Disclaimer: Never do an enemy a small injury

Eldritch

Howard got home, kicked off his boots and stripped off his work clothes on the way to the shower. He had three weeks off and he planned to spend it gaming and not leaving the apartment. Five minutes later Howard opened his refrigerator and blinked at its emptiness before he spotted the note. " I bought groceries last time so all the food is mine, asshole." Damn. It had been too awkward to get his spare key back from her when she was screaming insults on the way out the door and now it came back to bite him on the butt a month later. He stared forlornly at the note for a few moments before glancing out the window and confirming that, yes, the storm that had been brewing all day had gone from a light flurry to a full blown blizzard.

Fuck it, pizza it was.

Howard pulled his phone out of his pocket, flipped it open, and hit speed dial one. "Hello, I'd like to order two large . . . no, for delivery." Howard frowned when the call ended abruptly. Fine, Chinese it was. He had no more luck on speed dial two than he'd had on one and even less luck on three and four.

Howard's shoulders dropped. Giving up, he got dressed. A glance out the window confirmed that the storm had not gotten lessened a bit so he glanced around in hopes of finding something, anything that would help him endure the cold. Finally his eyes fell on the green, Cthulhu shaped balaclava his ex had given him the week before she'd decided that her life would be better without him in it. Fuck it, he decided, warmth is warmth. Who cared how stupid it made him look.

Fifteen minutes later he was sliding down the road and regretting his decision. He had no traction, visibility was shit, and his hands felt like chunks of ice since the heater was barely doing more than mostly keeping the window frost free.

Should have just gone hungry for a day, Howard lamented as his twenty year old accord hit a patch of ice and began to spin. He got five whole revolutions before there was a crunch and his car jumped as it ran over something.

"Please don't be a person, please don't be a person, please don't be a person!" Howard chanted as he ran towards the bloody lump in the road.

The man, his victim, was still breathing. He was also, Howard noted, shirtless and wearing a metal mask. Howard stumbled back in horror, what in the fuck was Lung doing in the middle of the road during a snow storm?

Howard slowly walked back to his car in a daze. What the fuck was he supposed to do now? What do you do if you almost kill the worst villain in the city? His breathing slowed as the answer came to him.

Howard opened the trunk and pulled out his tire iron. You finish the job, of course.

IIIIIIIIII

Oni Lee considered what he'd been told for several seconds before calmly drawing his pistol and shooting the group's leader in the head. The idea that Lung was dead was inconceivable, the fact that the men in front of them had abandoned their leader was unforgivable. The muzzle of his pistol turned to the next man.

"Wait!" the traitorous coward screamed. "Shouldn't Great Lung be the one to decide our punishments himself?"

Lee paused for several heartbeats until slowly his pistol lowered. There was merit to the deadman's words.

IIIIIIIIII

Howard tried to act naturally as he loaded enough items into the shopping cart to last him the next couple weeks. Best thing to do, he decided, was to continue on like nothing ever happened. He hadn't seen Lung, he hadn't hit Lung, and he'd certainly hadn't used his tire iron on the villain's head until it was a puddle. No one had seen him do it and no one could prove a thing.

The clerk was staring at him for some reason. As if she knew what he'd done. His heart began pounding in his chest. Nope! Howard reminded himself. No way she knew, likely just shocked that anyone would be stupid enough to brave the storm for a cart full of groceries. He just had to play it cool and get out as fast as possible.

She continued staring at him. He stared back, beginning to feel uncomfortable.

"Aren't you going to ring me up?"

"Yes, sir. Sorry sir." Neither said another word until she finished scanning his items. "That will be sixty seven dollars and forty nine cents, sir."

Howard reached for his wallet, reminding himself at the last minute to pay with cash. No one knew what happened on the way to the store and no one would ever know what happened on the way to the store, and the best ensure that was to avoid leaving any sort of paper trail that could prove that he was out when the thing that didn't happen happened. And to think he'd been annoyed at his ex's crime show addiction before she left him. "Here." He handed over four twenties and accepted his change shortly thereafter. "Wait."

"Sir?" her voice cracked.

"You gave me the wrong change." He held out his hand. "Should be two fives and two ones or a ten and two ones. You gave me a five and two ones."

"Sorry, sir." The clerk looked like she was on the verge of bursting into tears, must be new, Howard figured. "Here you go."

"Thanks."

He paused on the way out of the grocery store to consider the liquor shop which shared the building. Might be a good idea to get a bottle or two, just in case he needed some help relaxing after what hadn't happened. On second thought, he wasn't planning to go anywhere for at least three weeks so why not buy a selection? Wasn't like it'd go bad if he didn't drink it right away and it was always nice to have options.

IIIIIIIIII

PHO: Brockton Bay: New Cape?

Page 01 of 01

Ice Shipwright (Original Poster)

Cape I've never seen before just came into my work, villain I think based on his costume. He had a green monster squid thing mask. Was able to get a pic from one of the security cameras IMAGE anyone know him?"

CapeFAN99

Strange mask. What'd he do?

Lit-Prof

Looks like Cthulhu

Flake and Bake

Cth who lue?

Lit-Prof

HP Lovecraft LINK. Seems to support the original poster's belief that he's a villain.

CapeFAN99

I still wanna know what he did?

Ice Shipwright (Original Poster)

He bought a bunch of groceries. He paid with cash of course and I gave him the wrong change. I thought i was gonna die and maybe everyone in the store when he said I gave him a five and two one nota ten and two ones but he just said thanks and walked away when I gave him the rihgt change. Still shaking.

CapeFAN99

That's it? Ten bucks says that it's just some poser we'll never hear about again.

IIIIIIIIII

Howard was at his computer logging into World of Capes about seven seconds after he finished stowing his groceries ready for three weeks of leveling his character. Life was good. He rose and walked back to the kitchen to make himself a cocktail.

He took the first sip and sighed in contentment. Life was good and only getting better. Time to bust some skulls. His mind flashed back to the events that had taken place earlier that night. Time to fight some crime, he amended.

IIIIIIIIII

Miss Militia pulled her bike up to the cluster of cops and PRT agents and dismounted. Damn branding for insisting that it wouldn't look right to check out a fleet vehicle and vetoing her request to do so. She made a mental note to look into getting a themed vehicle with an enclosed cab and heating. At least her costume was heated thanks to Armsmaster. That was enough to reduce the potentially lethal exposure she experienced on the ride to merely severely uncomfortable.

"What do we got?"

"Lung," the lead agent said with poorly disguised pleasure. "Body's in pretty rough shape though how much of that was from the snow plow is a question the medical examiner will have to answer."

"Any obvious cause of death?"

"Too mangled to tell one way or the other," the PRT agent said calmly. "We pulled the tapes from the ATM across the street but didn't get much from them on account of the fact that the camera couldn't be lower quality and the incident happened in the middle of a blizzard. Big dark shape smacks into Lung and a figure comes back to make sure the job was done right."

Miss Militia nodded. "So two of them?"

"No way to tell. Looked like Lung was with a group so I got the boys out with orders to see if they can find someone that knows what happened."

The cape snorted. "Good luck."

The agent laughed. "I know they're not going to find anything and you know and they know but the director will have my ass if I leave any stones unturned."

"Right. Keep me posted." She mounted her bike.

"Checking out that cape sighting last night?"

"Yeah," Miss Militia agreed.

"What do you want to bet it's related?" the agent asked.

"No bet. There are no coincidences in this line of work."

IIIIIIIIII

Howard blinked at his monitor. Just how many drinks had he had last night? He'd had the strangest dream. He shook it off as unimportant when he saw that he was still logged in. Frantically, Howard checked to ensure that he hadn't done any irreparable damage to his character in his inebriated state. To his immense relief, he had not. He had however started an independent cape team with some Scion wannabe who called himself the 'Golden Warrior' which, come to think of it, explained the dream.

What to do now? Howard smiled as the thought came to him. Breakfast and since he was on leave he had the time to do it the right way.

Nothing better than pancakes, Howard thought to himself as he mixed the batter. A cup of self-rising flour, a cup of milk, a pinch of salt, a bit of sugar, a bit of vanilla, and one egg. Could anything be easier? He thought as he finished cooking his stack and then poured way too much maple syrup over his small tower.

No work, no girlfriend, and no responsibilities aside from finding out if his new teammate wanted to go raid a crack house or something.

IIIIIIIIII

Steve tried not to look nervous as he approached the only cape left in the gang. The man was a robot, he reminded himself, he was unlikely to fly off the handle for no reason.

He waited for the cape gave some sign of acknowledgment before he gave up and delivered his message anyway. "Sir, the PRT is reporting the death of our mighty leader." Mike began sweating. "Uh, no doubt that's a lie, sir. Do . . . do you want us to start looking for the dog that attacked our mighty leader?" Again, the cape gave no indication that he'd even heard him. "I'll . . . I'll let you know when we have something, sir." Steve bowed low and backed out of the room.

IIIIIIIIII

PHO: Brockton Bay: PRT-ENE-OFFICIAL Announcement

Page 01 of 11

PRT-ENE-Official (Original Poster)(Verified PRT)(Official Account)

The Parahuman Response Teams and the Protectorate are seeking any information the public might have regarding the murder of the parahuman known as Lung which took place last night at approximately Eight PM Eastern Standard Time. If you saw or heard anything please contact the PRT tip line at 555-PRT-TIPS. If the information you provide leads to an arrest and conviction you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to fifty thousand dollars.

Traveling Minotaur

Holy SHIT! Someone iced Lung?

Turtle Boat

Why the fuck are you looking for the person who did it? Better be to give them a fucking medal. Lung was a festering boil on the city which should have been lanced a long time ago.

Short Stop

Tell us how you really feel.

A Human

It is never good to celebrate the fact that a life was taken.

Turtle Boat

Tell that to the people that had their wives and daughters kidnapped by that goon and his thugs! Go to his territory if you dare and you'll see something funny; a good portion of the women and girls have burn marks on half their faces. You see, they'd take a hot iron and press it against one side in hopes that it would make them undesirable enough that they wouldn't be kidnapped and forced to work in a brothel or kidnapped and forced to become one of Lung's toys. Why don't you tell them that it's not good to celebrate the fact that the monster responsible is gone?

A Human

Two wrongs don't make a right.

A Short Fat Man

I think that's the point that was being made. Killing Lung wasn't a wrong. Killing Lung prevented a lot of wrongs.

Turtle Boat

I can't wait to piss on the fucker's grave!

IIIIIIIIII

The coroner's report was on Emily's desk when she came in that morning and it made for some interesting reading. Lung had, apparently, been beaten to death. Two possibilities stood out to her and she wasn't sure which she should be hoping for; a power nullifier or a brute that was at least on par with Alexandrea.

The director's fingers drummed on her desk as she considered her next move. Information, she decided. She hated to rely on parahumans but this situation seemed to be tailor made for the Think Tank.

Emily thumbed her intercom button. "Send what we've got on the Lung case to the thinkers and notify Washington that we may need Triumvirate level support to deal with this new cape."

"Yes, director."

"Armsmaster here yet?"

"He just came in, director."

"Send him in," she ordered.

The second greatest tinker in the world strolled in without uttering a single pleasantry. "I have completed my analysis of the footage we recovered. I believe the individual that killed Lung was the same individual that was later seen buying groceries. They appear to be approximately the same height, weight, and body type. Additionally, the first incident occurred approximately one point seven five two miles away from the second incident and the time elapsed between the two incidents-"

Emily held her hand up. "I'll take your word for it. Any idea of what his powers might be?"

"With the understanding that this is pure speculation on my part, I believe that he is a changer. The footage of the Lung incident showed a large shape followed by a humanoid shape. When one combines that with the subject's chosen costume-"

"You think he can turn into an elder god?"

"A form that resembles the literary character anyway," Armsmaster agreed. "Hopefully not with the same powers."

"Now that's a horrifying thought, isn't it?" Piggot pinched the bridge of her nose.

IIIIIIIIII

PHO: Brockton Bay: Lung's Death

Page 12 of 12

CapeFAN99

Okay, I just realized that there was a new cape spotted in the same area and around the same time as Lung's death LINK

So at the time I said the guy was probably a poser because all he did was buy a few things and leave. Now I'm not so sure, kind of a large coincidence isn't it? I mean, was there a cape in town that could have killed Lung? I say no, if they could have then they would have already.

Sloopy

Alright, you've convinced me that it's a possibility. Now to a more important subject! Namely, what do we call the Lung Slayer?

LINK to the thread I made to discuss it. Might as well keep this thread on topic.

IIIIIIIIII

Howard was impressed with his new teammate, it was like the guy had an instinctive understanding of how powers worked. Dude sucked at using them though, man had no imagination at all. Still, they'd both managed to do a bunch of leveling until his teammate had insisted on dropping out to read the message boards.

Meh, it was time to get something to eat anyway. If Golden Warrior wanted to do more leveling after he'd eaten cool and if not he could always go solo.

Howard checked the clock and was surprised at how late it was. No wonder he was hungry, he'd skipped lunch. Now then, what to have?

Deciding to get tomorrow's breakfast taken care of while he contemplated the matter, Howard flipped on the kettle and started chopping up some strawberries. He had potatoes and leeks so maybe potato leek soup? He tossed the strawberries and a quarter cup of oats into a pan and added a bit of boiling water to the pan and then a bit more to a thermos to warm it up. Leek and Potato soup sounded good, he thought to himself. Especially with the weather, nothing beat a warm soup on a cold day. He took the pan off the heat, dumped the water in the thermos and replaced it with the contents of the pan plus a couple packets of powdered creamer and he had tomorrow's breakfast ready.

Mind made up on what he wanted for tonight's dinner, Howard went to work peeling and chopping the potatoes and leeks. A heavy pan, a bit of butter, a bit of salt, pepper, chicken stock, and time and he'd have dinner ready.

Howard opened the cabinet to pull out a bottle for his evening cocktail and was shocked to find that he was completely out of liquor. That's funny, he could have sworn he'd bought more the night before? Then again, it had been stressful after . . . after what had happened. Maybe he'd forgotten? No way he could have drunk the amount the pile of empty bottles suggested in one night and still be above ground.

"Should cut back if I've got this many dead soldiers," he muttered to himself. No way was he going out to buy more. Food was one thing but he'd start to feel like a lush if he went out to buy booze in a blizzard.

Howard was half way back to his desk when he came to a realization. "Must have left them in the car," he laughed. That or Shannon had snuck in again. He made a mental note to be sure to put the chain on the door as he pulled on the surprisingly warm Cthulhu balaclava.

The cold and wind hit him like a wall the second he left the shelter of his building. Thank god he didn't have to go out in this. Howard tried to hurry to his car and was happy to see a bag from the package store waiting on his passenger seat. Made him feel a bit better about his memory until he saw that it held half of what he remembered buying.

Howard didn't notice the group of men watching him as he scurried back into the safety of his apartment complex and likely wouldn't have thought much of it if he did. He didn't have any enemies, aside from his ex. What did he have to fear?

He went back upstairs to find a message from Golden Warrior asking about women and how to deal with loss.

Information Requested: How do you deal with the loss of your mate?

Guy really took his Scion role play seriously, Howard thought in amusement. Sure the cape was silent in real life, but that'd just get annoying to deal with in the game. Talking like some sort of robot was a great compromise.

Games. Reality sucks so I found a better world to spend my time in.

Clarification Requested: You believe this simulation to be a replacement for your mate?

Better. This simulation doesn't yell at me, doesn't cheat on me, won't leave me, and doesn't steal from me.

Gratitude: I shall consider your words.

Glad to be of help, buddy.

Howard hit send and made himself a long overdue cocktail. Let's see, looked like his teammate had gone to the arena to watch the cape fights after their conversation, meaning that the other player was unlikely to leave it for several hours at least. He'd been confused at first before coming to the realization that his teammate likely just left his character there when he wasn't actively playing. Bit odd that he never logged out, but who was he to judge?

Looked like there was an endbringer event happening in a few minutes, he noted. The fact that the disasters could and normally were soundly defeated in the game made it a much more enjoyable occurrence than would have been the case in real life.

An odd clanging sound caused Howard to rise from his desk and cautiously approach the window it had come from.

IIIIIIIIII

PHO: Brockton Bay: What do we call the new cape?

Page 11 of 15

Lovecrafty

I think it's clear that there's only one thing we can call him: Eldrich.

Look at his mask, it's clearly inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft but it's not Cthulhu. Resembles him, yes, but a true fan can see the details that show that it's a completely original character.

All Hail Eldrich! The cape that saved the town from Lung!

Flick'um'beanus

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? God I hope that he's at least a bit better than the dragon was. Fucker's the reason I took a hot iron to my face when I started to grow breasts and I'm not the only girl in on of that fucker's neighborhood's that did the same. That would be every one of us that didn't want to become an employee in one of his 'places of business' or worse, one of his 'toys.' May he rest in piss!

IIIIIIIIII

Lee observed the target through the target's window as he formulated his plan.

Step one: teleport over.

Step two:leave a clone.

Step three: shoot the window out.

Step four: throw grenade through broken window.

Step five: teleport back and leave a new clone.

Step six: new clone shoots target in the head.

The enforcer pulled a grenade off his harness and pulled the pin before drawing his pistol. With no hesitation he teleported to the fire escape. The plan went off the rails when Oni Lee hit a patch of ice and went off the fire escape, hitting his head just hard to daze him as he went over. The grenade went off three seconds after he hit the ground.

IIIIIIIIII

Howard heard an explosion from the alley and automatically reached over to draw the curtains. It was never a good idea to take too much interest in a cape fight. Too much chance that one of the combatants would see you and decide to take offense for some stupid reason. The curtain wouldn't stop a bullet but it would, hopefully, stop any cape from seeing him and deciding that he wasn't minding a sufficient enough amount of his own business. After a moment of thought he decided to strap on his homemade plate carrier as well. The dockworkers had cut the plates out of old ship hulls and he had high hopes that they'd at least be effective against small arms fire. Hopefully it wasn't fifty dollars wasted.

Howard gave a heavy sigh. Not for the first time he considered moving to another city and not for the first time he reminded himself that the rent would be higher and the state of public order would at best be slightly better.

IIIIIIIIII

Shinichiro Yamada's draw dropped when he saw the ABB's chief enforcer die to what appeared to be an accident.

"We need to check him."

Steve gasped. "We gotta get the fuck outta here is what we gotta do."

"We gotta make sure he's not still alive," Shinichiro disagreed. "Steve, think how bad it would be for us if we left him there and he survived."

"His head is about three feet away from his body. I don't think we've got anything to worry about aside from the fact that we came here with him to murder a cape in his home and so we need to get the fuck out of here right fucking now so that cape doesn't decide to make a clean sweep."

"Yeah," Shinichiro agreed. They were five blocks away before he had his next thought. "Uh . . . what do we do now? Should we tell the boss what happened?" He wasn't sure who that was at the moment, but he wasn't expected to think.

"No." Steve shot that idea down immediately. "We're going to go see your grandfather and we're going to tell him everything we saw and we're going to let him do the thinking for us."

Shinichiro nodded, that sounded reasonable. He was glad Steve was along, guy wasn't much good in a fight but he always knew what to do.

Shinichiro's grandfather didn't say a word when they arrived on his doorstep, choosing merely to wave them in to the sitting room.

"Would you boys care for tea?" the old man asked.

Steve answered first. "We would be delighted, sir, thank you." He elbowed Shinichiro before his best friend could utter a word.

"Have a seat," the old man ordered.

Steve did so and he soon had a handleless cup filled with green tea siting in front of his place. "Thank you, sir."

"Of course, Steven. I am pleased to see that you have chosen to continue your friendship with my grandson after your graduation from high school."

"Thank you, sir. Someone needs to keep him out of trouble."

The old man nodded. "Shinichiro, how is your sister?"

"Sakura is doing well in school," Shinichiro said, trying to copy the way his best friend spoke. One thing he'd learned in the nearly twenty years the two of them had known each other was that it was always safe to follow Steve's lead.

"Wonderful. Has she maintained her interest in young Steven?"

"Yes, granddad. She says she's going to marry him the second she graduates high school."

The old man took a sip of his tea. "What do you think of that, Steven?"

"I think, considering tonight's events, that she may have better options when the time comes, sir."

The old man gave his son's friend the full weight of his attention. "What events?"

"Oni Lee is dead, sir. He did not survive his attempt on the person we believe was responsible for ending Lung."

The corner of the old man's mouth twitched up. "Who knows this news?"

"Assuming no one has discovered the body? The three of us, sir. You were the first one we came to after we saw what happened."

"You did the correct thing, Steven."

"Thank you, sir."

"How did Oni Lee die?" the old man asked calmly.

"Telekinesis maybe?" Shinichiro stated confidently.

The old man raised an eyebrow. "Steven?"

"Looked like he slipped on a patch of ice," Steve answered. "I did not see any evidence that a power was used but I'm not sure what I would have seen if the new cape used telekinesis or probability manipulation or something similar."

"I see." The old man's attention appeared to be entirely on his tea mug. "How many people do you know that you can trust? Boys such as yourselves that were forced into the gang and did not develop a taste for rape and murder?"

Steve considered the question. "Enough, I think, if we still have surprise on our side."

The old man nodded. "Report back to me after the deed has been done."

"Yes, sir." Steve rose to his feet.

Shinichiro looked at his grandfather and then at his friend and then rose to his feet. "What are we doing?"

"Following the new boss' orders," Steve replied as he started towards the exit.

"Oh. Okay." That was good, it meant that they were doing what they were supposed to. Shinichiro wondered why Steve hadn't just said so in the first place.

IIIIIIIIII

Armsmaster was the first member of the Protectorate on scene when they got the call informing them that a body believed to be that of Oni Lee was found.

"Could be an accident?" the lead investigator said doubtfully. "State sent someone from the bomb squad, she recons that it was one of his own grenades that did him in."

Colin turned to look at the crime scene. The explosion that had ended the villain's life had occurred within six to thirteen inches of the now deadman. "Do we have anything else?"

"Coroner said it looked like he'd been roughed up before he died but that it may have been from a fall. Evidence seems to point to the idea that he fell off a roof, dropped a grenade, and died. We're still working on finding a camera or a witness to confirm that."

Colin checked the data from his sensors, there was nothing to contradict the man's theory. "What do you think?"

"Odd stuff like this happens sometimes, but . . . well, not right after someone ices Lung, right? There's gotta be more to this than we're finding."

"I concur." Armsmaster made another sweep of the crime scene. "Be sure that I am sent copies of everything."

IIIIIIIIII

PHO: Brockton Bay: Oni Lee's Dead

Page 01 of 12

DisposableThrowAway ABXED (Original Poster)

Oni Lee's been found dead. At first look I'd say someone roughed him up a bit, threw him off a building, and detonated one of his bombs right next to him. PRT thinks it's the same guy that zapped Lung, the one in the horror mask. Ask me no questions, this is my one and only post on this subject.

Coxswain

New cape doesn't waste any time, does he?

Metal Face

And the ABB is no more. Good riddance.

Flick'um'beanus

I am having a hard time keeping myself from feeling hope. It is fortunate that I am able to distract myself with my elation over the fact that fucker number two is dead. Hopefully the new guy is territorial or we're going to start having Empire trouble. Still, can't be worse than Lung either way.

IIIIIIIIII

Mike was at the gate when the cargo truck pulled up to the Dockworker's compound. He hit the button to wake up his overwatch the moment he got a look at the driver.

A man got out of the passenger side of the truck and stopped a polite distance away from the guard shack. "Good evening, I would like to arrange a fishing charter."

Mike's jaw tightened. "For how many?" Sure it was one of the things that kept the Dockworkers going, but he hated the fact that they were supporting the gangs.

"Fifteen to start with, at least fifty more to come."

Mike nodded in resignation. "You know the price?"

"I do but I was hoping to negotiate a bulk rate." The man smiled. "I would also like to arrange a meeting with your boss on behalf of my employer."

Mike's heart stopped. "Regarding?"

"The possibility that our two organizations might build a closer relationship in the future."

"We're neutral," Mike said instantly. "We don't join gangs and we don't ally with them."

The man nodded. "Which is why my new manager has asked me to arrange a sit down. The fishing trip is severance for several now former employees who did not agree with the direction new management is going. We are hoping to go in a direction more similar to your organization's rather than the one chosen by previous management."

The man produced a business card and handed it over. "Ignore the front, my number is written on the back. Please tell your management that I am available for a call at any time day or night unless I am on one of your boats helping run the fishing charter for our former employees."

Mike nodded, that was different. "No service off the continental shelf." He scratched his chin. "Who should they ask for?" Hopefully it wasn't another ham fisted attempt to steal the Dockworker's independence.

"Tell them to ask for Steve," the man stated.

"Will do."

IIIIIIIIII

Emily went from relaxed to instantly alert when her doorbell rang. Who in the fuck would bother her at home without calling ahead first?

She clicked the intercom button. "Who is it?"

"Wok This Way with a delivery for E. Piggot," the teenager on the other side reported.

"I didn't order anything."

"It's already been paid for including tip, ma'am."

"Put it on the doormat," the director ordered.

The teen shrugged and complied, walking away without a word. Piggot focused on the readings from the tinker tech sensors concealed in the floor beneath the doormat. The box contained an order of spring rolls, an order of fried rice, a piece of paper, and six USB drives.

The director snorted in amusement as she pulled out her phone. Including the tip indeed. "It's me. I want a forensic team at my apartment right now."

The report on the incident was ready when she arrived in her office the next morning and one of her aides was standing by to deliver it the second she finished her first cup of coffee.

"What was the take?" the director asked while signaling for a refill.

"Looks like everything Lung had on the other gangs, every one of Lung's contacts outside the city, and a list of stash houses formerly owned by Lung." Her aide looked up. "Intel thinks it's from the new parahuman. They're not sure if it's a peace offering or a declaration that he's moving the gang in another direction."

"Did any of the stash houses contain money or weapons?"

Her aid shook his head. "No, ma'am."

"Then it's not a peace offering."

"No, ma'am," her aide agreed.

"Any good news for me?"

"We believe that we've broken the identity of the new parahuman, ma'am."

Emily smiled. "I trust that paper is an authorization form to send in a black bag team just waiting for my signature?"

"Yes, ma'am."

She opened her desk and pulled out her special pen, the one she used every time she was going to really put the boots to someone. "Hand it over." She handed the document back.

AN: Thought it might be fun to write a story about one of the many ordinary citizens of Brockton Bay.

Scenes by Luan Mao