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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
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Master Bruce Winged Freak

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It is the year 2018. Heroes and villains, up until six months ago, were considered works of fiction. Captain America was a piece of war propaganda that was turned into comic books, which turned into cartoons, which led to movies. As far as the world knew, there never was an actual Star-Spangled Avenger or a Super Soldier program. No team of Howling Commandos or, more absurdly, a battalion of Cap's closest allies called The Invaders. Never a Bucky Barnes, who fought as the Sentinel of Liberty's kid sidekick on the page. And certainly no Red Skull, the fascist leader of a militant offshoot of the Third Reich. Likewise, The Justice Society of America was considered thought up by a team of writers and artists for National Comics, detailing the exploits of caped and cowled do-gooders looking to fight the evils of immortal madmen looking to take up the mythical The Spear Of Destiny, giant monsters who terrorized innocents abroad and offshore, and colorfully crazed 'supervillains' who utilized the elements to challenge The JSA directly in their war for dominance.

A novelty, everyone thought. Superheroes were a fringe piece of pop culture that had about as much legitimacy to them as vampires and werewolves, magic and unicorns, and science fiction space aliens. That is until one fateful day that would change the course of human history, when social media began circulating a video of a very hotly debated - but very real - public display of power by an individual who could clearly fly. This man would come to be known as the Metropolis Superman. And with his arrival came the questioning of just how fictional those old stories of Gods and Monsters really had been all along.

Colonel Nick Fury of SHIELD and his rival, Amanda Waller of CADMUS, did their best to circumvent any attempt to uncover the documents that would prove that there had really been a Captain Steve Rogers, a Justice Society, and all of the other superhumans that had existed in secret for decades. They even enlisted the help of a man they'd once promised to keep away from, Professor Charles Xavier, to attempt a telekinetic wipe of memories worldwide in an appeal to protect his secret school for what the agencies had called 'mutants'. But it was far too late for that, as The Professor had become too old and dormant to pull off such a feat: the secret was irreparably out the minute that journalist Lois Lane published documents detailing it all in The Daily Planet.

The age of Metahumans was here. And with that revelation came a new world, with new rules. New heroes and villains. In New York, an almost overnight phenomena occurred of superpowered individuals stepping up to either help people or harm them. In Gotham City, the highly corrupt hub of the New Jersey crime scene, perps were beginning to line prison cells claiming that they'd been the victims of a giant Bat. Rumors circulated around Africa that detailed a battle for the long thought lost metal of Vibranium against smugglers and a nation that wasn't officially supposed to have ever existed. And under the ocean, a war between two factions began to rage on in secret, captured in grainy video footage during an expedition that would make scientist and long-held Atlantean truther Stephen Shin world famous.

This was all just the tipping point. Whether it be interstellar warriors from beyond the stars, or from the shores of an island of Amazons, new players in this game of Metahuman Warfare would begin to reveal themselves to the world. And with their arrival came the question raised on everyone's minds: Who would inherit the world? The Gods... or the Monsters?

Space, One Month Ago

"This world... it is teeming with life, both ordinary and extraordinary. It seems viable for the master's purposes."

The figure feels the weight of the cosmos with him as he drifts outside of notice.

"But I shall wait. Observe. And determine what the course of this planet shall be. The master will be awaiting an answer..."

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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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Three Weeks Ago

I flip through videos on YouTube idly as the school year's final hours tick to a close. Another school year done, another summer break to start. Knowing we only have one more year of high school after this is exhilarating, but there's something else about this summer. I'm going to become a freaking superhero. Crazy, I know. But after getting superpowers from a weird, genetically-altered spider, what other choice do I have?

I mean, I've been trying my hand at it, but after a mistake weeks ago, I'm ready to really do what someone with what I've been given.

Heh. A mistake. What an understatement. I only let my selfish urges get in my way, and a man that's like a second father to me ended up dead. Mistake. Who am I kidding?"

A video thumbnail catches my eye as I'm lost in thought, and I quickly click it. The video opens to show panicked people running from a collapsing building. Why the idiot is filming this instead of running faster I'll never know, but he ends up being lucky. From above, a blur of blue and red swoops down and catches the debris, saving hundreds of civilians. The camera fumbles around before focusing on the hero, a man who looks like he's sculpted out of marble like the Greek gods.

"Oh my god, Superman is so hot," Mary Jane Watson whispers in my ear as she leans over to gawk at the superhero.

"Babe!" Harry Osborn responds defensively.

"I mean, come on, Har," I laugh at his look of abject terror, "Superman is objectively fine. It's scientific fact."

"Harry," Peter Parker adds in, "his arm is like the size of your torso. He has a 12 pack. You have a keg. An empty one."

"You guys suck," Harry grumbled as he poked at his bicep.

I didn't open the video to ogle, even if it is a side benefit. No, I did it because Superman is exactly the kind of hero I want to be. I could never do what he does, but I want people to look at me with the same kind of hope they do with him. I want to help make people safer. If I can do that, I've done my job.


Two Weeks Ago

The guy runs as goofy as he’s dressed. The wide-brimmed, floppy hat near falls off his head as his gangly frame scrambles down the street in a panicked haste. The striped shirt and domino mask really...wait. Holy crap. This guy is dressed like the Hamburglar. Straight out of McDonald’s!

Meanwhile, I’m running across the face of a building after him, enjoying the hell out of the new suit Pete’s cooked up for me. Carbon fiber weave on the outside and some sort of temperature regulating fabric on the inside keep me protected as well as comfortable. Pete says he did it after hours at Oscorp, and assures me no one will be able to track it back to me. I’m still worried a little, but I can’t deny I love looking as good as I do right now.

“Hey buddy!” I call out to the burglar. “You left Grimace back at the bodega!”

He turns, showing fear in his eyes, and fires off a shot with the pistol he just used to hold up the bodega owner. The bullet comes nowhere near me and strikes the brick wall I’m running across, but it shows the guy is sloppy. A stray bullet could easy break through a window and hit an innocent person.

I kick off the wall and leap on top of the man tackling him to the ground. The gun clatters away from him harmlessly. He tries to fight me, but with my strength he doesn’t stand much of a chance.

“Gah! Let go you freak! You won’t get the Bodega Bandit this easily!”

Recoiling and wincing from the pain of that terrible name, I respond, “Bodega Bandit? Come on man. Between that and the Hamburglar costume you’ve got to know a life of crime isn’t going to work out for you?”

Before he can answer, I rip off an unused bike chain near me and tie his hands to a lightpole, “Now, don’t struggle. I don’t want you getting hurt.”

From down the street, I hear sirens approaching. I turn back to my newly captured foe and shrug, “Sorry, buddy. Looks like Mayor McCheese has Officer Big Mac coming for ya. Have fun!”

I head back towards my house, knowing my dad will probably be home at any minute. From behind me, the Bodega Bandit yells that I'll regret this.


The Next Day

“SPIDER-MONSTERS IN QUEENS!” the booming, baritone, possibly slightly-intoxicated voice of J. Jonah Jameson explodes out of the laptop speakers as Peter chuckles and tosses a ball up in down lying in bed. “Spider monsters in New York City, true believers. Now this is an Info Bugle exclusive everyone. One of my friends in the NYPD, our heroic boys in blue, tells me that a man was attacked by a monstrous, half-human, half-spider creature in Queens. It lunged onto him, and would have bitten his face clean off if it wasn’t for the arrival of the police.”

The video in front of me is legitimately insane. The portly man in it pounds on a desk full of papers as he turns about as red as any human can possibly get before exploding, or at least giving themselves a massive aneurysm. His hair flails about, and his mustache looks like a caterpillar holding on for dear life as he runs his mouth.

“And he does this...every day?” I look back at Pete in amazement.

“Oh yea,” he nods. “This is actually him being pretty calm. He tends to take off his shirt when he’s really worked up.”

“Now, I’ve been doing some digging,” Jameson calms down and tries to smooth over his mussed up hair. “I believe whatever this spider creature is, now this is straight from someone I trust very much who should not be telling me this, remember. This thing is an escaped government weapon. They designed it to fight the superhuman threat that has been spreading over this planet like a disease! Now, what is the government not telling us about their response tactics to the superheroes? Why aren’t they telling us about their human-animal experiments? Find out tomorrow on the Info Bugle, where we trumpet the truth.”

“Oh god the tagline is so bad. I thought everything was bad and then the tagline came and I think I may have thrown up a little,” I grimace and gag.

“Yea,” Pete nods. “It’s bad. Really bad. But hey, you’re name’s getting out.”

“As a freaky science experiment!” I protest.

“Which will scare people!” Pete answers. “That’s what the Bat in Gotham does. Seems like a good idea for you.”

I shake my head, “That’s not what I want, Peter. I want to be a hero people can look to for hope. Not something to be feared.”

He considers it before changing the subject, “Well, I also invited you over to give you an update on the other project I’ve been working on. They should be ready in a few weeks.”



I stand on the roof of some still-under-construction, swanky Manhattan apartment building pacing back and forth. The wind whips across my face, rustling the hood of my costume, This is absolutely crazy. There's no other explanation for what I'm about to do. It's crazy. I must have a death wish. I mean, I know Peter is a genius and all, but trusting him with something like this makes no rational sense. Hell, getting bit by a radioactive spider and becoming a superhero makes more sense then jumping off a thirty story building for fun.

"What are you waiting for?" Peter's impatient voice filters through the in-suit communicator he installed when he made the costume. His help certainly has been welcomed, that's for sure. I wouldn't be able to hang with bad guys like Batman or the other superheroes do without him. The fact that it gives him something to distract him from Uncle Ben and soothes my own crushing guilt doesn't hurt either. "Gwen, I told you it's going to work. When have I ever steered you wrong?"

The question hangs in the air for a few moments before I answer, "Remember when you told me crayons taste like candy?"

"I was five!" he yells back in his own defense. "And I mean watching you pick blue out of your teeth was hilarious."

"Yea well, my mom nearly had a cow when a blue turd showed up in the toilet," I respond with a chuckle. Mentioning mom still brings a twinge of pain to my heart. It's lessened over the years, but I'm not convinced it's ever really going to fully go away. I'm also not really sure I want it to. If that happens, it might mean I don't miss her anymore, and I never want to feel what that feels like.

"Stop stalling and jump," Pete breaks me out of my own thoughts.

"Fine," I sigh before adding, "but if I die I'm haunting you. You'll never sleep again without your closet door creaking open and closed constantly, and parts of your room being abnormally cold."

I take a deep breath before backing up a few steps. It's not that I need a running start or anything. My legs are strong enough for me to jump clear cross to the building across the street without so much as a bend of the knee. Benefits of super strength and all that. But subconsciously I feel the need to run. Hell, maybe it's my brain telling me to runaway...but I'm gonna choose to ignore that.

After another sigh and shrug of my shoulders to no one in particular, I take off towards the drop-off. As my toes curl around the edge of the building, I push off and corkscrew through the New York night. The air rushes around me like a hurricane as I free fall towards the street below. When I'm halfway down, I say a prayer and let loose with Peter's new invention.

A thin line of web-like fluid erupts from the device on my wrist and sticks to the wall of the building closest to me. I hold my breath as the line goes taught, but all the worry is for nothing. The substance holds my weight perfectly, and sends me swinging in an arc higher above the street. I let go of the line, do a back flip, and shoot another line to swing from.

"Wahoo!" the scream escapes my lips, surprising even me as I come in low, towards the street and land on a bus moving down the avenue. A stupid, wide, infections grin is painted on my face under the mask. Pete really outdid himself this time.

"I told you it'd work," the tech genius says, self satisfied.

"I can't hear you, Parker," I respond, jumping off the bus, swinging around the top of a light pole to gain momentum, before launching myself into the sky and swinging along the skyscrapers. "I'm too busy being a superhero."

"What does it feel like?" he asks longingly.

"Like I'm Tarzan!" I laugh back, before catching myself. "You know, without the white savior tropes and implied racism."

Suddenly, I hear sirens explode in the distance.

"Well, Pete, they're calling our number. Time to see how these babies handle in a fight!"
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
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Master Bruce Winged Freak

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Gotham City, 27th Precinct of The GCPD
12:09 AM

A storm was brewing. Captain James Gordon could feel it in his bones. Arthritis, is what his doctor had told him. Figured that it had been onset for awhile, given he was only a few weeks away from his 49th. But all Gordon had to do was look outside his office window and see the flash of lightning that illuminated the dark, gloomy cityscape ahead of him to know that his suspicions were correct. Skyscraper lights flickered with varying brightness, as if to say Gotham itself was bracing for what was coming. What Gordon didn't realize is that no one, not even the city, knew for certain what kind of storm it was going to be tonight. And that was almost the worst part of the job - the waiting, seeing whether or not the night ahead would bring him a much needed rest and good fortune or the dread that came with a city morgue lined to the brim. There was no in-between anymore. Not since all hell broke loose between the five families of Gotham, inciting a territorial war that had been brutal enough to be compared to the original Roman's Holiday massacre of the 1930's.

"Uh, Captain? You with us?"

Gordon looked up from a mountain of paperwork he'd been pretending to focus on for the last hour, staring directly into the face of his immediate subordinate. Lieutenant Francis Tork was conducting a meeting of the Major Crimes Unit, of which Gordon had insisted on supervising as it pertained to an oncoming raid of a warehouse on the corner of Meredith and Devito.

It was thought to be a safehouse used in conjunction with The Red Triangle, a Russian superpower turned crime syndicate believed to be operated by Oswald "The Penguin" Cobblepot. Nothing had ever tied Cobblepot to the outfit, of course, but that was due to an overwhelming amount of influence that the Siberian mobster's Iceberg Longue had on the city's financial district.

Business was booming for The Penguin, and Gordon knew they were taking a risk by going after such a high-profile piece in the overall puzzle of Gotham's criminal underworld. But the gang war had forced even the more honorable members of the GCPD to overstep certain proceedures in order to pre-emptively strike before the bloodshed began. Word on the street was that The Red Triangle was due to sit down with Salvatore Maroni's Capo Italiana, the second most influential group in town. In theory, it could either end in an alliance to take on Carmine "The Roman" Falcone himself - or end in both men trying to fill eachother full of holes. Neither outcome meant anything good.

"Sorry, my arthritis is acting up. Didn't catch the last part.", Gordon apologetically sighed, massaging his hands. "You were saying, Lieutenant?"

York pointed back to the drawing board ahead, illustrating the potential targets of the raid.

"I was saying that these are our perps, lined up and ready for the taking if our intel is any good."

"Which it is.", announced Duke Thomas, the source of said intel. "We're looking to nab Penguin's top man, Maxie Zeus, but if we can't get him? We got about five underbosses looking to go down with the ship."

"Yeah? We'll see, Thomas.", Sergeant Rene Montoya replied. "Don't want to stumble into another Post-Bat thrashing scene, like last time."

Gordon narrowed his eyes at the mention of the word. Montoya's grin faded. The rather infamous vigilante had obviously become a sore spot with the Captain, especially when it came down to his unit having to be the ones to usually clean up the mess left in the wake of one violent encounter after another.

Never any casualities, of course, but lots of drug runners and weapon smugglers left to put into the ICU. It was the kind of chaos Gordon couldn't stand, and it was precisely the kind that they needed to avoid in order to focus on the gang war.

"Look, how was I supposed to know my last tip was gonna be intercepted by some dude in a cape?", Thomas argued. "City's getting stranger every day, Montoya. We can only do the best we can with what we got. And what I got for us now is a pretty solid lead."

Montoya raised her hands in mock surrender. "Sheathe it, rookie. I was just busting your balls."

"Alright, enough of that.", Gordon announced, standing up from behind his desk. "Francis, you're in charge of assigning tactical to this. Pick a team captain that you can trust, go in and out for arrest and seizure. You know the drill."

"Right. I'll get right on that. But we still need Commissioner Loeb's sign-off if we're going to..."

"We're not waiting around for that.", Gordon interjected. "I know that's against the rules, but we're up against a wall, here. Loeb doesn't need to know about this. Anything goes south, I'm prepared to take the heat."

Tork raised an eyebrow. "Whatever you say, Jim. But aren't you the one usually giving us shit for jumping the gun on these things?"

Gordon sighed. "Like Duke said. City's getting stranger every..."

Several of the members in attendence looked past Gordon and their eyes went wide, standing up in shock. Montoya pointed to the window behind the Captain, prompting him to turn around.

"Speak of the devil."

By the time that Gordon noticed what they were gawking at, he could already feel the frantic rush of officers behind him as they moved to intercept the scene. Gordon's brow furrowed in anger as the familiar light bounced off of the storm clouds just over The Narrows. The call-sign of a masked vigilante that had taken what little law was left in Gotham City into his own hands, brazenly letting the police know where to find the latest victims of his assaults in the most dramatic way imaginable.

"Christ. Not another one."

30 Minutes Earlier
Gotham City, A Formerly Private Penthouse Suite


Salvatore 'The Boss' Maroni loaded a clip into his personal firearm, frantically trying to light a cigarette as he wiped the sweat from his brow. His hands were shaking and the gun felt like it weighed a ton against his palm, signaling to the crimelord that he needed to get ahold of himself if he stood even somewhat of a chance in maintaining control of the situation. He didn't know how the bastard had found him, given that nobody but his own inner circle knew about Maroni's personal Narrows safehouse. If he had to guess, someone had ratted him out. The question was, who'd be crazy enough to rat him out to the one person everyone in the city wanted a piece of the most, right now? It's not like this Bat-freak had made friends.

"He's not in the South Wing!", Arnold Flass announced over Maroni's radio. "Son of a bitch must've cleared out half of our detail by now..."

Maroni slammed his fist onto the table. "I don't want to hear that shit, Flass! You hear me?! All I wanna know is when you've found him! Better yet, when you've killed him! He doesn't get to march in on my turf and walk! Not him!"

Inhaling a large cloud of nicotine into his lungs, Maroni fell back into his chair with his gun at the ready, pointed directly at the only entrance into the room he had barricaded himself in. His hands were still shaking as he exhaled the smoke, making the aim questionable, but he was determined to take the shot if it came down to it. Flass had promised him protection from this, and the Captain of the GCPD's main precinct had failed to deliver. Now he was left in a locked room, scared shitless of a man who thought he was freaking Dracula. Six months ago, this would've never been an issue. Nobody would've even tried moving in on their operations, much less Maroni's own home away from home. There were rules in place, and certain protections that made a man like Salvatore above this petty street-brawling.

But The Batman didn't care for the rules. He just swooped in like something out of a fucking movie, beat half of the mob to a pulp with his bare hands, and left a trail of broken bones and burning product straight to the assault that was taking place right outside The Boss' door. In truth, Maroni had been anticipating an eventual face-to-face with the vigilante, prompting him to hire out half of Flass' department for protection, each working on rotation for the past few weeks. Somehow, The Bat had gotten the drop on them.

Well, screw that. Maroni didn't spend the last thirty-four years in this line of work to be taken down by a clown who thought it was Halloween. He'd fought his way up the ranks, he'd earned his stripes. Nothing about this would deter him from keeping his business sailing as usual, even if he had to suffer a few bruises along the way.

"Flass? FLASS! ANSWER ME, DAMN IT!", Maroni shouted into the intercom. "I WANT A STATUS! YOU HEAR ME?! GIVE ME A STATUS RIGHT NOW!"

The cigarette in Maroni's mouth disappeared. Whisked away from him so fast that he didn't even have a chance to react.

"He can't hear you."

Eyes bulging out of his head as he heard the raspy voice come from behind him, Maroni spun around and fired three slugs into the wall. Nobody was there. Standing up and kicking over his chair, Salvatore scanned the room for any sign of a pointy-eared shadow.



Maroni felt his right arm slam against the desk so hard that it caused him to drop the weapon to the ground. His other arm reached for it, but his nose hit the desk even harder. By the time he could manage to look up, The Batman was already breathing down his neck. The souless white eyes stared back at Salvatore with no discernable emotion, but he could tell. There was rage behind the mask.

"That's exactly what I intended."

Firing a weapon of his own into the air, Maroni was shocked to see a steel cable spring forth and smash through the re-inforced window overlooking the room. Grabbing Sal by the collar of his jacket and violently throwing him to the ground, The Batman slammed his elbow into Maroni's throat and seized him by the neck, squeezing hard enough to cause further discomfort. Salvatore tried to scream for help, but nothing came out. And for a brief moment, he could swear The Batman smirked.

"We're going for a ride, Maroni. And I'd prefer it if we went alone."

Salvatore shook his head in defiance, trying his best to break free of the iron-clad grip on his throat, but Batman tossed him against the glass as if he were nothing more than a paper doll. Launching into the air, propelled by the steel cable that he'd shot, the vigilante raised both legs and slammed the soles of his boots into Maroni's chest, sending them both through the cracked window entirely.

By the time Captain Flass had become conscious once again, he only saw the shattered window and the fallen gun left in his boss' room. Panicked, he raised the two-way radio from his lapel.

"Shit. Shit! This is Flass! I've got an all-points bulletin to send out! My location!", he barked. "The Batman has been sighted! I repeat, The Batman has been sighted! He just kidnapped Sal Maroni! Send backup! I repeat, send backup!"

But backup wouldn't arrive nearly in time to spare Salvatore the fate that awaited him.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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Los Angeles

This is a city that shouldn't exist.

It was built in a desert, facing an ocean of useless saltwater. A city of transplants and transients either running away or running to something. A city of health-crazed nutters blanketed by smog. A city of broken dreams and all that other cliche shite you've heard over the years. City of Angels said ironically and blah blah blah. All of that aside, the fact remains that Los Angeles was a city willed into creation by land developers and real estate men, men who stole water from hard-working farmers and plowed over orange groves. Men who lured thieving filmmakers out west because they wouldn't enforce patent laws. A city built by swindlers for swindlers, thieves, and gullible marks.

It's the city where the Black Dahlia was cut in half, where Charles Mason's followers ran roughshod, where riots in the 60's and 90's tore the city apart -- it's where blokes called the Night Stalker, the Grim Sleeper, and the Hillside Stranglers all hunted and killed -- it's where a washed-up football player and his best mate captivated the world with a low-speed police chase.

Los Angeles isn't a city of angels. It's a city of ghosts.


Echo Park
1:05 AM

John Constantine watched the quarter dance back and forth across his knuckles. It was a tic of his. He did it whenever he was nervous or bored or waiting, like he was now. He sat on the park bench, a smoldering cigarette in his free hand. The quarter trick was one of the first things he learned when he started out practicing sleight of hand. Just as quickly as he started it, he could stop the shuffling and hide the coin in his knuckle, making it seem like it disappeared.

"It's not too safe to be out here this late."

The man plopped on the bench beside John. Middle-aged in dark trousers and a matching button-up, the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. You wouldn't think he was a cop if you saw his forearms. They were covered in tattoos. But once you caught a glimpse of the eyes, hard eyes with no give that didn't miss anything, there was no doubt that Charlie Rembrandt was a cop.

"But you never had a problem handling yourself. Right, Constantine?"

"Right, Rembrandt," John said, making the coin disappear into his palm. "How goes the job? Still shooting unarmed people?"

"No, John," said the detective. "Not anymore. By the way, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to meet. I know you're busy bilking little old ladies out of their social security checks, so your cooperation is appreciated."

John chuckled and took a drag off his cigarette. They'd met a few years ago, not long after John arrived in LA. What looked to be a bear attack in the Hollywood Hills turned out to be... something else entirely and John had gotten involved, crossing paths with Rembrandt and the LAPD's investigation. he didn't prescribe to that ACAB bollocks, but he knew that a cop like Charlie, one who could do the job and gave a fuck, was rare.

After that mess they'd worked out an arraignment. Anything weird that crossed Rembrandt's path, he would come to John and pick his brain. In return, Rembrandt would help John out if he got nicked on anything minor. He was a grass, but of the supernatural variety.

"Let me bum a cigarette."

John passed Rembrandt the pack and his lighter. The detective made a face after he took the first puff.

"Jesus Christ, what brand is this?"

"Benson & Hedges. England's finest."

Charlie stubbed the cigarette out on the side of the bench before flicking it into the grass.

"Then no wonder you left. Taste like pure asshole."

"How do you know what asshole taste likes, Rembrandt?"

"So, about my issue."

"What you got for me?" John asked with an arched eyebrow.

"To be honest? I don't know yet."


LAPD Wilshire Division
Two Days Earlier

"Detectives Rembrandt and Young, RHD."

The desk sergeant looked at Charlie and Bonnie's badges through the plexiglass before he nodded and hit the buzzer. The two detectives went through the unlocked metal door and through the halls of Whilshire Division. This time of night, they were among the few cops walking the police station's halls. The nightwatch commander was waiting for them in the main squad bullpen.

"Rembrandt? I thought you were Hollywood Homicide."

"Got bumped up six months ago," Charlie said, nodding towards Bonnie. "This is my partner, Bonnie Young."

Olivas gave Bonnie a polite nod, but nothing more. Charlie figured that Bonnie would probably chalk it up to racism, her being a black woman and all. But Rembrandt knew Olivas well enough that he knew the lieutenant considered anyone below him in rank not worthy of the effort. As the lead detective from Robbery-Homicide, Olivas had to talk to Charlie about... whatever the hell it was that sent them out here in the middle of the night.

"So what's going on?"

Olivias tugged at his collar. "I can't describe it, Charlie. You've... you've just got to see it. Come on."

The lieutenant led them towards the holding and interrogation cells. They went into the observation room, a small space between both interrogation rooms. From there you could watch questionings taking place through the two-way glass on the other side. A computer on a desk was where camera footage of any interrogations was stored. Olivas shut the door after they were inside, locking it and double-checking before he spoke.

"This is confidential, but Major Crimes has been running a taskforce out of Wilshire the past six months. Operation Power Outage is targeted at the Armenian Mob."

"Wow," Bonnie said with a whistle. "I worked Organized Crime Control before, and those Armenians are no joke."

Olivas nodded again, making eye contact with her before addressing Rembrandt.

"They are tough customers, but last night there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We arrested Steve Malakian, one of the organization's biggest killers, on sixteen counts of murder. We were ready to flip him and have him inform on the whole mob... and something happened."

"What exactly?" asked Rembrandt. He saw Bonnie taking notes out the corner of his eye, an annoyed look on her face.

"You've... just got to watch it."


Rembrandt pressed play and passed John his phone. The video footage was shot from the far corner of one of the police interrogation rooms. It showed a small space with four brick walls and bald man, Malakian, handcuffed to a metal table. Two men in suits were in the process of leaving the room, detectives John assumed.

Time passed, a few minutes by John's reckoning. He was about to complain when he saw it. The far wall of the room began to ripple, slowly at first before it picked up speed. On the screen, Malakian began to shake his head when he saw it. From the rippling wall, a figure stepped out. The angle couldn't show his face, but John saw it was a human man dressed in a tartan suit.

Malakian started to struggle with the cuffs and scream as the man walked towards him. The tartan man made a few quick motions with his hand, cutting off the man's screams. Malian clawed at his throat and thrashed. Another hand signal from the tartan man and Malakian stopped struggling as his neck snapped at an awkward ninety degree angle. Malakian's body slumped to the chair as the tartan man retreated back through the portal he had created. The minute he was gone, the two detectives burst back into the room and started their futile attempts to revive Malakian.

"Christ," John said after the video ended.

"You see what I mean? How does that happen? How does a man snap his own neck like that?"

"Wait," said John. "You couldn't see him?"

"See who?" asked Rembrandt.

"The twit in the tartan suit."

"What are you talking about, Constantine? There's nobody else in that video but Malakian."

"Fuck," John said with a sigh. "You can't see him, but I could... fuckfuckfuck."

"What is it you saw," said Charlie. "What is it?"

"Bad fucking news, Charlie." John took a big drag off his cigarette before expelling smoke. "Whoever killed the Kardashian Kid in that video is from my world. And not just some two-bit hustler like me. He's a real fucking mage, Rembrandt. The kind you can't simply arrest."

Charlie turned away from John and looked out across the empty park, a scowl on his face.

"Fuck that. I'm catching a murderer."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by mickilennial
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mickilennial is trying to survive

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Gateway City, California
June 11th, 2018

Gateway City – A city of the gods. A city of opportunity. A city of progress.

After all the years of adapting and learning about Earth, there was still a lot Bekka truly didn’t understand. The world she had found as a sanctuary from her past was archaic beyond belief. There were things the unevolved and unenlightened would do that disgusted her, which in no way she could relate to. New Genesis and many other members of the intergalactic community had shown progress and technological genius without destroying their planets they called home. But humans kept digging their hands into the earth, raping the soil and stealing what they could until they could steal no more. She imagined they would do so until the planet had nothing more to give them.

And that was just one of the many flaws humanity held. The distinctions between race, nation, class, and creed was a disease with no cure that she could see and the more she looked at the bigoted and craven the more she despised them. Their hunger for progress was ruthless and the sickness of ignorance did not make that any better. She supposed her people were much like them once. Earthlings were still primitive. The few that had shown promise could not save the rest from spreading like a plague.

But Bekka? She could.

She could represent those who were too scared to be the best version of themselves. She could inspire them and remove fear from the equation. She could be to them like she was to be to other Genesisians before Darkseid’s vicious betrayal. She could be their “Wonder Woman” like the papers wanted. With her technology, abilities, and values she could bring out the light in an era where an everlasting night was the reality. The more Bekka thought about it, the more she was certain that she could do it – the more she wanted to do it. It was one of the core reasons why she was standing in her “off the books” apartment in Gateway City, facing a mirror, while she smiled widely after donning her armor like it had been the first time she had done so in centuries.

Hiding away was never an appropriate response.

She had arrived on Earth as a refugee from war and chaos, so it made sense that she had embraced cowardice. How long had she forgotten the values she had as a daughter of New Genesis? The only answer she could imagine in her head was “too long”.

It was time. There was work to do.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Morden Man
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Morden Man

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Castle Doom, Latveria

Once upon a time the future had belonged to Reed Richards. It had belonged to Sue and Johnny Storm, Ben Grimm, Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and Steve Rogers too. It had belonged to all that looked across the vast black canvass of space and were brave enough to step out into it. Once upon a time Earth had stood upon the edge of a New Frontier – and Reed Richards had been its architect.

Now that New Frontier lay in ruins. Using the dreaded anti-life equation Darkseid had amassed an army large enough to conquer a thousand universes. Once the Green Lantern Corps had fallen, Earth’s defeat was all but inevitable. First to be laid low was Lex Luthor’s Justice League. The billionaire had made a courageous final stand in New York but had been broken for all the world to see. Then came Superman’s Avengers. Clark Kent and his colleagues were subsumed by Darkseid at the Kryptonian’s Fortress of Solitude. All that was left of Earth’s mightiest heroes were the Fantastic Four – and Doom.

In Doom’s throne room Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben made their final stand. Encircled on all sides by Darkseid’s forces Reed toiled away on a machine that he hoped would change everything. It was a time craft. They could no longer beat Darkseid in this time – that much was clear – and every second spent trying to was wasted, or so Doom had explained. Humanity’s salvation lay in accepting the inevitability of defeat in the present. To save the world, to preserve mankind’s New Frontier, they would have to journey back in time and unite Luthor and Superman before Darkseid’s forces reached Earth.

It was going to take some doing. Richards could feel the sweat pouring from his forehead as he and Doom put the finishing touches on the craft. Ben and Johnny had already been strapped into it. Sue had been providing the two old rivals the protection they needed to see the craft completed.

“How much longer?”

“Thirty seconds.”

Richards glanced over his shoulder in Sue’s direction. On the other side of the forcefield she had erected he could see the famed “S” of Superman. Once it had been the Kryptonian sign for hope. Now Clark Kent, the man Reed had once considered one of his closest friends, brought only death and destruction in his wake. He was Darkseid’s archangel – his herald. And with each blow from his clunking fists he brought Storm’s shields closer to breaking.

For the first time in years, there was doubt in Sue Storm’s voice. “I don’t know how much longer I can hold him.”

Even with their world destroyed and their colleagues broken at Darkseid’s feet, Ben and Johnny were reluctant to make common purpose with Doom. It had taken Reed every bit as much effort to convince them as it had to build the craft they were now strapped into. They had travelled across space before, next to that travelling through time would be child’s play – if it worked. Whether it would was another story altogether.

“This had better not be some kind of trick,” Ben Grimm called out to Doom.

“Children’s entertainers deal in tricks,” Doom glowered at Grimm. “Doom deals in certainties.”

“Yeah, well you had better hope so or you’ll be picking bits of skull out of that helmet of yours for months.”

Beside Ben, Johnny ground his teeth. Usually he was every bit as indefatigable in the face of adversity, but that had changed in New York. Peter Parker had given his life so that the Fantastic Four could live. Johnny had watched on helplessly as Superman tore Parker in two. The jokes and false bravado had died with him.

He placed one of his hands on Grimm’s arm. “If this doesn’t work, we won’t be alive to tell the difference, Ben.”

There was a loud bang as “Superman” brought his fists smashing down against Sue’s shield with so much force that Sue’s nose began to bleed. Behind him the braying army of Apokolips let out a hateful cheer as they sensed their prey weakening. Sue wiped the blood from her nose with the back of her hand and shouted a word of warning to her fiance.


Richards did not so much as look up from the craft this time. “Just a few moments more.”

Superman’s balled-up fists came crashing down against what little remained of Sue Storm’s forcefield. It shattered on impact and the force sent her flying across the throne room. The room filled with bone-chilling Apokoliptian screams as the herald of Darkseid, Superman, stepped across the breach. There was no sign of urgency on his part. The inevitability of their defeat at his master Darkseid’s hands was assured. They would break as all the others had broken – as he had broken.

“Suzie!” Ben roared as he tried to tear himself free from his restraints. “Let me outta this thing, Stretch. I’ll show that no-good Darkseid what’s for if it’s the last thing I do.”

“There,” Reed proclaimed as he pushed the last component into place.

“We need to get out of here,” Sue shouted to him as she climbed to her feet. “And fast.”

Richards swept across the throne room, knocking crazed Apokoliptians out of the way as he went. He followed after Sue as she made her way towards the craft. She erected one last faltering shield around it and Reed slid along the ground, making his body as thin as liquid, to slip beneath it as it sealed off around them. Sue made her way to her seat and strapped herself in only to find her fiance still stood staring at the carnage they had left behind. There was someone missing.

There raging against the forces of Apokolips on his own was Doom.

Victor’s green cape fluttered defiantly in the wind as Superman bore down on him. The Kryptonian lifted one of his bloody fists into the air and swung it towards him with enough force to break a planet. At the last moment it was stopped dead. Doom was glowing green with magical energy when he brought a punch of his own down on Earth’s fallen protector. It sent him smashing through one of Castle Doom’s brick walls.

“We can’t,” Reed muttered as he watched on.

There in the hour of Earth’s greatest need Reed Richards felt his will wavering. Would he trade the fate of their entire world in for the life of the man that had opposed and frustrated him at every turn? He looked to Sue, Ben and Johnny, each imploring them to join him with their eyes, and felt a pang of indecision. His hand lingered over the time craft’s controls as he watched Doom raging against the forces of death themselves.

“We can’t leave him behind,” he repeated as he prepared to send the three of them into the past on their own. “We can’t.”

~There is no can.~

Doom’s voice sounded in Reed’s head. It was every bit as assured as it had been the day they had met at Metropolis University all those years ago. Reed remembered that day more crisply than any other in his life. He had stood before world devourers, scoured the furthest reaches of space, and not once had he felt overawed. Only Victor Von Doom had achieved that. Today as he stood prepared to do the impossible he had achieved it again.

~You must.~

With a casual wave of one of his metallic hands, Doom sent Richards flying into his seat. His restraints were fastened tightly and the craft began to hum. Sue's fingers slid into his and he looked to her with teary eyes as they began to glow with light. Slowly their surroundings began to melt away but in the distance Reed could make out one of Superman’s hands clamping around Doom’s throat.

The Kryptonian lifted him into the air and prepared to deliver the killing stroke. With his last ounce of energy, Doom delivered a contemptuous backhand that sent Superman staggering backwards. Blood trickled from the corner of the Kryptonian’s mouth and he let out a growl as he began to tighten his hand around Doom’s throat.

~Farewell, Reed Richards.~

There was a blinding flash of light and Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben were torn away at an impossible speed. Richards could feel reality bending around them and time and space giving way as Doom had promised it would. In the distance there was a glimmer that filled Reed with hope. Perhaps Victor had beaten the odds, as only he could. The glimmer bigger by the second until was within reaching distance and Richards made out the “S” sign. It was death. Winged death had arrived for them.

The cold, lifeless eyes of Superman were locked on them as they tumbled through time. Reed slammed his fist on the controls in an effort to hasten their escape but still the Kryptonian gained on them. His fingers were within inches of them when the craft hit another gear and pulled away from him at the last minute.

The last thing Reed felt as he drifted out of consciousness were Sue's fingers tightening around his. They had done it – they had cheated death itself. The New Frontier was saved.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Lord Wraith
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Lord Wraith Indefinite Hiatus

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M A R V I L L E, O K L A H O M A:

S A T U R D A Y, J U N E 3 0 T H, 2 0 1 8 - 0 4 : 3 7 p m | D O W N T O W N

"There you are Ma'am, I'm sure Mr. Cuddles will be right as rain in no time at all." Dr. Blake Donaldson said as he gently passed the obese cat over the examination table to the frail old lady in front of him.

"But please, do try to limit Mr. Cuddles' treats to three per day," Blake added with a smile.

"I'm so sorry Doctor Donaldson, ever since my husband's passed away, I've just been lonely and the Mr. Cuddles here has been my only solace." The woman remarked, her voice cracking slightly as she continued. "And if I don't give Mr. Cuddles treats, he won't come to me. The darn cat always did like Ted more."

"Well, I can suggest a few other ways to attract the cat-" Blake began only to be cut off mid-sentence as a deafening crash echoed from outside on Marville's main street. It was quickly followed by the familiar whine of sirens as the Sheriff's department moved onto the scene.

"What in tarnation!" Mrs. Henderson exclaimed as Blake held up a hand for her to stay put as he moved out of the examination room and into the lobby where he could get a better view of whatever was happening outside.

"Doctor Donaldson, I'm sure the Sheriff's department can handle whatever it is." The elderly lady added as Blake turned back to look at her.

"That's what I'm afraid of." He retorted as his eyes searched the street for the old Crown Victoria. It didn't take much effort to pick the black and tan car out of the usual traffic that ran up and down Main Street, even less since its lights were reflecting red and blue off the front of the First National Bank across the street. Standing behind the passenger door with her gun drawn, was none other than the woman that Blake had been hoping not to see.


Barbara Norris, his college girlfriend, and common-law partner, the pair had been together for nearly five years now and there was no one in this world who knew Blake better than she did. But her choice of career wasn't exactly something Blake found desirable, his only relief being the staggering lack of violent crime in Marville.

At least until recently.

All over the world, individuals with what could only be described as superpowers, the stuff of old Captain America comic books, had begun to appear and caused what he personally considered to be a disaster. People with that kind of power, relatively unchecked, it was like they weren't held to any sort of responsibility and Blake could only imagine it was going to end in death for far too many people.


The sound of Sheriff Lamb's voice broke Blake's internal monologue as he looked up to see the figure of a large man in the doorway of the bank. As he stepped into the light, Blake felt a small sense of dread run down his spine as he realized the mutant threat had finally come to Marville. The man's skin appeared metallic in the daylight, shiny and reflective as the high sun beat down on it. In one hand was a large duffle bag, overstuff with wads of cash, no doubt from within the vault of the bank. n the other hand was a crudely made flail, something you'd see an art student try to throw together in shop class back in high-school.

"Wait, I know him," Blake muttered aloud. "That's-"

"CARL CREEL, PUT THE WEAPON DOWN AND YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD!" Lamb continued to issue orders as Blake's former classmate maintained his steady path towards the cruiser. By now, Blake was hardly the only bystander the incident had attracted. After all, the most exciting thing to happen in Marville in the last month was when the local diner, Donar's, tried adding a vegan option to the menu.

Suddenly a collective scream came from the gathered crowd as Creel moved, the flail flying through the air, smashing against the hood of the cruiser as Lamb and Barbara opened fire. Gunshots ricocheted off of Creel's skin, bouncing into the crowd as screams grew louder, accentuated by the cries of pain.

Horrified as he looked around at the chaos, Blake had never felt so powerless in his entire life. At least, not until he saw the flail turn towards Barbara. The sound of metal on metal echoed in his ears as time seemingly froze around him. He watched helplessly as the flail crashed against the door of the cruiser, the force throwing Barbara backward. The impact as she hit the ground echoing in Blake's ears as he charged forward. Watching the gun slide from her grasp, Blake suddenly found himself standing between Barbara and Creel as the other man smiled.

"Crusher!" Blake roared. "That's enough, no one has to die today."

"You do," Creel replied, a smile on his face as Blake stared back at him defiantly. "God offered me a gift, it came at one price. That I kill you."

"We had our rivalry in high-school Creel, but that was ten years ago. You need to let it go." Blake replied, his eyes watching the ball and chain dragging behind the man.

"You had me kicked off the team, you little snitch! You ruined my chances at getting out of this town!"

"You would have been caught doping the second you joined a college team, I did you a favour! I gave you a chance to find another path in life and this is what you chose!"

"SHUT. UP." Creel roared, the flail swinging around as it caught Blake straight in the chest. His body was suddenly lifted into the air, Barbara's cries echoing through his ears as the warm trickle of blood ran down his chin, his breathing strained as ribs felt like they imploded in on his chest. The dirty pavement did nothing to break his fall as Blake found himself crumpled on the ground of a nearby alley, toss away like the rest of the garbage in this town.

Grasping for air, Blake's eyes widened as an elderly man looked down on his. His clothes were tattered and tarnished, a wide-brimmed hat covering half his face as Blake noticed a scarred eye socket hiding before the shadow of the hat. His remaining eye, however, twinkled with a kindness, not unlike one would see in their own grandfather.

"I think it is time for you to get back in the fight my son." The man said as he took a firm hold on Blake's hand, helping the younger man to his feet as a strange sensation washed over Blake's body. The dreams that had plagued him for nearly a decade suddenly bombarded his mind. The sky overhead darkened as thunder began to rumble and suddenly it was as though a fog had been lifted from Blake's mind.

"Father," Thor spoke for the first time in what felt like a millennium.

"Go forth my son, the people of Midgard need you."

Lightning flashed as Thor emerged from the alley, his Asgardian armor appearing as he approached Crusher, catching the flail midair as it swung towards his beloved Barbara.

"I would have words with you, but it would seem that you are not in the mood for conversing," Thor yelled over the storm as Crusher looked at the strange man before him, completely bewildered.

"Who... W-who the hell are you!" He screamed as Thor ripped the flail from his hands.

"I am Thor, the Son of Odin, God of Thunder." He declared. "Heir to the Throne of Asgard, Protector of the Nine Realms, Björn of the North, the Lone Rider of the Storm, Lord of Battle, the fierce spirit and to my enemies the Terrible."

"Yeah well, fuck you," Creel snarled. "I'm Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man, kicker of your ass, douchebag."

"The Absorbing Man?" Thor raised an eyebrow. "Are you a merchant of feminine hygiene products? Do you speak truly, are you fully absorbent?"

A chuckle arose from the silent crowd as Creel's face twisted in rage. Charging forward, he raised a fist only for Thor to grasp his wrist, hoisting the man above his head and slamming Creel into the ground as the asphalt splintered and shattered beneath the force.

"Arise my foe, let us continute to do battle." Thor taunted, motioning for Creel to approach with two fingers.

Scrambling to stand in the ever forming crater beneath him, Creel moved to charge Thor again only for the God of Thunder to step aside allowing Creel to awkward stumble past him. Roaring, the metal man turned and charged again, arms outstretched as Thor backhanded him across the face, tossing Creel aside like a ragdoll.

"FIGHT ME!" Creel roared as he steadied himself again.

"If that be your final wish." Thor smiled and charged Creel, leaping into the air as lighting swirled in the sky, meeting Thor's fist as he guided the bolt to Creel's face. A flash of light erupted upon impact and when it cleared, Thor stood triumphantly over his fallen foe. Creel's body slowly turning back to flesh and blood as he lost consciousness. Cheers exploded from the crowd as Thor bowed, leaping into the air as a gust of wind carried him over the rooftops, dropping him out of sight of the crowd. Dismissing his armor, Thor allowed himself to appear once again as Blake Donaldson.

Emerging from the alley, feigning his injuries, Thor stumbled forward, allowing himself to fall into the outstretched arms of Barbara Norris.

"I thought I had lost you." She stated a sigh of relief following her words. With a groan of agony, Thor replied in the guise of Blake.

"I think I'll leave the hero stuff to the professional from now on."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by mickilennial
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mickilennial is trying to survive

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Gateway City, California
July 4th, 2018

Gateway City was in the middle of a new technological revolution. Empire Enterprises had been growing and growing, almost as if it was looking at the technology titans of the east coast with an arrogant smile. Anyone and everyone knew it. Veronica Cale was hungry and what Lex Luthor had built in Metropolis was only a small glimpse of genuine competition. And in Cale’s mind California was so much more marketable than Delaware.

The blonde-haired woman stood in her office in the tallest skyscraper in the city, overlooking the streets below.

“We’ve come so far. The ceiling hasn’t even been broken yet.” She mused to herself, holding her hands together as she looked onward at the scene in front of her, the red-haired woman in angelic battle-armor pushing her back against the falling 747 that had lost its engine upon descent toward the city.

Lex Luthor was not the only person in the United States that had peaked her interest. Alien gods that fashioned themselves as superheroes were just as intriguing. Though she did not share the fear her contemporaries in the business world held for these “metahumans”. Her mind jumped to fascination. What kind of marvels did they have that could be exploited for the greater good of the business? What kind of technology did they have that could bend to their will? What kind of technology could Veronica’s business partner dissect and turn into the ultimate breakthrough? It was a tantalizing thought.

This “Wonder Woman” character could destroy Empire Enterprises or make it the most powerful corporation on the planet. If Veronica wasn’t careful it could be a mistake involving herself with the affairs of a supposed god. But Veronica had always been a woman who knew a good asset when she saw one and knew when the gains outweighed the risks. But manipulating a being like a superheroine of her abilities was going to be a challenge. Perhaps her greatest challenge. She would have to tell her assistant to keep her up-to-date on all news of the red-haired superheroine and the journalist who had named her.

“I need to know everything about you.” She uttered, “I need to know what you can do.”

A wide smile appeared on the blonde-haired CEO's face.

“Wonder Woman.”
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Lord Wraith
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Lord Wraith Indefinite Hiatus

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M A R V I L L E, O K L A H O M A:

S U N D A Y, J U L Y 1 S T, 2 0 1 8 - 0 8 : 0 1 a m | H O M E O F B L A K E D O N A L D S O N & B A R A B A R A N O R R I S

"You should risk your life more often."

Barbara's voice broke the silence in the kitchen where Blake was currently standing, listening to the birds sing their song. Leaning against the railing of the staircase leading to their bedroom, Barbara was only wearing one of Blake's t-shirts tossed haphazardly over her slender, shapely figure, the tease of her black barely-there underwear peeking out from underneath. The morning sun illuminated her golden hair as she smiled at her lover when he turned to listen.

"Don't get me wrong, you've always been good." Barbara continued as she walked into the room, straddling a stool on the island adjacent to where Blake was standing, in front of the fridge, a carton of milk pressed to his lips.

"But last night... wow,"

"I've got some pretty high standards for you now, Dr. D," She cooed. "It was like you were a whole other person, and the way you held me, so firm and... Like have you been working out?" She asked biting down on her lip as Blake smiled back at her, putting the milk carton away as he moved around the island. Outside, the wind had begun to howl as the skies became overcast, the kitchen becoming notably darker while rain started to pelt against the windows.

Standing over Barbara, Blake leaned down, pressing his lips against hers. She pressed back, her hands wrapping around his shoulders as his hands found their way beneath her and hoisted the smaller woman onto the island. Outside thunder boomed as lightning illuminated the room. Blake's lips departed from Barbara's, moving to her earlobe, then her neck before continuing their way down her body as she let out a euphoric moan while another roll of thunder shook the house.

"Oh my... God!"
° ° ° °

Fastening the last button on her blouse, Barbara looked over at Blake as she lifted her long hair over her shoulders.

"You know, we're going to be late for church now right?" She stated before pausing as Blake pulled on a t-shirt.

"Is that what you're wearing?" She asked with a small giggle. "I know the church has a whole, 'Come As You Are' policy, but at least wear something with a collar."

"Right..." Thor replied with a pause of his own. "We go to church..." He stated, the words feeling foreign in his mouth.

"To worship, Jesus Christ." He continued, reluctantly pulling his shirt off and looking through 'his' wardrobe for something with a collar.

"You say that like it's the first time you've heard it." Barbara teased, "It was your insistence that we start going so we 'didn't disappoint your parents'." She raised her hands, making 'air quotes' with her fingers as Blake finally found a shirt that was both comfortable and had a collar.

"Wait," Thor stated suddenly as Barbara turned towards the door, stopping as she turned and shot him a mildly annoyed look.

"We're not married," He continued, "And we just had sex, before going to church? Isn't that a little... sacrilegious?" Thor asked with a smile as Barbara rolled her eyes.

"Really, now you want to talk theology?" Barbara snorted. "You know very well we're only going to keep the peace with your parents. Now c'mon, if I have to give up two hours that I could be back in bed with you, then the least we can do is not make a scene by walking in halfway through the sermon."

"Eh," Thor muttered. "Don't know what got into me." He chuckled as the pair left the house, walking down the front porch towards the large pick-up truck in the driveway. Walking around the front of the truck, Thor made his way towards the driver's door before Barbara whistled at him.

"Yo! Tall, fair and handsome." She yelled mockingly, "Get your ass in the bitch seat, you're not driving my truck."

"Your truck?" Thor blurted out, undeniable surprise plaguing his words. The conflicting memories in his head were rather difficult to sort out and Thor was quite surprised that his reincarnated self would ever have been driven around by a woman.

"What's that supposed to mean!" Barbara snapped back. "I sure as hell didn't buy it for you. You chose to drive your dinky little hybrid. Sorry if I'm hurting your manhood." She stormed while climbing into the driver's seat.

Looking at the 'dinky little hybrid' in question, Thor rolled his eyes.

"That's not going to do." He muttered only to be nearly deafened by the horn of the truck.

"GET IN!" Barbara yelled as Thor took hold of the door, gingerly opening it so as not to damage the new vehicle before climbing inside. "God, what has gotten into you."

"I've just been," Thor paused, "Thinking about making some lifestyle changes."

"Can you do it on your own damn time." Barbara teased, the edge in her voice lessened but was still notably there. "Look, I know being attacked, hell, seeing your life flash before your eyes, it can be traumatizing if you need to see someone-"

"Babe, I'm good, great even," Thor assured her as they pulled up to the church. Climbing out of the truck, music could be heard from the open windows even with the sound of the cicadas echoing out over the nearby cornfield. Entering the church, Thor reluctantly accepted the bulletin from the usher as he and Barbara tried to sneak into the back row.

Sitting down, Thor felt Barbara begin a sigh of relief before the air was suddenly drawn back into her lungs sharply as an elderly man turned around to look at Blake.

"Y'know son," Erik Donaldson's voice was loud and clear even as the worship team continued their praise to the 'one true God'. "No one likes a back row Baptist, 'specially a late one."

"Sorry Dad, we were-" Thor looked at Barbara who motioned for him to say something. "A little tangled up." He spat out as his dad shook his head.

"If you get that woman pregnant, I'll march you to the altar myself with a shotgun," Erik stated flatly before smiling at Barbara. "Always a blessed day with you around of course though, Barbara." Turning back around, Thor balled his fists in and out, his nostrils flaring.

Outside, the thunder rolled again causing Thor to suddenly sit up in his seat, the sky lightening outside as he took a deep, calming breath. It was going to take some practice to regain control over his powers again, especially without Mjölnir.

"Weather sure has been weird today huh?" Barbara whispered as she looked out the window. "Must be one of them meta-humans."

"Must be," Thor muttered his reply as the worship team left the stage only to be replaced by a man in a short-sleeved collar shirt and a tie. "And here we go."

The sermon was admittedly short to what Blake remembered, and Thor was quite grateful for that. As the service ended, Thor and Barbara bid Blake's parents adieu before they paused and looked at them confused.

"You're not coming for Sunday dinner?" Erik asked as Marcy stood beside him. "Your mother made pot roast, son, it's your favourite."

"Sorry, Dad," The word felt both foreign and familiar in Thor's mouth as he spoke it. "Thought Barbara and I might take, well a, rain check." He continued, Barbara noticeable flinching as the words made Marcy's face scrunch up in an expression that Thor didn't quite comprehend but Blake did.


"What on Earth could you be doing that's more important than making your mother happy, son?" Erik pressed, his hands in his pockets but his shoulders were pointed forward, an aggressive stance that Thor quickly matched, folding his arms over each other as his biceps swelled. Blake couldn't remember a time that Erik had ever struck him, but Thor wasn't about to chance being sucker punched by a mortal.

"I, uh think we should be going," Barbara stated as she not so subtly tugged on Blake's arm. "Always a pleasure, Mr. and Mrs. Donaldson." She added, waving as the couple turned and headed back towards her truck.

"What the hell kind of stunt was that? You pick Sunday, of all days, to stand up to your father." Barbara hissed as Thor shot her a glare.

"No mere man shall speak to me in that manner." He growled as Barbara took a step back, confusion covered her face as she looked up at him. The skies began to darken again as rain showered the pair prompting them to scramble inside the truck.

"You're not okay, Blake." She continued. "We're going home, and tomorrow you're coming down to the Sheriff's Office and I'll get the staff therapist to squeeze you in."

"That's not necessary," Thor replied, brushing her off. "I told you, I've never felt better."

"Bullshit, Donaldson," Barbara stated. "Tomorrow, you're getting help."

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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Mao Mao
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Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

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"Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know Major Tom's a junkie
Strung out in heaven's high
Hitting an all-time low"

The classic voice of David Bowie accompanied by the sounds of guitar and bass was the first thing that Peter Quill heard. He yawned and then stretched his arms out as he was slowly getting ready to take on the day. Today was important because they are meeting up with Rocket and Groot. With their assistance, they will have enough men to take on Zynsalak and get answers. And maybe then Kraglin will be able to finally move on. For now, Quill just wanted to get up. He laid on the bed and listened to the song as it was ending when he heard loud footsteps that caught him off guard.


Quill walked quietly to the main deck as Ashes to Ashes was slowly fading into the next song. However, the song was suddenly shut off before it could even finish. He heard soft whimpering from the dining area and knew that Kraglin was awake. Leaving his room, Quill found a bottle of whiskey on the ground near the tape deck. Hopefully, it was from last night. He thought about it and placed it on the table nearby. Then, he left for the dining area. That was where he found Kraglin placing down a plate of eggs and toast looking like a mess. As usual. He hasn't got a decent night's rest since the death of Yondu and his friends. Even with Quill's attempts to make him happy, Kraglin was never going to be himself again until he got answers.

"Kraglin." Quill called out.

Kraglin looked up as he slowly was eating breakfast and responded with "Good morning." Quill grabbed a plate and put eggs and toast on it. He sat across from Kraglin and started to eat the eggs. They were good enough to last him for a while. At least until he starts to munch on snacks. After a few minutes of silence, Kraglin was done with his meal and placed the plate in the sink. He began to wash it when he remembered about the ship being in the orbit of Yanus. "You should come up to control. You will love the view."

Kraglin left to pilot the ship towards the port city of Amaul, where Rocket said they were waiting for them and looking for clues of Zynsalak's whereabouts. Quill quickly finished eating the remaining bits of egg and placed the plate in the sink without washing it. He walked out of the dining area and climbed the ladder to the cockpit. There he saw Kraglin prepping to take control of the Milano and then saw the planet. It was beautiful. Quill sat down as he read the screen about Yanus. The Nova Corps and Lantern Corps warned that the planet is often used as a hideout for criminals due to it's lush forests. Regardless, people around the galaxy came to start a new life away from the polluted planets. Quill loved the forest because of how much they reminded him of his mother and their camping trips.

Shortly after taking control, Kraglin was in contact with the landing service requesting to land on Amaul. Moments later, landing control assigned the Milano to a landing pad and two small Nova Corp fighters appeared to escort them. Thirty seconds passed and the Milano was flying towards one of dozens of hangers in Amaul. The two fighters finally left them alone and returned to their own designated landing pads. Kraglin landed the ship on the pad and the ramp descended towards the ground. "Here we are." Quill stood up and went back to his room to change into his daily outfit.

It took Quill a minute of changing clothes and messing around with his hair to be ready to go. With his pistols in their holsters, Quill looked around for his iconic blue Sony Walkman. It took an additional minute for Quill to trash his room in search for them. He found it under a pile of clothes on top of a chair. "Hurry up, Quill! We don't have all day!" Quill heard Kraglin as he left his room and put the walkman in a hostler designed to take the device with him.

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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Enarr
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There Weren't Really Any Clocks Around
The Weapon X Facility, Canada

The air is every bit as wet as Michael Phelp's favorite towel and, even worse, the mists smell like what would rise out of that towel if you pissed on it, doused it with expired milk and left it under your laziest siblings bed. Awful, right? Yeah. Now imagine that you can have the nasal-cognitive coordination to tell whether the individual who'd soiled that towel was pregnant or not, how much they weighed and how many times they'd shaken more salt onto their most recent meal. The man Cornelius was waiting on could practically differentiate how many grains had landed on your plate.

Now, Doctor Abraham Cornelius had walked into the room. The man wasn't necessarily the most classically masculine of people to have ever existed nor was he the pregnantest, but his muffintop easily could've concealed a gestating scientist that would one day take the world by storm. Or maybe his generous physique held a crew of little people that was piloting his frame like an old FORD whose power steering had gone out. It would certainly explain the clumsiness.

"Goddammit," Cornelius barked, calling upon a being who almost certainly wasn't listening. "Hines, get over here."

"Yes, Doctor Cornelius!" a being marginally more invested in Cornelius's dealings chirped before springing to his side.

"Where is Patient Ten?"

"Mr. Logan, doctor?"

"Yes, Logan. Who did you think I meant? Bernie Sanders?" he snarled, grumpily.

"Ten is in the den, sir."

"Fantastic. Go get him. Be sure to let him know that he's late," Abraham bitched before driving the young lady out of his sight. After watching his assistant's great personality exit the room, he angrily bashed his papers together like action figures, pretending to sort them. In his left hand, he held the Cobain Doctrine, in which Mr. Logan had signed away his personhood in exchange for Weapon X to take extinguish the flames of his suffering. In his right hand, he had an excerpt from William Bunting's brilliant new short story as it was scratched out in the spiral notebook that it had entered this world through. Sitting in front of him, like a dungeon master's screen, was a collage of x-rays, blueprints, essays and news clippings that he had to reference often.

Even minutes before the first step of the operation was scheduled to take place, he was still tinkering with his designs. A masterfully inked sketch of Logan's skeleton was on a regular piece of printer paper, sitting with a sweet suite of translucent wax paper print-outs staggered on top of it, each one sporting a slightly different build of possible augmentations. Attempt Number 10 for Weapon X: A man whose healing factor made surgical options so versatile that he could become anything. Abraham postures the venom glands on X's arm, he licks his teeth and spreads the gyro-ribcage corset over the model's core, and he giddily slides the retractable grapnel-claw attachment before reaching for his favorite bit--

"Doctor," Carol interrupts him, "Patient Ten is here.". His expression is as flat as a board. His blood runs cold. In his embarrassment he gashes his finger with one of the laminated weapon sketches before squeezing that finger. The patient's eyes flash open and he crouches ever so slightly, like a tiger getting ready to pounce on a piglet. Dr. Cornelius face flushes rosy red. He may as well have been masturbating for all the embarrassment he felt when they walked in.

"Um, hello Mr. Logan. Glad you could make it."

Logan nods his head, keeping his mouth shut. His throat crushes itself, like a wet sponge, demanding he lubricate it with some blood to keep the motor running. He resists. The place smells like death to him, but not in the sense that he smells shit and wants to get away. The death in the air hits Logan's nostrils like sizzling bacon grease hits just about any American nose.

Like a tour guide, Miss Carol Hines breaks the air and says, "Alright, we got all your paperwork squared away. We got your medical documents and we got everything we need to get started today. We'll just run some preliminary tests, get'cha a dose of the good stuff and we'll have you invincible in no time."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by mickilennial
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mickilennial is trying to survive

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Gateway City, California
July 4th, 2018

“Wonder Woman! A few minutes of your time?!”

Bekka never really understood the concept of a free press or really any sort of press in the first place. The gods of New Genesis had no use of reporters and journalists. It was an archaic concept that only was necessary when the people’s protectors were not benevolent or wise. As far as she could understand it, it was the only way the people of Earth could feel empowered. To report and garner public support (or public disdain) of a public figure who was not fit to guide them out of the darkness. But Bekka had much more pertinent tasks than playing nice with some humans with cameras.

She pushed her feet off the runway, forcing herself into the skies above, leaving the crowd of reporters behind.

At least those passengers are safe now.

When she had heard the left wing of the airplane snap upon descent she had forced all of her strength into preventing a local disaster. Fortunately, no damages to the city had been made as she wrestled with the falling transport and no person had been harmed during the descent save for some psychological scarring from the trauma. It had been her honor to help citizens out who could not define their own fate.

It had been a few months since she had forced herself out of isolation and about one since the public had given her the title of Wonder Woman in recognition of their very own superhero. But in a time humans lived in she supposed they needed those titles to elevate their heroes and give them hope. It had been one of the reasons she had decided to stop hiding; to give others hope so they could be the best versions of themselves, and in 2018 hope seemed pretty hard to come by. President Robert Kelly certainly wasn’t living up to the standards that people expected and with media figures like G Gordon Godfrey demonizing people like herself and Superman as “alien invaders”, “weird experiments gone mad”, and “mutant freaks” even a god could see that humanity was going through some awful growing pains.

“They’ll learn.” She muttered under her breath as she flew through the skies above Gateway City. “And I’ll teach them.”

Bekka dropped to the streets, in front of a car that had just been riddled with gunfire.

“I think you better drop your weapons. That's my first and only warning.”

Bekka could feel the glares from the criminals that had decided a gang war would be the best way to spend their afternoon. She smirked, arms crossed as she looked over both parties who were armed to the teeth. She had a feeling they weren’t going to drop their weapons and surrender.

That was fine. It was her preference.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Simple Unicycle
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Simple Unicycle ?

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11:47 PM; July 3rd, 2018
A Derelict Warehouse; New York City

The lights within the derelict warehouse flickered every other second, the room going from well-lit to pitch black and back again over and over. He couldn't see a thing with the bag over his head save for the room going from light to dark, instead having to rely on his sense of sound. And when he heard the telltale sound of footsteps approaching him, Tony was practically pissing his pants.

"L-look, man, I dunno what the fuck this is about, i-if it's about that money I owe Donnie I can get it all together in another week!"

"Anthony Gognitti. Tony." The voice spat out his name as though it made him sick. "Works for Vincent 'Vinnie' De Luca, big crime lord. Bit in debt because of reckless gambling, but you've got a wealth of knowledge."

Tony heard what sounded like a bat being tapped against the floor. "Y-yeah, that's me, what's-it-to-ya?"

"I need some of that info. And you're going to give it to me."

"Look, I dunno who you got your info from, but I don't know jackshit! I m-mean, I used to, but not no more, Vinnie cut me off after I started gettin' into de-" *CRACK* "AAAAAGH!" Holy shit, that psycho just broke his leg!

"I didn't bring you here to be fed your bullshit, Gognitti. I want info. You have it." Tony felt the stranger lean in closer. "Now tell me... Where can I find Jimmy Rossi?"




"H-he sticks around this f-fu-fuckin' club all the fuckin' time! The Stardust, it's owned by his boss! Y-you can fuckin' find him there! Just let me go!"

He heard the stranger's rushed and heavy breathing slow. "Thanks for the info."

The man approached once more, and Tony let out a sigh of relief. Sure, the fucker had broke his legs, but at least he would let him go.

He felt a sharp stab of pain in his chest. Then another. Maybe there was a few more. But by that point there was nothing.

And as Tony Gognitti breathed his last, Frank Castle watched the blood drain out of his body, releasing a last breath of his own; his last breath as a good man. There was no going back after this. He'd bring down the two bastards who killed his family and the son of a bitch they worked for, or he'd die trying. His quest for revenge, or justice, or sick joy, whatever his Goddamn motivation was at this point, started now. He knew where one of them hung out at. Now there was just the matter of going there and paying him a visit...


12:14 AM; July 4th, 2018
The Stardust Nightclub; New York City

Maybe he'd come to the wrong place.

What he was expecting was a seedy strip club where the girls conveniently forgot their IDs at home, or a rundown bar passing itself off as something it wasn't. Instead, when he arrived, he found that the Stardust was far fancier than it had any right to be, considering all the scum that called it their hangout. Two stories, a big red neon sign, and luxury cars parked out front. Everyone in there was probably just expecting a nice night on the town. Here's hoping they all brought along flak vests... Or had their wills in order.

The cop headed up the front steps and into the club proper, being greeted by electronic music blaring loud enough to cause hearing damage and robotic people doing the latest 'dance moves', if you could call them that. Frank spotted a bar and was tempted to have a drink before he went about his business, but he had booze at home and it was easier to aim when he wasn't shitfaced... Most of the time anyway.

He looked through the crowd for Rossi. The man was a little shorter than he was, athletically built, with the stereotypical Italian characteristics like black hair slicked back with grease and an accent that would make Joe Pesci say 'that's enough'. Frank didn't see the man through his first scan of his surroundings, but that didn't mean he wasn't around...

And speak of the devil: Frank could hear Rossi's voice from a mile away, the same voice that screamed "Die you gook fucks!" now crying out "Ey, somebody get me a drink!" Frank turned in the direction that he heard the voice, and spotted Rossi lounging around at a table, a few buddies on either side of him, all of them undoubtedly packing heat. That would just make this more fun.

Frank approached the group's table, staring down Rossi with intensity that would make any man piss himself. Rossi, however, was either too drunk or too dense to get that he was about to die, because the first thing out of his mouth was "Ey, zipperhead, ya mind gettin' the fuck outta my sight?" When Frank didn't respond, Rossi continued on, "Okay, seriously, I'm gettin' pissed here, why don't you's fuck off and go do someone's taxes or some shit?"

In response, Frank yanked out one of his Glocks and leveled it at Rossi. "Rot in Hell you piece of shit." Rossi only had a second to look shocked before he found himself being pumped full of lead. His friends were quicker to react, all of them rising up and pulling out guns of their own. Frank pulled out his other pistol, firing at two of them before leaping backwards and offing the remaining three whilst still in the air.

The guards, who looked more like mobsters themselves, were converging on Frank's position quickly. Considering this place was owned by Rossi's boss it was safe to say these guys were mobsters... So there was nothing wrong with killing a whole lot of them.

Frank took cover behind a pillar, the guards fast approaching with pistols drawn. Frank peeked out ever so slightly, noticing one just a few feet away. He stuck one of his pistols from behind cover, firing once, twice. The guard stumbled forward, falling onto his stomach right next to Frank, who put a shot in his head. Better safe than sorry.

The clubgoers were all fleeing at this point, which was good, because it meant he was less likely to injure or, even worse, kill a civvie. Even without the DJ, the music continued to play, transitioning into a new song even. He couldn't leave just yet. He needed to get deeper into the club and find an office or something, where he could hopefully dig up info on the owner of this place. Dave couldn't find a damn thing on who Rossi and Francesco, the other guy, were working for, though not for lack of trying.

Enough thinking. There was no more time for that. It was time to just act on instinct. Frank checked the clips of his guns. Seven rounds in one clip, eleven in the other. He brought along two extra clips, with seventeen rounds each. Here's hoping he could take down God knows how many mobsters with fifty-two bullets.

He took one last peek around cover, quickly counting nine guards, before taking a deep breath and leaping into action.

Frank rolled onto the neon dance floor, firing at two guards who fell flat on their faces, blood flying in an arc from their heads to the wall. The other guards fired at him, and, acting quickly, Frank leapt to the side and took out another two. Once he landed, he rolled back into cover, which took the form of a pillar on the other side of the room.

Four down, five to go. Three rounds in one clip, seven in the other. He could do this.

Frank rounded the corner of his cover, rolling to another pillar and peeking around the corner. The guards were coming closer. Frank blindfired, emptying the pistol with just three rounds left. He heard the thump of one guard falling to the ground. Four to go.

Taking in a deep breath, Frank decided it was time to do the stupidest thing of his career.

The cop-turned-vigilante crouched down to about half of his height and spun out of his cover, coming gun-to-face with one of the goons.


Three guards, five rounds. He took the guard's corpse as a shield, finding himself facing down two guards hellbent on painting the walls with his brain.


One guard, one round. Frank dropped his shield.


He dove back into the cover the pillar provided at the sound of gunshots, noting that one of the guards was smart enough to also use a pillar as cover. As soon as he heard the guard rounding the corner to get a better shot...


Right in the gut. The guard was still standing, so Frank rounded the corner and ran, grabbing the guard's gun arm and slamming him into a pillar. The guard dropped his pistol and Frank hit him once in the face, then rammed a palm under the man's nose, sending the bone into his brain and making the man go limp as blood poured out of his nostrils.

Frank reloaded his two pistols uneasily, expecting an ambush at any moment. All was quiet, however. Now he just needed to head into the offices, and find any information on the owner. Know your enemy, and all that shit.

It didn't take long to locate the offices in the backstage area of the club. There were no guards to speak of, thank the lord, and it seemed like he was the only soul in the club. No doubt the cops would be coming after the gunfight that just took place, but maybe, just maybe, he could get some info and get out before they did.

Frank dug through filing cabinets and clicked through computer files, praying that he would find something, anything, could give him a lead. Then he found it. An email on one of the computers, two workers talking about the owner. They didn't mention a name, but they talked about some of his other businesses... The only one he recognized was a hotel by the name of the Royal Palace.

Well, it seemed that was where he had to go next. Or maybe he'd just have Dave look into it. Whatever the case, he got what he was after. Now it was time to get the hell out of dodge. Leaving through the front would be stupid, so he headed through the storage room and out the cargo door, heading off into the night.

There was no going back now.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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Silver Lake
4:23 AM

“How much of this is bullshit?”

Charlie Rembrandt took his eyes off the road after his question was met with silence. Constantine’s eyes were closed, a smoldering cigarette in one hand and a serene smile on his face. His eyes snapped open and took a long drag off the cigarette before expelling smoke out the cracked passenger side window.

“Real as can be, squire. In the criminal underworld, it’s always convenient to get a fella who can walk through walls to do your dirty work.”

Charlie shook his head. “A magician hitman?”

“It’s a simple way of putting things, but yeah. This isn't a new phenomenon. That kind have always latched themselves to those with money and power. Every king and emperor since the dawn of time had their own wizard at their side. In today's society, an elected official having a Secretary of Magic would be frowned upon to say the least. So they scuttle to the criminals. The big bosses like having them around. Even if most of them are full of shit.”

“Makes sense, I guess,” said Charlie. “A lot of these mob guys I’ve come across over the years are superstitious and believe in things like destiny and fate and all that other horseshit. Probably wouldn’t take much to con them.”

”And I’d say ninety-nine percent of them are grifters more than mages, like yours truly. But that one percent? Well...There were these two blokes, twin brothers you see, who ran the London underworld in the sixties. They had their own court mage for awhile. Under his protection, the brothers were nigh invincible. They won gang wars without losing a man, any time Old Bill raided their shops they had cleaned everything out. Their reputation grew, but their reputation was a load of bollocks. It was all the work of their pet magician.”

"What happened to them?"

Constantine flashed a grin. "They got so full of themselves, they tried to push their pet around. The pet pushed back. The legend goes that the mage performed a spell that fused the two of them together by the nervous system. Twins, sharing one body that had four eyes and four arms and four legs. Like a twisted, two-headed spider The... thing they became blew its brains out after a few hours of miserable living."

Rembrandt came to a stop at a redlight and looked over at Constantine. His eyes were shut again, the cigarette almost burnt down to the label.

“You ever had any experience in that field, John?”

Constantine opened one eye and looked at him for a long, silent moment. He finished off his cigarette and tossed the butt out the window.

“In New York, there was a mafia don. A powerful man who could get anyone to do anything for him. And then one day his six year old son got pneumonia and suddenly died. So the don tried to bend death to his will. The tosser put a gun to my head and told me that I would either resurrect his son, or I would be meeting him in the afterlife.”

“Did it work?”

“Death can’t be bullied, Charlie.” Constantine looked away and instead stared out the window. “I couldn’t bring his soul back, and I sure as fuck didn’t want to get my brains blown out. So I improvised. I put something else in his body.”

“What was that?”

“You got a green,” Constantine said, nodding towards the traffic light. “We’re almost there.”


Ray’s Occult Books
4:45 AM

“We’re closed!”

Ray Browder’s heavyset face went from scowl to smile as soon as he saw John peering through the bookshop window. He jumped up from behind the counter and hurried over to the door. He unlocked it and opened it up, his smile faltering as he saw Rembrandt standing beside John.

“Who is he?”

“A friend.”

“He looks like a cop.”

“A copper friend, then. I’m helping him out with something.”

“I’m a murder police,” Rembrandt said, flashing his badge. “Unless you have dead bodies in this bookstore, then I could give a fuck about what you did.”

"Careful, Charlie," John said with a grin. "Who knows what kind of mischief young Raymond is up to tonight..."

A few minutes later the they were in the back section of the store. John was busy perusing the books on the shelf while Charlie talked to Ray. The collection Ray had managed to build up over the years was first-rate. Arcane Olde English texts from the Middle Ages nestled among Victorian Era books about spiritualism and satanism, even a scroll written in Sumerian. The scroll was the real deal. He could feel power radiating off of it, like heat from a fire.

Across the way from John, Ray had been listening intently with his arms crossed while Rembrandt explained the situation at Wilshire two nights earlier.

“Know of any blokes who dabble in our trade, love to wear tartan?” John asked, looking away from the books.

“Can’t say I do,” Ray said with a sigh. “He sounds like the real deal, John. The Good People would know of him, probably. My business with them has dried up over the past year.”

“Why is that?” asked John.

“Because there’s no money in it," Rays said with a shrug. "I can’t pay my electricity bill with eyeballs and vial of someone's personal happiness. I’ve started catering to the hipster crowd here in Silver Lake. I stock the shelves with books on Crowley, chaos magic, and serial killer shit. They got money to burn and they love stuff like that. All my serious books I keep here in the back room now.”

“Not to interrupt,” said Rembrandt. “But I’m going to interrupt. Who are these Good People?”

“The magic folk of LA,” said John. “Or at least the ones that claim their magic. It’s a shadow society operating through the city.”

“Imagine hipsters and crazy people,” said Ray. “Then squash them together rather nicely and you’ve got the Good People.”

“No doubt you’ve encountered one or two of them, Charlie. After all, you’re a cop. They dress like nutters, they act like nutters, but at the end of the day… they’re still fucking nutters.”

“The guy you described on the video didn’t seem nuts,” said Rembrandt “He seemed fucking far from it when he snapped that man’s neck like a twig.”

“Dangerous isn’t the same as sane,” said John. He looked towards Ray. “You know of any meet-ups the Good People are having? I need to talk to someone in the know about this guy. When's the last time you saw Epiphany?”

“Months ago,” said Ray. “She's not like the rest of the Good People, but she still only comes around occasionally, mostly when she's looking for inventory. But I know where she'll be this Friday. It’s the thirteenth and a new moon all at once.”

A smile crept onto John’s face.

“The Auction.”

“That’s right,” Ray replied with his own smile. “The one and only.”
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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It doesn't take me long to catch up to the source of the sirens. Four squad cars are in pursuit of an armored car streaking down Fifth Avenue. The cops are swerving around stopped traffic, while the armored car doesn't even bother. The powerful, impervious vehicle merely plows through whatever's in its way. I see civilians scramble out of the way of the speeding battering ram, and I can only hope the cars it's sideswiping are empty and no one is getting hurt inside. Still, one thing's for sure, if that thing isn't stopped, it's going to end up killing someone, and there's no way I'm letting that happen.

I still have ground to make up, so I ditch the long swings and decide to go for a rapid fire approach. Using anything and everything I can attach a line to from light poles to bus stop enclosures, I whip myself towards the chase. Super strength isn't all that useful when you're, say, slow dancing at prom, but it sure is coming in handy now. Keeping my powers at bay during normal hours requires constant concentration, so I can't deny that it feels good to really let loose.

Eventually, I catch up to the chase and land on one of the cop cars. It swerves slightly as the men inside are alerted to my presence, but they just continue on. From the comm comes Peter's voice, "Wow, the webshooters are really performing well!"

"Wait..how do you know?" I ask as I prepare to jump onto the armored car.

"Look up," he responds with a full mouth. He's clearly snacking on something.

Glancing up, I find a news helicopter hovering above, "Oh great."

The car I'm currently surfing on manages to get alongside the hijacked vehicle. Before I can jump over, my spider sense explodes with a warning. It's definitely my craziest power, if anything about the new me could be more crazy than the rest. It's like every hair on my body stands on end. It's what I imagine a person who gets struck by lightning feels right before they get fried. It almost like time slows down too. It doesn't but that's what it feels like to me, and it lets me stay a step ahead.

On this particular occasion, the guy in the passenger seat of the armored car is aiming around his buddy driving with a sawed off shotgun. Before he can pull the trigger, however, a webline snatches the gun out of his hand.


The gun flies right to my hand, and I pop the shells out to disarm it. I feel icky holding the weapon. Never been a fan of the things, especially since Dad keeps insisting I come with him to the range to learn how to shoot. 'You live in the big city, Gwen. You should know how to protect yourself.' Surprise, Dad! I'm a genetic freak who can probably crush a gun with my bare hands.

I also realize I have no idea what to do with the gun. Having no other ideas, I lean down and look into the passenger window of the cop car. The officer in the front seat recoils in surprise, and I toss him the empty shotgun, "Happy birthday, officer! Sorry I missed the actual day, unless this is your birthday, in which case I totally said 'Happy birthday' on purpose and not just because I'm nervous and have no idea what I'm doing!"

"Look out!" his partner driving yells as my spider sense goes off yet again. I look up to see a delivery man on his electric bike crossing into the next intersection, headphones keeping the sound of the approaching sirens from warning him. There's absolutely no way he's going to be able to get out of the way in time.

I spring off the car and sling a web onto the traffic light above the intersection, and swing myself directly into his path, snatching him off the bike in the process. I manage to make it to the other side of the street without smashing through the CVS windows in the process. I place the man on the street and snatch the earbuds out of his ears, "Seriously dude. Come on."

"Thanks..uh..." he looks at me weirdly.

Realizing he's looking for a name, my brain rattles around in my head, "Uh...Spider-Woman. Wait that's not all that creative. Crap I gotta go, drive safe next time!"

The final cop car in the chase flies by me, but not before I hop another ride. The incident with the biker shows this needs to end. Now.

The car pulls up behind the truck, and this time I don't waste any time getting over on top of it. Scrambling up towards the cab, I lean over the passenger side and open the door. The thug who tried to shoot at me fumbles with a knife, but before he can take a swing I fire a web at a passing street light and stick it to his chest, "You ever go bungee jumping? No? First time for everything!"

He's yanked out of the truck as the line goes taught, and see him bounce harmlessly as the truck continues to barrel down the street. His friend doesn't find the visual as funny as I do, and fires at me with a .44 magnum. In response I scramble back on top of the cab. He continues firing wildly as I make my way over to his side, and do exactly what I did to his partner, "Tag! You're it!"

Unfortunately, after he's gone, I see that there's no brake pedal left in the truck. He blew it off with the gun as an insurance policy. Well, I guess it's time to find out what these webs can really do. I start firing lines off left and right before attaching them to the runway truck. Before long, however, the webshooters stop producing anything at all.

"Uh, Pete!?" my voice is filled with desperation.

"Oh no," Peter's dismay is obvious. "I was not expecting this tonight. The cartridges in the shooters were just for the test. They weren't filled all the way."

"That would have been good to know BEFORE I started chasing a runway truck!" I yell through gritted teeth. The truck's slowed, but it's still going fast enough to kill someone if it hit them. Not seeing any other option, I flip down towards the front of the truck. The pavement bellow speeds by at a speed I am totally not comfortable with, but a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do. I grip the grill of the truck securely and thrust both feet down into the street. My body screams in resistance, but my strength holds up. The truck pushes me half a block, in which I rip up plenty of asphalt, but eventually it lurches to a stops and the engine craps out from the strain.

Around the scene, applause breaks out. I'd probably enjoy it more if I didn't feel like my arms were gonna fall off. I meekly wave to the crowd before running off, ensuring I'm out of view of the news chopper and any bystanders. Once I'm by myself, I burst out in hysterical laughter, "Holy crap that was insane."

"Gwen, that was spectacular," Pete says in that tone that I've heard too many times. The tone of friendship mixed with desperate puppy love.

"Thanks, Parker," I respond with a smile. After a few moments of catching my breath, a realization hits me, "I just wish I hadn’t named myself Spider-Woman. What the hell was I thinking?"
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Sep
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Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago



"You know that's a terrible mask, right?"

Iris looked up from her plateful of pancakes. Benefit of superspeed? Fast metabolism. She could eat as much as she wanted and not gain any weight. "What do you mean?"

Barry pushed forward the newspaper, the headline read FLASH DEFEATS HEATWAVE and below was a picture of Iris in her full costume standing over a defeated Heatwave. What the image didn't really tell you was how much she wished she had also been blessed with superstrength, carrying people around wasn't exactly easy. "The mask. It barely covers any of your face, it's more like a... cowl."

"Sho?" Barry flashed a scowl in her direction and she swallowed. "So, lots of heroes use cowls. There's that Batman guy-"
"Nobody has a single photograph of him. So that's a terrible arguement."

"Okay, well..." She paused for a second. "Superman."


She pointed her fork right at Barry. "Superman. He doesn't even wear a mask. Ever think about that. Huh, smart guy? Okay sure there's a chance someone gets a photograph of him, and the guy behind the... well. Behind the cape, then sure they can maybe put the dots together. With me, you don't even gate a full face shot. Besides, nobody can get suspicious for me being near the scene of a crime because I'm a journalist. I get paid to stick my nose into other peoples business." Barry just sighed as he turned back to his laptop. He was running diagnostics on her suit in her appartment, these 'sleepovers' were getting more and more frequent, in fact both their fathers raised eyebrows at what they were doing.

Part of her wondered if they'd be happirer with the truth that she was secretely a superhero, or if they would rather they were sleeping together. She knew at least her father would rather she was sleeping with Barry. He had fought her tooth and nail when she used to entertain the idea of joining CCPD like her father, he wasn't terribly happy with her being a reporter either. The only consolation he had was that she didn't partake in the chaos, merely monitor it. Iris usually heard those words twice everytime she met with her father, as if he was trying to brainwash her to keep her out of trouble. It was a little too late for that, two months so.

In all honesty the suit could use some tweaking. She wasn't entirely sure how aestethic she wanted to get with it, though she knew she wanted to include lightning in the design somehow, more than just having the jagged edges and the yellow. "Tell me my suit sucks when you find a fashion designer who'll design my supersuit."

"Your-" Barry looked up at her with a raised eyebrow, before sighing and bringing his palm to his temple. There was silence before he laughed. "-Your supersuit? That's real original.

There was an explosion in the distance, and before Barry could blink the suit was off the table and Iris had it on. Hairs atop his head moved slightly as they were displaced by the movement. "Well, that's my cue."

"You'll be back in a Flash, right?"

"Oh please, don't say that." She playfully smacked him on the back of the head, and then was gone.

When running, it wasn't that she was fast. In her mind the world was slow. Like sitting inside of a car, to her everything was normal it was the world outside that moved away from her. Iris wasn't entirely sure how a mix of chemicals and a stray lightning bolt could cause someone to gain the ability to run at super-speed but she didn't question it. At first she thought it was all some crazy dream. One after four weeks she had yet to wake up from. One she didn't want to wake up from. The rush was incredible. It was as if her runner’s high had taken steroids.

It took seconds to reach the scene of the fire, by that point she heard Barry’s voice in her ear. "What do you see Iris?" It was always hard to slow down her brain enough so that she could hear him at 'normal speed'. When she was running her brain seemed to run with her, letting her react to the world around her. People speaking droned on for what seemed like forever, it took a conscious effort to react to things in the 'normal' timeframe. It was as if when she was the Fflash she had her own timebase, it wasn't the easiest thing to get used too. She allowed her brain to get carried away, as she took in all the details of the fire in less time than it took for anyone to blink an eye.

As she brought herself back everything seemed to speed up again. Similar to the scenery outside of a car when accelerating seemed to pull away faster and faster. "It's a twelve story building, fires on the fifth."

"First thing’s first Iris, you have to get every-" She ran towards the building, dodging between people. They were virtually statues to her, she moved between rooms on the ground floor. Obviously they were the ones closest to the doors so had already left.


Climbing the stairs she found an old lady halfway down to the ground floor, moving closer she lifted her as delicately as she could. Cradled in her arms, she took a deep breath before running her outside and putting her down gently. It was times like this that she really wished that she had also been granted with super strength.

"-e ou-"

She sighed as she turned back towards the building. First floor cleared.

"-t th-"

Second floor was pretty much clear, bar a group of frightened kids hiding in a closet. Their parents would be worried sick, or at least she hoped so. Easier to carry than the old lady at least.


Third floor was the hardest, an entire family had seemingly taken the time to pray rather than escape. She was getting tired, not in the sense that she was fed up of saving people, but she really needed to start working out more.

Fourth was clear.

"-yo-" She moved running up the stairs when she was confronted by flames. She could feel the heat radiating from them and she panicked. She couldn't get past them, these were the only stairs in the building. The elevator was out and there was no way if anyone was trapped further up the building she could run up and down the wall carrying them. She had yet to fully master doing that by herself let alone while carrying someone else.

"-u need to stop the fire-"

"Barryshutupasecond." Iris hadn't really been paying attention to his drone this entire time, she knew what needed to be done. Yes, until recently she had only been a reporter, but she wasn't an idiot.

"Slow down, Iris. What's wrong?"

"I can't get access to the fifth floor, the flames have spread to the stairwell. I can't get any further-"

"What about running up the wall?"

"I can't carry people that way. I got super-speed, not strength."

"Then you need to put the fire out."


"Spin your arms at super speed, you should be able to create a vacuum. Hold it for long enough and the fire should go out-"


"Just do it Iris! I believe in you, you can do this."

Lightning crackled over her arms as she began to spin them, at first the fire seemed to pull closer to her but then gradually it began to recede. To her it seemed to take far too long, many things did these days. Slowly they receded, and she breathed a sigh of relief. There was no time though, she busied herself for the next couple of seconds emptying the rest of the building. Thankfully no-one seemed too badly injured, at least as far as she could tell.

She'd probably need to brush up on her first aid skills so that she could better tell if someone was actually wounded or not. She took a breath as everything returned to normal, there were squeals, screams and complaints as everyone took a moment to register their surroundings. It didn't take them long to realise that the woman in the fancy suit was responsible for getting them out of the building. As some of them approached her she held up her hand to dissuade any praise.

"All in a day's work for the Flash-" Then in a blink of an eye she was gone.

⚡ ⚡ ⚡

"No. No. No!" He couldn't help but voice his disdain as he looked over the scene. He had heard the rumours of course, seen the news clippings. He hadn't wanted to believe it, The Flash was a woman? This was all wrong, this wasn't how thing were supposed to be. Everything had been planned meticulously ever since he got here, this wasn't the way things worked. The fire was meant to be his way of seeing that the rumours were false, that the pictures were fake or that the Flash was somehow disguising his identity.

Instead it was this, this woman?!

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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by AndyC
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AndyC Guardian of the Universe

Member Seen 27 min ago


"Emergency workers in Madrid are still attempting to clear rubble from the streets after--"

"--not saying Superman shouldn't have stepped in, but there are better ways than--"

"--focusing on the people who were killed and injured, rather than focusing on how many people would have been if he hadn't--"

"--since the incident in Guangzhou, the Chinese government has declared any intervention from Superman on their soil to be an act of--"

"--don't care what they're saying about him, me and my whole family would be dead right now if it weren't for--"

"--no combat training, no badge, no accountability, and we're just supposed to take his word that he's--"

"--making the world a safer--"

"--are more dangerous now than--"

"--all of these other heroes who have come out of the woodwork since--"

"--so-called 'super-villains' who threaten to throw the whole world into--"


"--debuted the latest version of LexOS this morning, which can process terabytes of date in microseconds, while Windows can only--"


"....Clark? Clark? Earth to Clark, you in there man?"

A paper football bounces off the screen of the L-Pad in my lap, prompting me to shake my head and turn my concentration away from scrolling through the news feed. Looking up from the tablet, I see Jimmy Olsen, an impatient look on his face.

"Oh! Sorry, Jimmy, I spaced out for a second there," I say, putting the tablet aside. "You were saying?"

"I was saying the boss is looking for you," he says, gesturing over to the corner office in the small, musty newsroom of the Daily Planet. "Sounds like you did something that put him on the warpath."

Wincing, I stand up and give Jimmy a sheepish look. "Is this about the piece I did on the Atomic Skull incident? I didn't mean for it to come off as anti-military, but if--"

Jimmy shrugs. "Well, whatever it is, Lois is in there trying to calm the Chief down," he says, before muttering, "which, y'know, is kinda like trying to put out a fire with gasoline...."

I nod, and begin walking anxiously towards the corner office.

Years ago, this whole building was dedicated to the writing and printing of America's most trusted newspaper. Now, the majority of the office space is rented out to small businesses and start-ups, only one of the massive printing presses still in regular use as most of our work has gone digital. With most of the public getting their news from late-night comedians, bloggers, YouTubers, and social-media newsfeeds, all telling carefully cherry-picked and edited stories that suit the narrative the audience wants to hear, the days of monolithic information sources like the Planet, the Times, or the Bugle are coming to an end. Perry White, the last true lion of the press, is determined not to go quietly, and expects every member of his staff to fight for the Planet's survival as hard as he does.

Which means any time someone publishes something that might harm our reputation or cut down on our subscriber count, well.....the best you can hope to do is duck and cover.

"Are you seriously telling me you're trusting Woodburn as a source now?! Hell, why not just go find that 'Question' guy and cite him?"

"I never said I trusted him, I said some of the things he's posting line up with what I've dug up about--"

"KENT! There you are! Get your ass in here!"

My face flushing red and hands in my pockets, I step into Perry's office. I can take on vicious crime lords like Bruno Mannheim and slug it out with deranged extremists like Livewire all day, but the thought of having to go twelve rounds with Perry always makes me break out in a cold sweat.

"You, erm, you wanted to see me, Chief?" I ask nervously. "Is something bothering you?"

"Don't call me Chief," he snips. "And yes, if my office becoming a war-zone isn't enough of an indication for you, something's bothering me. What the hell is this piece you posted last night, accusing GNN and the Daily Star of collusion?"

"I-- I didn't accuse anyone of anything," I stammer, immediately going on the defensive. "I just pointed out that the stories they're pushing about Superman all have similar talking points, and some of the emails between sources are--"

"I read the article, Kent, I know what insinuation is," Perry growls. "Morgan Edge is threatening us with a libel suit now, and the Star wants my head on a platter! Both of them want you gone, and I was damned close to agreeing to it. You can thank your girlfriend here for changing my mind."

Lois's face sours at that. "Excuse me, Perry, I'm not his--"

"My point," Perry cuts her off, "is that you're off politics. I'm putting you on sports instead."

I shake my head.

"Perry, that's not fair!" I protest. "I'm not a sports analyst; I can't just shift gears to write about--"

"Look, you like football, you like baseball, right?" he says. "And more to the point, scores and statistics are things you can actually prove instead of making insinuations and conjecture. If I wanted an article about 'The Superman Question' to turn into some crazy conspiracy theory that gets us sued to hell and back without any concrete evidence behind it...I'd have given the story to Lane."


I take a deep breath and try to rally.

"Perry, there's--"

"Mister White, you're still new and I'm mad at you."

"....Mister White," I correct myself, "I've got reason to believe that there's an agenda in play here, that most of the major media outlets are being used by people in power to push a narrative and manipulate the general public. I'm still looking for a smoking gun, but I think--"

"That's the problem right there, Kent," Perry stops me, "You think, you feel, you have reason to believe. Those are all good qualities to have when you're starting, but you don't put it to print until you know. That's the difference between working for me and working for someone like Morgan Edge. You think I'm not aware that most of the papers and websites posting those 'Beware the Superman' stories are bought and paid for? That a handful of people with deep enough pockets can scare the public into thinking whatever they want? Hell, the only reason you've still got a job right now is because I think you're right. But if you want to expose that, you've got to come at them with facts, not feelings."

"So you're burying the story, even though you agree with it?" Lois says.

"No," Perry responds. "I'm taking Kent off the story. And I'm putting you on it."

For a second, Lois and I stare at each other in disbelief, then at Perry.

"There are three things you can count on in this world:" he says. "Death, taxes, and the Daily Goddamn Planet. If you're going to go after GNN, the Star, and whoever's lining their pockets, you'd better find something that will stick. And I trust you to do that a lot more than I trust the rookie, Lane. The Planet's motto has always been 'Truth and Justice.' Don't forget that the 'Truth' part comes first. Understood?"

I nod. Lois folds her arms, and gives Perry a curt nod as well.

"Good, now get out of my office." He says. "Kent, go over to Lombard's desk and see what games are coming up this week that you can take off his hands. Lane, take Kent's notes and see if you can dig up anything he missed. I want something I can actually use by Friday, or we--"

There's a loud rumble, and the whole building shakes. A few seconds later, the sound of sirens begin to drift up from the streets below.

"That's gonna have to wait, Chief," Lois says, grabbing her things and pulling her hair back into a bun as she shifts into her 'action reporter' mode. "Sounds like we've got another story breaking out."

As she makes a beeline for the stairwell, I nervously back out of the office as well.

"I'd, erm, I'd better check it out too, see if there's anything I should--"

"GET GOING KENT!" Perry roars, and I hurry out into the newsroom, rounding the corner to the janitor's closet.

Thankfully, the coast is clear. Whatever's going on, I'd rather not waste time trying to come up with an excuse for why I need to be in there. Ducking inside, I push my way past the mop buckets and cleaning supplies and open the window.

I might not be the best at handling the complexities of media collusion, but thankfully Lois can handle that.

Explosions downtown, and people in crisis, though? Well....

....that sounds like a job for Superman.

Centennial Square, Metropolis
Moments Later

"I don't suppose it's in your programming to stand down and tell me what you're doing, is it?" I say as I touch down in Centennial Square, panicked crowds scattering from the sinister-looking automaton that's beginning to climb out of the crater I'd made from slamming it out of the sky. Whatever this thing is, it made a strafing run on a crowded city street, firing on innocent men and women with some sort of plasma weapon before I could stop it. No deaths yet, but several severe injuries. I'm going to make sure that's as far as it goes.

The mechanical monster pulls itself upright, standing a full twelve feet tall, the wings that assisted in its flight folding back into arms with nasty-looking pincers. The plasma weapon in its head charges up as it aims at me, and fires.

For a moment, everything is bright red and searing pain. The blast is enough to melt the glass of the windows around me, would be enough to incinerate a normal person in a fraction of a second.

Honestly, though, I've had worse.

"I didn't think so," I say with just a hint of mock disappointment, before rushing in. I go low and ram my shoulder into its waist, a spear-tackle that launches the both of us up into the air, away from crowded streets and pedestrians. It's quick to respond, though, sending a jolt of electricity surging through my body long enough for it to slip free from my grip. It turns its fall into a dive, deploying its wings again to swoop around for another attack.

"Stay still, you-- *ngh!*" I grunt in frustration as I throw a leading right hook, only for the robot to barrel-roll away from the blow, circle around behind me, and connect with a claw that scrapes across my back.

I push through the air towards the cybernetic attacker, but it easily slips to one side, and I wince as it blasts me with another ray of plasma. In the air, I'm at a major disadvantage in terms of maneuverability. I found out a few months ago that I can fly, yes, but I don't have much control over it-- it's less 'Peter Pan on strings' and more 'man getting shot out of a cannon.' This thing, however, was built with air combat in mind, so it has no problem flying circles around me.

After throwing a spinning back-fist that only meets air, I break away, speeding towards the large satellite dish on the top of the Galaxy News Network Tower. The bowl-shaped dish will cut down on the robot's possible angles of attack, giving me more of a fighting chance.

"All right," I snarl with fists up, "Let's try this again. Come and get me!"

Unable to come at me from the back or sides, the winged robot swoops in for a head-on attack. It pelts me with blast after blast of plasma, but I hold my ground, resisting the urge to charge in and allowing it to outmaneuver me again. The satellite dish starts to melt and rip away behind me, which I'm sure is expensive. Then again, GNN does host that G. Gordon Godfrey blowhard that ties everything I do into some insane conspiracy theory, so I can't say I feel all that bad about it.

Finally, the automaton is within striking range, claws gleaming, and I spring forward. My right arm swings wide for an overhead hook, and the robot's arms move to block....just as my feint intended. Twisting my torso, I bring my left hand up inside its defenses and catch it with a hard uppercut. Ted 'Wildcat' Grant called that punch the Dive-Bomb. Razor Ruddock called it the Smash. I call it a now-headless robot.

As the mechanized attacker begins to fall limply to the ground, I dive after it and catch it, preventing the debris from landing on someone.

"Now, maybe I can take you to someone who can figure out where you came from," I say to the wrecked robot, noticing the number 03 painted on the side of its fuselage.

I hear another set of engines whining, and another, both of them speeding towards me.

"Or maybe I can just ask your friends," I say with a frown, tossing the wreckage of Number 03 onto the GNN Tower rooftop as Numbers 01 and 02 come winding down from the clouds....

.....followed by Numbers 04 and 05......06.....07......

"Okay....so whoever this is, he's got a team....." I mutter to myself....

.....25 and 26......27....28......

"Make that an army....."

......47.....48 and 49.....50.....the skies over Metropolis are now screaming with jet engines and plasma guns, all converging on me.....

I let out a sigh, crack my knuckles, and charge into the fray.

All in a day's work.

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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by stark
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stark snarky genius

Member Seen 2 yrs ago

Location: Stark Tower, midtown Manhattan
Date: July 5th, 10:15am

"Ok, listen, buddy... Wait -- What's your first name again? Right, Tom. Well, Tom," a frustrated Tony Stark said, leaning forward and propping his elbows upon his knees, the very expensive leather couch he was sitting on suddenly becoming not so comfortable. "You know I have special clearance to test in the city's airspace, so I don't see what the problem is. No one probably even noticed."

"Are you kidding me?" 'Tom' scoffed back, the incredulity in his voice nearly matching Stark's level of irateness. "What did you think? That they would think you were some kind of firework? A festivity of the evening?"


"Don't bust my balls, Tony," Major Thomas Shaw barked. "I know you've had this conversation with Howser already. Twice."

"Ok." Tony said, leaving beat before continuing. "But, tell me honestly, this is really about Macy's having an issue with me stealing some of their thunder, isn't it? Because I can pay you double whatever they've offered you to be their personal bulldog."


Tony tried to stifle a wiseass smirk as he locked eyes with the blueish image of the man on the ‘screen’ of the holographic smartphone in his hand, settling back against the pillows of the couch in an effort to look more casual. He was not going to let the military throttle him, not when he had agreements that allowed him to test certain 'non-lethal' products in the city airspace. Now, just because his father had fought for those 'agreements' to be put in place nearly forty years ago, before present times, that didn't mean they weren't still perfectly legal. For now. Honestly, Tony was surprised they hadn't been revoked entirely after 9/11, much like some of his other standing 'privileges' had been, but his family had a long history of contribution in New York City to various charities, as well as political candidates (ahem) that had allowed certain... loopholes... to stand...

The military man on his phone looked distinctly ruffled, his nostrils flaring with effort as he tried to regain his cool and not escalate to a shouting match. "Mr. Stark," he said in a very choked sounding voice. "I know you think that you're immune to the way we do things here, but this is a different administration and a whole new ball game. Don't mistake patience for tolerance. If you do," he growled, narrowing his eyes some. "You're going to be very sorry and I'm going to have fun watching my superiors do what should have been done a long time ago."

"Is that a threat, Major?"

"Only if you choose to take it as one, Stark."

The call ended abruptly, hung up in a rather dramatic fashion from the other end.

Overly dramatic, or so Tony thought. Typical self-important, blowhard, military asshole. Really, Tony was just upset that he didn't get the last word in. He always liked to get the last word.

So, ok, maaaaybe taking the suit out for a test flight during the annual New York City Fourth of July firework display that Macy's put on every year was a misstep in hindsight. He could see how that may have stepped on some toes from a security standpoint -- rogue object in the skies, rocketing around and looking like an out of control explosive to the average person... According to the call(s) from the previous evening, the only reason he hadn't been shot down was because the air traffic controllers were able to verify that the strange 'craft' was indeed registered with the FAA. Well, technically. He had maybe not been totally honest with the specs of the 'aircraft', but Stark had taken enough legal steps to ensure that he couldn't immediately get into trouble. Between his general understandings with the city and the red tape his registration brought up, he was sure it would have taken longer before the government started making angry calls.

If Rhodey were still alive, Tony thought bitterly, then this wouldn't even be an issue.

Colonel James Rupert Rhodes, or 'Rhodey' as Tony had called him, had been one of his best friends and his general go-to guy for relations between Stark Industries and the military. Rhodey had always known how to smooth over the technical wrinkles that Tony usually managed to kick up with the nature of his work -- the man was a PR genius in a military suit, honestly. Or, he had been. Rhodey had been gone almost a year now, killed in a rescue mission to Afghanistan. For him.

That was the kicker.

Tony still lived with the guilt of losing his friend daily. It had been a hard pill to swallow.

If only the rescue hadn't come at all. If only they could have known that he'd been provided by the terrorist themselves with the means of escaping and didn't need their help.

No one could have known that, though. It was really nobody's fault, which was what hurt the most in Tony's mind. No one to squarely place the blame on. He would have loved to point the finger at the military for some measure of incompetence, but with Rhodey having headed up the rescue mission, Tony knew that his friend would have left nothing to chance. It was just an unfortunate turn of fate. That was all.

Everyone's life spun on the space of a dime.

Snapping shut the ends of the high tech smartphone, Tony tossed it onto his coffee table with a huff.

"Rough morning, I see?," came a voice from the other side of the room.

"You've gotta love the military," he replied, his tone forced into lightness. He even offered the woman across from him a humorless smile.

"This wouldn't happen if you just agreed to share the design with them, you know."

Pepper's heels clicked across the polished black floor and she set down a large to-go coffee cup next to the discarded smartphone.

"I'm not obligated to share all my moments of inspiration with the military, as you know," Tony grumbled. "And since when do you buy the paper?"

"Oh, this?" Pepper Pots, his assistant, feigned ignorance, untucking the folded newspaper from under her arm. "Oh, I don't know... Maybe since you started showing up on the front page?" She handed her boss the paper with an arched brow and a tight frown. He knew that look -- she was anticipating a PR nightmare or some other problem that would likely drop into her lap as a result of his shenanigans.

She knew him well.

He neglected to take the paper and watched as she dropped it on the table next to the coffee she had gotten for him. He could see enough from the blurry photo and the caption in large block font "PATRIOTIC UFO SPOTTED OVER EAST RIVER?". The Daily News had clearly done an exceptional job with their reporting.

"I fail to see what the problem is."

"Tony, seriously?"

He blinked at her and opened his mouth, spreading his hands in a gesture that was clearly stalling for time as he thought how best to respond.

Pepper wasn't having it.

"You know how tense everything is right now with these... superhumans... popping up all over the place. I mean, sure Superman is great and all, but you know that the city is on high alert because of all this other stuff happening. Should you really be pushing the government's buttons just at the moment? I mean," Pepper shrugged, somewhat at a loss, "I know you like to bend the rules, but maybe you should consider the potential problems that what you're doing can cause."

Tony paused and met her eyes. He could see the genuine concern there. He appreciated that. He truly did. But then he deadpanned, "...So, you like Superman, huh? Want me to see if I can get his number for you? Because I probably could."

Pepper pressed the palm of her left hand to her forehead in exasperation at the man across from her.

This was just a stellar morning so far.

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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Mao Mao
Avatar of Mao Mao

Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago


"Hear this voice from deep inside
It's the call of your heart
Close your eyes and your will find
The passage out of the dark"

Eventually, Peter Quill caught up with Kraglin while he was waiting for Quill at a shuttle stand. As soon as Quill met up with Kraglin, a shuttle pulled up and it's doors opened. Both of them hopped into the empty shuttle and waited for directions since it didn't require a driver. Kraglin entered directions for a "Flowers of Gold" onto the screen and entered payment information when it asked. After a moment of loading, the shuttle took off and headed towards the place. Now that there was time to talk, Quill turned towards Kraglin and asked him about the "Flowers of Gold."

"It's the bar that Rocket told us to meet them at. Heard that it's one of the best in Amaul because I am thirsty as hell." Kraglin responded to Quill's question but got sidetracked by the thought of drinking. Quill wanted to give him a lecture about drinking too much booze. Especially today of all days to be drinking. Look, he didn't mind a drink or two on a busy day; but, he placed limits on himself (except for social gatherings). That was something that Kraglin lacked because he was still in grief over Yondu. He knew how much Yondu meant to Kraglin but he was surprised to see him still crying as if he died yesterday. For now, Quill muttered something under his breath and sat silent for the entire ride.

Then, the shuttle lowered and landed at another shuttle stand as it's door opened. Kraglin exited first while Quill was getting out when he asked, "So, what do you think is going to happen?"

"With Rocket and Groot? Or with Zynsalak?" Kraglin answered with a question.


"Oh. Well, we get them and attack that son-of-a-bitch Zynsalak and demand answers." Kraglin made a fist as the men approached the door to Flowers of Gold. Both men entered the bar, walking pass by a group of friends with portable drinks in hand. Quill looked around the bar and found a tree and a raccoon. The raccoon looked like he was stressed out about something and started to drink again. Meanwhile, the tree was trying to talk some sense into him; but, it wasn't working. The tree left him alone and walked away from the bar. Kraglin approached the bar to most likely order some whiskey or scotch. In the meantime, Quill went to an empty spot and put on his headphones to listen to some music.

Kraglin made his way to the bar and took a seat on the stool. Like he has been for the last couple of weeks since his death. He didn't believe it at first. But, nobody can go on to live in denial forever. It would eat them up until they did something stupid. Thankfully, he faced the truth and it hurt. The kind of pain that never will truly fade as time goes back. Nevertheless, he had to go on living for Yondu and Quill. That boy couldn't handle one more tragic death in his life. Or he could end up drinking the pain away even if it's temporary. Like what Karglin is doing to himself.

He asked the bartender for a glass of low-alcohol not taking notice of a raccoon sitting next to him. When the bartender came back with the glass filled with the alcohol, Kraglin immediately started to drink it. He heard the raccoon snickering after he finished drinking. Kraglin avoided the raccoon while he's trying to enjoy his drink in peace. The raccoon had enough of the poor man and spoke up for the first time in a while, "You look like a man who can handle some hard liquor so why are you drinking that?"

Kraglin saw the raccoon pointing at his drink and he processed to avoid him for the second time. However, the raccoon called out for the bartender and demanded two glasses of their hardest alcoholic beverage available. That got Kraglin's attention. He turned towards him as the bartender brought two glasses filled with some mysterious liquid. Before he could even speak, the raccoon puts his paw up and said that he was going to pay for the drinks. When Kraglin asked why, the raccoon responded with laughter and reached for the other drink.

"Because I don't want any man to drink that weak shit." he said and then processed to dump the drink onto the ground. Afterwards, he placed the empty glass onto the counter and grabbed the other glass. "Now, let's drink!"
Eight minutes of listening to songs proved to be a waste of time, but Quill knew it wasn't worth talking to the drunk customers. Plus, the song playing right now in the bar was terrible. He needed something to do besides drinking and talking to himself. However, he saw that Kraglin was getting up and walking with a new friend. They were talking about something while Quill put away his headphones. Soon enough, Kraglin and the raccoon sat at the table with Quill.

"Quill, this is Rocket." Kraglin smiled. "Rocket, this is Peter Quill. The guy that I was talking about."

"Nice to meet you, Quill." Rocket extended his paw to Quill. Quill took his paw and shook it, "You too, Rocket."

Both of them took their seats and Quill noticed that Groot was nowhere to be seen near Rocket. When he asked about that, Rocket looked around and pointed at the tree. "This is Groot." he answered. "And to warn you guys, you will not be able to understand him. Your translators will not work at all because his language is ancient. So far, I am the only one who understands him. However, he is literally a tree that can lift heavy objects and protect us with his body. If that doesn't scream usefulness, then you are stupid."

Now, I got intel on the whereabouts of Zynsalak. Unfortunately, we aren't the only ones looking for him. The Nova Corps recently set up shop on Yanus and planned on searching the forests for any baddies. Especially Zynsalak and his men." Rocket continued until a couple Nova Corps officers and pilots entered the bar. This was bad news. He got out of his seat and mumbled towards the humans, "Go outside and get us a shuttle. Put down directions for the shuttle rental place at the edge of town. Then, wait for us."

Both Quill and Kraglin nodded and left the bar while Rocket went to look for Groot.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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Los Angeles Police Administration Building
10:23 AM

Charlie Rembrandt rode the elevator to the sixth floor of the PAB. “The Sixth Floor” had become shorthand in LAPD coptalk for the downtown detectives who worked out of headquarters. Along with Rembrandt’s Robbery-Homicide squad, the sixth floor also housed Major Crimes, Cold Cases, Special Investigations, and the LAPD’s Art Theft Unit.

He stifled a yawn as he stepped off the elevator and walked the carpeted halls. With its large windows casting natural lighting down on rows of user-friendly cubicles and work spaces, the sixth floor was a world away from the concrete floors and harsh fluorescent lights of Hollywood Station, the place Charlie had called home for nearly twenty years. In Hollywood, his desk was shared with another detective from Vice, the two men trading out the office space due to their alternating days and shifts. On the sixth floor, there were no desk mates or fights for the minuscule number of ergonomic keyboards and lumbar support chairs LAPD had to go around. On the sixth floor, just two below the chief’s office, there were plenty to go around.

The good conditions also led to softness. At least in Rembrandt’s eyes. All the detectives out in the divisional squads looked at the downtown cops with disdain, and with good reason. RHD and all the other squads on the sixth floor kept banker’s hours. Unless there was a major red ball that required late hours, the cops here punched out at five and headed home. And a few would even leave before then. The Golf Gang, a little clique made up of most RHD guys, always left three hours early on Friday to play a round together. Sorry that your son is dead, Mrs. Sanchez, but I hear the fairway calling my name.

The mindset came from the top and trickled down. The chief and the public relations arm of the department always looked at RHD as the crack elite squad, the best of the best. Looking around at the names on the roster, Rembrandt had no doubt that had once been the case. These men, because outside of his partner Bonnie they were all men, had once been the cream of the crop LAPD had to offer. Rembrandt had worked with more than a few on murder cases over the years, both before and during their time with RHD, and they were all great investigators in their own right. But they saw the promotion as a reward for all their hard work and an excuse to take it easy. Not Charlie. He worked a gang-related with no witnesses with the same thoroughness, intensity, and drive as if the governor had been murdered by the president. Everyone counted or no one does.

“Look who it is,” Captain Ross said with a self-satisfied smirk. “The Dutchman himself.”

“Late night,” Charlie said as he slid down into his cubicle chair. “Have you seen Detective Young, cap?”

“She went out to interview the Wilshire dicks on your dead man. That’s all I know. Don’t forget to sign in, Charlie.”

Rembrandt managed to barely contain his contempt as Ross walked back towards his corner office, shutting the door behind him. Mounted on the wall next to his office door was a whiteboard with every RHD detective’s name written in marker. Every time a detective came in, they had to write down the time they came in that day and then sign out every time they left the office. It was Ross’ way to keep track of the comings and goings of his detectives, making sure no one abused their timecards by earning hours they hadn’t actually worked. To Rembrandt it was more bureaucratic bullshit and a headache he didn't need. He worked twelve hour days, in and out of the office six or seven times each day. Did the captain really want him spending time writing down every move he made, or did he want him to catch some fucking murderers?

Turning to his computer, Charlie began to look through his emails. He’d shot one off with his phone last night, after he and Constantine left the bookstore. He found a waiting reply from Lieutenant Mathis with Major Crimes, saying he could come over at eleven that morning and look over what he had. After firing off his thanks to Mathis, Charlie got up and walked to the blackboard. Next to his name he wrote down the approximate time he came in. When he was done writing, he put his thumb across the ink and smudged it, making it illegible. Sighing, he rubbed the back of his neck and walked towards the office's kitchenette. He was in need of a good cup of coffee, but he he’d have to settle for what they were making in the breakroom.


Los Feliz
10:45 AM

John stepped out the convenience store and shielded his eyes against the morning sun. The July heat was already unbearable, but he was not fazed by the heat even with his heavy trench coat on. He pulled out a pack of cigarettes from the folds of his coat and lit up a fresh one. A homeless man sat on the ground near the store entrance, camped beside a broken payphone and his hungry eyes watching John.

“How was it in Iraq?” John asked without looking in the homeless man’s direction.

“What’s that?”

“Iraq, Jerry.”

This time he turned to look at the man. When he did, Jerry flinched. He didn’t like of John’s eyes. There was something behind them that made his skin crawl and his stomach churn. He’d had his share of hard stares, but nothing like this. He stared through him and at him all at once. He saw everything.


“Yes, sir,” Jerry said softly. “Saw a lot of shit in Fallujah. I… still see it.”

“You got a raw deal, squire. You and your mates got sold a sack of shit, whole world did really. Imperialism masked as liberation. Wasn’t like my lot was any better. Bumboy Blair spreading the cheeks for Georgie Boy. Not as many British died, but even one is one too many. How many soldiers did your squad lose?”

“Marines,” said Jerry. “We lost a lot of Marines, not soldiers, and not just to death. Those that didn’t die…”

“Say no more,” said John. “What came out the other side wasn’t you. It looked like you, talked like you, but it sure as fuck wasn’t the man you once were. Wouldn’t think it to look at me, but I know where you’re coming from.”

With his free hand, John reached back into his trench coat and pulled out a stubbly piece of chalk. Sticking the cigarette in his mouth, he took a deep drag and exhale from it before he turned towards the wall.

“Jerry, I want you to do me a favor and think back on something. Visualize one of the happiest days of your life. Close your eyes and picture it and then describe it to me.”

“That’s easy," Jerry said with his eyes close and a serene smile on his face. "The day I became a father is a big one. I had just gotten back from Iraq and my wife, ex-wife I guess, she’d gotten pregnant just before I was deployed. Her due date was four days before I was going to be home and I was crushed by it. But… the baby was late. The second I got home, she went into labor and I got to hold my newborn son in my arms. His eyes were so big… his hands and feet were so small… I…”

As Jerry recalled the memory, John began to write on the brick wall of the store. Slowly, he scrawled the number four, then the number six, then the number thirty.

“I…,” Jerry took a deep breath and wiped the tears that were now running down his cheek. “What were talking about, mister?”

“You were telling me about the day your son was born,” John said, pulling away from the wall. “Best day of your life, you said.”

“It was. I…” He stopped, his brow furrowing. “You know… I can’t remember the day he was born.”

“That’s the cost, squire.”

“The cost for what?”

“This,” John said, pointing towards the wall. A series of numbers was scrawled across it in his scratchy chalk handwriting. "Use it well."

John passed Jerry, dropping a five dollar bill in his lap without stopping.

“Do us a favor and play the lotto today. Who knows, you may get lucky?”


Major Crimes
11:04 AM

“We’re currently reassessing where to go next with Power Outage.”

Mike Mathis looked as if someone had just shot his dog. You could be forgiven for thinking that Mathis was upset or perturbed by the setback in Major Crimes’ investigation. Mathis just looked like that. Resting bitch face, thought Rembrandt, that’s what they called it.

“My money is on one of those bastards from Wilshire let someone into the building so they could do Malakian. I’m trying to get IAB involved.”

“According to the brass, RHD gets first crack at it," said Charlie. "We find anything even hinting to another cop being in on it then we go to Internal Affairs.”

”Good. We’ve been worried about leaks since we started the investigation.”

“What kind of leaks?” asked Rembrandt.

“We feel like our targets are getting tipped off. We go to do a raid and we’ll just have missed them. But enough about that, how’s your case coming along?”

“Slowly,” Charlie said after a sip of terrible coffee. “But surely. My partner is dealing with the Wilshire end of things, so I figured I’d get started on this end and see what you got for me. We know our victim was mobbed up, but can you give me any specifics?”

Mathis nodded. “Steve Malakian was a heavy hitter for the Grigoryan faction of Armenian Power. Henry Grigoryan and his organization probably make at least half a billion dollars in drug profits for AP. Malakian was how he kept the wolves at bay. Or, at least he used to.”

Rembrandt pulled a notepad from his jacket breast pocket along with a pen.

“What do you mean he used to? Also, can you spell Grigoryan for me?”

“I’ll let you look at the file when we’re done,” Mathis said with a wave. “It'll have proper spelling. And what I mean is, Malakian was on the outs with his old boss. That’s why we targeted him. We figured being pushed out and arrested would make him willing to inform on Grigoryan.”

“They have a fight?”

“Not really,” said Mathis. “It’s just.. Malakian stopped working for Grigoryan. Last year AP goes through a gang war with Martin Hidalgo and the Mexican Mafia. They slaughter them, I’m talking biblical type carnage, Rembrandt, and Malakian was on the bench for it. Almost twenty years he was Grigoryan go-to guy, and then suddenly he’s not.”

“Who is his heavy hitter now?” Rembrandt asked. He thought back to what Constantine said last night. Those old London gangsters using magic to win turf wars without losing a man.

“We have no idea. I can show you a guy we like.”


Mathis searched through the computer on his desk until he found what he wanted. He motioned for Charlie to come across the desk to look. It was a surveillance photo of a cubby, middle-aged man with steel gray hair and an all black suit. Walking next to a tall, slavic looking man with a shaved head and tattooed knuckles, his muscular frame threatening to rip his conservative dress shirt and slacks to shreds. Walking ahead of them, slightly blurry, was a shorter man in a blue suit and homburg.

“This big son of a bitch is Mikael Tanjerian. Only been in the country three years but he’s already got a file with us, CBI, FBI, and Homeland. Real nasty guy--”

“Who’s that?” Rembrandt said, pointing towards the short man walking ahead of the two gangsters.

“James Saint,” Mathis said after a moment’s hesitation. “He’s Grigoryan’s driver. A real nonentity. I… uhh, I almost forgot about him until you pointed him out. The name is obviously a fake, but he’s just a driver and not a soldier. Why’d you ask?”

“Just curious,” said Rembrandt. “I like his get up.”

“Must pay well to chauffeur mob bosses around.”

“What color would you say that tie of his is?”

“Plaid?” Mathis asked. “What’s the word they use in England… uhh… shit, I forgot the word.”


“That’s it. Tartan. Good eye, Rembrandt. Didn't know you were suc a clothes horse.”

Rembrandt stared at the photo and James Saint for a long moment before turning back to Mathis.

"I'd like to take a peek at what you have on Grigoryan now. The offer still stand?”
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