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Hidden 3 mos 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 3 mos ago 3 mos 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 2 mos 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 2 mos 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 2 mos 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 2 mos ago Post by Retired
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Retired "Hayao Miyazaki"

Member Seen 0-12 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 2 mos ago Post by webboysurf
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webboysurf

Member Seen 0-12 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 2 mos ago Post by Natty
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Natty

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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 2 mos ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

Member Seen 2 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 2 mos ago 2 mos 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 2 mos 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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Hidden 26 days ago 26 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: Westchester, New York
New Mutants Annual #1

Interaction(s): @Retired


At the far end of the Xavier estate was a particular tree.

At one time, many years before, it had held a bald eagle nest. A massive, marvel of nature’s engineering. Whatever mating pair had settled there, in Westchester, had stopped returning. As nest had fallen into disrepair, it had created a kind of pedestal upon which one could look out over the picturesque grounds with only their thoughts for company.

The winged boy had found it early in arriving at the Institute. When he’d fly around the grounds, it seemed the perfect spot to land for a moment’s rest. So he found himself returning to it, over and over again.

And again today.

He had his knees drawn up to his chest, his arms wrapped around his legs as he sat in a fetal position with his head resting against his knees. In his mind, the Danger Room kept playing over and over again.

...or was it the Murderama?

Katie wanted him to use his wings to hurt someone. How was that any different from Mojo using his wings to try and get ratings?

Was that all any of this was? Was that all that he was? Just a means for someone to profit off of pain. Or blood. Or death.

It was a lot for a kid to take in. He’d tried to tell Katie and Sammy... well, Katie because Sammy wasn’t going to listen, but he didn’t have the words aside from what he’d said. I don’t want to hurt anyone. He’d thought about talking to Evan, but it seemed that Evan’s squad was off the grounds doing a training of their own.

So... he’d wound up here.

The was a rustle of dried leaves, the crack of the former nest’s twigs, before Cherub realized that there was someone else in the tree with him. Had someone made the climb? No, this was the Xavier Institute. It was probably a teleporter or something.

Which, rude. He came here to get away. And didn’t feel like talking. So the boy kept his head down.

“Great view, isn’t it?”

The boy gave no response, save to turn his head so that he was pointedly looking away from the speaker.

There was a comfortable silence for a brief period. Maybe a minute. Maybe more.

“You know, when I’d come here, it wasn’t about wanting to be alone. It was because I didn’t know how to ask for help.”

There was a metallic whine as the child’s wings sprang from out of the sheath on his back, the razor-like wings folding over the boy as though to form a techno-organic cocoon to shut out the world.

“All right, I still don’t know how to ask for help,” the voice offered as the boy closed himself off. “But we can be honest with ourselves, right?”

Raising his head up just enough to center it back on his knees, Cherub’s voice echoed inside the protective shell as he uttered, “What do you know.”

“I think I know us pretty well.”

The blue-skinned child’s head came up, a strange expression on his face as the fading daylight trickled back in from where the razor-like feathers retracted back enough for the boy to peer up at the owner of the voice.

It was a man with familiar features. The same fair hair. And a pair of white, feathered wings rising from his back. The Angel still wore the suit pants and dress shoes of his earlier attire, but had discarded the coat or dress shirt for the A-style undergarment that dressed his torso.

At the same time that recognition set in, Cherub’s face twisted into a look of skeptical disbelief.

“What?” the man demanded, before pausing show off his profile as he asked, “Didn’t expect to be this handsome?”

“I didn’t expect to be so...” the boy chirped, lapsing into a stunned silence as he struggled for the right word.

“Rugged?” the Angel supplied, before flexing in a display of his physique. “Swole?”

White,” the blue-skinned X-Baby blurted aloud finally.

The man gave a nod of his head at that. “All right. Fair,” he conceded, before dropped down to sit next to the boy. As he settled on the remains of the nest, the man held out a hand and said, “I’m Warren.”

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

“...but we were one of the more popular characters, right?”

“Wolvie’s the most popular character,” Cherub answered, the tone of his voice giving away that the news should hardly come as a surprise. “He’s in, like, every show! But... but, there was this, like... this ‘Cyke is right’ campaign thing for a bit and he was stooooopid annoying when the ratings charts were shared.”

“I’ve absolutely never thought that Scott was stupid,” Warren offered, coming to his fellow X-Man’s defense. Then he thought twice about it and admitted, “Today.” All right, thinking more on that, perhaps not entirely accurate. Was it wrong to lie to a child? What about to defend a friend? “Or, the last hour, but... we were in the top five? Yeah?”

Ehhhh... the blue-skinned X-Baby uttered, his head bopping from side to side as the child considered how to answer that. “…top ten,” the boy stated finally, his tone slightly dejected as he confessed, “Usually around number ten.”

Number ten? In a popularity contest of X-Men? Oh, Warren uttered, his head turned downward as that... actually stung a bit.

Realization set in with the tone in the man’s voice. “I’m sorry,” Cherub uttered quietly, seeming to shrink as he asked, “Do you need your tree?”

At that, the man gave a laugh. A hand reached over, tousling the boy’s hair. There was a pause, then the Angel changed topics as he said, “Dani said you’re having trouble with your wings.”

The look on the child’s face went from concerned to sad to... something else. Something Warren felt he recognized, even without putting a finger on exactly what it was. The boy folded back up into a fetal ball.

“To be honest, I had trouble when I had wings like yours,” Warren admitted, reflecting back on his time as Death and Archangel. Except, he’d been an adult then. It was hard to even try to imagine that phase of his life placed on the back of a young boy. Casting a look over at the downtrodden youth, the man asked, “You want to talk about it?”

The metallic wings sprouted back, folding over the boy in another protective shell.

...that seemed to be the answer.

Then a quiet voice from inside the cocoon said, “It was... scary.”

Scary. Lots of things were scary. The kid would need to be more specific than that. The current stock market and the global supply chain scared Warren, but he doubted the kid even had an investment portfolio yet. So what did scary mean? Something the boy didn’t know how to put in words?

When he was Archangel, what had scared him?

Wait, that was it. “Before you knew it, your wings just... reacted,” Warren said. An answer? A guess? A memory? Something he needed to try to verbalize? Yeah, that was pretty scary to recall. “Like they had a mind of their own.”

The wings folded back. It seemed Warren had made a pretty good guess. “There was so much blood,” Cherub said, his words muffled but distinct as the sob could clearly be heard catching in the boy’s throat. Tears ran down the boy’s face, even as he looked up at Warren and tried to continue, “And... and the audience was cheering...” The sob caught him in the throat again, the child stopping before he could go any further. A loud sniffled, the boy wiped his nose against the back of his hand before he simply said, “I was so scared that I just ran. Or flew. Or whatever.”

The names were different. Cherub had dealt with Mojo, not Apocalypse. The X-Baby had faced the Murderama, not the Horsemen of Apocalypse. But, it seemed their emotions and fears were similar. If not the same. “Mojo plays some...” Warren began, choosing his words carefully before he continued, “...very bad games.” There was the understatement of the year. Resting a hand against the child’s back, the man offered, “Its not your fault.”

At least now Cherub was animated. Arms and legs springing forward, the boy blurted aloud, “But then I go to sleep and I don’t know what I’m going to wake up to. At best, I shred the sheets,” the X-Baby lamented aloud, looking at Warren as he exclaimed, “I’ve cut two bed frames in half having a dream about flying!”

Now, the kid was starting to make Warren recall his own childhood. Not exactly, perhaps, but he could recall those kinds of feelings vividly. “You’re scared of the one thing that makes you... that makes us... who we are.” the man commented. “Our wings are what makes us special – makes us feel special – so flying is special to us.”

The child seemed to huff at that thought. I wish I never had wings at all.

It really was like having a conversation with himself. “Well, that I do understand,” Warren offered in a low tone. How many times as Archangel had he had that thought, sitting here, in this very tree?

Craning his head back, the man looked up at the sky as he began, “I... lost my wings.” It was a simple statement. But about as far into the matter as Warren cared to get. “It was the lowest point in my life. Who was I without my wings?” the man asked, turning his head to look over as he posed the rhetorical question to his clone.

Looking away again, Warren continued. “Then a man came along and offered to give me wings again.” There was a certain bitterness that came through in how the man spoke now. Particularly as he explained, “In exchange, I would have to do something terrible for him.”

A wan, ghost of a smile seemed to grace the Angel’s features. Then he turned and asked the child, “Would you take that bargain?”

Cherub seemed fixated on the story. The boy’s eyes darted off to the left, as though he knew the answer that he ought to give. But seemed to hesitate before he finally admitted, “Yes.”

Warren gave a hollow laugh. “I should know better than to ask myself that question,” the man offered cryptically. “I guess I wish I could back and give a different answer. But that’s not who we are.” As though to punctuate that last remark, Warren glanced down and said, “Your wings are the result. I had everything I wanted again... and it gave me nothing but regret.”

All these years, he’d thought he’d at least taken an account of all his sins. Looking at the child-like Archangel before him, he realized he’d missed one. “And it seems that my choice led to you being created as well.”

The child seemed to shrink as he hugged himself tighter. A sheepish, quiet voice asked, “Do... do you regret that?”

“I regret...” Warren began, starting and then stopping as he thought more about his words.

“I regret that my choices led to Mojo hurting you, and I’m guessing there were others before you,” Warren said finally. And probably another since Cherub left Mojoverse, but that line of thought of something for another day. Returning to the point that he wanted to make, the man said, “You and I can’t control what Mojo does or who he hurts. It’s not your fault. You and I just have to try and rise above the people who’ve harmed us.”

Dear god. He was starting to sound like Charles. He was Warren Worthington the Third. He had much more style than that. Though, even as he had that thought, the Angel reflected aloud and offered, “... and maybe the mistakes I’ve made as well.”

A sheepish smile broke through the tears that still rolled down the boy’s face, as he peeked over at the Angel and offered, “Our mistakes?”

“I’ll thank you to make your own,” Warren quipped back in a teasing tone. “I’ve already made my contribution for the both of us.”

The pair seemed to just enjoy the quiet, out on the limb, for several minutes. The sun was starting to dip to the horizon, painting the landscape in a sea of orange and red.

“Warren?”

Wordlessly, the man looked over at the boy.

Turning his head up, Cherub asked, “Who’s Apocalypse?”

As soon as he’d asked, the child realized that he’d made a mistake.

The man’s demeanor seemed almost icy. His jaw tensed in a way that belied a certain anger. The Angel didn’t answer for a moment, though when he did he exchanged one question for another. “Who told you that name?”

The child rocked himself from side to side. Should he apologize? “Evan,” he admitted sheepishly.

Stay a...

He’d started to bark at the child, the X-Baby recoiling even as the first word landed like a hammer.

What was Warren doing? About to tell the kid – himself – to stay away from someone? Yeah, that had always worked fabulously when other people had done it to him. Taking a breath, the man tried to start again. “You should be careful around Evan,” the man warned in a flat tone. “He’ll either be the greatest mutant since Xavier, or the greatest threat this planet has ever known.”

All things being equal, Warren wasn’t sure he wanted to give the kid the chance to prove which might be the case.

He cleared his throat. But, I came here to talk about us,” Warren offered, turning the conversation back to what had brought him – them both really – out onto that limb. “When I was your age, I hated my wings – the feathered ones, like these – because I was scared.”

The child fidgeted, then seemed to relax slightly as he asked, “Scared of what?”

“Being a mutant,” Warren offered candidly. Glancing over at the boy, the man explained, “It took a long time for me to be comfortable with that idea.” Was he comfortable with it now? Or just too publicly out to turn back? Either way, “I think that’s true for many of the kids at this school. Their powers and abilities make them different. In some cases, they even make them dangerous.”

He hoped that the boy was starting to make the connection for himself, but at the risk of sounded like Hank, Warren went ahead with the punchline. “It’s not their fault. It’s not your fault, but your wings are part of who you are. The same as it was for me. And I think your teachers can help you to control your abilities. Maybe even better than I could.”

Well, that was a heavy topic. But at least it was over with.

As the pair lapsed back into the quiet contemplation of the sunset, the man changed the subject again as he offered, “Next, can we talk about the name?”
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Hidden 25 days ago Post by Zoey Boey
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Zoey Boey Large Fry Enjoyer

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B A T G I R L




Ripples in a pond. When something was wrong, cities and people reacted like a pond when a stone was dropped into it. The bigger the ripples, the bigger the stone.

Or maybe, it was like people being tied together with invisible strings. Shake the string and the whole thing shakes. Follow the strings back to the source.

Or maybe...maybe it was just too hard to explain. It would be too hard to do, even if she could force words out of her mouth or onto paper. Batgirl saw a man stare down at his phone. Concern turned him yellow and blue, and he stared off into the distance. A fear that was familiar to him quickened his heart and tightened his throat, and thoughts of concern for his loved ones drifted off of him like big red balloons. They were taken by the wind… away from the danger. Away from something to the West.

Batgirl’s hair stood on end. Maybe she could just smell it. But this was her city now, and though Batgirl couldn’t read Gotham’s signs or understand her language, Batgirl and Gotham were connected. Everyone and everything was. That’s what people often didn’t understand, and if they could, Batgirl imagined there would be much less suffering in the world.

Before she could get stuck inside her own head again, she turned her thoughts outward. Wind pushed against her, so she had to ford through it.

From her belt she produced a wire. A unique weapon she primarily trained in with the league of shadows. This one was Wayne Tech, and instead of being a lethal, throat slitting utility weapon, it was now a non-lethal binding tool. She hadn’t acquired another sword ever since she pawned off her last one for bus fare and snack money. Asking Batman for a weapon such as that just felt wrong.

(Or maybe you’re just afraid of how it’ll make you feel.)

The wire was thin but durable, and could separate at certain portions if she applied specific types of pressure. There were multiple different types of tips she could apply, from dull, to magnetic, to electric, to sharp.

Right now it snapped into bricks and wrapped around vertices, pulling Batgirl along as she sprinted across the rooftops. Following the scent of mayhem came more naturally to her than trying to decipher the alerts that would come to her from her cellular device.

Once she had oriented herself, she knew it would be faster to travel through the sewers. That would get her to the source of all this. It was becoming more and more apparent from the direction she was heading and the feelings in the air that the source was Arkham Asylum. She knew the way.

Plunging off a rooftop, she fell silently for several seconds. Then she pulled on the wire that still connected her to the roof, slowed her momentum, and rolled sideways into a storm drain where she continued on foot without so much as a brief pause. She felt like she could hear for miles while in the sewer tunnels. The arteries of the city told a different type of story than the skin.

Batgirl passed through a large chamber. Here several tunnels interconnected, pipes flowing overhead with water rushing through or stagnating within them. Maintenance workers used these tunnels to get at the guts of the city. Batgirl passed through another narrow tunnel, almost a ditch, slipping through like a shadow.

She perked up. Dark eyes scanned the tunnels.

(Something. Someone. Scratching. Carving. Sharp.)

Where?

(The left.)

Smells like...fear. People live down here.
(People die down here.)

Batgirl sped off, feet barely breaking the surface tension of the water around her ankles.

There was light up ahead, the tunnels opened up. There was a door down here on a platform built into the wall. Electricity and oil hummed behind it. Scrawled on it’s rusty green surface was...some kind of message. Five lines long. The bottom line had huge claw marks in them, scratched out to be made unreadable. Sitting next to the message was a homeless man. He’d just seen something frightening, and though he was sworn into secrecy, Batgirl knew that the perpetrator of his fear had gone to her left. Like he was watching his closet for the return of a monster.

Batgirl approached the message and took a snapshot of it with her cell phone. Only then did the man see her emerge from the darkness like a spectre, and he shrank away from her dark, lightly armored form, that terrible scowl stitched into her over-shadowed cowl. Her eyes were little more than two dark pits from his perspective. Though she pitied him and his unfortunate situation, there were more pressing matters at hand. Within the scratch marks were flecks of fresh blood. Someone was recently clawed.

(To death.)

A person with great, unnatural ability had done this. Released from the chaos beating it’s drum in Arkham. Batgirl couldn’t just let them go. She followed the direction she knew they had gone.

(Ripples in the water. Stomps. Heavy.)

Batgirl followed the ripples, looking to get to their center.

Somebody yelled.

(Surprise. Disbelief. Recognition.)

Blurring through the sewers of Gotham like a rabid rabid rodent, Batgirl glided to the source. It was a large chamber, like she had passed earlier. A four way intersection of walkable tunnels lead into a large, underwater pool area. In each corner of the room were four platforms with machinery, and each corner was connected with a metal bridge. In the far corner of the room, a man in a bright yellow safety vest was desperately trying to clamber up a ladder and reach the manhole above.

Beneath him, raising his gnarled, scaled hand, was the person Batgirl recognized as Killer Croc. Batman had instructed her to not engage with any of Arkham’s supervillains, but he had done her the favor of at least getting to know all of the infamous ones. Even if it had been difficult to convey the specifics, Killer Croc’s body told her everything she needed to know.

Waylon Jones’s entire body was covered with green scales. They were his skin. His huge, hulking form was nine feet of pure muscle. He weighed nearly one thousand pounds.

In a flash, just as he prepared to bring his claw down to cleave the fleeing civilian in twain, a wire wrapped around his wrist and pulled him back. Batgirl had leaped across the room and used his arm as an anchor to both pull it back and launch herself further. Landing softly on the narrow railing around the platform, she balanced on the arches of her boots.

As Waylon went to yank the wire off of him, it went slack, and returned with a zip to her sparse utility belt. The maintenance worker climbed to safety, frantically sliding the manhole shut behind him.

Groaning in frustration, Waylon turned around. His head was bald, his facial features twisted by the X-Gene. A jaw painfully jagged with carnivorous teeth, a flat nose, the structure of his head almost seemed to slope down and out, oh so slightly. His eyes, though, were human. Buried underneath his distended eyebrows were two light blue eyes, with twin pairs of fleshy eyelids.

From the looks of it, he was trying to kill that worker so no one knew he was down here. Now it was only a matter of time until he was discovered.

He was still wearing the jumpsuit the employees at Arkham had placed it in, though he had ripped off the grey sweater, leaving only his pants.
For a moment, the two silently sized each other up. In some ways...they were similar. Waylon ground his sharp teeth together, squinting at the new vigilante in front of him. Batgirl tilted her head to the side.

”Who are you supposed to be?” He asked, voice a dreep, echoing growl.

Batgirl turned her shoulder while on the railing, indicating the yellow bat symbol on the back of her outfit. She curled her arm around her torso and tapped the symbol a few times to indicate it.

”Ain’t no kind of Batgirl that I recognize.” He said, rolling his own shoulder.

Batgirl only shrugged. She pointed at him, and then jerked her thumb over her shoulder and back to Arkham.

”What, you don’t talk?” He asked, ignoring her obvious demand. He cracked his knuckles and then his neck, like rocks tumbling down a canyon wall. She just shook her head in response.

”I bet you scream just fine, though.” He growled, and lunged forward. His claws caught empty air as she flipped over his head and landed behind him.

(He’s big. Fast. Strong.)

I’m faster. And while he’s stronger, I think we have the same amount of explosive power. I can take him off guard with that at least once.


Metal wrenched from concrete, and Killer Croc swung the entire railing she was just standing on at her in a full 180. It whizzed over her head as she flattened herself against the ground. He let the railing fly out of his hands and crash into the wall, and he took the moment to leap, opening his toothy maw. She rolled out of the way, and then popped up as he slashed at her.

(See that mouth? It’s powerful. Could break through metal, let alone your flesh. But there’s a weakness there. Let him bite at you one more time.)

Waylon growled, the deep sound echoing for thousands of feet throughout the sewers. Dashing forward, he swept at her multiple times at high speed, but Batgirl ducked and weaved through all of them. She finished with a roll under his arm, effectively swapping positions from where they started.

”Can’t dodge forever, girl.”

Batgirl stood up straight, crossed her arms. She tapped an invisible watch on her wrist.

True, she seemed to say. But you don’t exactly have all night, either. You’re on the clock.

Waylon surged forward, but she could see the feint in his arms, tingling from his fingertips to his eyes like a false string. He came to a few feet in front of her and prepared to leap in the direction of wherever she dodged, but she just stared him down.

Frustrated, he went to grab her by the shoulders and bite, but she slid between his legs.

(There it is. The muscles in his jaw are immensely powerful when closing, but very weak for opening. Like a real crocodile, you can keep his mouth from opening in the first place.)

Behind him now, she kicked at the back of his knee, causing it to buckle. He dipped backwards and she grabbed him by the neck and shoulder, kicked out at the same leg again, and slammed him hard onto the concrete. It cracked beneath the impact. Surprised at the pain he felt, he swept out at her, but she flipped like she weighed nothing at all, and then slammed her foot down on his forehead like she weighed seven hundred pounds. Crack!
Graaagh! He held his head and back handed at her, but she danced away.

”What the fuck!” He shouted, scrambling to his feet, shoulders heaving. She saw the mood shift. He had been underestimating her, but she couldn’t exactly blame him. As far as he knew, he hadn’t been dealing with someone like her.

(Someone like me? Father calls people like me The Elite. The supers of the world, heroes and villains both. The only people that matter.)

Not now, please. I’m trying to concentrate.

(Why didn’t you just shove the pointy end of the wire into his eyes when you had the chance?)


Rrrah! Not even Batman takes me on when I’m in the sewers! I’ll feed your corpse to the rats!” Waylon declared, but she could tell he wasn’t really going to do that. If he did kill her, he would just leave.

Wait.

His intentions changed. Why bring up the sewers? Because he was planning on diving in and either escaping, or using it to defeat her. That wouldn’t be ideal- the exact depth of the water was still unknown to her. Twenty feet deep or four foot deep- she hadn’t figured it out yet. Murky brown and green waters welcomed Killer Croc’s approach.

Like a metallic snake, the wire wrapped around his leg and pulled taut. Losing his balance, Croc bent the yet undamaged railing he was trying to get over as he leaned on it for support. Swiping at it proved fruitless, his mighty claws couldn’t get enough purchase on it to sever the cord. When he attempted to pull at it, Batgirl severed the connection at a predetermined point, a little black bead signifying its ability to be reconnected to something later. As he turned around to dive into the water, Batgirl thought to herself.

What would Batman do?

(What is this stupid insistence on non-lethality? What would an Assassin do? I could have blinded him in at least one eye already, or even killed him. Why didn’t I?)

Shut up. What would BATMAN do?

Use a gadget? Why don’t I bring more gadgets with me?

(Because I’m too good for them. I can kill whoever I want, I don’t lose.)

I don’t kill. I can’t kill. The non-lethal gadgets are just so...unwieldy. I’m no good with them.


But she was good with almost everything else. Batgirl pulled another card out of her sleeve. Having tricked Killer Croc into thinking he was free of her, she whipped her wire around and flung it right at the wire wrapped around his ankle, reconnecting it.

As he dove into the water, she knew exactly where he was. He dove, and she felt the impact reverberate through the wire. The water wasn’t deep at all, it might come up to her waist at most. Leaning back to build up force, she launched herself forward with a mighty leap. Though he was completely invisible, swimming prone through the depths, she knew exactly where he was. Since she knew where his leg was, she knew where the rest of him was, too. She landed on his head with another great stomp, sticking the landing and forcing his face into the concrete below.

Roaring angrily, Waylon came out of the water and slashed at her like she was a stinging wasp. Flipping off of him, she landed behind him, sinking up to her hips in the water. Turning to face her, Killer Croc heaved his chest. Blood ran down his forehead from where she had split his skin. Her wire rose out of the surface of the water and ran through her fingers, connecting to her belt.

”I don’t belong in Arkham.” Waylon took a step forward and casually slashed at her like he was shooing away a fly. Batgirl pushed through the water to avoid the attack, but she was slower than on land. Reading his intentions, he was just moving her around, not truly attempting to kill her.

”I’m not crazy. I’m not some fucking monster.” He advanced on her, swatting at the air again.

”They put me in there ‘cause I’m a mutant! That shitty place! Full of fucking lunatics! I ain’t one of them!” Batgirl saw that he was telling the truth. Though his hatred and resentment coursed through his veins like poison. That in and of itself was a certain kind of madness, but not the kind that could be treated in an asylum for insanity.

”All my life, I’ve been treated like a freak!” As he stepped forward to swipe again, Batgirl prepared to dodge but was stopped. Killer Croc had stepped on her wire, keeping her locked in place unless she let go or disconnected. But once she did that, she’d lose track of him in the water! He’d slip away into the sewers. No, her connection with Croc had to be maintained.

Dodging away, Batgirl turned her shoulder. While she managed to deflect the blow, Croc was still of immense strength, his claws sharp. There was a wrenching of metal as he carved away her shoulder plate. Batgirl gritted her teeth as she felt flesh tear away. ”I’m gonna be the one in control!” The impact sent her splashing into the water, her palms skidding against the bottom and her head submering. For a moment, all was murky water. Opening her eyes against the stinging, algae filled waters, she saw Killer Croc’s legs loom toward her.

It’s all just calculus. He was bringing his claws down on where he thought her shoulders were. A bite, to finish the job. Batgirl put her palms by her ears, curled up into a ball, and pushed. She came out of the water like a rocket, defying the weight and drag of the water. Catching his jaw with the bottom of her boots, she jerked his head backwards from the impact. Just like she predicted, his jaw was weak to closing pressure, and snapped shut, his arms awkwardly wrapping around themselves in the water. Curling in the air, she grabbed his head and sat down roughly on his shoulders. Still reeling from the kick, his neck was exposed. She disconnected her wire from around his leg and created a new one around his jaw and the top of his head, squeezing it shut. One of his claws came up to try and free himself of the pressure, but the carbon fiber wire was wrapped so tightly under his jaw and to his face that it was impossible to remove in such a short amount of time.

His other claw came to slash at her, but she was ready. From her belt she produced a batarang, and matching her might with his, she impaled it into his palm, his own strength working to drive it all the way through. Roaring through his clamped jaw, Killer Croc felt Batgirl’s hands wrap around the fingers of his damaged hand. With a few well placed wrenches, she broke several of his fingers. Spasming, he threw her off, though now she had access to a wire connected to the back of his neck, like a collar. Batgirl dropped to the water and swam between his legs, pulling the wire behind her. She leapt onto his knee and then pushed off, kicking him in the face.

Landing on her feet again, she balled up her fist and threw strikes into his abdomen, feeling them reverberate through his powerful form as she honed in on a weakness. He swept out at her with his undamaged hand, but she ducked it and drove her index and middle fingers up under his ribs like a knife. A paralyzing effect dropped him to his knees. As he did though, he brought his head down like a hammer right on top of her forehead. The movement of his headbutt was disguised by him falling to his knees. Batgirl’s own actions had deceived her.

The headbutt connected hard, and Batgirl was shoved underwater. Unconscious for a moment, her eyes rolled up under her eyelids under her mask, and blood ran down her face as it had Waylon’s. Killer Croc found his legs impossible to move, and because of the pain in his ribs and the wire around his head, it was also hard to breathe.

Batgirl came too quickly, sputtering up water and scrambling to her feet. Blood and water soaked her mask, blinding her, so she tore it off and let it fall into the water. There was a crack in her forehead. Once again it wasn’t full contact, but even the grazing hit had been devastating. It looked like there were three Killer Crocs in the water in front of her. Blurry. There was a ringing in her ears.

Waylon made eye contact with the Batgirl’s true eyes and squinted. Of course, he didn’t recognize her. Cassandra Cain was a nobody. But still, he was surprised to see her not care about maintaining her anonymity. He always imagined that was a big deal for the bats. As if removing a mask would somehow be a secret weakness. But looking at her now, there was no difference at all. They were still in this fight.

Batgirl reached into her utility belt, and connected a grapple hook to the end of her wire. The hooks were closed, connecting tightly to the grapple, making it a tool purely for bludgeoning and weight.

Twirling it for a moment, she launched it at Croc’s head. He deflected it, and it bounced high in the air. Batgirl twisted her wrist and placed her hand against the wire, causing the wire to whip around in a circle, wrapping down behind his left shoulder, around his right arm, and smacking him in the face. Roaring, he grabbed it and threw it at her, but this only seemed to work in her advantage. Sidestepping, her hands began playing her end of the wire like an instrument, and her arms whirled like she was conducting an orchestra. Soon it was slicing through the air like a blur, harassing him like a hornet.

Batgirl spun, wrapping the wire around her lower body and then quickly undoing it. Her glare was white hot, like she had finally figured out everything about him. Every desperate thrash led to the wire binding his limbs like a chain, every dodge only coiled it around him like a snake. Finally, she pulled it taught, and it constricted his entire form, seizing his arms against his chest.

”What the hell?!” He roared. Muscles bulging, he tried to pull himself free. Roaring, he charged after her, looking to pulverize her with his weight alone.

As he bore down upon her, she stared him down.

(...Now. Do it.

At the last moment, she grabbed his arm, put her foot against his ankle, turned her back to him, and slammed him over her shoulder and into the water with a tremendous splash. All one thousand pounds. Crashing onto the concrete. Batgirl was soaked through entirely, but when Croc floated to the surface, he was unconscious. Her already damaged arm screamed at her, but she ignored it. Blood streamed down her face. Nonetheless, the elation of victory reached her heart. Water rained down on her from above for a few moments. Once again there was silence in the tunnels under Gotham.

Batgirl dragged Killer Croc through the waters and hoisted him up onto the platform with the help of wrapping her wire around some infrastructure. The police would have to figure out how to get him back into Arkham. Once again they’d have to bring the heavy restraints that he had broken out of.

It seems like people created this monster.

Not in the way that I was created. But rather, he was molded. In another time and place, he could have lived a normal life...and maybe that time and place is in the future, and maybe that place is Gotham.


Sirens and radio chatter filled the streets of Gotham as one by one, many escapees were rounded up and captured. Somewhere out there, the Batman roamed.

Batgirl climbed out of the sewers, holding her bad arm, and made her way into the alley. Several police officers saw her face, covered in blood and obscured slightly by her hair, but there was no doubt they had seen her. An EMT offered her a roll of gauze. Batgirl didn’t care. She made her way to the rooftops and lowered herself to her knees, blinking the blood out of her eyes.

I stopped one would be murderer. But there’s more. The Robins might need my help...Batman, Batwoman. Where are they? I need to keep helping. I have to keep going. This wasn’t enough. I’m not done. Batgirl jumped to the next roof, and then the next. The night wasn't over. Would it ever be over? The answer didn't matter.


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Hidden 24 days ago Post by Lord Wraith
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Lord Wraith Leaf on the Wind

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MULTIVERSAL MAYHEM
_________________________________________________________
■ Summary: When a series of rifts open above New York City, the East Coast is plunged back into the chaos of the Dominators Disaster once again as time is warped around the city's Eastern seaboard. Elsewhere in the city though, other timelines collide as the Chitauri pour out on the unprepared population. In another borough, a horde of Kroloteans have been scattered across Queens.

■ Location: New York City (Brooklyn, Manhattan & Queens)

■ Priority: Urgent

Testing Sequence Complete.


♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ C R I S I S E V E N T ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Location: Manhattan, New York City - U.S.A.
Multiversal Mayhem #1.01: What If... There Were Portals?

Interaction(s): None
Previously: None

A triumphant noise escaped the man's pursed lips as he ran a relieved hand through his thinning hair. He had been forgotten about for years, ignored by the scientific community as a whole. His theories on time travel and the multiverse had fallen on deaf ears, refuted by his peers. It had cost him his tenure, disgraced him on a global stage. Dr. David Chilton used to be invited to talks alongside Tony Stark and Reed Richards, now he worked in an oversized storage closet, berated and undermined by his wife at every chance she got.

But not today, today there was a stable portal opening in front of David Chilton, a stable portal that allowed him to look into time passed or time not yet seen. Worlds previously unknown were within his grasp, worlds where instead of Enid, he had married Scarlett Johansson. Entire new universes were within his grasp.

Today belonged to David Chilton.

With his newfound mastery over time and space, Chilton could go anywhere, be anyone, have anything he desired. The disgraced professor smiled; a thought suddenly occurred to him. He could travel back to the attack on New York, warn the people, aid the heroes or more importantly, be the hero. He could be the sole reason they won that day. NO longer would Chilton be henpecked by his wife, forced to work on his experiments in this tiny room while she took over the rest of the house with her side hustles and essential oils.

The amount of debt they had accumulated from all-natural fizzy drink additives was enough to drive a man mad. It honestly would not have surprised David if the Joker was actually sane and just one day got sick of his wife peddling a similar pyramid scheme and decided to go off on Gotham. David would even sympathize with the man for it!

Well, except maybe the mass murder.

Adjusting the inputs on his computer, David watched the colours of the portal shift from a cool blue into a warm orange. The familiar sight of the skull-like ship above Times Square filled the view.

"No, need to go back more." David muttered, moving his arm to adjust the display only for his forearm to collide with a mug of hot coffee. Jumping from the splash of hot liquid on his arm, a panic squeal came out of the man as he reacted too late to stop the beverage from spilling over his workspace.

"That had better not have been one of my good mugs, you worthless excuse for a man!" Enid's voice echoed from down the hallway. "I don't know why I didn't listen to my mother, she said she could have gotten me a date with Oliver Queen, I could have been Mrs. Queen, QUEEN! but instead, I settled for your lazy a-"

The slamming of the closet door interrupted his wife's tirade as David quickly shut the machine down and picked up the pieces of the shattered mug. Taking a deep breath, he opened the door only to be met by his wife's very red face.

"Don't you dare slam the door on me, you spineless-"

"SHUT UP!" David roared back, "I don't have to take this from you, I don't have to take anything from anyone ever again."

"Ha! I-"

"I'm not done talking, Enid." David continued, turning back around pressing a key on the computer. A new portal began to form. Lush jungles appeared in the haze as Enid was left nearly speechless.

"W-w-what is that?"

"How about a first-hand experience?" David sneered suddenly grabbing Enid and pushing her through the portal. A prehistoric roar echoed over her screens before David gleefully closed the portal. An unexpected flash of red illuminated the screen prompting a raised eyebrow from Chilton.

- - -   S A T E L L I T E   U P L I N K   C O M P L E T E   - - -

"Wait, no!" David protested as the device continued to input commands of its own free will.

- - -   T A R G E T I N G   S E Q U E N C E   L O C K E D   - - -

Above the city, the Wayne Enterprises satellite complied with the commands of David's program. Altering its angle, the orbiting relay targeted the city below and began to emit three pulses towards the city below. High above Manhattan, a portal began to take shape just as it had moments ago in Chilton's 'lab'. The horrifying screech of a Dominators ship echoed above Times Square as it emerged from the portal only to be drowned out by the roar of a very much not extinct tyrannosaurus rushing towards the bustling crowds.

A second pulse illuminated the nearby horizon as a second portal opened above Brooklyn. An unearthly roar echoed across the skyline as a giant worm-like beast flew through. Armour was grafted onto its body and as it neared the city, pods departed from its side revealing another alien race within. Descending upon Brooklyn, the aliens began to fire indiscriminately. Above the borough, the portal closed again, before opening in the distance.

Above Queens, a third portal opened. Screams filled the air, but not from the city below but instead the sky above as numerous, small, green goblin-like aliens were dropped to the city below. Panic engulfed New York as the portals continued to open and close above the city, hostiles and friendlies alike from different times and universes descended upon New York all while Chilton watched with horror from the window of his home. Watching the goblin-like aliens run through his yard, David ran back towards the closet.

There was no way he was sticking around here to see how this all ended.

OBJECTIVES
_______________________________

■ Protect Civilians and reduce damage to New York
■ Stop the Dominators from advancing further.
■ Contain the T-Rex currently rampaging through Times Square
■ Halt the advancing Chitauri Leviathan and its troops in Brooklyn
■ Wrangle the Kroloteans loose in Queens
■ Locate and stop the source of the Multiversal Rifts





- -First Issue: TBD--
Next Issue: TBD
-
Latest Issue: TBD
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Hidden 24 days ago Post by Sep
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Sep Admiral EvilScottishGuy

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Steve was at wit's end with this guy. He never seemed to really know if he was coming or going. That being said, through everything there now seemed to be a way to resolve this peacefully. Momentarily, maybe, but it was still enough that would, first of all, allow them to decipher if there were any truth to Thors claims. About his identity, where he came from, the oaths apparently sworn by the people of years gone by. All of it. There was no way on Gods green Earth that even if Thor was telling the truth that the people of Earth would even put on a show, but if there was truth in his claim then at the very least they would be able to prepare for whatever came next.

Probably a call to the Whitehouse.

Steve looked to the camera. "Send him in."

The door opened and a balding man holding a tablet entered the room, nodding meekly in greeting. "This is Doctor Selvig. He's the closest we have to an expert on ancient mythologies and the science of how it all works and connects with our-"

"Our plain of existence, that's correct Director." The man turned his attention towards the so-called diety. "It's a pleasure to meet you, I've been recording all the data I possibly can since your arrival. I really look forward to picking your brain-"

Steve waved his hand. "There will be time for all this later Doctor-" he turned his attention to Thor. "Go and find your proof, if it exists we'll talk some more. Selvig will go with you, and if anything happens to him. We'll know."
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Hidden 23 days ago Post by Kyoka
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Kyoka Sleepy

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She-Hulk #1.0 - New-York, Same Old She-Hulk.
Location - Chelsea, Manhattan, New York City, New York.




It was a cool night, and the Chelsea Dance Club scene had not been prepared for their newest member. Across the dance floor, a 7 foot tall green woman shimmied with two drinks in hand. She was, very transparently, having a rather good time. So much so, that she didn't really notice when she bumped a little bit too hard into people... Now of course, bumping into people at a club was just a thing that happened, but well. Those men and women who were unlucky enough to get near to this dancer were left feeling like running head first into a brick wall may have been a bit of a more enjoyable experience. One poor man was sent sprawling to the floor on accident.

Meanwhile, standing at the bar was another, very tall, very formidable, woman. She wore a figure hugging purple dress and had a long full head of vibrant red hair. She was not in a very good mood. Truthfully, she never was. But tonight was even worse than usual, the idea had been to go out dancing, have a drink, enjoy herself. Forget about her stupid boyfriend. 'I don't know what I ever saw in that asshole' she thought for the 20th time. 'Damn, got to stop thinking about Carl...' The red haired woman ordered another drink.

In one hand, She-Hulk held a full pitcher of vodka, fruit juice, and energy drinks. In the other was a barrel of beer, she wasn't sure at this point of what kind. Heineken? She thought she remembered that correctly, but honestly could not be certain. It was slowly dawning on her that both of her drinks were almost empty. 'Already? But I just got them?!' a very open look of disappointment spread across her face. Usually it might have been because of the extortionate costs of the beverages themselves, She-Hulk didn't have to worry about that after all she just put it on her Avengers card. However, it was still annoying having to go and order new drinks... As the somewhat disgruntled and frustrated She-Hulk now shimmied off the dance floor she noticed a few more men who had been busy gawking at her. She gave them a look and a smile that was somewhat a mixed message of 'Thank you, but not a chance.'

"Just hurry it up already will ya?! How hard is it to make a porn star martini?!" The red haired woman thumped the bar table, of holding herself back enough that she didn't break the thing. Even so reaction of the bar from the impact made the other club goers take a few steps away.

"Porn star martini? Hah, what the heck is that?! A voice all to familiar to the red haired woman could be heard obnoxiously loud over her shoulder.

"YOU!!!!" The red haired woman turned around at a speed that gave observers whiplash, partially blinded by rage she sent out a backhand to a now open space of air. Even so it was like there was a strong gust of wind in the club at that moment.

She-Huk had not exactly dodge the blow, she had lost her balance leaning backwards and had landed on her backside. "Woah, is that you Red?! She-Hulk shouted through a surprised grin. This frustrated the red haired woman to no end. She tried her best to stomp the woman before her into the ground.

Catching the heeled foot of the red haired woman with both arms "C-careful Red! There is too many people around. The red haired woman's face twister in anger even more so. "What the hell do I care about that Greenie?! Plus, stop calling me Red! The name's Titania!!!" Titania yelled out at the top of her lungs as she too lost her balance, landing on the floor on her backside.

At this point the club was pretty much frozen. The blaring music and flashing lights were still going but the people who weren't fleeing like wise level headed people were caught like a deer in headlights as they stated at She-Hulk and Titania.

"Alright, my bad. But to be fair you always call me Greenie." She-Hulk said almost guiltily, arms now firmly wrapped around the leg of Titania.

"I don't care!! LET GO!!!!"

THWOMP!!

She-Hulk was sent skidding along the floor in a seated up position by a nasty heel to the face. The crowd ran and dived out of the way, parting a clear pathway between the two woman. This was the signal for the stragglers to get out of there.

On her knees She-Hulk massaged her face. "Wow, you could have taken your heels off first. That hurt like hell." Titania could not hear that comment over the music. However, fortunately for She-Hulk, Titania was in fact removing her heels. She had no intention of fighting in them after all, she respected her ankles enough to save them from that torment.

"This was supposed to be a relaxing night!!" Titania rushed across the dancefloor with outstretched hands looking to throttle She-Hulk.

THWACKKK!

An uppercut to the jaw sent Titania flying upwards off her feet, her head snapping back as she goes face first into the ceiling of the club. Dust and plastering pours down in unsettling amounts before Titania herself comes crashing back down to the floor. "Yeah tell me about it! What's the deal anyway?! You aren't robbing this place are you?!" She-Hulk questioned Titania with a confused tone in her voice.

SLAM!

A table broke over the head of She-Hulk as it had been thrown at full force by Titania. Rushing forward Titania wrapped her arms around the waist of She-Hulk and continued running.

CRASH!!!

Into the wall and through the wall, She-Hulk and Titania found themselves now out on the street.

"Ack, get off me will yah?!" She-Hulk shouted as she pulled free from Titania's grip and giving her a solid headbutt on the nose. "Damn..." She-Hulk looked on with dismay at the hole in the wall left behind the two of them. Superheroes always dosed out a healthy amount of property damage one way or another, but speaking as a Hulk, she worried about it quite a bit. She-Hulk liked to be responsible... Well, she liked to be seen as responsible... Well...

THWAP. THWAP.

Titania threw two haymakers at She-Hulk, sending her soaring in an arc across the street right into the side of a van. The van crumpled with little resistance, leaving a ginormous dent in the side where She-Hulk now rested. "In for a penny..." She-Hulk standing up took hold of the van by its side with her two hands and swung it round in the direction of Titania. Which she then just let go of...

Before she could react Titania was hit front on by the van, sending her bouncing her way back into the club.

Somehow, back at the bar Titania stood up to found the pornstar martini that she ordered. Breathing heavily she stopped herself for a moment, picked up the drink, and took a sip.

Stepping through the hole in the wall She-Hulk smiled gently as she slowly walked up to the bar. "Did you get it all out then?" She asked with a grin.

"Just shut up will you? Why were you even here, did you follow me or something? Titania snapped.

She-Hulk raised her hands defensively "No, no of course not. I just thought it would was a good night to wind down a bit.
I swear, didn't even know you were here."
She-Hulk made her way around the bar and picked up another barrel of beer.

"Oh... Well I suppose you and I had the same idea then..." Titania said, cooled down a bit.

Taking a swig from the barrel of unknown beer, She-Hulk pointed at the empty martini glass. "You paid for that right?"

Titania looked at her with an annoyed glare "You can't be serious can you Greenie?" there was some of her usual venom behind those words.

With a hearty chuckle She-Hulk placed down the barrel of beer. "Ahaha, no, no. Just a joke Titania, drinks are on me."

The two woman shared several drinks that night. Although they had both took a good shot at the other both women were also practically unscratched. By the end of the night they even shared the dance floor. If only Titania could be convinced to give up those criminal activities...




She-Hulk: Multiversal Mayhem Tie-In #1
Location - Times Square, Manhattan, New York City, New York.




It was utter mayhem at Time's Square. And not the usual kind of mayhem. For some reason this young group of teenagers had thought it would be a good day today to go out shopping, sightseeing. Have fun! How wrong they were. From the skies something indescribable, incomprehensible was happening! What looked like tears in the sky ripped apart among the clouds. Screams were coming from all around them, sirens were sounding off. All in all, it was pandemonium!

The teenagers stood there, completely frozen in fear as they saw the sky begin to be occupied. Those ships? Is that what you called them? Those were from those thingys from all those years ago, they all remembered hearing about them and seeing pictures of them from when they were younger and they were surely talked about at school. The Dominators, no way someone could forget those. It was those creepy looking aliens that tried to take over the earth! If those heroes hadn't shown up... Although they wouldn't admit it, these young folks collectively had dozens of nightmares featuring those aliens, now to actually be seeing those ships above them... It almost made them forget they were standing in the middle of a road.

BEEEP BEEEP! The horn of a truck sounded off as it was barrelling through with and absolutely hectic surge of traffic behind them. All driving away at full speed from something... They weren't slowing down.

Just in the nick of time the four of them had been whisked off their feet and were now on a pavement, or side-walk. And before them stood a tall green woman. They had heard of her before. This was She-Hulk.

"You lot better get somewhere safe. Any of you have phones on ya?" She-Hulk smirked as she heard her own question. "Pfah what am I talking like an old woman for? Keep your eye on the news for alerts will you? Should get told where to evacuate to. Here." She-Hulk took out a few notes of cash from her wallet which was stored in a rather well hidden pocket on her combat suit. "Run, see if you can catch a bus or get a ride, I am sure you won't need it but just in case."

The teenagers looked thankfully at the woman, not sure of how to voice that thanks they nodded their heads and began to run in the direction that all the traffic was heading.

"Just what is going on..." She-Hulk looked to the sky at the ships of the dominators. She could hear one of her Avengers devices beeping, was it her watch? Phone? She was a bit preoccupied at the moment to completely pinpoint which one. Squinting her eyes as she looked up as ground her teeth. The muscles on her legs tensed up as she squatted, preparing to jump up into the air. Unfortunately flying wasn't on the table for her but she could find her own way of getting on top of those buildings.

Only just before she could actually jump.

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!!!!

She-Hulk was hit in the face by some massive, whip like movement. Sending her crashing through the building that she was standing in front of. She was dusting herself off when the T-Rex roared at Times Square... She had just got hit in the face by a dinosaurs tail...

What the...

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Hidden 23 days ago Post by Cybermaxx
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Cybermaxx dumbass

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SEASON ONE Sensation & Wonder

Brooklyn New York City

Fear descended on Brooklyn in a flash: Bursts of plasma screamed through the air, finding their mark in the sides of buildings, cars and people. A cabbie dragged his wounded passenger from the backseat, yelling for medical help. On the sidewalk, a crowd stumbled over a fallen old woman in their mad dash to escape. Alien foot soldiers advanced down the street, massacring everything that moved for reasons no one cared to ask. Two police officers pulled themselves from their overturned squad car, one of them unholstering her sidearm to return fire while the other crawled behind cover, pleading for help into his radio. Far above it all, a gargantuan creature rammed through the top floor of an apartment building. Debris and bodies rained down on the streets below.

A streak of red and blue appeared in the sky. It looped through the clouds once, twice, and a third time to build up speed before rocketing down into the leviathan's back. A thunderclap followed that shattered every window in the neighborhood. The beast's armor buckled. Its flesh tore, blood spouting out in thick gushes. It gave a deafening roar as it careened into the ground, tearing a trench through the concrete and asphalt for a hundred feet until it came to a slow stop.

Superboy stood atop the alien behemoth's head, a triumphant fist in the air. A trio of camera drones circled him. "Booyah, baby! That's what happens when ya mess with the S!"

Chitauri spun on their heels and answered his boasting with a unified warcry. They opened fire. A barrage of plasma scorched the spot Superboy had just been standing.

"You bozos picked the wrong planet-"

The Boy of Steel appeared again with his hands thrust through the chests of two aliens. He ripped them apart in one, fluid motion, tossing their remains aside like used trash. A burst of speed carried him into another squad. They fired wildly into their own ranks in an effort to stop their superhuman attacker, but all their plasma seared was each other. Superboy was a blur of barely contained violence. He showed none of his usual 'restraint'- he had no qualms killing these things.

"-And the wrong day to piss me off."

Behind him, the beast stirred. It'd taken a hell of a hit yet breath still pumped through its augmented lungs. With a beat of its many mechanical appendages the leviathan tore itself from the crater, depositing another contingent of invaders from its womb as it took back to the air on unsteady wings.

Another salvo tore into Superboy. Flesh-bubbling heat slammed into him, slagging the last of the Chitauri he'd been in melee with. A pained snarl slipped between gritted teeth as he jumped backwards, putting a few hundred feet between himself and the enemy. He looked down to check himself for injuries. Nothing permanent, save for the holes in his tights and jacket. "Bastards. I loved that jacket," he muttered, tossing its charred remains aside. There'd be hell to pay for that-

A scream averted his attention away from the Chitauri and toward a nearby burning building. He could hear eighteen people still alive inside. No obvious exit. Nearest firefighters were twelve minutes away under the best of circumstances. Superboy looked back over his shoulder at the aliens, balling his fist.

"Damn it all." He groaned, taking flight toward the fire.
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Hidden 23 days ago Post by Hillan
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Hillan I'm a writer - Lying's what we do.

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Previously: Something Begins
Chapter 3: The Caretaker And How Raven Got Her Wheels


Raven
Ghost Rider
Johnny

She was terrified and all alone, covered in blood and gore. The young girl could barely move after that night, she couldn't eat and she couldn't sleep. The only thing going on in her head was a incredibly strong scent. It smelled like iron and brimstone. Like blood and fire. Soot and sorrow. Hiding in a pair of sweatpants and a oversized hoodie she had stolen from the church lost and found, she was constantly shaking. Her skin as pale as it could be. Yet, that smell in her head, it dug it's way to the deepest parts of her mind. To her very core she felt it.

Once upon a time, Raven had been a member of the Teen Titans, a premier teenaged superhero who had rubbed elbows with the Robins and wonderboys of ages past. With that came a certain amount of knowledge. She knew of the lords of orders and chaos, she was acquainted with the Zatara family and she knew full well of the once regal knight known since Camelot as Jason Blood. And it was in one of his archives that she had broken in, frail and her magic as weak as it had ever been, she managed to undo Blood's rudimentary safeguards. She was deep in Texas middle of nowhere, nose to the tomes of old.

There she found it. Mentions of the being that was calling her. The very same essence that she had made a deal with to spare her body and mind - fate of the world, from the wrath of her father. The spirit of Vengeance. Blood had made translations of the ancient language, enochian alphabet was as far as Raven could identify it. She certainly should've paid more attention in rune-class back in Azarath. While reading his translations, she found out that this spirit was a part of some incomprehensible host of the heavens, a counterpart to demonic entities, the purest manifestation of justice. Yet, Blood's had made personal notes in his translations that this spirit of Vengeance wasn't such justice at all. Tainted by humanity and it's sin, the spirit was far more like divine wrath.

Blood speculated that this very spirit would be enough to slay the demon who inhabited his body. A theory that Raven's predicament seemingly has proven true for she couldn't feel her father's touch upon her mind anymore. Jason had tried to search this spirit out, finding out it inhabited a human host at the time.

Jonathon Blaze.




The bus stopped and out stepped the beat up, worn out 16 year old girl. The busdriver wished her a safe hike, which she absent mindidly ignored. That burning in her chest was ever bigger, greater now than it had ever been before. She still could only smell and taste blood and brimstone. Yet, this burning feeling felt... familiar to her. Something in her was calling home. Casting a locator spell, she managed to visualize a trail in her mind's eye, generating a path she could follow through the wildlands in the southern part of the country. The hike was long and took many hours, her feet hurt when she finally arrived to a seemingly abandoned ranch, built on an old church. The meager two cows that made up the cattle walked in what had once been a graveyard.

She trespassed ever so carefully, making her way into the main building, the former church was in ruin, yet someone had built a makeshift house out of the ruins, closing off some parts of it. Raven knocked on the door, which with great labor, came open at the slightest touch from the young sorceress. On the walls were runes, pentagrams and Eyes Of Solomon. All of which were deeply powerful magical protection, or at least once upon a time they had been.

She took another step, only to get knocked off her feet by the wooden stock of a gun being smacked in her face. Landing on her back, Raven got the wind knocked out of her as the larger figure in front of her stood wide-legged in front of her. Grabbed her by the collar and pusher her up against the wall, as she was pinned to the wall, the pentagram on it started to glow, and she felt what little strength she had left start to leave her.

The sawed off shotgun was put to her face as the man who's breath smelled of whiskey and tar spoke.

"You evil son of a bitch!" He spat out. Raven grimaced, trying to break free.
"Who the hell are y-" Raven was interrupted by the man's grip tightening.
"You were not supposed to come back, ever! I gave everything to keep it that way. I stopped Ketch for you! That was the deal!" He shouted, all of it was nonsense to the purple-clad former heroine.

"Goddamit, I killed the black host. I killed my own brother! And now what?! This girl wiffs of some crusty low-level demonic minions and you come running back?! So fucking ready to get kneedeep in blood again?!" He shouted, a rage Raven could barely recognize in a man.

Yet, that was it. Barely. She could recognize it. She had felt it. That night, the night she died. She was that angry.
The man's arm was trembling, Raven felt her body grow stronger as a voice erupted from deep within her, her eyes glowing with flame.

"The girl is needed. She chose this, to prevent the rise of pure evil."

"Chose this?! OH yeah, same was I or Danny did when we were bleeding to death because some satanist punks thought they could get a better SAT score if they slit our throats?! " He continued shouting, god, he was so incredibly angry. The few not broken windows in the church shook at his voice. Raven's eyes started glowing more intensively, and the magical trap that bound her erupted into an ember, sizzling out as the girl was freed. With one hand, she pushed the man away from her, he slid on the hardwood floor, gritting his teeth, hand clutching the shotgun in his hand.

Raven landed gracefully on the floor, holding up her hand, small fragments of the skin on her hand was flaking off, erupting into flames as it did.

"You served well, Johnny. Even when your brother betrayed us and threatened all of creation, you played your part. A soldier finer than all others."

"A soldier? A soldier?! Are you fucking shitting me?! I killed Lucifer. A hundred times! I sent every evil piece of shit that ever crawled up from that hellhole back into the brimstone. I know where your road leads, and I'm not gonna let some girl ride shotgun while you take her for a ride"

Cotninuing screaming, he aimed the gun at the burning girl.

"I killed my own brother for you!" Unable to pull the trigger as his hand was quivering. Gritting his teeth, Johnny Blaze tossed the shotgun to the side and bowed his head.

"Take me instead. Leave her and I'll be the rider again." Johnny solemnly asked. Raven felt a pang in her chest, her empath magic picking up on all of the sadness that decision came with. All of this burning rage Johnny had was born from sorrow. If she was still able to, the raw emotion would've been enough to make her cry.

Raven was engulfed in fire as she started to float in the room, flames creeping around her as the voice coming from deep within her spoke with greater intensity, creating powerful gusts that blew Johnny's hair and black coat back. He gritted his teeth.

"This isn't your fight Johnny. You already played your part. Destiny calls for this witch." And with that judgement, the fire went out and Raven collapsed on the floor, Johnny quickly grabbed her and would become her caretaker, same way others had for him in the past.




Three weeks had gone-by, Johnny had nursed Raven back to health. Telling her old stories about his days as the rider. Some of them were too tall to believe. How he fought demons, ghouls, vampires, devils and even angels. He told him what he knew about the spirit of vengeance, or at least all he wanted to share.

"You're the last one, Raven. I thought I was, but seems the world has need for one last stringer. When I started, well... It was different. There were more of us. There always had been. Things got complicated and really, really bloody."

"Danny was a rider as well, right?" Raven asked and Johnny nodded.
"Yeah, Ketch was a rider all right. Best there had ever been. First one to lose his grace, too. To truly fall. See, we always thought the Ghost Rider was a demon punishing the wicked. But... Well, there's more to it. I don't quite know what it is myself, either. Just that it's powerful. Powerful enough to, in the wrong hands, rule all of creation."

"Those 'wrong hands' were Danny's, I assume?"
"As wrong as it got. He killed every other rider and stole their power. When I beat him, I locked the spirit away, in heaven. Promised that in exchange for my brother's life and his soul, the spirit would never again find itself on earth. Clearly, bargaining with it wasn't a good idea." Johnny said, sighing. He nodded over at the barn, Raven peered, contemplating her own position in all of this.

"I dug something up for you. Promised I'd never use it again, and well, this ain't breaking my promise." The duo walked over the barn, revealing a vehicle covered in cloth. Dramatically, Johnny spoke, putting his hand on the dusty cloth.

"Being the Ghost Rider, it's like being changed to a comet. That's why I'm making sure you've got wheels fast enough to keep up." He pulled the tarp off, revealing the very same bike he had ridden on many years ago.




New York City
2 Years Later


Stopping the bike at the top of the hill, the woman wearing the long leather coat stepped off, putting down the kickstand. Taking off her black and purple helmet, she revealed her still pale face, purple hair blowing in the wind. The gem on her forehead revealing her identity as Raven, the former daughter of Trigon. That wasn't who she was anymore. She had hidden herself away, dealing with the very worst dregs of creation. Yet, as she watched the portal open above the biggest city on the planet she realized that this was the time to make her reappearance into to world.

"Haven't seen hell pour out of the sky before... That's new." The witch stated, holding her helmet by her side as she looked on at the invasion beginning above the city. The blood of innocents being spilt made the spirit grow stronger. Vengeance would have to claim it's due.

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Hidden 22 days ago 22 days ago Post by Pirouette
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Pirouette Ghoul

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Manhattan, New York
Silk #1.2



Cindy collapsed on a office chair that who knows how long had been in that warehouse. Chunks of cushioning had been ripped out, one of the wheels was missing, and it was probably serving as a mildew cultivator, but after pushing herself hard tonight, it was easy to sink into. She started to lean back, grateful that the spine of the chair was still structurally sounds enough to not just collapse upon the slightest shift of weight, and brought her pondering gaze up to the rafters and vaulted ceiling of this place. An open window let in a fresh breeze, stirring the silk of Cindy's webs to wave like curtains. It was a pretty sight as the moon and lights outside caught the bit of moisture still on freshly flung webs, glistening in a subtle display.

This place was a godsend to her, but she wasn't sure why. She never intended on actually getting out there and being a hero. She wasn't one, just a normal person. Well, normal as she could be. One reason she came out here was catharsis, true, but why did she work so hard at improving herself? Running through fantasies like this empty bottle is a gun and I have to disarm this derelict barrel or catch the falling pigeon egg before it commits a suicidal jump? She could never actually get out there with Spider-Man, right? He wasn't a normal person. None of those heroes were. They were better than normal people like her.

It was enough for tonight, and she had to get home before her grandmother caught on.

Spider-climbing her way back out of the open window, she slipped back out onto the sidewalk to begin her trek home. Although it was nearly midnight, this city still bustled with activity. Something felt off though. Sure there were plenty of the usual jovial drunks but some groups of people had an edge to them. Tight groups of hushed whispers, concerned viewers as something happened on their phone. Cindy slowed, leaning in to listen in to a passing couple's worrying exchange. "...think they'd actually, you know, help for god's sake! I mean, he's only facing off against six of them at a time. How about you send..."

Cindy slowed to a stop. New Yorkers were proud of their own and there was one hero that stood above the rest as he was one of their own. Spider-Man. No one else compared, not even the President Kryptonian.

Cindy flung her backpack around and dug into the main pocket to retrieve her phone. She quickly typed out "Spider-Man News" in the search bar and hit enter. She regretted it.

Spider-Man Dead? What NYC looks like post Spider-Man..

Cindy ran home. She had enough of today.





Brooklyn, New York
Multiversal Mayhem Edition: Silk #1.1



There was no way this was a good idea, but right now wasn't the best time to come up with good ideas. It was kind of hard to when dimensional aliens from giant portals opening in the sky suddenly start terrorizing everyone. Hopefully, whatever powers that be give her a pass for this.

Having taken cover in the women's restroom in the subway, Cindy tucked into a stall, locking herself in as she dug through her backpack. She had nothing on hand to help her hide her identity out of what she had available because secret identities were important, right? Spider-Man had one, probably, but he was no longer here. At least nobody had seen him since that day the Sinister Six had teamed up on him, but with no remains people suspect that Venom ate Spider-Man. Some said he might still be alive, but if that was the case, then where was he? If he was still alive, he wouldn't have let New York go so untended for this long. Weeds of corruption were growing all over before but this alien invasion was like, a swarm of locusts.

Hey, that was a good analogy! Thanks Misses Baxter, but I still hate the Grapes of Wrath though and all those dumb metaphors about curtain colors. Focus! Gotta save people from aliens!

If she didn't have some type of costume she'd have to make one, but covering herself in toilet paper didn't quite sound inspiring. She did have her webs and without a better idea, she went with it. Stripping down to shorts and a tanktop, she'd just cover the herself with spider silk. Taking all her fingers, she ejected webs from each, taking a few practice swipes around her legs to get the feel of threading the silk tightly enough to actually cover her skin. Her torso was a bit more intricately weaved as she was getting the feel for it and then lower face to keep her identity hidden. She could have done the whole face but imagine how awful it would have been to untangle all that silk from her hair...

Cindy was nervous as she darted out from the stall, kicking her bag under the toilet for now. With all the carnage, she doubted anyone would notice. One last look in the mirror to witness just how she looked. She felt silly, outclassed by the many power armor and spandex suits. She couldn't make a difference if she tr-!!

A chorus of screams came from outside the bathroom. Something was happening in the station and that was the cue Cindy needed.

She burst out from the door to see a pair of Chitauri advancing down the station platform. Sporadic shots of searing plasma fired from their hand cannons sent people scattering and cowering. Okay first thing, disarm them just like the deadly bottles those barrels had. Cindy flicked her index finger and shot a string of web towards the lead Chitauri's weapon. The web stuck, much to the alien's sudden shock but it was far to slow to react as Cindy gave the web a jerk. To her surprise, the weapon didn't come free as it must have been secured around the hand and instead the whole Chitauri was pulled off of its feet and towards the budding heroine.

The other Chitauri turned, leveling his cannon to shoot a volley at Cindy. A tingle crept up Cindy's neck and into her head, giving her an instinct to move. She dipped low, letting the first few shots spray above her before leaping to the side as the Chitauri brought his aim down to fry the ground where she had been standing. "Wooah!" Cindy remarked, partially out of shock from the plasma weapon being fired at her and partially from the surprise that her movements felt so surprisingly natural.

The Chitauri on her web staggered to its feet also attempting to bring its weapon to fire. Cindy planted her heels, wrapping the web string into the palm of her hand and giving it another hard pull. The Chitauri was pulled off its feet again, flung towards Cindy as she instinctually ducked under the volley of fire from the other attacker.

When the webbed Chitauri was within reach, Cindy grabbed it and turned using the larger body as a shield as another volley of shots came in, only these scorched her Chitauri bodyshield's back and with a screech the creature likely died. "Sorry!" Cindy called out as flung the body at the other as a projectile, knocking both onto the track. A bad place to be as the NYC subway car came blazing through the station, splatting the Chitauri underneath. She didn't see, but definitely heard the screech of the creature just before its end.

It was, maybe, a good thing the subway came to a stop at the station, preventing her from seeing the aftermath of her first deliberate killing. Sure they were violent alien monsters but still, this should have felt bad. However, as she glanced down the platform to see the stunned faces of people that watched it go down, she noticed a few not getting up. She didn't have the luxury of contemplating the rightness of this scenario, people were dying and she could still save more.

A chorus of screams from the street above carried down the stairs, and that was Cindy's cue...
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Hidden 22 days ago 13 days ago Post by Cybermaxx
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Cybermaxx dumbass

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SEASON ONE Sensation & Wonder

Brooklyn New York City

A raging inferno consumed an apartment complex in Flashbush, Brooklyn. Its redbrick exterior was pockmarked with plasma blasts from the initial Chitauri landing- though the aliens had advanced farther down the borough, they'd left a path of suffering and destruction in their wake. Many of the building's residents that had managed to escape the blaze had gathered outside on the sidewalk. Some paced, cellphones to their ears as they tried to contact help. Others performed first aid on those wounded among their number. A few had gathered buckets and were taking hammers to a nearby fire hydrant.

Superboy hovered a hundred feet above it all, taking in the situation. Shutting out the world he focused his hearing on the burning structure, trying to locate those still trapped inside. They were scattered across every floor, blocked from any easy exit. The fire escape had partially collapsed, its metal frame twisted and melted from a now all-too familiar super-heated energy. The main halllways's floor had fallen in on itself; seemed he'd have to make his own entrance.

He busted through the ceiling feet first, landing with a heavy thud in the middle of a living room. An aging, balding man stood from his crouch in the corner, a young boy in his arms. The kid had a soot-stained Spider-Man shirt wrapped around his face to keep out the smoke. "You trying to bring this place down?" The old man yelled.

"I'm tryin' to save your ass, ya geezer." Superboy approached, wrapping his arms around each of them.

The elder insisted, however, pushing against the Kryptonian. "Fire's already compromised it as is. Break the wrong wall and everybody in here's dead, get it?"

Superboy quieted. After a moment's pause, he nodded.

"Windows are your best bet. Interior walls are non-load bearing, so if ya gotta get from a bed room to a bathroom you oughta be fine." He explained, finally allowing Superboy to pick him and his nephew up. They returned to the center of the room where he'd made his original entrance before taking off into the sky. "This your first building fire?"

"Search and rescue ain't exactly my brand." Superboy muttered, making a careful landing on the sidewalk so he could set his two charges down. "But I 'ppreciate the advice."

"And I appreciate you saving my boy. Now get back in there." The man stepped away to pull his nephew into a tight embrace.

A strange feeling fluttered in Superboy's gut even as he turned to take flight again. It was the first time he'd felt anything like it in the short time he'd been in the public eye. Best not to dwell on whatever it is now- he needed to focus on the mission at hand. There were still sixteen people inside and there was no telling how long they had. Superboy breached the building again, this time tucking and rolling through a glass pane instead of brick and mortar.

He was forced to move painfully slowly as he lifted people out of their home. The human body wasn't designed to take the G-force that Superboy could dish out on a casual flyby. If he took off too quick or turned too suddenly there was a real chance he'd tear someone up. It was frustrating, anxiety-inducing even, to listen to the structure's integrity fluctuate while he moved at the speed of molasses.

'Come on, come on. I don't have time for this.'

Something metal began to screech as Superboy ferried a couple through the air. He twisted around just in time to watch a tear spread across the brick siding of the building. It spread like a spiderweb across a huge portion of the complex. "Shit! No!" Panicked, he shot toward the ground and landed fast enough to break the boyfriend's rib.

Leaving him behind with his fiance, Superboy raced to the side of the building and dug his fingers into the brick. With the tiniest grunt of exertion he tugged, keeping the two halves of the wall from fully tearing away from each other. Other parts of the building were still mid-collapse. He could hear flooring give out from somewhere inside, and the crack was spreading rapidly.

Someone was yelling for help. He looked up to see a woman halfway hanging out of a window and waving down at him. She was right in the path of the coming collapse. If he let go of the wall he could grab, sure, but at this point Superboy was the only thing keeping half the building together. What happened to everyone inside if he let go?

His mind raced as he tried to think of a solution. There had to be a way to save her. There had to be-

A sound played in his ear, distant yet approaching rapidly. Oddly familiar. Was that...

"Jump!" He yelled up at her. "Trust me, someone'll catch you!"
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