Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by AndyC
Avatar of AndyC

AndyC Guardian of the Universe

Member Seen 2 hrs ago


Revalations Part Two:


One of the Surfer's hand began to glow with the power cosmic. The power was so volatile that it's throbbing was audible even to the Flash on the ground. At the first sign of the Surfer raising his hand, the Flash broke into a sprint. The Surfer tracked her gait with his eye as he prepared to unfurl the cosmic energy in the speedster's direction.


"Who is your-" Iris started, however she was unable to go continue before the Surfer raised one of his hands. The surfboard glowed with energy, and it passed over up to his hand. As soon as that happened she started off. Breaking into a sprint she started circling him at high speed, such as she had done earlier to contain his blast of energy in the street. What she needed to do was somehow disrupt his connection to the board, when she ran at high speeds Iris found that she could sometimes cause electrical disturbances. Usually she tried to avoid doing that. Today, she was actively tryin to cause disturbances.

Trusting the rumours that Superman had super hearing she spoke over the sound of the rushing wind. Her voice distorted by the speed she was going at, she had to draw out her words to make sure he could hear her. "Try and part him from his board." She pushed herself harder. Lightning swirling around as the dust kicks up in the air in a way similar to that of a tornado. She varied her speed, slowing and speeding up at random intervals to try and prevent the Surfer from succeeding to strike her. This had to work. The longer this fight went on, the more abilities the Surfer seemed to pull out of his bag of tricks.

Now that there were two of them? It was the time to strike.

She turned to see his feet lift slightly off the board and she smurked. Pushing on the speed now that he was off balance she kept pushing until the point where he and the board began to separate, he went to tumble and she shouted over the wind as she turned to grab the board. "Get him! I got the board!"

I have to admit, this woman's pretty incredible. Not only can she move so quickly that even I nearly lose track of her, but she can use her speed in ways I would have never even considered. Creating an ad-hoc tornado like that? That doesn't just take power, but intelligence and imagination. I find myself wondering for a moment if she's single...

....but only for a moment. There's still a job to do.

Cracking the earth beneath my feet as I shove off, I charge headlong into the vortex, muscling my way through buffeting winds that would uproot a skyscraper before ramming my shoulder as hard as possible into the surfer's abdomen. I clamp my arms around his waist in a spear-tackle. It's not particularly imaginative, but it's certainly effective, as we slam into the ground several hundred yards away a moment later.

As we tumble through the spray of upheaved dirt and rocks, I'm able to regain my bearings in time to catch the surfer. Slipping behind him, I hook my arms underneath his, then clasp my hands together and press down on the back of his neck.

I don't know if we can seriously hurt him-- I don't even know if he feels pain. But as long as I've got my hands on him, he's not going anywhere.

"Tell your master, whoever they are," I say as the surfer tries in vain to pry free, "that the Earth isn't theirs to 'test.' The people who live here don't answer to you or your masters. So you can take your judgments and condemnations, and you can--*ngggh!*"

The Surfer's body once again pulses with phenomenal cosmic energy, and pain shoots through me. It's a sharp, almost tingling pain, like banging your funnybone against the counter, only coursing from my head to my toes. The ground beneath us, even the air above and around us, is disintegrated into subatomic particles from the unthinkable heat and shock.

But my grip doesn't break. I grit my teeth and bear down. Somewhere in the back of my head, I think of an old rock song Dad would sometimes listen to while working in the barn, and the last line of the chorus springs to mind.

"Just 'cause you've got the power," I say, by body shaking from the strain of the surfer's own strength and the searing pain of his counterattack. "Doesn't mean you've got the right."

For just a fraction of a moment, the surfer's guard breaks. I don't know if what I said got through to him or he's just being worn down, but the disintegrating bubble of cosmic energy surrounding us breaks, maybe only for an instant.

Maybe just enough time for the Flash to finish this.
8x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Retired
Avatar of Retired

Retired "Hayao Miyazaki"

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago


2:49 p.m. PST | July 13th | Los Angeles, California

Daniel stepped out of the shower, grabbing a towel to dry and wrap around himself. He kept his eyes purposefully raised, focused on a single point of the wall ahead of him, until he was fully covered. He sighed at what had quickly become an annoying and uncomfortable routine.

Every morning for the past week he'd wake up early, just after dawn, and eat a full breakfast. He would slip out of the house before his sister woke, and leave a note on the counter letting his family know he'd be out until the late afternoon. Then, Dan would take the nearly hour drive in silence back to the abandoned construction site he had first gone to where Astaroth would spend the next four to five hours instructing him on proper combat techniques, mental focusing exercises, and agility training.

For the first several days, Daniel had found himself pathetically struggling with the regimen. Despite having the hybrid form's incredible body and abilities, he had a difficult time translating Astaroth's purely verbal commands into physical action. He imagined it would be like trying to take a karate course strictly over the phone. And the mental exercises, meant to narrow his focus for tactical and strategic reasoning during combat, he found even more trying. But in the past couple days, there had been a noted improvement, and Daniel was respectably adapting to the physical and martial aspects of it all. While he was still far from an adept fighter, and he doubted he was going to have a magic Miyagi moment where the repetitive training methods suddenly bestowed upon him excellent kick-ass talent, Daniel couldn't help but take some pride in his efforts.

That was not the routine Dan took issue with. however. It was once the training was over, upon returning to his house, that he had quickly discovered several very awkward and unfortunate side effects to the merging of demon and teenager. It had been the second day after the incident that brought them together, when the young man had felt nature's call. The previous few times since Astaroth became his accidental guest, Dan hadn't even considered the implications. But, on that morning, halfway through the deed, a sudden thought had struck him.

"Uh, Astaroth..." He had hesitantly asked after washing up.

"Yes, Daniel Cassidy?"

"Do, uh. How do I put this. Do... can you see what I see?"

"Your senses are shared with me now."

"Right," Dan had continued, unsure if the next question were better left alone. "But, do you always see everything? Like, can you close your eyes or something?"

There had been a very notable pause, then, "no. I see, hear, and feel what you do."

Daniel had visibly cringed at that. "So, that means you just—"

"Yes." The way Astaroth had said this made it clear to his host that he had no desire to dwell on this topic further.

That had been seven days ago exactly, and every moment since then Daniel had been hyper-critically aware of every sight, touch, and smell he experienced. He knew he likely made it all the more awkward with his attempts to maintain privacy, such as now, clumsily pulling on his underwear with his eyes closed tightly. The stress of realizing his privacy was completely destroyed in ways no other person could ever hope to understand was incredibly frustrating. He just was thankful he didn't have a girlfriend to make things more awkward.

But, even with the horror show that was his former privacy, Dan had to admit that things had been going very well the past week, and after today's intense training session, he felt it was time to push forward with his plan. It hadn't taken him too long to come up with a way he felt would allow him to try his hand at vigilantism with Astaroth's approval, but Dan knew he'd have to be patient and build up to it before broaching the subject with the demon. Now that he was finally nailing the regimen Astaroth had put him on, the young man figured this was as good of a time as any.

A brief moment of doubt returned, though, as Daniel entered his room and prepared to give his pitch to Astaroth. The same doubt had come to him late at night as he lie in bed, waiting for slumber to overtake him, and wondered if he was doing the right thing. Were he to be honest with himself, Dan knew he was in over his head. And he knew the risk was heavy; Astaroth had stressed that multiple times practically every day. By putting himself out there, by repeatedly taking on the demonic form, by doing what he was about to do, he put not only his own life at risk but those around him. But if the forces of Hell truly wanted him, and what was inside of him, as badly as Astaroth claimed, and this so-called Triumvirate was even half as powerful as he had been told, then Daniel believed they would eventually find him regardless of how much he tried to hide from these new powers. And if that were the case, he had no doubt he'd die. Brutally. Painfully. Daniel accepted that part of his motives for using these abilities to join the budding hero culture were selfish and vain, but if he truly hoped to have any chance of survival when Hell came knocking at his door he would need to be ready and able to fight them off.

Which is exactly the speech he intended to give Astaroth. Appeal to his warrior sensibilities, convince him this was the next logical step in the training.

Dan crossed his fingers, and stood in front of the full-length mirror. "Hey, Astaroth. I've got a proposition for you."

The deep, gruff voice inside his head responded. "What is it, Daniel Cassidy?"

"So," the teen began tentatively. "The training's been going pretty well. I definitely feel some improvement."

"It has been mostly acceptable thus far."

"Right, so, I think, maybe, if you think it's a good idea, that we ramp things up. I mean, nothing too extreme!" Dan winced at his delivery. This scenario and speach had gone significantly smoother in his head. "I just think there's only so much you can have me do with leftover construction material. I appreciate what you're doing, so I think, I don't know, maybe I need some practical, hands-on training. A better challenge than using concrete as a punching bag, you know?"

Daniel braced himself for the inevitable disagreement. He wasn't ready, or that would only bring more attention, or a multitude of other reasons he was sure the demon must have.

"Your assessment of the situation matches my own. You will never prove capable enough if only our current methods are utilized."

"I get that, but if I can just—" Daniel jumped right into his prepared rebuttal before he even registered Astaroth's words.

"Wait, I'm sorry, you're agreeing with me?"

"Yes, Daniel Cassidy. For a human child, your ideas are not always disagreeable."

Daniel could have sworn he heard a hint of humor in that last statement, but he was too caught off guard to question it. He had spent more than a few hours over the past week preparing and going over bullet points to hit, planning multiple avenues of debate for the arguments he had expected from Astaroth, and gone over in his head an opening and closing speech. Dan had planned to treat this like a lawyer appealing to a jury, and he had barely gotten the first few sentences out before he had already 'won.'

"Oh, uh, okay, then." He stammered, trying to regain his composure. "I'm, uh, glad you agree."

"What is your plan to further increase the challenge of your training, Daniel Cassidy?"

"Right, yes, my plan!" Dan's eyes flashed, and a goofy smirk stretched across his face. "First thing's first, we need to pick something really important up. Tell me, Astaroth, you ever been to a pawn shop?"

* * *
5:17 p.m. PST | July 13th | Los Angeles, California

"I do not understand." Astaroth's voice cut through the static emanating from the little black box that Daniel Cassidy fiddled with.

The former general of Hell recognized what were various dials, buttons, and a small, telescoping antennae across the surface of the item, but he was unsure of its purpose. The teenager had briefed him on the basics of the plan during the ride to the pawn shop - a dirty, dingy building even by Earth standards crammed full of unwanted oddities and decades-old electronics. From Astaroth's understanding, several individuals in recent months had begun to exhibit abilities far above the norm for their species. From this arose those who used their newfound capabilities to fight humanity's concept of crime, which subsequently encouraged others to challenge these individuals for dominance. Daniel Cassidy's plan, then, Astaroth assumed was to step up as one of these Earth heroes so as to be confronted and challenged by other enhanced beings, thus providing him with appropriately powerful foes to truly test his limits on. Crude and simple for the most part, but it was effective enough for the demon to get behind.

"This," Dan said lifting up the black, handheld object, "is a police scanner. It'll allow me to listen in to all the crime reported in and around the city. With any luck, we'll be able to get the scoop on anything exciting happening and get there before the cops. There's technically apps for this I could get, and I probably will, but this is just so much cooler."

Astaroth made a note to learn what an 'apps' was at a later date, then continued with his questions. "This scanner, it will allow us to track and hunt these criminals down?"

"Well, the police dispatcher will give a location of where stuff happens. Could be general or pretty specific. But it doesn't pinpoint them and can't follow them if the bad guys run. At least, not unless the cops give chase."

"I am not sure how useful this will be for our puposes, Daniel Cassidy, but I will trust your expertise on this matter."

"Uh, thanks. I mean, I'm not really an expert, but I appreciate that."

A moment of silence followed, during which Daniel played around with the scanner more.

"How long must we wait for the device to take effect?"

"You know, I, uh, don't really know. In the movies it always happens super fast, but..." Dan let the sentence hang, and Astaroth already began to doubt the credibility of this plan.

"We will wait, then."


Several more long, awkward moments followed, punctuated only by the dead air of the radio.

"So, are you sure you can't, like, make your mind go blank or something so I can have some privacy every now and then? Because that would—"

Astaroth sharply cut the young Cassidy off. "We will wait in silence."

"Oh. Right. Yeah, sure, of course... Yeah, I'll... okay." The boy managed to stammer out. "Shutting up now."

Yes, the demon knew, this endeavor was definitely to be a challenge. If not for Daniel's abilities, then most certainly for Astaroth's patience.
7x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
Avatar of HenryJonesJr


Member Seen 5 mos ago

"I've got a hit," Peter says over the comms. "An apartment complex in Brooklyn. I'll guide you over the GPS, it might take you a bit. Might want to use the subway."

"The subway? Seriously?" I respond with incredulity. "I'm dressed as a superhero. You want me to get on the subway? There's cops down there!."

"Hey, I'm just sayin' it's probably the best option," Peter responds with a verbal shrug. "Otherwise you're going to run out of webfluid. Last time that happened you almost died."

I grumble, "Yea, we need to talk about that. Have you been able to make the solution last longer?"

"So far? No. But I'm desiging an upgrade to your suit to make sure you can hold more canisters," he assures me.

"Well, at least there's that."

I look down to the entrances of the subway as they pass below. This is a stupid plan. I know it is. Peter probably knows it is. Heading down into an enclosed metal tube with the denizens of New York, who are all mostly terrifying when they're not staring at you as you're dressed in this getup, is not great. When you're a wanted "criminal", the amount of police presence usually in the subway is also not going to be the easiest situation in the world. But, it's probably my only option to investigate the Firefly mystery.

I swing perfectly down through a subway entrance, rolling onto the floor at the bottom and dodging a few commuters, all while being grossed out that my soulder touched the subway floor, carbon fiber suit or no carbon fiber suit. The cop at the entrace is surprised as I hop the turnstyles and attach myself to the back of a departing train. I can hear him yell something about staying where I am as I disappear into the darkness of the tunnel.

Welp, guess I can add subway fraud or whatever to my list of infractions. Hopefully I can argue my vigilantism sentencing down to that. Wouldn't be too bad.


"I dunno about this, Hammerhead," Flint Marko worries, looking over the file in front of him yet again. "I know we need something like this. But...I don't know. Something tells me this is can go to shit about one hundred different ways. I don't want to end up a puddle that gets flushed down the shitter or something."

Hammerhead, sitting behind the desk that was once Silvio Manfredi, looks a this friend, studying his demeanor. Flint isn't wrong of course. You never know what's really going to happen with these scientist types. They might be looking at the Maggia's situation as desperate enough to become lab rats for their experiuments. But the Kingpin decides what goes down, and he wants this to happen.

"Flint, I get why you wouldn't want to do this," Hammerhead nods. "But we don't got no other choice. The damn Silk Cartel's got us on the rope, wheter they got their Enforcers or not. With the Spider-Woman and the Punisher still after us as well, we gotta do something."

"Yea, well," Marko mumbles. "If I die I'm gonna kill you."

"That's the spirit," Hammerhead smiles broadly. "After this, we're gonna find the bastards who killed Silvio. We're gonna kill the Spider-Woman. And we're gonna crush the Silk Cartel. And then we're gonna take over New York."

Marko recoils from the words, "You mean we're gonna take on the Kingpin!?"

"Keep it down, ya mook," Hammerhead hisses. "You're damn right we're gonna take on the Kingpin. He don't have superpowers. You will. And when we take him down, we're gonna be the kings of this town."

Flint Marko considers his friend's words as he puts the file, marked "Project Sandman", back onto the desk, ready for his future to begin.


Riding on the back of a subway train isn't all that bad. The fact that I know I can do it now is probably a bad thing. I'm gonna hop way too many rides. I'm gonna put the subway under. Hell, the thing is barely staying afloat as-is. Thanks, DeBlasio.

As the train pulls into the station I'm getting off at, I can see the police presence waiting for me. At least a dozen of my dad's task force, outfitted in some SWAT gear I've never seen before. That means it's probably some expensive shit that some military contractor gave them to test out on me. People are doing that with the NYPD all the time. Nothing like some old fashioned police militarization, huh? Nothing fascist about that in the slightest.

Through the windows as we approach, I can tell they're focused on the back side of the train where I've caught a ride. Instead of staying put and letting the see me, I crawl around to the opposite side of the train. Scrambling towards the front of the train, I pry a door open with my bare hands and blend in with the crowd exiting the train.

The people look at me like I have five heads...or that I'm a superhero trying to "act natural". Probably more of the latter, if I'm being honest. Not the most inconspicuous escape plan, sure, but it's better than getting into a tussle with the police. Plus, I'm not the tallest girl in the world, and with my hood up I do a passable job blending in.

As I follow the crowd up, a young woman a few years older than I am nudges me, "That cannot be comfortable."

"You get used to it," I shrug. "It's kinda like...ballistic-caliber carbon fiber yoga pants."

"Really?" she laughs.

"Yea. Protective and comfortable. A girl's best friend."

"Well, I know some don't agree," the girl brushes back her auburn hair, "but I really appreciate all you're doing."

I salute as we get to the top of the steps, where a group of police are pushing through the crowd. As I swing off, I say to her, "All part of being a friendly, neighborhood Spider-Woman!"

"I still cannot believe you're using that corny line," Pete verbally shakes his head at me. "The 'Friendly, Neighborhood Spider-Woman'? Really? Brooklyn isn't even your neighborhood!"

"It's a figure of speech, dearest," I lace my words with as much sarcastic venom as I can. "Try and keep up. I'm trying to get people to like me, remember?"

"By being a house wife out of a fifties sitcom?" he fires back.

"Last time I checked, babe, you're the housewife."

"Harsh, Stacy. Harsh."

"I call 'em like I see 'em, Parker."

It doesn't take me long to track down the location Peter guides me to. It's an abandoned apartment complex, but at least this one looks significantly more stable than the one I fought Punisher in. What is it with deranged weirdos and abandoned apartment complexes? Wonder if there are forums where the bad guys exchange abandoned building decorating tips.

"Villaintrist? Too long," I mumble as I head to the roof of the building. From the roof, I can tell someone has set this place up. Internet receivers, solar panels, and more electrical cables than any empty building would ever need. Something's definitely going on in here. The question is what it is.

"I'm headed in. Going comms quiet so I don't alert anyone."

"Copy. Be careful."

The door on the roof pops open with enough applied force, allowing entrance to the complex. The interior doesn't betray anything weird about the building, save for the mess of wires running from the roof onto the ceiling above. They should lead me to where I'm looking to go. I just hope whatever's at the end isn't too much for me to handle.

Anxiety grows in me as I follow the winding path of cables and wires towards their termination. If the Fireflies really are a cult, there could be a lot of them in this building. A lot of crazy, suicidal, pyromaniacs is not exactly the surprise party I want to be invited to.

Finally, the infrastructure leads to a room three floors down from the roof. Instead of the same apartment front doors I found on the other floors, some hanging off the hinges, others already felled to the ground, this room's door is as high-tech as they come. On the wall next to what looks like a magnetic lock is a keypad.

"Peter, there's some James Bond shit in here."


"The door. Magnetic locks like they have in Oscorp for the dangerous labs. Keypad. The works."

"Hm," he considers the quandary. "I mean...can you just bust your way through?"

"Peter, it's a magnetic lock. There's no way I'm strong enough to get it open," I say as I pull on the door with all my strength. "I mean they have to be ready for-"

Suddenly the magnet pops and the door slides open.

"Okay, well, maybe whoever the Fireflies are, they're not the smartest."

The interior of the room that greets me on the other side is gleaming white, like something straight out of Oscorp. The space takes up three apartments, making a fairly sizable land and workshop. Work stations are set up, with different gadgets lined up on them. On one is what looks to be an advanced flamethrower.

"Peter. Whoever these people are, they're not some simple cult or arsonists. There's tech in here that looks military-grade. Possibly flat out experimental."

"Super science cult? Can you get me their number?"

"Funny, but maybe you should find a less illegal club to hang out with?"

Before I can say anything else, an alarm begins to sound in the lab. I curse myself, figuring this had to be tripped by me. I turn back towards the door, but find it shut, and heating itself to a red hot state. The edges of the door and its casing are melting together, fusing and ensuring that I won't be able to get out that way.

From behind me, something catches my eye from the window looking out to the street. A man, dressed in black, floats in front of it, some sort of hover pack on his back. Small rotor blades hold him aloft like insect wings. In his hand is one of the flamethrowers in the room, and a gas mask with the flaming eyes from the video on YouTube. He waves at me tauntingly, before taking a device off his belt.

"Shit. He's gonna blow the lab."

Without hesitating, I grab one of the tables off the floor, spin, and toss it at the window, which spider-webs from the impact. Breaking out into a sprint, I throw my weight against the weakened window, shattering it and sending me tumbling into the New York air. As I breach the barrier, the lab behind me explodes into a brilliant ball of flame, and the Firefly speeds off using the hover pack.

Not wanting to waste any time, I swing after him. The pack he's using allows him pretty good mobility, but I'll be able to catch up to him, no problem. The key will be keeping out of range of that flame thrower.

"Pete, I'm chasing the guy. He has like, a hover pack."

"Seriously? What's he using for lift? How high is he? How fast is he moving."

"Peter, seriously, we need to work on you geeking out over things that are trying to kill me."


The hovering villain attempts to change course and throw me off, ducking into a small alleyway. It's impressive the control he has over his harness. It seems ungainly, awkward, and not all that user friendly, but he's zipping around New York almost as well as I can.

Twisting in midair, I fire a webline into the alley and yank myself in a beeline to follow him. A piece of fire escape is in my way, and my spider sense gives me the reaction time to grab onto it and use it as a vault. I soar like a missile directly at the Firefly. He must have sensors on the damn thing, because turns to face me and lets loose with a stream of superheated flame from the weapon he carries. In order to get out of the way, I attached a webline to a lightpole below and manage to pull myself to safety.

"Jesus, Kilgore, quit it with the napalm!" I shout out as the Firefly hovers over me.

"You will be purified, abomination," he fires the weapon again, liquefying the pole I'm standing on. "You cannot escape the cleansing flame."

"Ugh, and we all thought Tom Cruise was crazy because he jumped on a chair," I backflip out of the way of another blast, and it melts the asphalt of the road. While I'm keeping this guy's focus on me so far, he's clearly unstable. All it'll take is for him to shoot that thing at another person for this to turn deadly. That gun is way too hot. No one is going to survive a blast from it.

I take cover behind a parked car that is a puddle of molten metal within seconds of a hit from his gun. I need to end this. Now. I dive next to another car, and rip its front door off and toss it at Firefly. He moves out of the way easily, but I expect that. His evasive maneuver takes the rotor on his pack directly into the manhole cover I flip off the street with a webline. The heavy metal disk rips apart the blades of the rotor, sending him tumbling towards the pavement. As he falls, the flamethrower slips from his grasp, and I web it out of the air to ensure he can't grab it again. Firefly hits the street and I web him up to make sure he's not going anywhere.

I approach him, and rip the mask off, revealing a once handsome man, his face covered in horrible burns. Sneering up at me, he growls, "This is just the beginning, Spider. Your reckoning is coming."

Police sirens approach, and I respond, "Yea well, your prison stay is coming. But first, tell me who supplied you with the tech. You didn't build that."

"Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle," he responds with a smile as the cop cars finally get close, forcing me to leave the scene.

"Peter, whoever this guy is, he definitely did not build the weapons. Now we need to find the supplier."
11x Like Like
Hidden 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


"Nature's taken over my one-track mind
Believe it or not, you're in my heart all the time
All the girls are saying that you'll end up a fool
For the time being, baby, live by my rules"

Peter Quill eventually arrived at his destination, which was a rundown area. The place contained strip clubs, liquor stores, and "massage" parlors. When he was younger, Yondu often took him here despite his young age. Everything was still the same with new people Quill saw every second. Then, he spotted the store and entered it. A hologram appeared out of the floor and welcomed the customer.

"I am looking for The Expert." Quill said while pulling out the artifact. "I have an item for him to look at."

After a moment of silence, the hologram nodded while it was typing something on a notepad. "Alright, he has been notified. Please wait for him."

Then, it disappeared, and Quill took a seat while listening to his walkman. There were other people in the same room that looked shady enough to steal for him. A few minutes of silences passed before the door opened. Quill looked up to see that The Expert had arrived and got up to greet him. He was a Kodabak, a race of humanoid pig-like from their home world of Kodaba. Recently, Kodaba is in a state of unrest that several nearby planets are looking to conquer. Most of them returned to their home world while some like The Expert don't care anymore.

"Quill!" The Expert greeted with a handshake. "It's been awhile. How have you been?"

"Fine." Quill answered as he was retreating the artifact. "I was hoping that you know what this is."

The Expert grabbed the artifact and examined it for a moment. It wasn't like anything he had dealt with before. He told Quill to follow him down the stairs. The orb felt soft even know it was clearly made of crystals. Once in his store, The Expert carefully placed the orb on a stand designed for rocks and unusual jewelry.

"Listen, I am sorry about Yondu." The Expert frowned while grabbing a laser cutter to use on the orb. "If you need any help with anything, I am available."

"Now, where did you find it?"

"Some guy told me that it was from a volcanic planet inside an ancient ruin of sorts. Now, I am looking to sell it." Quill answered.

"Okay, I will cut it a piece off and see what it's made of. There I am able to tell you how much it would sell for." The Expert said and aimed the laser cutter at the orb. He pressed the button, but it was doing nothing to the orb. Even after thirty seconds, it wasn't working on the orb. It was odd enough to The Expert that a laser cutter wasn't doing its job. He placed down the laser cutter and reached for his rock cutting tools. With the hammer in one hand and a chisel in the other, he got to work on cracking a piece for the orb. Unfortunately, it didn't work. It did, however, leave behind some dust.

It was enough to analyze it, which would take days. The Expert made sure to collect as much dust as he could with a brush and glass tray. He turned towards Quill and said, "I have collected as much as I could for this thing. Wait a few days until I am done. Then, you should know what it is."

Suddenly, the hologram appeared out of the ground and approached The Expert. "You have visitors."

"Who?" The Expert asked confusedly.

"A group of individuals are here for-." Before it could finish, the door blew open and flew down the stairs. Quill moved away before he was crushed by the door. He grabbed the orb and put it back in his pocket. Meanwhile, The Expert went for his pistol and aimed at the stairs. Two individuals appeared at the bottom of the stairs in some sort of armor. They almost looked like the Green Lantern Corp, but without rings. One of them looked at the Kodabak and demanded, "Where is Peter Quill?"

The other one, wearing a helmet, looked at the human and scanned it. "Found him." it answered while pointing at Quill. The Zambaii walked towards Quill and declared, "Peter Quill. By the orders of the Spartax Empire, your presence is required. By force if necessary."
3x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Supermaxx
Avatar of Supermaxx

Supermaxx dumbass

Member Seen 7 days ago

The Blue Beetle stars in...The Runaway: Issue #5
Previous Issue

Baltimore, Maryland

A sound like clanging metal jolted Jaime Reyes awake as he felt something smack against the side of his skull. He could make out the sound of several people arguing, but their exact words were hidden behind a haze of head trauma. He'd just...He'd just fallen out of the sky. For a moment, he thought he might've been dead, but that incessant whacking on his helmet felt all too real for this to be some kind of hellish fever dream of a lost soul.

"-Stop pokin' it, Johnny! Seriously!" A young voice cut through the fog with his high pitched, broken warning. "W-what if it ain't dead?!"

This 'Johnny' character responded with something of a half grunt, half snort. "Youse saw it, same as me! God damn thing fell down from space!" Another impact knocked Jaime's head to the side. "You think it's an alien, Billy? Or maybe it's that bat fella from Jersey!"

Billy scoffed, as if that was the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard. "That look like a bat to you, dumbass? It looks like some kinda...some kinda bug. Like a big ass, scary ass bug. So-so stop fuckin' pokin' it! We should call the cops."

"Somebody's already done it. No way we was the only two that saw this fella hit the ground. Say, is it-"

Right as Johnny went for another swing with his tire iron, he felt it suddenly halt in place. The 'bug' had it's claws wrapped about the tool, and it's eyes were wide open. Though it's face was set in unmoving armor, he swore he saw anger bubbling just behind those lifeless yellow eyes.

"Shit!" Johnny dropped the iron just as the monster started to crush it in it's hand. He backpedaled, his back hitting the crater he'd found the bug in. Billy scrambled forward, helping his shell shocked friend climb up it's steep basin. "We gotta get the hell outta here! Run!" The two turned and started at a dead sprint for the car on the other side of the empty lot, but they didn't get far. Not before Johnny felt a force like a linebacker's tackle hit him in the spine. Crumbling to the ground, the scruffy twenty-something made a disgraceful attempt at rolling to his feet.

Jaime put a stop to his fleeing when he pressed his heel into Johnny's lower back. "I'm getting really tired of people like you hitting me." He snarled. Clawed digits reached down, pulling the Baltimore local up by his neck. He dangled there, his feet kicking at thin air as his hands wrapped around the monster's.

"P-please, man, I'm sorry- don't kill me, please!"

For a moment, Reyes felt a flash of satisfaction at the power he now wielded over this guy. Once upon a time, a guy like Johnny would've made easy pickings of Jaime- he was small, skinny and never could defend himself very well. But there was strength in his arms now. Strength to do to guys like this what they used to do to Jaime.

"Give me your wallet, keys and phone and I'll consider it." He growled, throwing Johnny onto his back. The man was quick to obey, shaky hands digging through his pockets until he'd spilled everything he had on him onto the ground before the alien monster. "Gracias, ese. Now get outta here before I change my mind."

Neither of the two men needed more than that. They ran like hell out of the lot, making for the street beyond with speed that would've rivaled the Flash on her best day.

'Well done, Jaime Reyes.' Khaji Da finally added after they'd both vanished around a corner. 'You have secured us an alternate means of transportation.'

No response came for several moments as Reyes stared out into the street where they'd disappeared, the pilfered items remaining in the dust at his feet. He felt a twisting, gnawing guilt in his gut like a dagger slicing through his innards.

"Yeah, well, I'm already a murderer and a fugitive. What's a little Grand Theft Auto too?" No humor laced it's way into his words, only the toxic pangs of sin and wrongdoing. It was one thing to fight for his life- one thing to take the blame for whatever happened in the museum. But this?

Jaime was in control. His own hands had contemplated stealing another person's life. His own words had brought him to this place. Slowly he bent down and scooped up the keys, phone and wallet before making a move for the car. Even as he climbed into the driver's seat, Jaime wondered how far he would have to go if he continued down this path.

Khaji Da must've sensed the boy's guilt, for the scarab's voice played inside of his mind. 'It was necessary.'

"Was it?"

'SHIELD will be upon us at any moment, and we must return to the museum. I believe the secret to repairing my corrupted files lies there.' There was a momentary pause, as if the being was contemplating how to word it's next point. 'Your concept of morality is flawed, Jaime Reyes. You spare the lives of others, risking your own in the process. You feel...guilt...for doing what you need to in order to survive. These considerations will get you killed. Cast them off, Jaime Reyes.'

He reached up, his claws wrapping about the steering wheel. His hands were not his own. Covered in that layered, insectoid material and glistening like onyx, they were distinctly inhuman. Time dragged on and minutes passed with Jaime doing nothing but staring at those hands in total silence. Khaji Da attempted to break the silence.

'Jaim-' He was not allowed to finish.

"Shut up." Reyes snapped. "Just- for one second- stop. Talking. I can't go anywhere covered in...you...so if there's anyway you can-"

The skin peeled away, snapping and bending to reveal the sickly looking flesh underneath. Jaime's flesh. It looked like he hadn't gotten any sun in months, and there was a sickeningly sticky residue left in the armor's wake. He watched the chitin fold backward over itself until it disappeared underneath his clothing. A shaken hand slipped down to pull up his T-shirt, revealing the armor hidden underneath.

It was a stark reminder of who really owned his body now.

Jaime had to take a moment to adjust the rearview, just to look himself in the face. He'd never seen himself so white before. His hair, usually so wild and untamed, was slathered against his skull with whatever substance Khaji Da left behind.

"This deal's getting worse by the minute." He grumbled under his breath as he started the car.

Washington, D.C
One Hour Later

One shower in a dirt cheap motel room later and Jaime was- reluctantly- standing before the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Police tape was drawn between the entrance's massive pillars of marble, and a veritable army of FBI, SHIELD and local law enforcement agents were moving in and out of the broken doorway. The summer sun was obscured behind it's vaulting roof, casting the evening shadow over his head.

"This is a bad idea, ese." He whispered under his breath, his head kept low. He'd bought a ballcap and a pair of sunglasses at a kiosk on his way here, but it made for a pitiful disguise when facing down a hundred trained cops. "How are we supposed to get in there without getting spotted?"

'These men could not stop us if they wanted to.'

"Dios mío, ese, we're not attacking these guys." Jaime spun around, trying to act like he was lost and not at all suspiciously searching for a way inside. "Maybe we can...I dunno...distract them? Get them all to go somewhere else while we head inside?"

'If you insist, I will require one of their communications devices.'

With a shake of his head he began to scan the area more closely until his gaze fell upon an armored vehicle bearing the mark of the FBI on it's side. Several agents were gathered around it, though it looked like they were starting to disperse. Taking in a sharp breath, conscious of all the myriad of ways this could go wrong, Reyes started toward the command post.

He waited until they had all gone their separate ways, the vehicle's sliding door shut and presumably locked as they climbed the steps toward the crime scene. Jaime made sure the coast was clear before jogging up to it, trying the lock. "Damn." He rasped. "Can you-"

The Scarab knew what was desired before Jaime had even finished, his right arm quickly covered in it's protective shell and his digits replaced by hyper sharp claws. He stabbed the claws into the space between the door and the rest of the vehicle's frame, trying to break the lock.

"Hey, what the hell do you think you're doing, kid?" A voice, gruff and aging, called from behind him. Reyes turned to see a man in beige khakis and a polo, the badge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation worn about his pencil-like neck.

"I was just-" Reyes started, only for his free hand to whip forward without his consent, slamming into the agent's nose with enough force to snap it. Jaime's eyes went wide in shock, looking down at his bare hand-

'He doesn't need the armor to...'

'Secure his communications device, Jaime Reyes, quickly.'

There wasn't time to think about it, no matter how horrifying the revelation. It wouldn't matter if the FBI arrested him and sent him back to SHIELD. Reyes bent down and tore the radio from the man's hip. He placed it into the extended part of his chitin, watching with the same sickening disgust as the melding process began. He felt the radio become a part of him, slithering up into the armor and disappearing without a trace.

He could hear static in his ears. Inside of his ears.

'Name an important building in this city.'

"W-what? Why-"


"T-the capitol building? I guess? What the hell are you-"

'A seat of central governance, I presume. Good.'

Then Reyes felt a tingle in his throat, and suddenly, the ability to speak was stolen from him. Yet he felt his throat rumble all the same, his mouth opening as a voice not his own spoke from Jaime's body. "There has been a chemical attack on the capitol building. I repeat, chemical weapons have been unleashed on our capitol building. All units, please converge immediately."

It felt like someone had struck Jaime right in the stomach, but it worked. His soul may be damned, but the plan worked. He could see the panic spreading through the police and federal agents as the message spread between all of them. It overtook every emergency channel in a matter of seconds.

Jaime didn't know it at the time, but that same message would spread across the internet like a virus in mere minutes.




The world would know the voice of Khaji Da, and it would bring with it the first seeds of terror and lies.
7x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
Avatar of Master Bruce

Master Bruce Winged Freak

Member Seen 2 mos ago

Gotham City, Moldoff Spa
West End Resort
11:30 PM

What the hell is going on?

Floyd Lawton felt as if he were waking up from a bad dream. At least, what he'd been hoping had been a dream for the last five days. But upon exiting his unmarked car at the gate of an abandoned luxury spa resort that had since been gutted and left to rot, overtaken with vines and wild grass, Lawton felt the pit of his stomach shift. None of it had been a dream, and even now, he could feel his body moving without his own cognative imput as he reached up to the dial-pad attached to the gate to type in a set of numbers that he didn't recognize. When the rust-covered entrance creaked itself open and allowed him entry, he wondered just what the hell he was walking into. The survivalist instinct in him wanted to load at least one of the many weapons strapped to his person, but his hands were firmly at his side, and his legs were moving. He was casually strolling ahead despite his mind being a mere passenger. Even the breaths he was taking weren't being controlled by him, as if someone were pulling his every nerve like they were marionette strings. And that made one of the most dangerous up-and-coming assassins in the world very nervous, as the memories of the past few days started to creep back in.

Oh, shit. Not this again.

He'd come to Gotham on a lark just under two weeks ago, between contracts. The mother of his child, Zoe, lived in The Narrows and had maintained sole custody. Lawton's ex had never really pieced together how he made his living, but she knew it was something dangerous, and not suitable for a parent-to-be. Uncharacteristically, Floyd hadn't fought her to see the girl that was rightfully his to see. Unlike most idiots in his position, he understood why he had to be held at a distance, and not having to worry about an infant daughter made being a professional killer all the more bearable of an existence. But somewhere along the line, someone else had gotten to him. He didn't remember who, and that was what bugged him the most, but they had made some pretty convincing argument to change Floyd's mind about taking it easy. They'd put a hit out on Harvey Dent, the District Attorney, and Lawton had willfully accepted. But for some reason... his word hadn't been enough. The individual responsible wanted something more binding than a signature on a stack of papers, so they'd drugged him.

The next thing he remembered, he had woken up on a rooftop overlooking a rally that Dent had organized, outfitted in his gear and with a full cache of ordinance. Dent was spouting off something about a vigilante. Lawton didn't particularly care about the impassioned speech, but he felt himself raise the sniper rifle towards Dent's position anyway, carrying out the agreement that he'd already made - but for some reason, under the control of another party. The only solace Lawton took in knowing this was that the bullet never made it to Dent's brain, because whoever had taken the shot on his behalf - with his finger on the trigger - hadn't counted on actually needing Floyd's experience as a sniper to pull off the kill. They just needed him to take the fall for an expected outcome.

When Dent survived, clearly, things had changed. Even his chance run-in with The Batman hadn't been enough to deter the person now drawing Lawton to the half-destroyed spa. As Floyd stepped over the ruins of what used to be the lobby entrance, he could feel the humidity in the room grow considerably. Sweat beaded down his forehead, and he momentarily forgot that he couldn't actually reach up to wipe it away, adding to his frustration. He found himself walking down a dark, dimly lit corridor, heading directly for a steel door on the opposite end of the path.

C'mon, Floyd. Whatever this is, fight it off. Take control again, dammit.

His own pleas were met with silence, as his arms reached forward and pushed the heavy door aside. The metal scraping against the floor hurt his ears, as did the loud ringing that resulted from the door hitting the opposite wall as it swung open, seemingly by itself. At first, Lawton couldn't see shit in the dark room ahead. But he proceeded anyway, being guided by whatever it was that had taken control of him for nearly a week. He only came to a stop whenever he could feel himself enter the center of the room. There was someone else there with him, but Floyd couldn't see who it was. He was standing in total darkness and rendered completely immobile.

"Do you like the darkness, Mr. Lawton?"

A female's voice. Seductive, yet at the same time laced with a tender malice. Floyd was surprised to feel himself able to move his mouth again, at least, and control what came out of his vocal chords. Rather than curse the mystery woman who had done this to him, however, he chose to remain calm. Obviously, the chick still retained control over the other ninety-nine percent of his body, so if he wanted out of this room with some tangible answers, he knew that he had to play it cool.

"Eh. I can take it or leave it. Though I will say, I generally do my best work in it..."

Narrowing his eyes, which he suddenly realized he could do, Floyd noticed a shadow step forward as the moonlight hit the area ahead of them. The woman had a slender figure, athletic and clearly one that was alluring to the male gaze. But he also noticed that despite the shadows, her eyes were visible. Like some kind of glow-in-the-dark effect was making them stand out and appear in an otherworldly shade of green. It creeped him out, to be sure. The woman traced her index finger across Lawton's chin and he felt himself want to tense up, but unable to do so.

"If that were true, lover, we wouldn't be in this predicament."

Lawton felt his body turn as she walked past him, eventually following.

"After all, Harvey Dent's still breathing."

The assassin felt professionally annoyed, now. It was one thing to take control of his body and his actions, but it was another thing entirely to accuse him of being at fault for a botched kill. His record had been spotless up to this point, and this witch had fucked it up for him.

"Can't say that I can take the credit for that blunder, given my mind literally wasn't the one calling the shots. You should've just let me carry out the contract. Would've had your man dead to rights."

The woman chuckled.

"I highly doubt that, Mr. Lawton. While I admit to tampering with your actions on the night in question, I was in full control of your expertise in the field. I was shooting with your level of skill, and you still missed."

Now Deadshot was just pissed off.

"Lady, I don't know who the fuck you think you are, but I never miss. And I don't know what you mean by controlling my skills, but having skills and knowing how to utilize 'em are two different things. I could know how to be a friggin' plumber, but that don't change that I dropped outta Junior High and wouldn't be caught dead with a wrench. Killing is all I know how to do, and you were the one that threw me off. That's not even in contention."

The woman paused, looking over her shoulder at him. Her devilish green eyes peering back through the shadows.

"My, don't you have gumption? You do realize that if you continue to talk to me in that tone, I'll not only rescind your ability to speak when spoken to, but I might even go ahead and pull out one of the... what, sixteen different weapons you've got hidden under that jacket of your's? And make you use it to carve out your own frontal lobe."

Lawton remained silent for a moment. Not because of the threat, but because the woman had known exactly how many weapons he was carrying on him. Nobody would know that unless they had taken a peek inside of his thoughts, or looked through his eyes. Which meant that if anything, she was telling the truth about being able to control everything about him. And if that meant he really had missed the shot, he was tempted to pull a piece out and put it to his own temple right now. He didn't fear dying. Infact, it was quite the opposite with Floyd. Most that had worked with him called him "Deadshot" because of the fact that he would literally take any risk imaginable to take down his targets. It was because he had a death wish, and had been looking to go out on some grand assignment that'd make his name famous. Then, and only then, would he amount to something.

"Fair point. But I gotta ask, why all this cloak and dagger shit? I already agreed to the job when you offered it, assuming you were the one to offer. Why not let me just play my part if you wanted Dent gone so badly?"

"Because this is Gotham City, lover."

The woman turned around, her features now illuminated in the moonlight. Floyd was taken off guard by what he saw staring back at him. She was... beautiful. Without question, the most breathtakingly stunning woman that he had ever seen. Her eyes matched the supernatural quality of her features, infact, adding to the striking visage. But with a flick of her wrist, Floyd felt his own hand ball into a fist, immediately taking his mind off of her enchanting beauty.

"And in case you weren't aware, this is a city where trust in others is an impossible concept. The police are crooked. The weak are desperate. The wealthy are corrupt. And people like me are left to fend for themselves, taking the scraps that men like Carmine Falcone and Rupert Thorne leave behind. I assigned you to the task because you had the skills I required, but I never had any intention of letting you utilize them yourself. Not when I could do it for you."

Floyd was knocked to the floor by a hard right hook delivered to him by his own fist. And then another, and another after that. The woman grinned in delight as he began to taste blood on his lip. Lawton stared back in horror as she knelt down to approach him.

"W-what... are you?"

Touching his nearly fractured nose with her index finger to elicit further pain, the woman threw back her crimson hair and allowed the plant life in the room to move towards her. Vines, flowers, and all manner of vegetation grafted itself onto her as if it were clothing acting on her command.

"Poison, Mr. Lawton."

"To men like you, I am Poison."

The name suddenly made him realize who he was dealing with. There had been rumors of a major drug kingpin operating outside the jurisdiction of the five families. There had been a particular powerful strain of a natural ingredient, used to create everything from a potent crystal meth to a particularly addictive form of heroin, making the rounds among people who had been lucky enough to score a place in the new player's outfit. They called the ingredient "Ivy". And the woman responsible for it's creation was said to be the inspiration for the name.

Pamela "Poison Ivy" Isley.

"But let's not dwell on my role in this little assignment, lover. I recall asking you a question of the rhetorical variety. Do you like the darkness? Because I personally can't stand it."

Rising to meet a blooming flower as it greeted her, as if a young child had reached out to greet it's mother, Poison Ivy raised one hand to gently stroke it's pedals as her other hand made the come hither motion. Without warning, Lawton felt his limbs ensnared by a series of vines that were growing on their own. Lifting him up from the ground, and suspending him into the air. He tried to yell out, but he was again rendered unable to. Ivy was back in total control, of both him and the room itself.

"Sunlight is what supports photosynthesis, you see, and the darkness can only stunt a plant's growth. I thrive on growth to do what I've been doing, and have been perpetually forced to operate at night to avoid interference by unwelcome parties. The creation of my latest toxin has therefore been delayed by such inconvenience."

Lawton felt his neck jerk back as another vine wrapped itself around his throat.

"Now, I know what you're thinking. Literally, because I can read your thoughts. And yes, I am quite powerful on my own. So I understand your confusion as to why someone like me would need to operate in secret at all. But it's very simple. You see, Gotham is experiencing a point of growth that I have yet to personally accelerate. The fruits of what keeps the city running belong to the labor of the five families, the police, and even a certain cape and cowled individual that we ran into the other night. If I were to try and control all of them at once, I'd never get anything done. So I'm going step-by-step in my conquest of the city's functioning operations."

Ivy's playful tone turned to one of immense rage, as she made the vines carry Lawton closer to her.

"And killing off poor, contemptible Harvey Dent was meant to be the first step into a much larger world. To lull his enemies into a false sense of security so that I could work my way in beyond their notice. And yet he still lives. Because of you."

Floyd felt the sweat on his face begin to drop in buckets as the humidity levels rose even higher. Ivy's skin was unaffected, however, as she let out a pleasured moan. Even to a trigger-man like him, it was obvious that she and these plants had some sort of connection to eachother. She herself acted like she was a damn plant with legs. And maybe she was. Though the far more likely explanation was that Lawton had found himself in the clutches of one of those mutant freaks of nature that the news was constantly blaming everything on.

"I'm giving you one more chance, lover. But on this try, you'll have to earn it, because I can't trust relying on your experience alone to get the job done. So I'm going to make you a deal."

Lawton still couldn't move, but he was nevertheless intrigued.

"If you're truly right and the need for free will is what makes you an adept killer, then I'll grant you a temporary return of your faculties. You'll get to carry out the contract on your own, with no interference from your's truly. But to both ensure that you don't decide to turn your guns on me, as I can already feel you contemplating, and compensate you with something worth more to you than money that I don't intend to part with, I'm going to make things interesting for you. Something a bit more personal, this time."

Ivy leaned forward and placed her lips near Floyd's ear, whispering something particularly sinister into it that made Lawton pay immediate attention.

"Do the job to the letter... and I won't have to kill your sweet, innocent little girl."

Gotham City, West End
11:45 PM

Target identified, Mr. Wayne. Floyd Lawton is currently moving out of this area. How do you wish to proceed?

The Dark Knight watched from afar as an unmarked car made it's way onto the freeway overpass. The road that Deadshot had taken led to a relatively abandoned part of town, making it evident that the person who'd hired him to take out Harvey Dent was operating out of that area. And while his instinct was to head in the opposite direction of where Lawton was now heading and take down the individual who had ordered the hit before it could be carried out, something told him that the assassin was on the move to make his second attempt on Dent's life.

He had no choice but to stop Deadshot directly, which meant a direct confrontation. Even if it meant losing out on capturing the person truly responsible for the attempt against his friend, he'd make Lawton tell him everything regardless. Now that he'd already survived one encounter, The Batman was more than confident in his own ability to pull that off.

"Keep following Lawton. He's on his way to Dent, and I want to catch him in the act."

Placing heat signature on record...

Success. You will now be able to track Floyd Lawton anywhere within Gotham City.

Batman smiled to himself. ACE was turning out to be more than an impressive new tool in his arsenal. With only a few simple satellite images, a succession of cycling through security cameras, and checking into Lawton's personal credit history, ACE had given him Deadshot's exact location in less than an hour. With some fine-tuning, he knew that ACE had the potential to track potential suspects at an even faster rate. Pulling out a grapple gun, The Dark Knight leapt into the air and fired off a line, swinging into Gotham proper.

With some patience, he'd have Deadshot in police custody well before sunrise. But there was still another matter about this case that eluded him entirely, and it was beginning to bother him. There was at least one metahuman confirmed to be operating in Gotham City. His recreation of the incident had revealed it to be a woman, who had managed to block the bullet meant for Harvey in mid-air. With her bare hand.

Given the way things were going, someone wielding that much power couldn't remain unchecked.

"Re-establish the secure line to The Cave. I want to know the progress Alfred's made in identifying our mystery woman at the scene. She may have a larger role to play in this."
9x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Hexaflexagon
Avatar of Hexaflexagon


Member Seen 4 mos ago

Красная комната Compound, Byelorussian SSR - The Past But Closer

"They call that one Ophiuchus" Yulia explained as she pointed upward into the night sky.

Natasha wasn't paying all that attention to what Yulia was saying. Yet her focus was on Yulia watching the way that the moonlight danced through her hair, the way her breath came out in small white puffs in the January night, and the way her face lit with excitment . In the Красная комната, there was little respite but this was one of those rare little moments. They had sneaked out through their dormitory window and climbed up the old piping to the roof. And there they lay backs to the cold ground as they started upwards to the immense vault of stars above them. There out beyond the reach of any city they twinkled like the innards of a cracked geode.

"'Tasha are you even listening to me?" Yulia asked with a raised brow throwing Natasha out of her haze with a playful punch to the side.

"Ow!" Natasha recoiled at the surprise flood of pain.

"Oh crap sorry! I forget!" Yulia responded jerking upward in a flash of movement and hair. She lifted up the hem of Natasha's shirt with a doctor's care peering at where she made contact. There across her side was a series of large and throbbing bruises having only just begun to heal. Yulia furrowed her brow.

"Yulia I'm fine." Natasha insisted as she pulled the shirt back down.

"No you're not," Yulia insisted "and it is all my fault."

"Two things: one I'm fine and two you didn't force me to get into a fight."

"Yeah, well if they weren't talking shit about me you wouldn't of done it."

"Well they were making you feel bad and their smug faces make me wanna puke anyway."

"But but-"

Yulia voice begin lost as Natasha placed a finger to her lips.

"No buts," Natasha insisted "Besides you were talking about something right? Ophiucwazits?"

Yulia relented for a moment but knew a losing battle when she saw one.

"Ophiuchus the serpent-bearer"

"Guess that does kinda look a man and a snake," Natasha replied as Yulia traced the outline with a finger, "what's his story?"

Yulia's face beamed with excitement.

"Well the earliest records we have are from a guy called Aratus........"

As Yulia began her tale, Natasha found her hand and held it in hers lacing their fingers together. And for a brief moment she allowed herself to feel the warmth. There hands intertwined as clouds of puffy winter breath intermingling before they faded into the dark. There on the roof where no one was watching. And yeah maybe she could say knew what happiness was and maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.

Castle Markov, The Kingdom of Markovia - Present Day

Natasha ran a black gloved hand over the broken window pane. The edges, jagged and angry, stained red with blood as if touched by Geber himself. Wind forced itself into the once forbidden place causing the curtains to dance. Somewhere in the distance a lone raven cawed outward into the night.

She never expected the girl to do something as stupid as jump. Maybe that was her fault, the fear of death wasn't something that she had felt in a long time, but it was strong and it was powerful . Her eyes traced the path of her descent, a line of broken branches drawn with the fluidity of a child down a nearby oak. From the lack of a body down below she had somehow survived. Natasha wasn't concerned though, the girl couldn't of gotten far after a fall like that. So she took her time looking about the room.

It was small and dotted with the wayward touches of the ghost that had jumped: a half empty glass of water, the impression of her body still fresh in the sheets. There in the corner of the eye a small stuffed bear its small black bead eyes staring. She addressed her eyes away from its judgmental gaze and towards the desk that took up one corner of the room. A haphazard mess of papers and pens, a vast sketches of sketches: some of animals, some of people, most of plants. Laying to one side in an area quarantined from the clutter was a small moleskin journal. The papers inside were crisp and well-maintained as if it belonged in a reliquary. There where pictures there and too smaller, more stylistic and small notes. And there at the very front in handwriting that Natasha knew all too well were some very simple words.

"Моя дорогая дочь, Авре́я
У нас с тобой будут приключения.
с любовью, мама

Natasha didn't realize that she had thrown the journal until she felt it leave her hands. It smacked against the opposite slate gray wall with a satisfying thud, plopping in front of the bear. She could feel the anger as it boiled inside of her, gnawing lallations begging for release. One hand still outward, the other flat against her side, both were balled into fists, both were shaking. She closed her eyes and she breathed. She followed the same tactics they had taught her at fifteen to resist interrogation. She isolated the feelings and buried down one by one, in the place where they didn't hurt anymore. Somehow it was easier to do it with waterboarding than whatever sat in her stomach right now.

"You give it all up. For what? For this? For this kid?" Natasha asked the empty air and almost expected a response. "Why?"

There stewing in the silence of her own anger she heard it first sounds of footfalls, soon accompanied by the feeling the shake as several boots clambered up stairs to a military beat. The commotion must have alerted them. She should of already been gone but she let her feelings anchor her. She still had time though to run before the breach fell upon her. Instead she allowed herself a small moment of selfishness, a moment to make someone else hurt like she did.

So she moved.

Killing had embraced her at a young age. Ivan and his compatriots learned its intricacies well fighting the Wehrmacht and they taught all the knew to her. The instructors at the Красная комната only served hone them to a machine like precision. Overtime it all became something of a math problem: you plug in the variables and used the right formula. In that way it almost became fun.

Natasha moved towards the front door of the apartment. She wasn't about to hunker down and wait for the breach. Once those heavy boots kicked down the door they expected the trouble, they were ready for it. You hit them too early you risked being caught in the apex of the anticipation, when the adrenalin kicks. So you wait and you hit them right before that doors comes crashing down, right when they least expect it.

The door was knocked off its hinges in a cacophony of sound and splintered wood. It slammed forward into the point man sending him barreling into the ground with a yell. Natasha was already moving before it even left the ground. Sprinting up the door as it fell and using her years of gymnastics training to spring off of it and into the second man.

Her fist made contact first catching his jaw stunning him. In a blur another fist came with a roar into the solar plexus. Reeling from the two plows he put little struggle against Natasha yanking him into a chokehold pulling him flat against her body like a shield. She could feel the bullets from the other three impact his body, but trusted his mass and the ballistic weave of her bodysuit. Natasha dropped the bullet-ridden corpse as she did, in a blur of motion, pulling the knife still strapped to his holster and threw it with a flick.

The third man felt the knife sore past his head. Then he heard the gurgled sounds of the fourth collapsing to his knees as it embed itself into his jugular. In a fraction of a breath there was a gasp as he leg came out from under him. Natasha having pulled the non-flechette from its holster. The third man's shift in movement open a clean shot on the fifth. She aimed and fire. The bullet caught him in the forehead and sent him spinning in a bloody pirouette to the ground. The third on the ground clutching his blown apart kneecap had his pain ended when he met a similar fate.

The point men in the few seconds that had passed by had manged to push the door off of him. He scrambled across the ground reaching for his gun. Just as his fingers managed to grasp the cool metal, a black boot came crushing down atop of them and the rifle. They snapped easily and he cursed and he screamed and he yelled all the vitriol he had pent up inside him. An overflowing tub of hatred built up over the years finding its outlet finally. And then there was the sound of the gun and then there was no hatred, no anger, only silence.

And for a brief second Natasha felt good.

She sighed and she recollected herself again before she reentered the apartment. She froze in the hall casting a looked towards where the light still crawled out from the living room. But she couldn't do it, instead she turned and walked back into the bedroom. Walked over to the bed and pocketed the discarded journal. Then she was gone. Another ghost in the night.

7x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by DocTachyon
Avatar of DocTachyon

DocTachyon Teenage Neenage Neetle Teetles

Member Seen 10 days ago

”The Ranchero of Miracle Mesa” - Strings: Part Three

“The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.”


Warpath, Texas

”How’s the news treatin ya?” Vig asked. Jonah Hex sat with his feet up on the porch of the Crossroads Saloon, L-Pad in hand. For an old world cowboy, he’d caught on to the new technology quick. He didn’t much prefer it to newspapers, but those had stopped coming a long time ago.

“Some Silver-Surfboard hooligan been sighted in Central City. Given Flash n’ Superman the ol’ runaround. No word from Frank or the others.” Hex said.

Vigilante nodded slow and pulled his hat off his head. He ran a hand through his sweat slicked hair. The sun was high in the sky, he and Hex and just spent the last six hours using horse teams to drag in old car husks from the nearest junkyard to bolster the outer lines. Gunn was down by the Town Square, trying to teach the townsfolk what he could about gunplay.

Much like The Crossroads, Vig reckoned that Warpath was damn near impossible to kill. Three years real-time with only Gunn and and handful of other gunslingers to protect it and the town held out like it was the Alamo. In Hell, it was impossible to defend a single location. If you tried to lock down any one spot, the demons would be itchin’ to bumrush you before you could proper take your boots off. Maybe it had something to do with the magic of the spot. Or maybe Gunn was a better sharpshooter than anyone realized.

”Well, they better git back soon. More and more Fatboys coming to knock every day. Saw three or four fixin’ to breach while you were just readin’.” Vig said. Fatboys were entities of plague. Demons wearing human skin, gone turgid with puss and disease. They were low level scum, but usually packs of Fatboys meant somethin’ a whole lot bigger and meaner was around the corner.

Hex gave a slow nod and set the L-Pad down on the porch railing. He leaned back into his rocker.

“Whaddya think they’re after?” Hex didn’t look at Vig. He just stared into the sky, tracking the rising sun.

”Man to man?” Vigilante pushed his hat up and locked eyes with Hex. ”I got a couple ideas, n’ both of ‘em scare the shit outta me. This didn’t start til’ I disappeared. Which means one of two things.”

“Either you jes got real unlucky…” Hex started.

”Or Mephisto’s playin’ a real long game on us.” Vigilante set his hat down and hoisted himself up onto the porch railing and looked up into the sky.

Hell makes a man yearn for things you’d never have batted an eye about when you were piddlin’ away your time in the land of the living. On the few quiet nights that Vigilante could really lay his head down and rest in that place, when the screams of the damned were quiet, and when the demons lay dead in droves around them, all he could see out the throat of Hell was the underbelly of the world. It hung from the sky like it was a Fatboy’s stomach. The sins of the Earth, bubbling and popping and depositing damned souls into the place of their worst nightmares. Garlands of bones and viscera hung from it, sometimes low enough that he could touch it.

But now Vigilante was back in Texas town. Seemed like he could spend hours just kickin’ his spurs up and gazing into that sky, just enjoying that lucky old sun. First time in a long time he had somethin’ to protect. For what felt like a thousand years, he was just a cowpoke trying to get out alive. But now? He was a real goddamned Vigilante.

On the edge of town, Vigilante picked up a gentle groan of steel. He might’ve mistaken it for the car hulks settling, if it weren’t for the fleshy smacks that accompanied every protest of the metal.

”More gotdamn Fatboys. I’ll mosey on over n’ handle it. Hows about you see what kinda progress Gunn’s making?” Vig hopped off the rail and fished a pistol from one of his holsters.

“Holler if you need me.” Hex stepped down from the porch and headed towards the town square, while Vig started the brisk walk to the edge of town.

As walls go it was a squat thing, but it’d more n’ have to do. What was once a long thoroughfare stretching into town proper was now blocked off by rusted out cars stacked two high, with sheets of corrugated metal and plywood filling in the gaps. Wooden pallets formed a makeshift gangplank up to a haphazard guard post made from PVC Pipe, repurposed fence lumber, and a whole lot of hope that the damn thing wouldn’t fall apart the instant you stepped on it.

Walking up, it was hard to hear the creak of the pallets over the low moans of the Fatboys. The poor little bastards weren’t smart things. They had just enough of the demonic in ‘em to animate ‘em and motivate them to kill, but that was where it began and ended. What little brain was probably left in those corpses had to be workin’ a thousand miles a minute to even think about smashing into the barrier to try and break through.

It was dirty work that Vig didn’t much like doing, but it had to be done. He’d stopped looking at them as he did it. Seemed too much like shooting somethin’ livin’ and breathin’. Fatboys were one of the few demon types round these parts that still looked human. Disgusting sacks of shit that they were, it never felt right puttin’ a bullet in the face of somethin’ that looked like that. Usually he just fired until the moaning stopped.


He suffered it quietly, just focusing on the recoil in his hand. The rawhide of his gloves rubbing against his skin. Suddenly he felt a tug -- and he gun wasn’t in his hand anymore.

”What in Sam Hi-” Suddenly there was something around Vig’s ankle, snaking up into his jeans and wrapping itself around his calf. He could feel liquid running down his skin. It burned.

There was a pull and he was in the air, flung a dozen yards through the sky before crashing into the sand beyond the wall. Vig felt his right shoulder crack on impact. Before he could push himself to his knees the thing started dragging him to its source. He was facedown in the sand, his hands dragging behind him as he tried to bring himself around to bear.

He managed to turn face up. He coughed the dust out of his lungs and saw the thing that was trying to make him dinner. Astride the corpses of the Fatboys was a demon with its chest cavity hanging open, full of endless rows of gnashing teeth, waiting for the tongue that stuck out of the void where its heart should’ve been to bring in the latest catch. A Digester.

”Hex! Backup!” Vig’s other pistol was in his hand in an instant. .38 rounds tore through the thing’s tongue like tissue paper and it hissed in an inhuman language. Vig scurried backward across the ground, keeping his gun up. Bullets cracked into the opening in its chest and bourns of blood sprouted from it, running over the closing teeth. Its insides sealed and now it was a raw mass of chitinous armor.

As disgusting as its open form was, a closed Digester was durable as a tank. The rest of the revolver’s clip dented the beast’s hide, burying itself in the chitinous material. The chest armor rattled as the thing let off a roar from behind closed lips, dropped its shoulder, and charged.

Vig rolled out of the way as it barreled past, annihilating the turf where his head would have been. Its momentum carried it through, and it started to careen to stop itself. Before it got a chance, Vigilante’s hand went to his lariat and the whip snagged around the beasts thickly muscled thigh.

”Dangnabit!” Vigilante hadn’t had rugburn in his life quite like getting dragged along by a speeding slab of demonic muscle, trying to shake him off like all get out. The one thing that made fighting Digesters survivable was their joints. Only way they could move so quick was if their joints were free of armor and ripe for the shooting.

Vig nearly broke his hand wrestling another revolver from his chest holster. He took aim and the monster banked a hard left, Vig’s shot went wild and dinged off the carapace into the desert beyond.

”Stay still you gosh darn--” The gun cracked in his hands and the monsters kneecap exploded in a fountain of blood and sinew. It slammed into the ground with a sickening crunch as all of its momentum was delivered into its chestplate.

Greg staggered to his feet. The monster wheezed, trying to compensate for its completely shattered rib cage and trying to push itself up. Vig wiped the dust from his chest and limped to the creatures side. He shoved a boot under its chest and flipped it over. It squirmed like a beetle. It’s chest armor was cracked, and what there was of a ribcage below that had been powdered. Its tongue snaked up, trying with its last gasps of energy to devour Vigilante.

Vig pulled another revolver and emptied it into the beast. It stopped moving. Vigilante let loose a heavy sigh, and turned his attention to the horizon. Way out in the distance, he could see a dust cloud starting to rise, as high as three or four men.

”Hope this feller’ weren’t the best you boys got...” Greg started slotting more bullets into the guns he’d emptied. Time for round two.
3x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Eddie Brock
Avatar of Eddie Brock

Eddie Brock

Member Seen 1 yr ago


The car arrived promptly, just as Director Fury had promised it would. They had landed much too late the previous night to get right to work, so SHIELD had been duly accommodating in finding Captain Rogers a place to lay his head for the night. Though, truth be told, Steve had hardly slept a wink, another consequence of the serum coursing through his blood; sleep for him was as much luxury as necessity. Consequently, he was up with plenty of time to go for a run along the banks of the river, grab a facsimile of breakfast from the hotel's buffet-style offerings, and have a quick shower all before his ride showed up. Steve was a little surprised when the Director wasn't there to greet him personally, but he supposed that running a multinational intelligence agency placed certain demands on one's time. In his stead, Fury had sent his protégé, Agent Bordeaux.

To this point, Steve had struggled to get a read on the young Special Agent. Although she had been present for the drive and flight back to Washington, she had done little to make that presence felt. Even now, she offered next to nothing in the way of pleasantries as she picked Steve up, regarding him with what could only be described as cool indifference. Steve tried not to think anything of it, but after only a few blocks of silence, he felt compelled to speak up. "You don't care for me, do you, Agent Bordeaux?" Though phrased as a question, it was spoken as fact. Steve looked across the backseat at Bordeaux, his features placid.

The statement made Agent Bordeaux visibly uncomfortable. She straightened in her seat, keeping her eyes fixed out the SUV window as she had been for the past few minutes. "I don't know you," she admitted finally, the words coming across as a struggle. When Steve gave her space to elaborate, she eventually offered, "All I know is that you walked away. Your country needed you, and you chose to remain idle. That, I'll never understand." At that last part, she hazarded a low glance from the corner of her eye before returning her gaze to the passing facades.

Steve nodded. Certainly, he held no ill will towards the girl. Once, it had mattered greatly what people thought of him, but that -- like so many other things -- he had long since outgrown. Thinking a moment, he asked, "How long have you been with SHIELD now, Agent?"

The question caught her off-guard. This time, Agent Bordeaux turned her head all the way around to face him. With shifting brown eyes, she answered forcefully, as though answering some unspoken challenge, "It'll be six years come this October."

Steve smiled distantly. "Well, then," he said, "give it another seventy years or so."

By then, the car had reached the river, and the Triskelion came into view. Even Steve had to admit to being impressed by it. The last time he had been in Washington, SHIELD's sleek headquarters was still under construction. Now, it bustled with so much activity that it made the Pentagon look like a dog park. Steve watched as Quinjets swapped places on the runway, landing and taking off with those wing-mounted repulsorlift engines that looked like something out of one of those sci-fi comics he might've read when he was a kid. For someone who had witnessed the advancements of the better part of a century, change was nothing new to Steve; yet it seemed to him like the world had taken a quantum leap forward in the last handful of years. At last, he was starting to feel his age: an old dog with a lot of new tricks to learn.

If Steve had felt slighted about being picked up by the Director's second hand, he wouldn't have had to stew about it for long. Director Fury was already standing there waiting for the car when they arrived. Between the two of them, Steve knew that Agent Bordeaux was the more relieved to see him. Steve climbed out of the SUV, his duffel still slung over a shoulder. (The Director hadn't been entirely clear on what Steve might need, so he brought his essentials.) Bordeaux wasted no time asking to be dismissed, and Fury granted her exit. His attention, at last, was focused entirely on Captain Rogers. "Forgive me for not being there this morning. You know how it can be," he mused.

Steve waved him off. "It's no problem. I was just getting to know your agent," he explained.

"She can be a hardass, but her heart's in the right place," Fury said as he began to walk. He led Steve inside. Almost everyone they passed stopped to look at them, though whether they were looking at their Director or the barrel-chested, bearded man beside him, Steve couldn't say. If they only knew they were in the presence of a living legend... Steve knew the secret wouldn't stay that way for long. "We've got a small crew, best of the best. I know you'll fit right in."

Right. Fury's "team." Even after sleeping on it, Steve didn't know what to think. It had been so long since he had been out in the field, much less working with a team. He didn't know if that would be a help or a hindrance. He would find out soon enough, he supposed, as Fury brought him to an elevator. Or, at least, it seemed like an elevator, though no elevator that Steve had ever used had required a handprint scanner just to get the door open. When Steve followed the Director inside, he was greeted by a red light and a very unpleasant ding-ing; a synthesized voice reported unauthorized access, prompting Fury to announce, "Director override: Fury, Nicholas J." With the light and the alarm stopped, the elevator closed and began its descent. Fury turned and said, "Sorry about that. We'll get your biometrics into the system as soon as possible."

After a smooth and swift descent, the elevator came to a stop at a sub-basement. Expecting something out of a government black site -- concrete walls, industrial lighting, the whole nine yards -- Steve was instead surprised when the doors opened to more sleek, almost futuristic hallways like the ones above. The only real sign that they were in a government facility was the harshness of the overhead LED lights. Steve followed Fury down the hall, perking his ears up as he heard grunting and voices echoing around the bend. After a moment, they came upon the door to a training room. "You ready?" Fury asked, as much formality as anything else. He pushed open the door and motioned for Steve to step inside.

Doing so, Captain Rogers was greeted by a state-of-the-art facility with more training equipment than he could ever ask for. There were free weights, benches, treadmills, and all manner of exercise machines; at the back, there was even a small boxing ring. Steve let his bag slide from his shoulder and land on the padded floor. As he finished taking in the room, he turned his attention to the men and women occupying the room: his teammates.

Seated before them with her legs crossed and a sword drawn across her lap was a young Japanese woman. Upon hearing them enter, she broke from her meditation and looked up at them with gentle eyes. Carefully returning her weapon to an elaborately detailed sheath, she hopped to her bare feet and stood at attention as Director Fury announced, "Captain Rogers, may I present Tatsu Yamashiro. Infiltration expert." Ms. Yamashiro bent at the waist and regarded Steve with a bow; he answered with an incline of his head. Before there could be another exchange, a figure approached, and Fury said, "And this is--"

"Sam Wilson, 58th Pararescue," the man interjected gregariously. He flashed Steve a wide smile and held out a hand. The front of his Air Force t-shirt was drenched with sweat. As he shook Captain Rogers hand, Wilson said, "I'm a big fan. Of course, I thought those old stories were... well, stories." He laughed. "I guess I owe my grandpops an apology. When he told me he once fought alongside you, I thought he was just pulling my leg."

Steve couldn't help but smile. Sam's enthusiasm was infectious. "When did he serve?"

"The Big One," Sam answered, "101st Airborne Division. He used to tell me all about dropping down on Normandy with Captain America."

"Well, I didn't drop with the 101st, so he might've been embellishing after all," Steve shrugged. He explained, "I helped secure Omaha Beach. Dropped in two nights prior and flanked the German line on the morning of the 6th."

Wilson hooted. "Well, either way, it'll be an honor to serve with you, Captain." He clapped Steve once on the shoulder before wandering off to find a dry towel.

Once Sam was well out of earshot, a bemused Fury said, "Wilson can be a lot to handle, but he's the best flyer SHIELD's got. He'll cover reconnaissance and aerial support in the field." The Director nodded over in the direction of the boxing equipment. "Let's introduce you to Barton." Evidently, Fury was referring to the blonde-haired man working over a punching bag in the corner of the room. If the man heard their earlier entry, he gave no indication. He simply continued on with his workout unperturbed. Finally, the Director had to speak up to get this Barton's attention. "Captain Rogers, meet SHIELD's top marksman: Clint Barton."

Barton delivered one last left hook, then took a step back from the bag and caught his breath. After a moment, he finally turned to consider Steve. "Hm," was all he said at first as he picked up a sports bottle and squeezed out a quick drink of water. Then, he finally elaborated, "With the way Sam's been talking all morning, I was expecting something... different." Barton shrugged. "You seem like you can handle yourself, though. Good to have you aboard."

Steve accepted Barton's outstretched hand, but there was something behind Clint's eyes that he couldn't quite place; jealousy, resentment? He couldn't think of a reason why there might be friction already, but Steve got the distinct feeling that Barton wasn't nearly as excited to have a new teammate as Wilson was. Still, he decided to chalk it up to unfamiliarity and let it slide. "Glad you can have me," Steve answered. Somewhere behind him, there was the sound of a door opening.

"Did I miss the introductions?" came a new voice... though not an entirely unfamiliar one.

Steve turned to see her. It was amazing: despite how long it had been, she looked exactly as he remembered her.

11x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
Avatar of Byrd Man

Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

Member Seen 1 day ago

146 BCE

Carthage was on fire.

Scipio and his generals looked on in pleasure from their vantage point a mile away from the city walls as it all burned. For over three years Carthage had held out as Rome besieged her. They had finally emerged, begging for peace and food and a chance for their children to live. Their pleas fell upon deaf ears. The man whose adopted father had crushed the great Hannibal Barca had no mercy to give the Carthaginians, just the sword and flames. The women and children who survived were bonded in chains, a life of slavery planned for them. After the fires subsided, the Romans would sow salt through the city and its fields. It had been decreed that nothing must ever be allowed to grow here again.

“This too shall befall Rome.”

Scipio turned when he heard the voice. He was the only one. The rest of his staff continued to watch the fire and talk among themselves. They seemed to not notice the man in the strange clothes. It looked like something from the far east, baggy and colorful, like the carvings of the old Babylonian kings in the time before time. He wore no shoes. If the hot sand perturbed him, then he did a good job hiding it.

“What did you say?” asked Scipio.

“You have done something here today that will become legendary for its cruelty. An entire city has been destroyed, boy. You have killed one of my children. One of the greatest city-states of all time is now ash because of you.’

Scipio pulled his sword from the holster on his hip.

“Who are you to speak to me this way, pleb?”

The man smiled and gestured behind Scipio’s shoulders.

“I am someone who can do that.”

Glancing over his shoulder, he saw that his men were frozen in place. Several of them were stopped mid-laugh or speech, their mouths hanging open. Scipio turned back and pointed the tip of his sword at the strange man.

“Are you some sort of wizard?”

“No. I am something much more than that. I am a god.”

“What god dresses like a fool?” Scipio asked with a chuckle. “Truly, you must stand on par with Jupiter.”

“I existed long before Zeus -- and I will call him Zeus and not your sad little Roman name -- was an idea in some drunken Greek shepherd’s mind. And I will exist long after belief in him has fallen by the wayside. But I’m not here to measure… deity size. I am here to deliver a simple message, Scipio.”

The man stepped forward. Scipio reared his sword back to strike, but found that he could not move. Like his fellow soldiers, he was frozen by the man's magic. The man smiled as he placed a finger on Scipio’s temple. He saw the future. His return to Rome, a massive Triumph parade in his honor, given the name and honor of Africanus like his father. But then he saw past all that. He saw Rome conquering the world, one petty kingdom and client state at a time.

With no Carthage standing in its way, Rome grew and grew until she ruled the world. He saw a Rome so big that its people grew lethargic, dependent upon the state and the wealthy for food, he saw its politicians fighting in the Senate and killing in the streets. He saw bloody civil wars and assassinations. A Republic turned into an Empire. Mad emperors killing Roman citizens. An Empire in decline. He saw men at the gates of Rome, men who spoke in a fierce, harsh tongues. Barbarians. And he looked on in horror as they sacked Rome. All this misery and horror, all of it traced back to his decision today.

The man softly whispered in his ear before he removed his finger from Scipio’s temple. Suddenly, Scipio blinked. The man was gone and his generals were staring at him strangely. He was facing the burning city, tears streaming down his face.

“Are you okay, sir?” one of the men asked.

“Yes,” said Scipio. “... ‘This too shall befall Rome.’”

“What was that, sir?”

“Just... Thinking of the future.”


The Tate Club

The beautiful woman looked between John Constantine and Jack Hawksmoor with a raised eyebrow. They were in a backroom somewhere around a roaring fireplace. She sat in a chintz chair while an old man stood behind her and watched with a gentle expression on his face. They were just off Oxford Street. Jack could feel the roots of the city underneath his feet. This street had been one of the first ones laid by the Romans, a tribute to the god of cities placed laid down one piece of stone at a time.

“What a pleasant surprise,” the woman said. “Not only to discover that John Constantine is still alive, but that he’s here in London… and with a very special guest.”

She looked over at Jack and smiled.

“Lord Hawksmoor. Clarice Sackville. Back when I was a younger girl, I held a ritual in your honor.”

“I hope I blessed you.”

“You did,” she said with a nod. “And it is only because of that blessing that I haven’t had John’s bollocks severed and fed to him.”

In that moment, Clarice Sackville’s young and beautiful mask slipped and Jack could see behind it. What he saw was hideous and twisted. It was old too. Not as old as him, but she was by far the oldest person in the room by centuries. A human of immense power and immense magical corruption.

“Always the charmer,” said John. “And I figured you would come calling once my spell was broken. Surprised you beat Alfie Edwards, though.”

“Alfie Edwards is dead,” said Clarice. “About five years now. There was a bit of a dust-up between my people and his. His people came out of the fight the worse for wear.”

The man behind Clarice said something. Toothless and with a thick northern accent, Jack couldn’t make out what he had said. But Clarice laughed and reached out to pat the back of his hand.

“Good one, Albert. I’ll remember to use that the next time someone asks about dear old Alfie.”

“I’m not here on my own choosing,” said John. He nodded towards Jack. “I got roped into it by this one. He’s in major need of my help.”

"Constantine is right," said Jack. "Something here in London is killing me slowly. I don't have much time left, and John is the only one who can help."

“All due respect to the god of the cities,” Clarice said with a smile towards Jack. “I don’t give a damn. You owe me a lot of money and things far more valuable than money.”

“How valuable would a favor from me be?” asked Jack. “Enough to wipe away Constantine’s debt?”

The twinkle behind Clarice’s eyes let Jack know that his proposal had merit.

“You know,” she said with a rueful smile. “There’s a whole section of folklore about people who make deals with gods and come to regret it. I don’t know, Lord Hawksmoor. You don’t look to fit. If I were a betting woman, and I am, I would say that there’s a chance you won’t live to provide me with that favor.”

“If you left John live and he helps me through, I’ll be back to my normal self and just as strong as ever.”

Clarice looked between John and Jack for a long moment before shrugging.

“What the hell? If Constantine fucks up, I’ll still be able to string him up. No-lose situation for me.”

Albert mumbled something. This time John was the one to laugh.

“There we go,” said John. “Everyone’s all lovey dovey again, yeah? Good. Because I’m gonna need a few things to help Jack. The first is easy enough. I’ll need enough Tate Club members here tonight to help me perform a ritual. We need to create a bridge with the Underland.”

“Fucking hell,” said Clarice. “You’re going to go back down there, darling?”

“I’m afraid so. But I have an idea that will see me through, which is why I need the second thing: I need to find Map.”
9x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Supermaxx
Avatar of Supermaxx

Supermaxx dumbass

Member Seen 7 days ago

The Blue Beetle stars in...The Runaway: Issue #6
Previous Issue

Jaime could barely control himself. The sounds of terrified voices clambering for the truth rang through his skull, interlaced with mind numbing static. He wanted to scream; despite that, however, the Scarab was urging him to be utterly silent.

Heavy footfalls of a dozen agents and law enforcement officers abandoning the crime scene as they rushed to contain the catastrophic attack they'd been warned of sounded like the stampede of a panicked herd. Shouting men tried to explain the situation to their confused and fearful colleagues. Leaders and authority figures fought to maintain some semblance of calm among their troops as well as themselves.

In the mad rush of it all, Reyes was able to slither inside the museum, though he was regretting just about everything that had led him to his current hiding place. His head kept low and his body scrunched together, he remained tucked away inside an exhibit filled with stuffed recreations Bengal tigers.

Several minutes passed before the last of the men had stumbled out of the room, a palpable silence falling over those marble halls. Reyes pulled himself out from behind the large fake cat in front of him, stumbling into the center of the room as he let out his first full breath since he'd been forced to hide. It was also the first moment he'd gotten to think beyond his own mortality and to the wider consequences of his- or the Scarab's- actions.

"Shit...shit...Shit!" He snarled in a half-whisper, his hands gripping the back of his head. "What the hell is wrong with you, ese?! Why would you ever think that was the right call?!"

'Inconsequential. This task is too important and time runs out. It was the most effective tool we had outside of a frontal assault.'

"I wouldn't call a terrorist attack inconsequential." Reyes was in complete disbelief. Everything he learned about this thing inside of him was driving him closer to the edge. Yesterday he wouldn't have ever considered robbing someone or faking a terrorist attack as necessary, but this...monster...was twisting it's claws up into his head. It was making him do things he normally never would.

Worst of all, Jaime believed it. He was trying to fight it, trying to argue, but Khaji Da's every word radiated with an unshakable honesty.

Was the Scarab just that convincing?

Or was it changing how Jaime thought and reasoned? How he viewed the world? And- most disturbing of all other possibilities- how he weighed right and wrong?

'Advance, Jaime Reyes. The truth lies near.'

And so he pressed onward, moving deeper into the museum at a swift pace. Despite his many concerns and worries, he could not turn back now- returning to SHIELD custody without evidence of what truly happened meant imprisonment. And Jaime didn't think he could live with what he'd done if he simply turned and ran.

Their destination was the Bialya wing, marked by the torn banner above the entrance and the rolls of police tape surrounding it. Ducking underneath the flimsy barrier, he was finally witness to the massacre the Scarab had wrought with Jaime's own hands. Though the bodies had been removed, blood still stained the floor and walls where his cannons had torn into human flesh. Bits of soot and ash mingled together in neat clumps around chalk drawings of where the dead had lain. Chunks of melted marble had merged with equally superheated glass into malformed sculptures standing testament to the fiery power that had disrupted this once peaceful place of learning.

"Alright...Y-you said you knew how to find out what made us do this, didn't you?" Jaime asked, his mouth dry and his stomach filling with bile at the none too distant memory. It was burned into his mind like a brand, never too far from the surface.

'That is correct. The device you acquired from 'Johnny' is still in your possession, is it not?'

Jaime reached into his pants pocket, pulling the smartphone out. It was an older model, and the screen had been cracked, but it worked well enough. "Yeah. What should I-" His armored hand shot out without warning, plucking the device from Jaime's grasp. It began the integration process, it's living material slipping into every crack and crevice of the phone, tearing it apart from the inside as it absorbed the technological marvel.

'This technology will prove...useful. I will need access to your memories, Jaime Reyes. Brace yourself.'

No time was given for the boy to raise his voice in argument, pain immediately resounding within his skull. It felt as if someone was digging their fingers into his brain, sliding their nails along his cerebellum and tearing out bits and pieces. Reyes let out a screech, his hands snapping up against the sides of his head. He could feel the armor expanding over his body once again, in tandem with the tendrils reaching further into his mind.

The pain stopped as quickly as it had begun.

And then Jaime watched with confused fascination as he stepped through himself. It was like a ghost, flickering and unreal; yet it resembled Jaime perfectly. He shuffled forward, gazing across the room as more of the ghosts materialized around him. Their faces and bodies were less defined, smothered and contorting in unreality. One of them stopped right in front of Reyes for a few seconds, seeming to stare right through him before it continued on.

"What is this?" He breathed.

'A simulation of the event based upon what you remember. We should be able to pinpoint details that you would have otherwise forgotten.'

Jaime could see that other-Jaime was beginning to approach a false version of the Scarab artifact. It was squirming inside of it's exhibit, tapping at the glass with ceramic, knife-like legs. When he got too close, a horrific, inhuman shriek thundered and echoed through the mindscape, disrupting the entire simulation for a half second before it all corrected itself. The scarab shattered into liquid, crawling and slithering toward the other-Jaime. Watching it crawl down his throat from an outsider's view was somehow even more horrifying than when he had actually experienced it.

Once they were bonded, and the chitin had snapped into place over Reyes, everything froze. Khaji Da had paused the simulation the moment the plasma cannon began to slip onto his hand. 'Here. I should've gone offline by now, knocking you unconscious in the process. We should be on the floor while I am restructuring your genetic code-'

"I'm...I'm sorry, what?"

The question went ignored, however, with the scarab continuing it's point unabated. 'But my weapon systems are active. Let us continue; perhaps the answer lies in who we targeted.'

Things started up again with the echo of an infested Reyes lifting a cannon toward the crowd. Light flared around the cannon's barrel, and the simulation once again blurred and flickered. It didn't correct itself as it had the first time, however, only continuing to destabilize. The faceless crowd were blown away like digitized dust in the wind. Then the wall began to disappear, piece by piece, pixel by pixel. Everything was black in only a few seconds, leaving only Jaime and his fake behind.

"What the hell...? Are you doing this?"

'I am not. I have lost control of the simulation.' An uncharacteristic pang of worry sounded in the lifeform's voice.

"'You believe you ever had control?'" Another voice, unfamiliar, rasped like rusted nails against a chalk board. A throaty, broken laugh followed, echoing from every direction yet from none at all at the same time. "'That is your first lesson of many, dear boy.'"

Something heavy struck Jaime in the back of the head. He felt his entire body buckle, pain spreading through his spine as the darkness melted away. He was on the floor in the museum again, something pressing against the top of his head. The last thing he saw before he lost consciousness was a pair of oxford shoes and the frame of a wheelchair.

The last thing he heard was that same, rasping voice. It came to his ears in the same moment he heard it whisper inside of his mind."'I am always in control.'"
3x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Sep
Avatar of Sep

Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago



Iris continued to run around as Superman flew straight through the vortex, fighting through the winds. Again she had to take a minute to... appreciate the physique that he held. There was something amazing about him, though she brushed past those thoughts. That wasn't the kind of person she was. Pushing on as the Surfer let loose a bolt of cosmic energy to contain it, she was pushed back and off course, the vortex lasted for a couple of seconds after she stopped sustaining it but then collapsed into nothing. The only tell tale sign that it had ever existed was the circle with where she had been running and the dust that still refused to settle.

Turning around she saw the board drifting lazily away from the surfer, running towards Superman currently grappling with the surfer.

"Just 'cause you've got the power," He spoke through gritted teeth, his body visibly shaking from the strain of the surfer's own strength and the searing pain of his counterattack. "Doesn't mean you've got the right."

Running at him with speed she twisted into a right hook on the side of the Surfers head, knocking him further into Supermans embrace. Had she not been as fast as she was she wouldn't have noticed that for just a split second where her fist came into contact seemed to lose it's chromed look. She didn't have long to think about it though as she chased after the board. There were two parts to this fight after all.
5x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Lord Wraith
Avatar of Lord Wraith

Lord Wraith Indefinite Hiatus

Member Seen 18 min ago

S T A R C I T Y, C A L I F O R N I A:

S A T U R D A Y, J U L Y 2 8T H, 2 0 1 8 - 0 8 : 2 1 a m | O W E N S T E A D A P A R T M E N T S, T H E G L A D E S

The man stood intently staring at the closed door. Unwavering, he stood near perfectly still, fighting his body’s needs to remain in exactly in place as he had been ordered. Dark circles nearly swallowed his eyes in an endless abyss as they lay sunken and red between heavy eyelids that threatened to close at any second. But despite what should have been an involuntary movement, his eyes remained open, unblinking, unmoving as he watched the door vigilantly.

His clothes were disheveled and wrinkled, stained with sweat and other bodily fluids as indicated by the dark patches beneath his arms and groin. A rancid odor wafted off the man, that had begun to attract flies as they landed on him, walking his skin without so much as a flinch from the man. A gag suddenly could be heard from the other side of the door, followed by a multitude of small splashes which were quickly replaced by soft sobs.

Sniffling, June suddenly choked on her own snot sending her into a fit of coughing that echoed through the small washroom to the other side of the door where the man stood. The flush of the toilet momentarily drowned her coughing as June struggled to take a few deep breaths to calm herself. Wiping her chin, the smell that came from the stained sleeve of her sweater hit June like a ton of bricks as she felt whatever remained in her stomach purge itself. The bitter taste of bile hit the back of her tongue, her jaw dropping to expel whatever had entered her mouth.

Tears streamed down her face as she clutched her stomach, a cold sweat clinging to every inch of skin as she rocked back and forth, huddled on the dingy, cracked laminate floor. All June wanted was for this waking nightmare to end. She had uttered the thought numerous times but never before had she so truly wished it.

June truly wanted to die.

Outside the door stood her landlord, at least a shade of the man he had once been. June had no idea what she had done to him, but now he did nothing but live to serve her . He hadn’t slept in nights, always ensuring her every need and want were met. June couldn’t remember the last time she even saw him eat. She always knew when he was near, he hadn’t eaten in days, his stomach groaned loudly complaining with each additional hour that went by. And to June’s knowledge, he hadn’t even properly used the bathroom since coming under her spell.

It was June’s own personal horror story.

I can’t stomach another moment of listening to you whinge, you unappreciative little girl.

The disembodied voice had returned, June’s sobs became louder as she tucked her head between her knees. Ever since she had received the necklace, she lost hours of her life at a time, the longest had been three days and each time was only getting longer. Whatever horror she had unleashed was getting stronger with each passing minute and June felt more and more helpless to stop it.

Please child, I have heard banshees whose wails were more desirable to the sounds you’re making, how about you just let me out and Amora will make all your pain go away.

The voice was tender, almost caring, but there was a distinct edge, tempting and dangerous. Memories of Sunday School and Eve talking with the serpent plagued June’s mind as Amora’s every word seemed more and more venomous.

I do not understand why you distrust me so much, you and I have far more in common than you realize child.

“WE ARE NOTHING ALIKE!” June suddenly screamed in reply as she stood, leaning heavily on the counter until she was staring in the mirror, her own reflection glaring back at her until suddenly she was there. It was so foreign, her face was so much like June’s own but the differences too were plentiful. Her makeup looked as though she had stepped off the cover of an airbrushed magazine and her eyes were a malevolent shade of green unlike the sorrowful blue of June’s own. But it was the hair where that provided the starkest of differences. June’s mop was a dark, tousled nest with a natural wave that the humidity of the summer only ever sought to ensure everyone was aware of. Amora’s, however, was a brilliant shade of blonde, bordering on appearing artificial to the human eye. Not a hair was out of place as long, straight locks fell perfectly symmetrical on either side of her face disappearing far beyond the extents of the smudged, dirty mirror.

You long to be adored, I can make that happen, wealth, fame, the adoration of men. I can literally make them fall at your feet, you need only say one word, child.

“I don’t need any more zombies following at my heels like horrifying sick puppies!” June sobbed, as she struggled to remain standing. “What did you do to him? He won’t leave me alone!”

He desired you, but he didn’t respect you. Now he serves you, now you’re far more than a trophy to him, now you’re everything to him.

“GET RID OF HIM!” June screamed as she slammed her fists on the vanity.

One word and all your problems go away, child.

“ENCHANTRESS, ENCHANTRESS, ENCHANT-” Feeling June’s broken and defeated spirit, Amora asserted full control over her willing host as she freed herself from exile, her long hair spilling down the back of the shared body as June’s clothes disappeared only to be replaced by Amora’s bodice and robes. Smiling, she waved her hand, opening the bathroom door with one swift movement as a smile filled the face of the waiting man.

“Mistress, you’ve return-”

“You’re a pathetic groveling worm, get as far away from me as fast as you, I never want to see your face again.” Amora snapped as the man’s face fell. Behind the visage, tears began to form in the corner of his eyes as the man turned awkwardly to face the large window overlooking the street below. Taking a step, it was as though the man within was fighting back as each step was a struggle until suddenly the spirit was broken as the man began to run.

The sound of shattering glass echoed through the apartment followed by several gasps and a car alarm as the body of June’s landlord plummeted to the ground, landing atop a parked car below. The sounds of tearing flesh and shattered bone echoed all the way back to the apartment, five stories above the ground.

With a smile, Amora sauntered her way towards June’s Board of Bizarre as she perused through the pictures pinned in place. A long, jade fingernail traced the outline of Superman’s chest as Amora let out a slight purr at the godly physique of the hero before a blurry picture from Oklahoma suddenly caught her eye.

“It can not be.” She snarled ripping the picture from the wall, crumpling it into a ball as she ignited the paper. Watching it smoulder in her hand, Amora extinguished the ash before scattering it at her feet.

“The sins of the father shall be visited upon the son.”

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 L Y 2 8T H, 2 0 1 8 - 1 0 : 2 2 a m | M C N A L L Y ‘ N S O N S F A R M

Smoke rose from the barn as the pair of men approached, the ground here was more scorched and charred than anything around the hole had been. The smell of burning flesh hung in the air as Blake rounded the corner and saw the remnants of nearly a dozen cattle.

Most had been torn clean in half, those that weren’t were missing significant portions of their flesh, what was left was burned to a crisp, hanging to darkened bones like cured leather while their innards were boiled, inflating like a balloon out of any open wound.

Blake paused, the sight of the cattle suddenly triggering something in the back of his mind as Blake as though he was pulled away from the moment, lost in a memory far older than himself or the world around him. Snow crunched beneath his feet as he took a cautious step forward, looking around before pushing onwards. He was pressed to keep pace with an older man who now was nearly ten paces ahead of him. Mail weighed his body down as a large fur cloak did its best to keep his body warm from the howling winds of the place the memory knew to be the realm of Niðavellir. Managing to match stride with the older man, Blake suddenly felt his jaw move as a young Thor spoke.

“What do we hunt, Uncle Tyr?” He asked as the older man turned, his auburn beard hung to nearly the center of his chest, braided and well cared for, though not without the signs of aging as grey and white began to drive out the fiery colours of youth. Worn armor was visible beneath the heavy wolven fur cloak he wore as he turned his hawklike sapphire eyes onto the younger boy.

“Lindwyrm.” He growled above the howling winds. “As future protector of the Nine, your father and I thought it be best you get accustomed to the threats you’ll be facing, as luck would have it, your father received a plea for help from the dwarves. Their mines have been attacked several times over the last lunar cycle, so they’ve turned to Asgard for help.”

“How do you know these attacks are lindwyrms and not the work of the damned giants?” The boy asked as Tyr let out a hearty laugh.

“Giants don’t leave behind tunnels the size of a man.” The warrior answered with a wink to his young nephew. “Nor do they burn you until your insides inflate and burst out of your own body.” Tyr added as the pair reached the entrance of one of the Dwarves’ mines.

“Don’t be so quick to judge the giants, they may be our fiercest enemies my boy but,” Tyr paused, licking his lips as a smile turned up at the corners of his mouth. “You have not truly been a man until you have laid with a giantess.”

Thor’s nose turned up to meet his downward brow as he spat in disgust at his Uncle’s words which only seemed to encourage his Uncle to continue laughing, stopping only once approached by a dwarf as they ventured further into the shallow tunnels.

“Asgardians!” The Foreman called. “‘Bout damn time the Allfather took our plea for help seriously, we can’t be damned to make weapons for protectors who don’t show up on time y’know.”

“You dare speak ill of the Allfather in the presence of the Odinson!” Thor snapped at the dwarf as he reached for his blade. “I should cut out your tongue for your insolence.”

“Still your blade, boy.” Tyr ordered, holding a strong hand to Thor’s chest as he restrained the brash prince. “The prince here is eager to taste blood, if you could be so kind as to put us on the beast’s trail, we’ll be happy to be on our way.”

“Aye and the better for it, the wee prince looks as though he’s barely a day off the teet. Shame you couldn’t spare two real warriors for our fuckin’ problem” The dwarf chortled in his raspy brogue as Thor drew his blade, raising it above his head only to be deflected by Tyr’s own weapon as the Asgardian proved why he held his title. Even with a single arm, he managed to disarm the prince and subdue the dwarf before either could move to stop him.

“The prince may be brash, but not even he would dare to insult Asgardian royalty to their face, so unless you wish the prince to make good on his threat to cut out your tongue, I suggest you still it, stay out of our way and return to the matter of ensuring your men are supplying weapons for tardy Asgardians.” Stepping back, Tyr removed his boot from the dwarf’s chest, before withdrawing the tip of his blade from the other man’s throat as the dwarf quietly bowed his head, silently pointing the two warriors in the direction they needed to travel before scurrying off as fast as his short legs could carry him in the opposite direction.

“You should have slit his throat, Uncle.” Thor spat as he picked his weapon off the ground, sheathing the blade in a huff as he straightened his cloak.

“And what would that have accomplished?” Tyr asked. “Actions have consequences, by killing him all we would have done here was sow resentment among our allies. You would do well to learn from this, oh future King of Asgard.”

Walking in the direction the dwarf had pointed, Thor remained uncharacteristically silent as his Uncle’s words weighed on him. The smell of charred soil and stone suddenly irritated his nostrils as Thor stopped to take in his surroundings, a crude tunnel lay in front of him. It was clearly not the work of the dwarves and by the manner in which his Uncle was acting, it was definitely what they had come seeking.

Kneeling down, Tyr rubbed the ash between his fingers.

“Still warm.” He muttered as Thor took a step forward only for Tyr to shake his head.

“You don’t fight a Lindwyrm in his burrow, boy.” Tyr stated as he reached to the back of his belt, removing a bloated flask, putting the cork to his mouth and pulling. An audible ‘pop’ echoed in the cavern as Tyr spit the cork from his mouth.

“Is now really the time for mead, Uncle?” Thor mused impatiently as he looked towards his elder.

“Firstly, boy. There is never a bad time for mead,” Tyr chided in response before turning the spout of the flask towards the grounds. “Secondly, this is bait.”

A thick crimson liquid splashed onto the charred ground as a pungent, metallic odor filled Thor’s nostrils causing the boy to take a step backward.

“By the Allfather, what the bloody hell is that?” Thor lamented wafting a hand past his nose as Tyr merely laughed at the boy once again.

“Pigs’ blood of course!” Tyr joyfully informed Thor as the boy pinched his nose shut.

“Should we not be leading the beast to the surface, how are we supposed to fight it down here?” Came a frustrated Thor’s nasally reply as Tyr shook his head before explaining.

“Never lure a lindwyrm into the open, a field may seem ideal but the last thing you want to do is give the bastards a chance to use their whole body. Quick as a whip and built like an oak, even for us, that hurts.”

Thor nodded, looking around the cavern, a look of bewilderment on his face as he questioned his uncle again.

“You still didn’t answer how we fight the damned beast.”

“You ambush it of course.” Tyr replied as he listened down the tunnel. The sound of shifting rock and soil echoed into the chamber as a grin crossed the God of War’s face. His hand gripping his sword tighter as he raised the blade, resting on his pauldron as he took a position to the side of the beast’s burrow. Motioning with his chin for Thor to assume the other side, the boy did as instructed, tightly wrapping both his hands around the hilt of his own weapon.

“Do not waste time on the eyes,” Tyr whispered, “Go straight for the throat, damned thing does not need its eyes to turn you into ash.”

Thor nodded as a cloud of dust and ash was expelled from the opening of the borrow. Burying his face into his cloak, Tyr’s eyes widened as he watched Thor tilt his head back, his eyes scrunching closed as his nose wrinkled.

“Damnit, boy! Pull yourself together.” Tyr hissed, but it was to no avail as Thor let out a loud sneeze, the sound of which echoed through the cavern as all other noise ceased.

“No, no, NO!” Tyr roared before suddenly the ground gave way under him, the beast emerging as Tyr was thrown across the cavern, his blade sliding from his grasp.

Recomposing himself, Thor let out a yell as he charged the creature, swinging his blade wildly as it caught flesh, stroke after stroke covering him sprays of warm, thick blood. The lindwyrm hissed and cried, its grossly oversized fangs snapping at Thor as he danced around the thrashing jaw. Suddenly the creature went silent as Thor stared it down, his weapon raised as the beast slowly followed him with his head. Gills at the side of its neck suddenly flared open as Tyr’s voice could be heard only seconds too late.


But the words were lost to the vacuum as a gout of fire enveloped the cave.
10x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
Avatar of Master Bruce

Master Bruce Winged Freak

Member Seen 2 mos ago

Turning around she saw the board drifting lazily away from the surfer, running towards Superman currently grappling with the surfer.

Running at him with speed she twisted into a right hook on the side of the Surfers head, knocking him further into Supermans embrace. Had she not been as fast as she was she wouldn't have noticed that for just a split second where her fist came into contact seemed to lose it's chromed look. She didn't have long to think about it though as she chased after the board. There were two parts to this fight after all.

Blasphemy! How can this be?!

This test had not been perpetuated as planned. Rather than learning whether or not this world's superhuman populice were fit to stand among his master's ranks as the supreme race in all of the cosmos, The Silver Surfer had only found that the resillience of two - a mere two of these metahumans, and no more - had been more than enough to quell the unfathomable temper of The Power Cosmic's fury. Or so it had seemed, at least, to The Surfer who had been wielding blasts of cosmic energy just moments prior. The Surfer who now struggled in vain in the mighty grip of the one who had openly mocked him with his misguided, misplaced and percieved altruistic sense of moral obligation to one planet's race.

This "Superman" did not understand. Should The Surfer not complete his mission and test the mettle of this Earth's champions in their entirety, this world - nay, the universe itself - would descend into oncoming chaos. Planets would be ripped asunder, billions would die at their own hands, and the harmony that The Surfer's master had sworn to bring about the universe would never reach it's true and intended fruition. The Surfer cackled with rage, sensing his power weaken even further. This was not how things were meant to be. And he would rather perish than allow his mission to end so abruptly, so casually. As if his quest were nothing all along.


Struggling under The Man Of Steel's clutches, The Silver Surfer lifted his forearm and extended his hand towards the board. The Power Cosmic may have been fading from him in this dire hour, but the link between The Surfer and his board was unbreakable. It was as much an extension of his being as the cosmos themselves, and bended only to his will. As he tried to command it, however, he could already see the blinding race of crimson that represented The Flash chasing after it.


Summoning what he could of the rest of his strength, The Herald of a faraway master fiercely broke The Metropolis Marvel's hold over him with a simple, blinding light of energy that dispelled from his body and forced the Caped Wonder back. The chrome exterior that permeated over The Surfer's body was losing it's once brilliant hue, but The Surfer watched as the stars themselves still danced between his fingers. The Power Cosmic had not yet given up on him. There was still a chance to succeed.



With a mere wave of his hand, both The Surfer's board and The Flash herself were seemingly blinked away from existence. Teleported to a remote part of the planet, but nevertheless placed far away from this conflict. Per The Surfer's view, Iris West's role going forward was irrelevant, for her test was over. And she was proven unworthy.


The Surfer's white-hot gaze turned towards the recovering Superman, who looked less damaged than momentarily stunned. There was something about this one, even The Surfer had to admit, that was different from the metahuman populace that called this planet home. Reaching out into the vast array of The Man Of Steel's memories, The Surfer called upon his cosmic awareness to gain a sense of his true origins.

And what he saw... was a planet enveloped in a green flame. A faraway place, where a people unlike Earth's humans had once thrived. Had once lived together in prosperity. An entire civilization wiped away from the cosmos themselves.

Krypton. They called it Krypton. And this one... he was once known not as Superman, not even as Clark Kent, but as Kal-El. Last remaining heir to the House of El, and indeed, the last son of the dead civilization. The Surfer watched through the infant's eyes as he was carried off into space, the flames of his birthworld licking at the protective shell that had brought him to this planet.

What a pity, The Surfer realized, that these individuals could not send their entire race to this planet to continue thriving. His master would have gladly accepted a great and powerful army amassed of beings like this Kal-El, and the harmony promised to the universe would be assured. But fate had apparently rendered such an ideal impossible to attain.


The Surfer reached up once more, energy pulsating from his hand. The Superman felt an invisible grip come over his throat.


9x Like Like 1x Thank Thank
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by An Outsider
Avatar of An Outsider

An Outsider A Glorious Failure

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago

Star City, Sherwood Florist, Near dawn

“What the hell are you playing at Ted!?”

He didn’t answer though, not at first. Instead he stood there, shoulders rising and falling evenly, studying her with a cool-eyed gaze, like a mathematician who had just discovered a particularly interesting equation. She knew that look, and she knew what it meant. He was about to critique her on some perceived failing of form or technique.

She really wasn’t in the mood for this just now.

“You didn’t Scream.” Was his eventual comment. Ironic really, because she felt like screaming out in frustration now. She snorted a sharp intake of breath through her nostrils, which would have to do for now because she knew she’d never make it to ten.

“That’s because I wasn’t afraid. I was pissed off. What are you doing here Ted?” She was still pissed, but she could hear the edge of weary resignation in her own voice. Now she’d had a minute to think she had a fairly good idea of why Ted was here. An impromptu training lesson, if she wasn’t mistaken.

“No, you’re not listening. You didn’t Scream. You didn’t use your superpower. Why not?”

“I don’t know. Didn’t cross my mind, I guess. Found myself a bit preoccupied with the masked murderer in my basement. Look Ted, you know how short I am on patience, so if you don’t stop asking questions and start answering some of mine, I don’t think I can be held accountable for my actions.”

Whether he was listening or not was up for question, because instead of doing what he was told – when did he ever – the old boxer crossed to a small mini-fridge she kept in the corner and retrieved a couple of cold beers. He popped the cap open on one and passed it to her, holding the other against his right cheek. She took a savage delight to see the swelling there. Sure, she probably had some war wounds of her own that would need seeing to, but she couldn’t remember ever marking the old man in any of their sparring before. Sure, it was probably just because he was getting older, but it still felt like an achievement.

“You’re getting better.” He grunted aloud, almost like he was reading her mind. “Musta picked up a trick or two during your time on the road, cause I sure as hell didn’t teach you that spinning butterfly kick.” There was a question there, ‘where did you learn that’, left unsaid but acknowledged nonetheless. Dinah refused to answer, instead letting a smirk be her reply. A girl has to have a few secrets of her own, after all. Realising she was going for the brick wall approach – a favourite of his own, and probably where she had learned it from in the first place – Ted chose to forge on.

“That kick, it came natural. You didn’t stop to think about it, you didn’t have to plan for it ahead of times. You just did it, folded it into your repertoire like it belonged there, like it’d always been there—”

“What are you getting at Ted.” She interrupted. Men his age, felt like all they ever wanted was to hear themselves talk. If you didn’t guide them back to their point, then chances were they’d never get to it. He looked at her with annoyance, took a quick gulp of his beer, then gestured at her with the bottle like it was a college lecturers pointer stick.

“My point, Dinah, is you’re not using all the weapons in your arsenal to their fullest potential. You didn’t think to use your scream, huh? Well you shouldn’t have to think about it. It should come as natural as that kick. It’s an advantage you have over regular schmoes like me, but for some reason you ain’t using it. No, don’t bother telling me what your reasoning is, cause what it really boils down to is stupidity. You not using all the advantages fate seen fit to grace you with is stupid, and I didn’t raise you stupid.”

Her mouth fell open, ready to argue her corner. Ted had no idea what he was saying. It wasn’t like he had powers of his own to contend with. Not everyone got to be Superman, or Spider-Girl, with a whole bag of tricks like super-strength, speed, and the ability to shoot webbing out the wazoo. Some blessings came with their own side of suck. The cry hurt her to use. Sure, maybe not as much as it hurt the guy it was aimed at, but it still wasn’t a walk in the park. Then there were the control issues. Beyond the simple fact that she struggled to modulate the power behind her voice, she still couldn’t actually direct the scream, other than looking in the general direction of the thing she wanted to hit and hope there wasn’t too much collateral in the way. After all, how are you supposed to direct a scream? Maybe a sound engineer or a vocal coach could teach her, but that would mean admitting to a stranger that she was a mutant, and that was a risky proposition at the best of times.

But then, didn’t it hurt to hit something with your fist? She remembered how it felt after those initial sessions at the heavy bag, when she came away with knuckles that were raw and ragged. They felt sore then, hadn’t they, but she hadn’t been so quick to quit back then. It had felt good, in fact, a hurt that she’d earned. Something all her own. And maybe the only reason she hadn’t figured out how to control the cry was the fact that she hadn’t practised with it. Before accidentally releasing it tonight she hadn’t used it in almost a year, and that was only to give a demonstration to Kurt at his insistence.

She sucked at her teeth in annoyance, a scowl forming. Dammit, but maybe the old man had a point. Ted didn’t say anything more – he was happy enough to have planted the seed in her head – but the self-satisfied air that exuded from the ex-boxer as he drained his beer spoke volumes. She finished her own drink at a more sedate pace before grabbing a couple more.

“Alright Wildcat, since you’re sharing the fruits of your experience, what else have you got for me?”

“Jesus, where to start?” he deadpanned, receiving a stiff punch to the shoulder in return. He laughed it off. “Well, the costume still needs work –”

“Ted …” She cautioned. She was tired of having this argument with him, but he forged on regardless.

“The leather jacket and biker boots I can understand. Hell, I support the choice. The more protection, the better, though I do think you might want to get something that allows you a touch more flexibilty. You ain’t bullet proof, sure, but you're sacrificing movement and motion, and I've always said that's one of your strengths. But, c’mon, shorts and fishnets? Really Dinah? It just ain’t practical. And I still say you need a mask. The kinda guys your dancing with, are the kinda guys you don’t want finding out where you live.” She was suddenly reminded of the creeping horror she had felt earlier when she had thought he had been one of those very guys. How hard would it be for one of those criminals to get a good look at her face and find out where she lived? Probably not very, she was forced to admit. And what if they instead decided to go for her friends, or family. Her stomach suddenly lurched at the idea of some animal breaking into Sarah’s room, just to get at her …

She started out with the notion that a mask was somehow cowardly. Her dad hadn't worn a mask when he was out on the streets, putting away the bad guys, and somehow, she felt it would bring her closer to him if she forwent one as well, as if it would honour his memory. But then, look what happened to him. Killed by the same criminals he was working to lock up. Was she being stubbornly stupid, refusing to protect her identity, just to feel kinship to a ghost? Ted certainly thought so, and had brought it up over and over again.

“The tights stay Ted." She liked the tights. "And as to the mask … I’ll think about it.” He looked up in surprise. He obviously hadn’t expected to make so much headway tonight, definitely not after he'd got her rethinking her position on the scream. Then again, she had spent most of her teenage years building a well-earned reputation for being difficult. He used to say that as a kid she would jump everywhere instead of walking, but that was only because she didn't like gravity thinking it could hold her down. She'd always been contrary.

“Really? Well, it’s a good start.” He looked relieved. The mask situation must have been weighing on him heavier than he'd been letting on.

“So, what next?”

“For now, get some rest. It’s late, and I could use some shut eye myself. I’m working on something though, reaching out to some old contacts who might be able to help – ”

“What?!” She spluttered, nearly choking on her beer. He hadn't just said what she thought he'd said.

“I wouldn’t have gone to them if I thought they couldn’t be trusted kid. They’re good people, and trying to help the Glades too.” She couldn't believe how calm he looked.

“But still Ted. It’s not your secret to tell! I don’t need –”

“I haven’t told ‘em any more than they need to know. Besides, you need allies Dinah, whether you like it or not. Otherwise you wouldn’t have come to me. Nobody can do what you’re trying to do alone, and I think deep down you already knew that. This guy can help you take the next step, make you better at this job, mission, crusade, whatever the hell you’re calling it. Trust me.”

“I do Ted, but –”

“Good, we’ll leave it at that then for tonight.” He got up and made his way to the door. He looked back over his shoulder to see Dinah hadn’t moved, deep in thought. “You’ll see kid, this is the right move. I know what I’m doing. Get some sleep.” He closed the door gently behind him.

She barely heard his footsteps quietly receding. She was too busy thinking about what he had said. Nobody can do what you’re trying to do alone. It wasn’t so much the words themselves that bothered her so much, it was the face that they kept conjuring.

Strange as it may seem the only person she could think of was Oliver Queen.
7x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Morden Man
Avatar of Morden Man

Morden Man

Member Seen 2 mos ago


Central City, Missouri

The distress signal had been sent out and the Man of Steel had answered its call. Between the Flash and Superman, the Silver Surfer’s advance had slowed somewhat – but it hadn’t been enough on Reed’s homeworld and it wouldn’t be enough here. Central City needed more help than that. They needed the Fantastic Four, he thought to himself, as he tried desperately to get through to Sue, Johnny, and Ben back at the Baxter Building.

After the fifth time of trying, a creeping realisation dawned on Reed Richards. “Damn it, Hill.”

The four of them had faced down the Silver Surfer on their own world. They were the only people on this Earth that could lay claim to having done so. But Hill wouldn’t risk SHIELD’s grubby little secret being exposed to the world. She would sooner risk it being destroyed than have to admit to what they had done – and to the fate of this world’s Reed Richards.

Either that or the deputy director had gone all-in on Clark being able to stop the Surfer through force alone. It wasn’t to be ruled out. Richards had learned several times over that betting against Clark Kent was almost always a bad bet. He was the man that had beaten Brainiac in a battle of wits where Reed had failed to, after all.

But this wasn’t Reed’s Clark. Reed’s Clark was the thrall of Darkseid now – and he was probably still tearing their world to pieces. If they ever made it back, the four of them would have to face him down.

If they ever made it back.

“What’s going on, Richards?” Harrison Wells said as he interrupted the super scientist’s train of thought. “I thought you were calling for reinforcements.”

“I tried,” Reed said with a heavy sigh. “It seems like our friends at SHIELD had other ideas.”

On Harrison’s monitors, the struggle between the Silver Surfer and the Flash and Superman was escalating. A STAR Labs drone hung in the air high above them, transmitting the images directly from the Badlands to them. It was real-time.

Harrison Wells shook his head in frustration at their complete helplessness began to gnaw away at him. “There must be something we can do.”

Reed Richards racked his brain for a way out of all of this. Not only were the cavalry not coming, they had been cut off at the knees by the world’s premier ‘peacekeeping’ force. This world, so like his own in so many ways, was different in almost as many regards. More than anything, they all seemed so new to this life.

The Clark that traded punches with the Surfer was little more than a boy in a man’s body, that much Reed could see from the way he threw his body around with a reckless abandon.


There was a sudden burst of energy and the Flash disappeared along with the Surfer’s board. Now Superman, young, reckless, and not nearly the man that Reed knew he might become one day, stood alone against the herald of Galactus – with the fate of the world on his shoulders.

They were alike in so many ways, Reed thought. Norrin Radd had made the ultimate sacrifice to protect his planet and for all that had been helpless when Galactus had destroyed it. Clark – Kal-El – was the last of his kind, too.

And then, as if struck by a lightning bolt, Richards knew what needed to be done. “There is one thing.”

Harrison watched on in bemusement as Reed tapped a few of the holographic buttons on the control panel in front of them. Richards had seen Wells use it for all of thirty seconds and yet he showed an understanding of it that far stripped Harrison’s own. It was amazing to watch – and even harder to understand.

Finally Wells began to piece together what Richards was doing. He had taken control of the drone that was circling Superman and the Surfer and overridden the audio controls. Rather than recording audio, they were now transmitting it.

“Superman, we don’t have much time, so I need you to listen to me. My name is Reed Richards. Like you, I come from another world. On my world, we encountered the Silver Surfer and his master Galactus and we stopped them – not with force, but with knowledge.”

It seemed so long ago now that they had first encountered the Silver Surfer and Galactus. Perhaps it was because it had been such a long time ago. Perhaps it just felt like one. All Reed knew was that the knowledge he possessed was the only thing that stood between this world and destruction – and he meant to be true to the message this world’s Reed had left for him at the Baxter Building and save it.


The Surfer had turned his full attention to Clark now and through some manipulation seemed to be choking the Kryptonian. Reed watched nervously, hoping beyond hope that despite the Surfer’s efforts, Clark could hear him.

“The Surfer’s name – his true name – is Norrin Radd,” Reed added anxiously. "To save his homeworld, Zenn-La, he agreed to become the herald of Galactus. But the destroyer of worlds betrayed him, Superman, and if Norrin is here, he betrayed him on this world too.”

Reed felt himself grow fearful as he prepared the coup de grace. Armed with the information that Reed had laid at his feet, Superman had all he needed to turn the Surfer against Galactus, as Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben had done so on their world. There was, however, always the slight chance that the Surfer might not take the revelation too well. In short, he might tear their world apart in mourning.

It was a risk that Reed had to take.

Next to him, Harrison Wells placed a supportive hand on Reed’s shoulder as if to will him on to finish his message. Richards gritted his teeth, knowing nothing would be the same once he had uttered them, and pushed through the knot in his throat to deliver the message.

“You have to tell the Surfer the truth. Tell him that Galactus destroyed his world. Tell him that his so-called ‘master’ blinked the woman he loved out of existence like a speck of dust.”
11x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Hexaflexagon
Avatar of Hexaflexagon


Member Seen 4 mos ago

The forests were one of the things Ava had liked about Markovia. King Gregor had once made a joke that there were more trees in Markovia than anything else. It only took a gaze outward from the castle window to prove that he was only half-kidding. The trees uninterrupted in their totality stretching backwards to the old tribes. It was that aspect that Ava enjoyed the history that seemed to emanate outward from the bark itself. Those same trees now engulfed her, thrust outward from moss-ridden earth like darkened spear heads.

Ava jerked her head as an owl hooted somewhere in the dark. In her panic, her foot slipped on slick moss and hardened root launching her forward. The pain crashing through her body adding to the persisting dull throbbing from her jump. Laying there she felt the unmistakable presence of tears running down her face.

There in the forest under the distant gaze of the moon Ava felt very alone. The adrenaline that had gotten her this far having all but faded leaving only pain and the cold. Was this how she was going to die? Cold, alone, and crying in the woods somewhere? It was only a matter of time before the woman that had killed her mother would find her.

"Why?" Her voice was small, quaking, swallowed by the silence. A lifeboat adrift in a tsunami

It was the only thought that coursed through her head. Why. Why. Why. She wasn't dumb she knew that her mom had worked for some bad people in the past, but did that mean she deserved to die? There were much worse people in the world than she was. People that weren't trying to get better. People that Ava didn't care about. Why did it have to be her?

Her body shook as another sob rocked her body. She didn't know how long she stayed there. Grief was an unrelenting thing like the tides chipping away at the beach, it distorted all it touched - even time. Eternities lasted mere minutes and a singular hour could stretch on for decades. But as primordial and eternal as grief was there were other forces as well.

Something wormed its way through Ava burrowing towards her heart. It thrashed and it contorted, twisted, and fumed. It burned as it made its way through her like molten metal. It was an old thing, not quite as old as the sun or the moon, but it older than fire and older than the spear. It had many names but most knew it by its simplest construction - Rage.

"Fuck it."

Ava staggered to her feet as she wiped her tear-stained face with a sleeve. Her entire frame shook was each breath as collected herself. The pain was still there but it was muted, muffled underneath the building maelstrom. Her first step was a slow thing, unsure and unsteady, but it was movement all the same. The first step followed by another and another and another.

As the red-orange glow of the rising sun filled the horizon, the trees finally began to thin around Ava. There right at the edge of the tree line was the half-collapsed frame of an abandoned farmhouse. Just Beyond the farmhouse was a barn whose roof hadn't given way yet.

She managed to pull the door open enough to slip inside, the old hinges squeaking in protest. The ground covered in a thin level of dust and animal dung permeated with a strong oder. Ava didn't mind the smell exhaustion finally having taken hold of her. With heavy limbs she staggered into a corner where there was still a loss pile of discarded hay. There she curled up into a ball and let sleep take over.

When Ava awoke the woman was there.

She was looking at her, her green eyes dark as the pines around them, in some sort of contemplation. Ava was ensared, her entire body rooted to the ground out of fear and perhaps awe. It was like looking in a mirror but instead of a reflection, there instead idealized version of herself. The same red hair but where Ava's was short and boyish, the woman's was long falling past her shoulders. Even there, just leaning against one of the wooden walls of the barn there was a sureness and a control.

"Are you gonna kill me now?" Ava asked trying to sound brave like the heroes in the action movies.

"No Красная Шапочка"

"That's not my name."

"I know Avreya" The woman pointed out as she tossed Ava her journal.

The small moleskin clattered to the ground in front of her. Ava scrambled to pick it up and clutched it towards her chest. The journal was a gift from her mother last year from her mother. Why did the woman take it? Did she read it?

"Why aren't you going to kill me then?"

"That's not my mission."

“What's your mission then?”

The woman cocked a brow "That's none of your concern."

"Well obviously since your hunting me or whatever, it seems a lot like my concern actually."

The woman actually laughed at this. This caught Ava off guard who did not expect that such a figure was even capable of laughter. Even the woman herself seemed surprised at herself.

"Oh I got you wrong," The woman admitted "You're not Красная Шапочка, you're a little почемучка aren't you?"

It was Ava's turn to be caught off-guard, her face flushed red with embarrassment.

"No! It's just... I just think I have a right to know what's going on!"

"Nobody has a right to anything in this world почемучка. You'll learn that soon enough." The woman explained with a snort. "Now if you are done here we have to get moving."

"I'm coming with you?!"


Ava remained rooted in place amongst the hay. Who did this person think she was? To ruin her life and then command her around like this?

"What if I say no?"

The woman already making her way towards the barn door cocked her head over her shoulder.

"Because," she explained "if you don't come willingly, I'll have to use violence. You don't want that."

This was no threat Ava knew threats, this was a matter-of-fact statement. A proclamation that held the same amount of truth as two plus two equals four. Ava was following before she could process it. The woman up ahead already vanishing through the space between the ajar barn door.

Parked in front of the barn was the unmistakable contours of a Volga. Once the brand of all movers and shakers east of the Iron Curtain, now the beater car of all the republics that came after, Markovia included. Ava first thought it was some kind of joke, the Volga wasn't the type of vehicle for whatever this woman was. Ava half-expected her to click a button and it would transform like something out of a James Bond film.

"We are taking this?"

"You have a problem with it? I'll gladly take whatever else you can find on hand." The woman answered gesturing towards the trees and flat countryside that surrounded them.

"Fine," Ava answered admitting defeat "hey I just realized something! What's your name! I mean you already know mine it's only fair right? Or is that against the mother-murder and child-kidnappers code?"

The woman regarded Ava for a brief moment.


"Natalia? Huh that's weird my mom knew a Natalia once."

"It's a common name."

"Yeah," Ava admitted, "I guess you're right."

"Can I ask one more question?"


"Come on I promise I'll shut up after this! Be a good little prisoner." Ava pleaded.


"Where are we going?"

Natalia pointed off towards a distant horizon.


I - End

6x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Simple Unicycle
Avatar of Simple Unicycle

Simple Unicycle ?

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago

A Week Later; Noon
Frank's Van; New York City

"Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3... Can you hear me, Punisher?"

Dave's, or I guess Microchip's, voice buzzes in my right ear through the earpiece he had crafted for me. He figured it'd be easier to use this to keep in contact than using burner phones or, as I had been doing for the past week, heading to his house every other day. Can't say I blame him; I'd hate to have some homeless wretch keep showing up at my door, too.

"Loud and clear, Micro."

"Sweet, it works. The range should be enough to reach all the way to Gotham, if not a little further. Anywhere beyond that, we're gonna have to use a burner phone."

I nodded, realizing only a moment later that he couldn't see me. "Right."

"And speaking of testing out the range on this thing... I got a job for you in Bludhaven."

At this, I quirk a brow. "Bludhaven? Seems a little out of my jurisdiction, Micro."

"Punishment knows no jurisdiction." I can practically hear the smirk in his voice.

"... You've been waiting to use that for a while, haven't you?" He chuckles, with a quick 'yeah'.

"But really man, why do you feel like you need to stick to New York? There's a lot of crime in Bludhaven that needs your, ah, 'brand of justice' as it were. And if you're worried about running into that Bat guy, I hear he only sticks around Gotham."

I pinch my nose and release a sigh. "... Alright, I'll check it out. Send the details."

"On it." I pull out the old LexCorp laptop Dave had given me, flipping it on and loading up... Man, it really hurts to say this... Loading up vigilante.net, an online forum for vigilantes across America. It's underused, and rightfully so considering how stupid it is, but Dave figured it'd be a great place to communicate if I'm ever out of range or if he needs to send info. Surprisingly enough, Punisher was taken as a screenname. Same with Punisher1, Punisher2, 3, 4, so on and so forth. I eventually just settled on Castle90.

Microchip89: Here's the details on that 'development' in Bludhaven.

Attached to the message was a folder with a small text file, as well as a few images. I downloaded it and read the text file.

"The 'development' is... Well, I'm not too sure. Reports say that strange guys have been going in and out of an old hospital that's been abandoned since the mid-80s. Sometimes, they come in with groups of people, who never come out. The police were called and investigated, but found nothing... Good thing you're not a cop anymore, huh? You should check it out. If they aren't expecting a visit, then maybe you can figure out what's going on in there."

The images were satellite pictures of Bludhaven. One showed the whole city, with a circled area. Another was a close-up of the circled area, with yet another circled area. A third was that circled area, with one final circle around a building. The last image was that building, a derelict hospital with a faded green sign reading 'Sister June's Hospital'.

Well... Time's wasting. I close up the laptop and climb into the driver's seat of the van, starting it up.


A Few Hours Later; Evening
Outside Sister June's Hospital; Bludhaven

The setting sun casts the hospital in an eerie orange glow, almost as if the universe itself is warning people off from entering it. I was never one to listen to warnings. I tap the button on the earpiece to connect to Dave. "Micro? Micro, can you hear me?"

"Not-----ell, sa---nk?" His voice is cut off every other second by static. With a sigh, I boot up the laptop and go onto vigilante.net.

Castle90: At the hospital.
Microchip89: Alright, think we found out how far the range for the earpiece is.
Castle90: I'll get back into contact with you when I've cleared it out.
Microchip89: Sounds good. Be careful, Frank.
Castle90: Don't you know me at all?

Before he can respond, I shut off the laptop, snickering slightly to myself. Leaving the van, I look up at the hospital, noting the graffiti decorating the dull gray exterior in splashes of colorful profanity. Most of the windows were smashed and boarded up. I didn't know what I was gonna find in there, but I had a feeling it wasn't gonna be all sunshine and lollipops.

The front door was barred, which meant I'd have to scout around the building for another entrance. Pistol in hand, I walked the perimeter of the building in search of an entrance, the eerie quiet putting me on edge. Within the building I could hear... Something, I'm not quite sure. A muffled screeching sound. It sent a chill down my spine, and made me clutch my pistol tighter.

I looked up, seeing a window that wasn't boarded up. I might be able to reach it. Holstering my pistol, I looked to my left, spotting a cardboard box that looked like it'd support my weight. Seeing no better option, I grabbed the box and set it down in front of the window, stepping onto it, jumping up and grabbing onto the windowsill, just barely. With a grunt, I pulled myself into the hospital.

I could barely see anything, the only light being what little was creeping in through the window. Even then, that light was fading fast. It's times like this I wish I had a flashlight. Pulling out my pistol, fastening on the suppressor, and taking the knife from my boot, I continued forward, keeping the gun and knife at the ready. Can't get caught off-guard if you're already preparing for the worst.

As I continued down the hall, I heard voices around a corner, and saw a faint light. Pressing myself up against the wall, I sidled over and peered around the corner. There were two men, flashlights in hand and heading my way. I could see the faint outline of a holstered pistol on one man's hip. Quickly, I snapped my head back and kept still.

"Yeah, that sick bastard gets a kick out of it. Fuckin' animal he is."

"At least we don't get off on it. It's just... Business for us."

"Amen, brother."

That sounds ominous. At least Dave was right. There's something wrong here.

They were just about to walk past me. Taking in a deep breath, I prepared my knife and pistol.

I jumped out.

I stuck my knife through the nearest man's nostrils, killing him near instantly before he could react. Using the knife as a sort of handle, I swung the corpse into the other man, knocking him to the ground. He struggled to push the corpse off himself. By the time he was done and pulling the pistol out of his holster, I had my own leveled at him.


I probably alerted anyone nearby with that stunt. I stopped, listening for anything that'd indicate there were guys coming my way. Nothing. Slowly, I pulled my knife out of the man's face, sticking it back into my boot, before picking up the flashlight and continuing on, pistol in one hand and light in the other. I pressed onward, heading deeper into the maw of evil like some poor caricature of an ancient hero.

The sound I had heard outside erupted below me, and this time, I could clearly tell it was... Screaming. Some sick shit was going on in this place, and I intended to find out just what the hell that was and punish those responsible. I may be a violent, borderline psychotic bastard, but I still have some morals. Keyword being some.

I took the stairwell down. As I exited the stairwell and looked ahead down the dark corridor, I took note of the group of figures, about four or five, standing at the other end near a doorway. I heard the screaming again, emanating from the room those guys were guarding. I switched off the flashlight and slid into one of my vest's pockets. Pistol at the ready, I crept closer to the men, keeping to the darker areas.

I counted them all as soon as I got close enough. Five. I could do this. I'd just have to be fast about it. Taking in a deep breath, I unholstered my other Glock and aimed the two pistols at the group. No time like the present. I ran forward, firing off two rounds that hit two of the men right in the head, taking them down quickly. The others quickly spun around to meet me.

I ran to the other wall, jumping up and using it to kick myself forward. I toppled into one of the men, him grunting as he hit the ground, while using the opportunity to gun down the other two. I jumped up into a kneeling position, doing a quick spin kick and knocking the man's hand away as he rose it to struck me. I stuck a pistol under his chin.


I stood up and kicked the door in, pointing my pistol around to locate any hostiles. There was only one man in there, dressed in surgeon's clothing that was covered in blood. He was unarmed, and I scanned the room over to see if there were any other host-

... Oh my God.

Jars, filled with human organs. Kidneys. Livers. Intestines. Lungs. Hearts. I looked back to the man, standing over a gurney where a young Hispanic man was laying, his torso cut open and various organs missing.

"... What... What's going on here?"

The surgeon spun around, looking terrified. "What!? Who are you!?"

"I... What..."

"Don't hurt me! It's not what you think!"

"What have you been doing?"

"I-I do research! Important research! I just need to..."

I rushed forward, sticking the pistol against the man's head. "What have you been DOING!?"

He raised his hands above his head. "I-I... I harvest organs! Resell them! I help people! D-don't shoot, I-"

"Give me one Goddamn reason I shouldn't blow your brains out right fucking now!"

"I c-can pay you! I have money! Lots of money!" He stepped back, grabbing something from under the gurney. My mind screamed gun. Instead he produced a pile of cash. "See! M-money! Lots of money!"

"You sack of shit!" I swing the pistol, the barrel nailing him in the cheek. There's a loud crack when I swing again and hit him in the nose.

"P-please! I'm not doing anything wrong! I get people the o-organs they need!"

"YOU'RE STEALING PEOPLE'S ORGANS! THAT SOUNDS PRETTY FUCKING WRONG TO ME!" I drop the gun, and kick him in the chest. He topples over into a groaning heap on the ground, clutching at his bruised and bloodied face. I crouch down on top of him, ripping his hands away from his face and delivering punch after punch.

I keep at it for a while. Maybe hours, even. All I know is by the time I'm done his head resembles tenderized hamburger meat more than a face, and my knuckles are cut and covered in blood, some of it my own and most of it his.

I leave the hospital, not even bothering to wipe the blood off my hands. When I get back into the van and boot the laptop up to tell Dave I'm back, I find dozens of messages from him.

Castle90: I'm back.
Microchip89: Jesus Frank, what took you so long?
Castle90: Nothing. Just forgot to check in. Wasn't much in the hospital, just some gangsters squatting. I took care of them.
Microchip89: Oh, thank God.
Castle90: Yeah. Still, think I'll keep heading around for a while. There might be some serious shit in the cities without their own resident superhero.
Microchip89: Yeah, maybe. You sure, Frank? You weren't too keen on leaving NYC.
Castle90: I'm sure. Think I'll just hit a few cities. Might even go as far as LA or something. When I hit the other end of the country, I'll head back.
Microchip89: Sounds good. I'll see you then, Frank. Be sure to keep in touch.
Castle90: Will do. See ya.

I logged off.

All I knew was that if there was shit like this, in cities without their own Flash, or Superman, or Wonder Woman, or Batman, or Spider-Woman, or any other costumed crusader you can think of, then maybe it would be best to travel around. Might even be able to set up a franchise or something... The Punishers, if you will. Heh. That sounds pretty damn good.

I start up the van, and make my way out of Bludhaven.
7x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
Avatar of Byrd Man

Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

Member Seen 1 day ago


“Hullo Chas.”

Chas Chandler stared at John Constantine for a moment before his fist struck John square in the nose. The punch dropped John to the ground in a heap. Chas stood over him, holding his fist in his hand and glaring down at his old friend. John looked up and wiped blood off his nose.

“I deserve that.”

“Quite fucking right," said Chas. He sighed and shook his head. "C’mon in, I'll get you something for your nose.”

A few minutes later both men were seated on Chas’ couch with beer in their hands. Chas drank from his bottle while John kept his pressed against his nose. The television showed a soccer game in progress. John looked around the apartment. It was decorated in a style that could only be called New Age corniness. Crystals, incense, and even a "Live, Laugh, Love" poster that John had to force himself to not laugh at. Chas' wife always chased whatever the latest trend was. The last time John was around, she had been big into Zumba.

“We had a wake,” said Chas, not bothering to look away from the match. “About a month after we all thought you died.”

“Standing room only, I bet...”

“Maybe a dozen people. Most came just to make sure you were dead. It’s the happiest I’d seen Renee in years.”

“How is the missus?” John asked as he pulled the beer away from his face and took a long sip off it.

“Chuffed,” said Chas. “With no John Constantine to keep me out and about, I'm home more often. It's a fucking nightmare. But she loves it. Ever since Geraldine gave birth, she’s been the happy grandmother.”

“Papa Chas?” John asked with a laugh. “Never thought I’d see the day. Cheers, mate.”

“Does it bother you, John?” Chas asked as he looked away from the television. “Knowing that the amount of people who went to your funeral wouldn’t even fill a tube carriage.”

“A funeral is a pointless gesture,” John said with a shrug. "When you're dead, you got bigger fish to fry than caring about who is crying over your dead body. But... yeah, a small funeral was always going to be for me. It's what I deserve."

“Yeah,” Chas nodded. “It’s what you deserve. You know why you deserve it? It’s because you do shit like fake your own bloody death and not even tell your oldest fucking mate that you did it.”

Chas was now on his feet. His face was beet red and his eyes were on the verge of tears. He gestured with the beer bottle right in John’s face.

“I went to fucking therapy, John! For three years. Bloody survivor’s guilt is what they said. I was the last one who saw you before you… well, I can’t even say that you died anymore, can I? I lived with the thought that I could have done something to save you ever since that day. Even after the therapy, I think about you dying more than I should. Especially now that I know the person I was so worried about letting die, didn't fucking die! And what's worse, that bastard doesn't think enough of me to even let me know!”

“Look on the bright side, mate.” John flashed a grin. “I just cured your survivor’s guilt.”

John ducked just in time to miss the bottle. It sailed over the couch and crashed into the wall of the flat, hitting the Live, Laugh, Love sign squarely. Chas stared intently at John, breathing heavily with his red face. Then he made a curious sound. It started low in the throat before it came out his mouth. It was laughter. Chas Chandler was laughing. John joined in, a chuckle that turned into an uncontrollable fit. Two men in their forties, laid out on the floor and laughing like schoolgirls.

“Fucking hell,” Chas said after a few minutes of laughter. He wiped tears from his eyes. “I needed that.”

John rubbed his sore sides before he lit up a fresh cigarette.

"I gotta say, broken glass and beer stains are a vast improvement on that sign."

That sent the two of them into another fit of laughter.

“Now,” said Chas with a sigh. “What the fuck do you want?”

“I need your help, Chas.”

“Of course you do. You don’t do social calls, do you?”

“I’m in the middle of something,” John said with a shrug. “Let me get it squared away and then we’ll go for a pint.”

“Sure we will.” The tone of Chas’ voice let John know he didn’t believe his words. “But for now I'm the help, is that it?"

"Think of it more like a qualified expert. Someone well-versed in the ways of London."

"What did you have in mind?”

“We can talk in the car,” said John. “Probably best to get out of here before your wife gets home. I’d hate to spoil her mood.”



Jack Hawksmoor stood on the platform of the tube station. This station had been closed for a long time, but Jack could feel the history under his feet. Untold numbers of commuters left footprints as they went about their business. He could see the spirits of them as they passed through, a simple moment in time for them etched into the memory of this place. Men in starched collars and bowler hats mingled with the working class of the sixties, men in respectable dress but with long hair and women in short skirts. He could see men, women, and children huddling in the dark of the station as Nazi bombs blitzed London. At the corner of the platform, a punk rocker with a multi-colored mohawk contemplated jumping in front of a train that would never arrive.

He reached back into the past, traveling through London’s history to find its beating heart. He knew that he was not the only travelers on these roads. That was why he chose this station in particular. The concentration of the city’s history and landmarks made it fertile ground for a certain type of mage. A mage who drew power from the city itself.

“The tubes are the arteries of the city upon which I move.”

Jack snapped back to the present when he heard the voice. Across the platform, on the far wall of the station, was a human face. The tiles and bricks seemed to shift to form the heavyset face of a human man. They shifted as he spoke, the words echoing with the sound of brick smashing against brick.

“Lord Hawksmoor, I presume.”

“You presume correctly,” Jack said with a nod. “And you would be the one they call Map. They say that you do an excellent job keeping my city protected.”

“I would normally feel honored that the god of the cities knew my name,” said Map. “But since you were with John Constantine earlier this afternoon, I know he was the one who told you about me.”

“John said you’d know he was back as soon as he arrived.”

“Not much escapes my notice." The brick face of Map scowled. "I sense death on you, Lord Hawksmoor. You are not well.”

“That is why I’ve come to you. If anyone knows about the rot in the Underland, then it’s you.”

“I know it well, but it is off limits to me as much as it is off limits to yourself.”

“That is why I brought John Constantine back to London. I need his help to cure me.”

“Constantine has a history of disappointing those that rely upon him,” said Map. “Are you sure you want him as your champion in the Underland?”

“He is an unorthodox choice, to be sure. But with the two of us as anchors, he has a good chance of success. If you are truly the guardian of London, then you will aid me in the undertaking.”

Map’s brick face went still. It rippled, the face disappearing as the original brick took its place. A few moments later, a chubby black man in orange safety gear and hard hat appeared on the platform. He gave Jack a wide smile.

“John Constantine can jump off a bloody cliff for all I care,” said Map. “But for the god of the cities, how could I refuse?”
8x Like Like
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by mickilennial
Avatar of mickilennial

mickilennial is trying to survive

Member Seen 2 days ago

Earth's Moon, Luna
Issue #2 Unseen Enemies


Bekka slammed her foot forward, moving away from the creature as the portal closed behind the monster.

She wasn't quite sure why she decided on the moon on impulse – but it probably was one of the better choices she could've picked. Earth's Moon was desolate and had no real organic matter for it to feed on. It was a dead husk with no people, animals, or plants for it to feast upon. It also meant there were no people to be caught in the crossfire of a battle between them. It was ideal. She didn't need to hold back. However, she knew that a creature that was devouring whatever life it could sink its teeth in wouldn't be an easy foe. She herself, even as a god of New Genesis, was at risk. But she had no intention of becoming caught in the gray-toned creatures gaping jaw amd becoming one of its victims.

She spun in her current position, sword in hand.

The metal dug into the creature's weak flesh, splitting it in an instant. Bekka knew it had amazing regenerative abilities, but how much of that regenerative ability did it actually have? How many limbs could it grow back at once? What happened when it started pushing its own body to regenerate what it lost? It was only a theory, but it was all she had for the time being.

As a piece of the gray, mangled flesh fell to the moon's surface, Bekka drove her sword forward and forced it as hard as she could to the left in an attempt to cause more damage and severe another limb. She did it again in reverse. And then again, this time downward. She repeated this process until there was as little of a body as she could. The creature screeched in pain, anger, and hunger. Bekka took her breaths, and thought for a moment as she looked at the results of her little hypothesis as she stepped a few feet backward in case the creature had some kind of trick in mind for her.


The same guttural noise escaped from the creature as its corpse ballooned as more tentacles grew from its mass. It was still a fast process – but it was slower by a few seconds. As it did so, it extended its limbs to attempt to bring Bekka closer, to feed. Bekka had been expecting that much and was quick to dodge and strike back in one quick movement, though she still wasn't sure about how to defeat the creature. So she decided at that moment she would repeat her attacks several times over. It was here that she realized it was taking longer and longer to regenerate. It was growing smaller. Earth's moon was in a void. There were no people around them. There was nothing to eat but her and she wouldn't let it touch her without consequence. That's when she was certain about its existence.

Your regeneration, it needs a lot from you, doesn't it? How long will it be until you are nothing but a helpless creature?

She smirked.

This would be faster than she thought.
4x Like Like
↑ Top
© 2007-2023
BBCode Cheatsheet