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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Jun 2014

    Default WHAT IF? Marvel/X-MEN

    Issue #1 WHAT IF? Tai Babysat for the Venom Symbiote

    Spoiler: Parent Threads
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    Spoiler: Spoiler Warning
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    Venom First Host
    The Poison Saga and the bits leading up to it (possibly)



    There was a knock at the door. Eddie and his other were both expecting it, so the unfamiliar teenage girl waiting in the hall was no surprise.

    Hello, Mr. Brock!” The young mutant’s somewhat uncanny gaze dropped from Eddie’s face to his shirt. “Hello, Mr. Brock’s friend! I’m Tai.

    Not sure about her Eddie.

    Eddie wasn’t terribly sure about Tai either. It wasn’t that she seemed like a bad kid, there was just something…off about her. She was a little too guileless for a kid her age. Too friendly, that was the problem; he would expect someone meeting him and his other to be a little wary, maybe suspicious or even afraid…Tai didn’t seem to realize she was supposed to be any of those things. Eddie was already having second thoughts about kind-of-sort-of blackmailing the Institute into sending someone…

    But the list of people willing to babysit for an ex-supervillain was very short. And it got shorter when you factored in that the ‘baby’ wasn’t human. So unless they wanted to leave the kid alone by itself again…

    No! Can’t leave the little one alone. Might get hurt.

    So Eddie motioned her inside anyway. Tai peered around with every evidence of interest, though there wasn’t much to see; the apartment wasn’t that big, and was a little run down. “You can put your stuff there,” Eddie made a vague motion in the direction of the ‘gym’ corner of his apartment, where all the weights were currently scattered somewhat haphazardly.

    The teenager complied without a word, dropping her backpack with a thud, still gazing about as though she were in an art museum—then spotted the ten gallon tank by the window and made a beeline for it.

    Is this the baby?” Tai peered into the tank, her nose coming within inches of the baby symbiote. “What’s its name?

    Don’t touch it. It doesn’t have a name yet.

    Oh.” Tai, undeterred, held a hand up to the glass and greeted it in a cheerful voice: “Hello, little baby ooze monster! I’m Tai.

    He was having third thoughts now. Eddie tugged her gently away from the tank. “We have some things to go over with you before we go.

    These,
    ” Eddie held up a large bag of M&Ms “are for the baby.” He reminded himself he was talking to a teenager and added, “Only for the baby. Don’t feed it anything else. Don’t touch the baby under any circumstances, you’ll hurt it.” That was an exaggeration; he and his other had both done their best to impress on the infant that it was not to go bonding with the babysitter or anyone else without their prior approval…but there was no sense in tempting the little one. “No loud noises either, same reason.” He wondered if he really needed to bring up the prohibition on fire, and when his other prodded him decided he did. “Nothing burning or hot.

    Tai nodded along with all of this, expression serious, though the excessive degree of head-bobbing was undermining Eddie’s confidence rather than reinforcing it. “When does the baby go to bed?

    No later than 8, and make sure it eats before then. We should be back by 10 o’clock, but if we’re not, you can sleep on the couch. You can have anything in the fridge except the booze, just clean up whatever mess you make. Anything happens, you have our number.” Technically, it was the Institute’s number, as they were paying the bills on it, but after the mess the X-Men had gotten he and his other into Eddie hadn’t felt the least bit guilty about blackmailing a phone out of them in addition to the occasional babysitting services. “Anything else? No? Then we’ll see you in a couple of hours. Keep an eye on the kid.

    And now well on to fourth and fifth thoughts, Eddie stepped out and shut the door behind him, trying to suppress the wave of apprehension that immediately followed – and then realized most of it wasn’t his.

    The kid’ll be fine.

    Sorry, Eddie!

    ----------------

    The door finally closed with a thud.

    They’re gone.

    Sleeper was a little annoyed. The baby symbiote had already successfully bonded to a host – bonded to two hosts – gone into space, and helped save not only their Klyntar parent but both the aforementioned hosts from an unhinged Kree war criminal. And yet despite these accomplishments, both parents had decided not only was Sleeper ‘not ready’ for a little more in the way of personal freedoms, but that they apparently weren’t safe enough at Alchemax. So now Sleeper spent all of their time in their parents’ apartment, either under Venom’s excessively-watchful gaze or alone, without even the occasional entertainment they had been getting from watching the humans at the lab drop off to sleep mid-sentence during their ‘experiments’ with the pheromones they produced.

    Their parents still wouldn’t even let them out of the fish tank!

    And now this latest indignity; the ‘babysitter.’ Neither parent wanted them to remain unwatched when Venom was out doing superhero business, so Eddie had called up the X-Men’s Institute and arranged for a student to keep an eye on them while Venom was out. It was unfortunately perfectly in line with the rest of their parents’ overprotective behavior. It was nevertheless galling.

    Something had to be done.

    ----------------

    Tai watched the door shut with a degree of uncertainty. She still didn’t know why the professors hadn’t wanted her to babysit for Mr. Brock; he and his friend seemed nice. And for some reason no one else had wanted to, and of course it wouldn’t have been very good to leave the baby by itself, she was reasonably sure parents weren’t supposed to do that. But that wasn’t immediately important; the more pressing issue was that she wasn’t sure what to do with the baby now that she was alone with it.

    To be fair, she wouldn’t have been entirely sure what to do with a human baby either; for some reason there never had been many people who had wanted her to watch their children. But she’d done a little reading when she found out she was going to be babysitting, and none of it really matched up with what she’d been told to do.

    Mr. Brock hadn’t mentioned anything about diapers or a potty…or if the baby needed its teeth brushed before it went to bed (did baby symbiotes have teeth?)…and she hadn’t remembered to ask Mr. Brock if it needed a bath, which she should have, she’d read an article about infant drowning risks before she came over...

    Mr. Brock had said to keep an eye on it though, maybe that was supposed to be a hint? Tai wandered over to go peer at the baby again, maybe she’d figure something out.
    Last edited by Kareeah_Indaga; 2019-06-28 at 01:17 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Jun 2014

    Default Re: X-MEN: New Generation WHAT IF?

    Issue #1 WHAT IF? Tai Babysat for the Venom Symbiote con’t

    Sleeper missed having a host’s eyes and ears; they weren’t deaf, unbonded, but it was a lot harder to make out words. Likewise they could see, but unless they formed an eye out of their substance nothing was detailed or clear. Right now they could tell the human was standing over their tank mostly by the smell of her sweat and breath, with the dark pillar that was her body a decidedly secondary cue, and as close as she was they might be able to understand her if she said anything.

    You’re a cute little goo ball.

    …then again, maybe Sleeper was better off not being able to understand most of what the babysitter said.

    You don’t have any toys,” the human observed from that indistinct point overhead. “I’ll go find you some!

    Oh this should be good.

    ----------------

    Tai examined the apartment with an eye to what might constitute a symbiote toy. It wasn’t a very big apartment: most of it was one room, with a bed, couch, kitchenette, old television and a set of weights stashed in a corner. There was a closet, and a bathroom with a tub. Everything was worn, old, or both; there were even large chunks missing from the ceiling and walls. (She hoped the Institute wasn’t charging Mr. Brock very much for her babysitting, it didn’t look like whatever it was he and his friend did paid very much.) There was also astonishingly little in the closet in the way of clothes, and most of that dusty – but it occurred to Tai that if his friend was pretending to be clothing most of the time, maybe Mr. Brock didn’t need more than that. And it looked like there had been at least one fight in here…

    But she didn’t see anything that was obviously intended to be a toy for the baby.

    So that left improvising! Tai started digging around to see what might make good toys.

    Spoiler: Rolling to Cleverly Overcome an Obstacle – No Toys for the Baby! Moderate difficulty (+0)
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    (4d3)[3][1][2][2](8)-6

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Default Re: X-MEN: New Generation WHAT IF?

    Issue #1 WHAT IF? Tai Babysat for the Venom Symbiote con’t

    Spoiler
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    I believe that’s a success…


    The human was taking a long time. Sleeper considered the walls of their tank seriously; normally they weren’t supposed to leave the tank when they were alone. If they snuck out their parents would find out; that was the problem with being a mildly telepathic species, lying to your parent was difficult, and Sleeper atypically had two.

    But it had occurred to them that on this occasion, someone was home, it just wasn’t their parents…and even if their parents disapproved after the fact, the odds were reasonable they’d blame the babysitter rather than Sleeper…and since she didn’t seem to be putting much effort into watching them anyway she—

    —Oh wait, she was coming back.

    ----------------

    Tai brought her spoils back to the baby’s tank and set them on the bed. She had a long piece of string – she thought cats liked string, she hoped baby symbiotes did too – a set of salt and pepper shakers, which now that she’d twisted the caps shut should make passable rattles – some paper and a pencil from her pack, though she wasn’t entirely sure if the baby could draw, not having hands – and last but not least a paper towel roll, after she recalled a Youtube video she’d seen involving a hedgehog.

    Spoiler: Rolling to Cleverly Create the Advantage ‘Are You Not Entertained?!’ Fair difficulty (+2)
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    (4d3)[1][2][3][2](8)-6

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Default Re: WHAT IF? Marvel/X-MEN

    Issue #1 WHAT IF? Tai Babysat for the Venom Symbiote con’t

    Something descended into their tank with them.

    Hi little baby symbiote. Do you want to play?

    Sleeper didn’t, exactly. They strongly suspected the babysitter’s idea of ‘play’ would be terribly inane. But Sleeper reasoned that any mental stimulation was better than sitting there doing nothing, so they tried to focus on the babysitter anyway.

    Whatever-it-was twitched. They could just barely detect the movement; it didn’t have much mass. The thing didn’t smell like a host, so it wasn’t alive, and hadn’t been any time recently.

    Just curious enough not to ignore the human, Sleeper extended a tendril to try to determine what it was the girl was holding. The human in question bobbed it up and down a little once more, obviously trying to entice them to ‘play.’

    Organic fibers…plant material…it was a piece of cotton string.

    What exactly are we supposed to do with this???

    Annoyed, Sleeper yanked hard. The girl tugged back a little but she obviously wasn’t expecting them to be as strong as they were and she lost her grip on the string in short order. Sleeper expected her to try to reclaim it to resume the ‘game’ but from what they could make out of her stance she seemed hesitant to do so. They didn’t think it was fear; the human hadn’t acted the least intimidated when she’d jammed her nose in their tank earlier, nor was she giving off the right combination of scents.

    After what they perceived as an awkward pause, they noted the human moving again. There was something in her hand now, a darker blot against the skin. She shook it, a very deliberate gesture (it sounded like it had sand in it) and set it within easy reach. “Do you want to play with this?

    Sleeper didn’t even have to touch the new object to figure out what it was; the smell was very pungent. Pepper. It was a pepper shaker. What does she think we are, soup? They threw the hapless spice canister away from themselves to relay their disgust.

    No? You don’t like it?

    Obviously!

    To be fair to the human, Sleeper could have communicated this directly, via manipulating the girl’s brain chemistry. But at this point they didn’t have a great deal of faith that she’d pick up on it, and they were feeling sullen enough about having the babysitter in the first place not to bother trying.

    The pepper shaker was removed and shortly thereafter replaced by what Sleeper recognized by sound alone was a sheet of paper. Followed by the light clink and gentle rolling sound of what Sleeper quickly discovered was a pencil.

    Maybe you want to draw???

    She was persistent, Sleeper would give her that. They pondered for a moment if they should throw the pencil away too, but it was becoming increasingly clear the babysitter was at least trying to fulfill her responsibilities, and this wasn’t so insulting as the previous attempts. But they hadn’t really considered themselves artistic before. Maybe…

    ----------------

    Tai watched the baby with a little anxiety. It didn’t seem to like most of her ‘toys’ and she was a little at a loss as to what she could try if none of these worked. Complicating the matter were Mr. Brock’s instructions not to touch the baby and the fact that she didn’t know if choking hazards were a thing baby symbiotes needed to worry about since it didn’t look like the baby actually had a mouth. (But Mr. Brock had said she needed to feed it…Tai wasn’t sure how that was going to work.)

    But the baby goo monster had picked up the pencil in one of its blobby little tendrils and was making marks on the paper she’d left it, so Tai sighed a little with relief. The picture didn’t look like anything Tai recognized, didn’t really look like a picture at all now that she thought about it. More like writing. Maybe it was trying to write a story? She should have brought some books to read to it. She’d brought her Geology textbook, but was vaguely aware it was unsuitable bedtime story material…

    ----------------

    Sleeper entertained themself by trying to write some of the Skrull they’d picked up from their second host. They briefly formed an eye to judge the attempt, and deemed it passable taking into consideration that they didn’t have a host’s hands to write with. Readable anyway. Not that the babysitter would be likely to recognize it, much less understand it.

    They were almost done when they heard a pounding at the door. The babysitter had just been hovering anxiously overhead while they wrote; now she darted off to answer it. Sleeper twisted the pencil thoughtfully before dropping it; they’d wasted enough time on this. Maybe they could locate the remote while the human was distracted…Sleeper made their way up the wall of their tank and over the edge.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Default Re: WHAT IF? Marvel/X-MEN

    Issue #1 WHAT IF? Tai Babysat for the Venom Symbiote con’t

    Tai wasn’t stupid; she’d seen the buildings on the way over and knew this area was what the teachers called ‘seedy.’ (Though why they called it that when there were no seeds in evidence, and seeds as far as she could tell bore no resemblance to the run-down buildings in this neighborhood, Tai wasn’t sure. She figured it was an other people thing.) So she checked the peephole first. But there was no one there.

    Cautiously, she cracked open the door and peered down the hallway. Then the other way. Still no one.

    A little bewildered, Tai shut the door again. Maybe whoever it was had knocked on the door by mistake? She decided not to worry about it. She needed to make sure the baby was—

    The baby was gone.

    ----------------

    Sleeper had made it to the couch, and was now investigating under it – their parents could never find the remote, so it stood to reason the device wasn’t out in the open where it would be obvious. They weren’t seeing any sign of it however…

    They didn’t hear any speech at the door; Sleeper suspected it was the offspring of one of their parents’ neighbors, as they had gathered from their parents that the boy liked to cause some low-level trouble. Usually the boy didn’t bother them; Sleeper was aware their parents had something of a reputation that resulted in most of the neighbors keeping their children and themselves away from the Brock residence. But apparently either the boy was growing bolder or he had noticed their parents had left for the evening.

    Sleeper didn’t concern themself. That was the babysitter’s problem.

    Speaking of which, the human’s scent had taken on a distinctly distressed flavor. Her footsteps were no more than vague shadows but the sound was definitely headed away from the door...

    Baby?

    Ah; the babysitter had noticed their absence from the tank.

    Spoiler: Obstacle ‘Baby is Missing’
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    And I should post Sleeper’s stats since I’m using them:
    Spoiler: Sleeper
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    SLEEPER

    ASPECTS:
    -Escape the Cage (High Concept)
    -Mommy Had Good Reason for Not Abandoning Me (Trouble)
    -Fast Learner
    -Arrogance of Youth
    -Alien Power-Up

    POWER FACTS:
    -Klyntar Symbiote
    *Can bond with a host with the following effects:
    *Enhances the host’s physical strength (and powers if applicable)
    *Heals the host’s injuries
    *Protects the host from most environmental effects (up to and including vacuum)
    *Can influence and (depending on the host) control the host
    *Can freely communicate with the host
    *If bonded to a sufficient degree and for a sufficient length of time, the symbiote may retain a copy of the host’s powers
    *Shape-shifting which allows the symbiote to camouflage with most environments
    *Weak to fire and certain types of sound
    *The symbiote is telepathically aware of other symbiotes in the vicinity
    *Racial memory
    *Limited ability to split into pieces and control the pieces
    -Can sense and generate chemicals, including:
    *Can communicate with creatures who are not the host via pheromones
    *Can release chemicals that cause sleep, increase a target’s susceptibility to persuasion, and inflict other emotional responses with a high degree of precision
    -Like its parent Venom, Sleeper can cling to walls, both while bonded to a host and not
    -Can see things that are cloaked or invisible


    APPROACHES:
    +3 Sneaky
    +2 Clever, Forceful
    +1 Flashy, Quick
    +0 Careful

    REFRESH: 3

    STUNTS:
    Better Living Through Chemistry – When bonded to a host, once per scene, Sleeper can clear the host’s stress boxes.
    I’m Invisible! - +2 to Sneakily hide from creatures susceptible to pheromones
    Good Reflexes - +2 to Quickly Defend against physical threats when Sleeper or a close ally is endangered.


    Tai to Cleverly Overcome: (4d3)[3][3][1][3](10)-6
    Sleeper to Sneakily Defend: (4d3)[2][2][3][2](9)-5

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Re: WHAT IF? Marvel/X-MEN

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Noting that this is a fun read, and an informative example of FATE working out in a non-combat situation. Thanks!

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