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MENAGERIE #49 - "ARE YOU GOING TO SHOOT JEFF GOLDBLUM?"

This Week's Session! What Has Gone On Before Sablestar is rushing Adam! Summer is flying to the rescue! Doctor Infinity's starfish are pouring through a portal! Otto is booting up the Phoenix and fighting the starfish while Alycia tries to get control and revive Leo and Aria. Harry is with Andi!  That Must Mean It's Time For ... Love Letters! Adam Too much power. Too many voices. Too many memories. Too much going on. [Freak --> 9!] Doctor Infinity's arrival right on the heels of the team tells you something disturbing about their powers, and yours. What was it? Take +1 forward versus Doctor Infinity if you try to leverage the DANGEROUS information. Dr I is powering at least some of their tech through Keynome power. And part of it is Concord's Keynome ... Summer  Boy this superhero thing is a little be tougher than it looks. [Danger --> 6!] On a miss, pick 1, but your rash and emotional rushing into the fight left either a teammate, Leo, or Aria with serious concerns about whether or not being a superhero is right for you, and they didn't even have to say anything - you can see it on their face. Take Angry and shift one Label up and one Label down, your choice. Concerns ... Alycia! +Freak, -Mundane When those future-tech robot starfish things boiled out of the rift in space, you were totally ready for them. Tell us who in the group you teamed up with to tear them apart, and collect a Gadget from the wreckage (see the Brain's "Tactical Genius"). Teamed up with ... Otto! While Otto's is rebooting Phoenix, Summer is batting robots toward him. Alycia is sputtering on the comms about her rashness in all-out attacking. Harry Your friends are in space, things went bad, REALLY fast, and you had to do SOMEthing. [Savior --> 8!]  You had to get up there, somehow. What did you do, and [that scared] the Hell Out of AEGIS? Slingshots his way into space. He knows there's a piece of tech that AEGIS had, picked up from some space villain (air supply / propulsion). Harry runs in, grabs the tech, run around the planet to gather speed, jump off some promontory, using an Uncle Chase blast ... achieving orbital velocity. Waters is on the comm: Just had a speedster take out Negorion's Belt/suit thing. You wouldn't know anything about that would you?] I promise I'll return it shortly. Would have been less paperwork if you'd said you were chasing the thief ... Alycia Things were complicated enough with Sablestar turning Concord into her space-whipping-boy, but then a rift opened and out poured more of Doctor Infinity's star-bots. So predictable. Actually... that IS kind of predictable. [Mundane --> 6!] On a miss, pick 1, and you think you see how you're CRITICAL to everything Infinity wants to accomplish; tell us how, take Guilty, and shift one Label up and one Label down (your choice). Already have Guilty. +Freak, -Savior "What do you want me to do?" Infinity knows Charlotte Palmer's name. And something was able to collapse all the wounds in the AltFuture. Infinity is not dumb -- this undetectable person is doing this thing I can't explain / locate, therefore it must be Charlotte Palmer. So this must be the time hack where this Charlotte Palmer is, since Alycia knows her. They want the membrane between the dimensions to collapse. Since their plan has failed at least once, they want some other way. Like probably Alycia, who has the techno secrets to get across. Doctor Infinity wants Alycia's brain. Charlotte The Magus will explain himself! ... and then hopefully you'll be able to get out of this dream world. Or force him to send you back. [Superior --> 8!] On a 7-9, Your frustration and anger tears your fragile mental landscape apart. Pick 1, below. The shock and surprise of your sudden anger is going to stick with the Magus for a long while - take Influence over him. There in the gazebo. He's trying to be cool and calm, and the storm clouds are brewing, and the hedges are rattling, and the rain is beginning to hit the gazebo, then harder rain, then hail, hail churning the turf into mud which is shredded away to nothing. M - I understand you're upset, but please try to -- (the words die on his lips) The hail hits the gazebo and the structure doesn't last long. Energy released -- like being dropped into cold water. Meanwhile, in spaaaace ... Bits of Starfish floating in space, slamming into Phoenix. Leo and Aria slowly recovering. Alycia trying to get things online, not being helped by Otto play whack-a-mole with bots. Harry flying into the mess, jumping from flotsam to flotsam, punching stuff. Gasp from Charlotte, appearing into Phoenix, going insubstantial, gasping, reestablishes a very light-touch psi connection ... only a PANICKY, GRASPING, DROWNING-CLUTCH AT ... Everything goes white. Half-Baked The first thing we see ... Leo ... gently waving leaves in the sunlight. Mid-morning. A bit of breeze. Cushions on a chair. The murmur of a crowd. Gentle, quiet, polite.  In a big pavilion tent, at one end. The sides are pulled up there. Sitting at a table. Other tables scattered around the tent.  Leaves rustling. Crowd on bleacher seating at the other side of the tent, where the sides are pulled up. Far end, sides are down, tables, paraphernalia, standing appliances.  To the side at the table, a gently smiling Jeff Goldblum, who places a comforting hand to his arm. "Hello there. Are you back now? Are you ready to get going? I doze off all the time." "Where's my car?" "If I had a dime whenever I woke up and asked myself that ..." Groan from person past him -- mutter, moan, Dammit Jason ... Jason sits up in that chair. Wearing a tweed jacket. Leo is wearing a pumpkin suit. Golf Announcer voice. (Also Jeff Goldblum). "Hello, and welcome to another episode of the biggest, I guess, most popular new show on Netflix. Jeff Goldblum's 'Baked Out of My Mind'. I'm your host, Jeff Goldlblum, and with me today, for our young heroes edition, as judges, Link, Leo Newman, and Jason Quill, also known as Jason Quill. They don't know anything about baking, but neither do I! Contestants, working in teams ... Table with curtain around it, looking similar to the curtains in a hospital room ... Alycia Chin, also known as Charade, also Summer Newman, also known as Radiance. They'll be working as a team. Over here, Charlotte Palmer, also known as the Terrifying Ghost Girl, and Adam Amari, also known as Concord. (Both are in their energy states). You might want to tone it down, it might causes some unexpected rising from the dough. And since we couldn't get someone from the team for this one ... is a Speedster their own partner? Audience? (Irregulators and Ponies and AEGIS folk in the audience.) (Waters is in a striped seersucker jacket, bow tie, white straw hat; she's in a 1930s British sun dress.) When curtain goes up, there's Harry ... and a very serious-looking A10. New love in the kitchen! Yes, we're aware. And in costume. So Alycia is armed. All right, cupcakes! Oh, I may have spoiled the first round. First round is a cupcake challenge. A couple of designs up here -- replicate them as close as you can. Suss out their secrets ... Your assignments have been pre-decided by the judges, meaning me. Charade and Radiance ... you get to pick! Two different designs! See what you can do back at the table. A cupcake design ... the entire top is done up like a silvery fondant, looking like an Infinity starfish.  This is aimed to our little Miss Charade over here. And also for Radiance to team up. Concord and Ghost Girl, come on down! 12 cupcakes where the top looks like a keynone. Keep in mind, thse are very high-cal ... you can only eat one, Concord. Mercury and A10 ...  Chocolate pepper  ... Who Knows How To Bake? Alycia recognizes pastries, thinks she could learn (it's just chemistry), but no actual experience. Harry knows something about batter. Charlotte knows where the kitchen is in the house. Adam assisted Mom a lot.  Summer ... good at baking. For the taste buds, not the digestion. She's seen them making blintzes, but is not yet allowed to make them. Are allowed to phone a friend. Charlotte and Adam Charlotte is going to call Jaycee. Need crystalized sugar, crystalization, buttercream, sprinkles, weird-colored sugar. Go for the crystals, don't get fancy with a geode. Adam wants to talk with her, too. Also trying to get an emotional read off Jason and Jeff. It is, apparently, Jason. [Assess --> 9!] Jeff Goldblum is a great projection of vintage Goldblum. But that's really Jason. But not getting a read from the audience. A glimmer from the Ponies, shadows of them, but some sort subconscious feed in. Andi is just a projection. So ... a mental defense from Charlotte? Alycia and Summer Alycia is paranoid about Dr Infinity is having her make cupcakes as a cognitive metaphor for her her scientific stuff. Summer continues making her own cupcakes. Summer wants Alycia to find a tin foil cupcake liner. (To short out the drone, and break her out of this.) A: Why not stab you with the temperature probe. S: That sounds kind of violent. A: "Insert temperature probe as directed." S: That sounds dirty! (Summer is still mixing batter) Harry (running over): Does anyone have any idea what's going on? It's Dr Infinity wanting something from me. That sounds rather full of yourself, don't you think? I didn't volunteer for this! You just jump to this being Dr Infinity? Timing. But no, you're going to stab Summer To be fair, she's thought of that outside this context. Adam and Charlotte Harry goes to Adam. Please tell me neither of you are going to stab each other? Andi's that angry at you?! Concord - comfort and support for Charlotte ... we;re going to do great, you got great advice, but if I'm going to ruin things, tell me to back off. [C&S --> 2!] Charlotte: getting flashes that don't match this reality (being in space, spirit maelstrom, time tunnel and him leaving it). Keynome image flashing back and forth between cupcake vs keynome *inside of him*. Summer and Alycia Alycia stabs Summer with the temperature probe. [Unleash --> 11!] Summer: shorting out connection between the body and the drone/brain.  In the tent, still stirring and smiling, but the expression is more ... dedicated totally to baking. So Alycia has disconneced something. Summer is in ... a creepy hospital. Medical facility. In one of the beds. She's tricked her inner drone to undock from her body; the mind is still kind of trapped.  The others are all in beds -- Jason, Leo ... Aria, but she's not out, she is sitting next to Link's bed ... all the other contestants except Andi. Charlotte is corporeal. Summer (projection) goes to Leo ... looking for the chip to read what's going on with him.  Charlotte Baking Show Stress taking a toll on Charlotte. [Take a Powerful Blow --> 11!] Flight response ... sinks into the ghost realm ... fleeing (taking them with her as security / to protect them). Summer  ... Concord is powerful and could be helpful to leverage them out. ... Alycia seems tightly linked to her, so that's leverage, too. ... Charlotte is good at mental things. Starts to Alycia, then goes to Charlotte.  Gives her a shot of adrenaline from the crash cart (since she's corporeal). Even as that happens, she feels an undertow dragging her away from this. [Defend a Loved One --> auto-12, plus condition: Afraid!] Baking .. In the baking tent, baking has been happening. Andi has been chatting with Harry, but it's all just patter. Sky is getting darker ... brown/sepiatoned clouds ... rain ... hail ... dust and dirt in the air ... getting still darker.  Adam realizes his words have not had their effect. Charlotte is mixing more and more vigorously and the stirring is echoed in the sky above, and the batter looks like a storm, too ... Alycia stands by to protect Summer, to make sure she isn't interfered with. Lights dropping ... getting cold ... a different space is starting to fade in around us ... reminds of the realm we walked through leaving the Sepiaverse. Feels like we're being dragged down ... Harry is very concerned about the bad parts of the Sepiaverse. Runs over to Charlotte/Adam, as Charlotte ws intertwined with all that. And Charlotte is standing upright suddenly ... there's something stabbed in her chest. A big syringe. Charlotte is looking at it in shock. The tent fades out ... to an infirmary. Harry is looking at the ceiling. Feel fine ... maybe a little groggy. Flickering Summer standing over Charlotte ... syringe in chest.  Harry is first on his feet. He blocks the door. There are guards (sentries) out there. Dudes in tactical gear.  People are coming out of it ... and (yet another) unknown amount of time has passed ... and Charlotte has taken more conditions ... Wrap-Up Summer - Closer to Alycia (helped with plan) --> +Savior, -Danger (stop rushing into danger!) Adam  - Closer to Charlotte ( ) -->  +Mundane -Freak (For baking and trying to support me)     ... took foolhardy action, clear Insecure Harry - Image of Self --> +Freak, -Superior Alycia - Closer to Summer (trusted me) -->  +Freak -Superior (didn't outsmart the sitch, just went along with it) Charlotte - Further from Team --> take Influence away from Adam Be With Us Next Time for the Episode We Call ... "Dance Dance Menagolution!" ... or "Melo-prom-a!"
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Mike
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Now begins the most important part of all this... rampant speculation on who is taking who to the dance?
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Bill G.
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Mike said: Now begins the most important part of all this... rampant speculation on who is taking who to the dance? We know Leo will ask Aria or vice versa. Summer won't ask Leo (for reasons given) or Jason (to make room for Alycia). I don't think she knows anyone else she'd ask at this point, so it's kind of up to Doyce (or other player suggestions) if there's any guy who would ask her. If Adam wanted to hang out and see the thing (and if Keri didn't get there first), she'd be willing to go along with him. But there's also a fair chance that nothing will happen either way. She'd go as friends if a girl invited her on that basis (but is not interested in a girlfriend).
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Mike
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Bill G. said: If Adam wanted to hang out and see the thing (and if Keri didn't get there first), she'd be willing to go along with him. While I'm for whatever answer comes up, I'm amused by the idea that someone asks Concord (not Adam) to the dance.  And not just because I drew that tuxedo picture for Concord.  It's just a fun thought and also seems like something that would cause friction at the event (and that's of course the most important thing).
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Bill G.
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This seems like a good opportunity to mention something else I'd considered: Halcyon has a history of heroics, and teen heroes are part of that. If there's a dance, is there a masquerade option - heroes in their costume, others wearing off-the-shelf masks or something similar? I can also see Keri inviting Adam-as-Concord, if for no other reason than to let him fit in with everyone else and not be the one short kid sitting in the corner.
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Mike
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Bill G. said: If there's a dance, is there a masquerade option - heroes in their costume, others wearing off-the-shelf masks or something similar? <Imagines Pietro at a dance in that bulky power suit.>  Yes... Man, that would make things weird with the heroes still keeping their identity secret though.  I'm a superhero with a real outfit, but I'm at a school dance in a fake costume.... oh, or it gets meta.  I'm a superhero dressed up in a lame version of my own costume...  Man, that'd be weird.  Fun, but weird.
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Bill G.
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Harry is out and could show up as either Jason doesn't even have a costume, so he has no choice. :) I don't know if GG would show up to dance per se, though she'd make a FANTASTIC chaperone ("AAAAAAAAAA" "keep your hands to yourself, darling', and treat your date properly" "AAAAAAAAAAA") Summer and Alycia have no motive to show up as their super-selves (whether Alycia appears at all is an ENTIRELY different question) I can see Concord appearing for any reason you like, and with anyone (Keri is a student, and whether Concord shows up as a 'guest' or is acknowledged as some kind of student at the school, he'd probably get a pass anyway...) Pietro will show up and be unable to move normally... until he activates a new function, which means he can only do the Robot I wonder what Nono and/or Emma/Hot Mess are going to do? I can see Emma spiking the punch or other acts of frustrated villainy, or just flipping out... And if Alycia doesn't ask Jason, who knows? Maybe Nono will do so.
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Mike
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Bill G. said: I can see Concord appearing for any reason you like, and with anyone (Keri is a student, and whether Concord shows up as a 'guest' or is acknowledged as some kind of student at the school, he'd probably get a pass anyway...) But that's part of the fun. Mr. Hayden thought this below him, but he had drawn the short straw in the office pool.  Door duty wasn’t that bad--make sure no one tries to sneak anything in and don’t let allow admittance without a school pass. And that’s when they showed up. Keri and Concord floated down to the entrance of the auditorium and Hayden gave them both an odd look.  He knew Miss Maldonado from Latin Studies, but he’d never seen Concord before.  Keri flashed her badge and smiled, but Hayden blocked the door. “Miss Maldonado, who is this?” “Ugh, it’s fine, Mr. Hayden,” Keri sighed.  “He’s my guest.” “Rules are rules, Miss Maldonado,” Hayden said with the tone of a phrase often repeated.  He turned towards Concord and studied him for a moment.  “Mister?” “Umh, Concord.  Nice to meet you.”  Concord raised a hand and Mr. Hayden took it for a handshake.  It was pleasantly warm and Hayden had to keep from smiling at the sight of the star field on his skin.  It would give off the wrong signals and ruin any authority Hayden had in this situation. “Well Concord, we need a parent’s permission slip for non-students to enter the dance.” Keri sighed.  “But Mr. Hayden, he…” Concord cut her off before Keri said too much.  “No, it’s okay.  Uh, I have the slip.”  Concord produced the slip of paper from somewhere and handed it to Hayden.  “I didn’t have parents who could sign, but I hope that’s okay.” “Who are Ted Waters and Elizabeth Parker?” “My AEGIS contacts.” Hayden nodded.  “That’s fine.”  Hayden scanned the paper for any inconsistencies.  Both Keri's parents had signed off on this as well, so that was in order.  Hayden recognized the contact info as a nearby AEGIS office.  But then Hayden had to do a double-check.  “You’re 9 months old?” Concord gave a nervous smile and rubbed the back of his neck.  “In this form, but parts of the core of my being is several centuries old and have been reincarnated many times since…” Hayden held up a hand to stop Concord from going on further.  “I’ve heard the ‘before the dawn of man’ speech before, you can save it.” Hayden gave the paper one final look and gave a deferent shrug.  “Everything seems to be in order.  Enjoy the dance...”
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Bill G.
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So, sorry, Nono . 
Bill G. said: [Picture of CANON camera Sometimes I'm as slow on the uptake as Jason (go figure). I looked at that a minute trying to figure it out, and had just about settled on "Pictures or it didn't happen" before I got it. :-) (Also, definitely vote for that to be part of the dance. Nicely written, Mike.)
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Mike
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Bill G.
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*** Dave H. said: So, sorry, Nono .  She still ships it. I'm really on board with the comics this week. If it gets annoying to anyone, let me know.
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Mike
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Bill G. said: If it gets annoying to anyone, let me know. Never!  Continue on, you crazy comic making man you!
Bill G. said: If it gets annoying to anyone, let me know. I think it unlikely to be annoying.
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Bill G.
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So what are the Mercury-focused plots we want to get done in the next couple of weeks? And what are the things the rest of us can do (or not do) to help out with those?
Some sort of significant step in the relationship with Andi. That should certainly have a chance to happen the next few weeks.  There's also family stuff of his... from the sitch with his dad to the relationships with Chase and Grandma... that would be cool to see get to the next level. That might be a bit more of a stretch.  (Which reminds me we never really resolved the New Base thing. Or, for that matter, the Vyortovian negotiations.)  I'll nudge the boy and see what HE thinks. 
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That all squares with what I'm aware of. It's weighty stuff to nail in two sessions, so that's why I wondered if there were ways to contribute. And should it turn out that James can keep playing with a college workload (with some time off to orient), I'd love that, but I remember what it was like. New Base: I'd love to get to this, but I don't feel time pressure on it. It does feel like a fun breather from heavy stuff - as long as the base we choose isn't out in a swamp... Vyortovia: Aria explicitly deputized Summer as a team member (and it should have been inferred that she'd contact Jason, or AEGIS, or anyone else who needed to hear it officially) so that if Vyortovia came knocking and demanding "the Menagerie", that someone would be here to answer that call in case the team didn't come back in time (or at all). Now that they ARE back, we can handle that any time - and it feels like the time is right if we're also spotlighting the wounds-in-the-world plot more soon.
Yeah, I don't think it has to be all resolved by any means (whew!), but I'd love to see a couple of milestones that describe at least a story arc / stepping stone completion for Harry. I remember how utterly life-realigning college was, so, yeah, if he can keep playing (or come back in a few weeks), awesome. If he can't (or hops in for a guest role on vacations), I will completely understand. I mention the New Base and Vyortovia only because they were some major things that have been raised, but backburnered, while we were gadding about. One thing I'm looking forward to with the short leap forward / school dance stuff is a chance to recalibrate on some of the day-to-day items that have been hanging fire, before moving on to the next Earth-shattering kaboom plot. :-)
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Apropos of nothing, I want an HGTV/House Hunters-style tour of super-bases where a Jeff Goldblum clone is introducing us to each base and talking about the good (or bad) points.
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Mike
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Oh my, I can just see the behind the scene antics... Jeff Goldblum is hired for the "show" as a one-shot appearance as himself as an ink-suit actor during the all just a dream bizarro episode , hits it off with the crew and wants to do more voice acting, so the writers make up some new Captain Ersatz of him for another cameo ... this sounds really familiar.  Did this actual happen in real life somewhere (obviously not with Jeff Goldblum, but someone else)?
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I mean don't actually do this, but.... In a certain type of game, tourism drives a big chunk of the city's economy, so they hire actors to do commercials touting the city's super-population, there's a reality show where teams guest-star, whatever. But they also seriously over-hype it, so that when the broadcast reaches space and a nearby alien armada hears "oh yeah, the Menagerie can clean the clock of any bug-eyed monster in space, now back to the UFO Graveyard special!", there's an invasion for the heroes to thwart, further cementing the city's reputation... Alternately, the actor Jeff Goldblum licenses his likeness to a reputable company in Halcyon, who build expert system-type AIs for various purposes. One of those is house walkthroughs for really nice properties, including super-bases. Goldblum himself then uses the residuals to make art-house movies and keep his LA home stocked with jazz memorabilia.
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Mike
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Bill G. said: Alternately, the actor Jeff Goldblum licenses his likeness to a reputable company in Halcyon, who build expert system-type AIs for various purposes. One of those is house walkthroughs for really nice properties, including super-bases. Goldblum himself then uses the residuals to make art-house movies and keep his LA home stocked with jazz memorabilia. With all the AI shenanigans that have occurred in this game, I busted out laughing upon reading this and took quite some effort to compose myself (since it is 11pm in my neck of the woods).  I'm not saying it's perfect, but it is very good. I can only imagine somewhere out there, someone will watch the Youtube videos of this game and say "man, what is with these guys and AI duplicates of people."