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Email from J 9-19-46


Hey guys,

I've had some additional contact with Lt. Colonel Sterling -- some of you were there for his first appearance in our offices at our anniversary party, which was the height of professional dignity for me as I'm sure you recall. The colonel is essentially the military liaison and commander of the project at Glen Haven. If you remember we did some work for them initially and they're primarily research scientists. He and his people have some questions about our uniquely quantum experiences. If anyone has classification levels that haven't been revoked, you're at the top of my list for talking to this guy because my credentials are pretty out of date, but in general, if they ask to talk to you ? I'm not your lawyer, and it's up to you. But Glen Haven is full of research scientists and what they're working on is legit.

Meanwhile, I've got a contact who may be willing to help us turn some of that hero's treasure y'all brought back into cold hard cash, if you don't mind waiting for a good return on your investment. I'm not sharing any details about this contact, at their request, but if you've got interest in liquidating some of those souvenirs for rent money, don't be a stranger -- I may be able to help you out (eventually).

Speaking of the kind of weird stuff we keep getting involved in lately, I've been thinking about this. A lot of us in this business have a lot of experience and we have a wealth of instructive expertise just kind of lying around. I'm not in a position to bankroll this excessively, but if you turn in logged hours of instruction time in self defense or marksmanship, I'll compile them for a special end of year bonus fund for your year's end reviews.

It's not much, I know. But some of us are still pretty green, even after Knowhere, and we keep hiring more all the time. It's a dangerous world out there. If you're willing to do this for your fellow employees, sign up. And remember your year end bonus.

Thanks guys. Keep up the good work. This project is doing better after a year than I dreamed it would, and I know a lot of you still have other real jobs, but I feel so much closer to real life making this work than I did last September.



2046-09-18 TO: Valerie


Lollipop --

You mean, like this?

<Attached is a picture of Rohan, shirtless, all taut brown skin and lean muscle, lounging on his bed. A filter has been used to subdue the colours except one--the brilliant scarlet of a very familiar tie slung casually about his neck.>

- R

2046-09-18 TO: Rohan


R -

You'd better be planning to use this to send me hot pictures.

I mean actually hot, not like. Dick pics.

- V

2046-09-17 Scared


When I figured it out, I was annoyed at myself.

I mean, these fucking 'Friends' wankers. Burning down our park. I've slept in that park, when I had no choice. I know--or knew--some of the people who do. I should've been there. I should have been there to help. Friends and neighbours and all that.

But seeing police lights--it sort of terrifies me, on some level. I know that there's a lot I can hold back with fast talk and a charming grin and some memory tricks. But I know, too, there's a point when I won't be able to stay two steps ahead and'll get in over my head, totally fucked, and probably on a boat back to Blighty.

It's not that I'm that against going back to England. Part of me wants to. Green hills and pubs and familiar accents. Part of me misses it so much it aches.

But it's been twenty years, and it's probably all changed, become somewhere where I no longer fit. And although Lincoln's running drugs around India these days, I'd be surprised if he didn't have enough of a presence left at home to start gunning for me as soon as I set foot there.

And, more than that. I--I have a home here. I have friends, and a job I love, and a purpose. I don't want to start over again. I don't think I could.


Lots of and's, in my life.

Am I building a fool's paradise around Valerie? My lovely celebratory 'fuck sadness' Friday night sure turned sour quick.

When you've slept together as much as we have, a phone number isn't much to ask. Is it? I've never really done this sort of thing.

She didn't say no. She didn't give it to me. She didn't say anything.

Maybe I'm a bloody idiot, but I really don't know if that was a flat 'No, I like fucking you, but that's it. Nothing personal.' and I should back off like a fucking gentleman.

Or rather it was a 'I don't know; I'm scared and uncertain.' Which is...different.

Look, I'm not in love. Not with her, not now. But when she enters a room, I start grinning in a way I can't hold back, and I can't help but how much more fun this fucking city would be if I could run around with her, laughing and playing and making out in shadowy corners, or how much more pleasant the stupid winters would be with her tangled in the sheets beside me. And I like the way she smells and the way she tastes, and that wicked smirk of hers and the sparkle in her eyes, and I want to hold her in my arms and figure out what the hell makes her tick.

There are so many lonely things in my life I'd like to share.

So--not over my head yet. But I'm already in so far deep that I'm in serious trouble.

Maybe it's time to actually listen to Rich's very sensible advice and cool it. Back out before I shatter to pieces again, because I hate to admit it but I'm still pretty bloody fragile.

If I can. Because my cock has a mind of its own around her and she goes right to my head like shot after shot of sunny tequila.


I'm scared, too. Scared because I've been hurt before, and can't believe, now, that anyone's ever going to want me for me.

Maybe I need to man up and actually talk to her so we know where we both stand, whatever the answer is. Like adults.

Fuck it, it's Saturday. I'm going to head out to Jersey and exercise Magpie. Maybe the long rides, of two different sorts, will put my head to rights, and I'll know what to do.

One last thing--

It didn't escape my notice that she's scared of the cops, too.

XFS Postings 9-13-46


Hey everyone. A few new jobs on the docket this week .

1) Jennine Park of Long Island is convinced her house is haunted. She's got five cats that apparently keep freaking out at one of her closets. She's offering pretty good pay for dealing with whatever it is.

2) We've had three requests for bodyguards who can also pass as impressive dates for a rooftop gala hosted by Barbaro Law. No idea where they're all getting our name, but let's do a good job with this one, folks. They pay well, and the food should be great. And free.

3) Dianna Lieber (yeah, that Dianna Lieber, CEO of that Eye game Coderunner - don't lie, I know you're all playing it) is convinced she's got someone leaking info to her competitors, but she can't find any solid proof. She's offering a hefty paycheck if we can turn something up by means she can't. She doesn't care if it's admissible in court, but she does care that we can prove it to her.

4) Stagram & Wolf has another heap of papers that need serving. They're a steady customer, let's keep them happy.

5) Security for Open Hands is still paying.

6) Neighborhood watch services. Patrol in the Mutant Town neighborhoods esp between the hours of 11 PM and 4 AM.



2046-09-07 Fuck


So apparently I find it easier to detail a sexual fantasy to a woman than to admit to her that I'm kinda really into her and maybe we could do, you know, some actual relationship type stuff.

Even when I have an unexpected and unplanned mini-vacation in the lovely middle of nowhere due to a motorcycle breakdown. (And let's not talk about how my budget could ill-afford emergency repairs, hotel, and food. I'd just gotten ahead again.)

Maybe I just wasn't meant for these sorts of things. I'm really rubbish at it.

Fuck all this. I'm going to go muck out stalls until my head's on straight. The trail riding horses are in at the stables. They can't possibly run out of dirty stalls before I start making sense, can they?


2046-09-08 Note to Roommates

(Pinned to the apartment's virtual message board and left -super retro- on -actual paper- pinned to the fridge)

Hey guys --

Just in case you see this guy (pic of Alistair) lurking around the apartment -- he's my father, apparently, so I guess that means he occasionally picks locks and drinks tea in our living room and makes doctors appointments for me. I don't think he's a supervillain but y'know, use your best judgment.

btw we are out of everything but gold and jewels.



2046-09-05 Honesty


From Rohan's deleted audio files.

I said a lot of 'no's' at one point, didn't I?

No baggage, no promises, no commitments, no jealousies--there were others in there at some point, I'm sure.

I said a lot of no's. I made those rules to protect me, because I think having my heart shattered again might literally kill me.

And I keep breaking them.

No baggage, I said. That's a laugh. I can't keep it under control. It's all about, like suitcases left in the hall, and you keep stubbing your toe on it. You don't need to hear about my heartache and bitterness, and yet I can't seem to keep my bloody mouth shut. I'm sorry. That's not fair to you.

No promises. Well, I promised you we'd get back from space. Kept it, too. But you didn't need that promise, I think. I did.

No commitments--er. Can we come back to that one?

No jealousies. I meant it when I said it. And, yet, when I first thought of you and Richard--well, it wasn't a pretty thought. I mean, we sorted it, him and I. But, for a moment--

No commitments. Back to that one.




I want a Thing.

It doesn't have to be a big Thing, full of marriage and babies. It doesn't even have to be an exclusive Thing--that's up to you. But I want a little Thing, full of sex and snuggling and the occasional date, and we can work out together what else it means.

But, you know, this whole sexy stranger thing? Where you flit in and out of my life? Was seriously hot for a while, not going to lie. But now I'm getting annoyed. I don't need you to stay a mystery. Instead, I want to actually know you. It's fun, sometimes, learning about someone.

I don't mean at deep dark secret level either. I'm not ready to share either. But I want to know your middle name (and your last, for that matter), and your favourite colour, and what I can cook for you to make your face light up.

Because, well, I tried not to, but I think I like you.

I made so many rules to protect myself, and now I'm trapped by them. I don't know how to turn the no's into yeses, or even if you'd want me to.

That's been biting me a lot lately; wanting what other people don't. Or wanting things at different times than other people.

And I know it's not fair to you. It's not fair to set rules and then break them. It's not fair to change the terms of our relationship on the fly. And it's not fair to hold you to the terms you never agreed to in my head.

You deserve better than this, better than a man who sets terms and then breaks them. Especially when I have the uncomfortable feeling I knew I was lying to myself all the time. Pretending I could be someone who didn't care.

I'm sorry

Face it, Lollipop, you deserve better than me.

2046-09-01 Pissed


Ug. I'm starting to wish I hadn't left Vegas. I liked it there. It was bright and loud and full of pretty people looking to do things that never left the Strip.

It was not full of men who tell me 'I know it's not a thing, but...' and men who tell me they've made it clear it's casual, like I'm some kind of idiot.

You can tell me you don't know what I'm talking about all you want, sweetheart, but I know better. I can read all those pauses and silences and I know damn well that it means 'he'd be really put out if I fucked you,' and that doesn't come out of fucking nowhere.

Why am I even having to lay this out? Why the fuck does he even care? What the fuck is the big deal about not being around for a while?

It's not like we had plans. Or a routine. We didn't make promises. Fuck, we didn't even exchange numbers.

I mean, he's not honestly pining. The city's full of pretty girls, and lord knows that man's hot enough to hook one.

God, he really is.

Here's the worst fucking part: a piece of me is pissed at myself for fucking up a good thing. What the hell is that? I didn't violate any terms of agreement, so why is there this sliver of guilt and worry going you really pissed him off, Valerie?

It's just a sliver. I mean. I'm mostly pissed at him. I don't owe him a note when I leave town and I don't owe him not fucking his friends and I don't even know why I'm wasting my time on this.


And I've got to find a fence for this piece. Mom's bills are coming due again. I might have to feel out some shaky ground, here.

But hell. What's life without a little risk?

2046-08-14 To: Ciel Kane


Excerpt entry from Christian's diary of letters:

Chère soeur,

Quand je me suis réveillé ce matin, je me suis senti un instant comme si cela avait été qu'un rêve. Ce fut seulement après ma vision centrée et je suis capable de regarder autour de moi que je discerné la vérité. Je crains que je deviens fou du flux constant de la lumière du soleil et de la neige sans fin.

Ujarak et moi avons été séparés des autres jeunes gens dans notre parti. Comme vous le savez , seuls les jeunes hommes sont envoyés sur des expéditions de ce genre. Il a blessé à la jambe et n'a pas été capable d'aller sur. Notre voyage a beaucoup de miles encore, et dans des cas comme celui des hommes sont souvent laissés pour compte.

Je ne suis pas de ce monde. Ils disent que cela me rend faible. Peut-être il le fait. Essayez comme je peux, je ne peux que vous voir dans son visage. Je ne pouvais pas le laisser geler. Avec la partie de chasse jusqu'à l'avant, les proies sont rares. Nous sommes en mesure de se blottir ensemble pour la chaleur dans la tente de mon sac. Notre progression est lente et instable, mais je suis déterminé. J'espère que vous êtes chaud. J'espère que vous n'êtes pas seul. J'espère que ce n'est pas ma dernière lettre.

                                                                                       Puilajuk Inutok

Dear sister,

When I woke this morning, I felt for a moment as though this had all been a dream. It was only after my vision focused and I was able to look around me that I discerned the truth. I fear that I am going mad from the constant stream of sunlight and the endless snow.

Ujarak and I have been separated from the other young men in our party. As you know, only the young men are sent out on these expeditions. He has injured his leg and is not capable of going on. Our journey has many miles yet, and in cases such as this men are often left behind.

I am not from this world. They think this makes me weak. Perhaps it does. Try as I might not to, I can only see you in his face. I cannot leave him to freeze. With the hunting party up ahead, prey is scarce. We are able to huddle together for warmth in the tent from my pack. Our progress is slow and unsteady, but I am determined. I hope you are warm. I hope you are not alone. I hope this is not my last letter to you.

                                                                                       Lonely Spring

2046-08-13 To: Alistair

To: Alistair Fraser-Urquhart
From: A. Moody
Subject: Inquiry

Dear sir,

First, please let me apologize for my rudeness at our last meeting. While surprise is no excuse, it is an explanation; twenty-five years of imagining who you might be was confronted with an actual person, and that left me at a loss.

That’s no excuse for bad behavior, though.

I was hoping that you might provide me with some information about family medical history. It’s something I’ve wondered about for some time, due to some risks on my mother’s side. I’ve attached a questionnaire which would be very helpful if you’re willing to fill it out.

I’m not quite sure where to go from here; I’m not sure if you want to get to know me, or if you would like me to get to know you. I would like to know more about your side of my heritage, if that’s all right, even if you’re not particularly desirous of more of a relationship.


Adelle Moody

2046-08-11 Sleepless


They call New York City 'the city that never sleeps.'

You don't know how true that is unless you're a fucking psionic.

It's the whole 'feeling other minds' thing. I developed tolerance for that long ago. Nothing'll teach you tolerance for crowds like India.

But my tolerance has always been patchier than I like to admit. When I'm tired or stressed, it wavers. It got patchy when I was running for my life through Asia, and it got very thin indeed when I broke down. Then fucking Echo destroyed my walls completely and I had to build them up again, carefully, mental brick by mental brick.

Let's be honest here--this is what a lot of the drinking and fucking of my younger years was about. Getting me to that happy fuzzy place that other brains couldn't penetrate.

It'd be worse if I were a full-fledged telepath. That'd be a bloody nightmare. Can you imagine? All those thoughts everywhere.

Instead it's just memories. Bundles of memories that I can't see unless I go to look, but I know they're there. All those minds, full of memories. A hundred metres is my range, more or less. Covers a lot of minds in New York City. Did in India, too. I can feel most of this apartment building. All those minds. Ones I know. Ones I don't. Ones I love. Ones I...really don't care for all that much, hovering in my perception like tiny stinging insects, drawing blood over and over again.

And the temptation to look is always there. I always say I don't really want to see people's private memories, especially people I know and that's true. But part of me does want to see them, and that's true, too. Rifle through them. See what makes people tick, what surprising secrets they're hiding. And--well, fix things. That bloke from school, that always bullied you, and that's left you defensive and untrusting twenty years later? Yeah, I want to get rid of him. That deep-seated hurt that seeps up at unexpected moments because you were in a cab on the way to the hospital when your mum died and you never got to say goodbye? Yeah, I'll make sure you remember a goodbye.

But I can't do any of that. I mean, I could--but I shouldn't. It's wrong, And I know the more you give into temptation, the harder it is to resist. Change something little, and the argument for not changing something medium seems weaker. Change something for the better, and it seems harder to resist changing something for the worse just a little or just this once--yeah, sometimes I'm tempted by that, too. I'm only human.

That's why I couldn't really hate Luka for what he did. I mean, I hate what he did--it was horrible. I don't mean 'horrible' in the casual way people throw the word around, but truly horrible. Horrifying. It horrifies me in that shocked, dismayed, blood running cold sort of way.

But I know what it is to live with temptation. Of how easy would it would be to fall. That's why I can't shake the sympathy for him and I wonder--is that what's going to happen to me? Weaken, bit by bit, until I do something truly horrifying and irredeemable, and people turn pale and practically spit at the sound of my name?

These are the sort of thoughts that run through my head as I lay awake, uncomfortably unaware of all the minds hovering around me. Let's be fair, I sleep more nights than not these days. Maybe eventually I'll be spared 3ams.

But the sleepless ones are bad, and my bike's still broken, and I can't run away, wind on my cheeks, until I find somewhere still and peaceful, without all the minds clawing at mine, where I can watch the stars.

Sometimes I walk around Mutant Town in the wee small hours and hand out Open Hands flyers to those sleeping on the street. I get a lot of funny looks. Sometimes I end up dodging muggers and drug dealers and even once a Friend of Humanity, but at least it distracts me.

Once I took a series of night buses and managed to end up at the stables, where I cleaned all the school tack until it gleamed. I got told off for that. I am welcome to clean all the tack I want, but only at civilized hours, when it doesn't mess up the alarm system or wake the horses.

I'm down my favourite distraction at the moment. I don't know if Valerie's done with me, as Rich seems to think, or gotten distracted and wandered off, or is actively avoiding me and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I think I'm annoyed. In my book, you don't tie someone up, even pretty softly, and then just disappear. Maybe my problem is that I'm good with casual, but I expect casual to be politer than she does. Who knows.

I do miss it, though. Miss losing myself in the taste of her, the feel of her skin, her curves. I could spend all night playing her with my tongue, aware of every sigh and whimper and squirm, and never notice another mind but hers.

And sometimes when I think about this when I can't sleep, she becomes someone else and I know I'm hopeless.

Sometimes I just wander up to the roof, have a cig, and stare at the neon lights of the city that never sleeps, so full of minds.

And wish I'd been born someone else.

Someone better.

OOC: Playlist Meme - Valerie


Playlist link:

How do you build a playlist? What's your process?

I already talked about this with Ciel's, but some specific things I did for Valerie's: I looked for songs about New York and the streets (only semi successful - most of the ones that hit the mood I wanted were rap of a sort I don't really enjoy and I didn't keep most of them) and about thieves (also not super successful). More usefully, I looked up some Selena Kyle/Catwoman playlists and stole some songs off there. My original vision of Valerie was a lot more Dark Knight Returns Selena Kyle, but she's ended up a little grittier and younger and less polished (I think she might be traveling in that direction though, we'll see), but a lot of the songs still work really well.

Is your playlist in an order? What is it?

Valerie's is sort of vaguely chronological, but more in moods and themes than event-specific. I mean, I'm still gonna go through song by song because I LIKE DOING IT, but it's less tied to specific instances than general periods of her life.

If you had to pick one song to best represent your character, what would it be and why?

I know it's a popular one (INDEPENDENT CHARACTERS), but probably Me, Myself, and I - which is why it starts off the playlist. Every time it comes on Valerie sort of goes 'uh huh' in my head.

There are a lot of other songs I could add here - Fake It and Puppeteer and Mayhem that get at aspects of who Valerie is or how she sees herself, but I think the core of her is that 'fuck everyone else I don't need anything but me' attitude that she clings to even when it's clearly not true (like, say, when she's dumped into SPACE).

Do any songs represent events in your character's life? Which ones, and what do they represent?


6th and 34th and Rockaway Beach are both growing up in New York songs. Neither one is really quite her experience - she grew up in the Bronx, in a much rougher neighborhood, with a lot more crime and drugs and alcohol - but I wanted SOMETHING that hit on a New York youth that I also didn't hate listening to. I think the general 'young and optimistic' feel of 6th and 34th (And when we look back on today we will stay young forever, we are young together) hits home to how she felt about those early days, when everyone was young and things seemed possible even though she was /not/ a child of privilege. It's sort of this naive childhood, while Rockaway Beach is more wild teen years rocking it out however she wanted, which leads into Cherry Bomb (a song I stole from Vega who mentioned it in relation to Micaela!). I really love it for Valerie's teen years leading up to her manifestation, when she was shoplifting and hanging out on the streets with unsavory types and basically barely staying out of serious trouble.

Sound and Color is her manifestation song, when the whole world suddenly opened up to her in a way she'd never expected.

A new world hangs
Outside the window
beautiful and strange
It must be... fallen awake

The next few songs are about deciding what her mutation means for her and her life. Feeling Good captures that sense of 'holy shit, I can do whatever I want' (Oh freedom is mine, and I know how I feel, Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life for me, Oh I'm feeling good), while Dream kind of hits on the fact that nothing she's doing is /real/ in some sense - especially in the sense that she can't take anyone with her, she can't share it. Her manifestation separated her from her friends, and it was the beginning of claiming a life for herself that she didn't share with anyone else. It was an escape zone that took her places and taught her things so far from her street upbringing that she had a hard time connecting with where she'd grown up.

Then there's a pair of songs that sort of get at that independence thing, Answer to Yourself, which is pretty straightforward 'fuck everyone but yourself' (You gotta answer to yourself, You can't depend on anyone else, You gotta know where you stand, And what's in your hands), and then Fake It, which is another sort of fundamentally Valerie song about teaching herself to fit where she doesn't feel like she belongs (primarily so she could steal things more easily). And of course, My Work is Done which is basically about not wanting to work anymore and is the closest I have to a real 'I steal shit for a living' song.

I don't wanna work
Work makes me lazy
And I've got stuff I gotta do
Just for fun
Hey, I don't wanna work
Just give me the money
As if I had a gun on me
Cause my work is done!

I didn't include a straight up Staten Island song, even though it was in many ways a turning point in her life (it killed her brother and crippled her mom), but there's a series of songs that sort of hit on her moving from playing around with stealing enough to keep her in food and booze from cushy middle class apartments to something more serious and more class-based. Valerie's got a core of haves-vs-have-nots that I haven't gotten to play with much, but I really want to. This is the period where she learned not just to steal to live, but to ruin people. So we've got Roots (I’m going back to my roots, Another day, another door, Another high, another low) and Coming Back (You can steal my mind, Twist it for a while, But you can't take my pride, You can watch me crack, Throw me away off track, But I'll keep coming back) and then one of my favorites, which I'm sure I got off a Selena Kyle soundtrack, Faster Kill Pussycat.

Really, this is largely a song about sex, but when I hear it, I get this very clear picture of a ruthless cat burglar who uses such to get what she wants - and who always gets what she wants.

Faster kill faster still pussycat
I can't stand to see you cry,
Honey you know where the world is at,
Get what you want with your lucky eyes

There's a whole set of sort of more thematic songs after this. A sort of 'kicking up trouble and not giving a fuck and partying like hell' section that's a lot of fun to listen to.

It starts with with Unstoppable (I'm unstoppable, I'm a Porsche with no brakes, I'm invincible, Yeah, I win every single game), Could Have Been Me (Don't wanna live as an untold story, Rather go out in a blaze glory), Mayhem (A little Mayhem never hurt anyone, Where'm I gonna get some? A little bedlam ‘til I’m coming undone, Where'm I gonna get some?), I'm Good (I’m good, I’m good, I’m good, I’m good, Living life just like I should, Wouldn’t change it if I could), Everybody Loves Me, which I think is a great Valerie party song (Oh my! Feels just like I don't try, Looks so good I might die, All I know is everybody loves me), Lampshade's on Fire (Well, the lampshades’s on fire when the lights go out,This is what I really call a party now) and ending with After Midnight (Nothing good comes after midnight, Ooh! When you play the devil's game, Ooh, after midnight).

I really like how this section sort of weaves in and out between partying and danger and it's never quite clear which is which and it really captures the sense of Valerie's Devil-may-care wildness. I wrote her originally as a more careful (and thus successful) cat burglar, but I think that in play she's become a little more small time and a little more addicted to the thrill.

And then there are the sex songs. I am sure it is shocking to everyone to hear that a good portion of Valerie's living fast and hard and dangerous attitude manifests in lots of sex, but it DOES, and so there's a pretty good chunk here devoted to it. My favorite of these is Puppeteer, which is pretty much a perfect Valerie/Rohan song.

Girl you're all the rage, so can we turn the page
tell me little something little more than just your name
I don't bite, but I heard you might
so let me feed your appetite.
Where do we go from here
Whisper what you want in my ear
My little puppeteer

I'm pretty fond of Angel of Small Death and Codiene, too, which I just picked up off my Discover Weekly this week. It's not as fun, but it fits so well, and it sort of serves as a bridge between 'songs about sex' and 'songs about stealing shit'..

With her sweetened breath, and her tongue so mean
She's the angel of small death and the codeine scene
With her straw-blonde hair, her arms hard and lean
She's the angel of small death and the codeine scene

Gold gets into her trust issues and this feeling of both superiority and, I think, loneliness, that comes when her willingness and ability to steal shit means that she doesn't struggle for the same things that the people around her do.

Who can you trust
(Who can you trust)
When everything, everything, everything
you touch turns to gold, gold, gold.

There's a series of songs here at the end that I originally meant to be part of Valerie already, but I think that in retrospect, they don't feel like they are - but they feel like they might become part of her story. I sort of wrote her with this Robin Hoodesque thing going on, especially for mutants, but in play she's ended up a lot more immature, and I think she's honestly only made it to the 'fuck the rich' stage, not so much the 'help the poor' stage.

Especially since she's been so entangled with Rohan, I think there are some fun paths with Open Hands that might be possible there, though I haven't figured out exactly what yet. ANYWAY. So here's Castle, about being sick of the status quo and going badass and overthrowing stupid kings.

I'm headed straight for the castle
They wanna make me their queen
And there's an old man sitting on the throne that's saying that I probably shouldn't be so mean
I'm headed straight for the castle
They've got the kingdom locked up
And there's an old man sitting on the throne that's saying I should probably keep my pretty mouth shut

When I originally wrote her, Valerie already had this sort of rebellion inside her, but increasingly I think this is something I'll do on camera instead. Similarly, Firestarter is about being a badass, but also about doing good with it (There's an 'S' under my clothes, n my chest where nobody else can see).

I'm So Sorry is totally a Future!Valerie song too, but damn, I love it a lot. So uh. I left it here instead of shuffling it to my 'Future Valerie' playlist (which I totally have). At some point she's gonna screw something up big and it's gonna be appropriate.

Life isn't always what you think it’d be
Turn your head for one second and the tables turn
And I know, I know that I did you wrong
But will you trust me when I say that I'll make it up to you somehow, somehow

Got Dynamite is another pretty good Valerie/Rohan song that I, again, think will be more applicable in the future (I THINK), if/when she ever comes to recognize a reliance on him, because even if she does, letting go of her walls will be difficult.

Find out how to crack me
Log in try to hack me
Underneath the surface
There's so much you need to know
And you might feel like you're drowning
But that's what i need to let go
Tell me what you've got to break down the walls
You just might need dynamite

And then Ain't No Angel is sort of about recognizing that you're not a good person, and committing to your life anyway. Again, probably Future!Valerie, but I really like the song.

Yes, I know, well I know, there's a price I have to pay
Cause I do it my own way

Do any songs represent people or relationships in your character's life? Which ones, and who do they represent?

Valerie's only relationship (which is sad) is pretty much with Rohan, and I've already mentioned Puppeteer as their song.

Would your character listen to this playlist? What song would be their favorite?

Yes, I think so, because it's rocking and fun and bright with a lot of mayhem and mischief. It's also, incidentally, my favorite one to listen to. It's so upbeat and brash and doesn't tend to have the down notes of my others, which makes it fun to rock out to while working. I suspect she'd like Mayhem.

OOC: Playlist Meme


Playlist link:

Irene Atwell:

Armando Aguilar:

Micaela Teller:

How do you build a playlist? What's your process?

Every playlist begins with a song, either one that strikes me as being particularly relevant when I'm listening to it or one I've heard before and think of when I start putting a playlist together. I've listened to a...lot of music, so typically I go through the list in my head of songs and think of ones to add before going through a physical list and pull anything that seems right for the playlist.

After that is the long process of listening to make sure the songs fit and organizing them. Generally my playlists are narrative, if not always strictly chronological. So things are put together in a way that tells a story, be it about a character or the world or whatever.

Once it is semi-organized, I look for the gaps in the story, or the music, and try to fill them. Sometimes this means searching for song titles and looking for something very specific for a moment/attribute. Usually I look up individual artists who have the right sound for what I am looking for in bridging playlist gaps.

Irene: This playlist was just one song for a...really long time. I wasn't even sure I was going to make one. Half-joke, half-challenge, this playlist is almost entirely composed of pop songs. I wasn't sure it could be done (and you have to be really broad about the term pop music), but it was fun and makes for a very cohesive playlist.

Armando: I wanted his playlist to sound as (mostly) upbeat as he is, but I also wanted it to reference his Latin and Texan roots, so there are a lot of songs in Spanish and some country.

Micaela: A character with a loud personality needs a loud playlist, so I filled this with dance and rock tracks. I also deliberately interspaced the musical genres a little, so there would be slightly jarring moments, musically.

Is your playlist in an order? What is it?

I tend to organize my playlists a bit like a musician organizes their setlist. Start strong, stay upbeat for a bit, bring it down, bring it back up again, bring it down again, build up to finale. But it is ultimately dependant on the narrative I am trying to tell. They do always start with at least one statement song, which the song equivalent of 'this is who I am'.

Irene: Chronological order. The most chronological of my playlists.

Youth/Manifestation: Bulletproof‒Survivor
In the Army: Salute‒Invincible
Love/Family Suite: Don't Need Nobody‒One Million Bullets
Staten Island/Aftermath: To Build A Home‒Evaporate
Post Staten Island Police Years: Bury It‒No
End of Police Days/Russians: Girl on Fire‒Cannonball
X-Factor: Outside‒I Am Invincible

Armando: Not chronological, just ordered for emotional/musical harmony.

Dancy: Bailar‒Let's Get Loud
Vaguely Relationship: La Tortua‒In Common
Softer/Sadder: I'm Like a Bird‒Pretty Pimpin
Upbeat: Trouble‒Good Life

Micaela: Chronological-ish. There are a lot of general character songs.

Character Suite 1: Lush Life‒You Call Me a Bitch Like It's A Bad Thing
Youth: Party At A Rich Dude's House‒Fire Starter
Character Suite 2: No Filter‒America's Sweetheart
Early X-Factor: Headstrong‒Emergency
Early Diego Relationship: Take It Off‒Run Run Run
Later X-Factor: Just Like Fire‒On Top Of The World
Staten Island/Aftermath: Skyfall‒Getaway
Later Diego Relationship: Backbeat‒El Mismo Sol
Europe to Present Day: Tel Aviv'n‒Die Young

If you had to pick one song to best represent your character, what would it be and why?

Irene: Rise - Selina Gomez
So even when your bones feel like weights / And it’s hard to lift the smile on your perfect face / You can still find a peaceful place / Close your eyes until you're floating up in outer space / It’ll be alright, they’re just jealous of your highs / So they can knock you down, but / Like the air you can / Rise from the rubble with your mind, you can hover / You can rise like the tide, like the heat in the summer

It was so hard to pick one! Irene has had a hard life, she gets knocked down a lot through circumstance and tragedy, but one of the things that defines her is she always shoulders that weight and gets back up.

Armando: Looking Up - SafetySuit
Call it a feeling / Call it a premonition / Things are about to go my way / You don't have to see it / Just believe it's coming / Some things are bound to change / Then I see twenty dollars in the street / High five the next person I see / Kick back to the guy with the sign / I'll be fine

It's upbeat! And it represents his boundless optimism well. Things bad? They'll get better! *finger-guns*

Micaela: Lush Life - Zara Larson
I live my day as if it was the last / Live my day as if there was no past / Doin' it all nite, all summer / Doin' it the way I wanna / ... / Yeah! Went low, went high / Still waters run dry / Gotta get back in the groove / I ain't ever worry

'Still Waters Run Dry' is pretty much her motto. It's a song about living to the fullest, consequences be damned, which is pretty much her character in a nutshell.

Do any songs represent events in your character's life? Which ones, and what do they represent?

Irene: I am going to have to be picky here, otherwise I could talk about everything and some better fit the next question. The organization list above is a pretty good guide to which songs are about what life events, so I'll just pull a few to talk about a little.

Everything Changes - Sara Bareilles
Two tiny hands, a pair of eyes / An unsung melody is mine for safekeeping / And I will guard it with my life

It's not perfect, but it's a pretty good song for motherhood, which is a primary motivation for things Irene does.

To Build A Home - The Cinematic Orchestra
'Cause, I built a home / For you / For me / Until it disappeared / From me / From you

This is actually the only song that was on the playlist for awhile. A lot of the emotion is in the music, which just has such a feeling of quiet ache over loss in it. Before getting married, Irene didn't really have a place she could hall home--she left her family to join the army and hasn't been in contact with them since. But she built a home, made a family, and then watched it shatter around her with losing her husband to the Staten Island event.

Yellow Flicker Beat - Lorde
This is the start of how it all ends / They used to shout my name, now they whisper it / I’m speeding up and this is the red, orange, yellow flicker beat sparking up my heart

The end of her police career. This also goes along with Jasmine Thompson's cover of Pompeii, which is more specifically about the dissolving of Irene and Vega's partnership. (And if you close your eyes / Does it almost feel like / You've been here before? / How am I gonna be an optimist about this?)

Armando: Almost two hours of music and amazingly, nothing specifically representative of an event.

Micaela: See the organization list above for a general guide. But a few specifics...

Into You - Ariana Grande
Been waiting and waiting for you to make a move / Before I make a move / So baby, come light me up and maybe I'll let you on it / A little bit dangerous, but baby, that's how I want it / A little less conversation, and a little more touch my body / Cause I’m so into you, into you, into you / Got everyone watchin' us, so baby, let's keep it secret

Micaela and Diego danced around flirting with each other for a long time before she finally lost her patience with him and made him date her...while they were on vacation. With other people.

Skyfall - Adele has become the Staten Island song, which others have talked about. (I put this after On Top Of The World - Imagine Dragons because I am mean).

Let Them In - Pvris
I wanna feel something / That's not the touch of your breath on my neck / I wanna feel something / That's not the weight of your world in my head / And all the walls are caving in

I'm sure this is a more traditional relationship song, but I used it for being haunted by X-Factor after it fell apart.

Getaway - Tritonal, Angel Taylor
I don't see no red lights, just a wild ride / You're my getaway, you're my getaway / Tonight, I'm gonna be alright

Running away from problems, going with Diego to Spain.

Do any songs represent people or relationships in your character's life? Which ones, and who do they represent?

Irene: Ugh, I have so many.

Safe Place to Land - Christian Burghardt
Help me understand / The war you're fighting / We'll never have a chance / If you fire blindly / You're circling the atmosphere / Unsure if I'll disappear / I'm not going nowhere / Open your eyes / I'm always gonna be / Your safe place to land

This is a song from Harper to Irene. She was initially resistant to the relationship as she was struggling with a new job and reintegrating into the world after severing in the army. And he was consistently there for her through everything, even when she didn't expect it, which became a foundation of trust for them.

Compass - Zella Day
Compass points you home / Calling out from the east / Compass points you anywhere / Closer to me / ... / Where you are, I will be

In Harper, Irene found a home. I love that this song has a feeling of being out in the wilderness, since that was such a big part of their relationship. It's such a quiet, longing song perfect for someone who doesn't emote a lot, but feels deeply.

Like a River Runs - Bleachers, Sia
When I fall asleep I can see your face / What I lost in you I will not replace / And I could run away, I could let them down / But I will remember

And then the sads. Irene carries her grief with her all the time. Healing is slow, but she also is hanging on to what she had. Which has it's good aspects as well as its bad and this song encapsulates that.

Here For You - Kygo, Ella Henderson
And while they're on the ground / We'll be looking down / 'Cause we found the truth / And the fire in our hearts / ... / Whenever you're feeling down inside / I promise to take you off to the height

A partnership become a friendship become family...Irene and Vega have been through alot together. Circumstances have broken them apart before, but they always come back together. Irene is fiercely loyal and will be there when Vega needs her.

And Cannonball - Skyler Grey, X Ambassadors is the Irene and Vega fight song.

Armando: I've got some songs that are vaguely about relationships, but nothing specific.

Micaela: I have like...two song suites for Diego. I am not going through all of them. I will talk about two!

Run Run Run - Celeste Buckingham
You better know know know that I have conditions / I make the rules and make the decisions / and I want nothing less than what I deserve / So you better run run run before I decide that you are mine / two stars will collide / You better run run run / nowhere to run but to me

I enjoy the pun there with Diego's speedster powers, but this song probably encapsulates their early relationship best. Micaela was both high maintenance and inevitable.

Whenever, Wherever - Shakira
Tell me one more time / That you'll live / Lost in my eyes / Whenever, wherever / We're meant to be together / I'll be there and you'll be near / And that's the deal my dear / There over, here under / You've got me head over heels / There's nothing left to fear / If you really feel the way I feel

This song is my favorite for their marriage. Mutual, deep love and promises to be side-by-side. That's the deal!

Cherry bomb - The Runaways
Hello Daddy, hello Mom / I'm your ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb / Hello world, I'm your wild girl / I'm your ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb

This one came from Zz, but it is the Ciel/Micaela fight montage song.

I'm sort of sad I do not have one about being a frustrating (but fond) legacy for Kade. ;)

Would your character listen to this playlist? What song would be their favorite?

Irene: Yes! That's part of the joke. Stoic Irene loves pop music. Either Confident - Demi Lovato or You Exist In My Song - Wanting would be her favorite.

Armando: I'm sure he listens to a lot more dance and spanish rap than I do, or put on the playlist, but I think he'd listen to most of his own playlist. Either Cake By The Ocean - DNCE or La Mordidita - Ricky Martin would be his favorite.

Micaela: She would listen to some of it, mostly the dancey and hard rock parts. Have to stay pumped up! Either Take It Off - The Donnas or I Love It - Icona Pop would be her favorite.

OOC: Playlist Meme


Yay I get to talk about my stupid playlist.

  • How do you build a playlist? What's your process?

I usually have music on when I RP. It started as kind of a timing mechanism back in my college days, with my Napster/Winamp library of music files (I am old). I used to take a long-ass time to pose, so I forced myself to write SOMETHING before a song ended. That grew into putting on vaguely appropriate 'mood' music for a scene, and char playlists dove-tailed well into that.

I build pretty randomly, starting with stupidly obvious songs (Ring of Fire was the base of Kade's) and just adding things over time that seem appropriate and sometimes taking stuff off I don't want anymore for random reasons. It's one of those silly RP things I have a stupid amount of fun tinkering with.

  • Is your playlist in an order? What is it?

Kade's is more coherent than most of mine, in that I've actually tried to structure it in an order of sorts. It goes sort-of chronological order with random shippy stuff in the middle:

Young California Kade ---> X-Force Kade ---> Post-XF Collapse Depressive Kade ---> Sierra/Kade ---> Ciel/Kade ---> Nina (who needs more songs) ---> Present XFS Kade/Mutant Town

I'd probably need a separate 'shipper list, but Ciel Player made one that I <3, so I just use it and just include a few tracks.

I also try to cull the songs that are purely fire puns into their own playlist that I'm vaguely ashamed of, but am linking here anyway:

  • If you had to pick one song to best represent your character, what would it be and why?

Uptown Funk is Kade's theme song. For better or worse. Here is the video:

It's not his most character-appropriate song at any given moment, but I feel like it's the one he most often plays in the back of his own brain. I can imagine him psyching himself up with it when he enters a room, and it always gets me in the mood to play him.

  • Do any songs represent events in your character's life? Which ones, and what do they represent?

California Dreamin is obviously young Kade in sunny LA. The bittersweetness of this always felt right to me. He remembers this time in his life in an almost unreal way, not so much the place as a time in his life before he started setting things on fire, when things were simpler, that he can never really get back. He doesn't really want to, because it's not him anymore, but there's something beguiling and beautiful about the Life Not Lived of it that he flips back through sometimes.

BURNITUP! "I'ma dance all night and I don't care who's out there watching us Just give me that fire and I'ma show you how to burn it up." Of all the fire pun songs, this is maybe my favorite. Both for its energy (it's a great ACTION song) and I think it captures how good it feels for Kade when he gets to use his powers. Which is a little terrifying, as they're potentially horribly destructive and he spends a lot of time keeping them in check, but when he finds a way to channel them I think he finds it exhilarating.

Skyfall is the Staten Island Day song. I love that it's on so many ex-XFer playlists. I feel like every character has processed the shattering of that part of their life differently, but the event itself is a touchstone.

Reflection is one of the other initial songs on the list that I kept around. "In you I put all my faith and trust. Right before my eyes. My world had turned to dust." Kade works hard to keep his bitterness off the surface, but it's a core part of him that comes up now and then, sometimes in ways that surprise me.

I And Love And You: There are a handful of Ciel songs on the playlist (and a whole other playlist) but I like this one in particular, because it touches on a lot of other things going on with Kade. His flight north to New York to escape the non-life he'd developed in DC, the fact that he's kind of a mess as well as he hides it sometimes, his yearning for something new and better. And... "Three words that became hard to say. I and love and you. What you were then, I am today. Look at the things I do."

Dear Theodosia: Mainly me searching for a way to put a Hamilton song on the playlist. But this speaks to the hopes Kade had for the world his daughter would inherit. Which, in many ways, are shaken now. As he feels like she's entering a worse and harsher place than he grew up in, but he still wants to find a way to make something better for her. (Hopefully she won't die in a duel, though it's certainly plausible).

"If we lay a strong enough foundation. We'll pass it on to you, we'll give the world to you And you'll blow us all away...Someday, someday. Yeah, you'll blow us all away. Someday, someday."

The Long and Winding Road. I really wanted an Aretha Franklin song on Kade's playlist after Jer and Kade sang her while smoking up. This is a great cover, and it speaks to what Kade is looking for in New York and at this stage in his life.

"Many times I've been alone and many times I've cried Anyway you'll never know the many ways I've tried, but Still they lead me back to the long and winding road You left me standing here a long, long time ago Don't leave me waiting here, lead me to you door"

  • Do any songs represent people or relationships in your character's life? Which ones, and who do they represent?

Yes, and I've talked too much about them. Imma stop myself before I go through every song on his stupid list.

  • Would your character listen to this playlist? What song would be their favorite?

Yeah, these are Kade Jams as well as Kade Songs.

2046-08-08 Extra Hot (Preview)


In the late hours of August 8, 2046, a listing goes up on FutureAmazon for a self-published erotica short entitled "Extra Hot," by one Rowenna Wainscotting.

The preview:

It was late, the night dark and heavy with the summer heat. The coffee shop was still open, however, yellow light spilling from the windows onto the street.

He didn't normally drink coffee this late. He couldn't believe anyone'd want coffee this late. But he had a score to settle.

The barista behind the counter was the same girl from this morning, which must have meant she'd had a long shift, but that thought didn't occur to him. He didn't think of these things. Her hair, tangled with sweat, was knotted up untidily, revealing the pale, vulnerable skin of her slender neck and her shoulders, bare beneath her apron.

"I have a complaint to make."

She barely looked up from her job, deft fingers moving expertly over the workings of the espresso machine. "Sure," she replied, voice dry. "Let me get the complaint jar. I'll just change the sign on the comment jar."

He didn't take this seriously for a moment. "I ordered a non-fat no-whip caramel mochaccinolatte with extra caramel, extra hot, this morning, and it was not extra hot. It was barely hot at all."

She stopped short, a pitcher of frothed milk in one hand and glowered at him with a hot blue glare. "I hate your type. Look. Isn't just 'coffee' good enough for you? It's good coffee."

"I expect to get what I ask for," he growled at her.

"Of course you do," she growled back, frustration clear in her voice, and she slammed down the pitcher with the hollow sound of metal clanging against wood. She leant against the counter--and, for the first time, he realized she wasn't just wearing some tiny top under the apron due to the heat. No, she was topless beneath it and her forward motion revealing, clearly, the curves of her breasts, cradled by the apron and pressed upward by the fold her arms, fighting to escape her apron, the perk of nipples clear beneath the green fabric. Milk foam flecked her hands, a smear of coffee traced her collarbone, and her eyes were hot and blue. Very blue, like a summer sky. Her full lips were pursed in angry. He felt a sudden jolt at his groin, stronger than a triple espresso.

OOC: Playlist Meme


Playlist link:

How do you build a playlist? What's your process?
My playlist process really depends on that character that I am building it for, since a lot of the rules that I set for the playlists are mental structures for the characters as well. Some are more structured, some are less, some are just emotive sounds/feelings I want to put to paper.

For instance, for Vega - I knew right off the bat that I wanted a mix of contemporary classical, especially piano pieces, and a mix of R&B and rap. That kind of dichotomy is really central to her character and I wanted to reflect that musically. That mix of well off and educated and still very down to earth and street. I very intentionally opened up her playlist with an overture that shifts into Renegades and then an up tempo cello mix of Wake Me Up. (I couldn't find a lyrical version of that song that did what I wanted. It has great lyrics though, which is what drew me to it.)

Ian was a little more loose. I was really looking more deeply at the lyrics, since he's a poet, as well as the feeling under the song. I lucked out in having two pop up back-to-back on the radio for him one day. haha. His structure is more emotional, balancing that hopefulness that I feel is really at the heart of his character with an encroaching cynicism.

Diego is a lot more latin rhythms and dance tracks. Also ENDLESS Self-Confidence.

The song collection process is very much working off grabs me though. Or what Kez throws at me. We do a lot of song swapping. I'll usually save the tunes later and arrangement into the right pattern later. Oh! I do love having mutational songs, though. So there is at least one of those per playlist.

Is your playlist in an order? What is it? They are! The order varies (surprise!) by character. Regardless of internal order, I will usually start a playlist with a character 'suite' and then close on a strong song really fixes on a major part of the character. There is also usually an emotional arc of highs and lows. Vega's was originally all orchestrated into suites, but I shifted them to be chronological so they flowed a little better. Being my main, her's is the most considered. However, Vega and Diego's both start with a character suite and then are loosely chronological, Ian's is the outlier as it shifts into darker thoughts and feelings before settling on an up note.

Vega's playlist goes:
Character Suite: Overture - Wild Things
Vega's Accident/86th Street: The Way He Looks at Me - Machine
Recovery: Lucky - Light Me Up
Technopath to Cop: Harlem's Nocturne - Technical Difficulties
Staten Island & the Aftermath: The Hunted - Keeping Your Head Up
Game Start/Cop: Seven Nation Army - Titanium/Parvae
Russian Plot/Professional Crumble/Struggles: Pompeii - Feet Don't Fail Me Now
Ass-kicking/Determination: A Light that Never Comes - Heads Will Roll
Closing Suite: Higher - Free

Ian's whole thing is kind of a long character suite.
Character Suite: The Remedy - Be as You Are
New York: Bad Case of Loving You - Hold on to What You Believe
Closing Suite: Hold On - Simple Man

Diego's goes:
Character Suite: Pasadoble - Me Too
Youth: Timber - The Hurt
X-Force: Be Somebody - Skyfall
Post-X-Force: Run - Streets of Paris
Relationship with Micaela: Ready to Go - Love you Crazy
Closing Suite: Beat of my Drum - Loco de amor

If you had to pick one song to best represent your character, what would it be and why? This is hard.

Oh, it's just me, myself and I / Solo ride until I die / Cause I got me for life / Oh I don't need a hand to hold / Even when the night is cold / I got that fire in my soul [Me, Myself & I - G-Eazy, Bebe Rexha]

I can't ask for your permission / I can't wait for it / Because I was born free /I ain't taking shit ['I Love What I do - Ellie Goulding ]

Vega: I don't have an easy answer for her. The other two were actually pretty easy in comparison, partially because I think they're a little less complex. But one of the most accurate songs for her is Me, Myself & I. It's that indefinable fire and focus that drives her as a character, to become a cop, to accomplish amazing feats of technology, to do the right thing when her career is about to crumble beneath her. She is driven by that internal fire and that guiding compass. Similarly, I Love What I do.

'cause if you've gots the poison, I've gots the remedy / the remedy is the experience. / this is a dangerous liaison / I says the comedy is that it's serious. [The Remedy - Jason Mraz ]
Ian: The tumult of words in this song feels a lot to me like Ian's poetic outtake on the world, but the core of it is what resonates for me. The refusal to bow under all the messed up things in the world. That it's a 'Remedy' is just a great little nod to his medical minded focus.

Who's that sexy thing I see over there? / That's me, standin' in the mirror / What's that icy thing hangin' 'round my neck? / That's gold, show me some respect [ Me Too - Meghan Trainor ]
Diego: There is only one choice for this man's impossible confidence. PASSION. And knowing how to make himself look good.

Do any songs represent events in your character's life? Which ones, and what do they represent? Oh hey. I already answered this. But here is some more.

For Vega is this song is really fixed on her relationship with labels and her determination to make her city a better place. She pushed off the idea of amputee, the idea of mutant, and fixed her mind on her goals.

But I do that to pass the torch and put on for my town / Trust me. on my I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T hustlin' / Chasing dreams since I was 14 with the four track bussing / Halfway cross that city with the backpack / Fat cat, crushin labels off / Yeah, Nah they can't tell me nothing [Can't Hold Us - Macklemore ]

In contrast The Way He Looks at Me is really the sounds of Vega waking up after the 86th station incident. The electronic and noise remind me of the sounds of the hospital, the drip of the iv, the pulse of the heart monitor, and the deeper awakening of her technopathy with it. It is her mutational awakening as well as her finally returning to consciousness.

Superstar is Diego's matador premier track for sure, though. That big explosion of lights and action.

Do any songs represent people or relationships in your character's life? Which ones, and who do they represent? Yes.

Keeping Your Head Up - Birdy/Don Diablo
Times that I've seen you lose your way / You're not in control and you won't be told / All I can do to keep you safe is hold you close / Hold you close til you can breathe on your own.
This song is about their relationship after the events of Staten Island and the death of Irene's husband.I think this is the moment when their partnership-friendship became something deeper. Vega was there for Irene when her world caved in and saw what it did to her invulnerable and impossibly fragile friend. She was there until Irene could keep her own head above the water.

Pompeii - Jasmine Thompson (cover)
I was left to my own devices / Many days fell away with nothing to show / And the walls kept tumbling down / In the city that we love
This song is the moment that Vega and Irene's world as officers falls apart in the wake of the Russian's. Their partnership ended. Irene exposed. The burden of secret laid at Vega's feet. The sanctity of the police station gone. It's not a romantic heartbreak, but it is the end of an era and one all the same. They are left in a new world - yet to refind each other.

Cannonball - Skylar Grey/X Ambassadors
Cannonball, cannonball, cannonball. / And when they light their torches, when they scream and yell / I'm gonna raise my flag and gonna give 'em hell.
This is - as I put it to Kez once - Irene and Vega's fight song. It was for the Russians. It is now.

Ian's song for Ciel. (Because that GIANT CRUSH got a song)
Bad Case of Lovin' You - Robert Palmer
You had me down twenty-one to zip / Smile of Judas on your lip / Shake my fist, knock on wood / I've got it bad, and I got it good
There's not a deep meaning behind this. It fit his crush when I was working on the playlist and stays because it makes me laugh. Ian falls hard and sweet and even though he's over the crush now, that tension remains.

Parachute - Chris Stapleton
You only need a roof when it's raining / You only need a fire when it's cold / You only need a drink when the whiskey / Is the only thing that you have left to hold // Say the word and I'll be there for you / Baby, I will be your parachute I have a lot of songs for these two, but this one in particular speaks of Diego's devotion. As much as he's a playboy and a flirt, he is all in and committed to anything that he gives his heart to. He was devoted to X-Factor, he was a devoted matador, and despite appearances he is an incredibly devoted husband.

Loca de Amor - Juanes
The lyrics for this are in spanish, but it is about being so crazy in love with someone you go a little mad. Accurate.

Would your character listen to this playlist? What song would be their favorite? Vega: Maybe.Of everything, she'd like the rap and piano pieces best. (She'd definitely like Me, Myself & I)
Ian: Yes. It has Mumford and Sons. THAT WOULD BE HIS FAVORITE. He's a dork.
Diego: Some of it. I can definitely see him getting ready and dancing to Juanes, Justin Timberlake, and Meghan Trainor. 'He's bringing sexy back.' Poor Micaela lives with this.

OOC: Playlist Meme - Ciel


Playlist link:

How do you build a playlist? What's your process?

I don't really know much music, so my process involves a lot of googling and a lot of stealing. I think I started my first one by listening to other people's X-Factor playlists (mostly Kez and ZZs) and throwing on songs that felt Ciel'ish. Then I went through and googled events or themes in her life. For Ciel, I looked for songs about doubt and losing faith, for songs about rough mother/daughter relationships, and stuff about kind of blossoming love and crushes. Some were more successful than others. Once I had a good base, Discover Weekly started throwing pretty relevant (scarily relevant) stuff at me, too, so I found some stuff that way. I actually have a list called 'Ciel Future' where I keep stuff that I suspect will be relevant to future beats in her story.

Is your playlist in an order? What is it?

Mostly chronological. The early songs are about her early life with al-Sahra, which was steeped in idealism and her mother's Catholocism, then there's a section about loss of faith and direction, a bit about being a hellion as a teenager, a series about finding her path in X-Force, then losing her path when it crumpled, then India and Rohan, then coming back to New York and Kade.

If you had to pick one song to best represent your character, what would it be and why?

Probably Comet, partly because I just love the opening lines, and it can so easily be read in a way that hits on her superhero idealism and when she feels most herself:

Storm is coming we feel fine
Comet's burning in the sky

I admit I'm pretty thrilled that I have a song I like so much that hit on her code name!

Do any songs represent events in your character's life? Which ones, and what do they represent?

Here is where I get to go like song by song! OH BOY.

Where is the Love is a song about the things that are wrong with the world and requesting God's help with making them better, which fits pretty well with Jeanne-Marie's version of al-Sahra and what they were doing in Africa during her childhood.

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
Or would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above

Day by Day - I wanted something that hit on Ciel's early Catholic devotion. I'm still not entirely sure I'm thrilled with this choice, but it's a pretty song! Note: this song means I often get super religious stuff in my Discover Weekly.

Smoke and Mirrors is where al-Sahra comes crashing down, which for Ciel was about more than just losing her family and her way of life. It was also about losing her idealism and everything she'd been taught about the world.

All I believe
is it a dream
that comes crashing down on me
All that I hope
is it just smoke and mirrors
I want to believe

Landslide is there to be a song about Ciel's fraught relationship with her mom. I looked FOREVER for really good mom/daughter songs, and never did find one I love. I'm also not thrilled about this one, but it does seem to work. I've always read it as about a different sort of relationship, but I think the bits about Cause I've built my life around you fit what that relationship was for Ciel.

Silence is a really great song by a Christian group I grew up listening to that is one of my favorites on this list. I love how well it captures her sense of being abandoned by the God who'd been so central in her early life. It has this haunting chorus that just keeps repeating where are you? that was at the core of my early vision of Ciel. I kind of feel like I don't do enough with it anymore and really want something to shake her up enough to get back to those roots a little.

Then comes a series of songs that basically goes 'fuck it, I'm alive and I'm here and I DO WHAT I WANT!'

Alive is on here, though I might take it off - I've co-opted it for other characters who probably fit better - but I do like the general sentiment.

Runaway is a much better fit for the sort of dramatic teenage angst that marked these years for Ciel.

You can't kick me down, I'm already on the ground
No you can't, but you couldn't catch me anyhow
Blue skies, but the sun isn't coming out, no
Today it's like I'm under a heavy cloud

And I feel so alive
I can't help myself
Don't you realize

I just wanna scream and lose control
Throw my hands up and let it go
Forget about everything and run away, yeah
I just wanna fall and lose myself
Laughing so hard it hurts like hell
Forget about everything and run away, yeah

Yeah okay, I just convinced myself to take Alive off when meme is done. ;)

Follow Your Arrow is a song that is so not my usual stye, but I kind of loved it for the way it really hits on trying to find your own way after a certain sort of upbringing. The line that won my heart was

Make lots of noise
And kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots of girls
If that's something you're into

I also like that it's not /just/ about rebelling, but about finding your own path, which is something that took Ciel a while. A lot of things that she did as a teen she would never do now. She's gotten more straight and narrow.

Don't Stop Me Now and Bird Set Free are both songs about Ciel claiming where she was going and who she was on her own. A little bit crazy party girl, a little bit idealism reclaimed, a lot deciding who she was and why. And I cannot resist the songs about flying free so uh.

Then we hit a set of songs that are X-Force songs. We'll Be the Stars is so chock-full of optimism (and again with the flight/space/comet stuff - I remember now that I also googled songs about comets and flying) and hope and idealism and like-- superhero wannabeness.

Oh, no, we're never gonna step too far
Yeah, we're holding on to who we are
When it's time to close your eyes
They will see us in the sky
We'll be the stars

I Wanna Fly is really similar - it's handy that flying is such a good metaphor for escaping and starting over and new beginnings.

I could quote huge portions of this song, but I'll try to restrain myself a little. When I listen to this song, though, I get this really concrete, literal sort of vision of a very young Ciel on a very early X-Force job sitting on the edge of a building somewhere foreign, very high above city lights and very far below the stars and just feeling, finally, /complete/. Like she'd found her purpose again. And then flying into the night, grinning.

I'm sitting on the edge
A thousand stars burning in the sky up overhead
How could it get more beautiful than this?
And it made me think of when, when in my life have I ever felt more infinite?
And could I ever get back there again?
That's the way it goes you fall so short, sometimes you feel so close
But when you find the thing that matters most may you never let it go
(That's the way it goes, that's the way it goes)

I wanna fly
I'm ready to burn down all the walls that I've been building up inside (Whoa)
I wanna fly and put back all the pieces of this broken heart tonight (Whoa, whoa)
Can we fly, can we fly away?

Oh, whoa, I forgot I put this one in here. You Don't Have to Let Go is one of those mother/daughter songs I looked up, and it's sort of fraught with tension and reconciliation. I think that my idea here is that Ciel didn't speak to her mother for a very long time after she went to live with Jean-Paul, and that it took her many years and a lot of confidence to bridge that gulf and have anything like a relationship with her again. This is a really great example of how playlists have helped me flesh out backstory in a way I don't always do. I'm not a super huge fan of this song on its own, but I do like what it gets at.

I don't need your strength anymore
'Cuz you have made me strong
You may not see the woman in me
That you dreamed of holding me in your arms

All the days that you gave
All the moments you saved me
Praying for my life, sacrificed just to make me
Who I am on my own

Which is why that song is followed by what I think of as the high point of her playlist. Comet is such a fun song and it's great because it's all about optimism and burning bright and the future (and in case anyone isn't aware, it was Ciel's XF codename), and it's the song that sort of represents her having her shit together and doing the thing she felt she was most meant to do. It's also really upbeat and peppy and fun. I picture this song as sort of an anthem her XF friends or team might claim as her theme song. Storm is blowing, we feel fine, Comet's lighting up the night.

Stars look different tonight as the smoke begins to rise
It paints a coat of blue and white
Then dissipates in heaven's high
We're no longer asking why as we start to realize
Change, it's just a part of life

I can't wait to see what it's like
To be weightless
To be weightless

That's followed by a pair of different XF songs - Magazine is basically about thinking you know right from wrong and believing you're on the right side. I like it less the more I listen to it, so I'm not sure if it will stay here, but I like the sentiment. Superheroes is one of my favorite X-Factor songs in general, and it's on my basic XF list. I love how it builds this story of different people finding their strengths and building power from pain

She's got lions in her heart
A fire in her soul
He's a got a beast in his belly
That's so hard to control
Cause they've taken too much hits
Taking blow by blow
Now light a match, stand back
Watch them explode

When you've been fighting for it all your life
You've been struggling to make things right
That’s a how a superhero learns to fly
Every day, every hour
Turn the pain into power

AND THEN COMES RICHIE AND EVERYTHING IS RUINED. I feel like there aren't very many times when Skyfall fits perfectly, but this is totally one of them.

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
And face it all together

Pompeii is, of course, about trying to figure out where to go next when your whole world's crumbled and kind of failing (ho am I gonna be an optimist about this?). Work is another great Jars of Clay song about being lost and struggling to keep it together.

I don't have a line of prospects that can give some kind of peace
There is nothing left to cling to that can bring me sweet release
I have no fear of drowning
It's the breathing that's taking all this work

With DESTROYA we finally hit India, and a sort of 'I give no fucks' attitude. When Ciel became a mercenary, she did it by burying a lot of herself, including her idealism and her sense of right and wrong. It's a super pessimistic song that basically declares that she's no longer a hero, she's just an enemy.

If what you are,
Is just what you own,
What have you become,
When they take from you
Almost everything?

You don't believe in God,
I don't believe in luck,
They don't believe in us,
But I believe we're the enemy!

All My Life is a similar pessimistic 'what am I doing with my life' anthem, which is (thankfully?) followed by the somewhat more upbeat Alive Tonight, which is where Rohan enters. It's all about taking things in the moment and being alive-- you know. Tonight.

Run Away With Me is even more clearly Rohan, about getting lost in him, and using him as an escape. It's a little more sentimental than Ciel allows herself to admit to these days, but there was totally a time when that captured what he was to her.

Oh baby, take me to the feeling
I'll be your sinner, in secret
When the lights go out
Run away with me

There are actually a toooon of Ciel/Rohan songs that I didn't put in here because it was becoming overwhelming, so they became their own playlist, so I only kept the few that felt really core to their relationship. Otherwise we'd be in India forever instead of getting back to New York.

Away From the Sun is about realizing that you've done Questionable Things and wanting to move beyond them.

'Cause now again I've found myself
So far down, away from the sun
That shines into the darkest place
I'm so far down, away from the sun again
Away from the sun again

I'm over this
I'm tired of living in the dark

Forgiven is about moving back into a straighter path, and I love it just for its opening line: You know how us Catholic girls can be, We make up for so much time a little too late

And finally we're back in New York! There are a series of songs here that are part about Ciel's experience PI'ing with Lexie and part about X-Factor when it comes along. My favorite is Doors, which is all about starting over and recognizing doors that open and refusing to give up.

Believe is a Ciel/Rohan song about his return. Not all the details work, but the refrain, I don't even know if I believe, Everything you're trying to say to me, really captures their relationship right after his reappearance in her life, when she had a very hard time accepting anything he was telling her about his motivations or his feelings or even his past.

The next few songs are more firmly X-Factor and finding her feet again Fly, It's On Again, and Higher Ground are actually all pretty good XFS songs in general, sort of a 'I remember how to fight for things and how to believe in things' trio. I especially love 'It's On Again for XFS.

I am a freedom fighter, the name that history wrote
And even through disaster, eye of the tiger for hope
I'm tryin' to find my way back, there's no day off for heroes
And even when I'm tired, go is the only word I know

Ahh, and then here's Kade. I looked FOREVER for really good songs about young love or crushes growing into something more, but the best I could get were sappy country songs, and I cannot abide that (also, none were very good). Then I stumbled on this Adele song, and it fit so well. When I put it on this playlist, it felt a little more SERIOUS than they were at the time, but now I think it's probably close to THEIR song in my mind. It really gets at how long Ciel had had him on her mind, and how nervous she was even as she really wanted it in the beginning.

I think it also really fits now - it gets at her fears, but also his, about relationships that haven't worked and whether this one can. Also, it's just a really pretty song. I mean, Adelle.

I don't know why I'm scared, I've been here before
Every feeling, every word, I've imagined it all
You'll never know if you never try

I dare you to let me be your, your one and only
Promise I'm worthy to hold in your arms
So come on and give me the chance
To prove I am the one who can
Walk that mile until the end starts

Superpower is a super sexy Beyonce song that's about touch and sex but also about being stronger together and sort of facing the world together, and it's another song that was a Bit Much when I put it on, but that fits them really well now.

The laws of the world never stopped us once
Cause together we got plenty super power

Super power
A subtle power
Super power
A tough love
Super power
Like a shark
Super power
Like a bear
A tough love

Then we wrap it up (FINALLY) with a bunch of 'reclaiming who I am badass superhero songs. Fight Song and I Am the Fire are both songs along those lines, while Reaper is basically about clawing back up from the ground, realizing that you'd rather live another day to keep fighting, that you're not ready for death. That you've got things not only to fight for, but to live for.

You came to take me away
So close I was to heaven's gate
But no baby, no baby not today
Oh, you tried to track me down
You followed me like the darkest cloud
But no baby, no baby not today


So come back when I'm good and old
I got drinks to drink and men to hold
I got good things to do with my life, yeah
Oh, I want to dance in the open breeze
Feel the wind in my hair and hear the ocean sing
I got good things to feel in my life, yeah

Lay It All on Me is another Kade/Ciel song, this one less about love and more about the support they provide each other, how they lean on each other and make each other stronger.


Do any songs represent people or relationships in your character's life? Which ones, and who do they represent?

Ug, I'm not answering this, just see my giant thing above. There are people I kind of wish I had better relationship songs for (maybe I'll look for some), namely Jean-Paul and Lexie. Also Christian probably. I haven't really hit anything recent, so.

Would your character listen to this playlist? What song would be their favorite?

I never know what to do with character's listening habits because I never really listened to music (I actually do a lot more after I got into playlists!). I suspect that Ciel is probably fairly eclectic, with a bias toward upbeat, energetic stuff and a secret love for dark, soulful stuff. IDK.

OOC: Playlist Meme


Playlist link:







How do you build a playlist? What's your process? I'm big on instrumental for characters. I tend to pay too much mind to lyrics as I'm writing, which can be a big distraction. Also, I suppose my characters have a tendency to leave a lot unsaid. + Fuck yes(!) the related song recommendations at the bottom.

Is your playlist in an order? What is it? All of my playlists are in order.

For Christian, it begins just before he is lost as a kid in the AU and continues to just after his return.

For Tiff, it starts off just before and ends just after a point in her background that hasn't been touched on much, in which an affair with her literary mentor/professor ends badly.

While Samad's is in order, it follows no storyline. Poor Samad. Same for Luka, but we don't feel bad for that guy.

If you had to pick one song to best represent your character, what would it be and why? I can't help but feel as though these all capture their vibes. (That's right. I believe in vibes.)

Christian: River Lea by Adele

Tiff: The Hymn For Cigarettes by Hefner

Samad: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood by Santa Esmeralda

Luka: Tear You Apart by She Wants Revenge

Do any songs represent events in your character's life? Which ones, and what do they represent? Most of Christian's songs are very literal for his story. They just fell into place. I would say the others' playlists are much more vague.

Do any songs represent people or relationships in your character's life? Which ones, and who do they represent? No. Then again, none of them have ever actually been in a relationship with another PC. I'm sure if that were the case, I'd have much more inspiration!

Would your character listen to this playlist? What song would be their favorite? Tiffany would probably listen to Luka's. ;)

OOC: Playlist Meme


We talked about doing a playlist meme, so here it is! This is the copy/pasteable version.

Playlist link:

How do you build a playlist? What's your process?

Is your playlist in an order? What is it?

If you had to pick one song to best represent your character, what would it be and why?

Do any songs represent events in your character's life? Which ones, and what do they represent?

Do any songs represent people or relationships in your character's life? Which ones, and who do they represent?

Would your character listen to this playlist? What song would be their favorite?

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