Masks Issue 7: Leo & Adam chat in the car [Cutscene] [RP]

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Edited 1506564805
The door closes. Leo, still in his armor, is uncomfortable. Not because Adam's in the car with him, but because Adam's not in the air. I'm afraid. When I'm afraid, I can't fly . The words, stark and clear, come back to him. I was useless to help, thinks Leo, face hidden behind an expressionless mask. I gotta do something. Across from Leo, Concord fidgets with getting his seatbelt secured. The moment it “KA-CHING”s into place, Concord dimly glows with light and then Adam is in his place. He glances over at Leo and frowns. Adam looks away for a brief moment and then finally settles his gaze on the center console. “Something wrong, Link?” Adam asks quietly. Flashing thoughts occupy Leo for a moment. "So this Concordance stuff. Is it like, a part-time job or something? Or are you supposed to be a hero full time? How does it work anyway?" He remembers how Pneuma acts - stop, listen, digest - and is trying to do it himself. It's hard. But it needs to be done. “I guess, maybe? It’s…” Adam hesitates for a moment, trying not to say ‘weird’ after his conversation with Link at school. “It’s strange. The Concordance isn’t a person. Except it sort of feels like one but also like a lot of people at the same time.” Adam struggles with the words for a minute before coming to an idea, “It’s like a play or a movie. You’ve got a director and they’re got a vision, but then you’ve also got actors who are interpreting that vision and most of the time it lines up, but not perfectly. And I’m like… a stage hand? I think the analogy kind of broke there.” Adam looks down at the floorboards, “I just try to do what I think it wants me to. But I don’t really know what that is. I know when it doesn’t like something because it takes my powers away, but I don’t know what it wants.” Adam stifles a laugh, “Does anyone get a wiki or walkthrough with their superpowers when they get them?” Leo takes a sharp breath. "I uh, I literally have a chip in my head that taught me robotics, but… uh, yeah, you probably don't want to do it the way I did." He straightens in his seat. "Okay, uh, I guess you're a theater kid. I dunno much about that, but I think I get the idea. You feel like a lot more than a stage hand, though. So like… do you get to, I dunno, interpret their ideas through the lens of humanity, or something like that? There's gotta be a way to call these guys and ask them for more specifics." Adam shakes his head. “Did you ever have a dog? You know how when you talk to them, it kind of feels like they understand what you’re saying but you never really know what they’re really thinking about? I think I’m the dog in this relationship.” "Yeah, I get you." Leo started down the fix-everything path unconsciously. Now he reins himself back in. "Okay. Where have your powers failed in the past? And what were you doing when they did?" Adam leans back into his seat and crooks his head back until he’s staring at the roof of the car. His mind flashes back to memories of Joey Russel and Adam’s first flare up. The guilt pushes those memories away and Adam’s eyes shift back to Concord’s reflexively. “I-I don’t really want to talk about it, Link.” Hmm. Fair enough. "Okay, well, how about when your powers succeeded?" To spare any further discomfort, Leo goes ahead and names some. "You bubbled Troll. That was undoubtedly the right move. You were able to fly around for that deal. Uh, I guess you can just monitor the team forums and smack down anybody who talks bad about us?" He grins behind the helmet for a moment, then grows more serious. "It's cool, man. So… maybe they didn't ask you this, but I am. What do you wanna do? Who do you wanna be? With or without this power?" The idea of just “ monitor the team forums ” stings a lot more than it should and Adam turns away from Link and looks out the window. He sees the reflection of the glowing rings in his eyes and shuts them when he thinks Link can’t see him. “I didn’t really want to be a superhero, it just sort of happened. I wanted to just have fun with school and my friends, but that never worked out. It’s just a lot of pressure and responsibility to everyone. Then the Concordance happened and I thought having superpowers would be great, but it’s just more responsibility to something else I don’t even understand.” Adam slumps in his seat. He wants to be mad at Link, but Adam knows he’s just trying to help. The heavy green light in his aura made it obvious. “It don’t really matter what I want to be, Link. There’s always someone who’s depending on me to be something else. And I can’t let them down.” "It matters to me." Leo stops for a moment, thinks. When he speaks again, his voice is a soft, almost confidential tone. "My girlfriend broke up with me. We were perfect. She broke up with me because we were perfect. We're still friends - best friends, always will be. I dunno what will happen with us. But the deal was, I would accept whatever choice she made, because she had a right to make it. It just happened. It wasn't what I wanted. Well, too bad. You get the same deal. I can't speak for the Concordance, only me. But whatever you wanna be, I'll support you, even if I don't like it. I promise." Adam looks over to Link. Even beneath the helmet, Adam can still see his face; his aura carries through, bright as a star. “Do I have to make the decision now?” That gets a short, sharp laugh from Leo. "Dude, I'm 17, I dunno who I wanna be. But yeah. Do what you gotta do, figure out what you want, take your time. I'll be with you, wherever you go." Adam smiles and beams… literally. Adam quickly swats at the red iridescent sparks of light until they disappear. “Sorry, that happens a lot now. Being Concord helps, but it is a hassle at school sometimes…” Memory comes to Leo. "Oh yeah, you're at Halcyon High. Hey, you were talking about colors awhile back. Like how people look. You see stuff?" “Yeah,” Adam replies, “I guess it’s part of the whole “aura reading” thing maybe. My mom threw a fit about that it started, she’d always told Nana that it was a crock and then her son starts doing it.” He chuckles at the thought and then adds, “I mean, they’re the same colors so I guess they’re related.” Leo nods. "So you see what people feel? Like uh, whateveritis, Kirlian Photography or crystal auras or whatever?" “Sure,” Adam says as he manifests the Concordance crest over his tee-shirt. “So this is what I’ve figured out so far. It’s a triangle and it’s three points are ideals,” Adam points in turn to the top right, bottom, and then top left points on the triangle, “Truth, Love, and Courage. But the colors are manifestations of those ideas: Red is Honesty, Green is Compassion, and Blue is Courage. And then they mix on the inside..” he points to Yellow, Cyan, and Purple areas of the inner triangle, “Truth tempered by Love is Justice, Courage to give for Love is Sacrifice, and the Courage to uphold the Truth is Honor. And then the white in the center is what hold them all together, like self-discipline or restraint or something like that. That one I’m still trying to figure out. I had spend like four days with AEGIS councilors figuring out this much after this all happened.” Leo bobs his head excitedly. "Okay. Then if you're still trying to figure yourself out, there's three things you could do. One for Adam, one for Concord.. And one for Pneuma." He takes a breath. "I think Harry could use a break from being the famous Gale kid. And honestly Jason needs something to take the edge off, after barking orders at us. Where do you think we could all go to just have fun and relax? Some place you'd like to just hang out. Whatever you think would be fun, I'll see if I can talk them into. For Concord…. I want to go talk to Iconoclast up in Kill Devil. I think I can reach her. I hope. But it'd be super awesome to know, really know, what she feels. I dunno if you can help with that, or want to, but if you're willing, come along." "And… Well, Pneuma has always had doubts about her own reality and independence and stuff. Do me a solid. Go look at her, see if you can see an aura. I dunno if you can see machine souls or not, but I swear to you she has one. If you see something, tell her what you see. She'd really appreciate it. Plus, just talk to her if you ever want! She's a lot better about helping people feel better than I am." "You don't have to go beat up bad guys to be a hero, Adam. There's so many ways you can be a good guy on your terms, if you want. Doing this stuff might help you figure that out. Only way I know is to just try. And yeah, some of it might fail. Like flying. If you fall, I'll be there to catch you." Adam nods. He hadn’t ever considered any of the things Link had thought of. To him, the auras had always just been there really. It always seemed like the energy constructs and the flight were the important things, but if he just help with just a some insight and looking into what people really thought, Adam could be a hero and keep his promises to his mother. “Yeah, I can do those things, Link. And thanks.” Suddenly a thought took him and Adam glanced back to the rear of the car. “Hey Link… is Otto’s trunk soundproof?” Here's a Google Docs link.  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pYdz3FWpthBURm...
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Mike
Pro
I was a little hesitant about this when it was mentioned last night, but this morning I'm beginning think it's a really good idea.  It's a lot easier for me to check for updates than the boards (also I can just see the end result instead of getting bombarded with email updates). However, as I'm writing this out I'm beginning to wonder "Did I make Concord the Nova but I'm playing him like he's the Janus?"  A question that needs some more thought (and perhaps a weigh in from Doyce).
I've found that the playbook tropes are by no means exclusive. Jason does the Doomed, but he also pulls in elements of the Legacy and a few others. Part of that was designing out the elements that I would play with if someone else had chosen Doomed, and I think all the pieces work well together. In general, I think it's all good, unless you're finding it to be a direct conflict in how you play Concord.
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Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
So here are my thoughts. I'm fine with Nova, but I do think, given the background you've set up, Janus may ( may ) provide some richer story for Adam, in the tension between the mundane and the fantastic: his family and The Concordance. We'd need to spend a little time reframing some of his issues (more of a focus on anonymity) , but ... there are a lot of useful things that come out of that. More involvement of Adam's family and, by extension, some more thought about everyone's family. I like this, because the set up we have with Adam's family is strong, but doesn't come up (as) much with the Nova's natural focus on "controlling my power." More school stuff going on, because Adam will need it, and others will be involved if only as a contrast. As far as big story-arcs go, what I had/have in mind with Concord wouldn't change - the effect on his life would be different, but that's okay. I also kind of love the chance he'd have to pick up Beacon drives. :) Totally seems like him. (We'd also need to revisit his first advance. On the whole, I'm for it - it becomes less about exploring the Great Powah, and way more about balancing that power with everything else, but that's the point, right? I like it.
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Mike
Pro
*** Dave H. said: I've found that the playbook tropes are by no means exclusive. Jason does the Doomed, but he also pulls in elements of the Legacy and a few others. Part of that was designing out the elements that I would play with if someone else had chosen Doomed, and I think all the pieces work well together. In general, I think it's all good, unless you're finding it to be a direct conflict in how you play Concord. I don't think it's conflicting, it's just playing against type when the playbooks reward you for playing up the stereotypes.  The Nova really has elements of Superboy's "I don't care about anyone else or the destruction I cause" which feeds into its Team Moves.  Go read those and think about Concord.  I tried working them in a few times, but it always feels shoehorned.  Now go read the ones for the Janus or the Beacon.  Those seem like they fit a lot better, but that just may be that I play Concord like a sad puppy someone kicked (admittedly, one with great and terrible powers).
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Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
I really do think the Janus team moves (and the Janus playbook moves) do feed into Concord-as-played pretty well. As far as Beacon vs. Janus, I'd go Janus, because you can still get the Beacon's "I just dig being a superhero" flavor by picking up Drives as an advance. :)
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Mike
Pro
Doyce T. said: As far as Beacon vs. Janus, I'd got Janus, because you can still get the Beacon's "I just dig being a superhero" flavor by picking up Drives as an advance. :) You can?  <checks playbooks>  You can ...
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The conversation has been loaded into the top comment on this thread. The GDocs link is still active.
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Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
+1
Can I vote for a change in team name from "The Menagerie" to "The Damaged Goods"? :-)
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I rewatched the session and caught that Mike mentioned "maybe listen to a cool song" during the car ride. This probably isn't it, but I wonder if it's a fit for Concord anyway at this moment in his life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAEoPKwBJfo