Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Bork Lazer
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Bork Lazer Chomping Time

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The Sanguine Symphony 1.3




Tonight had not gone as expected. Hauling a comatose vampire on his back was one thing but having a straggler vigilante on his heels wasn’t part of the plan at all. The time for regrets was long over, though. The careers of vampire hunters were filled with the unexpected and he’d deal with the consequences later down the line. Right now, the only thing that mattered was making sure New Orleans didn’t blow up into a literal bloodbath when news of the murders spread down the supernatural grapevine.

It’d taken him roughly an hour to walk down to Jefferson unseen. Whistler’s house was located amongst one of the many banks of the Missisisipi with about a half-acre of swampland and marsh to guide it. The trail was guarded by nettle thrushes and the glow of fireflies seemed to suffuse the misty air. The moonlight glimmered off the roof of the wooden cottage. The porch was empty but he knew that she would be wide awake right now. She always was.

He stopped at the foot and was about to tell Ragwoman to stay here before he heard the sound of someone pumping a shotgun.

“ Hands up, motherfuckers.”

He turned around. Whistler was right there behind them in a tawny old sleeping gown, her slippered feet huddled together. In her hands was a robust tube of hickory and cast-forged steel that had seen disuse over the decades but was capable enough of blowing their heads clean off their heads. Her white hair glowed ethereally in the moonlight. The veteran vampire hunter had somehow snuck up behind the both of them and would have sent them to an early grave, if it wasn’t for the fact he’d been partners with the old woman for a decade now.

Whistler’s face lit up in recognition as she passed over Blade and she sheepishly lowered the shotgun down.

“ Ah, it’s you.” She nodded towards the vampire on his shoulder “ Put this sucker through the wringer, didn’t you?”

“ Yeah. We’re doing catch and release. Standard procedure. He’s not too bright, so we shouldn’t have to get creative with him.”

“ Hrmmmmmmm…” Whistler pointed towards Ragwoman, studying her with curiosity instead of hostility like a cat. “ Who’s the ball of bandages?”

“ That’s Ragwoman.”

“ Never heard of a hunter with that name before.”

“ That’s because she isn’t one.”

“ Do you trust her?”

He couldn’t say no nor could he say yes. There was no use bullshitting to Whistler. He didn’t know whether she had a prenatural sense towards sniffing out the truth but he’d spent enough time with the old hunter for her to know his tells. It was almost as good as Jamal. Eventually, he settled on a less than satisfactory one.

“ At the moment.”

Whistler shrugged lackadaisically and set down the shotgun.

“ Good enough. I’ll say one thing though, satch.”

“ What’s that?”

“ She dresses up better than you do.” Her gaze then travelled towards Ragwoman as she gave an inviting wave towards their new guest. “ Well, what are you standing there for, dear? Come on in. I’ll get a nice pot of tea boiling for the 3 of us.”

Beneath the mask of fabric, Ragwoman beamed with a broad smile, revealing faint lines in the rags where her mouth was, “Tea would be great and if you have something to wash off whatever Trenchcoat over there threw at me, I’d appreciate it.”

Whistler took a sniff of the air, her face curling up in disgust, before turning her head to look at Blade with disbelief.

“ Brooks, what the hell did I tell you? Emergencies only. You can’t just whizz over every vampire or non-vampire you meet willy nilly.” Whistler sighed in admonishment. “ Come on. I’ve got a special solution in the basement for situations like this. Never imagined I had to use it.”

“ C’mon, Whistler.” Blade whined as he followed her up the porch steps. “ It’s not my fault that I don’t know what you put in that stuff half of the time.”

“ And yet, your first instinct was to throw the stuff at every person you meet.” Whistler opened the door, letting them into the living room. The wood creaked as Blade stepped in. The interior of the house was almost spartan-like with no pictures or any paintings at all. Everything that Whistler had in here was either for necessity or a hidden trap of some sort. He watched her set the shotgun down by the frame of the door before reaching into a vase and pulling out a two-barreled derringer. She locked each and every one of the ten locks shut before lighting an old lantern.

“ C’mon, this way.” The oil wick burned a soft orange as she led them both down a decrepit stairway. Flicking a switch, the incandescent bulbs on the ceiling hummed for a moment before flickering on. The walls were lined with an assortment of armaments and a variety of weapons. A dead forge was set in the corner next to a smithing workbench. Whistler pulled out a bucket and uncorked a milk jug of something that made Blade’s eyes water as she poured out the contents until it was half-full.

“ Put your clothes in there. We’ll soak it for about an hour before putting it in the laundry.”

“ Not sure whether her costume would like that, Whistler.” Blade grumbled as he tossed the unconscious body of the vampire on the table.

“ Eh, if it’s haunted, I’ve still got the old exorcism kit.” She looked at Ragwoman. “What say you, dear?”

“I don’t think my suit will mind a good soak,” Ragwoman replied, “But let’s avoid any exorcisms. Someone tried that once and it didn’t end well.

Ragwoman began to tug at the top of her hood before she stopped, “Do you have a pair of scissors and a pillow case you could donate to the cause? A girl’s gotta keep her secrets” Ragwoman added with an apologetic shrug.

Ugh, secret identities. Blade rolled his eyes before grabbing a pair of scissors off the shelf. Whistler meanwhile went up the stairs for a short bit, scrounging for whatever she could find before returning back down with a sheepish look.

“ Sorry, dear.” Whistler held up a large brown cardboard bag which had a symbol of a faded imperial lion on it with the name “ CHI-CHINESE” labelled on the bottom. “ All I have is that Yaka-Mein bag I got from downtown. If you want, I could also offer you a garbage bag…..”

“No, no, this will do fine,” Ragwoman replied somewhat unconvincingly, taking the brown paper bag in her hand, and vanishing into the nearest room. When she emerged, Ragwoman looked more like Rory Regan than Ragwoman. Black jeans, canvas sneakers, and a vintage The Cure t-shirt made for an elicit combination with the repurposed noodle bag that now served as a DIY mask.

“ Now that we’re done, can we get this show on the road?” Blade nodded towards the unconscious vampire who was now drooling on top of the lacquered wood. Whistler dumped Ragwoman’s costume inside the bucket and at that same time, Blade heard something that almost sounded like a cat hissing. The old hunter then dragged a rocking chair to the center of the room along with a bundle of rope. She began the process of tying the vampire to the chair, locking all of his limbs separately until he was secure. She then looked towards Ragwoman and then, Blade with a concerned look.

“ You sure she’s got the stomach for this stuff?” Her eyes then flickered back to Ragwoman. “ Last chance, dear.”

Swallowing slowly, Ragwoman looked over at the bucket that now housed the soaking soul of suits. As if answering her unspoken question, voices, a rising swell of voices, seemed to crash over the edge of the bucket like a sudden wave. Ragwoman shivered and then nodded.

“Evil has to be punished. I’m game, no matter how far this goes.”

“ Heh. I’m starting to like her already.” Whistler cracked her knuckles before taking out a spray bottle filled with yellow fluid out of her bathrobe. She began liberally buffeting the vampire with it, faint acrid-smelling droplets floating across the room. The pale-skinned figure almost reacted instantaneously to it, eyes shooting open, as he began screaming, his skin blistering and reddening from whatever strange concoction was in that bottle. Steam erupted from red patches on his cheeks as he took a deep breathe to scream once more.

That continued on for a good 10 seconds before Eric finally had enough and decided to catch his attention by stomping on his foot. The vampire’s mouth clammed up before looking up at Eric with blood-shot eyes veiled with fear and disgust.

“ You.”

“ Yeah, me.” Eric then leaned down so he was nose-to-nose with the vampire. “ Before we start, what’s your name?”

“ Dale.”

“ Alright, Dale. Here’s how it’s going to go. You’re going to tell me everything you know, don’t know or may know. I don’t care how small or insignificant it is. You will tell me. Hell, I might even let you leave this place with your pants pissing if you’re polite enough. But make no mistake. Your clan isn’t here to help you. Your brothers and sisters aren’t here to help you. You’re just one single bloodsucker in a pack of wolves right now.”

“ I- You’ll regret the day when you mess with the Anchor-” Dale then yowled as Blade pressed down more forcefully on his ankle.

“ Try saying that a couple more hundred times and I’ll believe you.”

“ I-” Dale then turned his head towards Ragwoman and Whistler, his voice transforming into one of begging. “ Please! My clan will offer you riches beyond imagining if you kill this half-breed. Join us and you will receive my eternal gratitude.”

Beneath her new paper bag mask Ragwoman frowned and a flash of bright red anger traveled across her skin. She moved to speak when a sudden splash of water interrupted her, a tendril of fabric, a string of rags reached out from the nearby bucket, wrapping around her arm before it struck the pleading vampire across his nose. Tied to the soul of suits, Ragwoman’s real voice was lost in the multitude of voices of the suit of souls, “You are evil, vampire. And evil...evil must be punished. Evil must be purged.”

“ What she said.” Whistler nodded in agreement as she moved over towards Blade’s side. “ Now, tell us what you know of the murders in New Orleans. One of you has been going around and feeding on people.”

“ Like I told the half-breed before - “ Dale tilted his head up lamely and looked at the both of them with bitter exasperation. “ - I don’t know anything. The clans would never allow such an event to occur.”

“ We didn’t say that.” Blade said. “ But it’s hard to imagine that the New Orleans krewes would allow unwarranted feedings to occur on their territory without their say so. Or are you guys stretched thin?”

“ How dare you say such a thing! I - “ Dale swallowed his insult as he recomposed himself. A few moments later, he signed and nodded. “ My clan has been busy solving….an internal affair of ours. Someone has been killing our leaders. Our lieutenants.”

“ Well, who gives a crap?” Whistler shrugged. “ The more suckers get staked, the better off the Bayou is.”

“ Because these weren’t just any regular killings.” Dale whispered, haunted. “ They were feeded upon as well. By a vampire.” He then narrowed his eyes and hissed. “ It must be those damn Anchorites. They’re trying to get us back for intruding in our territory.

Whistler and Blade looked at each other for a moment, Whistler’s grey gimlets burning in deep thought whilst Blade’s shades concealed his troubled look. Vampires feeding on vampires was not unheard of but exceptionally rare. It was frowned upon in vampire society, considered cannibalism of the highest order, and you had to be a maniac to treat a group of bloodsucking superhuman predators as takeout.

“ So, where did these killings take place?”

“ Near the Quarter. I was there when it happened. We were on a cruise ship. Both of our clans were officiating our alliances when the lights turned off in the ballroom. When they turned back on, all the heads of our delegation were missing.” Blade didn’t know how it was possible but those pale cheeks somehow became even whiter as Dale recounted his story. “ We spotted a large shadow in the corner of the rafters. Our hunters tried pursuing it to no avail.” The vampire’s fists then clenched as he spat out the remaining words. “ Meanwhile, those damn Anchorites stood there and just shrugged it off. Our kin - our allies! They’re behind it, I swear!”

“ A likely story.” Blade grumbled, unconvinced. “ Now, we need to - “

Dale then began screaming out loud agony. He began bouncing up and down erratically in his chair, straining against the rope that held him tight. Blade stepped back as he watched his skin begin to swell and his stomach blow up like a water balloon.

“ What the hell did you do?!” He yelled at Whistler. The geriatric hunter glared back at him, both unaware and frustrated at what was going on with the vampire.

“ It wasn’t me!”

The screaming reached a crescendo and then, the vampire exploded, showering them all in a fountain of smoking gore. Blade managed to lift his arms up to block his face and mouth from swallowing vampire goo. Warmth and the smell of hot iron splashed against his sleeves. Eric let his arms down slowly to view the remains. There was nothing left of the bloodsucker except a skeleton with strings of sinew and gut hanging from the bone.

He only had one thing to say to sum up the situation.

“ Well, fuck.”
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Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Bounce
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Bounce

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S E A S O N O N E : H O M E C O M I N G
Location: Newport, Rhode Island
New Mutants #1.07

Interaction(s): @Retired


The remainder of the day had been ordinary.

It made the X-Baby wonder what the point had been. They had failed Dani’s test and then just gone on about their normal school day. They were still her team. There seemed no consequences for how they performed. Or how they hadn’t performed.

“We did fine.”

Well, there was one change.

Cherub was eating dinner with Sammy Pare and Katie Power. Despite being Sammy’s roommate, the two had never spent any time together outside of the dorms or classes. And Katie Power was the most popular kid at the Xavier Institute. And the three weren’t even at the institute. Katie had suggested they go get pizza.

When he’d agreed to come, he’d expected they were going to the Pizza Hut in Westchester. It was where most of the student body ended up when the topic of pizza came up. Instead, they were at a bistro on the New England coast, courtesy of...

...well, to be honest, Cherub couldn’t have explained it even if he’d wanted to. Katie had a friend, who was also an airplane? Except it could also go in space. So it was a spaceplane? Actually, now that he thought about it, Cherub was pretty sure Katie had said that Friday was actually from space, so that would make it more of a spaceship. But that was just science fiction and fantasy, right?

Regardless, now that they were outside of the Xavier Institute, Cherub couldn’t have felt any more out of place. Having arrived from Mojoworld with only the Archangel costume on his back, his clothing was an assortment of hand-me-downs from among the students or the local Goodwill. To go out, he’d just thrown on a worn Gap Kids hoodie and a pair of jeans that he’d borrowed from Sammy.

Despite his orange skin and fish-like appearance, Sammy seemed perfectly at home inside the restaurant, decked out in North Face and Old Navy tags. His mother would send him clothes from home. Though, Cherub actually, had no idea where Sammy was from. The fact that he hadn’t even thought about until now because... well, they just didn’t hang out.

“We demonstrated that we can work as a team to accomplish a goal, and that we don’t let pressure get in the way of that.” Katie remarked, looking like a tween model in Aeropostle chic with her hair down. Picking up a french fry, the girl waved it in the air a moment as she added, “In fact, we should keep working on that,” before popping the fry in her mouth.

Cherub just kept his mouth shut. Everything around them only served as a reminder that this was an alien world. Even without his powder blue skin, he was out of place here. A few people inside the pizzeria cast some glances their way, but apparently this was a place Katie had been before. She said the owners were friendly to what she described as people with powers.

Were there even restaurants on Mojoworld? Until his escape, he’d never even been outside of the Murderama, but it was hard to try and fathom.

“How?” Sammy uttered, as the large pizza they’d ordered to split among the three of them arrived at the table.

“I’m gonna see if I can get us a timeslot in the Danger Room,” the girl stated simply, even as she passed out plates and napkins to the boys. “It’ll probably be a totally obnoxious time if I can get it, so expect it to be, like, lunch hour or something.”

Pulling a slice of pizza free from the pie, Sammy asked, “But what about Kitty and Bobby?”

“I’ll make sure they get an invite, but they have to want to be part of this team,” the girl offered with a shrug, before reaching toward Cherub and saying, “Give me your plate.”

Pulling a slice free, she placed the pizza on the plate and then passed it back to the awkwardly quiet X-Baby before continuing, “Short of that, we just have to keep doing what we’re doing.”

“What are we gonna do in the Danger Room?” Sammy asked, in-between bites.

“They’ll only allow us to run a level one simulation,” Katie remarked, even though Cherub had no idea just what a level one simulation was supposed to mean. After a bite, the girl added, “So, it’ll be pretty low power and full safeties, but I’m hoping to generate an encounter with the Blob.”

“Wait, what?” Sammy blurted aloud, bits of pepperoni flying from his lips. “What are the three of us going to do against the Blob!?”

The girl started to answer, but Sammy just cut her off with an exaggerated wave of his hand. Wait, wait, wait,” the Squid Boy uttered flatly. “I take it back,” he interjected, pointing between himself and Cherub. “What are the two of us going to do against the Blob? You’re just gonna blow him the fuck away.”

The F-bomb caused Cherub’s head to turn in surprise. X-Babies had a list of words that the censors would never allow on the air. That was one of them.

But, on Earth, people could just say what they wanted?

“He’s pretty immune to getting blown away,” Katie countered evenly, wiping some of the grease from her hands before reaching for a second slice of pizza. As she did, she offered, “And since he’s a physical opponent, there’s no directed energy for me to absorb,”. Taking a bite out of her second piece, the table was quiet as the trio ate before she spoke again and said, “Similarly, neither Cherub’s razors or the toxin on them will have an impact. We’ll have to work together to develop solutions in real time, just like an actual fight.”

Now it was Sammy’s turn to look surprised. “Wait, toxin?” the fish-faced mutant uttered, shooting a glare over at the blue-skinned kid.

“Didn’t you bother to read the profile on Archangel?” Katie asked, the exasperation starting to slip into her voice. Then, taking a breath, she explained, “Cherub’s wings contain projectile razors that are coated in a neurotoxin.”

“Oh great, another way for my roommate to kill me in his sleep!” Sammy exclaimed, slumping down in his chair. He stayed there a moment, then propped his head up as he said, Anyway, are you high? I’m literally a fish out of water and he’s got aluminum foil for wings!”

Cherub edged over a little further from Sammy.

This... this was why they weren’t friends.

Picking up another french fry, Katie pointed it at the aquatic mutant. “I get it. You don’t shoot laser beams out of your hands. Which, let me tell you, is more trouble than it’s worth. My point is, it’s all situational,” the girl stated in the same even tone, before popping the french fry in her mouth. After she’d swallowed, she added, “And an encounter with the Blob is a situation where none of our individual abilities provide for a singular solution. It’s perfect for practicing team work!”

“It’s perfect for us getting our ass kicked,” Sammy tossed back flatly.

“What do you think its like being an X-Man?”

The question caught the X-Baby by surprise, both for its directness and the realization that he’d never thought about it. Even though, in a way, he’d been an X-Man on television all his life.

“I dunno,” Sammy quipped back, throwing a hand up half-heartedly as he deadpanned, “Totally awesome?”

“I don’t think it is.” It was the first time since they’d left the Institute that he’d spoken. He’d never thought much about it, but reflecting back on all the videos they’d had to watch in order to learn how to play their parts, Katie’s words were casting Warren in an entirely new light for him.

A french fry dipped approvingly in his direction, before disappearing in Katie’s mouth. “Blue gets it,” Katie noted simply, fixing her gaze on the slumping Sammy as she said, “It’s a lot of getting your ass kicked. Then getting back up and trying again anyway.”

“Then why would anyone want to do it?” Sammy tossed back.

“I don’t think a lot of people do,” Katie answered honestly. “And that’s one of the things I think Dani’s trying to teach.”
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Hidden 28 days ago Post by Dead Cruiser
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Dead Cruiser Dishonour Before Death Better You Than Me

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#5
E A R T H ' S M I G H T I E S T V




As the elderly mortal laughed, Thor leveled a steel-eyed glare at him. These negotiations continued to go nowhere, and this supremely arrogant mortal continued to invite his own demise. The only thing keeping him from crushing the old man's fragile skull to dust was a sense of trepidation that he would be digging himself into a deeper hole, as well as some lingering wisdom from his father that one should abstain from killing ambassadors and messengers. Thor didn't see much wisdom in that at all, and greatly desired to end the miserable existence currently staring back at him. Still, he held back. Enduring endless tricks and aggravation from his brother Loki had long taught Thor that giving in to his first, furious impulse would bring him more trouble.

Lightning flashed in Thor's mind as a connection was made. Loki could be put off by giving him what he wanted, rather than resisting. The cat and mouse game was no fun if the mouse surrendered. This mortal had few of Loki's capricious qualities, but Thor was realizing that his current approach was not making any progress. Trying to lord of these humans like his father would, terrifying them into compliance with threats and force, had gotten him nowhere so far. To win, perhaps he would have to surrender.

Thor exhaled heavily, all of the tension leaving his neck and shoulders, before looking back at Rodgers with new determination in his sky-blue eyes. "Very well. If I have insulted you, I regret it, and I apologize. I hope you understand that... I have had a very long and frustrating day. I was, in truth, expecting a welcoming party. Until a few hours ago I had assumed that Midgard was as steady and loyal a vassal as any of the other eight Realms. I am... doing my best with a situation I was not expecting." While this groveling humiliated him, it also felt like a sort of relief, in a way that his drunken ranting to the vikings in the bar had not. Perhaps because this was the truth.

"My father sent me here to 'rule with courage and wisdom,' and that has been my only goal since I arrived. I understand that this is not what your people may desire, but I fear for the consequences they will suffer if I fail. Even if you wish to be rid of me, I'm afraid it's not that simple. I cannot return until my task is complete, as my father has banished me from my home world until he deems me worthy. For me to redeem myself in his eyes, I can only hope that bringing your world back into compliance would please him." He held up a hand to keep the old man from talking over him or laughing again. "I know I ask much of you, but I don't expect you to take me at my word. There were oaths sworn on this world, promises written in stone and blood. Last I knew, they were still on this world. I can find the old oaths, and I can show you the letters of the laws to which my father holds Midgard accountable. Then we can see what can be done."
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Hidden 28 days ago Post by Ever Faithful
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Ever Faithful Will always be Ever Faithful

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SEASON ONE Sensation & Wonder
Springtime for Mr. Freeze #1 A Co-Write with TGM and Natty

Freeze's Lair

Children. Oh, how he has forgotten what it was like to be one. Mr. Freeze stared at the wall aimlessly, perhaps for the first time in decades. He always knew what to do, when to do it, and why he would do it. It’s how he became a scientist. Victor was the master of his own mind, his own body, and spirit! Now if only he could control his life…

Perhaps I was too harsh on her... Mr. Freeze thought, almost chastising himself when he noticed how his hands fiddled around with the paperwork as if they were searching for an object that he could not remember where he placed nor what it looked like. Looking at the clock, it was getting late. In fact, he deducted that it was past the girl’s bedtime. No sense trusting his employees to have the integrity to watch over the daughter, Mr. Freeze got up from his desk before stopping to look at Nora.

Children... That was something he never considered as a possibility. All this time Victor was focused on curing his wife that he completely forgot what to do after he did it! He laughed bitterly; he was the brains of the marriage. Nora would’ve swooned over the girl and pestered him on how cute she is. No doubt she would want one of her own, born from their union. How many would Nor want? It doesn’t matter, he’ll gladly father all of her children. Yes, there is nothing he won’t do for her.

But to be a father? Victor hasn’t had a single clue on how to be one. He spent a good portion of his life as a criminal, an outcast, forced to mingle with other scum of the earth. Not exactly the role model to present to his beloved wife. He’ll have to put this life of villainy behind as soon as he cures Nora; not that he enjoyed it in the slightest. Looking down at the files once more, Victor picked one out that contained a detailed analysis and schematics of Nora’s cryo chamber and the system Wayne Biotech used while he was imprisoned.

From the back of his mind, emerging from the depths of his patience, was a fury as raging as the Big Bang. Not a single sound escaped from his cold lips as Mr. Freeze examined the report. As much as he could not believe it, he knew it was in their nature for corporatists to lie and cheat. But still, how dare they steal his technology, his designs, and blueprints to make a cheap imitation of the cryo technology he used on his wife. It’s almost insulting that they can’t even replicate it properly! They confiscated everything and this is what they achieved with an ocean of cash and expertise? It would’ve been hilarious in another lifetime.

Suddenly, a sharp scream echoed outside of his hall, on the other side of the office door. Dropping the paper on his desk, Mr. Freeze grabbed his weapon and marched towards the door. It was the girl given under his protection. Something or someone frightened her and it better not be one of those henchmen. There will be hell to pay if they did something unsavory towards her.

The entrance burst open revealing his red glowing glare to the offenders. Though surprised, he kept his face in harsh contempt.

“Two Robins?” Mr. Freeze stared at the two vigilantes who stood before him. Behind them was the girl. “I mean you no harm my lady, but you are standing behind those I am trying to freeze!”

The taller of the two vigilantes before him took a step forward as he spoke, cautiously holding his hands up between both the girl and Mr. Freeze.

Woah, woah, woah, woah.” He repeated the word frantically, in an obvious attempt to try and calm down the situation. “color=CE2F29]No one needs to be doing any freezing. We’re just here to help Victor.[/color]

The smaller of the two Robins didn’t say anything, though seemed to be preparing himself for a fight.

“YOU TWO?!” Victor shouted, keeping the barrel pointed straight at them. “I don’t believe it! Why should I even consider it?”

Because you’re not a bad person.” The taller Robin replied quickly, the eyes beneath his cowl moving now between Freeze and his smaller companion.

He seemed to hesitate for a moment, before continuing.

Nora wouldn’t want this.

For a moment, Mr. Freeze was as still as a statue as he kept his freeze ray aimed towards the Robins. As stoic as he is, standing in the hallway, Victor was debating internally. A good person? They actually thought he was a good man? Despite all these years battling it out with Batman, the taller Robin still believed in him. Another sign of the taking after the Bat. Victor’s nemesis was as honest as a slab of solid marble; polished and shined.

“How dare you SPEAK her name!” The villain spoke coldly. The change in his voice was enough to scare the little girl into fleeing. She ran down the hall before bumping into the goons that heard her scream. When they saw the two Robins and a very ticked off Mr. Freeze, the henchmen also evacuated the premises. One of them even told the daughter that it was bedtime as he dragged her out of the scene.

“You don’t KNOW her...You haven’t MET her…” Victor restated, “What she wants is NONE of your concern!”

Even despite the raise in Victor’s tone, the taller of the Robins held strong, risking a step closer.

Come on, Victor. You know this is wrong.” His eyes switched cautiously between him and the freeze gun in his arms as he spoke.

Another step closer.

Mr. Freeze scrutinized Red Robin's words, searching for a crack, a hint of deception, in the vigilante's fortitude. But to be expected, there were no lies in his speech, befitting for a hero.

"It is wrong." Victor admitted, yet his freeze ray remains active. "However, there is no other way."

He pulled the trigger and fired away at the two Robins.
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Hidden 27 days ago Post by AndyC
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AndyC Guardian of the Universe

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Interlude/Cut Track- The Travel Sequence




"Struggling desperately to get the situation back under con--"

"--dozens of officers wounded, and while there is no word yet on any actual deaths, we must assume--"


"--crashed into a high-rise office building. GCPD officers arrived on the scene shortly after, but--"

"--still at large, and should be considered armed and extremely dangerous. Gotham citizens are urged to--"


"--concern that other dangerous super-criminals may have escaped during the mayhem. When asked, Commissioner Gordon--"

"--response from the Batman or the city's other masked vigilantes, raising questions about their own motives in--"




"If there's one thing I really can't stands," said the deep, grizzled voice with a century old brassy old Gotham accent, "It's a rat. A stoolie. And youse mooks, you're the biggest friggin' stoolies I ever seen."

"Th-that wasn't us, boss!" Vinny sputtered, begging on his knees. "We never ratted you out!"

"Y-y-yeah, boss! That was Louie T! He rolled on us so's he could sign on with Penguin! Honest!" Donny Two-Shirts pleaded next to him, his eyes fixed on the barrel of the gun pointed at him.

"Louie T's runnin' for the Penguin now, huh?" the voice asked. "Funny thing; he told me same thing about youse two before I greased him. Now I don't know who's lyin' an' who ain't. Helluva situation, ain't it?"

Before they could respond, the room rang with the sound of automatic gunfire.

RATTTATATTTATTATTATTATTATTAT!


The air hung heavy with the smell of gunsmoke and freshly spilled blood. Trying to shake off the ringing in his ears, the frail, sad-faced man shook his head.



"You know, B-B-Boss," Arnold Wesker muttered, "they may have been t-t-telling the truth. P-P-Penguin may have been p-playing them ag-g-gainst each other t-t-to--"

"SHADDAP, YA MUG," the brassy voice barked as the mouth on the wooden dummy of Scarface flapped open and closed. "I ain't payin' youse ta think."

"Y-y-yes, Boss," the Ventriloquist cowered, "Anything you s-s-say, Boss."

"That's more like it," came the response. "Now, I'm thinkin' we need ta pay Mr. Cobblepot a visit an' teach him a thing or two about--"

"'Scuse me," came another voice, with a similar old-timey goon's accent. Wesker turned, bringing his submachine guns to bear. "Mister Scarface?"

The Ventriloquist stared for a moment, his fingers tight on the triggers. "Who's askin'?"

"I, uh, I come lookin' for ya, on orders of my boss," the thug stated, producing a letter from the inside of his jacket. "He's got an invitation for, uhh, for the both of youse..."




"--said FREEZE, you freak!" the officer shouted, his pistol visibly shaking in his trembling hands.

"Freeze? Laughed Dr. Alex Sartorious as a fluorescent green light enveloped the surrounding area. "You're joking, right?"

The kick from the pistol nearly caused it to fly out of the officer's hands, but the bullet itself was reduced to dust long before it could reach its target.



"In case you haven't noticed," he said as he stepped forward, the light searing the policeman's eyes, "The very last thing I could possibly do...is freeze."

Doctor Phosphorus, the irradiated madman, pulsed a flash of light, and when it subsided, all that remained of the officer was a silhouette burned into the wall behind him, a phenomenon morbidly referred to as a 'Hiroshima shadow.'

"Got to keep moving," Alex muttered to himself as other sirens approached. "Burn myself out at this rate. Must find somewhere. Lay low."

While it was true that the police couldn't hurt him, he only had a limited amount of reaction mass that he could expend. If he exerted himself too much, the constant nuclear fusion contained in his body would start to consume him whole.

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZYYYEEEEEEOOWWWWWWWWWWWW


Above him, a small electric engine whirred. Looking up, Dr. Phosphorous saw what looked like a small toy airplane, making a beeline right for him.

With a casual, almost contemptuous wave of his hand, Phosphorous let fly with another burst of irradiated plasma, sending the toy plane crashing to the ground at his feet. Curiously, tucked under the plane's fuselage was a small block of lead. Upon closer inspection, he saw that the lead block had writing on it.

A note, then. Specifically, one that he could pick up without burning it. Intrigued, he read its contents.

DOC PHOSPHOROUS

THROWING A PARTY

INTERESTED IN A LIGHT SHOW

RSVP AT THIS ADDRESS


Beneath that was an address and a set of map coordinates.

The sirens began growing louder as armored trucks approached. Glancing back and forth between the approaching police and the note, Phosphorous quickly memorized the coordinates, then melted the lead block so they wouldn't find his new destination.




SKRREEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!


The stereotype of Gotham being a city of darkness and shadows is only partially true. While some of the seedier neighborhoods have their own tangled labyrinths of alleyways and backlots practically submerged in ink-black shadow, other districts are lit up brighter than mid-day even in the small hours of the morning. Street lights, traffic lights, neon and LED signboards, a million internal lights along block after block of cramped commercial, residential, and industrial zones flooded the area with electric illumination. On any given night in Gotham, the total light pollution reflected off of the curtain of smog and smothered the night sky, the moon and stars obscured by a dim wash that gave the sky its infamous reddish hue.

Because of this, rather than skulking about along the ground, the easiest place to move unnoticed at night was in the skies.

SKRREEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!


Even after letting out another ear-splitting shriek, the figure slipped unseen between two GCPD helicopters, banking to the left to avoid the beams of their searchlights and wheeling in a wide arc over the skyline of Miagami Island. Gliding on huge leathery wings, it only needed the occasional powerful flap to stay airborne, scanning the steel and concrete jungle below for an ideal perch. Finding the tall, sharp spire of an old church bell tower, the figure swooped down, landing on one of the gargoyles.

On most nights, Doctor Kirk Langstrom fought against the beast inside of him, one that was far more literal than metaphorical. The doctors at Arkham were often worse than worthless, their meager understanding of his altered physiology leading to them administering treatments that frequently did more harm than good. Kirk needed to be free of their meddling to better research what he had become. When the opportunity presented itself, he did not fight against the beast's attempts to break loose.

Tonight, Dr. Langstrom was in remission.



Tonight, the Man-Bat was on the hunt.

SKRREEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!


The monster's hyper-sonic shriek was more than just a terrifying cry across the city; using his superhuman sense of hearing, the Man-Bat's echolocation gave him a detailed map of his surroundings, allowing him to sense potential threats before they could approach him, and potential prey before it could escape.

Several stories below, a drunken old man stumbled out the back of a bar, spitting a curse at the bouncer who had shoved him out the door. He was isolated, disoriented, and weak.

Easy meat.

The Man-Bat spread its wings...

EEEE-EEEE-EEEEE-EEEE-EEEE


....another signal? Perhaps, another of its kind?

Curious, the Man-Bat launched itself from its perch, away from its intended target and toward the source of the mysterious signal.






"Tremble in fear, Gotham!" the costumed lunatic bellowed at the front of the burger shop where he had 'reloaded' his weapons. "For now the CONDIMENT KING shall reign supreme over--"

A wadded-up paper burger wrapper bounced off of the would-be villain's head.

"Get stuffed, will ya?" a random Gothamite heckled. "We've got enough to worry about with real bad guys on the loose!"

"B-but....my Ketchup Blasters, my Mustard Mortars, they'll"

"What are you gonna do, stain my blouse?" a woman jeered. "Get lost, ya creep!"

"...n-no, I can--...just you wait, I'll--"

"BOOOOOO!" Someone else shouted over him. "Get outta here, LOSER!"

Dejected and deflated, the Condiment King sighed, barely noticing the garbage that pelted him from all sides as he hung his head and left the burger joint.

Skulking away into one of the back alleys, he saw a body crumpled up on the ground behind the burger joint's dumpster.

Above the body, scrawled along the wall, was a message.

CONDIMENT KING

HAVING A GET-TOGETHER

WAS HOPING YOU COULD PROVIDE SOME REFRESHMENTS

TIME FOR YOU TO HIT THE BIG LEAGUES

MEET US AT THIS ADDRESS


Beneath that was an address and a set of coordinates, followed by a post-script:

P.S.: THIS ISN'T KETCHUP


His sadness melting into giddy delirium, the Condiment King let out a triumphant, squealing laugh, firing his ketchup-and-mustard guns into the air in celebration. Remembering to erase the address with a squirt of highly-corrosive hot-sauce that melted the brickwork, he scampered off into the alley, elated that someone had finally noticed him.




"He's survived the crash, just as expected. Now I believe, he's recruiting."

"Should we be concerned, my lady?"

"Hardly; this means he'll be surrounded by people who will be all too happy to turn on him when the time comes. He's losing his touch, and it's time the rest of Gotham sees it."

"Then I assume we proceed with the next phase?"

"Not just yet. Next, we do a bit of shopping of our own..."
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Hidden 26 days ago Post by Retired
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Retired "Hayao Miyazaki"

Member Seen 18 hrs ago


Location: The Xavier Institute - Westchester, New York
New Mutants #1.08

Interaction(s): @Bounce


Two figures danced back and forth through the ruins of a castle keep sat atop a cliff. Their ornate blades met again and again to the rhythmic clanging of steel. One advanced as the other shuffled back, though neither showed any sign of weakness. One, a mustachioed man with dark hair to his shoulders, performed a dramatic front flip off of a rock, spinning in midair over the head of his opponent, before landing with flair. The second, clad in black with a mask concealing half his face, pressed the attack. Their duel, although impressive in swordplay, was even more fierce on the battlefield of wit.

By the time Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes had each revealed their respective twists, the young man in the Xavier mansion's recreation room was thoroughly enthralled. So much so that he barely noticed another body plop down in a huff beside him on the couch. He continued to watch the film, sitting at the edge of a cushion, leaning forward as if that would bring him closer to the displayed duel.

The individual beside him sighed dramatically. When that proved ineffective at garnering his attention, the sigh transformed into a frustrated groan.

"You know," said Kurt Wagner not once removing his eyes from the large television screen, "it's a lot easier to have a conversation if you use your words."

The teenage girl next to him pouted. "Says the guy more interested in a movie than his friend's problems. Haven't you seen this one, like, a million times?"

"Ja, and I hope to see it a million more." Kurt reached over and hit pause on the remote. "But I suppose it can wait for now."

The boy turned to his friend, a slight smile stretched across his blue-tinted features. It had been a few days since the two had hung out, ever since the recent student team training had begun there hadn't been much free time for the younger girl. Though, Kurt knew his friend well enough to realize most of that was likely self-imposed.

"What's up, Kitty?"

"Everything!" The exasperated Kitty Pryde tossed her arms up.

Things hadn't been going the mutant girl's way. It had been two days since the first team evaluation at the hedge maze, and Mirage had put the five of them through several more exercises during that time. None of which had been overly tough, certainly nothing like Kitty had been expecting and hoping for, but that didn't make the events of the week any less frustrating. Especially as Kitty was pretty confident Mirage had been targeting her in the training - selecting her for the most challenging tasks, singling her out when lecturing the group, and giving her more chances to fail compared to the others.

Kitty was sure their mentor had it out for her. Ignoring all the rest of the frustrations, that in itself was particularly hurtful for the teenager. She had been so excited to have Dani Moonster as a mentor, and while she did her best to not let it show during training or even throughout the rest of the day, that sort of letdown was getting to her.

It wasn't something she would share with anyone else, but Kurt had always made her feel comfortable. Since his arrival at the mansion two years ago, the pair had formed a fast bond and Kitty had realized she could always go to him when she needed to vent. To her, he was like the older brother she never had.

"You really think Dani's favoring Katie?" Kurt asked once Kitty had finished blurting out everything she'd been repressing the last few days.

"What else would it be? Little-miss-perfect and her two tag-alongs get assigned the simple stuff. Bobby just keeps sleeping through everything. That just leaves me being the one stuck doing the tougher stuff."

The nineteen-year-old raised an eyebrow at the younger teen. "But isn't that what you wanted? Weren't you the one telling me for years that you wanted to be challenged? To be given the chance to prove yourself?"

"Yes! But that isn't the point!"

Kurt had to stop himself from pointing out the obvious. He had learned long ago that sometimes bringing light to the absurdity in someone's logic wasn't what was needed.

"It's just not the same," she continued. "I can't do what I want to do if Dani keeps picking on me!"

"And what is it that you do want, then?" Kurt said after a moment of considering his words. "Right now, I mean. Not in the future because we both know you want to wear the X someday. But right now. Today, tomorrow, over the next few weeks and months, and however long this whole X-Men-in-training program lasts. What do you want, Kitty?"

"To win." Kitty's response came with no hesitation. "To be the best."

"Who are you trying to beat?"

"What?"

"You said you want to win. But who are you trying to beat? Your teammates?"

Kitty gave him a look like he was an idiot. "No, of course not."

"Then who?"

"I just... I don't know! Why does that even matter? I don't know who I want to beat, I just want to prove that I belong at the top," Kitty said.

Kurt raised his hands disarmingly. "I'm just saying, Kitty, that you're a part of a team now. It may not be the team you hoped for, they may not have an X on their chest right now, but they're still your teammates. And if you're trying to win all the time without them... then doesn't that mean you're really losing?"

The older boy placed a hand on Kitty's shoulder. "I'm not saying you're a loser, so don't take that the wrong way. We both know that you, Kitty Pryde, are definitely not a loser. But if you really want to prove yourself as X-Men material, then shouldn't you be proving that you're the best teammate? And not the best all by yourself?"

Kitty chewed on her bottom lip as she considered those words.

"I still think Dani's picking on me," she finally said. "But... you're right. You're always right."

She punctuated those last two words with a playful shoulder bump.

Standing, Kitty said, "Fine. I guess I can give the whole team thing a try. Doesn't mean I have to like them, though."

"You? Like other people? Never!" Kurt clutched his heart as if the mere notion had shocked him to his core.

One of the couch's pillows collided with the side of his face.

"Oh, shut up." Kitty couldn't help but laugh. Kurt always knew when to switch from wiseman to jokester, and he never failed to cheer the teen girl up.

As she left the rec room, new thoughts and plans flooding her mind, Kurt reached back over for the Blu-ray remote. His thumb pressed the play button and the screen lit up again.

"Please understand," Kurt echoed Cary Elwes as the scene came to a close. "I hold you in the highest respect."
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Hidden 22 days ago Post by webboysurf
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webboysurf

Member Seen 9 hrs ago

"Hold the line. As soon as that door opens, open fire and don't let up until your clip is empty. Whoever this monster is... he doesn't make it past us."

Luca tightened the grip on his rifle, his arthritis kicking in for the first time in weeks. Was it his own subconscious attempt to draw away from the fear of whatever was coming? Or was he squeezing so tightly on the barrel of the gun that his knuckles were white? It was hard to tell with the blinking red emergency lights... and the gloves. The goggles and mask certainly didn't help either. But none of that mattered right now... because right now, he had a facility to protect and a world to save. A new world that would be perfect for his wife and son. A world where they could reign supreme.

The only thing in his way was the-

Location: Berlin - Germany
Reflections #1.02: Wind of Change

Interaction(s): None
Previously: None


A loud thud pierced the stiff silence as the Hydra soldiers all flinched. They watched as the metal door shuddered slightly as something impacted against it. Everyone tightened their grips and settled into their positions, holding their volley of bullets until the door opened. And so they waited for a few precious moments, everyone holding their breaths. Luca saw what this white-clad demon was capable of. He had seen from the security cameras as he had mowed down his friends and co-workers. Watched them get picked apart as if this were nothing more than some dance. And now... Luca prayed that he could make the devil bleed.

The silence was broken as a loud bang ripped through the air, and a flash of light from behind the door signaled things were popping off. The door itself was launched from its hinges as an explosion shot it out into the line of Hydra soldiers, steamrolling over a few in the middle of the line. Luca watched Finn's neck snap at the impact of the door. But he didn't have time to grieve as the order was given, and he began opening fire on the empty doorway like everyone else. For what felt like an eternity, lead was pumped into the smoking maw their enemy must have been hiding in. That is, until the roar of gunfire began to die down one by one. And soon, all the soldiers were left in hopeful agony as they realized they had spent their magazines. And their combined thoughts were only to the fact that no man could have survived.

And yet, a shadowy figure moved into the doorframe, blue and orange suit striking against the white smoke. The Hydra soldiers stared in disbelief for a moment as they reached towards the ejected their spent cartridges to reload their weapons. But it was too late. In the blink of an eye, the figure knocked back three arrows and let them loose into their targets. Taskmaster then quickly flicked a switch on the bow and the metal frame straightened and the drawstring's tension was released. The newly formed javelin was hurled directly to Luca's right, impaling two of his friends to the wall behind them through their shoulder and stomach respectively. The soldiers were only just about finished reloading when the Taskmaster pulled a large circular shaped gun, firing some projectile past the group of soldiers on the opposite side of the room as Luca. The masked intruder was yanked through the air as he drew his sword in the other hand, slicing through the entire group with a singular swing. Before the Hydra soldiers had even finished reloading, two thirds of their rank had been slaughtered. Luca watched in horror as the skeletal mask turned it's gold gaze in his direction.

Luca let go of his rifle as he slowly backed up, his fellow soldiers lifting their reloaded weapons to fire towards their target. But it was no use. Taskmaster had already unhooked his shield and was charging forward, blocking their hail of bullets as he closed the distance in a moment. Two slices decapitated two of the five who remained, and a singular thrust of the sword gutted two more. Luca only noticed that the large blast doors the Hydra soldiers were guarding was sliding closed when the Taskmaster turned his gaze towards it and launched his shield at just the right time to get it wedged between them. Luca heard the futile grinding of gears that could not crumple Vibranium and let out a soft whimper, for the Taskmaster had turned his gaze back towards the remaining guard.

"Please... don't. I have a family. I just want to leave..."

Tony Masters slowly stepped towards the crying guard, his breath slow and steady as his eyes carefully scanned over his features. He was no threat, and completely defenseless. To be frank, Taskmaster was willing to let this one go. Time was of the essence, and he had more important matters to attend to. But as he turned to leave, his eyes caught scrolling text in his HUD.

<Interior data vault 40 meters north: retinal scan required.>

Taskmaster nodded upon reading the text, his left hand reaching out and grapping Luca by the throat to pin him against the wall next to his comrades. Luca's eyes were pleading, before they were sparked by recognition. "You... you trained us. Boot camp... you're the Taskmaster. You're like us... so... why?"

The unchanging mask gave no comfort and showed no signs of remorse or contemplation, not like that would have been evident if the mask was off. For Taskmaster did not hesitate to respond. "Because I have a job to do."

The Taskmaster pulled out his sidearm and shoved it firm into Luca's gut, nodding his head towards the squealing vault doors. Without another word, the two began making their way into the Hydra base's data vault.



Tony Masters leaned forward in his chair, quickly tapping the pause button on his playlist. He turned his gaze towards Dr. Pernell Solomon, the psychiatrist staring contently down the bridge of his nose through glasses that were certainly too small for his face. Dr. Solomon tapped his notebook with the back of his pen. "Breakthrough, Mr. Masters?"

Tony nodded, swinging his legs over the side of the reclining couch and beginning to readjust his suit jacket. "Of course. Music therapy seems to be helping for now, but it's not fast enough. Maybe another one of your clones will have a better idea next time."

Dr. Solomon's expression twisted from pleased to baffled, struggling to find words as Tony ripped the notepad from the psychiatrist's hands to toss it onto the desk. "What are you talking about? I run this fac-"

Before Pernell could finish his statement, a palm was already striking into the tip of his nose upwards to drive bone into his frontal cortex. Within a blink of an eye, Tony rounded out the assault by gripping the doctor's face and driving his head backwards against the chair until a loud crack filled the room. The corpse slid out of the chair, and Tony sighed as he scrolled over to his phone app and clicked on the only contact listed as a "favorite" on his phone. He lifted it up to his ear, quickly speaking as soon as he heard the line connected. "Why didn't you tell me about Berlin? Why send me here?"

The line was quiet for a moment, before a familiar feminine voice responded. "There is specific information in that memory that we need, and Doctor Solomon is an excellent psychiatrist."

Tony breathed heavily as he felt his blood pressure rising, his eyes only briefly scanning the shocked and partially mangled visage of the doctor in the chair. "You mean the clone?"

A sigh could be heard on the other end. "He is a valuable asset, but the Organization requires absolute secrecy. He serves his purpose. And now we need you to serve yours."

Tony moved over to the desk, sitting in the vacant office chair as he set the phone on the table and switched to speaker mode. "What do you need?"

The phone screen lit up bright, and a holographic 2d image appeared in the air above the phone. It showed a large documents folder, and someone was scrolling about through it. One of the folders clearly had a small lock icon over it, and the remote desktop attempted to open it. A password screen popped up with German text all over it. "We need the admin code you used while recovering these documents. Half the files didn't finish decrypting before extraction."

"Yes, the admin code was..."



Tony finished typing the code into the Hydra terminal, and nodded as the login screen gave way to a rather large file database system. In front of him, under where the keyboard had been before Luca lifted it, was a bright yellow sticky note with an admin code listed. Luca himself was quivering about a foot away, snot pooling down his upper lip and down his chin. "It was there, just like I said... so please... just let me-"

The gunshot pierced through the roaring industrial fans that were trying to keep this server room cool. Luca's body reflexively gasped out, but he was already dead before he even hit the floor. The shell casing clattered against the metal grating on the floor, but Tony didn't even notice. He was already busy at work going through the motions of copying the data over to the ghost drive on his utility belt. He didn't have time to worry about the corpse bleeding down onto the coolant pipes running below the servers.

After all, he'd forget about all of this in the morning.
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Hidden 22 days ago Post by Natty
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Natty

Member Seen 3 days ago



Red Robin #8 - An Icy Recovery
Location - Snowy Cones Ice Cream Factory, Gotham City, New Jersey.



Tim had expected the initial shot of Mr. Freeze's freeze gun, readying himself to leap back into a flip, his body arching over the ray of frost. Unfortunately, his jump landed him in the perfect spot to be hit by Freeze's second shot, with his left side erupting into searing pain as the cryothermal energy hit him. He found himself flying backward from the blast, tumbling down onto the floor. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Damian charging forward, sword in hand. However, he was in too much pain to focus on that fully.

This had been his fault. He'd tried and failed to reason with the man. He thought that bringing up Nora would've made his stop. Instead, it simply made him more irrational. How could he have been so naive to think that they could've just waltzed in and Mr Freeze would've accepted their offer of help? He was way too egotistical for that. So they'd have to help another way.

Letting out a grown, his hand moved to his torso, where a large chunk of ice currently resided. Even with his gloves, it was cold to the touch, with any slight movement of it causing the pain he was experiencing to temporarily skyrocket. Thankfully his suit had been designed for such occasions, with the insulation within the padding having been tested again such attacks. This meant that the cyrothermal blast at least wasn't fatal, just extremely painful.

Gritting his teeth, Tim's hand moved further down his body, before clicking a small switch within his utility belt, before reaching for a batarang. Immediately Tim felt a rush of warmth throughout his body, as the inbuilt heater churched into life. It was lightweight, so not the most powerful of Tim's suit modifications, but it did the job.

Managing to prop himself up with his elbow, he used the projectile to chip away at the ice, before taking a look at his surroundings.

As he had briefly seen beforehand, Damian had engaged their enemy immediately. The way he moved, dodging and weaving to avoid the blasts of ice launched towards him, was almost beautiful. Tim really had to commend the kid. He certainly knew what he was doing.

Feeling more confident with their situation, his eyes drifted from the skirmish before him to the now open door to Freeze's lab. Just within, he could see the brightly lit screens of the mad scientist's computer system; the home of all of his research.

As a smile set across his face, Red Robin chiseled one last chunk of ice off of himself before charging forward.
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Hidden 22 days ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

Member Seen 4 hrs ago

3187


Marcus Driver rocked back in the passenger seat of the long Dodge, his badge on the dash, street lights from the other side of the road reflecting off his shield intermittently as traffic allowed.

3187


3 1 8 7


He was back there again. Bickering with Charlie. He'd talked him into chasing down a tip after their close of shift. He's reluctant, wants to get back to Nora, but is unwilling to leave Driver high and dry. Particularly when Marcus said he'd follow it up alone.

The staircase seems darker than he remembers as the pair round each stairwell, as if the walls are stained with the shade of impending doom. The pair fall silent and communicate with gestures and facial tics as they approach the subject's dwelling.

3 1 8


With well-rehearsed precision both detectives pull steel and take up positions on either side of the door. Driver knocks and let's Fate's wheels spin. WhoIsIt? Police. HangOn,I'mNotDressedAndDecentYet. OpenUp. JustLetHimIn. He could swear he could smell not only the pungent smell of accelerant, but the sweet smell of the benzene within it. The state mandated therapist said this was merely survivor's guilt, from the traumatic experience. His story had changed over time to include that point, and it wasn't internally consistent.

It didn't make the odour any less real whenever he thought back on it, though. The mind's a powerful thing.

"Who is it?" It's destiny.

"Police!" The inevitable.

"Hang on, I'm not dressed yet!" Impossible to delay.

"Open up!" Because it's coming, no matter what.

"Just let him in!" The door's cracked open. Charlie caught a glimpse of it first. The partially obscured nozzle of the flamer. He never flinched, never wavered from the moment. Charlie threw his shoulder into the door to try and quickly open it into the nozzle and knock the weapon clear, but the perp pulled back from the door.

Time froze, before flame engulfed all. Before screaming was everything.



"Hey Driver?" The image shook. "Driver?" The scene was shattered.

"Yo, partner. Pop the lock."

Marcus leant over and unlocked the driver's side door, before reaching forward and pulling the handle to swing the door open. Renee stepped in carrying a tray with two cups of coffee.

"I picked you up coffee."

Driver smiled and held up a big cup from the car's beverage holder. "Don't need any."

"Got a pro stake-out tip from Sarge. Big Gulp. Keeps you fueled for the whole stake out and unlike coffee it doesn't go cold..."

"It goes flat..." They both finished their sentence at the same time.

"Right, so it then just tastes..." Marcus continued.

"...Like Cordial." Montoya finished his sentence again. "Did you get diet?"

"Well, no. That would kind of defeat the purpose. It's the calories that keep you going. Like I said, Sarge Davies told me it's an--"

"Yeah, an old stake-out move. I know. Harv told me."

"Harv? Harvey Bullock?" Renee could see the cogs turning in Driver's head.

"That's right." She said with a smile. "So did you get diet?"

Driver thought about the size of Sarge Davies' and Harvey Bullock's waistlines. And then sighed out a "Shit..."

He opened the door and poured out the entire contents of his Big Gulp into the gutter, whilst Montoya watched on with a smirk across her face.

"So... got one of those coffees for me, you said..?"




J U S T I C E F R O M A ' 6 8 M O N A C O
J U S T I C E F R O M A ' 6 8 M O N A C O




Driver and Montoya sat in contemplative silence. It had been hours now since the start of their shift and the monotony had well and truly taken hold.

Marcus sat low in his seat, his head lolled to one side on an angle. Bored, but his eyes never left the building of interest. Renee’s pose mirrored his own, but she glanced out over the front corner of the window just over the side mirror, and had started to absent-mindedly tap the bottom of the steering wheel.

Driver rolled his eyes over her way.

“What?”

He glanced down at her fingers.

“Oh…”

Driver sighed and leaned back further. Renee turned on the FM radio, desperate for a lifeline to break the tedium.

“—With the appearance of a strange green energy dome having descended upon the people here in Clark County, it seems at this point some bystanders exposed have begun to change form into green rage monsters. And whilst it’s yet to be confirmed, it doesn’t take much speculation to suggest it may be gamma radiation of some kind. And—apologies… Word just coming in. Yes it has been confirmed as Gamma radiation, the initial cause for the birth of the Hulk. One of the most destructive forces on Earth.”

Driver glared at Montoya.

“We’re receiving word now that Colonel Rogers has formed some kind of task force of Avengers who specialise in this type of situation. Given the nature of the circumstances, this reporter would suspect this to include the likes of Hulk, and Los Angeles’ She-Hulk. Whether Colonel Rogers plan to douse out the flames of rage monsters, with a larger rage monster will bear any fruit—”

Marcus grumpily switched off the radio.

“Alright, I’m sorry. How was I to know?” Renee pleaded.

“It’s not that. She’s mixing metaphors. ‘Douse the flames’, ‘bear any fruit’. It’s sloppy. Lazy horseshit journalism from some West Coast Bronco-chaser.”

“So it’s not that?” She asked, pointing up to the targeted building which was why they were here.

“No. It’s not that.” He sullenly shook his head with a grimace.

“It’s not that we’re here staking out Amyg-- Aaron Helzinger, and the fact that the last time you came face to face with one of the Bat’s freaks your partner got--.”

Marcus snapped his head around and glared. “Careful…”

“Yeah… it’s not that at all.” Renee concluded, leaving no sarcasm spared.

Aaron Helzinger, nicknamed ‘Amygdala’ by the more creative elements of the Gotham press, had a strange condition which brought on frequent psychotic outbursts. Some quack doctor had tried to ‘cure’ this malady with some backwater off the books, untrained surgery, a plan to remove his amygdala cluster in some ‘creative’ alternative lobotomy attempt.

He missed. Because of course he did. Because this is Gotham goddamn City.

Now Aaron Helzinger was still prone to the same psychotic outbursts, except once they started rolling, they don’t stop. And as the bouts of extreme rage build, he gets stronger. Much stronger. "Warning: Police Do Not Approach" kind of stronger.

The pair were tasked with following up a tip that he'd taken residence in this dirty apartment block in the Bowery. Standard rules applied regarding Helzinger - "Do not approach. Observe and Report. Confirm residence, and leave the rest to Tactical."

Tactical meant Howard Branden, and his jackbooted army of GCPD SWAT thugs. If this was the place, chances are the coroner would be picking Helzinger out of the rubble, if Branden lived up to his usual reputation. That being said, if Aaron Helzinger DID live here, it was probably only a matter of time before the building was turned to rubble regardless. At least Branden might get everybody out before taking action. This time. Maybe.

“Not like I haven’t lost a partner before…” Montoya grumbled, in part to break the silence since Marcus had turned cold.

“It’s not the same.” Marcus murmured.

“What was that?”

“I said ‘It’s not the same’. I read up on Allen. He got himself deep into some investigation when someone popped him.”

“This was my door. Charlie got caught knocking on the wrong door and I’m the one who put him there. It’s not the same.”

“Really? Because right now I’m sitting next to a partner who won’t open up and be straight with me and is internalising his shit and the job.” She fired eye daggers at Driver.

Montoya turned back to the building they were surveilling. “Because except for the bullet, I’ve gotta say it feels pretty much the same to me.”

Seconds passed and the atmosphere went thick. Marcus opened his mouth to formulate a reply only to be cut off by a loud shriek coming from the building of interest. Montoya threw the door open and exploded from her seat, triggering a cacophony of horns as she gave little heed to the traffic passing on the driver’s side.

“Montoya, wait! We have to call it in! Montoya! If it’s Helzinger-- Shit!”

He grabbed the radio and started to call in backup.

Renee didn’t hear his protests, she was already sprinting down the street, with her hand over her side piece.

Did she have a death wish? What could make a police confront Amygdala without backup?

Marcus hesitated while calling in support. Should he mention needing SWAT as well as the 11-99 call?

Fuck it. Let them figure it out.

“Maintain radio silence! Officer in pursuit on foot, lending support. Keep comms QT. Out.”

Driver holstered the radio and tore ran after Montoya, watching as she threw open the front door to the apartment block and bolted up the stairs.

It couldn't happen to the same guy twice, surely. Not so damn soon. Even in this city.

Could it..?
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Hidden 14 days ago 14 days ago Post by Bounce
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Bounce

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S E A S O N O N E : H O M E C O M I N G
Location: Xavier Institute, Westchester, New York
New Mutants #1.09

Interaction(s): @Retired


CAR!

A 2012 Honda Accord flipped end over end, arcing through the air toward the orange-skinned aquatic mutant.

Sliding like a baseball player coming into home, Katie shot across the asphalt of New York’s busy streets clad in a yellow costume that had a stylized starburst on the chest. Her hands were engulfed within fiery orbs of pure light. As she put herself between Sammy and the incoming car, the girl pushed to twin orbs into one another as she put her hands together...

CRACK-OOM

The explosion sent a shockwave radiating out from the girl, with sufficient force to knock the boy behind her onto his backside even as the plasma bolt lanced through the air like something from a science fiction serial.

The yellow beam neatly bisected the descending vehicle. The resulting explosion of its fuel tank broke the two halves of the car apart, so that either half slammed down several feet away from Squidboy.

Which was still startling. “OH SHIT!” the boy exclaimed, as several hundred pounds of twisted and melted metal slammed down to his left and right.

Across from the disheveled pair of tweens, the amorphous figure of the Blob gave a laugh, as the behemoth mutant started toward the two. The street cracked under his massive weight, causing the ground to tremble with each step.

The glow in Katie’s eyes started to fade, their natural blue showing as the toll on her body and the amount of energy that she’d used started to take hold. Then, gritting her teeth, the girl seemed to catch a second wind as she set her stance. Steam rose from the street, as the asphalt appeared to liquify and melt under her boots. Eyes flashing like the sun, the girl’s hands crackled with static before the golden orbs appeared once again.

Behind her, Sammy’s yellow eyes moved as his head swung left to right. They were fighting right next to Central Park. Cars were swerving to try and avoid the scene. The sidewalks were packed with panicked people, some running, some watching. There were shops and homes. As the aquatic watched as the Blob approached, he looked back at Katie and realized where this was going. “Are you nuts?” the boy asked, reaching forward to grab the girl by the shoulder.

The moment his hand connected with the glowing girl, it was like he’d contacted pure acid. Sammy swore loudly, yanking his hand back to nurse the burn on his palm. Grimacing through the pain, he shouted at Katie’s back, “You’ll nuke half of New York!

Digging in, the Energizer continued building up toward inevitable destruction. “You got a plan?” the girl tossed back at him.

“You’re the experienced hero!” Sammy quipped.

The girl’s pig-tailed whipped around as she spun to face the orange-skinned mutant. “You won’t always have me along!” she snapped vehemently, advancing a step and causing Sammy to take one backward. “So stop jerking off back there and what’s the god damn plan?

Withering under the girl’s gaze, the Squidboy seemed to shrink even as he mulled over the situation. What would Cyclops do? “We need to lead him away from the city,” the boy rationalized aloud, pausing a moment to think. Finally, he looked back at Katie and then looked up to the sky. “Cherub, hit him. If you can get him angry, maybe he’ll follow you.”

Finally, Katie uttered, exhaling with relief. Then, tapping the communicator she wore in her ear, turned back toward the Blob even as she announced, “Blue, you’re up!”

A metallic whine cut through the air, as the blue-skinned child swooped into view. The sunlight reflected brilliantly off the silvery, techno-organic wings as they spread out to their full length. Sections seemed to pull apart, as rows of razor-sharp points seemed to separate from the otherwise smooth appearance. Dropping low among the buildings, the young Archangel took a breath as he prepared to...

...do nothing.

Letting go the breath he was holding, the golden-haired clone of Warren Worthington vaulted back into the air, dropping back down as he seemed to make a second pass. Gritting his teeth, he held his breath as he set his sights on the Blob and...

...and nothing.

Letting go of the breath in a sigh, the razor points blended back into the metallic wings, which folded back to their normal appearance as the boy merely circled overhead.

“Computer, pause program!”

Drawing in another breath, Cherub seemed to resign himself to a lecture as he folded his wings against his back and dropped down in front of Katie and Sammy. His eyes were downcast as he crossed his arms in a defensive posture. Not so much defiant as it seemed he was almost hugging himself.

Katie caught the gesture, her first words paused. She said them, but tried to soften her tone. “What was that?”

The boy’s blue eyes seemed to be fixed on the ground. The toe of one foot dug into a spot where Katie’s disintegration field had caused liquification of the black top. Finally, a scant gaze came upward as the X-Baby offered, “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

Hands planted on her hips, the Energizer found herself startled. “Seriously? It’s the Blob!

Cherub’s face turned downward, as the self-hug tightened.

Inwardly, Katie kicked herself for the slip. The static field around her faded, as she held out her hands and softened her tone as she started again. “I mean... that’s not what I mean,” she began. In her own ears, she was starting to sound like her brother Alex. Did she even know what she was trying to communicate? “Wolverine can’t even cut him.”

The boy’s face stayed downcast as a meek voice asked, “What about after?”

Katie and Sammy each exchanged a glance, before Squidboy finally spoke up and asked, “What... do you mean?”

“Are we gonna pick up all my razor-feathers? Because they’re gonna wind up all over the place,” Cherub remarked, looking up as he asked, “So what happens when someone steps on one? Or a kid picks one up?”

Katie and Sammy exchanged another look, prompting Cherub to add, “They’re poisoned, remember?”

Katie started to say something, then seemed to think twice about it.

With that, the X-Baby turned and walked toward the exit from the Danger Room.

“Wait, what about training?” Sammy asked, calling out after the retreating Cherub.

Turning to glance back, the golden haired Angel repeated, “I don’t want to hurt anyone,” Turning his back to them, the boy continued toward the exit, as he offered only, “I’m sorry.”

Katie gave a slight, inaudible gasp, as memories of her brother Jack flashed briefly to mind. Except, Cherub’s tone and posture didn’t remind her of Jack.

If anything, he was reminding him of herself.

“Well, I guess he can keep Bobby company,” Squidboy offered half-heartedly, in an awkward attempt at filling the silence with... well, anything other than silence.

“We should get ready for class,” Katie offered finally, making her own way toward the exit.

“Seriously, what loser through the five of us would make a good team?” Sammy deadpanned in a biting tone.

Katie’s eyes flashed dangerously as she cut a glare over at the aquatic mutant, which seemed to convince him to be quiet for the time being.

As the two passed underneath the Observation Room, the girl looked up at where she knew Dani Moonstar was watching.

Katie knew building team work was going to be rough, but this hadn’t gone at all like she’d expected.
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Hidden 13 days ago Post by Mao Mao
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Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

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Fall 2020 // Underneath New York City
REUNION PT. 2


Peter jolted awake on the dusty old leather sofa he had been left to rest in. His hands instinctively lifted towards his gut, where fresh gauze had soaked through with his own blood. The hero groaned as pain shot through his entire body with his sudden shift into a sitting position. While this certainly wasn’t a pleasant awakening, this wasn’t the worst he’d experienced. Peter ripped off his mask to catch his breath before slowly peeling the drenched medical gauze from his open wounds. While still dazed, Peter noticed an array of basic medical supplies scattered over an old shipping crate right next to the couch. Without hesitation, he quickly moved in to reapply gauze to the wounds in his gut, applying a quick spray of webbing to keep it in place. With his wound redressed, Peter’s eyes groggily turned towards the safehouse around him. ”Hello?”

“Don’t move.” Venom lowered themselves from the ceiling shortly after dropping the first aid bag to the floor. Upside down, the symbiote stared at the web-head before gazing at the webbing, which started to bleed. “Or that will happen.”

Peter grunted in acknowledgement, reaching a hand down and feeling the wet blood seep through his gloved hand. He slowly reclined again, his gaze never leaving Venom. "Great, I'm hallucinating you giving me the Nightingale treatment? Why can't it ever be M… err, someone prettier." Even with his mask off, Peter's defenses were on as high alert as possible. He rested his left hand on the top of the couch, poised to flip him over for cover if things went sideways.

Venom rolled their eyes at the spider’s remark and landed on the ground. It wasn’t a surprise to them that the spidey’s quips were still annoying to them; but, it felt strangely comfortable after being away for a few years. Then, they made their way towards the sofa with the bag on hand before placing it on the crate. Venom began looking through the bag for the necessary supplies, which cost a fortune to get at the pharmacy. “Your attempt at humor is still hideous as ever. We would’ve dropped you off at the nearest hospital if it wasn’t for…”

There was a pause and a brief look at the silent radio. It isn’t the right time to tell him. “Just remain still and quiet for a second. At least until we stop the bleeding.”

Peter's unmasked gaze scanned over Venom, and his brain was finally just piecing together at least in part what was happening. The last thing he remembered was being impaled in the stomach by Carnage. The look of recognition was plastered on his face as Peter realized that Venom had to have saved him. The talkative hero relented to Venom's orders as he moved his hands out of the way of the wound. He gave a soft smile as he gazed up at the ceiling. "Thanks."

Another pause. It was strange to hear that word being used by Spider-Man, the hero that Venom terrorized for four years, and Peter Parker, the man that Eddie tormented throughout high school. In all honesty, both Eddie and Venom felt undeserving of being appreciated for doing the expected: saving someone from danger. Venom looked unease as if they were thinking about objecting the gratitude before shifting their whole focus on their patient.

Despite not being professionally trained in the field, Venom and Eddie had experience in treating injuries and wounds—mainly on themselves. It was fortunate that Carnage’s blade didn’t cause any critical damage to the stomach. The other injuries were easier to treat with the fact that this hideout still had plenty of medical supplies since it was barely used. In fact, nobody knew of its existence, which made it a perfect place to hide from people that want you dead.

Peter grimaced as Eddie went to work patching him up. He stared up at the ceiling, doing everything he could to stay focused enough so he didn’t pass out again. He didn’t have the luxury of sleep. He very slowly hooked an arm underneath Venom’s work to slip his cell phone out of his pocket and give it a quick glance. The thing was practically indestructible, so Peter was pleased to see that it was still functional. Unfortunately, he didn’t exactly have cell service down here. He only had a single text from MJ, but he didn’t bother to read it. He knew what it said. He didn’t need to think about that right now. There were more important matters on his plate… and a symbiote in the room. ”Where have you been? Don’t tell me you’ve been sleeping down here since we last saw each other.” Peter cracked a weak smile, before his expression grew a little more serious. ”Why did you save me, Eddie? After everything… would have been easier for you if I died, wouldn’t it?”

Venom froze in place upon hearing the question and placed the suture needle down on the crate. Then, there was an audible sigh… from Eddie. And in a matter of seconds, the symbiote was reduced to the fairly large worm-like creature and standing on his shoulders. Eddie knew the question was going to be asked so much that it played in his head too often over the years. But, he never found a satisfying answer. So, after another moment of pure silence, Eddie turned to look at Peter and answered. “No.. no it won’t. Not anymore.”

Eddie sat down on a chair near the sofa and continued talking. “How much do you want to know?”

Peter’s eyes scanned over Eddie’s features, his exposed face the most vulnerable he had been while in costume. He leaned his head back to get into a more comfortable position, his gaze not even falling on Eddie anymore but the cracked ceiling. ”Don’t think I’m going to be able to walk out of here for a little while… so you’ve got a captive audience, Brock. Lay it on me.”

Eddie took a deep breath and then started talking. “On the George, when you were within Carnage’s grasp, Venom and I… we experienced your emotions at the moment—fear, anger, sadness. That intensity was nearly identical to the one that severed your bond with Venom all those years ago. For them, it wasn’t their first time; but for me, it was when I truly understood you. All of those years hunting you down, fueled by my hatred towards you, and I wasn’t prepared for it. I will spare the details for your sake, but I know the true reason you’re still Spider-Man.”

“And learning about them… it made me want to do right from the first time in my sorry life—even if it was the last thing I ever did. Venom agreed. So, that was why we ended up tackling Carnage into the Hudson.” Eddie looked down in shame after hearing what he said. Then, he chuckled awkwardly. “Of course, as you can clearly see, fate had other plans.”

Peter nodded slowly, a small grin on his lips as he closed his eyes. ”See… I knew you’d make the right choice. We’re not that different… both of you…” His head was swimming, and he could feel the wave of tiredness pass over him. His wound was throbbing despite the work done on it, and even a healing factor couldn’t ignore the fact that this could have been a fatal wound. Peter groaned in contentment as sleep gripped him.

Eddie remained silent to take in the warmhearted words of someone that he bullied for years. To say that it surprised him was an understatement. But, there wasn’t much time to fully digest his feelings. Carnage was still wreaking havoc across hospitals in the hopes of unearthing their latest meal: Spider-Man. And with several of the webheads villains working together, things went from bad to worst for the city. Eddie sighed and got up from the chair, mentally preparing for a long stressful night. Then, he turned to look at Venom.

“Let’s do this, my love.”
Interaction(s): @webboysurf

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