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#1 Cecil Bright

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 03:21 PM

"You won't get away with this, you..."
 
Captain Crustacean had seen a lot of weird things in his heroing days, but forever reason, this one took the cake. Not literally. He'd foiled the Great Cake Heist years ago, and while the possibility of The Second Great Cake Heist was always looming, Harlequin the Seltzer-blooded (or whatever that guy called himself, Captain C couldn't really remember now) was safely in prison somewhere and consequently not involved in any pastry-related conundrums. 
 
That was definitely not the villain's real name. Well, obviously it wasn't his legal, government-recognized name. But it wasn't what he called himself either, because that was a tremendously stupid name. Seltzer-blooded? What kind of title was that? That couldn't be it. Harlequin something. Something clownish. Not important right now. This was probably the dumbest time ever for Captain C to be reminiscing about old archenemies. There were more pressing matters at hand.
 
It was not comforting at all that Captain C recognized the gun being pointed at him as a Mauser C96. Sometimes, familiarity really didn't do a whole lot to make someone feel better about a bad situation.
 
How had he gotten into this mess?
 
Oh, right. It had gone something like this.
 
He'd been patrolling the campus of Metro State University, cleverly disguised as a civilian of course--people tended to stare if he walked around in full crustacean mode--and he'd heard a loud noise coming from the direction of the campus library. Noting a broken window and hearing some distant sounds...well. The obvious thing to do was investigate. Catch the delinquents in the act. Who was so indecent as to vandalize and or rob a university library?
 
So he'd followed the sounds of humans moving about down into the basement. Finally, he'd managed to overhear a snippet of conversation. Understanding it, however, was another matter.
 
"Beeil dich!"
 
Was that...what language was that? German? Perhaps so. Anyway, he had prepared this grand entrance. Armor up in lobster form, menace them with his monstrous claws, the usual. The average library vandal probably would've surrendered on the spot.
 
Instead, Captain Crustacean found himself staring down three men dressed in black military uniforms. Black military uniforms with sewn-on patches bearing the lightning bolt-ish double S of the, well, Schutstaffel. All ambiguity about the affiliation of the three men was further eliminated by their bright red armbands and their choice of sidearm. The reaction to Captain C revealing himself was barking in more German, which he could only assume translated to "shoot him!" Mostly because that's when all three men started unloading  their weapons, forcing Cap to bring up a granite-hard rock lobster claw to protect himself from the sudden fire before bouncing back and ducking behind a row of filing cabinets. Cap had been able to look at them just long enough to note that one of them was carrying a bundle of...what looked like scroll tubes. 
 
Seriously? Nazis?
 
There were not supposed to be Nazis in Florida.
 
At least the Mauser C96 didn't hold many bullets. 
 
Shots were ricocheting off the back of the filing cabinets; eventually, the fire stopped, and Captain C, having steeled himself with a deep breath, adopted full rock lobster form and leaned a newly-grown eyestalk around the corner to see what was going on out there. The Nazis had apparently decided to get out of the open, because none of them were visible from his hiding place behind the cabinets.
 
That was when the grenade landed at his feet, and moments later, everything was all sound and fury, signifying an explosion.
 
------------------------------
 
Doctor Cecil Bright knew nothing of the previously described events. What he knew was that there was a vaguely humanoid lobster on his operating table that he'd just managed to stabilize by some miracle. The fact that the lobster's shell was harder than any stone he'd ever felt was probably a contributing factor. The lobster-man had suffered massive trauma from some directed concussive force, major burns, and further blunt injuries presumably resulting from falling debris. There'd been some kind of explosion at the Metro State University library, and the EMTs that arrived on the scene found exactly zero ordinary people, one presumably-PE lobster person buried under a pile of rubble, and zero trace of the perpetrators. Not that they were going to investigate a crime--they were EMTs, not cops.
 
Under ordinary circumstances, Cecil wouldn't investigate crimes either, but then, he didn't have to stop a lobster from dying of internal bleeding every day, either.  His anatomy was...perplexing, to say the least. It was like a regular person wearing a lobster. There were still bones and blood and humanoid organs inside, in proper human places, but the epidermal layer had metamorphosed into a crustacean carapace, the hands had enlarged into gargantuan claws, the eyes protruded from the head on stalks...
 
Ugh. As interesting as lobster man's biology might be, something made Cecil feel slightly ill about analyzing his powers this way. Probably had to do with that whole AEGIS thing. Thinking about PEs as science projects, or even just phenomena to be studied...he couldn't do it. Not even in passing.
 
"Doctor Bright!"
 
One of the surgical nurses was calling for him down the hallway. "Hm? Can I help you with something, Graham?"
 
The nurse shifted a bit. "Uh. Captain Crustacean is awake."
 
"Wait, really?" He'd nearly been dead an hour ago, and now he was conscious?
 
"He's threatening to leave AMA if we don't put him in touch with a CAPE representative of some kind. I know you're not...well, not a..." Graham paused. "Handler? Is that the word?"
 
"PEs registered with CAPE don't have handlers." Cecil pushed his glasses up his nose and frowned a bit. 
 
"Would you go talk to him anyway? Please?"
 
------------------------------
 
Somehow, Cecil had lost the phone number for the most influential and visible PE hero he knew, but fortunately his phone book was still full of A-listers. It was just a matter of picking someone level-headed and well-connected. 
 
Hmm.
 
Which was why he sent the following text message:
 
Text from Cecil Bright (555-362-5448) to Sable: Did you know that the Metro State University main library was robbed by Nazis last night?

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#2 Sable

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 03:42 PM

Sable had woken up not long before receiving the text. She was in civilian clothes, for once. That was a rarity lately, now that she was on leave from the University. She spent most of her time wearing her uniform under a lab coat, working with Rom.

 

Not that she really needed to wear her uniform for that. But it was...not more comfortable, exactly, but more *right*. She was Sable when she was in costume, not Valeria. When was the last time she'd even thought that name? They called her that and "Dr. Tarasova" when she was at the lab, but the more time she spent away from it, the weirder that seemed. She was Sable. Dr. Valeria Tarasova was someone else.

 

Well, whoever she was, she was taking a day off today. She had learned over the years that without regular physical activity, she got irritable and her effectiveness in the lab decreased. Her therapist had taught her the term "self-care," and she was finally starting to get used to the idea.

 

So she'd patrol today, and probably hit the gym as well. But right now, she was sitting on the couch watching cartoons. That was self-care, too. And Adventure Time was great.

 

And then she got a text about Nazi robbers. Well. That could end up being a better workout than the gym. Was it bad to think about crimes in those terms? She'd have to talk to her therapist about the ethics of eagerly anticipating kicking Nazis in the face.

 

Text from Sable to Cecil: No I did not. What did they take?


"And they said that I'm not actually technically human. I'm about as far-removed as...maybe a Neanderthal. And they told me that he rewrote some of my junk DNA with a recognizable pattern that he uses in a lot of his work. He signed me."

Characters: Ace | The Allergist | Jennifer Bryans | Sable | Luna | Coll

#3 Cecil Bright

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 12:41 PM

It was the obvious question to ask, he supposed.
 
Text from Cecil Bright to Sable: Don't actually know. Maybe maps? Scrolls?
 
He thought for a moment, then added a follow-up.
 
Text from Cecil Bright to Sable: Captain Crustacean told me.

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#4 Sable

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 02:26 PM

What? Scrolls? Were there scrolls in the campus library? Sable spent most of her time there in the science sections, where there certainly were not scrolls, so she wasn't entirely certain that the idea was as ridiculous as it sounded, but...seriously. Why would there be scrolls?

 

She didn't know Captain Crustacean personally, but she'd heard the name. The little she knew about him didn't say much about his reliability one way or the other.

 

Why was Cecil texting her about this? It wasn't like they habitually chatted. Did he need her to track someone down? Was he just assuming that where there were Nazis doing inexplicable things, there must also be mad science? This sounded like the beginning of a wild goose chase, but...well, he'd been right about AEGIS.

 

Text from Sable to Cecil: Don't know him personally. What can I do?


"And they said that I'm not actually technically human. I'm about as far-removed as...maybe a Neanderthal. And they told me that he rewrote some of my junk DNA with a recognizable pattern that he uses in a lot of his work. He signed me."

Characters: Ace | The Allergist | Jennifer Bryans | Sable | Luna | Coll

#5 Cecil Bright

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 06:27 PM

Cecil stared at his phone for a second. This wasn't really his area of expertise, although he supposed it made sense that Sable would ask such a thing. What can I do? She would expect him to have a plan, or at least some kind of suggestion, wouldn't she?
 
The trouble was that he wasn't sure he did.
 
Text from Cecil to Sable: Don't know. Uh. Hero stuff? Come to the hospital to talk to him. Check out the "crime scene." Phone a friend.
 
There wasn't really enough to go on here for Cecil to activate the almighty Nick Temin phone tree, but at least he was getting the word out to somebody who would follow-up on the Mysterious Case of the Nazis at the Library.

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#6 Sable

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 11:39 PM

Text from Sable to Cecil: Oh, sorry. Guess I'm just used to you being the man with the plan. I'll head to CAPEcare to check it out. Will you meet me there?

 

Weird. Trouble didn't usually land in her lap like this. Usually she had to go looking for it. But apparently she was the first to get the word about the Nazi library robbers.

 

Should she call someone else? Who? She went through the mental list--Rom was busy, Nick wouldn't appreciate the call, Ersatz might or might not be helpful here, and Boreas...well, if she decided she needed to call him, she'd try to finish the intel-gathering parts first. He wasn't exactly Captain Patience.

 

She put on her costume and headed out.


"And they said that I'm not actually technically human. I'm about as far-removed as...maybe a Neanderthal. And they told me that he rewrote some of my junk DNA with a recognizable pattern that he uses in a lot of his work. He signed me."

Characters: Ace | The Allergist | Jennifer Bryans | Sable | Luna | Coll

#7 Cecil Bright

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 05:25 PM

While Cecil was certainly capable of doing hero stuff in a pinch, he was really glad that he had the opportunity to call in someone who actually did this stuff semi-professionally. He'd obviously assist Sable and whoever else she was able to round up to the best of his ability, but the fact was that Cecil was not a "hands-on" kind of guy when it game to heroing, not unless there was no other choice.
 
Text from Cecil to Sable: Tell the front desk you're from CAPE and you're here to see Captain C. I have work to do, but I'll catch up with you as soon as I can.
 
Sable was greeted upon arrival by a receptionist who was clearly unfazed at the sight of random people in costume walking around the hospital. "Sable, right? Doctor Bright told me you were coming to see someone. Floor two, room C-224."
 
And thus Sable came face-to-face with the man identified as Captain Crustacean, who was currently sitting up in his hospital bed having some kind of disagreement with an orderly.
 
"I am fine, thanks, and I am going to leave as soon as I can. Do you know who I am?"
 
"Honestly," replied the orderly, "no."
 
Captain C scowled. "I'm..." He paused, evidently having noticed Sable in the doorway. "Captain Crustacean." He redirected his attention toward the newcomer. Here was somebody who could actually help him. Only superheroes ran around in costumes like that, except on Halloween or whatever. Finally. Somebody was taking this seriously.
 
"Please tell me you're here about the Nazis."

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#8 Sable

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 05:57 PM

"I am," Sable confirmed. She almost held out a hand to shake, but looked at his claws and thought better of it. "I'm Sable. What can you tell me about these Nazis, Captain?"

 

Nazis. Possibly stealing scrolls. Sometimes this city is a little too surreal.


"And they said that I'm not actually technically human. I'm about as far-removed as...maybe a Neanderthal. And they told me that he rewrote some of my junk DNA with a recognizable pattern that he uses in a lot of his work. He signed me."

Characters: Ace | The Allergist | Jennifer Bryans | Sable | Luna | Coll

#9 Cecil Bright

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 06:35 PM

"Finally," said Captain Crustacean. He waved a granite claw at the hospital orderly, shooing him out of the room and motioning for Sable to shut the door.
 
Captain Crustacean was...well, he wasn't in "full lobster" mode at the moment, which meant that despite the fact that his hands were enormous, stony lobster claws, the lithification got progressively less apparent as one traced the eye up toward his shoulders, where blue-gray rock transitioned into flesh. The rest of his torso was currently free of carapace. He did have long antennae protruding from his forehead despite the fact that his face bore no crustacean features whatsoever.
 
He really loved having antennae. They were excellent for conveying emotions and generally just fun.
 
Consequently, he waved them at Sable.
 
"How do I know I can trust you?"

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#10 Sable

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 07:11 PM

Sable sighed. That was what you got when you went around in all black, with black hair and a faint Russian accent. Suspicion.

"I can show you my CAPE ID," she offered. "There's also the fact that I'm here because Dr. Bright, who fixed you up, asked me to see what was happening. Or, if you think it's worth the wait, I can get Boreas the Wind-Weilder to vouch that I was part of the team that rescued Seraph."

That last part was added reluctantly. She wasn't a fan of name-dropping, and Boreas was bad enough without that kind of ego fuel.
"And they said that I'm not actually technically human. I'm about as far-removed as...maybe a Neanderthal. And they told me that he rewrote some of my junk DNA with a recognizable pattern that he uses in a lot of his work. He signed me."

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#11 Cecil Bright

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:01 PM

"That'll do."
 
This woman was rather fond of namedropping. Hey, this guy who saved your life? Hey, this famous superhero who was held hostage on television? Hey, this other famous superhero who has, like, a non-profit or something? Anyone could just throw those names around, but "the doctor who did your surgery specifically suggested I come talk to you" was pretty convincing. Considering that he'd demanded Doctor Bright get in touch with somebody who could do something about the Nazis...well, hopefully the surgeon had good judgment.
 
Yeah, she was trustworthy. Trustworthy enough.
 
"Three men in Nazi uniforms--and armed with weapons to match the part--robbed the Metro State University library last night. The bad news is that I have no idea what they stole, except that it looked like it was in scroll cases. Or something. Long tubes." Captain Crustacean coughed. "I'll be honest, I was so stunned that I was staring down what appeared to be a group of SS that I didn't handle things very well."
 
As was evident from the fact that he was lying in a hospital bed.

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#12 Sable

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:12 PM

"Yeah, that's not something you see every day," Sable agreed, blissfully unaware that she'd been deemed a name-dropper. "How organized did they look? Did it seem like they were going for specific things, or just grabbing stuff? If you had a chance to notice that kind of thing. I know how it can be, sometimes."

 

She sort of did, although her crimefighting methods were a little less happenstance than most people's. Stakeouts, advance planning, the monitoring of delicate situations...that was what she did. To the point that when she cut down her patrols to twice a week, she had managed to schedule things so that she was still making sure all of her targets were arrested after they'd created incriminating evidence but before they'd done any real harm. She didn't usually just stumble on Nazis.

 

But, you know. Professional solidarity and all that.


"And they said that I'm not actually technically human. I'm about as far-removed as...maybe a Neanderthal. And they told me that he rewrote some of my junk DNA with a recognizable pattern that he uses in a lot of his work. He signed me."

Characters: Ace | The Allergist | Jennifer Bryans | Sable | Luna | Coll

#13 Cecil Bright

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:55 PM

Captain Crustacean sighed. Here he was, talking to an A-list hero. From a hospital bed. After a Nazi grenade more or less went off in his face. And he really didn't even think he could provide her with particularly good information. He was getting relegated to B-list, maybe even C- or D-list. The shame of it was difficult to bear.
 
"Not really," he said, antennae drooping.
 
Hmm. Captain C perked up a bit. "Well, when I stumbled across them, they were arguing, I think. I don't speak German. But it was inferrable from tone, you know? One of them was definitely in charge of the others. There must be some Nazi command structure somewhere."
 
Thinking about it, it would be really weird if there were Nazis and no command structure. Anarcho-fascists? Did that even make any sense?

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#14 Sable

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 09:21 PM

"Interesting," Sable said. She was embarrassed to admit to herself that his antennae were sort of weirding her out. Usually she was more open-minded than that.

 

The fact that they were actually speaking German made it less likely that it had just been a bunch of punks stealing Jewish Studies textbooks. She wasn't sure what possibilities that left, though. Time travel? Really dedicated skinheads? Stealing what?

 

"I'll check with the University and see if I can find out what they stole," she told Captain Crustacean. She looked around and found a notepad, and wrote down the number to the slim flip-phone she'd kept on her since the time she'd been trapped in an ice cave. "Here's my number. Give me a call if you think of anything else that could be useful, okay?"


"And they said that I'm not actually technically human. I'm about as far-removed as...maybe a Neanderthal. And they told me that he rewrote some of my junk DNA with a recognizable pattern that he uses in a lot of his work. He signed me."

Characters: Ace | The Allergist | Jennifer Bryans | Sable | Luna | Coll

#15 Cecil Bright

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 06:07 PM

"Can do." Captain Crustacean frowned and wiggled his antennae a bit before one of his enormous lobster claws shrunk down and softened into an ordinary human hand.
 
"Hard to type with those things," he remarked as he entered Sable's number into his own cell phone.
 
-------------------------------------------
 
The library was currently cordoned off as a crime scene. Metro City police had set up a perimeter and were scouring the area for clues to the identity and intent of the vandals. Fortunately, Sable's ability to flash credentials at inquiring officers permitted her access to the area without a lot of fuss.
 
It was completely unsurprising that the library's basement was looking considerably worse for wear, like a small bomb had gone off in the room. Mostly because one had. The filing cabinets that Captain Crustacean had used for cover against small arms fire were dented and charred; books and papers had been reduced to ash or simply scattered from concussive force; and everyone involved was fortunate that the explosion had failed to take out any of the support joists, although scorch marks on the ceiling were evidence of the blast.
 
Sable's casual survey of the scene was interrupted by a man standing behind her and clearing his throat.
 
"Ma'am."

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#16 Sable

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 07:08 PM

As an academic, Sable was pained by the wanton destruction of books. It wouldn't be easy to tell what was missing just by looking. Maybe someone who worked here had been able to figure it out.

 

She turned to face the throat-clearer, CAPE ID at the ready. A crime involving Nazis and lobstermen was unlikely to be solved by the baseline police, but all police departments everywhere are "good ol' boys" havens, and she'd run into cops who didn't like the idea of some chick in a bathing suit stealing their case before.

 

"Can I help you?" she asked.


"And they said that I'm not actually technically human. I'm about as far-removed as...maybe a Neanderthal. And they told me that he rewrote some of my junk DNA with a recognizable pattern that he uses in a lot of his work. He signed me."

Characters: Ace | The Allergist | Jennifer Bryans | Sable | Luna | Coll

#17 Cecil Bright

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 09:46 PM

The man who had approached Sable was noir as noir could be. Which was to say that there was the definite possibility that his super-power, assuming he had one, was that he was a character from a classic detective film who had been given life and a three-dimensional texture. Statistically, of course, he was probably just a mundane cop plainclothes police inspector who really, really wanted to look the part. Slightly-rumpled white dress shirt, skinny yellow tie, brown plaid suit, matching fedora, tiny bit of beard stubble--about the same amount of stubbly black hair as was on the top of his head, actually. Little gold-framed sunglasses had been folded up and stuck in his breast pocket, their rims poking out above a partially-visible packet of cigarillos.
 
The icing on the cake was the tan trenchcoat, but maybe that was just something you were expected to wear.
 
He flashed a badge at Sable for a moment before returning it to his coat pocket.
 
"About to ask you the same." 

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#18 Sable

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 09:50 PM

"I'm investigating on behalf of CAPE and Captain Crustacean," Sable informed the man who looked like he was probably thinking of her as a 'leggy dame' or something. "Have the police made any findings that you can share with me?"

 

Sometimes she wished her costume was a little more "professional" or "businesslike." She kept trying to find some armor that would cover her exposed areas without compromising her mobility or stealth, but it wasn't easy.


"And they said that I'm not actually technically human. I'm about as far-removed as...maybe a Neanderthal. And they told me that he rewrote some of my junk DNA with a recognizable pattern that he uses in a lot of his work. He signed me."

Characters: Ace | The Allergist | Jennifer Bryans | Sable | Luna | Coll

#19 Cecil Bright

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 10:14 PM

Even if he was thinking "leggy dame," at least he couldn't possibly be thinking "hysterical dame."
 
"Detective Zeke Masters." He shrugged. "Tough to work out. Crustacean's account is most of what we have to go on at the moment. Three men robbed the place. Between the damage from the explosive and the fact that the library is huge, working out what they stole has been a challenge. High-traffic area, too. So physical evidence is unlikely to belong to the culprits. Not gonna find any enlightening hair or fiber."
 
Zeke cleared his throat. "The boys tell me that the explosion doesn't match most modern grenades. Not enough shrapnel. Lack of a 'fragmentation matrix.' Not the optimal choice for an anti-personnel weapon. Kinda old school, too. Actual straight up TNT, not a modern demolitions composition. Also, ballistics indicated that the bullets and casings we found on the scene were a bit...archaic. Seven-point-six-three millimeter. Not standard for any modern firearm. Still trying to get the full analysis done."
 
"You buy all that stuff about Nazis?"

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#20 Sable

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 11:02 PM

"I'm Sable," she said belatedly, realizing that the detective was actually being reasonably helpful. "And I'm not sure. Captain Crustacean has a solid record and didn't seem dazed or hysterical when I interviewed him. Seems like a lead worth following, at least. I've seen weirder things than Nazis." She shrugged.

 

"I assume your ballistics people will cross-reference with World War II-era weaponry, if they can? Captain Crustacean said that what they took was in tubes, and he thought they were scrolls. Does the library have anything matching that description?"

 

She made sure to continue calling him Captain Crustacean, because that was his chosen identity (just "crustacean" was even sillier) and because it was a quintessentially CAPE moniker. This is PE business.


"And they said that I'm not actually technically human. I'm about as far-removed as...maybe a Neanderthal. And they told me that he rewrote some of my junk DNA with a recognizable pattern that he uses in a lot of his work. He signed me."

Characters: Ace | The Allergist | Jennifer Bryans | Sable | Luna | Coll





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