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Thread: Stories of the Betterverse: Start Spreading the News

  1. #41
    Keeper of Secrets betterwatchit's Avatar
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    Re: Stories of the Betterverse: No Man's Land

    One Year On (Interlude)

    28th March 2017, Griffin's house...

    After Griffin had dinner, he said to his father, "You know what today is, Dad?"

    "No?"

    "Today is exactly one year to the day when I died, came back and actually sparked up!"

    "I remember now! And you've had quite a time since then, Simon! You've come out of your shell!"

    "And I'm glad you've been supportive of me. These past twelve months, I've successfully aided a First Contact, slew a dragon, stopped World War Three before it started, faced SHADOW and stopped a warlock from wrecking the Imperial War Museum."

    "When did you stop World War Three?!"

    "You remember when I made the news, fighting that dragon in Rochester? That was when I stopped it. That dragon made for a serious distraction, I'm telling you! But it wasn't enough of one as you can see!"

    "I'm still surprised you killed it!"

    "I was surprised I could actually take it down without getting burnt!"

    "This trip you're doing..."

    "Yeah, Dad?"

    "Does Annabelle even know you're doing this?"

    "Of course she does, she's my commanding officer!"

    "Are you sure she even has that kind of authority over you?"

    "Yes, Dad. She does. The Almighty herself publicly appointed Archangel Annabelle to be my commanding officer in front of me. Annabelle's authority over me is legitimate and the source of said authority over me is indisputable. I discussed the tour with her and why I was doing it in the first place. She agreed to me doing it on one condition."

    "And what's that?"

    "She had me swear an oath that I will not knowingly or willingly take any domestic flights during the journey."

    "...Does Annabelle even know just how big America is?"

    "I asked her that very same question, and she said she knew. She made it clear that international flights are allowed, as is the use of my own wings. It'll take a domestic flight before I become an oathbreaking idiot. You've flown from London to LA, Dad. You know better than I do just how big the place really is. Very soon, I'm going to know it better than you! And I get the feeling that the oath she had me swear is so I can actually understand it better. There aren't that many Britons who understand the sheer size of it, Dad. Then again, a lot of Americans stick to the cities and simply don't get how big the place really is!"

    "That's true. I have to ask... how are you getting your sword past Customs?"

    "I have a plan for that."

    "Care to share it?"

    "I'm afraid not, Dad. After all, what you don't know, you can't tell the Ministry under interrogation... And what they don't know, they definitely can't tell AEGIS. Suffice it to say, this will work!"

    "Are you absolutely sure it'll work?"

    "I know it! Look, I'll prove I made it past them by sending you a selfie of me at JFK."

    "That'll do it. Have you sorted out a place to stay in New York?"

    "Yeah, I have."

    "Which hotel is it?"

    "It's not a hotel, Dad. I'm staying at someone's house."

    "Does your host know that you're a power?"

    "Yes she does. My host is Ms. Magus of Brooklyn, she's a power herself. I fought alongside her at the Museum of London during Operation Inundation, so she knows I'm alright. I'm paying her $50 a night as well."

    "As long as you're both aware. When are you leaving for America?"

    "This Friday via Heathrow. Ms. Magus knows, by the way. Tomorrow evening, I'm going to a hotel in London for the night. Friday morning, I'll be on a plane and later that afternoon, I'll land in JFK!"

    "How much have you prepared?"

    "I’ve got everything ready, Dad. Suitcase is by the door, passport's in the safe along with the U.S. visa waiver, business class tickets from Heathrow to NYC and out from Emerald City to Tokyo, insurance, fully loaded pre-paid Mastercard and $9,500 cash, which is near the maximum I can legally get past the border without having to declare it."

    "You have a ticket to Tokyo?"

    "The waiver requires me to present both a ticket into the States and a ticket back out again. The Embassy’s website specifically points out that when you leave the States, they don't care if you're going to a different country to the one you came in from, as long as you’re gone before the 90 days are up. Remember, they must assume by law that I’m trying to illegally immigrate into the States. The business class tickets in and out should be hard enough proof that I’m not."

    "Can you even speak Japanese?"

    "Yeah, I can. The Gift of Understanding that the Almighty gave me means that I can speak, understand and read any language, Dad. Foreign tongues and scripts are no issue to me any more. In Europe and North America, I can even pass for a local! In places like Japan, I can at the very least pass for a tourist or businessman who knows what he's really doing."

    "Good to know. Have you worked out your American itinerary?"

    "Yeah, I have. I’ll spend time in NYC, Gotham, Freedom City, maybe Metropolis and then I’ll go west to California. I plan to hit LA and San Francisco, then head to Seattle and finish the American leg at Emerald City, the traditional end stop for such a long journey and where my Tokyo ticket departs from."

    "You're not mucking about, are you?"

    "You know I don't, Dad. And sparking up means I have even less of a reason to mess about."

    "And where will you go after Tokyo?"

    "I’m planning on Singapore. Then I’m thinking Dubai, Tangier, a boat to Spain..."

    "If you’re going to Spain, what about Gibraltar?"

    "It's where I'm going when I arrive in Spain. As a British citizen, I can legally get to the Rock without any undue drama, even with Brexit negotiations about to kick off for real tomorrow. Then I’ll make my way through Europe and then take the ferry home from Holland. Once I enter Europe, I’ll be in the Schengen area. I won’t even need a visa for it, given that we’re still in the EU for now. There’s one thing I must ask."

    "And that would be?"

    "If you hear about something going on in the same area as me, please don’t ring me up! How many people do you think died during Operation Inundation because someone rang their phone and gave their position away?!"

    Griffin's father was putting some papers in a brown briefcase, saying "I... can't really argue with that. Look, I've got to go to the church hall for a meeting. Make sure you wash and dry up everything in the sink before you go out tomorrow."

    "I will." Griffin then hugged his dad, wrapping his wings around him. He said "See you later, Dad!"

    "Safe travels, Simon."


    Five minutes after Griffin's father left the house, a white light appeared in the living room. When it faded, there stood Annabelle. Griffin went "Good evening, Annabelle! What's happening now?"

    "I'm sure you understand that Mother's busy at the moment, so she sent me to give you a gift for your journey in her stead."

    "When isn't she busy? So what is it she's giving me that's so useful, Annabelle?"

    "Take my paws and you'll find out."

    That was when Griffin took her paws. Then they started glowing with a dim light. Griffin asked her "What did you do, Annabelle?!"

    Annabelle giggled. "That is your gift! The Gift of Healing! One touch will heal almost anyone other than yourself of their wounds and afflictions."

    "Lady's Heart, that's a gift! I can see how I could serve her with this!"

    "Indeed. Is that your luggage there?"

    "Yeah. Packed it myself. I'll have to let Customs search it, but there's only clothes in there, maybe a few electrical leads for my laptop's adaptor."

    "I thought you only needed one lead."

    "I used to only need one, but now I need one with a British plug, another with an American plug, a Japanese plug, I could go on."

    "But why? Why not use just the one?"

    "Because they use different voltages and frequencies, Annabelle. I use the wrong one, I destroy the laptop!"

    "I see. You know that discussion we had about your sword..."

    "Yeah, Annabelle?"

    "I'm still... not comfortable with the idea of keeping it in Heaven to withhold it from inspection by the local authorities."

    "Do you know what a diplomatic bag is?"

    "Yes, I do. I understand why they would need to... OH! I see what you're thinking, Simon!"

    "What do you think I'm thinking?"

    "You're thinking that as Mother's Chosen, you're technically an ambassador to the Kingdom of Heaven and can therefore claim a diplomatic bag!"

    "Spot on. Since Heaven isn't going to be recognised by the UN any time soon, we need to use other measures. Justice is something I need to get across the border to perform my official duties to the Lady and I would get arrested if I tried to get it through myself. It's the only thing I've got that needs to get past them for me to do so, Annabelle."

    "I'm afraid you're right. I have to ask... Where do you intend to pick it up when you arrive in New York?"

    Griffin does a Persuasion check on Annabelle, who's currently not so sure (Indifferent) about the idea. He gets 17 and makes her Favourable to the idea! He hasn't got to worry about airport customs on Friday!
    "Ms. Magus' house is the only place in the Five Boroughs I can think of that's at all secure and private enough. And she's a mage, so she won't freak out if she actually sees me get the sword out of the mirror. I mean, she sees and even does weirder stuff every day! I'll make sure to tell her, of course."

    "Of course you will. Have you got everything ready?"

    "Yeah, Annabelle. Passport, insurance, luggage, plane tickets, I'm all set. The only thing I need to fill in is the landing card and I can't get one of those until I reach the airport."

    "You forgot one more thing."

    "Oh?"

    "Don't you have some washing up to do?"

    "Oh right. I need to do that soon."

    "I'll be seeing you tomorrow."

    "See you then, Annabelle."

    That was when Annabelle revealed her wings and disappeared through the mirror in Griffin's living room.

    Griffin said to himself "Well, let's finish that washing-up..."

    Griffin spends 6 PP on Gift of Healing: Healing 4; Persistent, Stabilise, Limited: Affects Others Only.
    Last edited by betterwatchit; 06-12-2018 at 05:02 AM.

  2. #42
    Keeper of Secrets betterwatchit's Avatar
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    Re: Stories of the Betterverse: No Man's Land

    Start Spreading The News, Part 1

    30th March 2017, a hotel near Heathrow Airport...

    As Griffin woke up to wash his face, he said to the bathroom mirror "Good morning, Annabelle."

    Annabelle appeared in the mirror, saying "Good morning, Simon."

    "This is it, Annabelle. Today's the day I cross the Pond for the first time!"

    "The Pond?"

    "Another name for the Atlantic Ocean."

    "English is such an unusual language."

    "It's my native language and I still find myself having to agree with you. And you'd be surprised how many dialects there are for the same language. I knew the basics of the North American dialect well enough before I got the Gift of Understanding."

    "North American dialect?"

    "That's the version of English they speak in the United States of America and in the Dominion of Canada to their north. A few hundred years and being an entire ocean away can do that to a language. And it's the same thing with French and Spanish, they have their own Transatlantic dialects. Then you get dialects for states and provinces all the way down to cities and institutions, anywhere where you'll find a lot of people in relatively close proximity."

    "I see. Well, are you ready to hand over the sword?"

    "I am, Annabelle." Griffin handed the sheathed sword and belt over to Annabelle.

    Annabelle told him "When you arrive at Ms. Magus' house, I'll give you the sword back. Just how long does it take for a flight from London to New York, exactly?"

    "A direct flight like mine takes about eight hours from take off to landing. And the fact that I'll have to cross five timezones means that I'll have to adjust my phone and laptop upon arrival. For example, a 12 noon takeoff would roughly equal a 3 PM landing. After I've had a quick wash, I'll have breakfast, come back here for the luggage and make my way to Terminal 5. It'll take a few hours to get past security. Operation Inundation has made them extremely vigilant and they will freak out if they see the sword, hence why I need you to look after it for me. And even if I told them the truth, they won't believe it."

    "I understand. See you in New York!"

    Then Annabelle faded out of the mirror.

    It didn't take Griffin too long to finish his preparations for the trip.


    JFK Airport, NYC, ten hours later... 90 days remaining on waiver.

    As the plane landed in JFK, Griffin thought to himself 'New York... America... The land of opportunity... The land of capes... Where better to truly test myself? If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere...'

    As Griffin approached the immigration desk, the customs officer asked him "Your papers please, sir?"

    Griffin produced them, saying "Here you go, ma'am. And no, I have nothing to declare."

    The Customs Officer said "These appear to be in order... But why are you landing in New York and departing from Emerald City?"

    "I'm doing a round-the-world trip, ma'am, and I want to see how big America really is for myself while I'm doing it! And under the terms of the Visa Waiver Program, it's legal for me to depart from a different city to a different country to the one I came in from as long as I comply with all the relevant laws and as long as I'm out of America before the 90 days are up. And it can't be the first time someone's started a round-the-world trip from here, right?"

    "True. Well, I hope you have a good trip! Welcome to America!"

    "Thank you, ma'am!"

    The Customs Officer has an initial attitude of Unfavourable against Griffin (she thinks there's something unusual with his tickets and must assume by law that he's trying to illegally enter the States permanently). Griffin gets a +2 bonus for actually knowing a thing or two about the VWP. Griffin gets 26 on his Persuasion roll, getting her attitude to Favourable! He's definitely allowed into America now!
    As he left the airport, he saw Ms. Magus come up to him, saying "Welcome to New York, Griff!"

    "Cass! Am I glad to see a friendly face around here! Can we stop by your place first so I can drop off my luggage?"

    "Sure!"


    20 minutes later, Ms. Magus' House...

    As Cass opened the door, a mannequin wearing a maid's uniform answered her, saying "Welcome back, Mistress. Is this gentleman your guest?"

    "Mr. Griffin will be my guest for the next couple of weeks, Jane. Would you take his luggage and show him to his room?"

    "Of course. Please follow me, Sir."


    A few minutes later, Jane showed Griffin to his new room, saying "And here is your room, Mr. Griffin."

    "Thank you, Jane. I have to ask, why are there so many of you mannequins about?"

    "We mannequins serve Mistress Cassandra and her guests."

    "So if I asked you to do something for me..."

    "We would do it, yes. But we are bound to obey four rules at all times, in the Mistress' absence as in her presence."

    "Which rules are those? I don't want to ask you to do something you can't, you see."

    "Our first rule is that we cannot harm a human. If one appears to be hostile to us, we must inform Mistress Cassandra. We mannequins have a mental link to each other, so if one of us comes to harm, we will know where it happened and whichever one of us is nearest to her will inform the Mistress. Our second rule is that we must obey any order given by Mistress Cassandra if it does not require harming a human to perform it. And we must also preserve our own existence where doing so does not violate the previous two standing orders."

    "And the fourth?"

    "The Mistress's orders override and overrule any order that a guest gives us, should they conflict."

    "Good to know. Now we're safely inside, there's something I have to tell your Mistress."

    "What is it?"

    "I have to actually show her in order to prevent any misunderstanding. Where is she now?"

    "In the dining room. Do you want us to inform her that you want to speak to her?"

    "Please."

    "Just a moment... Mistress has been informed that you want to speak to her. Please see her in the living room."

    "I'll be right down..."


    A minute later...

    As Griffin arrived in the living room, he said "Cass, I have something to tell you."

    "What is it?"

    "It's my sword. The one you saw me use at the Museum of London? I worked out how to get it past Customs without letting them know about it!"

    "How did you do that?"

    "I'll show you when I find the nearest mirror, I need it to bring the sword over."

    "There's one over there." she says, pointing at a full-length mirror.

    "And I see why you put it there." When Griffin approached the mirror, he said "Archangel Annabelle, it's Griffin speaking. I've made it to New York and I'm safely at Ms. Magus' house!"

    Griffin does a Tactics roll and gets 15. He can tell that the mirror is positioned so you simply cannot enter the living room from the hallway without being seen from the sofa.
    Annabelle appeared, saying "And I'm glad you made it, Griffin!"

    As Griffin picked Annabelle up, he said "Welcome to New York, Annabelle! This is Cass Valentine, AKA Ms. Magus, my hostess for my New York stay. Cass, this is my commanding officer, Archangel Annabelle."

    Cass asked "Are you sure she's an archangel? I know the Host do things a bit differently, but-"

    Griffin said with conviction "She is an archangel, Cass. The Almighty herself personally appointed Archangel Annabelle as my mentor and commanding officer. I have no doubt or dispute whatsoever about her authority over me or of the overall legitimacy of said authority."

    Cass said "I believe you, Griffin."

    Griffin asked "So Annabelle, do you have the sword?"

    "Yes, I do," she replied. "Just a minute..." She dived back into the mirror and she soon came back with the sword and belt, saying "Remember, Mother trusts you to use the sword responsibly."

    Griffin told her "I will, Annabelle. I swear as the Lady is my witness, you won't regret this!"

    "And remember, I'll be watching!"

    "Farewell, Annabelle!"


    Then Annabelle flew back into the mirror. Cass went "That was a very neat trick, Griffin!"

    "The hard bit was convincing Annabelle that it was in our Lady's interest to hold on to the sword for me. I reckoned that since the blade's required for me to perform my angelic duties, Annabelle would consider it her duty as an archangel to help me get it past customs. She agreed but I had to swear an oath not to take any commercial domestic flights."

    "Does she even understand the size of America?"

    "She said she did, but I find there's a lot of difference between knowing and understanding. At least 3,000 miles from coast to coast... This is going to be a test..."

    Until he returns to Britain, Griffin now has the Complication No-fly List: Due to an oath sworn to Annabelle, Griffin cannot knowingly or willingly take any domestic commercial flight. The oath serves to make sure that he understands how big the world truly is. He can take trains, boats, hitch rides or use his own wings without breaking the oath. International flights don't break the oath either.
    Last edited by betterwatchit; 06-16-2018 at 07:00 AM.

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