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Every Time, Everywhere #0002: Reintroduction


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You adjust your scarf and walk to the edge of the rooftop. You're about fifty floors directly above a street that leads straight east (you think) towards the harbor; you don't see any recognizable landmarks. No Empire State Building, no One World Trade Center, no Stark Tower, none of those boring things in Boston ... There's a couple of superhero-ish buildings you don't recognize, though. You dip into the knowledge of all other Jenny Everywheres in all other realities (or at least, all Jenny Everywheres who can telepathically access each others' knowledge and memories) to see if any of them recognize the skyline, and come up with nothing. This reinforces the notion that this city is merely like New York or Boston.

Which means, in turn, that there isn't much you can do from up here. You consider coolest way of getting to the ground floor, which is obviously just jumping off the edge and landing on your feet unharmed through sheer pulchritude alone (this is the kind of laws of physics you follow). Your thoughts are interrupted, however, by the sound of the door to the stairwell opening behind you. You turn.

A granite-faced man is approaching, dressed in a black suit which is probably not the best thing to wear in this cold December weather, but damned if he doesn't look snappy. "Hi," you say.

"'Lo," he says. "Thought the boys picked up some kind o' dimensional disturbance."

"They were right," you say, grinning. "The name's Jenny Everywhere."

"Slinus Segall," he says, extending a hand. "They call me Dragging Dirk. Codenames come with the territory in this town."

"Nice to meet you," you say. He's got a firm and steady handshake to match his firm and steady gaze. "Sometimes they call me The Shifter."

He nods. "Welcome to Brighton City," he says says conversationally. "Plenty o' capes around here, even the ones that don't actually wear capes," he adds, gesturing to you. "Just so y'know, you landed on the building o' the Mercenary Consortium."

"Oh?" you say. "What's your deal?"

"We pick whatever side has the better money, o' course," says Slinus. "People come to us with a problem, we pick the right person or group for the job. Otherwise, you don't try to kill us, even if we're workin' for your mortal enemy, and we won't go outta our way to kill you."

"All right," you say drily. "I'm not a killer, and I don't think I've been in this universe before, so the odds of running into a mortal enemy are kind of mediocre."

Slinus lets out a chuckle. "Well, I'm sure if you screw around until somethin' interestin' happens, a super-kid like you is gonna have no trouble findin' new ones," he says playfully. "I mean, that is what you dimension' hoppin' super-kids do, yeah?"

"Pretty much," you say, grinning. Notwithstanding his gruff demeanor, you're starting to warm up to him; he's clearly a people-person. On the other hand, you can just as easily imagine him dragging a dirk through someone. (So, basically, the right person for the job of investigating the sudden appearance of a stranger on their rooftop.) "I think I'll start by ... making enemies out of someone who ... hates people eating lunch at restaurants?"

Slinus lets out a low, guttural laugh. "You'll wanna head to Fin Dining," he says. "Step out the front door, 'n' head straight to the harbor, it's over by th' boardwalk. Can't say I'm a fan of the puns, but the food's top notch."

"All righty then," you say. "Anything else before I head down?"

Slinus shrugs. "Dunno what to tell you in particular. Not much I'm at liberty to say, at any rate." He shrugs. "There's plenty o' folks in this town who you can call 'super', both good 'n' bad."

"And neutral, like you guys?" you ask.

"Mmm, not so many," he says. "We kinda have the market cornered. Pretty much everyone else falls under 'bad'."

"I guess that's it, then," you say, smiling. "See you on the bottom."

"Yeah, right," he says. He turns toward the door to the stairs and dials up a number on a smartphone; you faintly hear a woman's voice. "Yo, Hal, tell 'em to keep their shirts on, it's just some dimension-hopping super-kid who showed up. Jenny Everywhere, the Shifter. Yeah. Yeah, I just told her how to get to Fin Dining ..."

While he's looking away, you put your goggles down over your eyes. He starts to turn back towards you at that moment, and you take the opportunity to do a backflip off the edge of the roof.

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