Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Eddie Brock
Raw
Avatar of Eddie Brock

Eddie Brock

Member Seen 23 days ago



The sleek, egg-shaped building which housed Zenith Dynamics spoke to the company's pioneering spirit. Zenith was almost single-handedly responsible for Century City's most groundbreaking advancements: the Mag-Rail, a monorail system which revolutionized the city's mass transit; a fleet of autonomous, electric delivery vehicles which reduced emissions and made the streets safer; and a citywide "Li-Fi" network, which provided universal internet access at speeds greater than traditional Wi-Fi. Yet April was less concerned with Zenith's public deeds than with its secrets -- particularly as they related to the demise of her father, Dr. Henry Newton.

April was only ten years old when her father passed. If she closed her eyes, she could still remember the night of the storm. The thunder and the rain against her bedroom window woke her in the middle of the night. As she tried to go back to sleep, she heard voices downstairs. Angry voices. Creeping out of her bedroom, April snuck over to the banister at the second floor landing. There, she could more clearly hear her father arguing with his partner, Dr. Miller. To this day, she couldn't remember the basis of the argument, only that it involved Zenith. Neither man had been thrilled with their new benefactor, but there had apparently been some disagreement regarding how to handle it. Two weeks later, the accident occurred. April never shook the idea that the argument was somehow related to both men's deaths.

Now, April felt all of ten years old again as she stood before Zenith Dynamics' headquarters. Admittedly, some of that came from the guilt for her disobedience. To explain her absence at work, she had made up an apartment-related emergency and asked one of the other assistants to shadow Mickey for the day. She still didn't have a plan to smooth things over when he found out what she'd done, but she was sure she'd think of something... she hoped. Either way, she couldn't allow herself to worry about that now; she had a far more important mission in front of her first. Straightening her glasses and summoning her courage, April strode towards the building and tried to calm her beating heart.

Stepping into Zenith's lobby was like stepping onto the starship Enterprise. The shiny, white space was punctuated here and there by splashes of green from interior landscaping. A series of wide walkways were arranged around the main plaza like spokes in a wheel, with an artificial stream gurgling in a semicircle beneath them. Everywhere April looked, she saw large holographic displays showing directory information, time and weather, and promotional videos. They certainly know how to market themselves, she noted. She even found herself doubting that a place like this could have a sinister underbelly. Don't forget that looks can be deceiving.

Adjusting her glasses once more, she crossed over the stream and made a beeline for the large, marble desk beneath the Zenith Dynamics logo. There, a grid of neatly-arranged press passes awaited their owners. April smiled briefly at the assistant behind the desk, hoping she didn't look as nervous as she felt. Quickly locating the pass marked for the Chronicle, she snatched it off the desk and blurted out, "Have a great day!" Her hands were shaking as she slipped the pass over her neck, turning it around so that no one could see the name "Ronald Oberlin" clearly printed on its face.

Sheepishly, April made her way over to one of the holographic displays. After prodding at it like a Neanderthal for a moment, she finally figured out how to make it do what she wanted to do. Bringing up the directory, she scanned through the departments until finding the one she wanted. Another gesture brought up a floorplan with the relevant office highlighted in red. Bingo! Swiping the map away, April shrank a little and began heading in the appropriate direction. Fortunately, foot traffic was heavy enough that her presence drew little attention. Avoiding eye contact with the Zenith employees she passed, she caught the door just before it closed and wormed her way inside.

The inner hallways were less grandiose than the lobby, though no less futuristic. April could practically see her own reflection in the polished, white floors. As she walked, she peered through the safety glass at the laboratories beyond, each filled with foreign and expensive-looking equipment. Seeing all the scientists in their protective gear flitting around reminded her of a beehive. Turning down another hallway, she found herself passing executive offices. Unlike the laboratories, these rooms hid their goings-on behind frosted glass. Eventually, she came to the end of the hall, where the door marked "Records" awaited her.

The Records room was essentially a big server farm. For a moment, April thought of the advanced technology in the lobby and worried that she wouldn't be able to interface with any of this. However, the server stacks eventually opened to a clearing; in the center stood a triumvirate of computers. April hurried to one of them, aware that she couldn't afford to dilly-dally. Waking the monitor, she puzzled at the operating system until she brought up a search function. Slowly typing in her father's name, she accessed his personnel file. Dad, she thought wistfully upon seeing his ID picture staring back at her.

Much of the information contained therein was of little consequence. April began to wonder if this whole endeavor had been in vain when she noticed a restricted file. "Project: Gateway?" she spoke aloud in spite of herself. Though she tried to access the information, the computer spit back an error message regarding insufficient permissions. Frowning, April reached into her pocket and produced a flash drive. She wouldn't be able to get answers here, but maybe she could convince one of the Chronicle's IT guys to help her crack the encryption. Assuming I'm allowed back into the building.

Once the download was complete, April unplugged the flash drive and returned it to her pocket. Not wanting to press her luck any further than she already had, she began making her way back to the public areas of the facility. It wouldn't do to get caught snooping now, and besides: Mickey would expect a story on the demonstration, after all. Lost in her wonderings as to the nature of Project: Gateway, April nearly blundered into a collision with a Zenith executive leaving her office. Skittering backwards, April made herself small as she waited for the woman to pass.

Suddenly, April froze. The austere blonde executive was familiar to her, though it took her another moment to realize why. That woman had once been to the Newton home. The memory came flooding back. She had been there along with an older gentleman when April's father had been recruited to work for Zenith Dynamics. Though many years had passed -- the woman couldn't have been older then than April was now -- she carried herself with the same cold, haughty demeanor that April remembered. Once she had gone, April stole a glance at the name etched on the window to her office: SINCLAIR DAVIS.

"Can I help you, miss?"

April's spirit briefly left her body. Spinning to face the direction of the new voice, she found herself staring down an unamused security guard. Heart pounding, April faked a laugh and replied, "Oh, sorry! I was trying to look for the bathroom, and I must've gotten turned around." Inwardly, she cringed at the unoriginality of her "bathroom" excuse.

Judging by the guard's unchanged expression, he wasn't impressed, either. Closing the distance between them, he demanded, "Who are you?"

April fumbled with the press pass around her neck. "I'm, uh, I'm with the Chronicle," she offered, flashing the pass as briefly as she dared, praying he wouldn't request to see it closer. "I'm here for the, uh, demonstration... thing." With each word that left her lips, April hated herself a little more. If there was one thing she wasn't, it was a natural liar. I suppose there are worse things to be bad at.

Evidently, the guard didn't care to press the issue further. "That's in the eastern wing," he explained. "Come with me."

In any other situation, April might've made light small talk. It was the polite thing to do, after all, and she liked talking to people. However, the sleepy-eyed guard didn't seem the loquacious sort, and she worried that the nervousness in her voice would give her away. Meanwhile, the flash drive in April's pocket might as well been made from lead with how heavy it felt in her pocket. She didn't know exactly how much trouble she could get into if she were caught stealing data from Zenith's servers, but she couldn't imagine it'd be a mere slap on the wrist.

Finally, it seemed they had arrived. Approaching two large double doors, April dutifully followed the security guard as he led her into the largest laboratory yet. The enormous octagonal room was abuzz with activity; scientists and technicians circled the peculiar machine at the center of it all, spouting off information about "containment levels" and "ionization readings." Beyond them, April spotted the members of the media, cordoned off at the far side of the room. Wordlessly, the security guard escorted her to the front of the pack. April could feel the other reporters' eyes on her, trying to place her. She held her tongue and took out her phone.

A few minutes later, a handsome young man came swaggering over to the gaggle of reporters. April didn't recognize him at first, if only because she had never seen him outside of pictures. "Ladies and gentleman, my name is Isaac Vance. Thank you for joining us here at Zenith Dynamics for this historic demonstration," the blue-eyed, black-haired CEO began. The younger Vance had only recently taken his place at his father's company following Malcolm Vance's passing. Before that, he had quite the reputation, if what the Chronicle printed in its gossip column could be believed. The reformed playboy had worked wonders on Zenith's public relations.

"Behind me," Vance continued with a dramatic wave of his arm, "is the world's first fully-operational cold fusion reactor." As if anticipating the tense reaction from the crowd, he held up his hands and said, "Have no fear. Unlike the common fission reactors, this machine poses no threat to those in its proximity. The radiation produced is no more harmful than a common x-ray." By then, April was only half paying attention, as she spotted the woman from earlier, Ms. Davis, inspecting the machine behind him. "Now, I'm sure you have many questions, but I ask that you wait until after the demonstration. I'm assured it'll be quite the show." Vance gave a crooked smile and stepped to the side.

April barely managed to pry her eyes off Ms. Davis in time to see the demonstration beginning. At the press of a few buttons, the Zenith technicians lowered the protective shielding around the reactor, exposing a glowing core which bathed the room in an eerie green light. There were mild "ooh"s and "ahh"s behind April, though clearly most were apprehensive about what they were witnessing. The scientists began barking orders, and the room filled with a reverberating hum. The green light inside the machine intensified until April had to cover her eyes with a hand. She heard someone yell, "Initiating electrolysis!" Suddenly, the core sparked as voltage passed through it.

Somewhere across the lab, an alarm began to sound. April hadn't been the only one to hear it; more than one reporter turned in the direction of the sound and began to murmur. Beside them, Vance tried to explain it away as merely precautionary, though he had to raise his voice to be heard over the machine. April could tell by the frantic scuffling of technicians that it was anything but precautionary. "Temperature's spiking," one technician called out, "Coolant's having no effect." April didn't need to understand the science to know that meant trouble.

A scientist in thick, welder goggles came over to Vance. "We're gonna have to shut it down, Mr. Vance. If we let it go, we're risking structural comp--" The scientist was interrupted by a crack. A fissure had appeared at the top of the reactor's core, and strands of green light shot up towards the ceiling. That incited panic.

April was knocked to the floor as the reporters behind her clamored for the exit. The flash drive containing all the Project: Gateway files skittered out of her pocket and across the floor. In the chaos that had ensued, no one paid any attention to the girl crawling along the floor in pursuit of it. Gotcha! April thought triumphantly as she got it back in hand, though the celebration was short-lived; looking up, she saw that she had crawled all the way to the base of the reactor, which now seemed ready to burst. Through the expanding crack in its core, she could see straight into the heart of the machine. The light was searing. Scrambling to her feet, April barely had time to turn her back before a "THOOM!" behind her swept her into the air.

Hazily, April came to a moment later, having been thrown against the nearest wall. Bits of concrete and plaster rolled off her back as she forced herself upright. The laboratory was a disaster; the reactor explosion had leveled everything that wasn't tied down... and many of the things that were. Meanwhile, the reactor itself looked like a shattered Christmas ornament, with green smoke drifting up towards the ceiling. As April surveyed the scene, she saw scientists and technicians scattered like tacks. Nearby, someone was pinned beneath a fallen piece of equipment.

Without hesitation, April rushed to the poor soul's side. He was a technician, and a young one at that. Wincing through the pain, he stammered, "I... I can't move it..." April wasn't surprised. The twisted hunk of metal under which he lay looked to weigh hundreds of pounds. Still, she couldn't just leave him like this. "G-get help..."

She should've, but there was little time and everyone else around was nursing their own wounds. Though it felt hopeless to the point of foolishness, April knelt down and slid her hands beneath the obstruction. Grunting, she lifted with all her might, trying to remember to lift with her legs and not her back. Her hands were slick with sweat, but she swore she felt something moving. Doubling her efforts, she kept on lifting until the debris was over her head. Once the technician was free, she tossed it aside almost effortlessly.

Still wincing as he held his ribs, the technician asked, "How... did you... ?"

Of course, April didn't have an answer. For the moment, she was content to chalk it up to adrenaline. "Stay here," she said, much calmer than she felt, "I'm going to find someone to help the rest of these people." She hadn't taken more than two steps before a crumbling sound stopped her to look up. The damaged ceiling was giving way, and a heavy chunk of concrete plummeted towards her. Covering her head, April braced for the impact that never came. When she finally found the courage to open her eyes, she saw that she was sheathed in an aura of green energy.

The technician, unfortunately, had seen it, too.

"Wait!" he called out, though it was already too late. April had taken off in search of security... paramedics... anyone more qualified to deal with this emergency than she was. She didn't know what any of that was about, and she didn't much care. All that mattered was getting those people help, and then getting herself home... before the day got any stranger.
1x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Eddie Brock
Raw
Avatar of Eddie Brock

Eddie Brock

Member Seen 23 days ago



April woke up on neither the right nor the wrong side of the bed.

She woke up eighteen inches above the bed.

Startled, she inhaled sharply before plummeting a foot and a half to the mattress below. Her pillows crashed around her head, and she tried to make sense of what just happened. Had she been... floating? She struggled to think of an explanation -- reasonable or otherwise -- which could rationalize the gravity-defying feat. Maybe it had been part of a dream, and she hadn't actually awakened until her landing. Even that didn't ring true, though, because April could remember last night's dreams; they had been filled with explosions and her father's face and that ominous green light...

Get a hold of yourself, April, the voice inside her head chided her. You're just tired and overstressed, and you went through something traumatic yesterday. Your mind is playing tricks on you. It was true that she hadn't gotten much in the way of sleep; she had stayed up late into the night working on an article that could hopefully save her job. She wasn't sure she had succeeded, but at least she wouldn't go back to Mickey empty-handed. Although the thought of facing her boss was far from a comforting one, at least it gave her something new to think about. April sighed and kicked her legs over the side of the bed, already dreading the morning ahead.

Once in the bathroom, April took a moment to inspect her injuries from the day before. She had taken a pretty nasty spill when the fusion reactor exploded, and her body ached all over. Surprisingly, though, her back showed little sign besides some light bruising in a few spots. Elsewhere, there was a small laceration just below her hairline, but even that was already beginning to fade. All told, she had been incredibly lucky to avoid more serious injury. And that didn't even account for the falling debris which inexplicably missed her head...

After counting her blessings, April disrobed and climbed into the shower. No sooner had she turned the faucet than she was blasted by a spray of frigid water. "Shit!" she blurted out, throwing out a hand to slow the freezing onslaught. Damn water heater's out again, she groaned while making a mental note to call her superintendent, Mr. Raimivich. Slumping her forehead against the shower tile, she wondered how this morning could get off to a worse start. Is a little hot water so much to ask?

As April stood there, wallowing in her own misfortune, something peculiar happened. The shower itself began to grow increasingly warmer; although the water coming from the showerhead was still cold, it felt as though she was standing in a sauna. What's more, April had began to glow again. The sheath of neon green energy was coming off her in waves, and the shower water turned to steam upon contact with it. April stared in disbelief at her own hand. Please, God, tell me I didn't suffer a traumatic brain injury yesterday.

Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, she set aside her confusion long enough to finish showering. Once April turned the faucet off, the green energy abated, and the temperature of the bathroom returned to normal. Still, she didn't get out right away, opting to stare at her seemingly ordinary hands instead. She wanted to keep believing that she had imagined what happened after the accident yesterday, that there was a reasonable explanation for all of this, but evidence to the contrary was mounting.

April made it through the rest of her morning routine without further incident. Skipping her traditional coffee shop detour, she made for the Chronicle with urgency. Strange happenings or no, it wouldn't do to be late again when she was already facing an uphill battle. April felt as though every pedestrian she passed was watching her, though she knew that none of them could possibly be aware of what was happening to her. Please don't glow, please don't glow, please don't glow, was April's new mantra.

At the Chronicle, April could tell that the rumor mill had already started. Though whether the whispers had to do with her lying to Mickey or her being present at the accident, she couldn't totally say. April did her best to ignore the distractions as she wasted no time heading for Mickey's office. Her personal belongings hadn't been packed in a box on her desk; that had to be a good sign, right? For the second time in as many days, April gathered her courage and faced her destiny. Giving a quick courtesy knock, she stepped into Mickey's office, where the editor stood looking over photographs from yesterday's hectic scene.

"There she is," Mickey called out, "Nellie Bly herself." He put down the photographs and folded his arms, wearing an almost amused look. Clearly, he was looking forward to April's attempt at an explanation. Not that she believed for one second that there wasn't anger behind that half-smile.

"I know what you're going to say," April began.

Mickey raised an eyebrow. "You do? Well, that's quite a talent for an aspiring reporter to have. Maybe I was wrong to keep you on the bench," he responded dryly.

"I disobeyed you. I know there will be consequences for that," she conceded, "but I've always heard you tell your reporters to be relentless, to follow their gut no matter what anyone else tells them, and to be--"

"Tireless in the pursuit of the story," Mickey finished. "So you can listen to me, just not when it's something you don't want to hear." He gave a mirthless chuckle. "Well, how 'bout it, then? What story have you brought?" He took the article from her hand as she offered it. Furrowing his brow, he skimmed it quickly before declaring, "What does this tell me that I don't already know?"

The question took April aback. "Well, the fusion reactor exploded..."

Mickey rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I know that. Everyone south of Fifth Street knows that." He smacked the back of his hand against the paper. "But why did it explode?"

April had to admit, "I don't know."

"Well, if you don't know, and I don't know, then how is the reader going to know?" Shaking his head, he thrust the article back to her. "You may have listened, but you didn't learn. Being 'tireless in the pursuit of the story' means you don't put a word to paper until you're absolutely sure that you've nailed down every angle. What you've got there? It's nothing. It's not a story. And I don't have use for anything that isn't a story." He sighed deeply, removing his reading glasses. "Go. I'll think of an appropriate punishment for you later."

Crestfallen, April clutched her rejected article to her chest as she shrank out of Mickey's office. Slumping into her desk chair, she set the piece of paper aside and woke her computer. At least you weren't fired, a hopeful voice inside her offered, to which a different voice added, Yet. That left only the mystery of the morning's weirdness to worry about. April would've been a fool to think that the floating and the shower weren't somehow connected to the reactor explosion, or the strange happenings which followed. As her computer screen blinked to life, April bit her lip and pulled up her browser.

Side effects of radiation exposure.

As expected, she found plenty about nausea, dizziness, fever... not so much on flying, glowing, or producing unexplained heat. Sighing, she leaned back in her chair, took off her glasses, and rubbed her eyes. Maybe I am losing my mind, she considered. Closing the various tabs she had opened, she shook her head and tried to settle in for work. Not ten minutes later, though, she found herself accosted by Eddie Castro, a junior reporter who had taken an interest in April since her first day. He wasn't doing her growing headache any favors.

Eddie was halfway through a riveting story about a lead he picked up from his city hall informant when he stopped himself. With his head turned towards the bullpen, he snickered, "Check out the tourist."

In spite of herself, April looked up from her work. There, she spotted a young man who looked thoroughly lost. He bumbled through the bullpen, narrowly avoiding more than one collision. Squinting, April tried to figure out why he looked familiar, until she finally recognized him. The lab technician! With wide eyes, April shot out of her chair.

"What, is that an old friend of yours?" Eddie asked doubtfully.

April didn't bother to respond. Moving as quickly as her heels would allow, she slipped around the corner of her desk and made an immediate intercept course. The technician smiled upon seeing her, evidently not taking note of her pale-faced expression. "There you are!" he began, "I wasn't sure I'd find you. Especially not after you ran off yesterday..."

April did not match his familiar demeanor. Clutching his arm, she spun him around and walked him away from Mickey's office. "How did you find me?" she demanded in a low voice.

Giving her a puzzled expression, the technician reached into his jacket and produced a press pass on a broken lanyard. April's hand instinctively went to her neck; in the heat of the moment yesterday, she hadn't noticed that she had lost it. Tucking the pass away, the technician said, "I figured out pretty quick that you weren't Ronald, but this seemed as good as any place to look." He gave a conspiratorial glance around the office. "Don't worry. Your secret is safe with me."

By then, she had steered him far enough away from her coworkers to avoid being overheard. "Alright, you found me. Now, what do you want?" She was being perhaps a little too terse, but this guy -- this stranger -- had tracked her to her place of business. She wasn't in the mood to play games.

"What do I want?" he parroted with a chuckle. "I want to talk about what happened yesterday." After a moment, he added, "You know, with the whole..." He flexed his hands in a rhythmic pattern and made a "whompwhompwhomp" sound with his mouth. Reading her expression, his eyes got big. "Oh my God, it happened again, didn't it?"

Now, it was April's turn to steal a glance at the bullpen. "Not here," she warned. She slapped the elevator button behind him. "We need to find somewhere private to talk."
1x Thank Thank
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Mercinus3
Raw
Avatar of Mercinus3

Mercinus3

Member Seen 5 hrs ago

RACHELI


and



Location: Inside Taylor’s Garage
Time: 8:00pm


With the plan set in motion, Kayla spent the time after the ‘shopping spree’ to get ready for tonight. Having donned on her Fletch outfit after being out of it for a while, she left to go to the garage to rendezvous with the rest of her group. In the safety of underneath her shirt in her cleavage, Archie remained curled up. It was about time you got out of the house, she thought, thinking back to the last time the plant-based sugar glider was with her. It had been a month since the Hounds finally fell and that was when it had been out. Since then, it remained in the side room used for her archery gear lounging on the window sill. While it did annoy her from time to time, the archer had grown fond of her ‘familiar’.

It had been a few hours since she arrived at the garage. She focused on getting ready for tonight and throwing in a last-minute practice. While it had been a month since she last shot her bow, she hadn’t lost her touch. The years of training had ingrained the muscle memory of the tension in her traps. Making sure she expanded through the shot as the click of the release aid sent another arrow into the tattered foam boss that resided in her work cabinet. Once she had finished releasing her 24th arrow, she walked up to the target and set her compound bow down. With trained deftness, she quickly began pulling out all 24 arrows from the target.

Racheli approached the garage an hour late.

It was a nice night to simply walk. Her aura seemed to ooze out a warning to anyone stupid enough to mess with her, sparing her from harassment.

She had changed into a red checkered shirt, rolled up at the elbow and open V neckline. It stopped short of her small bust giving only a hint of what was underneath. Several small, silver chains looped across her side from her leather belt. They clinked and clanged with each slander of her hips.

A wicked, mischievous smile darted across her lips. Her eyes shifted into a darker hue before it snapped back again into the green-blue color. A hand reached up to check the short, pixie hair and ensure it was in the proper place. Then she began to walk inside.

"Hope I didn't miss the party," Rach's voice rang out, shutting the door behind her.

Pulling out the last arrow and sliding it into her leg quiver, Kayla turned her head towards the door as it opened. She’s arrived then, she thought, her mind stating the obvious fact. Arriving earlier to the garage has given her time to think and to focus on what was planned. Now that the time is almost here, she appeared unusually calm. This was despite the fact her bow was now tens of feet away from her at her shooting line.

”Oh hey Racheli,” the archer responded, eyes darting to the clock on the wall. ”In fact, you’re early.”

Slowly, she walked back towards her bow on the other side of the garage. The workbench that lined the shooting line was long, but there was a gap with another that was in line with the door her friend came through. Kayla approached the gap and shot a glance at Racheli.

”Are you ready to find that murdering bastard that has been elusive for the past few months?”

Racheli turned to face Kayla, finally noticing where she was. She seemed to think a moment before she replied.

“Yeah, if you think we can. Where are we heading to first?” Her hands moved into her jeans where she let them settle. Her posture was relaxed through her mind was anything but chilled.

Kayla kept her focus partially on Racheli, still making sure she was making her way to her bow. Her body starts making it across the gap.

”I had been thinking about the immediate area around first. There are at least 3 different families that fit the profile.” The archer’s gaze turned to her friend, waiting to see what her response was.

Like a predator, Racheli’s attention zoned in on Kayla. Her eyes watched the woman’s movements and observed it closely. Her teeth chewed on her lip, but not hard enough to bleed. A thoughtful expression crossed her face. She turned her back, walking toward the rack filled with tools and stood there.

“I recalled you had found some leads. Which one do you think he’ll hit first?” Her hand reached out to touch a wrench lying on the table.

Kayla’s eyes narrowed for a second before relaxing again. Her mind was racing to think about what to say. What lie to say. At some point, they must slip up and reveal their identity. However, being as observant as she was, she noticed a possible slip: The revealing of the gender from Racheli herself. Even the archer didn’t know for certain what gender the killer was. So how did she know? Only one near-certain answer: if the suspicions of the killer being a shifter are true and took the form of Racheli.

”Funny you should ask,” she replied, stopping as soon as she reached the gap. ”I think I also recall saying that I was not 100% sure on the killer’s gender, yet you’re confident in the killer is male. And why is that?” Her facial expression turned accusatory, the latter question also morphing into that tone.

Racheli turned and hid the makeshift weapon behind her. She shrugs. Her words were carefully chosen as she explains.

“I said he because the murders remind me of someone. Someone from my past and I rather forget. It’s impossible through. I was told he died, but I guess I was lied to.”

Her hand tightened about the handle of the screwdriver while she waited. Her eyebrow raised and she snickered, the tone finally dawned on her.

“Unless you think I’ve taken after him and been moonlight murdering. Cause if that’s what you think, it just means I can’t trust you to have my back and I might as well fucking go alone.”

Kayla’s eyes narrowed. The explanation does seem reasonable as to why the assumption of the gender was made as well as the information about her past. In her eye, she sees that there was something hidden in Racheli’s grasp. Seems that there is another slip, she thought, keeping her body calm for what was about to happen next.

”True, that did happen. I’ve read into it after you introduced the murders to me. It’s the reason why I helped you track the killer down. Your father.” And now, to press. I will have to thank Leila for getting me this information. ”I know that your father was executed and then interred by James MacGrath into Parker Funeral Home in Oregon. Only, there’s no James MacGrath or a facility called Parker Funeral Home in Oregon.”

A smirk begins to form.

“And you expect me to trust you after you did a background check on me?” Racheli growled.

Her eyes heated in anger as she closed them, exhaling her frustration out. It ended in a long sigh. She brought the weapon to her side before she loosened her fingers. The screwdriver dropped onto the ground. The impact rang out throughout the garage while Racheli lowered her face from Kayla’s view.

“If it helps… not everything is as it seems.”

And now I’ve got him.

The archer watched as Racheli’s arm that hid the screwdriver to her side. While she didn’t expect the improvised weapon to be dropped to the ground, it didn’t phase her one bit. As the head of what was her friend lowered, Kayla made a quick glance to where her compound bow was. This was in case an attack happened after her next statement.

”Indeed. Not everything is as it seems. And it is for 3 things. First, the way you tried to hide my screwdriver in your grasp as you talked to me kinda revealed your intentions. The Racheli I know was uneasy about these murders to begin with and I don’t even think she would kill one of her friends. Second, that meeting in the alleyway was far too suspicious for me to think that you are not who you look. And finally, the one thing that gave you away…”

She paused, her right hand hovering over the arrows on her leg quiver. Her eyes kept their focus on the person in front of her. While she appeared calm, Kayla was mentally prepped to dodge any oncoming attack after the next bit.

”Coffee. You had coffee at the cafe earlier today. Racheli does not drink any hot drinks. Especially as the virus that is in her creates illusions of itself to chastise her for drinking it. The same virus that should have appeared in that alleyway. The same virus that should be defending her now.”

Slowly, the archer physically appeared to shift to be ready for any attack.
”So yeah, everything isn’t as it fucking seems, Racheli. Or should I say… Michael Garth.”

“The little charade couldn’t last forever. I will admit, I was growing bored.” Michael answered.

Guess the cat’s out of the bag now, Fletch thought, instantly hearing the male voice coming from the form of Racheli.

Something dripped down his face and splattered onto the floor. It was flesh-colored liquid. He lifted his face, the female form ruined by several blobby lines running down the length. They ended in drips like wax off a candle’s surface. Muscle and bone peered through the ripping seams that appeared underneath. Long tendons began whip-like tentacles that flailed around the faceless head. The jaw widened into two parts with a long, slimy tongue hanging down, tipped by a curved bone hook.

Her right hand, hovering above the arrows on her leg quiver, instantly shot into the nearby pocket to grab something from it. She watched as Michael began showing his true self. The sleeping sugar glider instantly clambered out of her shirt and scrambled into the trouser pocket on her left side.
An inhuman roar erupted from the throat becoming guttural toward the end. Without warning, the tongue lashed forward followed by about six or seven smaller tentacles.

As the hooked tongue lashed out after the deafening roar, the archer instinctively dodged out of the way with her legs surging her towards her bow. One by one, the other tentacles joined in smashing into the wall on the other side of the garage, missing Fletch by inches. By this point, she pulled out a small device in her hand.

From the outset, it looked like a small plastic tube with plastic taped over cut out holes. Each end is capped off by a stopper, with one stopper having a string tied to a very short strike-everywhere match. Pinching the match head between her index finger and thumb, Fletch flicked the match alight and threw the improvised device at Michael.

As each tentacle came back empty, it retracted back into him with a slurping noise. Michael spotted the incoming device and lifted his arm. It flattened out and became a shield, using the interior bone and extending it through the flesh. The device exploded into a blinding light temporarily blinding him.
Continuing her run forward, she turned her head. A second later, a loud bang erupted in the garage followed by an intense light. As the last tentacle lunged at her, she leaped forward into a roll. Getting back up, her left hand grabbed the resting compound bow. She knocked an arrow she grabbed from her leg quiver. With precision she turned and let loose the string, snapping the arrow towards her target.

The arrow deflected off Michael’s new form.

Any remaining features of Racheli were gone. Bones crunched and muscles stretched, all of them had contorted into something new. Muscles had swallowed whatever remained of his human form into the larger mass before it hardened into a jagged shell. Two long, three-fingered hands whipped about on jointless arms at the top of it. On the lower part, an eyeless face peered out with feelers darting around. Needle teeth dripped with an unknown substance that hissed when the droplets hit the garage floor. He was now about the size of a school bus. Four crustacean legs bore the weight of the alien creature as its two pincers snapped.

“I will enjoy your screams nearly as much as I did hers.” He hissed then rushed forward.

He moved surprisingly fast for his size as he closed in on Kayla, his right pincer stretched out to snag her waist.

Kayla had to admit, she didn’t take into account what a monstrous form Michael would take when she confronted him. Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me, she thought, tensing up as he charged forward. The workbenches between them were easily thrown aside by the large beast. ”Not how I imagined things would happen, but it’ll happen regardless."

Twang!

The archer expected Michael to arrive early. It’s why she managed to spend some time after that coffee break in the garage setting up boobytraps. As the charge began, several of the near-invisible fishing lines snap apart from the abrupt force. Several snapping explosions occurred from underneath the benches, launching broken pieces of exhaust pipes, iron bars and anything sharp that Kayla could get her hands on.

With a set of 5 traps released aimed in different directions in the garage, the archer managed to dodge out of the way of one at the same time as the outstretched claw, her body going underneath. Grabbing one of the seeds in the pocket she pulled the flashbang from, she tried to stash the seed in the nook between the wrist and the claw. At the same time, she used the momentum of the claw going into the garage door and her fall to flip up onto Michael’s outstretched arm.

”Well, you’ve got to catch me first,” she retorted. As her cowl wasn’t on, she used the opportunity to raise her left arm to bring down her lower left eyelid and stick her tongue.

Michael was unable to turn on a dime. His body kept going and plowed into the doors. The thin metal warped outward on the impact leaving a gaping hole behind. Through the deafening sound, his body stumbled onto the street. Several cars veered off into the side to avoid the hulking monster slipping along the road. Their drivers stared in awe or escaping their vehicles and fleeing from the scene.

The monster came to a stop in the middle of the road, the momentum finally died. He shook his head as he noticed the weight on his pincer. Instinctively, his legs wheeled about and the pincer slammed into the ground.

Along his surface, rebar and other metal stuck out at various angles. Few of the arrows had managed to find purchase through the thick hide. Their remains were scattered along the path from the building.

Fletch hung on for dear life as the momentum dragged the monster through the garage door onto the street outside. At the moment, she only thought about hanging onto him to not make her prone to another attack. The momentum and speed through the garage door were enough to set off the other trap she had, though her eyes didn’t catch any glimpses of any engine valves shooting out in the direction of the doorway.

Once Michael’s body had stopped skidding into the middle of the street, the archer took the moment to try and grab her cowl to cover her face, but the sudden jerk forced her hand to cling onto the shell once again as she kept her position on his claw. Finally, with the claw on the ground, she pulled the cowl up with her right hand as she began running up his arm onto his back. With her left hand sorting out the finger sling on her glove, her right pressed the button set into the glove. Her back quiver whirred as the arrows appear to spin in place.

Happy with the arrow choice and nocking it onto the bow, she leaped from his back and fired at his face. The resulting explosion from the arrow caused the crab to stumble in place as she was launched away. Landing somewhat precariously onto an abandoned car, she drew another explosive arrow and fired it at Michael, aiming for his left side.

Another inhuman roar erupted out, a mix of frustration and pain from the creature. The arrow that exploded on his face left a bleeding mess. Bone shattered revealing cooked muscle and a small hole in the cheek. As the hazy from his own blood cleared, his senses returned. When the next arrow shot at him, his left claw reached out and jerked up a piece of the pavement. It came away easily proving a shoddy shield from the attack.

As the arrow exploded harmlessly on the pulled up pavement, Fletch growled with disappointment. That slowly went as she noticed the three poles sticking out of its body. While the rebar from the first trap looked embedded and the exhaust pipe didn’t appear to cause any significant damage, an iron bar lodged in the body was close enough to the ground for her to do something about it. Taking the opportunity, she jumped off the car and dashed forward. Darting towards Michael’s back, Kayla launched herself into a skid between the many legs of the creature and kicked out at the bar, aiming to drive it further in.

Michael tossed away the pavement to relocate Kayla. A new pain shot through his lower half and his face twisted down, seeing his target in range. Blood gushed out. The metal went in deep enough only half a foot sticking out now. Cracks began to form along the hole causing more blood to flow out and stain the street.

His lungs inhaled as a pouch on his throat expanded. The skin thinned out and revealed a liquid being poured within before it spewed at her current location.

Kayla was pleased with the end result, seeing the cracks form from the hole. What she didn’t appreciate was the blood coming from them and covering her. Note to self, need a serious shower when this is all over. It was only a brief look as she noticed the movement to see Michael looking in her direction. She saw the sack swell with the liquid inside it. ”Oh shit,” she squeaked as she pressed the button for a grappling arrow and grabbed one from her back quiver. She nocked it onto her bow before seeing him ready to send the liquid her way. Seeing no way to avoid it with her arrow, she began rolling to her side.

For the most part, the majority of the near boiling water splashed harmlessly to where she was, the tarmac hissing with the heat. She didn’t fully escape it as she felt the fizzing on the back of her jacket. She yelped out in pain from the sudden flash of heat onto her back. Fortunately for her, her recent confrontation with the werewolf with caustic acid has allowed her to upgrade her jacket from textile to leather to afford some resistance to prevent direct exposure. But her position closer to his right legs as well as the hot water seeping onto her back meant she needed to get out of there fast to ditch the jacket.

Aiming between her legs, the archer fired off an arrow to a distant car and zipped away with her grappling mechanism on her armguard. Once at a safe distance, she quickly disposed of her drenched jacket, leaving her with her black tank top, gloves, armguard and cowl. She cursed at the thought about getting told off for getting burnt from Jai and Racheli as her shoulders feel like hot embers. Still, she had to keep him occupied.
”Is that the best you can do?” Kayla called out teasingly, nocking another arrow in the process. ”I thought you wanted me to scream? I know guys who made me scream quicker than you can!”

Michael growled, his frustration building. His mind ticked through the fight until something clicked. A low rattle of enlightenment echoed through his throat. Bones to skin began to melt, becoming a liquid blob. It slithered to the nearest storm drain and disappeared into the sewers.

Kayla smirked under her cowl as he growled at her. However, the smirk disappeared when the rattle was heard. Then, much like him shifting into the crab creature, she watched as he shifts into a slime-like creature. Just realising once it started slithering, she shot a grappling arrow at it. As it passed through harmlessly into the drain, she scowled.

"Shit!" she exclaimed, spending towards the drain. Seeing her quarry getting away, she begins running towards the nearest manhole cover. She moved the cover to one side.

"Leila, heads up," the archer said, having pulled out a communication device from her left pocket. "I've lost contact with the target and he's gone into the sewers. I'm heading down after him, but be ready for him." Putting the device back into her pocket, she began her descent into the sewers to chase after Michael Garth.
1x Like Like
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by nitemare shape
Raw
GM
Avatar of nitemare shape

nitemare shape GM of Create A Hero and Star Wars: Legacies

Member Seen 7 days ago



“I wasn't always like this...”

Lyger heard the words of Insomnia even as he raced through the streets of Crown Ridge on the back of his motorcycle in search of the maniac. Earlier in the night, the madman had taken control of a local news station, where he slaughtered the crew and broadcast his intentions to the entire city. The scene that had played out on television had been effective in delivering the maniac's message, and it had the desired effect on the populace, as there had been reports of rioting and looting throughout the city.

“For years, like so many other people, I struggled with the inability to sleep. It affected my family, my work, my life. In fact, there was no aspect of my life that didn't suffer because of this affliction. So, I set out to do what any person in my position would do...I set out to find a cure. Unfortunately, the cure didn't work out as I had anticipated. You see, the cure that I found did not cure my affliction, it did so much more than I had ever dreamed. Though at first it was painful, both physically and mentally, to the point where I believed I was losing my mind, eventually I came to realize that this cure, this wonderful miracle that I had created, truly had liberated me. Now I see things the way they really are. I am able to see the world for the nightmare that it is. Truth be told, I have never been more alive, I have never seen so clearly. And soon, I will help you all see as clearly as me.”

The madman's threats echoed in the back of Lyger's mind as he continued his search for the maniac. Through the hijacked broadcast, Insomnia had boasted about his plan, and how he, and several like minded individuals would soon release the “cure” that had turned Insomnia into a monster into the city water supply. The thought of an entire city overrun by an army of Insomnias sent shivers down his spine. In fact, he had even thought of calling in some of his new “friends” to help, unfortunately, Icon was currently occupied and Iron Knight was otherwise unavailable. And even though Slipstream's abilities could prove useful, she was still too green to help in Crown Ridge, and he would be damned if he were to get her killed in this hell hole. So he had no other options, he was on his own.

There were 3 main locations that would most likely be the targets for the chemical dump, the Pequawket Water Plant was the least likely of the three main water plants to be attacked, as it only supplied water to the Lower East Side and Carson, while the Casco Plant only supplied water to the South End. It was too small of an area to make any real impact, and if Lyger was sure of anything, it was that Insomnia wanted to go big.

That left the New Portland Water Plant, which provided water to about ninety percent of the city. If Insomnia really did plan to put his “cure” into the water supply, this is where he would do it. So that is where Lyger was going, he just hoped that he wasn't too late.

***


Lyger approached the New Portland Water Plant and soon realized that he was not the only one that had deduced that Insomnia had chosen this location for his target. Outside of the water plant, chaos had erupted in the streets. Self proclaimed vigilantes had made their way to the water plant in an ill advised plan to protect it from Insomnia, however, their misguided but good intentions fell to the wayside when they began fighting one another, and soon, a full on riot had had erupted in front of the water plant, a riot that had overwhelmed the Crown Ridge police officers who had arrived on the scene to protect the plant from any attempts by Insomnia to tamper with the water supply.
Lyger jumped from his motorcycle and drove his foot into the jaw of the nearest rioter, instantly knocking the man unconscious. He had barely landed when a second man moved on him, only to be met with a jab to the throat and a right hand across the bridge of the nose. Though his strikes were punishing, he still held back, not wanting to do any real damage to the rioters.

I really can't blame them. They're scared, they're acting out. Who knows, if things had been different, I might have been one of them. Lyger thought to himself as he planted another of the rioters face first into the street.

For every rioter that Lyger put down, it seemed as if two more emerged. While he was engaged with a pair of rioters, another was able to get behind him and hit him across the back of the head with a wrench. The sudden attack nearly knocked him from his feet, and for an instant he was thankful that Ash had been able to reinforce his head gear with some light armor for just this type of situation. However, before he could react to the newest attack, another came, this time, one of the rioters had grabbed is legs and held on as tight as he could, then another came, this one grabbing him around the shoulders. Before he knew it, over a dozen of the rioters had surrounded him, taking him off his feet and began punching and kicking him all at once.

Well, this is an embarrassing way to go out... Lyger thought to himself as the idea that this might just be it for him entered his mind.

Lyger struggled to get free of the rioters, however, there were too many of them. As he struggled, he was pounded with punches and kicks. The rioters stomped him and beat him with blunt weapons until he couldn't fight anymore. Then, just as he had come to the realization that he couldn't get himself out of this situation, that his overconfidence had not only cost him this battle, but perhaps his very life had set in, the pummeling stopped. It was almost as if his assailants were being pulled off of him one by one.

Surprised by the sudden end to the beating that he had been receiving, Lyger looked up and saw that the rioters who had been assaulting him were floating several feet off the ground above him. Then, all at once, they were slammed down onto the pavement. Confused by what had just happened, Lyger sat up and looked around him. He saw a number of other rioters engaged with the police, and then he saw a familiar figure standing a dozen or so yards away from where he sat. It took him a moment to figure out where he knew the young man from, before he figured it out. It was the same young man who he had rescued from the Hounds of Humanity several months prior.

“It looked like you could use a little help.” The young man said to him. “I didn't really get a chance to thank you the last time we met...They call me Reklis.” he said as he offered Lyger a hand up.

“You shouldn't be out here, this is a dangerous situation.” Lyger told the young man who simply looked at the black clad hero incredulously.

“Clearly.” He said as he began walking towards the entrance of the plant. “See you in there.”

1x Like Like
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by nitemare shape
Raw
GM
Avatar of nitemare shape

nitemare shape GM of Create A Hero and Star Wars: Legacies

Member Seen 7 days ago



“This city is beautiful, isn't it?” Richard Midas said to Alison Sparks as the pair stood gazing out of the large picture window that gave the owner and CEO of Midas Industries an unrivaled view of Lost Haven. “As beautiful as it is though, this city is troubled. It seems like it's always under the gun.” Midas continued, never taking his eyes off of the Lost Haven Skyline.

“It does.” Sparks said in agreement.

“It doesn't matter if it's terrorists with space lasers, the latest freak of the week, or our own 'heroes' that are more concerned with making an entrance and looking cool than actually doing what's best for the city.” Midas' voice trailed a bit as he spoke.

“Heroes.” He said after a momentary pause. “Idiots with flashy costumes and more power than they know what to do with. They think they're doing good out there, but all they do is make things worse.”

“That's one way of looking at it.” Sparks said in a neutral tone. Though she hadn't exactly been a fan of the numerous super heroes who have come out of the woodwork in recent years, she had to admit that without them Lost Haven would more than likely be nothing more than a burning pile of ruins.

“It's the only way to look at it." Midas snarled."Take the big blue showboat for example. He comes out of nowhere, catches my space station out of the sky and announces his presence to the world. The next thing you know, this city is in constant threat. A demon invasion, that Nightmare character...the Hounds of Humanity. It never ends.” Midas told her.

“Look, I'm not his biggest fan, but he's done some good.” Sparks said.

“He has. There's no denying that.” Midas agreed. “But he could have done great things. Did you know that after he first arrived here, I reached out to him. I offered him a place here, working with me. I told him that together we'd be able to change the world. But he wasn't interested in making any real, lasting change. He was more interested in playing dress up and punching problems until they go away.” Midas was about to continue his current train of thought, but stopped as a penitent smile crossed his face.

“Pity.” He said finally as he stepped away from the window.

Sparks just stood there silently as her employer spoke. While he paid well, she had learned a long time ago not to interrupt him when he goes on a tangent.

“And that's why we're where we are now. There has to be a better way to ensure the safety of this city. One that doesn't include relying on costumed saviors to protect Lost Haven or her people. I think that working together with our new friends, we will be able to ensure the safety of our home, while making a nice profit while we do so.” Midas said with a grin. “I was glad to hear that your meeting with our new partners went well.”

“It went as well as it could have.” Sparks said.

“Indeed.” Midas agreed. “I was pleased to hear that you did everything necessary in the situation.

For a moment, a sudden pang of disgust washed over Sparks. Indeed, she had done what Midas had expected of her, and she had used all of her skills to ensure that the deal was still solid after the Daybreak fiasco.

“I did what I had to do.” Sparks said, her tone suddenly cold.

“Indeed.” Midas said with a chuckle. “In fact, I want you to get ready. We'll be going to Crown Ridge shortly. I have a possible acquisition that I want to look at myself, and we'll be meeting our friends in the Eye while we're there.” Midas told her.

“I'll get the car ready.” Sparks said obediently.

“Not just yet. Give me a half hour, I want to go visit with the twins before we go.”
1x Thank Thank
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Eddie Brock
Raw
Avatar of Eddie Brock

Eddie Brock

Member Seen 23 days ago



The technician -- Jefferson Boone, as he had introduced himself -- grimaced as he took a sip of his coffee. "That is not warm," he lamented, scrunching up his face. Seated across the booth from April, he slid the cup to the side and leaned forward on his elbows. "So, you were... floating?" He scratched his chin. "I suppose if you were somehow able to manipulate your personal electromagnetic field, that would produce an effect not all that dissimilar from lift..."

They had gone to a diner down the street from the Chronicle to talk. When they walked in, April had every intention of playing it coy, but Jefferson already knew something, and besides: if she were being honest with herself, April was dying to talk to someone else about this. So far, the science of it all was a little over her head, but she had managed to follow the gist of Jefferson's babbling. Nodding, she asked, "Okay, well, what about the shower?"

"Oh, that's easy," Jefferson replied, almost dismissively, "Radiation!" Just then, the waitress returned with their order -- or rather, his order, as April had been somewhat less interested in eating right that second. Wasting no time, Jefferson speared some greasy eggs with a fork and shoveled them into his mouth, continuing, "See, when the reactor exploded, you took the brunt of the blast. And the way I figure it, your body soaked up so much of that radiation that you're slowly bleeding it off, y'know?"

April's eyes got big. "Bleeding off" radiation didn't sound like something to be taken so lightly. "So you're saying I can't control it?" she asked, worrying her bottom lip.

Jefferson thought a moment, then gestured his fork in her direction. "Not necessarily! After all, let's look at the evidence," he suggested. Setting down the fork, he started counting off fingers. "When the roof started to cave in, you instinctively protected yourself; and that's when the radiation shield went up! And then this morning, you wanted hot water, and bam! There it was." He picked up the fork again and concluded, "I think you're already controlling it, just... subconsciously."

April considered that. It made some amount of sense, she supposed. After all, she had somehow managed to avoid going Lite-Brite in public; if she could actively suppress it, who's to say that she couldn't also activate it? Reaching across the table, she wrapped a hand around Jefferson's disregarded coffee mug. Furrowing her brow, she concentrated all her energy into thinking about making the coffee hot. Sure enough, after a moment or two, her hand radiated bright green, and the liquid inside the cup began to bubble and boil over.

Jefferson took the mug from her as her hand powered down. Steam rose above the rim. Amused, Jefferson picked up the cup and said, "Thanks," before taking a sip. For her part, April covered her hand and looked around to be sure that no one had seen the light show.

"Hang on," April began, realizing something, "If I'm producing all this radiation, couldn't that be dangerous?" She thought back to Vance saying that the fusion reactor was no more dangerous than an x-ray, but they were clearly past x-ray territory at this point.

Jefferson opened his mouth and let the coffee dribble back into the mug. Wiping his lips, he replied, "Good point. We should really run some tests as soon as possible, for the safety of yourself and others." As he said that, he gave a sideways glance to the cup of coffee and pushed it to the far end of the table. "I think I can get us some private laboratory time after hours. I'm assuming you do want to keep this quiet?"

April nodded. The idea of keeping secrets brought another thought to mind. "Actually, while we're talking, there may be something you can do for me," she explained. She turned to open her purse, fishing out the flash drive from the day before. Surreptitiously, she slid it across the booth. "While I was at Zenith, I was investigating another lead. The files are all encrypted, but do you think you could... ?"

Jefferson smiled. "Are you kidding? You're talking to Century City Prep's former programming club president and one-time anarchist hacker extraordinaire! The school administration never did figure out who rewrote Mr. Takimari's gradebook to give everyone in his class an A." April couldn't help but give an uncertain grin at his stunning display of geek bravado. He picked up the flash drive when a thought occurred. "Wait, what are the odds this gets me in trouble at work?"

"Mid to high, probably," April admitted while digging through her purse. "Listen, I want to get to the bottom of this -- I really do -- but I'm already on thin ice at work, so I need to get back before my boss notices I'm gone," she explained. Finally finding what she was looking for, she produced a business card and handed it to Jefferson. "That has my contact information. As soon as you can get something set up with the lab, let me know, okay?" She gathered her things and shuffled out of the booth.

When the waitress came over to check on Jefferson, he offered her the coffee mug and asked, "Could I trouble you for a new cup? Thank you!"

-----


Later, at McCaffrey's, April brought Daisy up to speed on the day's events... though she saw fit to leave out all the parts involving Jefferson and the strange happenings of that morning. It wasn't like her to keep something from her best friend, but April didn't want to cause a panic; besides, with any luck, Jefferson would devise a way to drain April of the leftover radiation, and that would be the end of it. No need to dwell on the problem any more than absolutely necessary.

"Well, at least you're not fired, right?" Daisy asked with uncertain optimism.

"No," April sighed, "but I have been sentenced to copy editing duties for the foreseeable future." She grimaced at the thought of spending hours poring over other people's writing, trying to find typos and grammatical errors. Mickey had told her that if she was so gung-ho to become a writer, she had better familiarize herself with what good writing looked like. The implied jab at her own failed article hadn't gone unmissed. Sinking her head into her hands, April picked up a bar menu and perused it half-heartedly. "I just want to eat my feelings."

Daisy nodded. "Sounds like I need to order us some nachos?" she suggested, to which April offered a hopeful grin. Daisy smiled back, said, "Hang tight," and shuffled out of the booth.

Once Daisy was gone, April could see into the next booth over, where Luke currently sat. With a ratty wash towel slung over one shoulder, he hunched over a notebook, making frantic scribbles with his pencil. April's curiosity got the better of her, and she found herself rising to go investigate. As she drew nearer, she saw that he was working on a drawing of sorts. He was so focused that April wasn't sure he had heard her approach, so she spoke softly when she asked, "What are you working on?"

Without looking up, Luke gently smiled. "Homework," he laughed. He set down his pencil and picked up an eraser. As he rubbed away the offending mark, he explained, "I've been auditing design classes at UCC in my free time." Having erased the page to his satisfaction, Luke brushed away the shavings and spun the notebook so that April could see. "Have a look."

Adjusting her glasses, April leaned forward to examine the page. There, Luke had drawn a stunningly realistic mockup of an interior space. The most striking feature were the large, wooden beams which framed the ceiling. After a moment, April realized that she recognized the space. "Is this... McCaffrey's?" Sure enough, Luke had completely redesigned the bar's interior, giving it a stylish, rustic feel. Shaking her head in disbelief, April gasped, "This is incredible."

As she turned her head to look at Luke, April realized that this was the closest -- physically -- the two had ever been. Beginning to turn beet red, she quickly looked away and straightened to her full height. For his part, Luke seemed completely unfazed; he turned the notebook back around as he brushed the bangs from his face. Shrugging at his own work, he said, "It's just an exercise. How I would've done it if I built this place."

April smiled at his humility. Furrowing her brow briefly, she asked the next question on her mind. "So, wait, are you a student?" She was sure that Luke was at least a year or two older than she was.

"Not anymore," he answered, leaning back in the booth. He twiddled the pencil between his forefingers as he explained, "I mean, I got an Associate degree a while back, but I had to drop out before finishing the Bachelor's. I always meant to go back and finish, but then..." As he trailed off, he offered a wistful smile. "Well, you know how life can be."

April nodded. Taking another glance at his drawing, she suggested, "I think maybe it's time you got around to it. You've clearly got talent!"

Luke looked less than confident. Tapping the end of his pencil against the paper, he worried his bottom lip. "I don't know," he admitted, "Something tells me that 'college dropout bartender' wouldn't turn heads at the UCC admissions office."

Hearing him put himself down brought a frown to April's face. "Hey, you don't know until you try, right? After all, I shouldn't be the only one around here leaping before I look." He grinned at that, and April returned the gesture. Looking up, she saw Daisy returning to the booth with a veritable mountain of nachos. Daisy gave her a knowing look. "I've got to go help Daisy demolish that plate of nachos, but I want you to promise me that you'll think about it, okay?"

Luke looked her in the eye and thought a moment. "Alright, I'll think about it," he conceded. That made April smile wide. As he turned his attention back to his drawing, she began to walk away. "And April?" His callout made her look back. "Thanks."

She offered a kind look. "Anytime."
1x Like Like
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by LukasVolkov
Raw
Avatar of LukasVolkov

LukasVolkov He Who Rises... Again.

Member Seen 8 days ago

Chinatown, Lost Haven: 3:31 AM
"Pull!"

The beam of intense super heated plasma blasted the wall hit the flying glass figurine with startling accuracy. No lag from the mechanism, instantly reactive form the point the trigger was pulled. The beam remined me of blue lightening too so bonus for color. Bits of burnt, smoking glass peppered the ground and bounced of the husks of cars that littered the small lot. I lowered the rifle and a giggle bubbled up. A clunk drew my attention as the pitching machine I'd jury rigged loaded another figurine. Oh what the hell.

"Pull!"

The percaline likeness of Jesus Malverde was flung into the air. With practiced ease I had the rifle up and blasting his fat, mustachioed face to smithereens. Satisfied I popped a lever on the barrel, checking the charge. Enough for three more shots before the bulb needed replacing. A field test was in order. I went back inside the garage.

Situated in a derelict little neighborhood, most of the other buildings around my shop were boarded up and prime squatter real-estate. The garage had been abandoned for years before I came along and liberated the place. It still had the outer appearance of a condemned old garage, but inside: wall to wall lights hung from wires dyed the room technicolor blues, pinks, and purples, back to back metal tables held guns of varying degrees of completion, bombs, spry paint, and enough chemical equipment to make any self respecting cook salivate. I set my latest toy on a table and pulled on my favorite jacket. It was overlarge, sported a big flamingo on the back, and smelled faintly of Chanelle perfume. I set twin energy pistols to the holsters strapped to my legs and started filling my backpack with some supplies. The last piece of my uniform hung on a hook beside the door. A neon purple do rag, blank as it was and old as hell. I kissed the fabric then donned it like a mask.

I glanced in a grungy mirror over my makeshift cot and the small mound of pizza boxes, ramen cups, and Mechanics magazines and struck a pose. Fine as hell and an ass that wouldn't quit. The fox staring back at me smirked. Ready to go, I grabbed my latest design. Out back my bike was covered with a tarp. Underneath my baby sat. Dark purple- noticed a pattern yet- jacked with nitro, a Suzuki Hayabusa, with a few... editions. Enough electricity to fry a horse jolted through my system when I touched the handle. I pulled the cord on the side out and wheeled it out.

Financial District: 4:01 AM

Amazing how utterly devoid of life this city could be at the dead of night. Monuments of steel and glass rose like pillars holding up the sky. Damn me this place had some height! I stood in the empty street and stared up at a large bank. High end with some serious coin inside no doubt. I shook my head and slid my bag off my shoulder. The money wasn't the target though right! I started setting little disks around the street and side walk. From the depths of my jacket pocket I pulled a little clicker, like for a car. With a click every disk I placed beeped once and flashed blue.

An MP3 appeared from my jacket. Unrolling the headphones I had Babymetal blasting their awesome sonic chocolate in my ears. Dancing along to the music I skipped over to the massive double doors of the bank. Neon Lines traced along the veins from my heart and heat radiated under my skin traveling up my arms. The feeling always reminded me of stepping in from the bitter cold into a warm room. The air in front of the fingers of my right hand distorted and a second later a pink flare sprang form my fingers like a welder's torch. Cutting through the doors was child's play. Within minutes the seared apart doors fell with a clang! I strolled in.

Massive pillars and a marble floor greeted my entrance. A whistle escped my lips. Damn and I thought I knew what real bling was. This was what real wealth meant. Shouts came from behind the counters. Right time for some action. Like a cowboy from those old westerns I pulled out my pistols. The first white button down I saw running into the lobby was met with two bolts of toxic green. Each impacted his chest- one incinerating his little gold badge. Searing flesh and causing a chain reaction that turned his charred meat to a molecular goo. Took me a year to get the intensity right, I was inspired you could say. He hit the gorund with a very shocked look of pain twisting his features. The second guard had the reflexes to take in the scene and manage to fire off a few rounds. The impacted my stomach; small pulses of purple and blue accompanied his surprisingly decent aim. I winced. Rentacop has skills.

I obliged his wasted talent with some fine shooting of my own. He fell on his gun, his face a smoldering, green dripping ruin. The valt was easy enough. Thick industrial steel. Simple stuff. I pulled a pair of wrapped plastic bags of grey powder from my pack with a roll of duck tape. Up in the center I set them on the door. Producing a roman candle and a lighter from my bag of goodies. Walking decent enough distance away I lit the candle and fired the technicolor at the bags. A few hit and that was enough. The bags burned a blazing whit and atethrough that door.

A journey through the smoking, red hot tunnel later and I was laden with my now empty pack filled with nearly a hundred thousand in cash. When I stepped out the sweet serenade of police sirens filled the air outside. took these assholes long enough. I shouldered the pack and unslung my rifle. Now for the real reason I was there. I pulled Babymetal from my ears with a tinge of regret and walked out into the night.

Cops ducked behind their cars, pistols and shotgun pointed at me. Someone ordered me to my knees, surrender, blah, blah, blah. Fat chance of that. I let loose a bright ass flare and ducked behind a pillar. They opened fire. Sure I was essentially bullet proof but that didn't mean being shot didn't sting like a motherfucker. I poked around the corner long enough to get a cop car in sights and fire a shot at its engine shot with my rifle. Now the thing to know about most up to date cop cars is that they are armored bastards that are bitches to even so much as flip, nothing short of a rocket launcher could faze them these days thanks to other metahumans turning the earlier models to scrap metal. Blue lightening crossed the distance between me and my target at a fraction of a second. What followed next was the engine going up in a concussive blast of fire and smoke. It was propelled back, crushing two cops between it and the car behind, and blowing back another engulfing him in flames in process. I grinned.

Success!

I slung up my tried and tested little cash cow and fired off my mines. Thick clouds of tear gas filled the street. In the chaos and confusion I slipped across the street and into an alley where my bike waited. I was gone before any one of them managed to stumbled out of the choking cloud.
1x Like Like
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by VATROU
Raw
Avatar of VATROU

VATROU The Barron

Member Seen 6 hrs ago


And


In

New York! New York!


As planned Duff met Barron at the airport moving quickly with his Executive airline bullshit pass towards a private jet that was waiting for them. With barely any wait they boarded having the jet already fueled up and ready for take off Barron didn’t even need a pilot as he could simply control the plane from the comfy seats though he did have a license. Barron said naught a word as both just sat in a tense silence the popping of a wine bottle being the only sound besides the grinding of Duff’s teeth; eyes burning the landscape into his retinas as he sat next to the window.

”This is why I hate teens. Always running off with their pants hanging down or humping the first thing they see that has legs. Can never get them to stay or behave.” Barron said stoically completely removed from Duff’s feelings.

Duff’s eyes shifted from the window. His hair was already bristled from the situation as he narrowed his steely eyes onto the vampire. While he didn’t hold the same intensed aura, the bitterness and anger was clearly there. Hiding the depression.

“You forgot, he’s also a wolf. Wolves, even teenagers, don’t run off. When you connected us, the boy was half dead after his first imprint. That doesn’t change unless by outside means. I know only a few that can severe a connection like that.” Duff nearly snarled, his irritation on the surface.

Scoffing Barron replied.”And you forget, there are fu@#ing Supermen, Cults of Monster killers and probably the goddamn moon out to kill us all. Urgh. All this powered nonsense doesn’t give a rats ass about what the norm is. Things were much simpler when the world was dead and nukes solved all your problems.” Taking a moment from airing his own frustration Barron continued. ”We’ll find the boy.”

“My point is, unless some outside force got involved… Benjamin should be on death’s door right now.” Duff stated, hoping the vampire might’ve caught his meaning.

”I hope someone is involved. I need to let loose once in a while. Besides if Ben is dead I’ll kick death’s ass. Or die trying. Undie given my current state.” Trying to comfort Duff even a little.

“Don’t call him Ben to his face, he doesn’t like that.” The older werewolf commented then continued.

“I know someone else was there. I smelt a young male, but that's the best I can make out. I just can’t believe he vanished and I didn’t even know it.”

”More superpower bullshit. Settle in it’ll take a while.”

The flight progressed rather normally with or without Duff’s eyes angrily trying to melt the windows as his unease regarding Ben left him furious over the whole situation. But the hours passed and the Jet was coming in easy and a car was waiting for them to shuttle them right to Ben’s house.

The large fancy gates swung open as the pair drove in. Barron had Duff wear something, presentable. So that he wasn’t walking in with a mangy mutt in this Di*k’s house.”I hate this place. The Parents are still in Nevada. And they should hopefully remain unaware until we wrap whatever this is up thanks to your’s truly.” With a light tap on the door the two waited for someone to answer..

Duff snorted, “ I doubt that waste of flesh even realizes Benjamin is gone. Only cares when he can gain something according to what I heard.”

Any more conversation was cut off when they heard someone shut the vacuum cleaner off. Emma Gracia paused as she set the machine to the side. She left the cord wrapped about the handle to keep it out of the way. She shuffled past it to answer the door. Cautiously she opened it, peeking through the crack.

She spoke in a Spanish accent, but her English was understandable.

“Can I help you? I’m sorry to say, Mr. Reeves and Ms. Hart isn’t home. Can I take a name, message and number?”

”Ah yes. I believe Mr. Reeves left something that his Son Benjamin forgot he did call you about it right? That Darrin Synder would be swinging by to pick it up. I was talking business with the man when his Brother in Law called and asked this favor. Surely you remember?” Barron’s eyes glowed a deep red as the maid stared deeper and deeper into them.

Emma’s face went slack. Her eyes softened into a hazy look as she stepped to the side, her lips curled into a smile.

“Yes, of course. My apologies, please come in. Benjamin is upstairs, shall I tell him you’re here?”

”Oh no need, I’m sure the boy would love the surprise from his favorite Uncle.”

Duff just nodded, following Barron’s lead as they entered.
1x Like Like
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Crooked Knight
Raw
Avatar of Crooked Knight

Crooked Knight Aspiring Dark Lord

Member Seen 1 yr ago





Time: The Next Morning
Location: Shangri-La, Paris


The suite David had largely to himself was the picture of privacy, luxury and definition of sparing no expense. Two floors, soft cream and gold colours - beautifully symmetrical Parisian interior design, marble bathroom amenities of a deep soaking bathtub and walk-in shower. Private terrace with a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower - darkening with the rising of the morning sun. The winding staircase went down to the bedroom from the main entrance.

Evidence of the night before was spread from the front door to the bedroom, the room was dark as the curtains had been pulled closed - strangely, cracks of light were absent, the darkness was total. Shoes neatly tucked into the closet, neither of the occupants wanting to scuff them. Alongside the black Prada purse was David’s wallet inches from a pair of wine glasses half full. The bottle not far from reach on the glass coffee table. Her dress a pool of fabric over the stairs down, his belt not far from the dress. The rest of their clothes scattered around the bed, where both Odette and David slept under crumpled sheets, messily thrown duvet, a few pillows stripped of their covers, the knotted covers around the bedposts. The bedside tables held vases of fresh flowers, a crystal glass ashtray, and their respective cell phones.

Naturally, slowly stirring from sleep Odette’s mess of blue hair across the pillow, she began shifting. She rolled to her side stretching out fully, shoulders popping satisfyingly. Small red marks across her collarbone, other telltale signs of her night spent with David were all over her body. Shuffling out beneath the covers she felt across the floor for something to put on, finding his light blue dress shirt not bothering to button anything up, to make her way to the bathroom. Her makeup was a complete mess, faded and smudged. Running some warm water she found the makeup wipes to clean up her face before using the toilet. Feeling the slight throb of a wine hangover at the forefront of her head. With the water running she whispered a spell to relieve it. Poking her head back out of the bathroom she checked on David, he was still fast asleep - as far as she could tell. Softly drumming her fingers across the door frame she looked to the stairs back up to the main floor, this would be the perfect opportunity to dig for some more information on her date. Hardly knowing the time she stepped quietly back to her nightstand scooping up her phone.

Messages, notifications, a couple missed calls from friends. She checked the time, it was 5 am.

Considering him, she smiled admirably - fondly running a hand over her clavicle where his hand had found a perfect fit the night before. Sneaking past him, up the stairs she stepped slowly - lightly. Setting her sights on his wallet. They had spent more time perched on the couch talking as they did over their last glasses of wine before stumbling their way over into bed, talking of what they wanted, setting basic boundaries. She remembered clutching at the hem of her dress, anticipation sharpening her focus. Odette couldn’t with a straight face say the date was anything like she had experienced before.

Others had tried to romance her in the past, wine and dine her as it were - often mistaking that they were not apart of her web of social intrigue. While there had been similar endings, it was hardly comparable. Something about David Blackwood pulled her in, his showmanship was impressive but it was not the source of her piqued interest. Odette attempted to understand why she found herself wanting what he maintained, the various aspects of what he exuded and she knew she had a similar effect on him as well. The exact reason as to why was just out of her reach, none of it was new or unexplored. She knew something wasn’t quite all it seemed with David, the only evidence she had thus far was his reaction to the banshee. Plucking his wallet up, she listened to hear if David had stirred before perusing through it.

David remained positively still, except for the slight heaving of his chest.

The wallet, on the other hand, did not have much to go upon. No credit cards, no business cards, no valid I.D. of any kind… the thin wallet only carried several hundred euros, in cash. Odette frowned looking for more pockets - anything and it turned up squat. Putting the wallet down, she tracked over to the closet next looking through the various pairs of designer shoes. He had good taste, that much she already knew.

Suits hung in protective clothing bags, some casual shirts, jackets - differing colours largely on the cooler shades - finally switching on her phone’s flashlight she began rifling through the pockets. If this business savvy man didn’t carry a business card in his wallet then maybe he had some stored away in his pockets. Recognizing the jacket he wore the other night, she tugged the jacket off the hanger - stopping the clang of the hanger before it could bounce about. Making a face, pausing to strain her ears for movement again, she slid a hand inside the pockets, clean and empty once again like the wallet. Putting the jacket back onto the hanger, doing cursory sweeps through his other pockets - they were all empty. No picture ID, she wondered where his passport was but that could have been kept somewhere more secure than leaving an empty wallet with some handful of cash. Turning off the light, she tapped her phone against her lip in thought.

Clearly the next logical step in invading his privacy was to check the safe. Padding over to the room safe, it was behind a utility closet door bolted to the ground. Crouching down to examine it, not touching a button knowing the sounds it would make. It was a small silver safe, with a digital keypad. Instead, she opened her phone library of notes, scrolling through the various spells and incantations she had recorded - ones that never warranted the need to be memorized.

Pressing two fingers against the safe, the tips of her digits lit with pale blue light as she began her incantation, willing the safe to fail, “Votre temps est écoulé, alors que tombent les grains de sable du sablier - vous aussi. Commencez votre utilisation, commencez votre fonction.

Repeating the incantation three times, she heard springs come loose, hinges creak as if their weight was too much to bear any more. Numbers flashed across the tiny little screen before static crinkled across it, the plastic warping slightly. The door no longer sat straight, tugging lightly on it she was able to jiggle it open. Smiling she shone her phone’s light into the safe only to find more cash, a jewellery box with his cufflinks, some watches and nothing of actual import. Her smile fell.

Sitting back on her hunches she crossed her arms for a few moments. Trying again, she tapped her hand around inside of it see if there was anything else in the corners, but the sound rang hollow. . . Stopping she lightly tapped the bottom of the safe. The bottom looked to be the same colour as the rest of the safe but it wasn’t metal. Removing the jewellery and cash, setting it aside she pushed down on one of the corners lifting the bottom up. Quickly removing it she looked further - finally finding what she knew was some answers. Small bundle passports, she flipped through them finding a variety of names but the same face - they were incredibly well forged. America, Russia, Germany. In a slick black case, she eased open the lid to find a contact lens case and a small nearly translucent earpiece. Feeling validated, more than shocked. Her instincts not leading her astray.

Plucking it - holding it up. Putting the lens case aside, using both hands to rub the earpiece down with his shirt not wanting to share earwax with him.

Tucking the earpiece into her ear, without any expectation to get a response she quietly said, “’Allo?


David moved across the ceiling, not a trace of a sound that could be registered by the human ear. In the near-perfect darkness, he was virtually invisible to the naked eye, allowing him to more or less comfortably witness the scene. A part of him was slightly shocked by the very gall that was on display, but when it came to building any actual indignation he soon found he couldn’t manage to work up any. He was a thief, not a hypocrite.

In actuality, he found watching her work kind of fascinating. His heart briefly skipped a beat when she brought out a notebook. Was she some kind of mind reader?

No! She was a bleeding magician, apparently! What kind of power set did this woman have?! She had barely touched the safe and already his record was shattered!

The thought of intervening struck him. It was the smart thing to do. The only thing to do. And still, he remained a passive observer.

‘Maybe I’m just sabotaging myself,’ he thought as he watched her rifle through the superfluous items, I died and came back with these awesome powers, and I’m dealing with it by making things unnecessarily hard aaaaand fuck my life, she found the fake bottom.

The evidence was enough to perhaps confront him, but still, he felt like he could handle that kind of heat. What he did not expect, however, was her total lack of respect for boundaries to match his own, as she spoke into the microphone.


There was a pregnant silence, momentaneously disturbed by the broken intake and exhale of breath before being quickly muted, erasing all trace of its presence.

Her brow furrowed, a quick lick of her lips, “It is okay.” She said, quietly - eyes narrowing.

He is asleep, I just-” Feigning a sound of mild frustration, rolling from her knees to lean up against the wall, noting sadly, “I just want to know who he is. Please, whoever you are - you are someone he trusts, non?

I want to know if this wasn’t a huge mistake.

The silence went on for a little while longer. Then in came the deep, distorted voice.

“Okay…the fact that you’re on this very line, asking these questions, does very little in terms of convincing me of your trustworthiness. Quite the opposite, really.”

You can trust this stays between you and me.” She replied, sweetly. “You must be the voice of reason, the tech-savvy man to the charming front. I have a few ideas of what this is about.

The only reason I found this little earpiece, I’ll admit it... I am paranoid.” She began, sighing - continuing the lie, “I have, I have been hurt in the past. He was the perfect date, too perfect do you know what I mean?” Sucking in a quick breath, chuckling nervously.

I don’t know what I thought I’d accomplish with this insanity, I am sorry - please… forget I said anything? I won’t say a thing if you do not either.” She whispered, sounding small - defeated. Wiggling the earpiece out of her ear, slowly - clumsily with a sigh.

For a moment, Deep could almost relate. He understood the uncertainty, the constant worry, and he knew how disarming the thief could be, with his empty smiles and flawless timing, always seeming to know the right thing to say.

Then, he realized he had seen David do the same kind of thing she was doing to him right now a million times and, frankly, felt rather insulted. It was also a stark reminder that she belonged to a vicious, superpowered criminal syndicate. He took a deep breath, his partner’s words echoing in his head. Just like a prank call. Just like a prank call...

“This conversation was over the moment you decided to use that earpiece,” the distorted voice came through, and despite its alien and almost calm tone, there was clearly underlying anger to his words, “You want to avoid getting hurt? Stop digging into matters that are far beyond you, stay as far away as you can from him... and never contact me again.”

Another moment of deafening silence.

Found what you were looking for?” David’s voice came out of nowhere.

He was almost hard to see at first, the thick darkness giving him cover as he stood close behind her, seeming to tower over her petite frame.

Odette winced, thinking of a dozen ways to wiggle out of this. Failing to appeal to the man over the communication link - she had a chance with David to somehow salvage this morning. Hopefully without explaining how the safe had managed to break. Gently placing the earpiece to the side, “I knew you were hiding something,” She began, “I am relieved, actually. Found some IDs, a mysterious voice, and a false bottomed safe.

Pushing herself to stand up, tucking a bit of hair behind her ear, “I was expecting a gun.

Taking a shot in the dark, she adjusted her tone not to sound accusatory, “You’re a spy,” She turned to face him, “It would explain a few things, like the strange men and women staring us down. The purposefully vague nonsense, no paper trails, no credit cards. More than enough money to throw around, not a very good spy...but a spy nonetheless.

Saying it out loud is about as ridiculous as it sounds, please shed some light here.

He raised a brow at this. It was perfect, and she was prepared to believe it. All he had to do now was sell it. He smiled, the act barely visible in the darkroom.

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend for a moment that I am a spy,” he noted, slowly inching closer, “You just busted my safe and went through my belongings. What do you reckon my first instinct should be after being compromised in such a candid fashion? Perhaps you missed the gun,” He caught a strand of blue hair with a finger, setting it aside. His fingertips ran down her neck, his thumb and index gently pushing her jaw up to level her gaze with his own,, “Or perhaps I just like to get close and personal.

She hadn’t flinched, knowing a bluff when she heard it, her own hand pressed against his - increasing pressure, “I ‘reckoned’ that you liked me enough to talk first before acting, I was right.” She said staring him down. “Your man on the other line warned me to stay away, you are giving me a generous warning right this very moment.

I was relieved that my instincts did not lead me on a goose chase, now they’re telling me,” She gambled again, “Some part of you is impressed that I have proven to be more than just a pair of soft pointe shoes.

Pressing up against him, her hand resting against his chest, “Your secrets are safe with me, remember?

His heart practically screamed with glee: this was far better than anything he could’ve orchestrated on his own. Still, he stayed in character, stoic features regarding her menacingly as his grip tightened, his body mass forcing her to step backwards as he moved forward. “I do not believe you grasp the gravity of your situation, Mademoiselle Favre. Even if you had not just utterly betrayed my trust, there are protocols one must follow in these types of situations.

Involuntarily holding her breath, waiting for his decision and readying a spell to stop him in his tracks.

He held her there for a moment as if considering, then let go. “You stole my secrets,” he emphasized, a very faint touch of indignation to his otherwise cool act, his tone becoming almost dismissive, “Fortunately for you, I’m more interested in learning yours than in killing you. You want to know who I am? That is a two-way street. You can start by telling me how you practically disarmed the room’s safe without barely touching it,” his tone grew almost condescending, “As a sign of good faith, mostly, I’m going to find out one way or another.

If only you knew how close you had come to death, Monsieur Blackwood. She thought idly, her eyes narrowed at his tone. Taking a few moments to breathe, seemingly playing the part of calming her nerves. A civilian was only as bold when their lives weren’t in danger, anyone else would have probably been terrified.

Adding a small quiver in her voice she responded, “M-my secrets?” She cleared her throat, “May I provide some context, as I am sure you overhead me speaking to the man over the earpiece. I was not lying when I said I have reason to be paranoid, not as many as you do - clearly.

She touched her neck, not quite feeling bold enough to touch him again, not yet. “Had you spent more time researching me you would have no doubt dug up certain details of my reputation.” She had no real intent opening that particular vein of conversation, but she needed something he could verify for himself and here the truth would work in her favour. “The dance community around the Opera House is quite close-knit, we all attended the same university, see each other more than our own families.

Casting her eyes down, somewhat in shame, “I have a string of exes, I had a terrible habit of playing games with their hearts. Using jealousy, lies - rumours, affection, tears, all to my advantage. It was fun, but my own games double-backed on me and caused a bloom of paranoia. I-” She flicked her gaze back up to him, then gestured to the safe, “These hotel safes are standard and it is not the first time I have broken into one. Naturally, it all blew up in my face. I sabotaged the one relationship where I actually cared for them and after…” She shrugged a shoulder, frowning, “I gave up. I focused on my dancing and everyone in the company warned whoever even so much showed the slightest bit of interest. It has been years since I gave up on dating.

Her cheeks were rosy with embarrassment, she chewed at the inside of her cheek. It painted a different picture from the well-liked, accomplished dancer to the social pariah among her peers. None of which she regretted but took issue with sharing it. Being forced to share it to hide her magical safe breaking. A one night stand with secrets of his own, it could be worse.

Old habits have a strange way of bubbling back up.

David could not have been more delighted as he listened to her, juggling half-truths with outright lies. Had they met by chance, her words might’ve given him some reason to pause, but the fact he knew who she really was made them almost moot. Of course, he maintained a serious face throughout the whole thing. When she was done, he deliberately rolled his eyes.

Well, boo-fucking-hoo. So you’re what your people call a ‘femme fatale,’” he shrugged, the last word leaving a bad taste in his mouth, “I could’ve told you as much. And please, don’t insult my intelligence by pretending that what your nosy ‘friends’ at the ballet think about you is any kind of impediment to doing what you actually want to. I thought we’d already established that.

He sighed, regarding the ruined safe. “Even if I wasn’t trained to smell your bullshit from miles away, which I am, I know for a fact that you’re lying. You want to know how? Because I can’t figure out how you’ve opened this safe, and I know every way to open it. In fact, I took very specific precautions to prevent anyone but the most skilled of master thieves from being able to do so.

Technically speaking, nothing he had said was a lie. His skills did heavily overlap with what one might expect of a spy, after all, which is what made it such a brilliant, if somewhat dangerous, cover... and he genuinely hadn’t the foggiest idea how she’d done it, which irked him to no conceivable end.

In fact,” he continued, beginning to walk up to her, “This strikes me as rather bold behaviour for a paranoid, wouldn’t you agree? I’m not saying you don’t have trust issues, mind,” he clarified, now standing close to her, a string of fingers running down her figure as he regarded her, close enough to almost feel them but never really making contact, “But this… this is the work of someone who thinks she’s untouchable.

She scoffed, he rolled his eyes at her bait, continued to call her out and stubbornly kept to the subject at hand.

Her meek and humble facade was gone in a blink, she pinched the bridge of her nose, “Fine. You want the truth?” The truth was always relative, there was a way forward - he could get a glimpse and believe whatever she wanted him to believe, “Watch closely.” Pushing his hand away. She crouched in front of the safe again, removing her phone to read the next incantation to fix the safe. A spell she often used to cover her tracks, when she wasn’t caught.

Placing both hands on the safe she began her incantation, “Réorganiser le temps, retour au début par ma volonté et parole. Réparez, connectez, coulez.” Speaking softly, her hands glowed light blue casting cold light over her features, the clang of metal, springs, and other bits audible as magic willed the device back to its original state. Repeating the incantation once more, three times in total the safe was back in one piece once more. Sighing the light faded, idly she placed the items back inside, slotting the false bottom back in place. She closed the door and with a beep, it was locked up once more.

I was trying to keep it a secret, metahumans were on the block by terrorists. I can break and repair things, I use words to help focus my powers,” Folding her arms, with a pout, “Quid pro quo, a secret for secret.

David frowned. She had admitted to being a meta-human, but it didn’t add up with what he’d seen her do. Perhaps she was more powerful than she wanted to let on, and had some kind of mayor physics bending powers?

He filed that in the ‘scary thoughts’ archive and, after a moment’s consideration, straightened out his hand. “Hand back the earpiece.

Dangling the earpiece between them she gently placed it in the palm of his hand, holding her breath once more - waiting, “It didn’t do me any good, your man in the chair did not reveal anything.” She commented, “So, what now?

David put on the earpiece.

It’s me.

“Have you lost your mind?” Came Deep’s voice.

I am sorry for what happened. The situation has been handled.

“What do you mean the situation… Ugh! She’s there with you, isn’t she?”

Affirmative.

“This is the last time I help you with any of your stupid antics, you hear me?”

...No, you don’t have to worry about her anymore.

“No, you’re not listening to me! I know you’re putting on your little play for her but this… this behaviour has to stop! Ever since what… whatever it is that happened to you, you’ve not been the same! I know it’s a lot to deal with. But you’re impulsive and reckless and... and... and I was just on the phone with a psychopathic killer, for all I know!” the man stopped to catch some air, or perhaps to sigh, “I don’t know if we can keep working together if you don’t respect the rules. We made them for a reason. Get your shit together, or we’re done professionally.”

Understood. It won’t happen again. Business as usual then?

Deep cut the line.

Very well.

He turned to regard her, a sly smile on his face.

Well, now that that’s taken care of, I believe there was some mention of returning to bed. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a million questions, but they can wait,” he took off the earpiece, tossing it aside as he approached her, “After all, I intend to keep a close eye on you, Mademoiselle Favre.

3x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Eddie Brock
Raw
Avatar of Eddie Brock

Eddie Brock

Member Seen 23 days ago



"This isn't going to hurt, right?"

Jefferson laughed, though he didn't exactly answer the question directly. As he continued to untangle the mess of wires between his hands, he explained, "All of this is strictly observational. These machines are going to take readings: electrical, nuclear, and so on. You don't have to do a thing, except sit back and relax." Having finally freed a bundle of electrodes, he moved his hands to either side of April's head. After a few false starts, he motioned towards her glasses and asked, "May I?"

April shrugged. "Be my guest. Although, I should warn you that I'm basically blind without th--" Catching herself mid-sentence, she watched in disbelief as her blurry field of vision suddenly snapped into clear focus. Her glasses hung in the air as Jeff pulled them away, and yet she could see as clearly now as she had when they were on. Blinking a few times, she was relieved to learn that the effect did not go away. "Okay, that's weird."

Jefferson, oblivious to this newest development, asked, "What's weird?" as he continued to set her glasses down on a nearby tabletop.

"I can see," April replied. Still wanting to test it, she held a hand over one eye followed by the other. Any way she sliced it, her vision was crystal clear. A smile cracked across her face. "I can't remember the last time I could see this well without my glasses."

Jefferson leaned back on a heel and tapped his chin. "Well, we've already theorized that you can somehow alter your body's electromagnetic field in defiance of gravity. I suppose it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility, then, that your sensitivity to electromagnetism extends to the visible spectrum..."

Although it was couched in scientific jargon, April followed the general train of thought. "Are you suggesting that the reactor explosion somehow fixed my eyesight?"

"Strictly speaking, no," he answered, "but the effect is much the same." As he contemplated the ramifications of this new discovery, he went back to placing electrodes along her temples. "You had complained that your eyes were unusually fatigued yesterday, right? Perhaps that was a side effect of this new 'sight' developing. For all we know, you've only scratched the surface! Who's to say that your sensitivity begins and ends at the visible spectrum? If you could also tap into higher and lower wavelengths..."

At that point, April found herself not really listening. It wasn't that the conversation wasn't somewhat interesting, only that Jefferson seemingly had a habit of running away with his thoughts. If she was being honest, his enthusiasm was cute in an endearing sort of way; she didn't find herself attracted to Jefferson or anything like that, but she could see how another girl might find him irresistibly adorkable. As he made eye contact with her, she realized he was waiting on her to respond to the last thing he said. Luckily, a small smile seemed to satisfy him.

Now that April felt more wired up than a Christmas tree, Jefferson was apparently content to begin collecting data. After a few more last minute checks, he went to sit down at a nearby terminal. As he started flipping switches, April heard the hum of machinery coming to life. The laboratory that Jefferson procured was more than big enough for their purposes; even with all the equipment they were using, they only took up a small corner of the otherwise abandoned room. "Alright now, I want to get a baseline, so just relax," Jeff instructed.

April did as she was told. Picking at her nails, she found herself uncomfortable in the ensuing silence. She wasn't much of a "sit quietly" type, anyway. With little else in the way of conversational topics, she decided to take advantage of the opportunity to get to know Jefferson a little better. Clearing her throat, she asked, "So, where are you from originally, Jefferson?" She could tell by his subtle accent that he wasn't from around these parts.

"My family's from Houston, Texas," Jeff answered without looking up from his screen. "I moved away for school when I turned eighteen, and I haven't been back since." She sensed there was something personal behind that statement, but they weren't close enough to broach the subject further. "What about you, city girl? Always been in town?"

"I actually haven't been living in the city all that long," she admitted. "But I have been a California girl my whole life."

"Let me guess: only child, too?" Jeff ventured.

Impressed, April smiled. "How'd you know?"

He shrugged. "Just have that way about you, I guess," he replied. It wasn't immediately apparent whether he meant that positively or negatively. "I couldn't imagine it, personally. I love my siblings."

"Sisters, right?" This time, it was his turn to be impressed. April grinned smugly. "You're not the only one with intuition."

"One older, one younger," Jefferson reported. Him being a middle child suddenly made a ton of sense. Before they could get deeper into the weeds of each other's upbringings, however, his screen beeped at him. "Alright, good, I think we're ready to start measuring. Can you try to start to... y'know, glow?"

Biting her lip gently, April nodded. She still wasn't sure she could control the energies, only having consciously achieved it once. To start, she closed her eyes and allowed herself to visualize a sheath of neon green energy around all parts of her body. Opening her eyes, she surprised herself to find that it was actually there, just as she had envisioned it. The air around her body seemed to ripple like asphalt on a hot summer day. April allowed herself a small smile as Jefferson scribbled notes.

"Okay, see if you can kick it up a notch, yeah?"

She set her brow. Summoning the power from deep within herself, she called it forth with a thought. The radiation sheath grew brighter, and the heat wave effect intensified. Yet the energy produced minimal heat; it was cool to the touch as it cascaded off her skin. April found that the more she concentrated, the more energy she could produce. If there was an upper limit, she hadn't approached it yet. It felt like a bottomless well from which she could draw at will. The thought was terrifying... and exciting.

Jefferson scratched a few more things down, then called out, "Do you think you can localize it?"

"I can try," April replied. After all, she had been able to when she heated up the coffee mug. Drawing down the energy, she shaped it with her mind, willing it to travel down along her arm. It collected in the palm of her hand, forming a nebulous ball of radioactive energy. Stray particles orbited her fist as she closed her fingers around it. Turning her attention to her other hand, she watched as the energy began to gather there, too.

Jefferson rose gingerly. "Alright, now I want to see if you can discharge it," he explained. April shot him an uncertain look. Discharge? That was a loaded term. Heedless of the apparent danger, he plucked a spare notepad from the nearby desktop. Pantomiming a throwing motion, he locked eyes and asked, "Ready?"

She was less than confident. Still, the energy crackled around her fists. Taking a deep breath, she nodded. Jefferson heaved back and sent the notepad tumbling through the air. April punched at the empty space in front of her, and a green burst shot from her hand. It clipped the corner of the notebook mid-flight, sending the bulk of it careening across the lab as shredded paper rained down like confetti. April laughed in spite of herself and said, "Give me another!" Jeff complied, and she shot the next notebook out of the sky with the blast from her other hand.

"Awesome!" Jeff blurted out, any sense of composure lost. With his hands on his hips, he surveyed the monitors at his workstation. "Well, I've got good news for you, Ms. Newton: you're not carcinogenic! I wouldn't necessarily want to be next to you for prolonged periods when you're running full bore, but the ambient energy you produce doesn't appear to be harmful."

April felt a wave of relief wash over her. It was certainly good to hear that she hadn't been irradiating everyone around her. Now, there was only one pertinent question left to answer. "Okay, so how long do you think this'll last?"

Jefferson laughed nervously and rubbed the back of his neck. "See, that's the thing," he began, "My initial hypothesis was that you were some kind of radiation sponge, and these effects would only last as long as it took to deplete all that energy. But this data suggests that you're more of a radiation battery. These levels can't be explained unless your body is naturally producing this energy."

The wind went out of April's sails. "So, this could be permanent?" she intuited. The thought of this being the new normal kinda terrified her.

Picking up on her disappointment, Jefferson launched into damage control. "Hey, look on the bright side!" he said with forced enthusiasm. "You're some kind of an honest-to-goodness superhero! You've got strength, flight, energy manipulation... Think of all the good you can do with these abilities! All the good we can do, together!"

"I'm not looking to be a superhero, Jeff," she sighed. She started removing the electrodes. "This isn't Lost Haven; this city doesn't need a hero any more than I need that kind of headache. I didn't even want to be at that stupid demonstration... I just wanted answers. Which reminds me: did you make any progress on those files?"

Crestfallen, Jefferson gave a solemn nod. Trudging over to his workstation, he rifled through his bag until he produced her flash drive. "I understand why you were so interested. Can't promise this'll help any, though," he warned before turning it over. So, he had put two and two together. Not that she had gone to any great lengths to hide her connection to the case. "I'm sorry about your dad, April. That must've been hard."

"What was hard was never knowing what happened to him. It's about time I knew the truth." She clutched the flash drive in her palm. Placing a hand on Jeff's shoulder, she said, "Thank you, Jeff. For this, and for helping me... figure out things. I have some thinking to do, I guess." April picked up her glasses and fitted them back onto her nose. After a moment, her vision adjusted to the lenses again.

"Well, if you change your mind about the whole 'superhero' thing, you know where to find me," he offered.

April managed half a smile. "You'll be my first call."
1x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by VATROU
Raw
Avatar of VATROU

VATROU The Barron

Member Seen 6 hrs ago


And


With an angry Viking


In the Broken Dreams Pub


Eva could see rooftops everywhere as buildings of all sizes rose and fell beyond her sight, stepping towards the edge she could see she was on the roof of some dingy bar as the lights glowed illuminating the street below. And as she returned her gaze back towards the door she stumbled out of she could clearly see a figure about to smash down on her. ”Bloody HELL!” Eva hollered

From the very skies, hurtling like a meteor came a streak of familiar blue hued energy, the air warping and twisting around the humanoid figure as it came slamming down onto the top of the old building mere feet away from Eva, the foundations cracking slightly as the attempts to slow the descent were clearly half-hearted at best. The dust and dirt from the rooftop momentarily was thrust up into the air, masking the figure momentarily.

It was only when the smoke cleared that the figure was none other than Trenton Hurst, otherwise known as the infamous mercenary War-Pulse. Of course, his dispersal of the kinetic energy whipped the dust off the rooftop and cleared the air, which is when the merc actually caught sight of the other figure on top of the pub.

“Oh, shit, sorry about that!” Trent began, offering the girl a wave. “Didn’t realize there was someone else up here on the landing! It isn’t like Sal ever intended to extend his business outside of his dingy little hole in the wall.”

Thanking whatever lucky stars she had she brushed herself off and stood to greet the knobhead standing before her. ”You trying to make some pavement pizza or are you always such a co@k up. Another second and this would be a crime scene.”

“Whoa, okay. I’m sorry, missy.” Trent spoke in a mocking octave, his barely concealed smile belying his lack of sincerity as he met her glare. “Did I mess up your perfect rooftop selfie on top of a dingy bar? I bet all your followers are real curious about your romp in the sketchy side of town, really going to get some likes today!’’

Sufficiently satisfied with the level of sass he had given the youthful girl, he strolled on past her towards the door leading down. “Either way, you ain’t actually dead. So no harm no foul, right? Either way, I’m gettin’ a drink. You enjoy...whatever it is you’re doing up here.”

Eva feined a smile and pulled out her phone holding it like an idiot. "That's cute if you subscribe to me at TwitchThot I promise not to knee you in the nuts." With the same full enthusiasm Eva slipped her phone back into her pants and started moving towards the door alongside the strange meta. ”I need a drink it’s gonna be a long night of bullshit, does this place have a decent selection?”

The merc jolted to a stop at her words, a brow raised as he gave the woman a once over. “Uhhhh...not for nothing...but I’m going to say you’re a little young to start drinking your problems away at a pub. Shouldn’t you be chugging vodka in your parent’s basement and thinking every noise outside is the cops like most teenagers?”

Scoffing at the attitude of the unknown hero, Eva assumed he was some type of arrogant crusader of Justice. Cops can suck a knob, I'd say yours would do however considering how big an ego you got I'd say your overcompensating. Vodka sucks ass too, I'll take whiskey, probably on the rocks."

Trent clutched his heart to mock the pain of her words, laughing along with Eva’s biting words. “Hoo boy, you go RIGHT for the jugular! But you’re right on the money if you’re looking for whiskey. Sal has some of the hardest whiskeys you’ll ever find in Lost Haven, and judging by how long I’ve known him, I’d say he probably won’t card you for it if you pay a little extra. This little hole in the wall isn’t even technically registered as a bar, buuuut that’s mostly because no inspector’s coming down to this side of town.”

Lugging her metal case down the stairs Eva pulled her phone out a second time. ”Yeah I can do that not the first time I’ve paid more for a stiff one. Got a quick call to make bit of business to deal with while I’m here yeah.” As the meta walked further out of sight and she could hear a door open she assumed he was already making himself comfortable and getting drinks. Taking this moment to dialed up Rune the wizard or mage; she wasn’t entirely sure what kind of title he held just vaguely remembering that he was a bigshot and they worked and gotten along well in the past.

Once they stepped into the establishment, Trent’s description of ‘hole in the wall’ became all too apparent to the pair. The speakeasy looked as if it had been up since Prohibition, complete with the smell of stale booze and cigarette smoke, the wooden walls showing through chipped paint and not a picture in the establishment was aligned properly. The only source of light being a few dingy ceiling lanterns hanging above a few disgruntled patrons, providing just enough light were everyone can make out each other’s faces.

The barkeep, a ragged man in his 50s, was busy placing a newly cleaned glass on the back wall among the others when he turned his attention to the sound of people coming down the back stairs. Typically only one man came in the back entrance, and as soon as he saw the familiar face, a small grin wrinkled his typically stern visage.

“Trent? Is that you?” The man grumbled, his gravelly voice offering a hint of warmth.

“Sal, buddy!” The mercenary responded, outstretching his arms in a flourish of comradery. “Good to see you’re as busy as ever! What is this, four whole customers?”

“Still the cocky bastard you always were.” Sal said, grabbing a glass and pouring Trent what would be assumed to be a drink he was already familiar with. “Thought you retired, what brings you back to Lost Haven?”

“Well, to make a long story short, I’m bad at financing.” Trent responded, taking the full glass of liquor as soon as it was offered and taking a swig. “Here, let me tell you all about it…”

After about ten minutes Eva had entered the bar receiving a slight look from Sal and just letting the massive suitcase sit upright on the floor next to the stoll she parked her ass in. ”You got anything nice and strong, whiskey and not the cheap stuff I don’t need no dollar store bottle. I’ll know.” Flashing a bit of cash and sliding it over to the barkeep she sat waiting.

Sal was hesitant, a wizened eye scanned over the girl. Clearly doubt was in his mind he turned his gaze to Trent with a raised brow. A silent conversation was exchanged before the two reprobates purely by staring, the few tense seconds ticking away before the mercenary gave a quiet nod of approval and the old barkeep gave a cordial smile, curtly snatching the money from Eva's hands.

“I think I got something that you’ll like….” He responded, going through his drinks on the back wall before pulling an unmarked bottle half-filled with a golden-brown liquid. “This may burn a bit harder than the commercial stuff, but that smokey flavor is worth it, just don’t ask me how I got it...”

Runes feet were tired, much like every other part of him. Staying out of sight from the king of elves meant moving around a lot, and to forgo all his usual haunts and hideouts. Pulling his coat around him tighter, he headed towards the door to the bar. His hair stuck his face in the rain. He spoke a few words of magic, activating the spell that let the door lead him to the bar from any location. In this case, Visby, a quaint town in sweden, where he had just dealt with two changelings. AS he stepped inside, the water dripped off of him, and he seemed even more dreary and worn out in the dingy light.

With a twist Eva could see the man dripping with rain.”Must have started pouring not long ago, good thing I’ve been inside talking to mister Bigshot here. Who’s name is probably not as important as he thinks it is. Anyways sit the drinks are decent here mate.”

“Ya’ called me a ‘cock up’ and accused me of trying to kill you, I’d hardly call that talking.” Trent spoke up, shaking his head with a chuckle. “And the name’s Trent, you little brat. You could at least get the name right before you insult me.”

”What do you call a bloke crashing in from the sky about to crush your skull like a tube of yogurt. Actually I could think of a few names for those types including Icon and his whole over heroic superboy routine. He’s too weird and perfect. At least Trent sounds like a basic ass name nothing heroic in that.”

“Well, that makes sense, because hero I ain’t.”

“I need a pint. And a shot of vodka and tequila each.” Rune said as he slumped into the chair next to Eva.

With a click of her glass Eva turned to Rune patting the side of her luggage.”I got something I was hoping you could enhance. Since those skills are beyond me, and I met someone else too you ever heard of that Helsing guy? Strikes me as an overconfident Jock type, anyways I plan on heading abroad for a while more than just over to Europe. Figured I’d toss you his number in case you need an extra hand don’t know anyone else in our line of work to cover while I’m gone.” Eva said just loud enough for the people next to her to hear which probably meant that the other meta could overhear not that it really mattered.

And of course, Trent was listening, as he had nothing else to do since he was laying low for the time being. That being said, the mercenary had little knowledge of what was referenced by ‘line of work’. For all he knew the teenager just needed someone to cover for her day job, but while he was not directly engaging right away, his ears were piqued to their conversation.

Rune picked up the two shot glasses as swept them in a set of motions that seemed almost second nature. His eyes looked Eva over, appraising his fellow champion. “I can do that.I think.” Rune magic did lend itself to to permanent enhancements, he wouldn’t be covered in carved in runes otherwise.

With a sip Eva calmly drank as the condensation dripped off like beads onto the cool counter. ”Kinda nice to be drinking with people again, not a fan of drinking by myself. I’m not a slag.” Eva said taking another long gulp of her drink. ”How’s things with the Ex Johan, heard through the rumor mill he was trying to kill you? I got a place in New York; mine might be an overstatement but it’s in my grandfather’s name. Could lie low there for a bit assuming you don’t trash it, assuming you don’t mind the odd noise, I have a guest or three running around in the walls.”

“To be fair. It seems he thinks I’m the one to kill him. I hate prophecies.”

”Yeah, dated a cultist once just thought it was a thing he did for theatrics. Turns out he really did wanna kill me and summon hell on Earth or some bullshit like that. Point is dating is a pain in the ass, especially if your ex wants to destroy humanity.” There was still a bit of an edge she noted as the tension from heading into space hadn’t subsided, a few drinks hadn’t yet helped so she did the only thing she could think of; asked for advice. ”What do you two do when making possibly life altering decisions? I feel like I’ll be lost in space and I’m just supposed to know what to do yeah.”

The mercenary stopped his motion mid-drink, a suspicious side eye learning from behind the glass after the girl had addressed himself and Sal. His brow furrowed for a moment, the words visibly bouncing in his head as he slowly placed the glass down. Sal moved to speak, but he was stopped by a swift gesture of the merc.

“Nah Sal, I got this.” Trent said, turning around to face the paid of apparent youngsters. He gave Eva a once-over, possibly reading her face to see if she actually wanted his opinion or if she was simply pulling his leg. Either way, she would get a very honest response today.

“Honestly? Here’s the truth.” He began. “At the end of the day, when you consider all the options and you gotta make a call, the only thing that matters is this; will you be happy with your choice? Sure, you can spend all the time in the world mulling over the moral implications and who will be affected by what you choose, but that is always the problem with big choices, right? You’re always going to screw someone over, so when it comes down to it, there is always one deciding factor that will matter over everything else; how will your choice benefit you? That’s what I tell myself every time I have to make a call, ‘what’s going to happen to me after this?’”

“That what you tell yourself sweetheart?” Rune spat. His words suddenly dipped with poison. “Now ok, I might be a selfish conman to some. But the deciding factor is not self gain. That, makes you a rotten, shitty little excuse of a man. A pisstain on history.” Rune was now pointing at Trent, eyes aflame with some hidden away anger that just came to surface. ”The choice in the end comes down to this: Can I leave the place a little bit better by the end of it all?” He spat, sweeping a shot of vodka. “If you’re like me, and you say ‘Fuck it, I just want this over with’ you’re also a pisstain. But I aint a hero. Never tried to be. I am just forced to be. And yes, it sucks. But you know what sucks more. Listening to some other pisstain talk to a nice and yet to be ruined by the world at large, bonefied, can make a difference CHAMPION OF THE FUCKING REALM, TELLING HER FUCK OTHER PEOPLE;JUST DO YOU.”

There was a small but noticeable silence after Rune’s outburst, the mercenary leaning against the counter with a raised brow. Trent shifted his weight ever so slightly, a mixture of a scowl and a smirk crossed the rugged man’s face, as if he was not sure if he should be mad or amused at the beratement he had just received.

“Alright, first off;” The mercenary began, his tone as cocky as ever. “I don’t remember asking an extra from Vikings to judge me, so that was a bit uncalled for and I should absolutely mop the floor with that well-groomed beard of yours. And second, I never made any claims to be a hero or to even justify that my way of thinking is the right way. Girl asked for my opinion, I gave it.”

As this point, Trent had lightly pushed off the counter, taking a few steps towards Rune and Eva’s table. His circled the table, placing a hand on the backs of one of the free chairs. His stroll came to a stop, bearing his weight down on the wooden backing as he leaned towards Rune, a cavalier sneer plastered across his face.

“I mean honestly, if you want to shit all over my life decisions, sure, can’t say that you’re totally wrong. But from where I’m standing and what I’m overhearing, the so-called ‘Champion of the Fucking Realm’ is currently sitting in a shitty Dive Bar talking about how her ex is trying to kill her with demons and THAT doesn’t sound like someone who put themself first.” He gestured with a free hand towards Eva. “Sure, you’re a hero, you try to save people, that’s heartwarming, but always trying to do things for other people is that someone is going to take advantage of that and walk all over you. The thing about heroics is that if you don’t at least think about yourself sometimes you end up forgetting to live your own life and pursue your own happiness, and that ain’t fair to you.”

With an exasperated groan Eva downed her drink leaving a bit of color in her cheeks as she stood. ”First he never tried to kill me with demons. It was a fillet knife or something stupid and thin. Second, I was trying to keep the whole hero thing on the downlow for once but it is what it is. And third It’s not a completely shitty dive bar although the decor is definitely dated.”

Pushing her suitcase over to Johan. ”Johan he’s right and yeah he’s still kinda a dick for suggesting it but we’re not here in Disneyland where all is rosey and fine, we’ve fu&^ed up somewhere. I can probably pull a proper hero thing but I don’t know If I’ll ever be a paragon of virtue and justice. I can try but that isn’t me. I will however try and do good for as long as I can still call myself a good person. And IO would appreciate whatever help you can still offer.”

Her eyes glanced over toward Trent. ”I’m not you. I’m not me, hell I barely know if I am a good person. You are right though whatever choice I make should matter to me. I’m supposed to be a great hero, descended from old blood. And I will try not to fu%^ it up. Thank you for the advice, and the drink. I suppose I should finally try finding my own way.” Eva said as she walked over to the doors of the bar.
2x Like Like
Hidden 2 yrs ago 1 yr ago Post by Indy Cooper
Raw
Avatar of Indy Cooper

Indy Cooper Deity-in-training

Member Seen 14 days ago


Banner credit to Nitemare Shape. Thanks Boss!


Lost Haven, ME

23:45, July 2nd


The tiny Korean girl leaned back in the bar stool, carefully analysing the shot glass in front of her on the worn and dirty bar top, fingers gripping tightly to the sticky edge of the surface to keep her from falling backwards off of the uneven stool she perched on.. The bartender, probably a local college student of some sort to her expert eye, stood impassively, holding the bottle of cheap vodka carefully. His beard hid the annoyed set to his mouth.

“Juuuuusht a little bit more,” the girl slurred, a little too loudly. The music was some sort of standard classic rock, probably Led Zeppelin, but she was too far gone to be paying attention to much beyond the glass, which currently stood a little over full. A slight trickle of liquid left the mouth of the bottle, adding 'just a bit' to the amount already present. She motioned with one hand to stop, but quickly snatched her hand back down to the bar top to catch herself as she swayed dangerously. The man tipped the bottle back upright, quickly spinning the top back on, and nodded to her. He drifted off to replace the bottle before going back to his phone, thumbs rapid-firing over the touchscreen. His uplit face was eerie in the nearly dead bar.

She had asked about how a bar could stay open with so little clientele on a weekend night when she first came in, and the answer had disturbed her. Apparently, with all the trouble in the city, fights between metahumans and terrorists, and then more attacks just this past week, no one wanted to be caught out at night. The only other customer in the place, a battered veteran of fifty or so with a missing arm, had told her later that there were whispers of even worse things stalking the streets in this area in particular, but no one had confirmed anything yet in public.

She had wanted to find out more, but the thoughts the man had swirly in his head were so twisted and horrible that she had shut up and got drinking for serious a few hours ago, and thanked her lucky stars when he had left shortly after that. Now she was left with memories of his memories, along with the sneering contempt from the bartender and the background noise of the city that was fading mercifully into silence as she got deeper in the bottle. She was also painfully aware that her size and outfit (a simple tight tee and jeans she could have sworn fit loosely only a few weeks ago) were not conducive to her making it back to her hotel in one piece, if she could even remember where it as from here. But then again, she hadn't planned on getting shitfaced tonight to begin with.

She had started the afternoon so well. Sitting in her hotel room, she had begun sifting through the signals she was getting through the city, looking for some sort of source for the things Hannelore had called man-made and which she could not help but think of as 'zombies'. Within an hour, however, she had found the city so psychically drenched in despair that she couldn't stand it, and went looking for a dive bar to dull the ache before she could work again. Unfortunately, Courtney had forwarded pay from another job, one of the rich ones, and her bank account had swelled substantially because they had taken her advice and were happy. Which meant she had plenty of money to put on a bar tab, though her habits were never for the expensive stuff. Volume over voluptuousness, apparently.

She carefully pushed herself forward with her mind, tipping back onto the counter, and expertly snatched up the shot glass and downed what felt and tasted like rubbing alcohol. Her stomach churned, and it took several moments for the burn to leave her nose capable of smelling anything again. Not that this place was anything she wanted to smell. She briefly wondered how often the owner was here, and then thought it was probably better not to ask silly questions. She slammed the glass back down and looked at the boy, but he was engrossed in his phone.

Bah. Probably better I don't have another anyway. It's getting-

A wash of fear, not hers, cascaded over her like a bucket of ice water. Shivers ran up her spine. The boy didn't seem to notice or be frightened, which meant in came from outside. She reached for her bag, drawing out the trusty taser which had seen her through several rough situations before, and muttered something probably unintelligible to him, stalking out the door in her sandals.

For July, it was still a little chilly in the damp air, and she shivered a little, wishing she had brought her hoodie when she had rushed out of her room, but creature comforts would have to wait. There was....what? A mugging? Rape?

She paused, head turning one way or another, eyes firmly shut. First she had to filter out the background noise. There were clearly a few people in the area boning, some more enthusiastically than others. A couple of angry people, no surprise. There! The fear, shocking in its intensity, but it felt off somehow. And there was something else there, too, a darkness in the bright tapestry of thoughts and emotions.

Fuck, I swear if I am this drunk when the zombie apocalypse hits, my ancestors will never forgive me. She rushed off, tracking the sense with her mind while letting her feet carry her, heedless of direction. Lights breezed by, she stumbled through some sort of homeless camp in an alleyway, and was entirely and thoroughly lost by the time her phone began ringing. She stopped, leaning up against a wal, and tugged it out of her pocket, answering before even looking at the number.

“Abigail Cho, Cho Investigationsh, we tell you who died.”

“Are you drunk again?

Abigail stared at the wall in front of her for a few moments before her brain clicked into place with her ears.

Mother!?

The voice on the other end went up an octave. “Don't you Mother me, young lady! It is past midnight, what are you doing so drunk you can barely talk?”

<Clearly minding my own bishness, Mother, and I am a little busy right now.>

<Don't you give me lip! What are you doing that has you so busy at this time of night!>

<My. Own. Business. And I don't have time for this, Mother, I will talk to you->

<Don't you dare, it has been weeks since you called and I am->

Abigail shut the phone off and shoved it back into her pocket angrily. Leave it to her family to call when actual lives were actually on the actual line. She took off again, noting that at least the pause had bought her time to catch her breath.

For a brief moment, to avoid what looked like might be assholes on a corner, she ducked through the open back door of a liquor store, leaving out the front with the Indian owner yelling what were probably obscenities at her retreating back. She ducked around a corner and fairly flew down another side street, laughing at the sheer absurdity of it all even as she tracked what was turning worse and worse. Anger and pain and fear were swirling in fast and dangerous combinations, and growing closer fast. And then she turned a corner and found what she was looking for. Or, in this case, hoping to never see.

As was her habit, she saw and felt the ghosts, first. For one, they were brand new, blazing with an intensity she had only seen once before. She had been called in as a joke for a detective in Davenport, FL. After that she swore to never work a fresh murder again. This brought that oath right back up to bear in her head, but that one had only been one victim, with a clear cause of death. This one was seven, and she wasn't sure what had happened other than it had been violence beyond the pale.

The first spirit she ran across she nearly ran directly into as she spun the corner. Half of the young man's face and skull had been torn, leaving the entire right side of his head a gaping, bleeding hole. Past him Abigail could see one woman who had literally had her arms torn off of her and was just standing up from her physical body. Another young man next to her had had his face smashed in against the brick wall next to them. The rest were just as gruesome. She fought it for a second, but her stomach rebelled and she vomited, coughing and gagging on the smell of blood and the taste of bile.

The bodies were spread out over a more than twenty foot circle, bright blood pools illuminated by the yellow of the streetlights above. The gutter drain sounded a dribbling echo of horror despite the dry night, and Abigail puked again as she realised that she was getting slammed with more than one layer of it all. The visceral first layer for her eyeballs and nose was bad enough, but then her eyes and ears caught the ghosts as they reacted to dying. Their emotions, both those that clung in the physical world and those echoing from them on the Astral, threatened to overwhelm her completely, until one whiff caught in her mind's eye just a bit stronger than the others. Fear, still clinging to everything, was moving away from here.

The fuck is going on? she thought to herself, forcing her limbs to cooperate as she moved to follow. Blandly, some of her more logical thoughts caught up as she carefully side-stepped a severed limb and the associated blood. All of these people looked like street toughs, and at least two knives were on the ground. So who attacked who?

The trailing fear outpaced her, and trying to keep up left her winded, though the cool night air was a welcome relief from the charnel-house smell that was slowly fading from her nostrils. She leaned her thighs onto a nearby fence and breathed out, giving up on the chase, and pulled a flask of something cheap and strong out of her jacket pocket and took a swig. Only when she had taken two more did her senses, ringing alarm bells in panic, catch her attention and steer it to the property upon which her rear was currently resting. To her eyes it looked like a normal house and shop combo, but her mind had to pause and stare at the soul of the place, which poured out of the windows and door like a second sun in her Astral sight. This place was definitely good, and fairly aware of it. Either the eople here had loved the place for their entire lives or it had some sort of titanically powerful angel guarding it. Regardless, her drinking had already retaken her, and with her inhibitions lowered enough, she hopped over the threshold of the fence, meandered up to the door, and knocked, not particularly caring what time it was.
2x Like Like
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by nitemare shape
Raw
GM
Avatar of nitemare shape

nitemare shape GM of Create A Hero and Star Wars: Legacies

Member Seen 7 days ago



  “Thanks Mr. Brown.” Scott said as he took the breakfast sandwich and a cup of iced coffee from the proprietor of Mac Brown's, one of the best food trucks in the city. A trip to the truck was something of a daily ritual for Scott, where he ordered the same thing every day. A Big Belly Breakfast Sandwich, which consisted of two eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese on a toasted bagel. Granted, Scott was sure that it was terrible for you, but it was delicious and he didn't seem to have to worry about problems like heart disease. So each day he would make this stop and grab what he considered a tasty treat.

He walked as he ate the sandwich, thinking about the day to come. He was excited, but nervous. He and Alexa had an appointment at the venue to make the payment to secure the space for their big day. Then, in the afternoon they had a cake tasting at one of the best bakeries in Lost Haven. He knew that after today, it would all be real. He and Alexa were getting married. It was no longer a hope or a dream, or some far off event that they could look forward to. It was happening, and it would be happening soon. Scott loved Alexa, and wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of his life with her. However, there were some things that needed to be resolved before the wedding took place. When Alexa told her parents about the engagement, her father did not take the news well. For some reason that Alexa didn't understand, her father did not like Scott. Her mother had assured her that he had just been shocked by the news, and that he would come around, but both Alexa and Scott had their doubts.

Just as Scott had scarfed down the last of his sandwich, he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. When he took the phone out, he saw that he had a text message from Alexa.

“Don't forget, Seaside Gateway. 11:30.” The text message read.

The Seaside Gateway was one of the premier wedding venues not only in Lost Haven, but on the entire East Coast. It offered a massive banquet hall and unmatched views of the Atlantic, which were especially breathtaking during sunset. Alexa had fallen in love with the place the first time she saw it, and couldn't imagine having their big day happening anywhere else.

“C U there.” Scott replied before stuffing his phone back in his pocket and continuing on his way.

***


As Scott rounded the corner, he was able to see the large glass enclosed venue which sat overlooking Lost Haven's waterfront. After breakfast, Scott found that he had some time to kill, so he did a few errands, and then took to the skies looking for any trouble that he might be able to help with. However, Lost Haven was quiet. He did consider expanding his patrol away from the city, be decided against it, as Alexa would have killed him if he missed the appointment at the venue. As he approached the front of the venue, he saw that Alexa had, unsurprisingly beaten him there, as she was standing in the parking lot leaning against her Bentley Continental.

“Hey there, Fly Boy.” Alexa said as he approached her.

“You're one to talk.” He said jokingly as he put his arms around her and pulled her close to him, kissing her on the forehead.

“I almost expected you to be halfway to Terraria by now.” Alexa teased him.

“Oh, I thought about it, but I figured if I did, I might as well not come back.” Scott said with a chuckle as he let her go. “So, what do you say we get this over with.”

“Get this over with?” Alexa said with mock pain in her voice.

“You know what I meant.” Scott playfully said as he took her hand while they walked. The truth was, although it was said in jest, Scott did hate paperwork, which was partly why he had put Eric in charge of the club. Alexa understood this, but still gave him a hard time every chance she got.

As Scott and Alexa made their way toward the front entrance of the venue, they were greeted by an eager looking blonde woman, who looked to be in her mid thirties.

“You must be Ms Winstone and Mr...Hunter.” She said with a smile after the brief hesitation. “I'm Amy, and I'll be showing you around and answering any questions you might have.”

As she had promised, Amy led Alexa and Scott all throughout the building, showing them the function hall where the wedding itself will take place. The hall had a wide open floor plan with large picture windows that overlooked the waterfront. From there she showed them the reception area which had a large dance floor and an outdoor deck area. Once Amy had concluded the tour, she led the young couple back to the business office to finalize the paperwork and process the down payment to secure the venue for their big day. On the way back to the office, Amy explained the cancellation policy, “just in case,” as well as how much they would need to put down to secure the venue, and seemed somewhat surprised when Alexa informed her that they would be paying the entire balance.

As they walked into the office, Amy brought them to the back of the room where an old oak table was set up against the wall. A small flat screen TV hung on the wall behind them tuned to the local news. Amy motioned for them to sit and began going through the paperwork with them, explaining everything as they went through it and showing them where to initial and sign when the paperwork required it.

Then Scott heard something from the TV news that made his stomach sink. The newscaster was describing a story that was just developing. The details were not one hundred percent confirmed as they were still coming in, but it appeared that an earthquake had struck in Charonia, causing wide spread damage to the capital city, the newly rechristened city of Taloseden. The destruction within the city had apparently been enough to set off a new round of violence between the regime and the resistance fighters who's revolt had been thought to have been stamped out. More concerning was the reports that a train had been derailed which may or may not have been carrying an experimental weapon of some sort.

This was bad. The Charonians were a notorious brutal regime, and though Icon had up to this point stayed clear of international affairs, this could potentially destabilize the entire Mediterranean region. He couldn't just sit there while the entire region erupted into a possible war zone.

He had to do something.

Scott looked over to Alexa, who had noticed the change in his demeanor. She was looking at him with an expression of concern, and then looked to the TV, where she saw what was causing his sudden unease.

“You have to go.” She mouthed to him hoping that Amy didn't pick up on what was happening.

“Hey babe, didn't you have that appointment this afternoon?” She asked.

“Oh, god, yeah. I didn't realize how late it is.” Scott played along. “I should get going.”

“That's fine, I can finish things up here with Amy, you go on and get over there.” Alexa continued.

“Yeah, that's not a problem.” Amy said, confirming that she only really needed one of them to finish the booking.

With that, Scott stood up and extended his hand to Amy, which she hastily shook before he bounded out of the office. He made his way out of the building as quickly as he could without drawing attention to himself. Then, once he was away from the venue, he ducked down an alley where he pressed the activation switch on his bracelet, and within a flash of an eye, he was now wearing the famous uniform of Lost Haven's hero, Icon. He then took to the skies and set himself on a direct course to Charonia.
1x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Eddie Brock
Raw
Avatar of Eddie Brock

Eddie Brock

Member Seen 23 days ago



Late nights at the Chronicle had become the norm since April's recent disciplining. Her normal responsibilities kept her busy all day, leaving only the nighttime to tackle the mountains of unedited articles to proofread. If April were being honest with herself, however, she actually didn't mind terribly much. Sure, copy editing was monotonous work, but at least the vacant office was free from distractions. There was an oddly serene quality about the unmanned, dimly lit bullpen. Whenever she got bored with correcting misspellings and fixing errant apostrophes -- which was quite often, admittedly -- she would get up and walk past her coworkers' desks, occasionally sneaking a peek at the scintillating exposés on which they were working.

Plus, being alone in the office gave April a prime opportunity to review the Project: Gateway documents Jefferson had unlocked for her. Unfortunately, the technician's assessment of their usefulness hadn't been far off; even after breaking the encryption, many of the files were redacted or outright missing. Still, what Jefferson had found painted a clearer picture of what had happened to Dr. Henry Newton. The project, it turned out, involved "extradimensional tunneling," which was Zenith's fancy way of saying teleportation. Along with Daisy's father, Dr. Jeremiah Miller, Dr. Newton had built some sort of experimental gateway between dimensions. Details regarding what happened next were spotty, but April could gather that the two scientists' deaths were tied to a malfunction involving the gate.

Even if the dossier created yet more questions, April was still grateful for the few answers it did provide. Her father's death had been shrouded in so much secrecy when it happened, the details protected from public consumption in the name of Zenith Dynamics proprietary information. I was just a girl whose father left for work and didn't come home, she mused, and no one would tell me what happened. She knew her mother was owed an explanation, too... but better to wait until she had the complete story. Gotta nail down every angle, just like Mickey said. April hadn't seen anything in the files to suggest that Zenith was at fault in her father's death, yet neither was there anything to absolve them. She would have to dig deeper.

The sound of approaching footsteps startled April, and she hurriedly minimized the Project: Gateway files. "I thought I was the only one burning the midnight oil around here," came a husky voice from across the bullpen. April looked up to see an unfamiliar woman with an asymmetrical haircut and a full sleeve tattoo. She sauntered over to April's desk. Pushing a stack of unread articles aside, she helped herself to a seat on the edge of the desk. Squinting at April, she said, "We haven't met."

April straightened in her chair and adjusted her glasses. "I'm April," she announced with a hand outstretched, "April Newton. I'm--"

"Mickey's girl, yeah," the woman interjected with a nod of her head in the direction of the chief editor's office. She took April's hand and gave it a casual shake. "Peyton Campbell."

April's eyes went wide with recognition. "Oh. Oh! You're Peyton Campbell?" She had heard the name, of course, and even admired some of the work. Peyton was the Chronicle's Pulitzer-winning photojournalist; before that, she made a name for herself as a guerrilla photographer with a nose for a story. Her reputation earned her a long leash with Mickey, which partly explained why she and April had never crossed paths. Shaking the cobwebs loose, April blushed and said, "I'm sorry. I only ever heard your name, so I just assumed..."

"You and my father both," Peyton replied with a knowing smirk. "I think he would've been much happier if I had been a son, but I would've been happier if he hadn't cheated on my mother with a 24 year-old graduate student, so I guess we'll call it even." The woman's candor stunned April, who struggled to hide her shocked expression. Fortunately, Peyton showed little interest in dwelling on the topic, as she had already turned her attention to one of the articles on the desk. "So, what's Mickey got you doing after hours?"

"Copy editing," April answered, eliciting a disgusted sneer from Peyton. She felt obliged to explain, "This is my penance for going behind Mickey's back on a story."

Peyton shifted, her body language conveying sudden interest. "Miss America's got a rebellious streak! I can dig it," she smiled. "Want some free advice?" April nodded. "Mickey's one of the good ones, but don't ever forget that his job is to sell newspapers; your job is to find the story. Sometimes, that's the same thing, and sometimes it isn't."

April thought she understood. "How will I know which is which?" she asked.

"If you've got what it takes, you'll know," Peyton assured her. Her eyes flitted away from April in the direction of the monitors mounted above the bullpen. "Oh, shit," she blurted out, her jaw sagging open. April immediately spun in her chair to see what was up.

A fiery scene dominated the nearest television. According to the headline at the bottom of the screen, there had been a crash involving one of Zenith Dynamics' autonomous delivery vehicles. The truck had rammed into one of the Mag-Rail's support columns, erupting in a massive fireball. Miraculously, no one had been hurt, but the Mag-Rail now threatened to collapse; worse, an adjoining report explained that the inbound train's emergency brakes had failed. In a matter of minutes, the monorail would crash unless someone found a way to stop it.

"I need my camera," Peyton said for her own benefit before scrambling off.

April felt similarly motivated to act. She had no idea what to do, of course, but she couldn't just stay there and watch a catastrophe unfold. The accident had occurred where the train passed Liberty Park, which meant she'd never beat it there on foot. Without stopping to think, she burst for the stairwell and bound up towards the roof. Upon reaching her destination, the insanity of her plan dawned on her. She had slipped gravity's hold only once, and that had been while sleeping. If I can do it once... Standing on the roof of the Chronicle, wind whipping around her small frame, she felt somewhat less than confident. April removed her glasses and let them tumble to the gravel beneath her feet.

Fortunately, the urgency of the situation prevented her from overthinking it. April closed her eyes and visualized her goal, just as she had done in the lab. She could feel her newfound abilities responding, the energy welling up from somewhere deep inside. It radiated out from her core, electrifying her skin. April felt her feet gently lift off the gravel. When she opened her eyes, she was hovering more than a foot above the rooftop. Gasping, she threatened to lose her balance for a moment before righting herself again. I'm flying, she thought excitedly. No big deal. Totally normal. There was little time to concentrate on the utter insanity of the feat. April willed herself forward -- slowly -- and her body obeyed.

Once she reached the building's ledge, she made the mistake of looking down to see the ant-like pedestrians and cars below. Fear gripped her heart, and she wobbled backwards weightlessly. But the sound of sirens ringing throughout the city urged her onward. Taking a deep breath, she centered herself. As the roar of the city dulled to a whisper, April opened her eyes and shot forward. The wind whistled past her ears as she took off like a streak. Skyscrapers raced up to meet her, and she deftly spun away from collisions without a thought; instinct took over as she focused only on the shortest path to her destination.

Eventually, the concrete jungle gave way to a sea of green as April reached Liberty Park. Orange light flickered like a beacon where the damaged section of the Mag-Rail track still burned. April's eyes followed the track up a ways until she spotted the approaching train's headlights. There was no time to waste. With arms outstretched above her head, April sliced through the air on an intercepting course, slowing only as she came up alongside the train. Ooookay, now what? It hadn't occurred to her to formulate a plan to actually stop the train. If it wasn't for all the people who'd get hurt, she figured she could probably just nudge it off the track.

This is gonna hurt, April winced as she realized what she must do. Darting ahead of the high-speed train, she planted herself mid-air and braced for impact. The Mag-Rail's lead car slammed into her at full force, driving all the air from her lungs. Amazingly, however, April was unharmed. So, that's what it feels like to get hit by a train, she mused darkly. Summoning her strength, she stretched out her arms as her palms flattened against the cone-shaped nose of the train. The vehicle shuddered yet showed little sign of slowing. April snapped her head over her shoulder and tried to gauge how much track she had left. Not enough.

Gritting her teeth, April exerted as much force as she could muster. She felt the steel crumpling like aluminum foil around her hands. The green light surrounding her reflected off of the train, pulsing with urgency. The Mag-Rail began to squeal under the pressure being applied, and April felt it shuddering more violently. Sorry! she thought on behalf of the hapless passengers. If she succeeded, however, a little jostling would be a small price to pay. April curled her fingers around the twisted metal and squeezed until her knuckles turned white. Her arms started shaking as badly as the train.

The heat at April's back warned her that they were approaching the damaged section of track. "Come on!" she pleaded the train, lowering her shoulder into place to give herself a little more leverage. "Just stop!" The train didn't seem responsive. April felt the full weight of the Mag-Rail fighting her for every inch. The broken track neared, and her impending failure burned beneath her skin. She braced herself for the worst. The lead car lurched forward as it dropped off the track; April fell with it...

... until she suddenly stopped. She hadn't hit the ground, nor had she been crushed under the weight of a falling train. Instead, April hung in the air halfway between the track and the earth. The lead car rested against her shoulder, its compatriots dangling above it like beads on a string. A nervous laugh overtook April, and she blurted out, "I did it!" Shifting the weight of the train, she pushed it back while floating up until the entire Mag-Rail rested gently on the track once more. The disaster had been avoided, if only narrowly.

A raucous cheer rose up from the ground below. April turned to see a small crowd of onlookers who had witnessed her feat. For a moment, she swelled with pride, until the passing of a helicopter searchlight reminded her just how exposed she was. What if someone recognizes me? she thought in a panic. Seeing no point in chancing it any further, she tucked herself down and darted away in the direction of the park. The helicopter attempted to track her, but she was too small and too quick. She disappeared from view and felt awash with relief.

Well, April, your life's about to get a lot more complicated...
3x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Torack
Raw
Avatar of Torack

Torack The Golden Apple

Member Seen 2 days ago



Portland, Maine

He felt out the source of the power he sensed earlier, tracking it with his mind. It wasn’t particularly easy considering its vast distance – he only had a vague idea of where it was, and even that was difficult to concentrate on. Like an out of focus image that just wouldn’t get back no matter how hard one tried. And just as jarring if not more so. Power bloomed around him as his clothes shifted from ordinary street clothes, to a black and gold suit and a caped hood that covered his face.

Damian took a step back and began casting again, power once more filling the space of the small shop when he felt a hand on his wrist. He looked down. His wife, Jessica had a look on her face. A look he knew well. Damian stopped his incantation and lifted the hood, the shadowy magic concealing his face disappearing.

“Woah, you can’t just try and leave like that, Damian,” she said, “what happened. What’s going on? Where are you going?”

He nodded and took a deep breath, then nodded to the book in her hand. “I’m Sorry. It’s just... I saw a vision in one of the pages,” he said, “I don’t know what it was that I saw, whether it was the past or the future… or some potential. But that scythe in there is powerful. Dangerous. And I can feel that power like a knot in my gut. Someone or something’s going to use it and I don’t think it’s for good reasons.”

She nodded and he could see her trying to understand as worry slowly replaced the frown. “And this scythe, where is it? Here?”

“Lightyears away. I can’t say exactly but it’s far.” He knew this must’ve been hard for her, he tried to understand where she stood in all of this as she was no doubt doing the same for hiim. Her husband, now some sort of super hero, going off and saying he was going to be lightyears away. He could understand why she’d worry. Frankly he’d be surprised, and maybe even a little hurt if she wasn’t. A part of him wanted to bring her along, to experience this part of his life with him and be a part of his adventures; it could even draw them closer together. But he knew how foolish that thought was. The risks were too great.

And it hurt that he couldn’t do anything about it. He enjoyed her wit and he knew more than a few moments where he could’ve used her comedic timing to ease his tensions. But it was what it was.

“And this is a credible threat? Not just some potential future?”

“Enough of a threat that it’s making me a little sick, yeah. I’m sorry for this. This day off was meant to be with you.”

“Don’t be,” Jessica said. “Go. I kind of needed you out of town anyway.”

He blinked and raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

“Yeah. You don’t need to worry yourself over the details. You just go have fun doing your magic-stuff.”

He gave her a sidelong glance, trying to read into the playful smirk she was giving him before he bent down and kissed. “I’ll be back soon.”

“You better.”

He placed the hood back over his head, and once more sorcery bloomed around him. Moments later A massive, dark hole that seemed to suck the air out of the room appeared behind him. The room growing darker around it. The shelves trembling and books tumbling out and onto the floor. He heard the shopkeeper fumble and scream somewhere near front in startlement as he levitated himself off the ground and disappeared into the hole.

8888


Unknown planet

A massive dark hole appeared over a desolate, ruined road, wide and filled with detritus, paper, cinderblocks and strange abandoned vehicles. And out of the hole, Hood levitated out, his feet several inches from the ground as he examined his surroundings. Tall buildings to either side, as tall as skyscrapers back home with the distinctive appearance of apartments. Tall, rectangular shaped with a strange layered design that now looked marred with dirt and signs of ruin. One of the buildings just ahead and to his left was caved in, parts of it across the road.

And above him the sky was a bright red. The world’s sun small with a blue-red haze to it. No warmth came from it that he could feel. Cold, and barely bright enough to consider it as day.

Hood looked around. Ruined vehicles everywhere. Abandoned. Not like the cars on Earth but similar enough. Landing, he stretched out his senses to try and feel for life. He felt nothing until he got a blip directly ahead of him beyond the rubble of the ruined building. Lifting himself up, he levitated again and flew forward until he saw it. A lone figure, standing in the middle of the road some hundred yards from him, its back towards him. Standing there and doing nothing.

He couldn’t help but wonder if the figure was the one he was looking for. If that man or woman was the cause of all this. Perhaps not. Even so, he approached and began putting up layers of defensive spells around himself.

Then, the figure turned. Old white hair on top of a blue face written with sorrow.
2x Like Like
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Mercinus3
Raw
Avatar of Mercinus3

Mercinus3

Member Seen 5 hrs ago



&



In

Chapter 2: Shadowy Dealings



Location:
An unknown building, somewhere in Crown Ridge, Maine


Richard Midas hated the city of Crown Ridge. It was a decrepit cesspool that seemed to be on the constant verge of collapsing in on itself. However, at the same time, he saw a city of unlimited potential, assuming that the city’s wilder elements could be tamed. Should that happen, opportunities were endless.

Which is why he was here on this night. The arrangement that he had entered into with The Eye of Osiris, while still in its infancy, could prove to be a lucrative one, in more ways than one. Indeed, Midas stood to gain a lot by partnering with The Eye, more than just money, this partnership offered Midas a chance at real power. Although the upside to this arrangement was limitless, there were also some real risks, and the legality of their business was not one of them.

While Dullahan had done a remarkable job of keeping his name and his organization out of the limelight, he was still notorious to those in the know. He was not one to suffer fools or failures, and he was known to punish those who did not live up to his expectations harshly. In a way, Dullahan reminded Midas of himself, however, the crime lord was much more savage than the billionaire.

Midas respected that.

“Keep that close.” Midas said as he gazed at the briefcase which Peter Jordan had clutched in his grasp. The briefcase held a gift for Dullahan, one which could potentially elevate the Eye of Osiris to heights that not even their ambitious leader could have ever hoped. “That thing might as well be filled with gold.”

Jordan looked to his employer and nodded. Everyone in the limo knew just how important this meeting was, and unlike the fiasco with the delivery of the Daybreak device, everything had to go smoothly. However, unlike the intentional theft of a billion-dollar device, there was a very little inherent risk with this meeting.

“We’re almost there.” Sparks said as the limo rounded the final turn before they reached their destination. The limo traveled several more blocks before pulling into a small lot in front of a nondescript building, and then proceeded around the back of the building. As the limo came to a stop in front of several armed guards, Midas looked to Jordan and Sparks.

“It looks like we’re here,” Midas said with a grin as he opened the limo door and stepped out of the car.

-----


It had been a few days since the meeting at the warehouse between Ms. Sparks and Anhur. Dullahan and Sobek returned to Crown Ridge after checking in on a few of the issues that came from New York, Montu remaining behind to make sure that everything that was corrected during the visit remained that way for the following few weeks. Sitting back in the chair in the office, the Eye leader sat and watched as Anhur recounted the details of the meeting that occurred in his absence. While it was expected for another meeting between both him and the CEO of Midas Industries was to take place, the notion that Midas didn’t turn up to meet Anhur was disappointing but completely expected. After all, he would be a fool to think that the man that blew up Chinatown and covered it up with War-Pulse as the scapegoat would show up at the first meeting. And likewise, Dullahan thought that Midas was no fool to think that he himself would show up to the meeting. Especially when Midas had an asset such as Allison Sparks.

Dullahan listened to the skull-faced man as he poured through the details of the report that no doubt Anhur didn’t fully check. A lot of the things that were in there were accounted for in the shipment information, including the specifications for the Daybreak. He heard that there were some complications in its delivery, but it was due to arrive in the next few days to ‘reduce the heat’. While there was a list of things that were already obtained and what was to be delivered, but he looked through the things that could be offered to The Eye as well. He had to admit, there were a few things that were attractive.

“But honestly, Sobek,” Anhur piped up, seemingly exasperated that the second-in-command was unfazed by what had been said. “You should have seen her body! And boy… was she a good fuck!”

“I honestly don’t care about your sexual escapades while we were out of state,” the brown-haired Sobek replied. “You had one job to do while we were out of state. Granted, you did do that job well in order to secure the meeting later today… But you don’t need to go into that much detail. God, I don’t think I’ll be able to get your naked ass out of my imagery for the next few weeks.”

Anhur raised his arms in further exasperation. “I figured you’d say that, but don’t forget you did say give you the details of what happened in that meeting. And I’m giving you those details, including all the rounds we spent with me dumping my…”

”Enough.” Both men dropped the argument as Dullahan spoke with a slightly irritated tone. ”We got all the details we need of the meeting, we do not want to hear about your latest notch. Honestly, this bickering is starting to piss me off.”

Just as he finished, all three men heard a knock at the door. They turned as it opened to reveal Dirk, Anhur’s second-in-command, showing the doorway to three figures. The skull-faced man instantly recognized Allison walking with them. Dullahan relaxed into the chair, his glowing red eyes peering through his helmet at the trio entering the room. While it hadn’t affected Sobek and Anhur as much as before, but the atmosphere seemed to turn tenebrous with a sense of unease. It was enough to make the most stalwart of people nervous.

“I see that our esteemed guests have arrived,” Sobek spoke up, dismissing Dirk as he greeted Midas and his entourage. His hand pointed at the already prepared seats on the other side of the desk. “I hope your journey was pleasant. Please, have a seat. Would any of you want a drink for the meeting?” Slinking in the corner of the office, Anhur gives a small, creepy wave to Allison.

Midas stepped into the office first, followed by Allison and Jordan. Allison made eye contact with Anhur as he gave her a weak wave and simply nodded as she took her place beside Midas and Jordan. The brief exchange did not go unnoticed by Midas, who suppressed a smirk as he stood before Dullahan.

“Yes, the ride over was...uneventful.” Midas said as he took his seat across from Dullahan’s desk, motioning for Ms Sparks and Jordan to follow suit. Once the trio had been seated, Midas continued.

“Nothing for us, thank you.” He said, answering Sobek’s inquiry about whether they would require a drink. “Dullahan, it’s good to finally meet you face to face. Now, what do you say we get down to business?” Midas said as leaned back in his chair.

“That is understandable,” Sobek responded, putting the decanters of various spirits back into the closet. “Drinking during this meeting might be unsavory to getting things that are still to be discussed.” Reinforcing that point, his eyes glance between Allison Sparks and Anhur with a domineering intensity. His eyes give off a sense of trepidation to those he stared, though Anhur seemingly appears to be unaffected by it. Dullahan’s bodyguard then focused again on Midas.

“Forgive the appearing rudeness from Dullahan. His… abilities... can be a little bit intimidating to those not accustomed to them. To save everyone the trouble of that from happening, I’ll be speaking on his behalf. If that is alright with you.”

A hand was raised by the Eye leader to motion Sobek to lean in to listen. After a moment, the bodyguard raised his body upright and looked to Midas himself.

“One thing about the deal previously struck and a possible deal of this meeting raised a curiosity in him. As you did approach us with the deal you made, which will be fulfilled once the Daybreak device is delivered, he wonders one question: why did you approach The Eye? There are other organizations that work in Lost Haven you could have made the same deal to, especially with the Yakuza and Triads having caused hell in Chinatown prior to the Hound attacks.” As Sobek asked the question, Dullahan remained seated in a seemingly bored body language. Despite the body language, the red glowing eyes bore intensely on Richard Midas as he waited for an answer.

Midas sat for a moment as he mulled the question posed by Sobek. His gaze shifted from Sobek to Dullahan, who’s red eyes were burning a hole through him. While it was true that Midas could have approached anyone with his proposal, Midas believed that he stood the most to gain by working with The Eye. This is why Midas was more than happy to play along with Dullahan’s excentricities, that and the fact that he knew that unlike most other people that he dealt with, the crime lord was not afraid of him.

And that was something he respected.

“To be perfectly honest, I did not then, and I do not now believe that the other organizations would be capable of holding up their end of the deal. In fact, the Triad and Yakuza doing what they did in Chinatown is exactly why I did not want to work with them on this matter.” Midas started. “While those organizations do have their uses, they are more like a blunt instrument, where as The Eye is more akin to a scalpel, which is exactly what this arrangement needs.” Midas let his words hang in the air for a moment before he continued.

“You see, we are on the verge of making great things happen, not just in this city, but all over the world. Together, we are going to change the world, and nobody out there can help me do that the way that you can. Nobody out there has the reach, or the influence that The Eye has.” Midas leaned back in the chair as Sobek, and more importantly, Dullahan himself pondered what he had to say.

Dullahan carried on watching Midas with the same intensity. He listened to the businessman talk about the Triad and the Yakuzas making a mess in Chinatown. While he didn’t motion about the knowledge of the area, the Eye leader nodded slightly at the points. While not visible, a smirk formed across his face when talking about The Eye being a sharp instrument. When it came to the spiel about wanting to do great things, that did catch the leader’s interest. He leaned in slightly as he listened. Maybe our interests do align slightly, he thought.

As soon as Midas finished talking, silence filled the room. The glow in Dullahan’s eyes dimmed slightly in thought about what to say. Slowly, the right hand that had propped his head up in place moved to motion Sobek closer. The bodyguard did the same thing of lowering his head to hear what the enigmatic leader had to say. After a minute, seemingly forever in the silence, Sobek stood back up and looked at the trio.

“Dullahan… agrees with your comments on the Triad and Yakuza,” Sobek replied, his tone cutting the silence. “They did indeed make a mess of things throughout Chinatown with their squabbling over territory that was claimed by the Hounds. Territory in which we claimed for ourselves with the ‘scalpel-like’ precision you mentioned.”

The bodyguard’s eyes then turned to Allison Sparks, his eyes betraying that he knew something that they had done and learned. “However, another thing piqued his interest. You do say that you are on the verge of something great. Does that involve the two drones you used to destroy half the block in Chinatown just to get one… Racheli Lorna Desdemona, while she was fighting War-Pulse? It’s more of a surprise that you went to such extremes for the great things in the world instead of asking one of the numerous ‘heroes’ in the city. And while you did an amazing job to cover up that strike with pinning the blame on the mercenary, it is somewhat of a concern that despite this that there was one witness to the whole thing that you might not be aware of. Now, we can do great work with the monetary and legality of your corporation and the reach and influence of The Eye, but what is to say that this slight blip isn’t going to unravel everything you want to accomplish?”

“Indeed it does.” Midas smiled, nearly baring his teeth at the bodyguard as he glanced over to Jordan, and more specifically, the briefcase he held. “As far as the witness, she is nothing to be concerned about. She is little more than a little girl playing hero.” Midas started. “We are keeping tabs on her. You see, what you may or may not know, is that my extraction operation in Chinatown was successful. I was able to obtain Ms Desdemona and aside from the bomb I implanted in her brain to keep her loyal to me, I also have equipped her, completely unbeknownst to her, of course, with some monitoring devices which allows me to be kept informed of her movements. Then, I released her back into the wild.” Midas grinned as he glared towards Alison Sparks. “I know exactly what she’s been up to, and who she’s been working with. This witness really doesn’t know anything, and she poses no threat to me, or to you.” Midas let his words hang in the air for a moment before speaking on the other subject that Dullahan, through his intermediary had mentioned.

“As for the other heroes in Lost Haven…” Midas Started. “You see, the problem with the heroes in the city as that they are either incompetent or self delusional. They can’t be trusted to get the results you desire, or they can’t be manipulated to work towards your goals. Like Icon, for example. After he made his grand debut I reached out to him, offered him a place at my side. After all, you can’t have someone with that much power running around unchecked. He rebuked me, insulted my intelligence and left me standing there like a goddamn idiot. ”

Up until this point, Dullahan sat there and watched as Sobek discussed with Midas about a few of the issues that occurred during the drone strike on Chinatown and the extraction. He mulled over the thought about the archer being known by the businessman and how that could be of use to him. However, the air of boredom he gave off changed as soon as Icon was mentioned. The dull red glow from his eyes that looked at the three guests suddenly shone like an oncoming car.

Bang!

His right hand, which had been used to prop his head up during the meeting crashed down onto the desk. Both Sobek and Anhur recoiled with the sudden release of fear energy that stifled the room, though the bodyguard was more of a surprise than fear. The Eye leader’s posture changed from boredom to pure hostility.

”That name…” he snarled in response.

From the two words he spoke for the first time during this meeting, colossal waves of fear resonated through the room. Whatever shocked stance Anhur had turned to cower, nearly crippled with the fear emanating from the leader. Even Sobek, a man who was considered his right hand and obtained the most from his leader, was breathing quickly with fear.

”... Will not be spoken here. He is nothing more than a charlatan who thinks he is a hero to these people. He and all of his heretic ilk will rue the day they took the mantle of hero throughout this world. A biblical reckoning is coming and they will perish in it.”

Each second word, much like the sea crashing to the shore in a storm, sent further waves of fear throughout the building as more people are swept up in its influence. Then, the waves slowly ebb until calm reached the room. The upright position Dullahan rose to eased itself back into the chair, both of his hands now steepled in front of him.

”But alas,” he continued, his voice eerily calm after what came before. ”It seems that our goals are aligned on one thing: the heroes of this world are a scourge and needs to be cleansed. And from the looks of things, you manage to get your shit together on things that my subordinates are unable to do.” Anhur winced at the pointed barb directed at him.

”Perhaps we can be of assistance to each other. You have supplied me with the goods requested and, judging by what is to come today and what could possibly be in that case of yours, shortly fulfilled. While I can assume the monetary fulfilment of that deal was completed on our end, perhaps other services are more what you need. Maybe you want access to almost everyone within the Eye of Osiris? Perhaps our influence to cripple competitors to bring you all the riches you could ever ask for? Or, as you are a man with ambition, you would want that influence to gain political power, all the way up to the President of the United States? All of that is a reasonable ask of us as well as the time to prepare for what is to come. All I ask is two things in return. What say you on this deal?”

An intense wave of fear washed over Midas as Dullahan spoke for the first time, nearly exploding at the mere mention of Icon’s name. It was an odd sensation for the mogul, as he was not one to give in to, or even acknowledge such base emotions. In fact, Midas took great satisfaction in seeing the effects of fear wreak havoc on people who opposed him. This in fact, was quite the reversal, and not something that he cared to repeat anytime in the near future. However, as Dullahan spoke, the fear abated.

“Indeed.” Midas said, more as a way to clear his mind and gather his thoughts than an actual statement. Midas had spent his entire life dealing with competitors in the boardroom, or twisting the arms of politicians in order to get special considerations in regards to new legislation. He was accustomed to dealing with hostile work forces and entire corporations that wanted what he had. He had even dealt with men, and women who specialized in areas of expertise that were less than on the up and up. Some of those people were more than capable of making someone disappear from the face of the earth.

Dullahan was an entirely different animal altogether.

“I think that this deal will certainly be mutually beneficial.” Midas agreed, looking over toward Jordan, who appeared to be somewhat preoccupied by the appearance one of Dullahan’s employees. The young woman was quite striking, Midas had to admit, and if he knew anything about Dullahan, she was probably more than capable of killing everybody in the room. Midas cleared his throat, which caught Jordan’s attention.

“And as for what is in the briefcase...it is merely a gift.” Midas said as he motioned for Jordan to place the case on Dullahan’s desk.

“Inside the case is something that can tip the scales in your favor, in the event of an emergency.” Midas said as Jordan opened the briefcase, revealing a single vial containing a strange reddish black liquid.

“My friend, what you are looking at is the blood of one, Racheli Desdemona, though slightly altered and synthesized. If you have been keeping tabs on my new pet, then you know what she can do, and that she gets her abilities from the special...properties in that blood. And now I offer you a sample to do with what you will. I just caution, that it should only be used in the event that there is no other option.” Midas said as he stood from the chair and closed the briefcase.

”And a fine gift it is. I am certain that it will go to good use closer to when my plans for change happens. That plan, of course, you can be a part of.” The leader looked as glances to a woman that hung quietly nearby.

”Ah, I see that you’ve already been acquainted with Anput,” Dullahan spoke, his eyes focused on Jordan’s gaze on the woman who seemed to appear out of nowhere. ”She might be a person to watch for days on end, but don’t let the looks fool you.They are more than what they appear to be.”

Anput appeared as a woman in her mid 20s, glowing blonde hair dangling gently past her shoulders. Her left hand placed on Jordan’s right shoulder, nails in contact with his clothes as blue eyes looked at him. As soon as Dullahan finished his last statement, her form shimmered until the visage of the secretary dissolved away. In her place, an androgynous figure that gave little in the way of gender. They appeared in full military gear of numerous knives, bullet belts and padding on the elbows and the knees above combat boots. The fabric underneath the gear appeared charcoal in colour with tessellating hexagonal shapes fading to black from a purplish light they gave off. A mask with glowing purple eyes stared at Jordan while the hand on his shoulder revealed a combat knife that remained mere moments away from his throat. At the moment of revealing their true form the assassin removed the hand from the shoulder, retracting the knife with it.

”Now while I cannot allow full control of everyone in The Eye as there are people such as Sobek that are needed personally. However, Anput’s services are available at your beck and call. While the name might not ring any bells, the moniker Silent Death might be more… readily available.” The assassin slowly walked around the desk, keeping their eyes on the three guests. ”And in a world where every so-called ‘hero’ has abilities, they are more than capable of eradicating them. With you having knowledge of the archer that has been a minor nuisance to my operations in Lost Haven, I believe there is some knowledge that would be shared here.” The Eye leader turned to Anput.

”The hero known as Icon. I know who they are and who they are associated with.”

Dullahan’s arms went up to indicate the knowledge being welcomed to the room.

”There we have it. You know the identity of the archer known in the city as Fletch and I know the identity of the charlatan. Now, as a man who had been humiliated by the ‘hero’, I think it seems personally reasonable to send a message that he chose wrong. You only need to say the word and it is done. All I ask is for the same to the archer and possibly locate one Kayla Mason and have her brought to me.”

Midas’ eyes shifted from Anput to Dullahan when the leader of the Eye revealed that he knew who Icon was, and who his associates were. If the old saying was true, that knowledge was power; then this knowledge alone would make Dullahan, and by extension, Midas himself, the most powerful men on the planet. With this knowledge, Midas could make Icon pay for rebuking him so long ago. After all, Midas was a man with a long memory, and the ability to hold a grudge even longer.

“If that is true, then we can change how this game is played. You say that all I have to do is say the word, and you’ll deal with him. So, by all means...do what you must.” Midas said as he leaned back in his chair.

”That is a good choice, Midas,” Dullahan replied to Richard, nodding in agreement. His head turns towards Anput. ”I think it is time to ‘hint’ at our knowledge to the charlatan. Send a message to him before destroying everything he loves.”

Then, as quickly as they appeared in the room to announce their presence, Anput nodded at the pair of them and slinked into the shadows. As the assassin visage dissolved into the shadows, the silhouette seemed to meld into the shadows as their presence is no longer in the room.

“As for your archer…” Midas said after a momentary pause. “I don’t know her identity. Not yet, anyhow. However, I do know her location. She has been spending quite a bit of time getting very friendly with one of my assets. If you want her, I can certainly give her to you.”

Midas let his words hang in the air for a moment as he pondered the question of the mysterious Kayla Mason. Midas hadn’t heard of this woman, however, he realized that if Dullahan and the Eye of Osiris wanted her, no matter the reason, then perhaps he should familiarize himself with her.

“Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about this, Kayla Mason. However, I may have something that can help you locate her. Due to the sudden emergence of so many metahumans in recent years, my people have been working on a new technology that will help us track anyone on the face of the Earth. Essentially, it combines facial recognition with biometric markers that help us identify and locate just about anyone we’re looking for. It is in its early stages, but thus far has proven to be effective, afterall, it did help us locate and acquire Ms Desdemona. If you give me the information you have on this Kayla Mason, I can certainly locate her for you in short order. All you have to do, my friend...is say the word.” Midas said as a smirk began to stretch across his face.

When the words of knowledge of the archer’s whereabouts and having the technology to find the woman he had been needing to locate, the leader laughed. The laugh at such news made Anhur worried, especially with the weight behind the news.

”I get the sense that this will be a fruitful relationship,” Dullahan announced, the maniacal glee hinted in his voice. ”With the failings of tracking down the archer with the large bounty on her head, that will certainly be appreciated. In fact, I think it seems reasonable to me that the bounty would be sizable for any trust fund that you will use in the future.”

The leader’s demeanour shifts slightly to a more serious one when it came to the subject of Kayla Mason and what was tied to it. ”But for Ms Mason, that knowledge can be easily obtained in public record…”

Without moving his eyes away from the mogul, his hand reached into a draw. Pulling it out, it revealed an older looking newspaper that seemed to be at least 5 years old, various stains of age on its surface. Dullahan placed it onto the table, the title of the LA Times in bold on the top of the page. Apart from the advertisement on the page, one headline stood out from the page of text: OLYMPIC HOPEFUL IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER DEADLY ATTACK. Attached to the news story is a headshot of a woman of American Indian descent with charcoal black hair and cognac eyes holding a recurve bow.

”But to save you a lot of the legwork, Ms Mason was an athlete aiming to compete at the Olympics for archery. At least, until I intervened after her then-fiance stole an important object from me. An urn dating back long before the Egyptians. I believe she still has the information to where this urn is and I want it back for my future plans to change this world. So yes, locating this woman is important and any assistance you can have that can end the failings of my men will be appreciated. In fact… I think with all the help you’re giving, I can let you in on those plans.” Sobek motioned as if to object to the idea of letting someone else in on a hidden agenda, only to be stopped by the raising of Dullahan’s right hand.

”But first, I must ask a question: Do you believe in the supernatural?”

Midas looked at the yellowed newspaper that Dullahan had offered him. As he looked at the headline while Dullahan gave him a brief description of the young woman, Midas began to get a clear picture of just who this Kayla Mason was. A former Olympic hopeful in archery, the victim of a near fatal attack which in theory could lead one down a darker path. Pieces were beginning to fall into place, and Midas was beginning to suspect that the two women that Dullahan was searching for were perhaps one in the same. However, before he suggested that to the criminal mastermind, he would need to independently verify that theory. However, Midas believed that there were no such things as coincidence, and the fact that Dullahan was chasing this former Olympic level archer with an understandable grudge, and the vigilante who’s preferred tool of choice is a bow and arrow would be a coincidence of the most monumental order, Midas knew that this was something to look into immediately.

Midas smiled as Dullahan asked his last question: “Does he believe in the supernatural?”

“My friend, I live in Lost Haven. I survived a portal to a Hell dimension opening up in the middle of the city and legions of demons pouring out all over Sherman Square. I suppose I believe in the supernatural the same way that I believe that we need oxygen to breathe.” Midas said in a jovial tone as he met the leader of the Eye’s gaze.

Dullahan remained motionless as Midas confirmed his interest in the supernatural. His hands returned to a steepled position, his glowing eyes focused on the mogul.

”Good,” the Eye leader replied. ”Throughout the ages, there have been times when the population of the world began to grow in size. During those times, tragedies occur when millions of people die in a span of months to years. The Black Plague. Spanish Flu. The colonization of The Americas. All these events, where people have died from a disease. At least, that is what history books have taught us.” Slowly, he leaned back into the chair.

”What if I told you that the diseases that caused all of that pain and suffering originate not from the bacteria that is often attributed to it, but trapped souls of ancient civilizations? This urn that I had been talking about has many names but I simply know it as the Urn of Souls. An ancient container created by beings on another plane of existence that has been used to trap souls indefinitely. And when the lid of the urn is opened? Well, they escape and cause untold damage to every living thing they touch until it is sealed again.”

”These so-called ‘heroes’ are a disease on the world. Everything they touch whenever disasters happen, the death toll on the civilians rise. And they go about doing this unchecked with no consequences for their inaction from stopping the wanton action, least of all from the Hounds of Humanity. This urn becomes part of my plan to put an end to their foolishness. The Hounds will face their judgement in due time as well. And the only thing that’s stopping this reckoning is Ms Mason hiding the urn that was stolen from me.” He paused for a moment to let the anger subside.

Motioning his left hand to Anhur, the skull-faced man turned behind him and picked up a case himself. The man walked to the desk and placed the case down near Midas, the case remaining closed. Dullahan leaned forward once more, his hands now placed on the desk.

”While the Urn is still to be located, there are other ways both of us can prepare while hunting down Ms Mason and the charlatan. Inside this case is an item that will prevent the effects of the Urn from affecting the owner. While we still need these for the end plan, I think the properties within could be useful to protect your interests for when it happens. Collateral damage with this plan, unfortunately, is high. However in order for change to happen, it is a necessary evil. Would that satisfy your needs to make money against the supernatural?”

Midas looked at the case with an air of skepticism before taking what the leader of the Eye said at face value. After all, with all that he had seen in recent years: flying strongmen, “meta domes,”space lasers, and portals to Hell, among other events that had he not lived it himself, would seem to be the work of a science fiction writer, why couldn’t this be true as well? Midas decided to err on the side of caution, and accepted the gift.

“Yes, thank you. I do believe that these will certainly come in handy.” Midas said as he took possession of the case. “Here’s to the next era.”
1x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Eddie Brock
Raw
Avatar of Eddie Brock

Eddie Brock

Member Seen 23 days ago



In big, bold font the headline read, "Century's Own Super?" Beneath, Peyton's expertly framed shot showed a glowing, green figure hefting the Mag-Rail above her head. Fortunately, the shot had been taken at such a distance -- and the glow had obscured any specific details -- so that even April didn't recognize herself in it. She had been understandably worried that she'd be waking up to uncomfortable questions, but no one had put two and two together yet. That was good. Putting herself out there had been a risk, and not a particularly calculated one at that. Have to be smarter next time.

The very possibility of there being a "next time" still gave April pause. She had seemingly dodged a bullet this time; why risk exposing herself again? After all, hadn't she just told Jefferson not that long ago that she didn't want to be a hero? April couldn't fully explain her change of heart. Maybe she had taken some inspiration from her father, who gave his own life in pursuit of a better future for the world. Maybe she just saw people in need and couldn't turn her back. All she understood is how saving those people had made her feel in the moment, and how that feeling had lingered in the hours since.

"So, wait," Jefferson began, drawing April out of her thoughts. She set the newspaper aside and looked across the booth at him. "You think the reactor explosion and the Mag-Rail accident are somehow related? Based on what?"

April gave a noncommittal shrug. "I don't know. Just a feeling, I guess." She couldn't stop thinking back to when Mickey asked her why the reactor had exploded; obviously, he didn't know anything she didn't -- not unless he moonlit as a corporate saboteur -- but the implication was clear. Never take the facts for granted. It would be easy enough to write the explosion off as an accident, but... April shifted in her seat, continuing, "You don't think it's odd that the Mag-Rail's emergency brakes failed at the exact time that a delivery truck -- designed and controlled by Zenith -- took out a section of the track?"

Jeff didn't have a quick retort. Frowning, he considered her supposition. "I guess it's a little suspicious, but accidents happen," he suggested meekly. "Besides, that's an isolated incident. What's the connection to the reactor meltdown?"

"Zenith!" April answered quickly, perhaps letting her bias bleed into her response. Before she could explain further, she caught sight of Luke approaching out of the corner of her eye. Biting her tongue, she offered the bartender a pleasant smile as he sat down two fresh pints for them. Once he was back out of earshot, April leaned forward and said, "Think about it. Two PR disasters in the same week? And that's only because no one got seriously hurt; it could've been a lot worse. Someone's gunning for your company."

Jeff's frown deepened. "Well, I suppose someone with the technical know-how could have remotely controlled the delivery truck and disabled the Mag-Rail's brakes..." He shook his head. "But that still doesn't make sense of the reactor explosion. We know what caused it; there was a malfunction in one of the runoff valves. It was so small that it would've taken a miracle to detect."

"Which covers the saboteur's tracks perfectly, doesn't it?" April argued. She could see by Jefferson's shifting reaction that she had struck a chord. "Besides, didn't I read something about the failure being due to a faulty control chip? If hacking is this guy's M.O., then maybe he found a way to access it externally."

Jefferson offered no rebuttal. Instead, he simply picked up his beer and downed a third of it in a single draft. Wiping the foam from his lips, he asked, "Okay, so what do we do about it?"

April raised an eyebrow. "We?"

Jeff nodded. Tapping the picture on the newspaper, he explained, "You've got skin in the game now, and you're gonna need someone to help you." He wasn't half-wrong. Jefferson had been there every step of the way already, and without his help April, might've never thought to test her limits the night before. As he detected her hesitation, his smile grew. "Come on... You know we need each other, so just say it." He raised his glass. "Partners?"

April couldn't hold her poker face for long. Finally smirking back at him, she faked a sigh and conceded, "Okay, fine. Partners." Jefferson wiggled his outstretched glass expectantly, and April toasted it with her own, chuckling.

"Excellent! So, I already have some ideas for the costume."

April choked on her beer, rasping, "... Costume?"

-----


Sinclair Davis sat behind her black marble desk, fingers steepled beneath her chin. The Zenith executive watched with an exacting gaze as her colleagues across the desk etched their signatures to the contract. Today's signing marked the end to a lengthy merger negotiation, but Sinclair had personally seen to it that Zenith Dynamics' interests were secured. The absorption of Simonis Pharmaceuticals represented a huge leap forward in an area where Zenith had lagged behind its peers. Once the ink dried on the final signature, Sinclair's assistant, Kyra, scooped up the contracts.

Standing, Sinclair offered a hand across the desk. "Gentlemen, we look forward to bringing you into the fold," she said, offering a cool smile which never truly reached her eyes. The two Simonis executives shaked her hand in turn, then buttoned their jackets and saw themselves out. Sinclair waited until she was sure they were out of earshot before muttering, "All too easy." She had seen the reports; the Simonis R&D techs were on the verge of a breakthrough which would skyrocket the company's valuation. They never should've settled for Zenith's price. Then again, Sinclair's talent for manipulation often yielded great dividends in her company's favor.

The holographic computer screen at Sinclair's desk blinked an alert. Recognizing it, she turned to Kyra and said, "Get those contracts down to legal, and tell marcomm that I want a press release drawn up before the end of the day." She had put in the work; it was time for a victory lap. Dismissing the assistant, Sinclair took her seat and reached for the remote at the edge of her desk. At the press of a button, the semicircular windows which ringed her office began to darken. Once her privacy had been assured, she tapped her screen and brought up the new message.

MR. BLACK has joined the chat.

MR. BLACK: I'm ready for a new target.


Sinclair watched the blinking cursor. Pursing her lips, she tapped in her response.

ENCRYPTED USER: Why should I trust you again after last night's debacle?

MR. BLACK: That was an unexpected complication.

MR. BLACK: I'll be ready for her next time.


Sinclair's eyes drifted to her second screen, where the Chronicle's article about the Mag-Rail accident was still displayed. When she handed over the files exposing the vulnerability in the Mag-Rail's security protocols, she had expected a firework show. After all, the entire impetus for getting involved in this sordid affair was the expectation that these accidents would sour public perception on Zenith's top brass. So long as everyone involved kept walking away scot-free, Sinclair's vision would never truly be fulfilled.

To understand Sinclair's motivation for working against her own company, one had to understand her history. Sinclair had joined Zenith Dynamics straight out of school. For a time, she worked as a recruiter, bringing in top talent and overseeing their projects. Her unique combination of skills earned her successive promotions until finally she was working directly under the CEO, Malcolm Vance. At that time, Malcolm's son, Isaac, was more concerned with drinking and philandering than getting involved in the family business. In his absence, Sinclair was groomed as the heir apparent to the whole Zenith empire. And then, Malcolm grew ill.

Like the proverbial prodigal son, Isaac came running home and made amends with his father. Despite his complete lack of experience, he was handed the keys to the kingdom. Sinclair was livid. Her only solace was the expectation that the younger Vance's true colors would eventually prevail, but he had managed to avoid a meltdown so far. That was why she had decided to manufacture one. All she had needed was the proper stooge, and as it happened, one had fallen directly into her lap. Sinclair had been the saboteur's inside contact -- anonymously, of course; she wasn't foolish enough to expose herself.

ENCRYPTED USER: Perhaps it's time to up the collateral damage.

ENCRYPTED USER: This should help.


Sinclair began transmitting files for a project codenamed "Sentinel."

MR. BLACK: I like the way you think.

MR. BLACK: Nothing will stop me this time. Not even the girl.

MR. BLACK has disconnected.


Sinclair closed the chat. In its place, she opened the folder containing all the files related to the cold fusion reactor experiment. Clicking through a few subfolders, she finally came upon a set of MP4 files from the day of the explosion. As she opened one, she was greeted with security camera footage from the reactor room. In the moments before the meltdown, the crowd began to scatter... but a single figure emerged. Tapping the screen, Sinclair slowed the playback. She cycled through the camera angles until finally landing on the one which granted the clearest view of the errant reporter. With the hair and glasses in her face, she was almost impossible to identify.

A flash of brilliant green light illuminated the girl. Sinclair paused the video there. She compared the image side-by-side with the photograph from the Chronicle. It's her, Sinclair thought with certainty. She leaned forward, studying every available pixel. Whoever this girl was... Sinclair sensed that there was much to learn from her.
3x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Indy Cooper
Raw
Avatar of Indy Cooper

Indy Cooper Deity-in-training

Member Seen 14 days ago


Banner credit to Nitemare Shape. Thanks Boss!

Lost Haven, Maine


Nicky kicked, screamed, and wriggled for all she was worth, but the arms that encircled her from behind and pinned her own limbs against her torso were like bands of steel. Even if she could find leverage, there wasn't enough strength in her skinny teenage body to shift the muscle-bound grip. Blow fell across her face and head, but like always lately, they didn't so much and make her bruise. She still blinked and flinched, at least. Maybe I've still got humanity in me?

Eventually, after the hood didn't come off and the man hitting her stopped to lean back and breathe heavily, she stopped struggling and tried a more subtle approach. She would stay still, pretend to sleep, and see if maybe she could overhear what was to befall her. Her only real hope right now was that her friends holy shit are they really friends would come to her rescue. In the meantime, she would hold out for rescue.

With the hood over her head, blocking out light, her already useless sense of time was somehow worse. She only knew they stayed inside the area because they never stopped for gas or anything. Her aims were frustrated, however, by the cloth her head covering was made of being thick enough to muffle the conversation happening between her kidnappers. Images flashed through her imagination of being sold into slavery, or something worse. Well, she would make whoever purchased her for some perverted bullshit regret it if she had to take thirty years to rip them apart. Much less, if she had her way. Then work her way back along the chain until even these two gorillas felt the fear she had suffered, even for an instant, before she beat them to death.

She was happily imaging her pre-emptive revenge when she realised that someone was shackling her. She jerked, reacting violently, but too late. Her hand snapped to the length of the chain and no more, and she hissed frustration through her teeth. The hood was removed, and she glared at the man-mountain who stood before her. He responded by swinging a ham-sized fist into her face, rocking her back into the concrete wall she was chained to, but she bounced back and lashed out with a foot,catching him in the shin and sending him hopping back and cursing. A mellifluous voice called out.

“George, obviously hitting her won't work. You already know that.”

A tall woman stepped around the bruiser, one hand gliding along his shoulder and patting his cheek while she stared at the prisoner, a wicked smile on her lips. She was clearly Asian, but something European lurked in her cold blue eyes and angular face. She brushed a loose lock of coal black hair out of her face, an escapee of the bun which held most of her hair, and her ruby-painted lips curled up into an even more threatening smile. Nicky was reminded of a big cat for some reason.

“Hello, Miss MacNamara. I regret that it has come to this, but you are much more elusive than your demeanour would suggest. We had a hard time acquiring you quietly. Missed you in China by a few days.”

Nicole sneered. ”Yeah, I'm so sorry you had a problem 'acquiring' me. Go fuck yourself, lady.”

The woman's smile dropped. One long boned finger tapped her chin, causing her black power suit to make crinkling sounds like it was made of leather and not fancy cloth. “Oh, I'm afraid that won't do, Nicole. Not that we really need you to be cooperative, but I would prefer it that way.”

”Clearly I'm at your fucking command and service, bitch. Let me go and I will show you just how fucking subservient I am.”

A long rod was withdrawn from a box lying on a table near by. Nicole's eyes were drawn to the neatly arranged surgical tools on the same table, and she snorted. ”So you've done your homework, why even bother with those?”

“Indeed, we know you're impervious to most things. But I have reason to believe this might work.” The woman clicked a button at the base of the rod, and prodded it without hesitation into Nicky's temple. The girl screamed for far longer than she was conscious.
1x Like Like
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Dedonus
Raw
coGM
Avatar of Dedonus

Dedonus Kai su teknon;

Member Seen 7 days ago

The Mandela Effect: Part 7


"90's" Aubrey Adkins

Pacific Point, CA

A cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean had brought its refreshing air into Pacific Point, transforming what would have been a sweaty night into a comfortable evening. This made it a perfect day for a visit to the Pacific Point state fair, even for the resident superheroes. Even the people who save the world every Tuesday need some rest and relaxation.

Aubrey and Will were wading through the huge crowds that had surrounded all the star attractions at the fair. Even with the cool breeze, the packed-together crowd still made things a little uncomfortable. Since Aubrey knew this would happen, she dressed accordingly, with a pair of athletic shorts and an Ohio State t-shirt. There, the two young adults kept their eyes out for anything that was not already swarmed by locals and tourists alike. This unfortunately would be a difficult situation, considering the situation the two of them had found themselves in.

“Why don’t we try that house of mirrors? It doesn’t look too busy,” Aubrey suggested once that building had come into her line of sight. Since Will had not found any other alternatives, he readily agreed with his girlfriend’s suggestion. The building bore a sign that said: “The Four Ages of Man.” Aubrey had no idea what this had to do with mirrors, but it was better than staying outside.

Once Aubrey and Will had entered the building, they soon realized that they were almost the only souls inside. They might have seen two, maybe three, others wandering through the glass maze. Not that this was a bad thing, as they were free from the crowded mess just outside the entrance to the house of mirrors.

For the first few minutes, nothing eventful happened, as a superhero’s day off should turn out. However, once Aubrey had stumbled upon one peculiar mirror that had the letters “FE” printed all around the mirror’s rim. Unlike all the other mirrors she and her boyfriend had seen in this attraction, instead of seeing her own reflection warped and distorted, Aubrey saw herself dressed in her Arachne costume, along with her drider physique on display instead of her human form.

“Will, are you seeing this?” Aubrey asked her boyfriend as she turned away from the mirror.

“Should we leave? Someone obviously knows your identity,” Will suggested to his girlfriend.

“It’s probably a better plan to play it cool. If they know who I am, they could find me elsewhere.”

Will nodded in agreement, although there was still an expression of concern on his face. However, since she was the superhero amongst the pair, he trusted her judgement and if things happen to go south, she could get them out of danger.

Therefore, the young couple continued through the maze of mirrors, until they found another strange mirror. This one had a bronze rim that had the letters “CU” and “SN” stamped into it in an alternating order. Although Aubrey again saw her superheroine persona looking back at her in this mirror, the reflection was dressed differently from her regular costume.

What Aubrey was seeing was like a warped version of herself, as there were clear similarities between her costume and the Arachne in the mirror, but there were some clear differences, too. This other Arachne had a mask that, although similar in design to hers, exposed her jaw, while also allowing her long, blonde locks billow around her head, unlike her own ponytail. She was also wearing a dark gray bomber jacket, for whatever reason. Plus, she had girted around her waist a belt that seemed to serve no purpose, other than maybe a utility belt, as it was not holding anything up. Furthermore, although this mirror Arachne donned red boats just like those Aubrey wore, she covered the rest of her eight spidery legs with spiderweb patterned fishnet leggings. If any of these differences could not convince someone of this mirror Arachne looking just a little bit stripperish, her flaunting of her even more ridiculous bust through a spider-shaped boob window would have.

Okay, I would never dress like that. What’s even the point of that gaping hole in her shirt? Aubrey thought as she examined the reflection in this mirror.

“Hey, Will. Have you seen this mirror? It kind of like that other mirror, but it’s showing a weird version of me.”

Once he heard his girlfriend’s request, he turned away from the mirror he had been peering at and walked back over to his girlfriend. He cocked his head as he examined the mirror in question.

“And I thought I was the one who needed glasses. That just looks like your normal costume.”

“Normal?” Aubrey muttered because she was puzzled from her boyfriend’s response.

Aubrey then glanced back at the bronze-rimmed mirror and examined the reflection again. But this time, even though the image was the same, for some strange reason the Arachne who was staring back looked normal to her, as Will said. It was the only costume she has ever worn. In fact, it annoyed her to no end how people would complain about the lack of modesty of her costume. Why does a girl who can take bullets to the face have to worry about how much spandex is covering her body?

After Aubrey had finished admiring how she looked in her costume, she then pulled down on the bottom of her minidress. She had no idea why she had not changed out of her “working” clothes to the fair. Her stiletto heels were killing her, as she had worn them for several hours by now. She was half tempted to go barefoot.

Then Aubrey continued through the maze, leaving the bronze-rimmed mirror behind her. Her heels echoed with a click after each footstep. But soon, Aubrey stumbled upon yet another mirror like the other two. However, this one had a silver border, with the letters “AG” decorating it. Aubrey rolled her eyes when this mirror came into her sight. She swore the last mirror had shown a strange version of herself, even though somehow it didn’t.

The Arachne in the silver mirror looked like a prude to her. Her entire body was covered in spandex. She did not even display any of her blonde hair, as it was contained underneath her mask. If Aubrey did not know better, she would have thought that some overzealous and knee-jerky censorship board had erased all of her curves. She probably barely needed a bra with that figure.

What about this one? Aubrey asked her boyfriend, again.

“Nope, that’s still you.”

Aubrey scratched her head and glanced at her reflection again. Yet again, the Arachne in the mirror looked normal to her, even though it had not just moments before. In fact, it looked pretty groovy on her. Plus, who won’t want to hide their identity with a full-cover costume? She had a promising modeling career ahead of her. Why would she want to ruin it by revealing that she was a freaky, giant spider below the waist?

“Why does this keep happening!”

“You look so cute when you’re flustered,” Will told his girlfriend as he wrapped his arms around her capri-clad waist.

“Laugh it up, funny guy! I know you’re thinking I’m having a blonde moment,” Aubrey responded back.

“What? That would be stereotyping! I would never suggest something as horrible as that!”

“Yah, yah, whatever, lover boy. But we better get out of here. You never know when some villain will try to hold the city ransom or rob some strange mystical relic from the local museum. Honestly, they’re sometimes too predictable.”

“Hey, there’s another one of those mirrors. Let’s check it out before we head out,” Will suggested.

“If we have to,” Aubrey sighed as she rolled her eyes. Then, after Aubrey had voiced her half-hearted protests, the two of them approached the mirror. This mirror was surrounded by golden rims that were imprinted with the letters “AU.”

“So, what do you see?” Will asked.

“Just my normal Arachne alter-ego.”

“See, I knew you weren’t going crazy,” Will said as he planted a kiss on Aubrey’s cheek.

I love this haircut. I look so cute with those bangs, Aubrey thought after she had peered back at her reflection in the golden mirror. The skirt and the tall, red boots helped complete the look. They even looked cute on her spider legs. Yet she sighed at how her torso contrasted with her “girl next door” look.

Why do these stupid bullet bras have to be all the rage these days? It makes me look like I’m hauling around two nuclear warheads under my shirt.

Aubrey shook her head as she recalled the day when that Katherine woman had “blessed” her with these endowments. She was kind of surprised that nobody had realized that both Aubrey Adkins and her alter ego, Arachne, had changed physically in the same way. Well, everyone except for her husband, Will, but one should expect that from one who was so close to the drider heroine.

“Hey, Will. Are you ready to—“ Aubrey began to say, but when she turned around, she found he was no longer there.

Where could he have gone? She wondered as she peered around the mirror maze. Maybe he already went into the next room.

Aubrey then advanced into the next room. This room contained dozens of mirrors, each of them forming a wall. However, what was strange about this room was the mirrors did project a reflection, nor did the room possess an exit. How were people supposed to get out of this maze?

“Remember who you are,” Aubrey heard her own voice echoes in the room, although it did not originate from her mouth. She turned towards the origin of her disembodied voice and she found a reflection of the Arachne from the gray mirror gazing back at her. But unlike Aubrey’s past interactions with these mirrors, this reflection did not mimic her movements. Instead, this modern Arachne was moving independent of her.

“What am I wearing?” Aubrey uttered when she noticed that she had been reverted back into her drider form and she was wearing a scarlet and gray costume that was similar, yet different than her own. She soon realized she was wearing the same costume as the Arachne in the mirror. In fact, she looked like a spitting image of the mirror Arachne, except for maybe her bullet bra look and the length of her hair.

“No, I am your true self,” said her disembodied voice, but this time it came from the other direction. When Aubrey turned around, she saw the Arachne from the silver mirror in one of the mirrors. And just like last time, the real Aubrey’s appearance soon matched the mirrors, although the real Aubrey was far more curvy than the string bean in that mirror.

“Don’t list to her, I’m the real you!” The next mirror contained the Arachne from the bronze mirror. Soon, Aubrey had to hold shut that stupid boob window, as saying that the real Aubrey was nowhere as well endowed as her mirror counterpart would have been the understatement of the year. What had Katherine done to this Arachne? Aubrey just had been lucky that her healing factor had reverted herself to her normal, slender appearance when she had her run-in with Katherine. But that could not be right. She clearly remembered that day when her healing factor went haywire and randomized a new body for her from the various forms Katherine had transformed Aubrey into. Yet this did not match with her slender build. What was happening to her memories?

“Don’t let them fool you. You know we’re one and the same!” the Arachne from the golden mirror claimed.

Ugh, I look like a hooker wearing a catholic schoolgirl outfit! Aubrey thought as she saw her costume change yet again to match the one belonging to the Arachne from the golden mirror. Sure, both of them were curvy, but the real Arachne’s body looked like Katherine had cranked it up to eleven. Even the thought of this mirror Arachne being lucky because she had not cursed been cured like she had been had crossed Aubrey’s mind.

Then, even more Arachnes began to appear, each slightly different from the last. For example, there was one Arachne who looked almost like the gray-mirror Arachne, but her costume was pink and blue instead of scarlet and gray. Furthermore, other Aubreys, who clearly were still superheroes despite not bearing the Arachne name, also appeared in these mirrors. One even looked like she had Kelly Brown’s powers. Or was it Victoria, who used to be the Silver Sorceress before Kelly and her swapped powers? Aubrey could not remember, as she had too many conflicting memories.

“Stop! Stop! Stop! Aubrey shouted as she crumbled onto the floor. She grasped at her head, as a headache racked her mind, as if someone had taken a sledgehammer and smashed it against her cranium.

Aubrey suddenly sat up in her bed. Her forehead was drenched in sweat and her breathing rapid and irregular. But this seemed to have been all a dream, as Aubrey found herself in her apartment in Pacific Point. She could feel her head spinning, no doubt from all the pop she had consumed before she headed to bed. Although Aubrey’s healing factor would soon make short work of this hangover, it was going to suck until then.

Once Aubrey had realized that what she had experienced was just a dream, she tried to rest her head back onto her pillow and get some more rest. She had not gotten much sleep yet, as it was still the middle of the night. And what little sleep she did get, it was quite a restless one because of the nightmare she had experienced. Considering she was going to spend the rest of the week with her husband, Will, she needed all the beauty rest she could get.

Wait, don’t I live on Nautican Island? Aubrey thought, opening her eyes once this thought passed her mind. And Will and I aren’t married! Sure, we’ve been together since high school, but we haven’t tied the knot yet. Or has it been only a couple months? Why can’t I remember?

Aubrey immediately sat back and threw off her sheets. She then rolled out of bed and landed on all eight of her spidery legs. Maybe all she needed was to splash some water in her face to snap out of whatever this was. This had to be the worst hangover ever.

She stumbled out of her bedroom, zig-zagging here and there. Once she had entered the bathroom, she turned the nob of the faucet and filled the palms of her hands with water before splashing it against her face. Then, she peered up and gazed at her reflection. She was relieved when she saw that her normal reflection was looking back at her. Aubrey knew she could not endure any more of those stupid mirrors form her nightmare.

“Why are my memories so clouded?” Aubrey muttered as she continued to gaze at her own reflection. “Maybe I need another drink.”

Aubrey then headed out of the bathroom and towards the kitchen. But as she made her way to the refrigerator, she noticed that her living room couch had become vacant. Where could Will have gone? Aubrey would have suited up and gone after him, but she was in no state to go wandering around the city in colorful tights. Since her spider-sense would have warned her if something bad had happened while she was asleep, she guessed someone or something had not kidnapped her boyfriend.

When Aubrey opened the refrigerator door, she was disappointed when she found that the only liter bottle left barely had any liquid left in it. There was barely a drop. Why did she even bother to put the plastic liter bottle back? Maybe she was too drunk off of the caffeine to know what she was doing? She then reached for the self-filtering water pitcher and poured herself a glass. She probably could use some water after drinking all those cokes last night.

After Aubrey had quenched her thirst, she went back to bed. She hoped that some more shuteye would be the perfect medicine for her memory problems. And for the hangover, for a matter of fact. However, before Aubrey crawled into her bed and rested her head on her pillow, she noticed her phone was flashing.

“Athena, what updates do you have that are so important that you have to bother me at this hour?”

<Your work called. Whitney has called in sick and they want to know if you would be willing to move up your photoshoot for next month’s edition tomorrow. They would like an answer in the morning.>

“Well, I’ll send a response in the morning, when I can actually think straight. Is that all?”

<There is on other thing. The news has reported that there have been sightings of someone dressed like you. Obviously it’s not you, as this person is entirely human looking.>

“And he’s a dude.” Aubrey stated as she looked at the hologram projection of one photograph of the supposed spider-person. She had no idea how anyone could confuse this person with her. Isn't her drider physique distinct enough to ensure that?

Could it be? Aubrey wondered as she examined the picture more closely. Will had been missing when Aubrey had gotten up for a drink. But this hypothesis was impossible; Will did not have any powers. Well, this was a mystery for future Aubrey to figure out. Now, she needed to catch some z’s.
1x Like Like
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by eravicis
Raw
Avatar of eravicis

eravicis resident healer

Member Seen 1 yr ago



and

RACHELI


L O C A T I O N: Somewhere in the Sewer System under New Haven
T I M E: Sometime in the Evening




Not to say that he wasn't unused to the idea of going down under and looking for any particular person underground, but with Leila as his partner back somewhere safe, it made the search easier. For someone like him who was supposed to be taking it easy, he didn't seem to be.

"Jai, don't dawdle too long." The voice crackled in the small earpiece in his ear, enhanced and protected by traces of mystic power.

"I wouldn't dream of it," Jai stated dryly.

If he could see the pretty blonde now, he could only imagine she was pouting.

Leila discovered a loosened manhole that was being serviced not too far from the garage. Sending Jai to investigate it as a prospect of where to begin looking for Rach, Jai quirked a brow at the sight. Confirming with Leila the loosened manhole, he noted Rach's overwhelming strength had tossed the metal manhole cover to the nearby building to leave a decent-sized dent. She couldn't have gone far from the garage, reflecting her storming out of the garage, only to come back "different" the next time he saw her.

Donning a sleek black helmet, its HUD sparked to life the moment the air hissed around him while the helmet adjusted to the wearer. A flash of bright blue light peeked from underneath the helmet before it finished its adjustments.

.... User Identified.

JAI HALE.

Loading Interface 001...


"Load up protocol Alpha Uniform four." He silently dropped down in the darkness below, the rank air washing over him like a fog.

Confirmed.

Loading…


Before his eyes, his dual-colored gaze watched as the map of the city's entire underground sewer network was spread out before him like a three-dimensional map. The soldier perused over each tunnel and mentally steered the computer to mark off areas that were unlikely for Rach to have ventured into. Tunnels that were under quarantine, out-of-service, or inaccessible were easily marked off of the map. Leila confirmed areas that were no longer in service and were entirely closed off.

If she was running, she'd run in directions that'd be easiest.

But he didn't have to move very far. There were traces of a fight, familiar l.p.black blood lacing the concrete that his gaze narrowed. Rach could handle herself, he knew, but tackling something by herself in a place so narrow was always a gamble. Scuff marks from a creature bigger than what should be in the area gave Jai reason to believe this was "Rach."

Now, what was the easiest place to toss a body from here?

Jai's gaze moved toward the wide hole nearby.

Detecting a heat signature. 7.6 klicks in the southwest tunnels.

Jai prepared for the possible combat should he encounter "Rach," but in retrospect, he imagined that it'd be difficult to lie through his heat sensor since Rach didn't have heat compared to "Rach."

It'd be another ten minutes before he'd get there.

"Leila, heads up," the archer said, having pulled out a communication device from her left pocket. "I've lost contact with the target and he's gone into the sewers. I'm heading down after him, but be ready for him."


"Got it—did you hear that Jai?" Leila asked.

"Affirmative. En route, ten minutes."




Racheli slooshed across waist-high water. Rust, sewage, and salt mingled together in her nostrils. Thankfully her empty stomach had nothing to toss into the putrid mix. She held her breath as she continued toward. The tunnel seemed to pen her in, the walls curving up and forming a funnel. Her head had a dry black scab caked with filth across it. It had already healed, but she didn’t care. It had been ages since she woke up from the fall and no exit in sight.

“Nice going Rach, you’re lost. Wonder how long I’ve been fucking wandering down here.” She snapped at herself.

"Hey, Rach, where are you?"

Her ears caught the voice and froze in place. Several moments clicked by before she began to wade toward it, her mind questioning her sanity. The water sloshed about her waist before it began to lower with each step. Her legs worked against the combination of water and inclining path until the levels reached to about her thighs.

“Is that you, Jai?”




“Is that you, Jai?” Racheli’s voice echoed through the tunnels.

Moving toward the response, Jai continued to move until he was in the near range of Rach.

"Yes, it is," Jai stated, lifting a brow faintly in the direction.

Sensors picking up activity just ahead.

He turned a corner and found himself in a vast cavern after wading through several klicks of murky waters. His helmet was a stark contrast to the rest of his form: covered head to toe in dirt and grime and other unmentionables and his dark olive skin already darker than was normal. The only thing that remained spotless was his helmet.

"Rach." He spoke once he identified the figure ahead of him showed no signs of a heat signature. Jai's helmet hissed open, revealing his dual-colored irises—his blue one gleaming in the darkness. "You look well."

It was uncertain if that was sarcasm or not.

Racheli frowned and her eyes narrowed. She had waded to the center of the sewage water before she stopped in her tracks, locating the origins of the voice. Already the hairs on her neck rose causing her posture to become defensive. She stepped back, unsure if this was the real Jai or a copy.

“How did you know I was down here?” Her voice asked in a firm fashion.

"Unless there is someone else I know with the strength to lift a manhole cover and chuck it several feet away from the hole, we can only guess," he stated dryly. Her apprehension was noted. His blue eye blinked several times, switching between his alternate visions to verify that it was indeed Rach.

"If I didn't know any better, it almost looks like you came down here for an adventure and got lost," he said, the helmet hissing back closed again. When it did, a thin pulse of orange light shimmered across its surface like an electronic circuit board. "I take it that there are gators down here?"

If he recalled how the saying goes right.

“If you’re being sarcastic, now isn’t the time. I’ve already been attacked by a duplicate of myself and got tossed down here. For all I know, you’re not who you say you are…” Racheli stated as she began to pull back, wading deeper into the water.

He lifted a brow, though he was aware that Rach wouldn't be able to see beyond the shade of the helmet. "I visit the graveyard on occasion, and once, I saw you put down a rose. A black one, specifically."

Silence settled in the air, but finally, she let out an exhale of relief.

“For fuck’s sake, I wanna out of here. Where’s the exit?” Racheli asked, trudging closer and finally toward the shallow end.

“I don’t want to be here when he comes back.”

There'd be traces of a smile if she could see beyond Jai's helmet. "It's several klicks in that direction," he said with his head gesturing in that direction. He paused, stilling when his sensors picked up another heat source.

Heat signature approaching in three minutes.

"Here," he said, offering a hand to help Rach trudge through the too thick water. "You look like you've been through some sort of time if I'm saying that correctly."

Rach was too tired to brush his help aside as she took the offered hand.

“How would you feel being tossed down a sewer drain and lost for who knows how long? I feel as bad as I smell. When we get out, I’m in need of a long hot shower.”

Jai idly shrugged. "There are always worse situations," he remarked, his voice coming in clear through the helmet as though he wasn't wearing one at all. "But, a shower is always nice—especially after a long mission or in this case, a very long... adventure."

He helped her trudge through the waters, heading in the direction of the exit that his helmet marked for him on the map.

"You look well enough, in spite of it though." In spite of what he could only assume was anger for being lost down here.

“I assume he thought he killed me. Or was aiming to finish me off later. Asshole seemed rather pissed at seeing me.” Racheli’s foot misstepped. The ankle jerked to the side and she jerked up, her balance tilted to the left. She leaned heavily on Jai to keep herself upright.

“Fuck! I hate this damn place!”

His grip on her was stable, and his other hand shot out to steady Rach when she misstepped. Leaning against him, he adjusted himself to better accommodate before helping her upright again. "We'll be out soon," Jai said in what could be considered a reassuring tone. "At least, you were easy enough to find so you can be out sooner."

“For now, but asshole is still out there. There’s no telling what damage he did.” Racheli growled as she continued to walk, eager to get out of here.

Heat signature approximately five meters behind Racheli.

Though she was unable to see or detect as Jai could, his dual-colored irises focused on the two gleaming red eyes lurking in the deeper parts of the water. As though realizing something, the eyes disappeared and left.

Heat signature departing…

With a mental note, he added that the helmet calibrates to memorize the heartbeat and body signature of the departing enemy.

Another day.

"I hope not more than what I can only assume. Leila has been worried about you—she's going to want to make sure nothing invasive or bad happened to you." Jai slowly led her away from the heat signature and toward the exit at long last.

“Personally, I would rather avoid a check-up. That’s not the type of poking I would enjoy. I doubt I’ll get sick from shit and piss.” Racheli grumbled.

Within a few minutes, the light from the manhole could be seen.
2x Like Like
↑ Top
© 2007-2017
BBCode Cheatsheet