The Nomad Diner, New Mexico (Exclusion #9)

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Orph
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The Nomad Diner, New Mexico (Exclusion #9)

Post by Orph » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:39 pm

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"Howdy, folks! Welcome to th' Nomad, how can I help you?"


Located approximately two-hundred miles outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Nomad Diner is a 'retro' fifties-style diner, standing alone by the side of an off-the-beaten-path road heading out of the city. Outside the diner are five cars, and one motorcycle.
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Inside the diner, there's a counter where early-morning patrons may sit and eat their bacon and eggs. There's a soda fountain, but no alcoholic beverages. On the walls are pictures of perfect-looking fifties young adults enjoying Coca-Cola products, and framed photographs of mildly famous former guests. A jukebox is located in the back of the diner, with classic hits from that era.

The diner's menu primarily features 'the classics.' Bacon and eggs, toast, burgers, malts, milkshakes, et cetera. The diner is open 24-7, but the menu remains largely the same regardless of the hour. The staff is always ready to serve you coffee to keep you going, or a bottle of Original Taste Coca-Cola.

The Diners.

Marv and Lucy are a young high-school couple, here at the Nomad to share a malt and get away from their stodgy old parents for a night.

Clark drives the motorcycle, and wears a matching red jacket. His helmet is hung up on one of the coat-hooks by the door. He's just stopped in for a coffee before getting back on the road.

Sam is a retired police officer, who stopped in at the Nomad every day on patrol for twenty years. After he retired, his visits became less frequent, but he likes to stop in every so often for eggs and toast, and to see how everyone's getting on.

Charlie, Marie, Clara, and Duncan are a 'nuclear' family of four, for whom a trip out to the Nomad is a special treat, usually reserved for when Clara and Duncan have done all their chores. Though they're far from perfect, Charlie, and Irish immigrant, is proud of the life he's managed to build for himself and his family.

Joan is a college student and activist, who often gets into debates with Mavis over the merits of 'feminism,' and whether women even need the right to vote. Nevertheless, she's a regular customer, who brings her copy of The Second Sex wherever she goes.

Doug is a traveling musician, who stopped in at the Nomad with his acoustic guitar and cowboy hat for a drink, and decided to stay awhile, playing songs for the rest of the diners' pleasure.

The Staff.

Mavis is the main server. She's usually behind the counter, cleaning a glass or brewing another pot of coffee, but she's also the one to bring you your meal when it's ready. She's a friendly, older woman, perhaps in her late fifties, who started working here to put herself through college, and then her daughters, and now simply stays on because she loves the place. Every regular customer can expect to be greeted with a friendly "Mornin'!" from Mavis as they enter.

Eduardo is a Mexican immigrant who started working at the Nomad because he couldn't find work anywhere else. He's soft-spokena nd good-natured, and makes up for his lack of proficiency with English by making a mean burger.


Begin Recording.

"Hello. My name is {REDACTED], Analytics and Threat Assessment for {REDACTED}. This recording is concerning the Nomad Diner, located outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. At an undetermined time, for seemingly no reason, this location became the epicenter for a meta-human event of extremely dangerous scale. At the dawn of every day, the diner seems to 'reset,' so that no significant change can occur. I was sent into the diner by the local office of {REDACTED} almost immediately after the event occurred, in disguise. However, for some unknown reason, I, and I alone, became 'captured' by this effect. I am unable to leave- I can flee the diner, but no matter where I am, after the reset, I return to the Nomad.

The effect taking place here is not a 'hard' reset, indeed there appears to be some continuity of thought with the other diners, enough that they recognized when a customer from one day returned the next. However, they seem incapable of recognizing what is actually happening, even when I try to bring it up with them. Despite this, they became hostile when I stressed the point, and maintaining my cover seems to be the only solution to this problem.

I've only been able to send this message by driving directly to the {REDACTED} office, early in the morning, and dropping it off, shortly before the reset. If this message actually reaches anyone, I am formally invoking the Exclusionary Principle. If this effect is allowed to spread, the entire world could be stuck in this era forever. Unless you discover a way to un-do the effect, this will be my last report.

{REDACTED}, June 20, 1952.



-The nature of this place is a closely-guarded secret. Only government agents with high levels of clearance would realistically know the nature of this place.
-It's safe to enter and leave, as the effect that's trapped the diners and staff doesn't affect everyone who enters. However, it's obvious after a while that these people mostly believe themselves to still be in the fifties, and trying to explain this to them can upset them.
-The effect is 'excluded,' using an as-of-yet unknown technology that confines dangerous meta-human abilities to certain areas, and makes them unusable everywhere else.
-Have fun.
A myth where ultimate evil turns its gaze on humanity and humanity gazes right back and says "Gotcha."

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Re: The Nomad Diner, New Mexico (Exclusion #9)

Post by Terminus » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:46 pm


Nicolas didn't really know his team very well. He'd interacted a few times with Magnetar, and he respected him, but his knowledge of the man beyond his abilities extended to... his name. Atlas, he knew even less about. From his conversations with Rust, he knew that the man- Brock LaVerne- was a time-traveller, of sorts, displaced from the forties. Pendragon was well aware his social graces left something to be desired, so he'd figured he could compensate by being conscientious. The flag-wearing hero had adjusted to the world, to some degree, but that only meant that a reminder of days past would be more valuable.

Finding a 'retro'-style diner hadn't been particularly hard. Finding one that would seem at all authentic had been. Most others looked too fake to give LaVerne any real sense of nostalgia. This one, though, located in the literal middle of nowhere, in Nevada, seemed like it might be a good choice. No website, and some strange Yelp! reviews, but it was almost universally praised for its authenticity.

Travel was a consideration. Driving was impractical, as was donning the Terminus and carrying the Man out of Time all the way to Nevada. They could have used Atom's portal tech, but that had issues both with energy expenditure and... other kinds of risks. In the end, Pendragon decided they'd just use the plane.

Though the Miracle Island base had a large area for vehicles, at the moment, only one rested in the hangar. Nicolas had build the plane himself, using tech he'd 'acquired' off-world, when searching for a light-speed drive to outfit his asteroid-mining operation with. It took them across the country in under an hour. They touched down a short distance away from the actual location, so that the appearance of a hi-tech plane right on their doorstep wouldn't scare anyone inside.

After a few minutes of walking, they made it to the Nomad Diner. Pendragon opened the door, and walked inside. Immediately, he was greeted by a friendly, vaguely-southern voice.

"Mornin'!" The woman- Mavis, by her nametag- looked a little surprised to see Nicolas, despite him wearing relatively casual clothing, compared to his usual suit-and-tie. A black jacket over a deep-red turtleneck, and tinted sunglasses, to be precise. "Just the two of you?" Pendragon nodded, and allowed himself to be led to a seat.

"Can I, ah, offer y'all somethin' to drink?"

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Re: The Nomad Diner, New Mexico (Exclusion #9)

Post by Aeros » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:24 am

"Well, would you look at me. Like a spitting image of FDR."

Brock was doing his best to make light of his recent injuries; having a building fall on you— twice— wasn't exactly knee-slapping material, but the aviator did his best to roll with the punches. Two broken legs and a fractured hip wasn't anything to scoff at, but to LaVerne, it was barely noticeable— well, discounting the fresh set of wheels he'd gotten out of the ordeal, of course.

Turthfully, it was Mister Pendragon's idea to organize such an excursion to an authentic diner. A bit after his time, sadly, but it was a helluva lot closer to the 40s than 2018. Brock wheeled himself after Nick, following the ex-billionaire to a table down the diner's aisle.

"I'd love a glass of pop. Coca-Cola, please, and thank you... Mavis." LaVerne replied, eyes focusing on the woman's nametag for a moment before his look of concentration faded into a casual smile.

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Re: The Nomad Diner, New Mexico (Exclusion #9)

Post by Terminus » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:24 pm


"Just water for me," Pendragon said, smiling. It was a little ironic, that the pilot was now wheelchair-bound, but LaVerne seemed to be taking it in stride. So to speak. Mavis bustled off to handle that, giving them a moment alone. Two laminated menus sat on the table between them, and Nicolas picked one up, glancing through.

I wonder if they have salads here?

Pendragon glanced around the room idly. There was an actual jukebox in the back of the room- not one of the newer touch-screen ones, but featuring the old-fashioned card-thing and everything. A few other diners, including a man with a guitar, but none that seemed too terribly interesting.

"So," he said, after a moment, "how'd you meet our mutual friend? A... work event?" It wouldn't do to speak quite so openly of their alter-egos, despite the two of them not really having much in the way of a secret identity to protect.

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Re: The Nomad Diner, New Mexico (Exclusion #9)

Post by Aeros » Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:27 pm

"Sure, you could call it that." LaVerne began with a small chuckle, noticing that Terminus was beating 'round the bush with all the hero talk. Brock could play coy in a conversation as skillfully as the next guy, though, so he kept the façade going with a slight smirk on his face.

"I had some of my own business to take care of. Met him in Cincinnati, after meeting a kid I'd known from, uh, the 40s." He continued, wheeling himself to a side of the table not currently occupied with a chair. Brock's expression faltered a bit at the retelling, his own words causing a twinge of a frown to flicker across his smile for a moment as he cast a downward stare towards the tiled floor of the dining parlor. Eyes narrowed. It was always his response when he brought up something he didn't particularly enjoy talking about; for him, it was better to break the eye contact. Easier that way, he found.

"You two were at that, uh... DC fight, weren't you? Heard y'were both there. That's when he, uh... changed, wasn't it? Whole thing did a number on him."

Atlas rubbed the back of his neck, fingers gliding over his head as the prickly sensation of shortly-cut hairs sprang over his hand.

"You meet him before any of that, or...?"

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Re: The Nomad Diner, New Mexico (Exclusion #9)

Post by Terminus » Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:52 pm

Probably won't ever be less weird to hear someone around my age talk about the nineteen-forties like it was yesterday. Guess that's the world we live in, these days.

Nicolas was nodding in agreement, when he heard something incongruous. "Wait- you mean that was him? With the-" He fell silent, chuckling, as Mavis approached, dropping off their drinks.

"Y'all ready to order?"

Pendragon glanced back at the menu, for a moment. "I'll take the Caesar, thanks." She nodded, and turned to Brock. When he was done, and Mavis had left, the Monastic Millionaire finished his thought.

"With the axe, in D.C.? That was-" He stopped short of saying Rust aloud, for fear someone in earshot was up to date on current events. "Our mutual friend? Huh. Small world after all, I guess." He shook his head briefly. "No, hadn't had the pleasure until... New York, I think. With the bomb."

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Re: The Nomad Diner, New Mexico (Exclusion #9)

Post by Aeros » Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:59 pm

"I'll take the soup special, sweetheart. Thank you." Brock replied to the waitress, his face softening from its usual loose persona as the woman approached and took the two's orders.

Elizabeth had been a waitress, once. She'd been working tables at a diner when he'd first met her, actually, on a small dive off Massachusetts Route 2. Stopped there after one of his flight shows— Brock wasn't one to believe in love at first sight, but Jesus, when she met his gaze, it was like the whole damn room lit up. He'd never gotten the vibe Betty threw off from any other woman, and it was a damn shame he hadn't met her earlier.

If he had, well, maybe he would've gotten more attached than he already was. Maybe he wouldn't have volunteered to join the USAAF.

Maybe he could have still been with her. In the 40s.

LaVerne shook the thought and turned back to Pendragon, catching the tail end of his ally's sentence as he tuned back into the conversation. New York.

"That was my first time meeting... the new him, I think, so I'm in the same boat as you. It's... a lot to take in, to say the least." He muttered, referring to the persona of Magnetar as much as the new world thrust upon him. Things weren't the same— that much was obvious, but lately he felt like he wasn't even himself anymore. Retro restaurants and bars were nice, but they were... palliative. They only partially scratched an itch he couldn't put a finger on. Homesickness, maybe, or a dissatisfaction at the state of the world.

"Lot's changed." He muttered, looking out the window into the pale tan of the New Mexico desert.

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Re: The Nomad Diner, New Mexico (Exclusion #9)

Post by Terminus » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:07 pm

Nicolas nodded. "More's changed in the past few years than a decade or three, to be honest. With a few exceptions like yourself, the whole 'cape' phenomenon is entirely new. It turned the world on its head, and people are only now struggling to catch up. 's good we're getting ahead of the curve."

Hm. It's probably too late to properly head off culture shock, but it might be worthwhile to make him some sort of primer on modern history. Even if it doesn't cover everything, he needs to be up-to-date on the relevant information, given he's supposed to be our public face. I'm not a people person, and Magnetar is a little too intimidating to be the spokesman.

"Speaking of our, ah, 'social club...' how are you feeling about all that? I can't imagine you're eager to throw yourself right back into the fray, given your injury, but... strength invites challenge, and all that."

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Re: The Nomad Diner, New Mexico (Exclusion #9)

Post by Aeros » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:02 pm

"Oh, 'strength invites challenge'? So I've heard." Brock joked, smiling at the platitude and leaning back in his wheelchair to stretch out the tightness in his back.

"You can tell it to me straight, you know. I realize you want me back in the action as soon as possible-- and I'll tell you what, if some supervillain touched down in front of this diner right now, I'd ride right out there, shield in hand. I don't think you'd want me combatting in a wheelchair, though, so as long as you can design something to keep me standing, I'm game."

LaVerne sighed.

"Hell, I'd design one myself if it wasn't for the technology gap-- you gotta show me all the new stuff, by the way. Last I checked, the plane I hitched a ride on to get here wasn't a B-52." He added, smiling.

"How'd you get that suit of yours, anyhow?"

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Re: The Nomad Diner, New Mexico (Exclusion #9)

Post by Terminus » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:16 pm

Just at the suggestion of building some kind of device to help support Brock's legs, Pendragon's mind lit up. Ideas, ranging from injecting nanopaste into his spinal column to speed up the recovery process, to a full-on exoskeleton. The possibility of some kind of telepresence unit appealed as well, like what Atom had used to visit the Sol's Hamer installation while he'd been hospitalized.

Well. Maybe not. Mitch had experience piloting his own suit, and Brock... doesn't.

Then, Atlas finished his thought.

Oh, right! He was an engineer. The gap in knowledge aside, he does know what he's doing. that rocket-pack of his was revolutionary, for its time.

"Sounds like a plan," he nodded. "Plane's my own design, though. The commercial stuff is interesting, but designed for different purposes. Mostly I wanted us to have some method of rapid transportation aside from ourselves. My... suit could get disabled, Rust could lose his jewelry, and you're not in the aviation industry anymore. Plus, we might need to bring friends along with us. Or, y'know... captives."

Nicolas glanced out the window for a moment, at the mention of the Terminus.

"Well. You know how there's stories about people meditating for weeks or months on end, and reaching enlightenment at the end? Some kind of spiritual awakening?" He rolled his eyes slightly. "Never bought into it much myself, even if I did do my fair share of meditation. But I tried something like that myself, once. 'cept at the end, instead of realizing the true nature of the universe, I found I had the designs for the 'suit' etched into my brain." He chuckled, a little hollowly. "Not literally. But close enough. Couple sleepless nights later, and I'd built it, despite the materials I'd had access to being decidedly sub-par. I'm not sure how much of it I was even lucid for."

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