. Egni effectively only does that for intimidation. She can heat things up directly, and demonstrates the ability to melt things.

Kreus can cause crystals, easily if he's touching something, more difficultly at a distance, and his daemon propagates them faster than he can spread them on his own.

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Tyrannissa is terrifyingly effective at enhancing people's powers. Being enhanced feels strange, like staring down a steep slope into the abyss with unsure footing.

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Suture demonstrates his ability to heal by cutting open his own palm and willing it shut in about half a second. He doesn't do the same to anyone else, but he informs Slimebones that his range is a few yards, whether from him or his daemon. (They're not separated, but they can get enough distance to noticeably enhance his healing range.)

Quicksilver allows himself to be punched, stabbed, shot, and attacked briefly by Egni's flames; it is precisely as effective as doing so to a metal statue.

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Slimebones demonstrates and exposits: he can extend his arms and legs, fingers and toes, into tentacles twenty to thirty feet long, and move them as if they were boneless. He can also make the fleshy substance he replaces his body with more or less dense, and collect mass in particular body parts without changing their shape or size; this lets him remain balanced while lifting heavy objects with long arms or fingers, as he did during his audition.

He doesn't go into very much detail about exactly how he can make a single finger strong enough to lift a human being - "I don't fully understand it myself! But I think of it as creating something like new muscle fibers, except made out of the same undistinguished substance as the rest of me, that run from the extremity in question to wherever I collect my extra mass."

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Maystadt does not demonstrate her abilities. The stories of what she does to crowds of people are already widespread.

If her daemon can do the same, she does not deign to mention it.

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"Unfortunately we don't all have the best synergy. Do you have any ideas for how you could work with us, both offensively and defensively?"

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He strokes his chin contemplatively.  "I imagine Maystadt can handle most non-powered opposition.  I'm not quite as difficult to kill as Quicksilver, I don't think, but in my morphable form I can take a fair amount of abuse.  Many of us, it seems like, are capable of wreaking havoc excellently, but just as vulnerable as an unpowered human to guns or opposing powers.  My advantage probably lies in protecting my teammates from harm, absorbing damage and presenting a more pressing target to heroes who would otherwise carry out surgical strikes against, say, Decima or Kreus."

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"That's pretty much my role too," Quicksilver says brightly.  "It'll be good to have someone else like that on the team, I can feel a bit overstretched sometimes once Maystadt starts running out of hostages."

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"Good luck keeping Decima from challenging the nearest martial type to a knife fight," Egni says, snorting.

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"Well, I suppose that is her prerogative."

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"It's so much more enjoyable than simply resting on our luck in powers."

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"Perhaps I'll try it, if I get bored of indestructibility."

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"I'd hate being indestructible. No challenge whatsoever."

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"There's challenge, and then there's challenge," Slimebones says.  "I don't want to be handed my victories on a silver platter, but I do like the insurance."

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