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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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"Ladies and gentlemen, can you believe this?" J Jonah Jameson laments in my ear. "Spider-Woman helps destroy a block of Brooklyn, and she's treated like a hero!? She helped destroy yet another building in our city, put countless lives at risk, destroyed thousands of dollars worth of property, and on top of that, she stole a ride on the subway! Info Bugle listeners, this is an outrage. The fact that Captain George Stacy, the man who is supposed to be catching this wanton criminal, seems to be going soft on her leads me to believe that he's in on this whole mess! Or maybe the NYPD is scared of people with super powers? If that's the case, who is going to protect us? Are we going to have to take matters into our own hands?"

"Okay, Triple J," I grumble. "Go after me all you want, but leave my dad out of this."

I'm perched on the roof of a building overlooking a park, waiting for DeWolff to show up. I left her a message using Peter's voice masker from a payphone. She may not show up. She may show up with a battalion to try and arrest me. We'll see how it goes.

"You know this guy called 'Firefly'? I hear all he wanted was to take down the superhumans. Maybe he's got the right idea. His actions are deplorable, of course. But maybe we need to start making sure we're safe from this metahuman threat."

Jameson's rants have been becoming more and more unhinged since the Firefly popped up. I don't know if its just their screeds line up perfectly or what, but the guy has been calling for militias against me, or something. So far I haven't seen any action because of it, but I won't be surprised if I do sooner rather than later.

From below, I see the form of Jean DeWolff approaching the park alone. If she brought backup, it's not an obvious detail following her. There's an outside chance that some of the people in the park are plain clothes undercover officers, but I can't assume that. And I need to talk to Jean, either way.

"Well, let's see if this is a trap. God I hope it's not a trap."

Swinging down, I land in a tree above DeWolff, startling her, "Jesus. Are you kidding me? You're going to give someone a heart attack doing that."

"Sorry," I shrug, "Next time I'll give you a Tarzan yell. Might blow my cover, but at least it won't make you jump."

"Funny," she grumbles and lights a cigarette. "What's up?"

"Firefly wasn't working alone. The tech he was using was given to him. The building that burned down when I was tracking him had a lab in it. I don't think a high school graduate who spent most of his time since in the Middle East could cook up all that stuff."

"So what do you want me to do about it?" DeWolff takes a drag off the cancer stick.

"I can try and track them down, but you guys need to know what is out on the streets. If someone is supply goons on the street with super powered weapons, we need to find them and get them off the board. Not everyone with super powers is going to help you guys out. I don't want to see anyone get hurt."

Jean considers my words for a while, "Fine. But we're not working in tandem on this one. Your last stunt almost got me kicked off the force."

Defensively, I respond, "Excuse me, last time you brought in a small army to arrest me."

"Hey, not my call. Blame the boss."

"Yea, well, next time I see him-"

I'm cut off when around us the lights of the city flicker and go out.


"Yea, that can't be good," I fire a webiline off. "I'll go check things out!"


The hum of electricity and science surrounds Flint Marko. He's never seen so much crazy technology in his life, never experienced anything like this. Every piece of the lab that surrounds him looks like something straight out of science fiction. If they have all this fancy equipment, he figures, there's no way this thing is going to go south. After tonight he'll be just as strong as any other super hero, and he'll become the king of this town.

He lies strapped to a cold metal table, the icy metal stinging his naked body, covered only below the waist by a medical gown. Marko may not be a shy man, but he can be bashful in situations like this. He tries his best not to blush, but his anxiousness is palpable.

"Relax, Mr. Marko," Otto Octavius places a hand on his shoulder. "Doctor Warren is the best in biological engineering. Well, the best aside from me. He assures me his Sandman project will create the planet's preeminent super soldier of the future. You will be the first in the line of people that will reshape the future."

"You sure can talk pretty, Doc," Marko laughs nervously. "Don't know if I should feel better, but I do."

"As you should be, Mr. Marko!" Miles Warren, the stringy, shrimpy scientist in the control booth overlooking the procedure area, says. Warren is the kind of man who disappears into the wallpaper when not being looked at. His large, Coke-bottle glasses sit under shaggy, greying-blond hair, making him look like a living toupee. He is the antithesis of Octavius, who radiates an aura of strength. Warren gives off an air of scared puppy. "And if I do say so myself, Otto. I am better than you are in every possible way."

The smile that crosses Octavius's smile is less friendly and more hungry, "Good luck. The future awaits."


"Peter, tell me this blackout isn't city-wide."

"Well, do you want me to tell you that, or do you want me to tell you the truth?" Peter responds wryly.


"You think someone did this on purpose?"

"The entire electrical grid of New York city going down? On accident? No chance."


Below, in the procedure chamber, an energy envelope envelops Flint Marko in a bubble. Otto can see the man is nervous, fidgeting against his bindings on the table. Below the table where he sits, the floor opens up, revealing a pit of sand shifting around underneath him. It begins to swirl in the bubble, with energy from the bubble coursing through it into his body.

"What are you doin to him, doc?" Hammerhead, current leader of the Maggia, asks with worry in his voice. The two of them are friends, from what Octavius has observed. It's heartwarming, really. Some honor among thieves, so it seems.

"We're bombarding his body with vita rays," Miles Warren pushes his glasses up as he looks over the readings of the experiment going on below. "They're what helped create Captain America all those years ago. They're running through the silica in the air, rewriting his generic code. It will allow him to harness sand. Use it as a weapon. As armor. He'll be unstoppable."

"As long as it works," Octavius adds slyly.

"It will work."

Otto looks over his fellow AIM scientist curiously. Warren is brilliant. It is fruitless to pretend otherwise. But he is a weak man. Afraid of others in positions of power. He is the kind of man Octavius sees as a tool rather than a peer. It's why he's here now, creating a pawn in Otto's great game of chess.

The experiment goes on, with Marko changing before their eyes. The sand in the chamber forms around him, shaping around his body like a cocoon. Otto watches as the human form starts to become something more.

Suddenly the power fluctuates in the chamber, causing the vita rays to spike in intensity. The chamber glows with a blinding, white light, and the screams of pain from Flint Marko can be heard over the increasing din of electronics.

"What's goin' on!?"

"I don't know!" Warren protests. "Power is being cut across the city!"

"Is this from the experiment!?" Octavius growls.

"No, it looks like a city-wide outage."

The lights in the chamber go out, and Flint Marko's screaming stops.


Stryker's Island Prison is on fire.

The first sign was the glow on the horizon as I swung around the darkened city. As I got closer and closer, the tower of smoke gave it all away.

Someone is there, and they've given Firefly back his toys. I'm willing to bet the Silk Cartel is in on this, a diversion to get the Enforcers out of jail and back on the street.

"Pete, the prison is on fire."

"I know," he responds. "It's all over the police scanner. Problem is there's looting across the city as well. They NYPD is running thin."

Whoever turned off the power knew there would be looting. They definitely have one hell of a plan going. With little backup, heading to Stryker's is going to be dangerous as hell, not that I have any other choice. There are too many dangerous people on that island. If I don't make sure they don't get off, New York is going to go to hell.

"I have to go secure the prison. Firefly and the Enforcers are in there. If they get out, looting is the last of New York's worry."

"Yea, I kinda figured that's what you were gonna say," he sighs sadly. "Hey Gwen...just...be careful. And...I love you."

The words hang in the air as I watch the red and orange glow of the blaze mix with the grey smoke and inky back sky. My mind goes blank for a second, not processing what was just said to me. "I love you", three words I was never thought I'd hear this early from Peter. I love him of course. He's my oldest friend. Things have been going spectacularly well between us...but that well? I'm not sure. On top of that, he drops it on me before I head to a maximum security prison.

The thoughts come flooding back to me. Uncle Ben laying dead in the street, Aunt May wailing at the sight and Peter on his knees looking a million miles away. Maybe this was a mistake. Peter and I. Maybe it was a stupid shot at normality in a life that can no longer be normal for me. I don't know. All I know is I'm back to thinking this is nothing but a mistake.

Focus, Stacy.

I have a job to do. I can worry about the world of teenage relationships later.

Without responding to Peter, I swing towards Stryker's Island.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
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Master Bruce Winged Freak

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Gotham City, The Narrows
The Torres Househould
1:10 AM

"Thanks. I'm gonna starve because of you, asshole."

Slamming the door of the taxi after paying the outrageous fare, Jessica Jones brought the collar of her jacket over her neck and looked up, annoyed as the flickering streetlamp began to give the run-down neighborhood a perpetually hollow feeling in the pit of her stomach. She really didn't want to do this, but she'd already known that before she left. It was the same reaction that she had every time another case landed on her desk. Go ahead and pick flight instead of fight, she would often hear herself say in her own head. But Jessica wasn't someone that paid attention to her own sense of need, and couldn't exactly trust her own instinct anymore. Even as the gentle breeze from the Gotham Harbor brushed against her skin, she felt a chill run down her spine and noticed that one of her hands began fidgeting. Post-traumatic stress coming in at the most inopportune time. Biting her bottom lip, she fought through her initial hesitance and pushed the gate forward that lead to the dimly-lit house ahead.

Michelle Torres wasn't a suspect in any murder case or a hapless airheaded idiot who was practically breaking Jones' door down to dig up dirt on a cheating spouse. She frankly wasn't anything that special, to be honest. But she did have one particular credit to her name that had caught Jessica's attention - an ex-husband with a rap sheet a mile long. Just a little over three hours ago, the private investigator had brought a bent shell casing to BMB's Pawn Shop in order to get a sketchy character with mob connections, Vinnie Valestra, to use his crooked informants at the GCPD to run the print of the original owner. Though the police didn't know it and likely never would, the shell would be a hell of a lead in the ongoing investigation on the assassination attempt against District Attorney Harvey Dent. And the results of the fingerprint analysis were delivered far more expediently than Jessica had even dreamed.

They belonged to a man named David Reed. Looking into his history, it had taken no time at all for a detective of Jessica's level of experience to discover that Reed was actually one of many aliases used by the same man, including Mikey Rosenbaum, Thomas Kenny, Slater Christiansen, and Willis Smith - indeed, Jessica had bemoaned, like the rapper-turned-actor. The actual identity of all of these was a former sniper for the U.S. Marines, Floyd Lawton. And Michelle Torres had one hell of a history with the man, including a brief marriage that had produced one daughter, a divorce that was signed by both parties soon after, and a continually re-upped restraining order filed with the Gotham City Circuit Court.

Torres had easily won full custody of their daughter and made The Narrows a permanent residence, working days at a local strip club. Jessica was hardly in a position to judge, given that she made her own living by professionally spying on other people, but it had clearly produced the kind of life that could only barely sustain herself and the kid, based off of the poorly constructed house that she was now stepping onto the front porch of. Jones shot a glance towards the gutters as debris fell upon her approach, signaling the decrepit state that the house was in. But for The Narrows, Jessica had to admit, it was at least a solid eight.

Opening the screen door, Jones firmly knocked twice, making sure not to pound loud enough to wake the neighbors - or knock the door off of it's hinges. The truth is, she hadn't come here to critique the woman's living situation or parenting techniques. She was here solely out of concern for the safety of the daughter, because if Lawton was in town and taking shots at civil servants at public rallies, Jessica considered that a serious violation of the restraining order. It was probably best if Torres and her daughter left town, she thought, until this mess was sorted out. The police certainly weren't about to help, given they had pinned the entire thing on some mythical caped weirdo who apparently got off on beating mobsters to a pulp.

The door cracked open after some brief movement from inside, revealing a confused, half-asleep Michelle Torres staring back at Jessica.

"It's Ms. Torres, right?"

Torres looked around, clearly looking for any cops that may have been shadowing the mysterious young woman she didn't know.

"Y-Yes?", Torres responded, quizzically. "I'm sorry, but it's really late, so if you're not a cop, I'm going to have to ask you to..."

Jessica placed her hand on the door, forcefully ensuring that it wasn't shut in her face.

"Believe me, I get that. I just need a moment of your time. Hopefully after that, we'll never have to see eachother again."

Reaching into her jacket, Jessica produced a grainy photograph of a shifty-looking caucasian male in sunglasses and a pencil-thin mustache stepping off of a plane. The date of the photograph indicated that it had been taken just a few years ago, before Lawton had officially made both the FBI and SHIELD's Most Wanted lists, respectively. Handing it to Torres, Jessica noted the immediate look of shock wash over the woman's face as she recognized the visage of her ex-husband.

"Oh my god. Oh my god, that's..."

"Floyd Lawton. Your psycho ex-husband, the one that you legally told to fuck off for what I'm sure is a litany of great reasons. I know. And I'm here to tell you that I have reason to believe he's back in Gotham."

Torres looked back up at Jessica, horrified at the news.

"And who are you, exactly?"

Jones sighed, irritated that she was even still a concern. The right response should've been to immediately flee upstairs and begin to pack.

"I'm a private investigator. A few hours ago, I had prints ran on a shell casing that matched Lawton's to a tee. That same shell casing housed a bullet that was intended for Harvey Dent, the guy on the news that was shot three nights ago. I can say without hesitation that I was only being facetious when I said 'I have reason to believe', because your ex is definitely in Gotham. And I can also say without hesitation that you're in danger as long as he remains here."

Narrowing her eyes, Jessica leaned in closer.

"Now. Any further questions, or are you going to start booking the next flight to Coast City? Because if I were you, lady, I'd definitely pick the latter."

Clearly panicked, Torres turned back and immediately ran for the stairs leading to the above bedrooms.


Jessica stood in the open doorway and crossed her arms against her chest, looking back at the neighborhood once again. A rottweiler that was chained to a tree infront of one of the nearby houses growled at her. Jones rolled her eyes.

"Owning an attack dog in a neighborhood with kids in it. Nice."

But as Jessica turned back around and made her way into the entryway of the home, she felt something... odd. A sensation that had been there since she'd arrived at the home, but dull enough to ignore up until this moment. It felt for a second like she had been drugged. Grabbing at her forehead, trying desperately to concentrate, Jessica looked in a mirror attached to the wall on the immediate right of the doorway. Immediately, she noticed something seriously off.

Her eyes were brown.

So how in the hell were they suddenly glowing a florescent green?

Gotham City, The Narrows
The Torres Househould
1:15 AM

"Ace. Give me a single block-wide scan of the surrounding area."

Ensuring that The Batcycle is hidden from sight in the alleyway that I've parked it in, I throw a line up the side of a nearby house for sale that sits just across the street from the home belonging to Deadshot's ex-wife. As I was driving into the area, I noticed a disgruntled cab driver leaving this district. Makes me think I shouldn't take any chances on this, as the car making rounds this far out of the way in the early morning hours signifies that Poison Ivy's assassins could already be here. Scaling the wall, I allow Ace to do it's work by giving me a series of working heat signatures and structural schematics from the Gotham Housing District. This area is run-down, like most in The Narrows, but there are still a few housing plans still on file. Including the one for the home of Michelle Torres, the mother of Lawton's child.

I left the bastard dangling from a street lamp infront of the building where our final encounter took place, and lit up a Bat-Signal for the police to find. They're ingenious little devices that Lucius Fox invented for overseas conflicts, as an advanced form of the common distress flare. Miniature in size, but able to produce a light source big enough to mimic a spotlight that travels off of the clouds. Adding the Bat to them was Alfred's input, as it gave a clear message that the GCPD wouldn't be able to look away from. I've taken to leaving them at the scene of every criminal activity I dispatch, given that they're relatively easy to reproduce and virtually untraceable. Deadshot should be in police custody within the hour, if he isn't already.

Which makes my timing here even more perilous. Ivy threatened to murder the child if Lawton didn't successfully carry out his assassination of Harvey, who's on a flight out of the city by now and completely safe. I don't know if Poison Ivy's metahuman abilities extend as far as the plane itself, but it's very doubtful if she were willing to go for the child instead of attack Harvey directly through a close associate. There must be some kind of limitation to her power, but I'll have another night to contend with it. Right now, my only concern is that Zoe Lawton and her mother remain alive.

Scan completed, Mr. Wayne.

Perched atop the house's roof, making sure to remain inconspicuous by hiding in the corner not covered by any light source, I peer ahead at the house in question and find three heat signatures bouncing off of the image that Ace provided me. But it's strange. Three individuals, all of which are female, ranging from someone of a child's height to two grown adults. A friend to Torres, perhaps? Or a relative. I zoom in through the cowl's lenses on what the two adults are doing, because by all accounts, the child appears to be asleep. One of the features I'm hoping to incorporate into my suit is an advanced survellience microphone, because I can't hear anything coming from inside.

"Ace. I need you to..."

Just as I'm about to order the program to cut the power to the home, in order to give me an adequate way of sneaking in before an assassin can arrive, my eyes widen as I witness one of the adult women strike down the second and toss her into an adjacent wall. The impact sound of which is loud enough to be heard from outside of the house. Zoe Lawton awakens, obviously panicked, as the attacker ascends up the stairs in a slow, methodical manner. My fists tighten in a rage as I produce The Utility Gun and set it to a grapnel. This is the assassin. Someone that earned Ms. Torres' trust, albeit briefly, only to attack the minute that the woman's guard was let down.

"Cancel that order. Dammit..."

Firing off the grapple line to hit the top scaffolding of the roof, I immediately leap off of the house across the street and take out a large folding batarang, attaching it across from the steel cable and effectively rendering the grapple a makeshift zip-line. Leading with the soles of my boots, I target the upstairs window just above the stairs leading to the second floor and brace for impact.

Glass shards fly in every which direction as I spread my cape and descend upon the mystery attacker, who glares up at me. To my surprise, she doesn't seem shaken by my sudden appearance, and reaches up to grab me by the heel just as I go in for a flying kick. She succeeds, knocking me directly into the same wall that Michelle Torres hit. The screams of Zoe Lawton echo throughout the house as I fall to the floor, hitting the wooden panel as a black boot steps infront of me. Slightly dazed, I look up at the attacker and prepare for a fight --- only to be thrown entirely off guard.

It's the woman. The one that appeared on the digital recreation of Deadshot's original failed attempt on Harvey's life. Alfred had given me a name and some previous arrest warrants from the New York City Police Department's files, but to see her here now - and to see the look in her eyes, glowing an unnaturally brilliant green with dilated pupils, indicating some form of hypnotism - throws me completely off guard.

"...Jones?", I ask, partly out of breath. "Jessica Jones?"

Jones responds by reaching down and grabbing me by the throat, lifting me with ease. Her grip is unbelievably strong and starts to bend the armor plating built around my neck, proving the theory that she's metahuman. But if she's in the thrall of Ivy, as her appearance would suggest, I'm not dealing with the same woman that dove into the path of the bullet meant for Harvey. Instead, I'm fighting the person who ordered the hit in the first place through Jones' body, with her level of power intact. To say that this isn't a welcome surprise would be a grave understatement.

"And what do we have here? A bat, nesting out of it's roost?", a voice calls out to me from Jones' lips, a combination of human and inhuman. "I've heard of you. The Batman, is it? They say that you're a dangerous man. But I'm certain that you're not dangerous enough to survive a beating from dear Miss Jones, so your interference here is most unfortunate. For you, of course."

Clearly, my suspicions that it's Ivy that I'm dealing with were correct. Slamming me against the wall, nearly giving me a concussion, Jones' grip against my throat only grows tighter. I grit my teeth and struggle, distracting Jones and Ivy from when I reach down into my belt. I'm at a bit of a disadvantage. While I know that Jessica Jones has some degree of superhuman ability, I don't know exactly what she can do beyond deflect bullets and utilize superhuman strength. For all that I know, she could incinerate me with a thought. Or her eyes, like they claim about the flying man from Metropolis.

But I'm willing to bet that she's not completely invulnerable.

"Funny,", I wheeze. "I was just thinking the same thing about her."

Sticking a detachable taser that outputs roughly anywhere between five and ten-thousand volts to the wrist of the same arm that Jones is using to try and crush my windpipe, I slam a hidden trigger built into my other gauntlet and watch as the electricity produces an immediate reaction. Jones winces in pain and drops me, allowing me to catch my breath. But to my surprise, her tolerance of pain ensures that it only lasts for a few seconds. She immediately throws a fist directly at my face and I dodge it, leaving it to slam directly through the wall. If I hadn't ducked, it's likely that she would've been able to smash through my skull and out the other end.

To the right of me, I notice a terrified little girl looking out into the hallway from behind a partially closed door. I want to tell her to run, but I'd rather that Jones and Ivy both continue to focus on me. So I do something that I immediately come to regret - I leap up and punch Jones directly in the face with a left hook. The pain in my fist is nearly unbearable, as I writhe back and try to fight it off.

"What's wrong, little bat?", Ivy taunts once again. "Have I chosen a body too tough for the pathetic male to be able to beat? That must be quite the inconvenience."

I growl, angrily.

"There are other ways to inflict pain."

Producing a set of smoke pellets and bombs filled with tear gas, I toss them at Jones and throw up my cape to protect myself from the blast. She's coated in an immediate fog of irritants, blinding her senses to any oncoming attacks. I can only hope it lasts long enough for me to follow up with something effective. Sweeping Jones out from her legs, I watch as she falls down the stairs with a sickening thud. Immediately back up on her feet without so much as a scratch, I produce The Utility Gun once again and remove the hilt, attaching one end of the line to a grandfather clock before firing the hook into the first floor. Pulling the trigger, I leap out of the way as the grandfather clock flies into the air and smashes into Jones, sending her staggering back.

Using the opportunity to get to the child's room, I allow my appearance to scare the young girl into backing up before shutting the door between us. Slamming my fist against the door, I call out to her.


Alfred says I've never been good with kids. Can't imagine why.

By the time I've turned back, Jones is vaulting towards me at a speed that's inhuman. I somersault over her and allow her to use her own velocity to smash through the staircase and the front of the house itself. It sounds less like a crash and more like a sonic boom. Immediately rushing to the unconscious Ms. Torres, I check for a pulse and am relieved to find that she's still very much alive. Suffering an open head wound, but otherwise find.

"Ace, contact Alfred. Tell him to dispatch an ambulance to this address."

Certainly, Mr. Wayne.

Turning to face the massive hole that Jones just made through the front of the house, I vault over the staircase and land on a ground level. To tell the truth, I'm completely out of my element with this. I've trained to fight human monsters. Mobsters, drug pushers, hitmen. This is beyond anything like that, and I don't have a working plan. Improvisation is my only option, and I can't say that it'd be a desirable approach to any high-crisis situation.

Activating the live tasers in the knuckles of my gloves, I smash them together to produce a current. Then manually up the voltage to something that would ordinarily be lethal to a normal human through a switch on my belt. For Jones, it shouldn't do any lasting damage. But it may keep me alive long enough to do something I wasn't prepared to do going into this.

Talk her through Ivy's control, and hope that she has the willpower to fight it off herself.


The sparks fly off of my fists, as I take a running start out of the building. Some would consider this suicide. I'd like to think of it as a learning experience.

"You're certainly welcome to try."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Mao Mao
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Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

Member Seen 0-24 hrs ago


"The whole world in his hands
And the Heavyweight Champion fights in the
International propaganda Star Wars
There`s already one spaceman in the White House
What do you want another one for?"

Peter Quill stood there confused after an alien ordered him to come with them. He didn't know what he did to grant a warrant for his capture. Hell, he couldn't remember visiting a planet owned by the Spartax Empire. Regardless, Quill wasn't interested visiting Spartax. With one hand on a small electric device and the other on the orb, he was ready to attack.

"Please do not resist." the alien said while walking towards Quill.

When he was close enough, Quill slapped the device on the alien's neck and watched as it shocked him. The helmeted individual was smacked with the orb twice. It did enough damage to cause a crack on their helmet. Now with both individuals down, Quill raced up the stairs while his helmet appeared. "S-stop him!" the Kodabak screamed in pain while trying to get the device off of him.

When Quill got back to ground level, he saw three individuals with the same outfit as the other two. How badly did Spartax want him? One of them approached him with his fists turning white with a big grin on his face. Quill took a few steps back and pulled out his blasters. He fired a few shots at them in the hopes of doing some kind of damage. However, it was useless. Before the individual could strike, Quill reached down to activate his jet boots and flew away. He went through the glass door to escape the authorities; but, they were following him with ease.

Quill pressed his earpiece to contact Rocket and said his name.

"Quill, did you find out how much the rock is?" Rocket responded.

"Where are you?" Quill asked impatiently.

"The marketplace? Wh-" Rocket heard the sound of explosions in the background.

"HOLY SHIT." Quill screamed while dodging the beams coming from the Eigessan's golden fist. After flying for a minute and a half, he saw the marketplace and planned on landing until the beam hit his right leg. Now with the jet boot damaged, Quill was spinning out of control until he crashed into the ground. The marketplace was filled with customers looking to buy parts and custom machines. Some of the customers witnessed the rough landing and went to see if Quill was fine. He tried to get up, but couldn't because his leg was messed up. He wasn't in the right condition to run away. Then, the three individuals landed nearby and slowly approached him as they shoved people aside.

"Surrender before you foolishly hurt yourself again." the Eigessan demanded as he got closer to Quill.

Before he could grab the human, he heard something land behind and turned to see what it was. All he saw was a bright light that temporarily blinded him, his pals, and everyone else near it. Rocket and Groot opened their eyes and ran towards Quill to see if he was right.

"I am Groot!" Groot yelled out because he was worried for the client.

"He is going to be fine, Groot." Rocket ensured his friend. "Now, you need to carry him to the ship. We need to leave before we are spotted."

With the order, Groot wrapped his arm on Quill and carried him off of the ground. He was blinded by the flash device that Rocket deployed to buy them some time. Of course, it wasn't going to last long. That's why Rocket ordered Groot to walk faster while he ran to check for possible shortcuts. Quill's vision slowly came back while he heard Rocket telling Groot to hurry up. Then, all three of them heard shouting and yelling from the marketplace. One of them, most likely the Eigessan, was very pissed off.

They hurried towards the Milano in the hopes of escaping the group before they were found. Then, Rocket saw that Quill was bleeding badly enough to notice. He scanned around and found a nightclub. It was like any busy nightclub, but it was a perfect hiding spot. "Follow me and stay near me. No matter what." Rocket ordered Groot while he was digging around his pocket for credits. The bouncer was keeping two young aliens from entering the building when he saw the three of them.

"Hey, you can't com-" the bouncer felt credits hitting him while the trio entered the club. When he was planning on stopping them, he saw four individuals landing nearby. They were also approaching the club. He tried to order them to stop, but he was sent flying towards the wall by a gold beam. The young aliens screamed in fear while the group followed the blood trail to the dance floor. It was dark and crowded just like any other nightclub. A perfect place to bend in. Rocket knew that the group was in the nightclub and reached for Quill's blaster. While they kept walking forward, his ability to see in the dark helped in keeping an eye for them. He looked behind him and saw one of them walking near them.

That was when he opened fire.

After a few shots, Rocket returned the blaster to Quill and the trio walked faster. Of course, the group returned fire. Most of their beams were hitting customers. They were panicking and running towards the nearest exit. It made them the perfect cover for their beams. The music was still playing while people were being mowed down by the group. Then, security arrived to respond to the situation at hand. That was when the music stopped and the lights were turned on. The customers' screams were loud and clear now while Rocket was escorting them to the kitchen. As they could hear the firefight in the background, Rocket looked outside of the kitchen door. It was a losing battle for the security guards. Outmatched in every way possible. He wondered who they were and why they are interested in Quill. Does Quill know them? So many questions that he has to wait to ask later.

Groot, while carrying Quill, followed Rocket out of the building and headed for the docks.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Simple Unicycle
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A Day Later; 5:48 AM
Outskirts of Town; Hobcaw Point, West Virginia


Hobcaw Point was a backwater town hidden in the mountains of West Virginia. It's so small there's only eight last names and most people can trace their ancestry back to their great great grandparents. I didn't expect to find anything here, what with it being such a tiny place, but when I went through town I noticed people staring at me with contempt. I figured they just didn't like anyone new coming through.

But, when I parked my van just outside of town to spend the night... I realized it was far more sinister than that.

I was woken up by the sound of voices outside my van. They were trying to be quiet, so as to not wake me. They didn't do too well of a job on that. "Ya got the rope, Charlie?"

"Yeah Otis, I got the rope."

"Let's hop to 'er then."

I got up slowly, grabbing the pistol next to my pillow. Keeping crouched down with pistol at the ready, I aimed it at the doors of the van. I heard the sound of them trying to pry it open, probably with a crowbar or some other sort of tool.

The door popped open, revealing two of the townsfolk, one holding a crowbar and the other a length of rope.

I took aim at the one with the crowbar, hitting him in the right arm to make him drop the crowbar, then leg to make him fall, before leaping onto the other one and bashing his nose in with my pistol. Still on top of rope guy, I flipped around and leveled my pistol at crowbar man. "So... What's this all about then?" I asked, slowly getting off rope guy and standing up.

"Aw hell..." the one beneath me groaned. I gave him a quick stomp on the gut to make him shut up.

"I-it ain't nothin', man! We was just gonna ask if you wanted us to fix up yer van! L-looks like Hell on wheels!" Wow. It almost sounded like he believed what he just said.

"Oh? So that's why you broke into it with a fucking prybar and a coil of rope?"

"No we didn't!"

"I hope you realize that keeping to your story isn't gonna change my mind."

"Fer fuck's sake, Otis, we've been made! The jig's up!"

Pinching my nose and releasing a sigh of frustration, I glare at the wounded one, Otis it seems. "You can either keep quiet and I will kill you, or you can tell me what you were doing and I might kill you. Your choice."

"... We don't take too kindly to spics and niggers and chinks 'round 'ere. We was gonna scare ye off."

"From the looks of it, you were actually going to lynch me."

"On my grandmama's grave, we wasn't! We was just gonna act like we was gonna scare ye off!"

"Why do I have a feeling you're lying to me?" Make them sweat, Frank. If they get scared enough, they'll tell the truth. And if they stick to this story then, well, they weren't lying to begin with.

"Please mister, we's bein' serious! We wasn't gonna try an' hang ye!"

It goes on like this, them protesting their innocence as much as they can with a gun in their face. I shake my head after a while. "Alright, enough! I'm just gonna get the hell out of here. But just know that in a few weeks' time, I'll be coming back around, and if you make me stay longer than a couple of hours in this town, then I won't be so lenient. Got that?"

They nod their heads. I lift my boot off Charlie's chest and lower my gun. The two of them scramble away, disappearing over the horizon.

What a shit show...
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Enarr
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The Weapon X Facility, Canada
The Summer of 2018

Weapon Ten howled victorious, standing tall over than the rest
All agreed he wasn't particularly nice, but at what he did he was the best.

No, nono. "Weapon Ten howled triumphant"?


Ms. Carol Hines scritched and scratched at her notepad until it had been widdlled away to little more than a on ocean of black, encapsulating a tiny yellow patch. Her poem was terrible. It was awful. She'd always wanted to be a poet or some famous writer. She'd always wanted to be a star. But instead she had wound up hitching her wagon to the tail of the great dragon. She hoped she would be like Emily Dickinson and one day be a goddess herself, the collective unconscious' favorite citizen.

She chews on her pen's tip before feeling her reigns snag. Man, she'd give anything to smoke, just a touch, just a tad. Just to sip the ichor of the capitalist gods, for a moment, if she could take a nice, slow drag. She still hadn't gotten paid. She felt like this whole operation would go bad. Carol suspected deep down that she'd never have enough money, she'd never be incorruptible like her beautiful but decayed mommy. She doubted she could even do as well as Gwen Stefany.

In the open space on her notepad, she slathered lead across the surface generously, scratching her vision for the perfect couplet into the optical spectrum.

With the helmet over his head, Logan lives in a void, like drowning in shadow. There's a disturbance, like a cyclone blasting the ocean of darkness to bits. "Now If you wouldn't mind I would like to blew, and if you wouldn't mind I would like to lose". The currents cut through him, chilling his spine like a patriarch chills a beer before the start of 'the game'. "Love myself, better than you." His nipples tighten up, harder than the vibranium in his claws.

There's a quick couple of pops. The darkness comes to a rolling boil, searing all flesh not under the helmet. Burning through his shag and ringing his nerves like a fianceé, until the helmet offers no protection either. There's a quartet of percussive clicks that grab Logan by the ears and drag him face first into the furious atmosphere that abused the rest of his body. He could see the world beyond the grainy footage that had been fed to him. He was alive, or something like that.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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St. Helier Hospital

Kristen Prescott looked up from her copy of The Sun when she heard the moans. At any other place in the hospital, the sounds of pain would be business as usual. But Kristen was the night nurse at St. Helier’s coma ward. These blokes were vegetables, none of them had made a sound in years. She was just here in case of an emergency. Of course there had never been an emergency. All twelve of these men and women had no chance of ever recovering.

She stood and gingerly walked towards the beds. She was surprised to find the source of the moaning was Gerald Lambeth. Lambeth was the longest serving member of the ward. He’d already been a fixture in the ward when Kristen had started fifteen years ago. He'd been just a teenager when Kristen started working here. Now, he was in his early 30's and had spent more time in a coma than he ever had alive and a awake. Of all the hopeless cases, he was the most hopeless.

Or so it seemed.

She leaned forward to look at the man in the bed. There wasn’t much to look at. He’d been in a coma most of his life, his body and limbs shriveled by atrophy. His once thick head of hair was now balding and a thick beard was on his chin. A girl came in once every week to shave the coma men, and she was past due it seemed. Kristen got close and listened. Lambeth moaned again. It sounded like…

“Help!” he shouted in a husky voice. His eyes snapped open and he coughed blood.

Kristen hadn’t stuck around to see the blood or his eyes open. As soon as he shouted for help, she had bolted to the nearest nursing station. Let her boss and the doctors sort this one out. She didn’t get paid enough for this freaky shit.

"John Constantine," he shouted as Kristen kept running. "John Constantine!"


The Tate Club

“John Constantine,” Clarice Sackville said to the rest of the mages of the Tate Club. “Remember that name and keep at it, darlings.”

A cough from Jack Hawksmoor drew her attention for a moment. It was deep and lasting and Hawksmoor wiped phlegm and blood from the back of his hand before looking sheepishly at Clarice. Map shot Jack a questioning look, but didn't press the issue. If Hawksmoor thought he was fooling anyone, he was sorely mistaken.

“The body is weak, but the spirit is willing," said Jack. "Isn’t that what counts?”

“Remember,” Clarice announced to the rest of the group. She swallowed hard and resisted the urge to gag as she spoke the next few words: “Concentrate upon John Constantine and spread the legend:... he is the strongest mage in the history of London.”


The Underland

The grey van carrying the football hooligans crumbled under the force of John’s shield spell. The little boy they had been chasing hunkered down somewhere behind John as the two hooligans spilled out the van. One of them had a massive gash on his forehead from slamming into the steering wheel. He blinked and stared at John, not bothering to wipe away the blood pouring down his face.

“Oi,” he slurred at John. “Who you support?”

“Liverpool,” John said as he knocked the man to the ground with the heel of his boot.

The one with the knife started towards John and the boy. He was in better shape than his friend, though still banged up. It didn’t matter to John. He could be in perfect shape, able to bend steel bars with his bare hands. Physical strength didn't matter one bit in the Underland.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?” the hooligan asked.

“John Constantine, innit?” John said with a mocking grin. The look of terror on the hooligan’s face said it all. “See, even a little fucking tulpa parasite like you knows who I am. I’m the most powerful mage who ever walked the streets of London, mate. Doesn’t matter if it’s a load of shite, enough people believe it. And in this place…”

A green ball of fire appeared in his right hand. It flickered and rose in power until a miniature roaring fire was held in the palm of his hand.

“Belief is power… innit.”

With the flick of his fingers, the fireball shot from his palm and engulfed the hooligan in the emerald fire. Within a few seconds, the deranged West Ham fan was a pile of bones and ash. John turned away from it and looked over at the boy. He was now cowering beside a postbox and watching John wearily.

“You alright then?” John asked.

“What’s going on?” he asked. “Where am I? Where’s my mum and dad? Why is no one here? Those two cunts chased me ‘round and ‘round for hours and nobody heard me yelling!”

“Steady on,” said John. “You’re in a place that’s kind of like… being asleep, yeah? It’s a dream of the city. When London sleeps, this is what she dreams. How long have you been down here, son?”

“Like I said, hours.”

John eyed his clothes. The trainers were out of fashion by at least a decade. He knew some kids got off on dressing retro, he personally felt pride and hope that the 80’s were coming back into fashion, but this boy was too young to be dressing ironically.

“A few hours?” John nodded and lit up a fresh cigarette. “Alright, how about we send you home?”

He snapped his fingers and the boy was gone. Whatever waited for him on the outside world, John was sure it would be a rude awakening indeed. He pressed on through the streets of the Underland. Even though London was asphalt, the roads here were cobblestone. This was someone’s idea of London and not the real thing. Like a funhouse mirror, the image of London was distorted and twisted.

The shroud of a man in a tophat and duster stalked John from the shadows. He could feel the man’s eyes upon him. After a few blocks, John turned to face him. The man grinned manically and flashed a long razorblade with an ivory handle. He looked nothing like the real thing, but he looked like what people imagined Jack the Ripper would look like.

“Piss off,” John said, conjuring a blast of mystic energy. It exploded at the man’s feet as he scampered off.

“The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing! I’ll kill again!"

“Fucking Jack the Ripper,” John muttered under his breath. “Of course you’d be down here.”

He started back on his journey. Something was calling to him, begging him to come forward with each step he took. It was coming from where the River Thames would be if he were in London proper. At a bridge he could see the Underland’s version of the Thames. Like the sky, it was a pea green color. John could see chunks of body parts floating through the waters towards parts unknown.

“The Thames,” a voice said from behind John. “It’s always been a dumping ground. Where London gets rid of its dirty little secrets.”

John spun on his heels. He was face to face with a man dressed in a toga. His thick beard was salt and pepper, and the crown on his head was a tarnished copper that was slowly turning green. He stared down his Roman nose at John, his eyes sparkling in curiosity. He looked oddly familiar to John. He’d seen him somewhere before. He just couldn’t place where.

“Little secrets like me,” he said with a placid smile. "Hello, John Constantine. Not London born but a child of the city all the same."

"Who the bleeding hell are you?"

"The cause of all your trouble, I'm afraid." His soft smile became a large grin. "You see, I'm the one killing Jack Hawksmoor."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Lord Wraith
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Lord Wraith Indefinite Hiatus

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

S A T U R D A Y, J U L Y 2 8T H, 2 0 1 8 - 1 0 : 4 4 a m | M C N A L L Y ‘ N S O N S F A R M

That had actually hurt.

It was the first time that Thor had felt pain since his fight with Creel. No other battle between then and now had caused him to break a sweat, Earth’s metahumans were still green, still new to their abilities but for Thor it was like waking up for a long slumber.

Picking himself up, Thor looked down at his torso, his armor was scorched and even pierced where the socereress’ magic had struck him. His ribs were tender, perhaps even bruised, he noted as Thor gingerly placed a hand to his side. But before he had a chance to retaliate, Thor was drawn out of the collapsing barn, pulled through the air before being suspended at the mercy of the Enchantress as she wrapped a hand around his chin, squeezing his cheeks as she looked him over like a prized piece of meat.

“Really?” She stated as her green eyes peered deep into his stormy blues, “Nothing? You don’t remember me at all?” Suddenly a smile crossed her face as she turned Thor’s head to look him directly in his right eye.

“No, I can see it now. Your memory is scattered, fragmented by a pain far more powerful than your body could possibly process no matter how long you live.” She emitted a gleeful giggle before releasing Thor as she pushed him back through the air.

“You have died.”

The words were like a knife between his ribs as Thor saw flashes of fire in his mind’s eye. Searing pain raced down his back as the fallen lindwyrm morphed into something else as his eyes rolled into the back of his head. Acidic venom dripped from above as two long fangs hung over his head, an unhinged jaw ready to close on him at any moment as Thor flinched the second it moved only to realize there was nothing but the sorceress who was still peering into his mind.

“Shame, someone repressed all those juicy memories.” The witch pouted. “Nevertheless, I’ll still have my fun.” She nodded her head, slamming Thor was into the ground before he was quickly whipped into the air, his body moving in a crescent arc before drove into the grass and dirt of the field, a shockwave emitting from the impact as the sorceress looked on grinning.

“Strongest of the Asgardians, yet look at you now.” The sorceress taunted. “I guess all the rumors were true, you are nothing without your hammer.”


A rumble roared overhead as rain began to fall. Laughter echoed across the field as Amora emitted a web of viridian from her hand as Thor was sent careening across the wet grass while she continued to taunt her foe.

“What are you intending to do?” She asked with a sneer, “Melt me? Wrong witch!” She hissed as she drew her fingers apart, emerald waves swirling between her hands only to be interrupted as a lightning bolt plummeted from the sky, striking her.

Standing free of the Enchantress’ assault, Thor ripped the remnants of his tattered cape from his shoulders as he walked towards the woman defiantly, another bolt of lightning striking the sorceress as she screamed out in pain.

“I am Thor, the Son of Odin, the God of Thunder.” Thor boasted as he cracked his knuckles while continuing his approach.

“Heir to the Throne of Asgard, Protector of the Nine Realms, Bj-” As the next bolt of lightning was about to strike the woman in green, the witch suddenly redirected the blast, the brilliant blue bolt changing to a venomous green, as it struck Thor in the shoulder. The bolt pierced through Thor’s armor, dropping the Lord of Battle to his knees as the wound continued to spread like a poison, burning him to the bone. Crying out in pain, the sorceress screamed in triumphant laughter as she looked down on her fallen foe.

“Your father only saw me as an Enchantress, but I am Amora, and you would do well to remember my name. Teach it to Hel for I’ll be sending all of Midgard’s men to her, then Asgard’s and finally, your father.” She taunted while standing over Thor.

Fighting to stand, Thor swung a fist at Amora, but it met nothing but empty air as she stepped aside. Retaliating, Amora raised her hands, extending her pointing fingers as she began to torture Thor.

“You are defeated, little God of Thunder! Pay your father’s sins!” She yelled triumphantly as Thor continued to struggle. “Give up! No one shy of the Sorcerer Supreme could even stand a chance against me, let alone one washed up Son of Odin.”

“But I can!”

Thor looked up for the source of the voice but it seemed it could only have come from Amora herself. Watching the Enchantress stagger backward, Thor found himself unable to look away as Amora’s blonde hair shifted to brown and back again. Her face, clothes, and body changed as though someone else was trying to get out. A scream of desperation came forth from the woman before Thor, but the scream contained within it two voices, each fighting against the other. Suddenly the tight bodice became a hoodie and Thor was helpless to stop Amora as the woman disappeared altogether, the only thing remaining was a small laminated card that had fallen from the other woman’s hoodie.

With a groan, Thor fumbled forward, forcing himself to move as he hobbled towards the object as it drifted towards the ground. Reaching out for the card, Thor grasped it between his fingers before nearly falling over. Regaining his balance, Thor lifted the card to his face as he began to read it.

“Star City Transit pass.” Blake groaned, pocketing the pass as he transformed back into his jeans and shirt.

Slumping his back against a nearby fence, his body protested any further movements as he slowly lowered himself to the damp ground. Blake reached into his pocket, fetching out his cell phone as he entered three numbers into the dialer. The sound of the call connecting crackled in his ear as Blake coughed to clear his throat.

“9-1-1. this call is being recorded. Please state the nature of the emergency,” A surly man’s voice answered as Blake raised his pitch.

“This is Ted McNally, Sheriff Lamb responded to a call at my father’s farm but he’s been attacked, the attacker was a woman with blonde hair dressed all in green. She seems to have fled but the Sheriff isn’t moving.”

“Emergency services are on their way. Please remain on the line.”

Hanging the phone up, Blake tried to stand, but every muscle in his body protested. It felt as though his blood was boiling as it coursed through his veins, pain searing in rhythm with his beating heart. Placing a hand under his shirt, Blake felt his injured shoulder, pulling his hand back in surprise as something wet and warm touched washed over it. Looking down at his hand, Blake was taken aback at seeing his own blood for the first time. It steamed and bubbled in the damp air as Blake lay defeated against the fence.

“Not here, not today.” A gruff voice ordered as a hand nearly as large as his own was extended in front of Blake. Taking it, Blake felt himself pulled to his feet as he came face to face with the hawk-like eyes of the taller man.

“Who are-” Blake began to ask as the other man shook his hand and braced Blake on his shoulder.

“No time for that now, we need to get you out of here.”

“Where?” Blake asked, his eyelids threatening to close at any moment as the other man practically began to drag him across the field.

“Somewhere safe.”

° ° ° °


That was the first thing that crossed Blake’s mind as his eyes fluttered open. The light scent of vanilla and cinnamon wisped past his nose as the bright light of a new morning sun blinded his barely open eyes. Familiar walls painted warm colors only did little to reduce the brightness of the sun as Blake moved to sit up only for a firm hand to push him back against the bed.

Enchantress…” He muttered hazily, Thor urging him to get up but his blood still burned, the magic had cursed his every fiber of his being as Blake rolled his head to the side, his eyes meeting blonde hair as he suddenly jolted back in his bed, thunder boomed outside before suddenly dissipating as familiar hazel eyes stared into his own.

“Your mother tells me that you went your whole life without so much as a scratch and yet in the past month you’ve gone out of your way to try and get yourself killed.” Barbara chided as she sat on the edge of their bed, giving his hand a concerned squeeze. Returning her concern with a sigh of relief and a smile like the first sun after a storm, Blake cleared his throat.

“Tell Lamb to call Animal Control next time.”

Barbara let out a reluctant chuckle as she playfully swatted Blake before immediately regretting it as she watched him wince in pain. Gently caressing the spot she had swatted, Barbara locked eyes with Blake as she spoke.

“I see your sense of humor is intact,” She smiled briefly before beginning her cross-examination as the look in her eyes quickly shifted. “Why don’t you tell me what the hell happened out there, hun?”

“I-,” Blake started, struggling to sit up as he tried to speak. “I don’t think you’d believe me if I told you.” He smiled as Barbara rolled her eyes before returning his smile with an insincere one of her own.

“Oh trust me, I saw the carcass, try me.”

“Oh that,” Blake rolled his eyes. “No, that wasn’t the problem, no, Amora was.” He answered, the name still ringing in his ears. Blake could practically feel Thor trying to force his way out at the mention of her name, his lust for revenge nearly overwhelming any sense of control that Blake thought he had.

“Blonde hair, green clothes, straight out of a Renaissance fair?” Barbara asked with a raised eyebrow. “Yeah, we heard about her.” She added before a look of confusion crossed her face. “If she did this to you, how’d Lamb get off easy.”

“Beats me,” Blake lied.

“Alright,” Barbara replied in a measured tone that said she didn’t quite believe him. “Better question then, why the fuck are we not in a hospital right now?” She asked, her tone barely remaining civil as it became clear that Blake’s avoidance was trying what little patience she had for him at this moment.

“You were asleep for over twenty-four hours and that wound is healing far faster than it has any right to. I also don’t appreciate calls from your cell phone where another man tells me where to pick you up and I find you like this, barely conscious and the only thing you manage to tell me is, ‘no hospitals’. Are you fuckin’ kidding me, Blake?” She paused to take a minute to compose herself.

“Nothing has been the same since Creel.”

“I don’t think anything will be the same.” Blake’s eyes widened as the words just came out of his mouth. But it wasn’t Thor speaking, it was him. These were his words, his thoughts and now he’d have to explain them as Barbara shot him a look that was full of hurt and confusion.

“I-” Blake stammered, choosing his words carefully, but the damage was likely already done as Barbara stood up.

“I have to go to work, Blake.”

“I love you.” He replied as Barbara paused, keeping her back to Blake as she allowed him to speak.

“That will never change.” He continued as Barbara turned her head, her blonde hair spilled down either side, parting to allow one eye to meet Blake’s.

“If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s us, Barbara. And I don’t want any of this craziness to come between us. I guess I foolishly thought the world changing wouldn’t affect Marville but yet here we are with our own superhero. I guess I got caught up in the rush, thought I’d help Thor out and twice now it’s backfired on me.”

Turning back, Barbara took her seat on the edge of the bed again as she looked towards him before speaking.

“Blake…” Barbara caressed the side of his face, her fingers slowly dragging along the fledgling beard on his cheeks as she locked eyes with him.

“You are the bravest man I know, you don’t have anything to prove to me by playing hero. No matter who you are, there’s one thing that will always be constant, my love for you.” Her lips moved towards his before she suddenly paused.

“But!” She stated, pressing a finger to his lips. “You have got to promise me that you’ll stop trying to get yourself killed.”

“Deal,” Blake replied with a relieved smile as Barbara pressed her lips onto his. He pressed back as their mouths began to move faster, Barbara playfully bit at his lip, Blake’s hands found their way to her hips before suddenly she pulled her mouth free and pushed his hands off.

“I have to go to work.” She teased as she stood before pointing to Blake’s shoulder. “And you need to rest.” She emphasized waving her finger at the wound. Watching her turn to leave, Blake cleared his throat as Barbara paused giving Blake a look as she realized where his gaze had gone.


“Before I retire from the hero business entirely,” Blake stated playfully, pausing while Barbara turned around and took a step back towards the bed, a raised eyebrow indicating her slight amusement.

“Can you find out who this belongs to?” Blake asked holding up the transit pass as Barbara took the card with a confused look on her face masking the slight disappointment she felt.

“I think Amora is holding her against her will, maybe you could put out a BOLO for her or at least confirm if she’s been reported missing?” Blake said with a shrug as Barbara shook her head.

“I’ll see what I can do.” She answered taking the card. “Now if that's all, get some rest.”
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Morden Man
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Morden Man

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Baxter Building, New York

It was the morning. At least, Ben Grimm thought it was the morning. He rolled over in his bed to see that the clock had just struck seventeen minutes past ten. He’d spent his evening helplessly watching what morsels of footage they received at the Baxter Building of Superman and the Flash battle against the Silver Surfer. When they had gone to bed, the Surfer had been downed – but they weren’t sure how long it would be until his master would be upon them. In short, Ben wasn’t sure whether there would be a world to wake up to if he went to sleep last night. He was glad to see that there was.

The Thing climbed up from his specially-reinforced bed and made his way towards his en suite bathroom. After a hurried shower he stood before a large mirror and brushed his pearly white teeth. There was a shaving foam dispenser beside the taps that Grimm tapped with a smile. He slathered the foam on the lower half of his face and chuckled at his reflection before washing it away and heading down to the kitchen.

There waiting for him on the counter was a baloney sandwich with a handwritten note from Sue. He glanced at it but the sound of football from the living room distracted him and he set the note down, picked up the baloney sandwich, and headed to the source of the noise.

Guy Gardner was sat on living room sofa with a root beer in his hand. On the television, highlights from the Gotham Knights-Metropolis Meteors game earlier that morning were playing. The ginger-haired SHIELD agent nodded in acknowledgement and handed the Thing a root beer as he plonked himself on the sofa beside him.

“What the hell happened to you?” Ben asked as he noticed the shiner below Gardner’s eye. “You look like a bag of crap.”

“I feel like one too,” Guy said curtly as he tracked the path of a deep pass on the television screen.

Unsatisfied by the shortness of the answer he’d received, Ben cleared his throat and leaned towards Gardner with an expectant look. Guy let out a sigh as the deep pass fell to the ground incomplete, felt the weight of Ben’s gaze on him, and let out a sigh as he prepared to recount a tale he was clearly reluctant to tell.

“The world’s ending and I see a bunch of kids trying to loot a mom-and-pop convenience store. Do I say to myself ‘screw it, they’re probably insured’ and leave them to it? Of course not. I figure I can go talk some sense into the little bastards. Turns out I was wrong.”

To Guy’s surprise, Ben’s craggy features did not move an inch. They were perfectly still for the first few seconds as if he was trying to process the information that Guy had just unloaded. Then a particularly conspicuous-looking frown appeared on the Thing’s face and he set down the bottle of root beer with care.

“You’re telling me that big, bad SHIELD agent Guy Gardner got his ass handed to him by a bunch of snot-nosed punks?”

Gardner nodded sheepishly.

Ben erupted into a fit of laughter that was so sudden it made Guy flinch. There was a look of genuine mirth on Grimm’s face as his shoulders bounced up and down uncontrollably. After a good thirty to forty seconds of uninterrupted laughter, Ben slowly began to calm down. In the corner of his famous blue eyes a few tears had collected. His orange digits scraped them away as he let out a contented sigh.

“Oh man, that is too good to be true.”

Guy shook his head disapprovingly as he took a swig from the bottle in his hand. “What was I supposed to do?”

“If they’re old enough to loot, they’re old enough to get their asses whooped,” Ben shrugged. “Heh, you try and pull that kind of thing on Yancy Street and you might get more than your ass whooped.”

For the first time since they had met, Grimm saw something change in Gardner – the bravado, that chutzpah that he possessed in spades, melted away and was replaced not with fear or anxiety, but something much deeper than that. He wasn’t sure what he’d hit upon but he knew that he’d hit upon something.

“Beating on kids isn’t my style,” the SHIELD agent muttered before turning back to the screen.

Sensing that he’d struck a nerve, Ben rejoined Guy in watching the highlights. He alternated swigs of root beer and bites of the baloney sandwich that Sue had prepared for him in the morning. It wasn’t until Grimm was halfway through the thing that he’d remembered there had been a note from Sue attached to it – and that he hadn’t seen her all morning.

There was a note of concern in Ben’s voice that he did his best to mask. “Have you seen Suzie?”

“She left for Washington this morning,” Guy responded nonchalantly without so much as looking away from the television.

“Washington?!” Ben hollered as he let the baloney sandwich drop to the ground. “What for?”

The SHIELD agent shrugged his shoulders.

“Said she wanted to give Hill a piece of her mind in person.”

Ben’s eyes widened in shock. “And you just let her go?”

“What can I say?” Guy said with a mischievous smile. “I’d already had my ass handed to me once and didn’t quite feel like having it happen a second time. Plus I’m here to stop the four of you from getting yourselves into trouble, not to stop the Fürher from getting chewed out.”

Gardner reached down, picked up the baloney sandwich, and blew on it to clean it of dust. He bit down on it greedily and sank back into the sofa with a contented smile. Ben let out a chuckle as he imagined the world of hurt that was coming Maria Hill’s way and then gestured to Gardner to pass him another bottle.

Guy cracked it open and Ben took a hearty glug from it before letting a smile cross his lips. “You know what? You’re not too bad, Carrot Top.”

The two men shared a fraternal smile. It was cut short by the sudden appearance of a familiar sign on the screen in front of them. The football highlights had given way to breaking news footage taken from a helicopter high above New York. Emblazoned in the sky was a sign familiar to Ben Grimm, but not Guy Gardner – it was Spider-Man’s mask. Floating in the sky beside it was none other than the Human Torch.

“Fuck,” Guy muttered as he stood up. He brushed crumbs from his lap and looked towards Ben. “Looks like the two of us are going for a ride.”
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by DocTachyon
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DocTachyon Teenage Neenage Neetle Teetles

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”The Ranchero of Miracle Mesa” - Riders on the Storm: Part One

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


New York City, New York --- The Offices of Ramon J. Solomano; Last Night

“FUCK! Fucky fucking fuckity fu-u-u-u-ck!” Roman J. Solomano threw himself back into his chair, screaming bloody murder and clutching his scarred hand. The door at the opposite end of the room exploded open. Big Caesar burst in, gun at the ready.

“Boss? What’s going on?”

“My goddamn hand you imbecile!” Solomano’s right hand grabbed where his left pinky should have been, where there was a bloody stump instead. Tears flowed down the mob boss’s face.

“What happened?” Big Caesar took a step back, hastily holstering his weapon.

“Fuck if I know…” Solomano muttered through gritted teeth. He grabbed a handkerchief from his suit coat and wrapped it around his missing digit.

The blood dripping from the suddenly missing finger began to dance on Solomano’s desk. Revolving around and around and forming itself into a neat little circle. The circle drew itself up, into a six inch representation of a humanoid creature. The horns that curled from its head dripped blood. Solomano looked on in horror. The impling smiled and reached inside of itself, producing Solomano’s missing digit. The tut-tut-tut noise that came from its mouth reverberated throughout the room.

”You have failed me once, Roman J. Solomano.” The six inch figure seemed to grow and distort, reaching up into the sky and towering over Solomano, dripping blood onto his forehead.

Solomano stared up into the maw of the monster, clutching his hand and fighting back the sobs.

”Your agent has been defeated. Four more little fingers on that hand of yours...” The demon’s claws reached down, plucking up Solomano’s hand from his side. It pressed the removed pinky into its stump, only to watch the philange turn to dust and fade away.
”Make them count.” And like that, it was done. All at once the mass of blood lost animation and dropped in a wave, drenching Solomano and Big Caesar.

Solomano took long, shaky breaths, staring at his missing finger. Rage boiled in his eyes.

“Bring me… As many men as you can round up. Tell them I’ll give them fuckin superpowers.” Solomano grunted. His hands struggled with his desk drawer, trying to wrench it open as Big Caesar nodded and hurried out of the room.

There was the snap of wood as Solomano ripped the drawer off its rollers, scattering its contents across the blood slick floor. He groped among the objects, searching for his tome. He produced the leathery, black volume from the pile of viscera and slammed into onto the desk. He threw it open to the table of contents and began wordlessly searching for what he needed.

“Page six hundred thirty four… Induced possession...”

Warpath, Texas; Today

Greg Saunders didn’t much remember going to sleep. There was a haze over his mind… The voices had quieted, contented with the chaos that they had wrought. He remembered a horde of people. Not people, things. Things that used to be the people he loved.

He looked at them now, a loose collection of the citizenry of Warpath. A proud Texas town reduced to a pile of wooden dummies. They stared into the sun with blank eyes, content to let the elements weather them. For long hours he sat, pondering them. Trying to recollect the exact details of what had happened. He remembered… Throwing them. FIghting them. Why? The one thing he really remembered was the corpse.

The lifeless body of The Dummy hung off The Crossroads Saloon, swaying with the subtle changes in the wind. He hadn’t hung long. He died quick, like his body was trying its best to shake of its mortal coil. As soon as he did the wood drained from his skin like it wasn’t there in the first place. But the people still remained obstinately wooden. If he were still alive, maybe he could’ve brought them back. But maybe it was permanent, and The Dummy was content to let Greg and the rest suffer in their prisons. Until Greg got out.

He still wasn’t sure what to call that… Thing that had sprung forth from his body. The creature that had tortured his dreams and leapt out of his body to kill a man. Greg had a vague recollection of it as “The Spirit”, or “Vengeance”. Whatever the Hell it was, he was content to let it lie tied up in his mind. Thanks to it, The Dummy was dead, and he had nothing to question. To figure out if Warpath was still alive. Piece together what the hell that “Trident” was. To find out who hired him. If more were coming.

He shook off the possibility. At this point, all that was left to do was put out the call for the rest of the Soldiers to come back, see what they had found. If it would help the town. Or take down the bastards that did it.

His dreams that night were stranger than what had come before. Somehow it seemed all the more real. The senseless place around him was gone, replaced with a dim recreation of Warpath. Phantom citizens milled about, content with their day to day tasks. Williams and Billy Gunn played cards with what of a City Watch they’d assembled. Jonah Hex spoke with the local horse breeder. Jed Thompsen and Claire Morten walked hand in hand down the main thoroughfare. Good, clean, Texas living. No threats of Demons hung over their heads, the air seemed fresh and clean. The only problem was the one man he’d never seen before, the one thing that seemed really solid among the ghosts.

He wore a leather biker jacket, adorned with spikes that seemed to have been broken off and glued back on a dozen times. His blue jeans were worn, with that color bleed around the lower leg that came from holding ‘em close to a motorcycle engine too long. His mop of blonde hair just rubbed the tops of his shoulders, and he had a rough beard, the kind that long haul truckers grew. He stood about a gaggle of people, leaned up against a wicked cherry red motorcycle. His eyes caught on Greg’s. His baby blues twinkled in recognition. He waved the crowd away and began to make his way to Greg.

“Greg Saunders? My name is Johnny Blaze, and I believe you’re in great danger.” He extended a hand.

Greg tried to lift himself out of his seat and shake, but it was like his body wasn’t there. He fumbled awkwardly around the armrests, trying to push himself up. It felt like being underwater. Johnny rested a hand on his shoulder.

“It’s okay. The, uh, dreams take a while to get used to. To control, that is.” Johnny pulled up a chair from across the porch, dragging it to sit across from Greg. He leaned into the chair, wringing his hands together.

“Look, I know this is kind of fucking nuts. That’s what I thought too, when it was me.” He said. He ran a hand through his blonde locks.

“I… What…?” It was a struggle to force the words out. It was like learning to talk again.

“Look, this is going to be a lot to take in, so I’m going to give you the CliffsNotes version. I used to be host to that thing giving your heard the runaround, Mephisto is after something called The Trident of Lucifer, and another gang of guys is gearing up to take it from you right now.” Johnny rubbed his temples. “Worst part is I don’t think you’re really ready to deal with what’s coming.”

“I-I don’t have…?” The words seemed to fall out of his mouth in a jumble.

“Yeah, that’s what I can’t put my finger on. Far as I know, last person to have that thing was Astaroth, and nobody knows where the Hell he is.” Johnny looked up into Greg’s eyes. Glazed over, uncomprehending. “Uh… Here. Maybe this will help.” Johnny put his hands on Greg’s head and his world exploded into color.

This place wasn’t entirely unlike what Greg had experienced when he was inside the thing. It seemed smaller, focused. He stood on some kind of dias, and a small collection of seats rose up and away from him in a semicircle. It was populated with all sorts of people, as the rows went on and on. Victorian gentleman, pirates, ninjas, and Greg was fairly certain he saw a caveman towards the back. Johnny Blaze sat in the seat closest to him, kicking his feet up upon the divider, looking down at Greg.

“What in Sam--” Greg paused for a moment, startled by his own voice. He shook his head. ”What in Sam Hill is this place?”

“This,” Johnny made a sweeping gesture with his hands, to the collection of men and women before him, “is the Council of Riders.” Johnny grinned. “Er, at least, that’s what I’ve been calling it.”

“The Council of-? Aw, heck, I’ve seen stranger darn things.” Greg realized his hands had been resting on the handles of his guns. He moved them into his pockets. “Look, fellers, I don’t much know who any of y’all are, or what you want from me. But I...” Greg looked down at the ground. He swallowed. ”I could use some help.”

“We’ll try our best, mi amigo.” A spanish accent rose out of the collection of people. A man in a red mask and black outfit spoke up. There was a whip at his hip, and revolvers in his holsters.

“Thanks, Diablo.” Johnny said to the man, further up the forum. He shot him a thumbs up. The spaniard rolled his eyes. Johnny turned back to Greg. “Look, all of us were inhabited by this… Thing. The thing that’s giving you trouble right now. It’s gone by a lot of names. When I had it, it was The Ghost Rider. When El Diablo up there had it, it was, well, also El Diablo. Grak way in the back just called it ‘Anger’.” Johnny waved to the caveman in the back, who idly scraped at the divider separating him from the lower rows. He snorted in response. “Ever since it got us, we’ve been kept inside it. Damned to advise the next inheritor of the thing for all eternity.”

”I’d like you help y’all out of your predicament, but I got my hands a little full, and I ain’t really seein’ how this is helpin’, all due respect.” Vig offered his hands, palm up. ”I just need to fix things. An’ give Mephisto what’s coming to him.” The caveman in the back whooped. There was a smattering of applause. Johnny raised a hand to silence them.

“Yeah, we all tried our best to get back at that cocksucker. But before you get your crack at it, well… We think something’s coming. A group of somethings.” Johnny Blaze rubbed the back of his neck. “And we think it might be more than you can handle. Especially since you don’t have a handle on The Rider.”

Vig shook his head. ”I can handle myself just fine without that thing. Sheriff Saunders didn’t raise no slouch, no sir.” Greg crossed his arms defiantly.

Johnny sighed. “It’s The Bounty Hunters. A collection of lost and damned souls who owe debt to Mephisto, crammed into human bodies and baying for the blood of The Rider, or anyone else that Mephisto fingers for death.” Johnny rested his chin on his hands. “There are dozens of them. Seems like there’s more every go around.”

”I’ve handled worse.” Greg said. ”Figure I can make them fix the, uh… Dummification situation?”

“That’s something else we don’t know about. Near as we can tell, they’re not dead. At least, not yet. We would’ve felt something, their spirits crying out for vengeance, some indication that they were trying to pass on. They’re still alive, but we don’t really know how to bring them out of it. You’d need an occultist, or something.” Blaze shrugged. “Tell you the truth, most of us were wanderers. We never really had to deal with mystic stuff on this order, before. It’s mostly been straight shooting.”

Greg nodded. ”So there’s a chance.” Greg looked Blaze in the eyes. The man nodded. Greg smiled. He felt a peculiar sensation, starting by his toes and traveling up his body to his spine. He looked down. Bit by bit he was melting away, motes of flesh being whisked away and fading into the light. ”I -- what’s happenin’?”

Blaze swore to himself. “You’re waking up. Look, here’s the need to know. The Dummy, and these Bounty Hunters, they reek of Mephisto. But there’s something else, we can’t identify it. There’s another player, find out who the hell he is! And why he thinks you have the tri--”

And he was awake.

It was gruelling work, setting up the town. All Vig could do now was hope it was worth it. All the dummy-people, sequestered away, hidden under sands, in outhouses, all kindsa spots. All sorts of traps and armaments too -- every bottle he could scrounge from the Saloon had become a molotov cocktail. Hell, turned out even in dummification, Billy Gunn was helping. Vig found a note on his desk that morning, gone unnoticed from the day The Dummy came to town:

Posted an ad on ‘vigilante.net’. Supposed to be some kind of network for wandering heroes and the like. Don’t figure it’d be much, but maybe someone can find the time to come out and help us.

The body of The Dummy lay outside in warning. Vig stood in town square, leaning up against a post. He had as many revolvers as he could find; four on the front and back of his hips, two in shoulder holsters, and another two strapped to his chest. He rested his pump shotgun against his shoulder.

”Yippie ki-yay, motherfuckers. Your move.”
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Supermaxx
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Supermaxx dumbass

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Brenda and Paco star in...The Runaway: Issue #8
Previous Issue

Washington, D.C

Brenda and Paco were too busy banging their heads to the pounding beat of the radio to notice reality snapping like a twig in front of them. Fifty feet ahead of their van, a decuplet of razor sharp, midnight black digits were cutting a hole in this fragile existence. The horizon where the road met the sky rolled and frayed like the edges of a piece of paper. Further the claws dug, revealing the blinding crimson sky of the other side. It bubbled and pulsated, akin to a body drowned in cancerous tumors.

Paco hadn't noticed it until he saw a flash of bark and leaves dominating the windshield. Before he could so much as let out a scream, the entire vehicle heaved, the front portion buckling underneath the sudden impact. Searing pain shot along the front of his torso from the seat belt digging into his skin to keep Paco from flying out of the window, sheets of broken glass scattering along the interior of the car.

Blood seeped down his forehead, crawling across one of his half-closed eyelids. Everything felt murky, as if he'd been submerged in milky water. A voice called out his name from beyond the fog.


Was that Brenda? Was she alright? Why...why couldn't he feel anything?


An ear-piercing shriek sliced through the heavy numbness clouding his mind. Paco threw his eyes open, allowing reality to slam back into him. He was pressing squarely back against his seat, several branches of an oak tree inches from piercing through his face. Bark, glass, dirt and leaves covered his lap. There was a stinging pain in his shoulders and the front of his head, but that didn't matter; he needed to find Brenda.

"B-brenda?" He coughed and sputtered, tasting blood on his tongue. He ran his fingers along the door, searching for the handle. There was another scream, though that one was different from the sheer terror he'd heard a second ago. Finally his fingers found purchase, and Paco shoved, forcing the van to open.

"What...What happened? Brenda?" He tumbled out of the car when he managed to get the seat belt undone. Every inch of his body burned and ached. Even as his hands and knees hit the asphalt, Paco felt like his skull might implode on itself. Rising to his feet was a monumental effort, and he couldn't do it on his own- he had to lean heavily upon the bent and contorted frame of the vehicle beside him for support. But he had to get up- he had to check on Brenda. "Please...please be alright.." He sputtered, limping toward the front of the car.

He came around just in time to watch Brenda get her head slammed against the pavement.

The branch she had clutched in her hand fell away from her weakening fingers, consciousness slipping away as blood seeped from her cracked skull. A figure draped in black stood over her, his shoulders heaving with each rasped breath.

He was shorter than Paco by several inches, and leaner, yet that didn't make him any less terrifying: for, after staring at the man for several seconds, Paco realized that it was barely a man at all. The dark clothes clinging to his slight form were alive. Ruminating, swirling like the inky blackness between stars. A thick cloak danced and twirled in the windless air, a sound like bubbling flesh following behind it's sickeningly impossible form.

Paco froze like a deer in the headlights, his eyes shifting erratically between his fallen friend and the monstrous attacker standing over her. His mind and body pulled him in two different directions: Paco desperately wanted to rush in to help Brenda, yet the sight of those wicked claws drained all the courage from his heart and the color from his cheeks.

That decision was made for him when the monstrous thing turned and looked into his soul with a smile of sadistic, otherworldly delight. "˙ɯǝɥʇ ʞɐǝɹᙠ" It spoke in a tongue of garbled static.

Engulfed in crippling shame, Paco ran.

Hot tears clung to the contorts of his rounded, young face, even as he crossed the street at a dead sprint. Arms pumping beside him, his feet tearing apart grass, he made for the fence surrounding one of many sizeable suburban homes on either side of the block. He...he wasn't running because he was scared. No, he knew he couldn't fight that thing- so he had to...call the police! He had to get to a phone and get help! What else could Paco do but run?

What else? he thought with hot bile threatening to spill from his throat.

Clearing the fence in a leap, he charged through the backyard and toward the house's door. Paco knew it'd be locked even as he tugged violently upon the doorknob. It stuck hard and fast, even when he slammed his shoulder up against it. "HELP!" Paco screeched, a fist pounding against the pristine wood. "Somebody help me, p-please!"

A sound like a popping blister resonated behind him, but Paco didn't notice it: for in that same moment the door was thrown open from the other side and he went tumbling into an unfamiliar kitchen.

Yellowing wallpaper and old, ugly tiling on the floors met his reddened eyes as he searched for some sign of his savior. Standing above him was an old man, a worried and perplexed look on his face. "You alright, son? Looks like your car's right messed up out there-" He held a decrepit hand down, offering to help Paco up from the floor.

Throwing his head from side to side, Paco leapt up, struggling to find his voice. "911!" He blurted out, spinning around to face the closed door. He couldn't hear anyone outside, but he was sure that thing was coming for him. "Call the cops a-and find somewhere to hide!" Sweat dripped from his every pour as Paco searched for somewhere else to go. Somewhere he could hide, or another way to run. The old man looked even more confused, but Paco's words had frightened him into moving as fast as his skeletal legs could carry him.

That pop sounded again, this time from behind him.

Paco didn't get the chance to react before he felt a foot slam against his spine. He was thrown forward, his momentum halted by the frame of the door smacking up against his nose and shattering it like glass.

He brought a hand up to hold it, turning about to face his attacker once more.

"!ɘm q|ɘH"

His own voice played back to him, filling meaningless sounds with that same, desperate croak he'd cried out in earlier.

He didn't have time to react, for by the time he was facing the metahuman, The man of living darkness was already twisting, his foot coming down at an angle to impact against the burly teenager's temple. Paco cried out in pain, his neck thrown to the side as he fell and hit the floor. Another foot sailed for his head, though this time he managed to throw his forearm up in front of it. His arm screamed it's protest, his marrow threatening to split underneath the weight of the blow.

Adrenaline was the only thing that let him scramble to his feet and make for the stairs.

Surprisingly, his attacker didn't lash out. He simply stood by and watched Paco stumble away. The sounds of his own pathetic mewling bounced back to him in a garbled reverse, off-pitch and filled with a heinous, malign mockery of Paco's terror.

"¡ǝsɐǝld-d 'ǝɯ dlǝɥ ʎpoqǝɯoS"

He snapped his eyes shut, half-crawling, half-running up the stairs. He didn't know where he was going. He didn't know why he bothered. But that ever present, howling desire to live brought his hands down upon the steps, driving his body further and further upward until he reached the top.

There was another sickly, fleshy pop, and a pair of amorphous feet of pitch black dominated Paco's vision. He threw himself back with a start, tumbling head-over-heels down the stairwell until the back of his head smacked up against the drywall on the bottom floor. His aching form refused to rise, the pain too great for Paco to do anything but lay there and stare up at his inhuman attacker.

This was it, he realized.

The figure swaddled in breathing void began to descend the stairs, a grin cut across his features face. A hood hid away everything above that wicked set of fangs. Slowly he reached out, letting his long, bony fingers carve lines within the walls as he began to slowly descend toward Paco.

"˙ɯǝɥʇ ʞɐǝɹq ʎɐɯ I ʇɐɥʇ oS ˙dɹɐM 'ǝɯ oʇ ʞɔɐq uǝɹplıɥɔ ǝɥʇ ɓuıɹᙠ" Like a broken voice recorder, he repeated the words of another, mimicking their voice as best his twisted vocal cords could manage. A cackle like that of a psychopathic madman, deranged and unhinged, followed; distorted and impossible as all the rest.

He was halfway down the stairs when the door was thrown open, and a sound like exploding thunder nearly deafened Paco. A spray of buckshot peppered the inky form of the creature as it let out a hideous screech. Space bent around it and it flickered out of existence; that same, disgusting pop heralding it's disappearance. A brief silence fell over the house, until the confused cry of the elderly man hiding in the living room reverberated through the house.

Brenda Del Vecchio pulled back on the pump-action shotgun's slide, an empty shell ejecting onto the tiled floor. Blood stained her neck and dripped down her crimson locks, her expression set with steely fury. "Like I said," she breathed, shooting a glare down at Paco. "Insurance."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Simple Unicycle
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Simple Unicycle ?

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Two Days Later; Afternoon
An Internet Cafe; Little Rock, Arkansas

This afternoon saw me sitting in a cafe, laptop in front of me, cup of coffee to my side, and a bunch of hipsters who think they're the next Steve Jobs or Lex Luthor all around me. I stared at the laptop in front of me, massaging my temples slowly to deal with the massive headache I was getting from this conversation. Gritting my teeth, I typed up a reply.

Castle90: No.
Microchip89: Come on, Frank!
Castle90: No. I'm not answering that ad.
Microchip89: Frank, seriously, this is your chance to team up with another hero, show the world that you're not a bad guy! Get them to trust you a bit!
Castle90: Dave, they don't need to think I'm the good guy. I couldn't care less what they think about me so long as I keep people safe.
Microchip89: And the first step to keeping people safe is letting them know that you are trying to keep them safe.
Castle90: If that means dressing up in tights and helping out other people in tights, that's a hard no for me.
Microchip89: Just check it out. Please?
Microchip89: Please?
Castle90: Fine.
Microchip89: Here's a link to the thread it was posted on: vigilante,net/forum/advertisements/thread#=293

I clicked on the link, being taken to a thread on vigilante.net titled 'Need Help In Warpath, TX'. Hm. The town was less than a day away. Might be worth checking out I suppose. I read the contents, posted by a Bgunn52.

Need Help In Warpath, TX
Posted by BGunn52 3 Days Ago
Please help. Warpath, Texas is under seige. All points bulletin. Need any help we can get. Metahumans. Vigilantes. Heroes.

There were no replies yet. Seems no one really cared or no one had seen it. I clicked the reply button and typed a quick something up.

RE: Need Help In Warpath, TX
Posted by Castle90 <1 Minute Ago
Punisher on it.

With that out of the way, I closed up the laptop and chugged the rest of my coffee, before leaving the cafe. Getting back into my van, I set the laptop down, hopped into the driver's seat, and started the ignition. It took a moment, but eventually the engine purred (well, more cried painfully) to life. Taking in a deep breath, I drove off in the direction of Warpath, Texas.

The Next Day; Morning
Approaching Town; Warpath, Texas

I had stayed up most of the night driving, only spending the time between 1 and 4 AM for a quick nap, in order to arrive at Warpath while the sun was up. It was about 9 AM now, and the town was visible on the horizon, surrounded by the rusted shells of cars, plywood, scrap metal, and all sorts of shit in order to form a sort of wall around it. It took me a bit to travel my way around the debris, occasionally bumping into some with my van.

I pondered why a small town like this would need a vigilante, and, while I was at it, wondered what that vigilante would be like. I imagined they'd be less in favor the typical skintight spandex most of them seem to like, and leaning more towards a 'practical' get-up. Maybe they'd be a cowboy or something, use revolvers with rubber bullets even. Heh. Rubber bullets, yeah, like a hunk of rubber barreling at you at some 2,000 feet per second wouldn't go right through you.

After managing to make my way into the town proper, I parked my van and stepped out, taking a look around. It seemed like I had stepped right back into the 1800s. It wasn't that the town looked old, the buildings seemed rather new, but the way the buildings were set up seemed like it'd fit more in a western movie or something than a 21st century town. I took in a breath of the dry air, already fanning myself slightly from the heat.

I heard the click of a revolver being cocked behind me. I put my hands up slowly.

"What brings you 'round here, pardner? We don't have a great record with strangers."

"I saw the ad on vigilante dot net saying the town was under siege and needed help. I'm here to help. The name's Frank Castle. You can call me the Punisher."

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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by DocTachyon
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DocTachyon Teenage Neenage Neetle Teetles

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”The Ranchero of Miracle Mesa” - Riders on the Storm: Part Two

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


Warpath, Texas

The day since the warning had been slow and excruciatingly long. Vigilante spent long hours making his way along the same path of the town; around the square, up the Saloon ladder, across rooftops. Two minute break in wall-mounted gun nest, climb down, repeat. Every subtle noise and shift in the sand was cause for full alarm, cycling the shotgun and spending fifteen minutes ruthlessly investigating the noise. Always nothing. Sometimes there’d be the shambling form of a Fatboy in the distance, wandered off from wherever the main pack was. He left them alone, best to not draw undue attention to himself.

In some way, Vig relished the spare time. The defenses could always use more shoring up. Hiding repeater rifles in blown out storefronts, cramming crude explosives into marked crates for use during a firefight. But at a certain point it had become busywork. Without Hex to help with the heavier stuff, that’s all there way. Retighten the barbed wire around the friesian horses, double check the ammo stores, on and on and on for all the hours in the day. His trigger fingers burned for the challenge, a chance to right what had been done to these people in what small way he could manage.

His sleep that night, if it could even be called sleep, was restless. A hand shooting out for his revolver at the slightest creak in the house. Trying to lull himself to sleep listening for subtle changes in the wind. If there was one thing Hell hadn’t prepared him for it was the waiting. There it was nonstop combat. You were up to your eyeballs in demons and gore or you were on the run from the biggest gang of assholes around. No rest to the wicked. This felt like he was being left to stew. Drive himself mad on the waiting. Maybe The Bounty Hunters hoped he’d eventually think his own reflection was the enemy and he’d exhaust the ammo stores before they rolled in and mopped up.

His dreams that night seemed empty, devoid of meaning. The voices had quieted. Johnny Blaze and company did not see fit to visit. Niggling doubt wormed in Vigilante’s mind; maybe ‘Blaze’ was a figment of the Spirit, trying to drive him up a wall about an opponent that would never come. A mark of Mephisto to taint his mind with insanity.

Yet, somehow the Spirit seemed wholly different from Mephisto. The people were… Well, undamaged. Few of them had any blemishes on their wooden pallor, despite how badly The Spirit had manhandled them. Only one man was dead, and it was one Jonah Hex’d have killed anyhow. What he knew of Mephisto, “The Prince of Lies”, painted a different picture. He’d have probably had the Spirit slaughter the townsfolk and put The Dummy’s head on a pike for good measure. Instead it was… Quiet. But if Vigilante knew Mephisto for any one thing, it was that he liked to play the long game… Something to ponder on today’s patrol.

6 AM Breakfast was spent atop the Crossroads, watching the sun crawl its way into the sky. Vig munched on his reheated sandwich and though on the last words he’d heard out of Hex before… Well, before. Something to protect. Sounds about right.

The next three hours were spent on the usual patrol cycle. But for all he had pictured of what the attackers to come would look like, a panel van on its last legs wasn’t it. Vig lay low, cowboy repeater pressed to his shoulder, watching the van make clumsy turns through the mire of the wall. Only one in the front; an asian guy not exactly dressed for combat. Vig set the rifle to the side and pulled a pair of revolvers from his chest holster. A closer look -- and a cleaner shot -- couldn’t hurt.

In a moment he had shimmied down from the Saloon and the panel van had shuddered to a stop. The man stepped out, taking contemplative steps towards the square, looking the surroundings up and down. No reinforcements piled out the back on the van. Vig tightened his grip on his guns as he pulled closer to the van, taking cover behind the back and glancing around at the man.

Vig licked his lips and took steps closer. He seemed oblivious. Not expecting a fight; but maybe that was a trick.

Suddenly, there was a knife in his mind. The Spirit had reared its head.

”Ally.” It croaked. ”Vengeful spirit, waiting to pass. Living dead.” Ally…? Vig paused for a moment. The man’s head was in his revolver’s sights. What kind of unholy creature would that thing call an ally? Vigilante stood and took aim. At the very least, The Spirit hadn’t cautioned him to kill, again. Maybe this guy really was different. Or it was trying to fuck Vig the best it could.

But now… What use was it to second guess the thing? The hallmark of VIg’s time in Hell was second guessing himself into circles. What if the Demons changed position? What if the ammo stores run out? What if the Soldiers turn out to be illusions after all? The lesson was that it all boiled down the same at the end; however you treat someone or something, you just better hope you can draw faster.

Vig pulled back the hammer on his revolver.

"What brings you 'round here, pardner? We don't have a great record with strangers." The man raised his hands.

"I saw the ad on vigilante dot net saying the town was under siege and needed help. I'm here to help. The name's Frank Castle. You can call me the Punisher."

"Well hoe-lee-shit." The words escaped Vig’s mouth before he could stop them. The Punisher. News came slow to Warpath, but a man couldn’t blow through most of the Italian Mob without the news passing through the place faster than green grass through a goose. The Punisher wasn’t divise in Warpath like he was in most places. But then, most places hadn’t been dealing with constant demon incursion for the better part of three years. The people here tended to like themselves a little frontier justice. If you asked Jonah Hex the old man’d say Castle was doing the Lord’s work.

Vigilante wasn’t so convinced. Castle killed callously, without remorse. Two bit goons and Drug Lords were all the same to him, but… There was something to admire about him. He took justice into his own two hands when the law wouldn’t cut it anymore. It reminded Vig a little of himself. Vig took in a deep breath through his nostrils.

"Color me innarested, Mister Castle." Vig holstered his guns and walked clockwise around Castle, coming to face him in front. He extended a hand and hoped the fellow vigilante wasn’t too practiced in the art of the quickdraw if things went south. "But, tell you the honest truth? I ain’t exactly certain you’ll be ready for what you see here."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
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Master Bruce Winged Freak

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Gotham City, The Narrows
West District
1:20 AM


"Oh, my. I think you might have actually felt that."

When I had originally set out to clean up the streets of Gotham, I found myself up against a sea of filth. The Five Families. The pushers, the muggers, the rapists and the murderers that lined their pockets. The Royal Flush Gang and other extremists that sought to terrorize the innocent and capitalize on the corrupt nature that allows them to spill blood on the streets. All in all, criminals that I could understand. That I had even been arrogant enough to tell myself that I could tackle head-on after a decade of training in some of the most remote parts of the world. So it comes as no surprise that in the five minutes that I've been desperately trying to stay alive in a fight against a metahuman whose actions are currently being controlled by another, more sadistic metahuman with intent on murdering an innocent girl for the crime of being born to an assassin whose contract I prevented from being carrying out, that I've been asking myself one question: How in the hell was I ever supposed to prepare for this?

Weakly, perhaps even stupidly, I push myself to my feet after being tossed through the wall of an abandoned tenament building that lies just a few blocks away from the Torres household, where this initially began. To my own credit, I've done the job of keeping Jessica Jones distracted, despite her being the current thrall of a woman calling herself Poison Ivy. But at a cost, as Ivy's utilized Jones' considerable strength and durability to curtail every single attempt that I've made to utilize the shadows of the area and turn the battle to my favor. ACE prompts a series of warnings in my peripheral HUD, telling me of possible fractures or a broken rib that I've already suffered. I ignore it all, aswell as the pain.

Within seconds of recovery, Jones bursts through a section of the wall herself. Her eyes glowing green, she pushes herself off of the ground and leaps into a massive arc that ends with her hands around my throat. Desperate to keep from passing out, I try and re-activate the shock gloves that gave out whenever their reserve power source was eventually cut short. To no avail, as Jones simply laughs in Ivy's voices and lifts me into the air, tossing me aside as if I were nothing more than a piece of the debris that surrounds us. My back smashes into a wood panelling set up in the midst of construction, and I fall backward, continuing to drift into a daze.

The scenario is grim. I'll be the first to admit that. I'm in way over my head this time, and no amount of work with my fists are going to do the job of pulling me out of a tighter spot than I'm used to. Metahumans were never meant to be something that I'd have to contend with, let alone exist in the first place. But no sooner did I embark on all of this did the rise of their kind begin across the country. When I was a child, this was the stuff of myth and popular culture. Now I'm being pummeled to death for assuming it was always meant to stay that way.

"I hope you realize that for every second you waste time I could be using to kill the sapling that her idiot father spawned by continuing to breathe, I'm only going to make this harder on you.", I hear from across the room, despite my ears beginning to ring. "But I'm not entirely without compassion. Walk away now, and you'll only end up a cripple. Which is considerably better than the alternative."

My hand shaking, I nevertheless grab a handful of flash grenades from the back of my belt and palm them behind my cape, using my other hand to grab onto a nearby concrete slab and pull myself up again. Stumbling through the hole that she just made using my body, I defiantly glare back, despite a combination of blunt force trauma and disorientation feeding into exhaustion. Need to come up with a different strategy than this. I can appear as willing to keep the fight going all that I want, but I'm eventually going to buckle. If Ivy doesn't outright decide to just tear me in two, right here and now.

"I-I'm not... giving you... the pleasure."

"Jones" cocks her head, almost as though Ivy is commending my effort.

"You have a surprising tenacity, I'll give you that. Most men like you would have taken that offer without hesitation just to spare themselves. Maybe even bargained for their life with a number of useless bribes. I've even had a few even get on their knees for the occasion."

Feeling the copper taste of blood reach the back of my throat, I swallow it back. Any internal injuries aren't entirely out of the question, but ACE is performing a continual scan of my body as instructed to keep me informed. In the event that I truly find myself closer to death's door.

"I'm not...", I don't so much respond as gasp. "Most men."

"Ivy" smiles.

"That's hardly a boast in your favor. You're all made from the same, breakable stuff. The soft meat. The brittle bones. The oh, so vulnerable organs. With this body, it's only a matter for me to try and decide which I want to obliterate first."

She takes a step forward, unintimidated. My grip on the flash grenades grows tighter.

Just a little closer.

"Why are... you doing this? Any of it?", I ask. "There've been reports about you for... months. You target the weak. You exploit the... vulnerable. A woman of your power. Doesn't... make sense."

Rolling her eyes, she places her arms infront of her chest.

"Typical. A man sees a woman in power, he asks her why she has the gall to seize it. But if the roles are reversed, it's almost expected. Business as usual, or so they say. But I say that you've all had your chance.", she angrily responds. "The minute I discovered that I had these gifts, I began to commune with the real power of this planet. The power that your kind neglected as you built civilizations meant to fall to ruin. Mother nature was never meant to sustain you, so you poison it's air, rip out it's crops, and kill it's forests. Like bitter weeds, you bring this planet closer to extinction. I've simply decided to rip out the cancer at it's source."

Cracking Jones' knuckles, she smirks to herself and takes another step.

"But then, why shouldn't I have a bit of fun in the process?"

She's definitely insane. There's no question of that. But gullible is another matter entirely, and one that I intend to risk finding out right now. Just as she moves into position, I distract her with a raised fist that she expects to catch. The other hand moves swiftly, tossing out the flash grenades in succession. Closing my eyes, I vault backwards over a half-completed wall and listen in as they detonante.


If I were strong enough to do it, I'd smile. Jones may be strong and incapable of sustaining much conventional damage, and Ivy may be able to control the will of the strongest person in the room, but I suspeced that when combined, they both still have to rely on their senses to be effective. It'll give me a momentary distraction at best, but that's all I need to stay alive. Producing a grapple, I take it and fire upwards, snagging a recently installed support beam. Spotting a wench, I immediately take the other end of the line and attach it. It takes all of my effort, but I manage to get the wench to reel the line in a quick succession. The beam immediately begins to whine, signaling my chance to exit. A chance that I take, diving through an open section of the adjacent wall.

By the time Ivy realizes what's happening, still rubbing at Jones' blinded eyes, the entirety of the structure collapses in on itself and buries Jones in a few feet worth of broken concrete. Enough to kill someone of my durability, but only enough to slow her down even further. Firing another grapple at a nearby building, I ascend into the air and weakly climb onto a nearby roof. I need a strategy for when she comes bursting out. Time to consult a second opinion. Tapping the side of my cowl, I disregard using ACE to secure the line and manually connect back to The Cave.


"Good timing, lad, I've been trying to reach you. The computer's been relaying the results of your current condition over the past fifteen minutes. Multiple contusions, fractures. What in the devil are you up against?"

Watching the concrete beginning to shift as Jones' strength gets to work, I back away and try to make myself as hidden from view as possible. I can only hope that she doesn't possess some form of superhuman hearing.

"Our mystery woman from earlier. She's... involved in this.", I explain. "But she doesn't know it. Another meta's taken control of her mind. Using her power against me. I need..."

"To get as far away from the area as possible? I daresay I agree, Bruce. This isn't a fight you're likely to win."

I shake my head, vehemiently denying that approach. If I run to try and save myself, Zoe Lawton is dead. It's as simple as that.

"I know that. But she's targeted a girl. Need to keep the pressure up, and I have to have an edge."

Turning, I limp forward until I can lean against a chimney. There are still a number of adrenaline shots waiting in my belt. I can get a second wind out of this, but it'll be useless if I don't go in with a plan.

"When you were in SHIELD. You had experience with... hypnotism, right?"

Alfred pauses.

"Hypnotism? If you're asking if I can give you insight in the controlled mind, the answer is no. But hypnotism is something else entirely, given that I used to hold regular interrogations. It isn't as though we were instructed to wave a watch infront of anyone's face, as there are methods of focusing the subject's attention, which is all that hypnotism generally is. A refocused constitution made to be susceptible to influence. When that failed, we always went for the sodium pentothal."

I take the adrenaline shot and stab it into my side. Immediately, a shockwave comes over my body, but I grit my teeth and push past it long enough for the less than pleasant effects to pass.

"It's a long shot, but it's all I have. I can't subdue her, so Jones has to regain control and be able to shut out the other meta on her own. Tell me as much as you can about those methods."

Reaching into my belt, I produce another battery pack for the shock gloves. To my dismay, it won't hold much of a charge. As I toss it aside, my eyes drift upwards to the cityscape of Gotham. And immediately, and idea begins to form in my head.

"Scratch that. We don't have enough time. Just tell me one thing..."

I can hear Jones emerging from the rubble entirely and Ivy's enraged growl, both seemingly ready for another go-around.

"How does an electrical charge factor into any of them?"
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by AndyC
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AndyC Guardian of the Universe

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Revalations Part Two:


Iris groaned as the world came into a blinding focus. She heard shouting, voices and something like an airplane nearby. Last thing she remembered she had been running. Had she been chasing Zoom? She had been racing against something. Something that was almost as fast, if not faster than she was. She remembered digging deep, the feeling of the energy flowing through her limbs propelling her onwards. The world came into focus as a group of soldiers appears to be surrounding her, she just groaned.

Iris knew she could outrun them, disarm them in less time than it took her to think it... or she would if her whole body didn't ache in protest just as she attempted to look around. She saw the S.H.I.E.L.D agents drag some figure away that was faintly recognisable. She wasn't quite sure where she knew him from, but she had definitely seen him somewhere before. She pushed herself up slightly as, the crowd of soldiers moved as a figure came through the newly formed gap. He was well toned, muscular and wore a red S on his chest with a red cape. It all came back to her now, the test in the city, the running away and the journey through the mountain.

Supermans appearance, the turn around in the fight and the fac thta tshe had to run across half the world to get back here before a surfboard. Her life had just become absolutely insane after she had been hit by lightning, today she had fought an alien in some kind of test for his master. Alongside her had been a superhuman that as far as anyone else could tell, and all the accounts she had looked into he was the most powerful individual on the planet. Together they had taken him down, and that was something to really think about. If the Surfer had been powerful enough to take two of them to take down, what was his master going to be like?

He knelt down observing her, and she felt a warmth flush through her cheeks. She was getting embarassed, now?

<Snipped quote>

When she initially went to speak all that came out was a squeek, she had taken a harder fall than she thought she had apparently and broke her ability to speak. Clearing her throat she tried again. "I will be, especially if uh-" She moved her arms slowly, pain stabbing through the right she had used to punch the surfer. Probably broken, so moving it was probably a bad idea right now. "-If you could pretend my voice didn't just break the sound barrier."

Another one of the Sci-Fi looking jets came down from the helicarrier, landing on the floor of the badlands. Two very different people disembarked from the jet. A middle-aged balding white man wearing a pristine suit, and a large black woman who had an air about her that even by looking at her you instantly knew not to mess with her.

"Thanks for the help Superman. Though, I think we're about to get told off by teacher." She took a deep breath, feeling pain stab through her ribs which lead to her to then wincing. "I'm not really in the mood for it right now, would you mind helping me get out of here?" When she said that there was a series of clicking as guns cocked.

"Oh come off it guys, he's bulletproof and I just ran half way across the world and punched the Silver Surfer so hard it knocked his Silver right off." The soldiers turned to the two walking towards them, the womans pace didn't change but the man visibly sped up. Obviously intent on speaking to them before either of them could leave.

I notice the Flash is holding her ribs, in considerable pain. When I looked inside of her for injuries, I saw that her body was healing much more quickly than humanly possible, so I don't think I need to take her to a hospital. She did suggest we get out of here, though, and I have to agree. I'm a firm believer in Mark Twain's view of patriotism-- "loving your country all the time, and supporting your government when it deserves it." And given some of the things I've seen on how SHIELD operates, I'm not too sure I feel like spending much time around them.

"Hold on tight," I say to Flash, putting my arm around her and getting ready for takeoff. The SHIELD agents keep their guns trained on us, unsure of what to do.

"I'd love to stay and help clean up, fellas," I say to the two authoritative-looking people striding towards us, taking note of their faces so I can put names to them later, "but I've still got things to take care of elsewhere."

As much as that might be some playful bravado, it's not wrong. The Toyman is still out there, and Lord only knows when and where he'll strike next. Helping save the world was obviously a priority, but now that Earth doesn't seem to be in any immediate danger, I really need to get back to bringing that lunatic in.

Looking over to the unconscious Surfer on the ground, I gesture to him, saying, "if you want some answers, I'd suggest asking our friend here. He'll probably be a little more helpful telling you about himself than either of us. I'll be around when you need me, but until then, well....."

With my free hand, I put three fingers to my temple and give them a Boy Scout salute and a wink. I don't know if I'm showing off more to leave an impression with SHIELD or with the Flash, but at the moment I just can't help myself.

I push off the ground with maybe a little more force than necessary, to kick up a dust cloud and obscure the SHIELD agents' vision so they can't track us. Given Flash's injuries, I feel a pang of guilt that I don't have some more control over my flight-- it's still very much a matter of brute-forcing myself through the sky and daring the laws of physics to say something about it. Which, unfortunately, means the flight is probably a good bit rougher than she'd like.

I'm able to hit the brakes enough that we don't simply slam into the ground when we touch down on the outskirts of Central City, the SHIELD operatives and their HeliCarrier well out of sight--- normal human sight, anyway. It doesn't look like they picked up on our trail, and if even if they did, they're more concerned now about making sure the Surfer is in custody than going after us.

I set Flash down, confident that the coast is clear, and give my own aching body a stretch.

"You should probably take it easy for a while," I say to her, "at least until you're healed up. Still, that was.....that was a hell of a job you did back there."

I think about simply leaving it at that and being on my way, but something keeps me from just taking off.

Together, the two of us just stopped a being who would have probably killed either of us alone, and then would have went on to kill everyone else on the planet. If I hadn't decided today of all days was when I reached out a hand to a fellow hero, we might all be dead by now.

Maybe this team-up shouldn't be a one-time thing.

"So, um," I start again, "is there any way I can reach you? In case this sort of thing happens again, I mean. I think we might want to think about, y'know....working together."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Sep
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Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

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The take off was rougher than Iris would have liked, wincing slightly as they gained altitude and speed. She felt herself hanging very awkwardly through the sky. It really was quite beautiful up here in the sky, and while she did enjoy her own mode of travel she had to appreciate that which Superman had. He had an otherworldly view of everything, to see everything from above. She just hoped that this view of the world wouldn't lead to him becoming detached, the last thing the world needed was a Superman that went about destroying people and property in the pursuit of justice. As in all honesty in a fight he had as much chance of causing destruction as anyone he went up against.

Iris watched as Central City came into view, the two of them landing on the outskirts as gently as possible. She shimmied herself out of his arms, again she had to be impressed with the physique. Some mother somewhere was proud at what she had accomplished.

A new day was dawning, she had seen it coming. Maybe it was time that a group of Metahumans started doing something about it, bigger and bigger threats were coming. The Surfer had a master out there somewhere and she wasn't entirely sure what she felt about that. She definitely had to do some research however, Barry had done a lot of work digging up information on heroes even telling her to sign up to a website called vigilante.net. Not that she had yet, she had enough problems in Central City without expanding her sphere of influence even further. Maybe it was something that should be considered though, a group of Earths Mightiest heroes working together in some form of League. Not to tackle petty crime, but deal with the really big stuff whenever it came up.

"You should probably take it easy for a while," His voice broke her through her thoughts, "at least until you're healed up. Still, that was.....that was a hell of a job you did back there."

Iris felt herself blushing, a compliment from the big man himself. "Thanks, and thanks for the assist." Part of her wondered why he had turned up when he did. She was thankful and all for his help, if not there would be a lot more dead people right about now and she could quite possibly have been one of them. He had given her the time to figure out what to do.

"So, um," Superman start again, "is there any way I can reach you? In case this sort of thing happens again, I mean. I think we might want to think about, y'know....working together."

"That's probably a good idea." Again, the blushing continued. She wasn't entirely sure where all the blood was coming from that was rushing to her cheeks, and she was kind of thankful that her suit was red and she had just ran halfway around the world to punch an alien from outerspace. Otherwise she may have had felt awkward about blushing, but she could probably get away with it. "Though I don't want you stopping by everytime you think I'm in trouble. I can handle things myself here." She tried her best to look as stern as possible, despite the fact that she was injured, smaller than him and not Superman. That didn't matter, she didn't need him pushing his nose in all the time feeling that she couldn't handle it.

"I have a friend that can probably rig some form of communication up for us, I can run it over to metropolis if you want as soon as it's ready. Barring that, I assume you're not secretly ninety years old and do have access to a cellphone?"
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by AndyC
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AndyC Guardian of the Universe

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"I have a friend that can probably rig some form of communication up for us, I can run it over to metropolis if you want as soon as it's ready. Barring that, I assume you're not secretly ninety years old and do have access to a cellphone?"

"Hah, no, I'm not any older than I look," I say with a slight chuckle. I don't honestly know if that's true, though-- I came to Earth about twenty-six years ago, but given that I don't remember anything before that, who knows how long I was out there? For all I know, I could have been roaming the cosmos for thousands of years in some completely inhuman form. Once he was knocked out, the Surfer took the form of what looked like an Earth-man. Who's to say I didn't somehow do the same?


So many questions. And little to no way of finding any answers.

Before I get too lost in my head, I look back at the Flash.

"I don't necessarily think it's a good idea to talk about, you know, work over the phone," I say, trying to get back to the subject, "at least, not over numbers that can be traced back to us. I've got a pre-paid burner phone, though, and I can give you the number for that. Might not be a bad idea to get one for yourself, at least until your friend can put together something better."

Fumbling through my pockets, I find a pencil which was broken into three parts during all the excitement, and a Bibbo's receipt from a few days ago. Thankfully I didn't have a pen in my pocket this time-- my gravitational force-field might render my clothes more impervious to harm, but that doesn't make them any less vulnerable to stains.

"Here we go," I say as I jot down the burner phone's number and had it to her. When I got the old junker at a kiosk in New Bohemia, I thought I'd have a network of contacts by now, people I could count on as my eyes and ears in the city. Unfortunately, one misunderstanding with the National Guard and suddenly it's hard to get normal people to even talk to me without freaking out.

As it is, Flash is only the third person who I've given this number. The first was Lois, and the second was....

....my Mom.

That's it.

When Ma and Pa found me, they couldn't stay long enough to investigate the scene where my pod crashed. They were only able to take three things before running off to escape the cops and military and men-in-black who descended on the area: myself, the red cloak that I wear as my cape, and a silver orb, a little bigger than a baseball, always polished to a mirror shine no matter what you did to it. It seemed to react to my touch and to my voice, shaking and saying a few phrases in a language none of us could speak before going silent.

Maybe I could give it another try. See if it responds to the word Kal-El the way I did.

"I, erm, I should probably get going," I say, nervously scratching the back of my head, "but this was....a good start." Why is my face so hot? "We should do this again some time, y'know, the next time the world is in danger. Erm, anyway, you've got my number now, so....call me if you need me. And if you're ever in Metropolis, I'm, uh, I'm not hard to find."

Giving Flash a quick wave and a smile, I take a few steps back, and take off into the skies. I'm in the upper reaches of the stratosphere before it occurs to me to change course and not just keep heading straight up.

Clark, what the hell are you doing? You don't know this woman, you've spoken to her for less than a minute, and now you're blushing and stumbling over yourself like an idiot teenager. This isn't Smallville High, she's not Loi-- I mean Lana, homecoming isn't just around the corner, this is strictly business. An alliance for the job, someone who you can work with to save people. Get it together.

If this is how I'm going to respond every time I work with a pretty woman in tights, I should probably steer clear of Wonder Woman for the time being.

Shaking my head to clear my thoughts, I turn west, and begin to descend back towards Earth. Specifically, towards Kansas.

It's time I try again to find out some more about who I really am, where I'm from, and why I'm here.

Besides, I haven't called Mom in weeks and she starts to worry if I don't catch up with her.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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The Underland

John and the man responsible for him being here stood on a hill overlooking the Underland’s version of the city. In real life, a hill like this didn’t exist and the city below had never really existed at any point in Lond's history. The version of London in front of him was a mixture of Victorian Era, Cockney aesthetic, and WW2 Blitz. The old, Gothic buildings mingled with bombed out streets and Union Jack flags drapped on lamp posts and building sides. The real city had never looked like this. But the truth didn’t matter in a place like this.

“You are Jack Hawksmoor’s champion, then?”

“It’s a strong word, don’t know if I’d use it.”

“You come down here to fight his battles, yes? Champion is appropriate. Do you know who I am, John Constantine?”

“I have a fair idea.” John snapped his fingers. A lit cigarette appeared in his hand. “You’re Brutus of Troy, or at least a version of him based on myths. The legendary found of London. Supposedly the first king of Britain.

"They say I didn't really exist."

"But they also say that you did, and that's good enough for the Underland. So, why are you killing Hawksmoor?”

“It’s not active malevolence on my part,” said Brutus. “Just my mere existence has been slowly poisoning his connection to the cities. When a man has cancer, do you blame the tumor?”

“Some sure as fuck do,” said John. “You’ve been down here for thousands of years, yeah? Why are you doing a number on Jack just now?”

“It’s the future people,” said Brutus. “They came to me with an offer. They did something to me. Now, I can be god of the cities if I just wait here a little longer. I slowly kill Jack Hawksmoor and then take his place. I’ve been here for over two millennia, John Constantine. I need to leave, I need to be free.”

John furrowed his brow. Future people? The fuck was he on about? That was when John noticed the faraway, glassy look in Brutus’ eyes. Was it madness? That’s what it looked like to John. But how could he be sure? What was sanity in a place as insane as this one?

"Will you stand in my way, John Constantine?"

“I’m afraid I have to, Squire. I owe Jack a solid and I can’t let you kill him. It's not how mates do each other.”

"Hmmm," a look of amusement flashed in Brutus' eyes. "Your history here in London would beg to differ. So many friends and loved ones you left to die. Why do you think this city openly celebrated when they thought you had died?"

John tossed the stub of his cigarette on the ground before stomping it out with his boot.

“Enough of this shite. If your mere existence is what is killing Jack, then I need to rectify it.”

“Careful.” Brutus raised his hands. “In this place, I am a god.”

The ground around John began to quake and crumble. He jumped into the air just as the ground collapsed beneath him. He flew in the air above Brutus, his hands glowing red with red magical energy. John suppressed a smile. Maybe this is what it felt like to be one of those bloody cape-wearing superheroes.

“Well, I may not be a god,” John said as he shot bolts of magic from his hands at Brutus. “But I can sure as fuck put up a good fight.”


The Tate Club

Clarice felt panic blooming in her chest at the sight of John Constantine’s body. The body, which had been prone on the floor for nearly an hour, was now twitching violently. Albert had broke away from the ritual to place a wooden spoon in Constantine’s mouth. Clarice had no idea what the hell was going on down there, but it wasn’t looking good.

“Jack!” Map cried out.

Hawksmoor joined Constantine on the floor. The god fell to his knees and began a hacking cough that sprayed blood across the ballroom floor. Clarice felt the urge to go to him, but she couldn’t. That would be yet another person drawn away from the ritual. With Hawksmoor out, now only Map was feeding the magic of the city down to Constantine.

“Fuck,” Clarice cried. “Albert! Get on the phone and call John’s cabbie friend. We’re going to need his help after all.”
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Supermaxx
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Supermaxx dumbass

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Brenda and Paco star in...The Runaway: Issue #9
Previous Issue

Washington, D.C

"What the hell was that thing?" Brenda exhaled, slowly lowering the firearm from her aching shoulder. Try as she might, she couldn't force her hands to stop shaking- whether that could be attributed to her aching head wound or that anxious knot in her stomach, she wasn't quite sure.

It had come out of nowhere. One second she was listening to the radio, and the next they were crashing into a tree that shouldn't have been there. Then that...that thing dragged her out of her window. It had kicked her, clawed at her and dragged her across the pavement. She tried to fight it, but it wasn't worth the energy; it could've killed her at any point during their struggle.

So why didn't it?

Still on the floor and reeling from his recent beatdown, Paco was staring up at her with eyes as wide as saucers. It looked like he was trying to say something, but for all the flapping his lower jaw was doing, no words were coming out. Only whispered mewling and gasps. Brenda didn't know if she wanted to punch him or hug him.

She settled on bending down and placing a small hand on his comparatively gargantuan shoulder. "I'm gonna need you to pull yourself together, Pac." Her words were delivered with a forced, unnatural softness. It took a deal of willpower for her to swallow her anger. "We need to find out why that thing attacked us and where it went. It must have something to do with what's happening to Jaime..." She couldn't imagine why it would target the two of them otherwise. A metahuman attack was rarer than a plane crash; or so the Daily Planet said. "But I...I can't do that on my own, Pac. So...come on. Get up."

Despite the flimsy layer of kindness and understanding his friend tried to speak with, Paco felt nothing but shame. He could see the smothered fury behind her eyes, and it only made the twisting knife of guilt feel ever sharper in his chest. Turning away, his gaze was cast over the destruction they'd brought to that poor old man's house by dragging the monster there. Thankfully he was unharmed- they all were- but it could have gone so, so much worse, and Paco would have no one to blame for that but himself.

"Alright." He muttered, pushing against the floor to bring himself back up to his full, towering height. He still felt small standing alongside Brenda, though it wasn't a physical smallness. "I'll help."

"Good." Brenda nodded, punching his shoulder before taking her gun back up in her hands. It's weight was worse than she remembered- it'd been a long time since she was allowed to fire a shotgun. "Put that big brain of yours to work." She took a step away, her gaze remaining on the big guy expectantly. He was her best bet at figuring all of this out.

The wheels were already turning within his mind as he traced his eyes over where the 'fight' had happened, following it from memory as best he could. Paco spun around, pointing down to the floor where he'd fallen. "It could've killed me here," his finger shifted a few feet to the right, "or right there. I was on the ground twice, defenseless. But it didn't." Why? Was it toying with him? That display on it's way down the stairs certainly made it seem so. That, and the weird...playback of his voice. It had said something on the stairs, too; something Paco hadn't. But he didn't manage to catch it.

"Yeah, yeah...Me too." Brenda nodded. "You think it wanted to, I dunno, kidnap us? Like they did Jaime?"

Paco stopped. He looked over at her, his brow furrowed in concentration, his earlier fears forgotten as he cycled through the events and every possible reasoning for the attack that he could come up with. "Maybe." He whispered. Suddenly he jerked forward, making for the door at a rapid sprint. Brenda had to scramble after him to keep up.

They stepped outside of the house, Paco already part way through the backyard. He pointed at the pulsating gash in reality. "There!" He shouted, climbing up over the fence to continue toward it. An uprooted tree was sticking part way through the wound, their van twisted around it's trunk from where the two had crashed into one another. "It came through this, but it's still here." Paco stopped in front of it, spinning about to face Brenda. "But why?"

An audible pop like a needle through a blister sounded mere inches behind Brenda. ˙dɹɐM 'ǝɯ oʇ ʞɔɐq uǝɹplıɥɔ ǝɥʇ ɓuıɹᙠ" The voice of another filtered through it's crooked mouth, broken and unintelligible. Paco shouted out her name in warning, but it was too late-

That thing had already reached around and wrapped one of it's clawed fists around the shotgun. She fought against it's ironclad grip, pushing, pulling and shoving with all of her strength in an attempt to force the gun out of it's hand, but to no avail."No, no- damn it!" Brenda roared, throwing repeated elbows back into the monster's ribs. It let out a cackled, reversed laugh before slipping it's other hand behind Brenda's collar.

It lifted her up with relative ease, tossing her into Paco's chest with enough force to make him stumble right back into the tear in the world.

Paco let out a scream as his vision was consumed by a bleeding sky, and he started to fall.


And he fell.


And fell.


And fell...


Not responding. Please wait.

Not responding. Please wait.

Rebooting now...

There was nothing but 𝖉𝖆𝖗𝖐𝖓𝖊𝖘𝖘.

What is life except an endless, throbbing mɒɘɿɔꙅ?

A ņ̴̯͕̜̟͉̪͙͓̣͉̯̠̔̅̕ỉ̴̲͔͋̐͑́͂̾̿͐͂̍͘g̵͚̊̀h̵̢͚͈̤̫͓̬͔̜͖̼͎̼̎̔̈́̽͋̽̌t̵͇̦͚̝̏͌̏͆̑͗̂̽̐̚͘͝͝m̶̨̡̳͕̞͓̳̱͖̤̭̜͎̰̆́́ą̸̧̱̹͖̬͙̼̜̦̀̎͑͗͆̓̕͠͝r̴̨̘̱̱̯͔͙͍̝̙͇̩̍͐̌͂́́̾́͐̄̽͘͠͠e̷̙͋͑̀ of your own making?

We are it's ɘɿuɔ.

§êê ¥ðµ §ððñ~
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
Avatar of Master Bruce

Master Bruce Winged Freak

Member Seen 2 mos ago

Gotham City, East End
81st and W. Barr Street
1:25 AM

"Hey Captain, look! It's the catch of the day!"

The surrounding officers laughed heartily to themselves at the bad joke as a bound, bloodied and gagged Floyd Lawton was lowered from the streetlamp that he'd been tied to via an operating crane. Captain Gordon had just stepped out of the arriving squad car when he'd heard it and had opted to ignore it, choosing instead to focus on the nearby light source that was beaming a certain symbol across the clouds. Several spectators were lined just beyond the police tape, pointing towards the skies and snapping pictures with their cellphones. Gordon pointed to one of the nearby detectives on the scene and eyed the civillians, giving a clear indication that no flash photography was allowed at an active crime scene. That detective nodded and went to work to dissuade the crowd, giving Gordon an opportunity to follow the light source itself. Eventually stopping just short of the nearby building's entrance, the Captain furrowed his brow as he slowly waved a hand over a nearby decorative shrub, catching the light and confirming his suspicions.

"You. I need a pair of gloves.", Gordon requested, holding his hand out to a nearby CSI tech. "Guess we've got another one of these to add to the hundreds back at Evidence Lock-Up."

Putting on the gloves, Gordon reached inside the plant and produced a small gadget that shot up a focused and particularly bright beam capable of sending out what was the equivalent of a spotlight. Of course, most spotlights didn't have a giant bat in the middle of them, but the Captain nevertheless sighed as he reached down, turned a dial clockwise, and switched it off. Holding it up and inspecting it, visually, he already knew damn well that there'd be no usable prints or any other DNA evidence to pull from it. Nor would it match any known patent submitted by either a major or minor electronics company dealing in similar technology.

"Crazy son of a bitch.", Gordon whispered, handing the device off as it was placed into an evidence bag. "Bet you're just well and truly pleased with yourself. Turning this city into your own personal sideshow..."

Whoever The Batman was, he had somehow covered all of these tracks before, so there was no reason to suspect that he'd begin slipping up now. Not that it mattered, Gordon figured, given that Mayor Thorne had signed the order to assemble Dent's proposed task force to capture the vigilante earlier that day. Agent Nashton had already began evaluating worthy candidates, and Gordon couldn't wait to hand the assignment off to the man, as it laid down a concrete time table for this absurdity to finally end. His inner circle didn't nessescarily agree, as they had wanted to be the ones to capture the Bat, but the Captain knew their prides could stand the wound. After all, Precinct 27 had other cases to pursue. More than a few bigger collars out there to bring down. Batman may have been a good case to break for a few headlines, but his capture brought them no closer to the Five Families.

Feeling raindrops hit his forehead, Gordon reached up and retracted his hand to confirm the moisture. A patch of thunder boomed across the skies. Another storm was brewing. Putting up the collar of his overcoat in response, the Captain turned to oversee the Batman's latest victim in the midst of being processed. He even overheard the words 'broken hand' as he approached. But as Gordon got closer, and got a clear enough look at the outfit that the suspect was wearing, he stopped dead in his tracks and stared, eyes wide. Some of the color even drained from the Captain's face.

It was him. The same man that Jim had seen in the video taken the night of the assassination attempt against Dent. The one that The Batman had fought off, who had all-but-clearly been the real culprit of a crime that the GCPD, under his orders, blamed the vigilante for in the press instead. Gordon tensed up as the halfway beaten to death hitman was brought to his feet and immediately placed in cuffs. Despite now knowing that the real sniper was off of the streets, all that Jim could think of was what he would say - or rather, what he would confess - during the subsequent interrogation. And the questions that would be raised if he owned up to being the one to take a shot at the District Attorney.

"I see you got his message, Captain."

Nearly making him jump, Gordon angrily turned towards Agent Nashton, who was in the midst of strolling up with that bizarre green suit, bowler hat, and cane combination that obnoxiously made him stand out from the rest of the force. Seemingly satisfied with their unit's job well done as the man known as 'Deadshot' was hauled away, Gordon narrowed his eyes at Nashton as he tipped his hat to the arresting officers.

"Bit of a hard one to miss.", Gordon replied, his eyes shifting back to Lawton. "He leaves one of these behind every time that he perpetrates an attack. Doesn't matter if it's a mugging gone wrong or a cavalcade of injured triggermen for the mob, he makes sure that we're directed towards his handiwork. Like he's a damned prize fighter who wants to broadcast out to the rest of Gotham whenever he's won a title bout."

Nashton raised an eyebrow.

"An interesting analogy, if not entirely without merit. But I have my suspicions that The Batman doesn't leave this, shall we say, calling card behind because he craves the attention. I would actually say that it's for an entirely different, perhaps even more deluded purpose."

Gordon continued to stare at Deadshot, right up until the criminal was loaded into the back of the waiting squad car. He could feel the mounting guilt in his chest, watching the vehicle drive away. It wouldn't be long, now. People would begin to suspect what had been done, and they'd easily be able to pin it on him. Loeb would have a field day if he even so much as suspected it. The Commissioner had been looking for an excuse to kick Gordon off the force for years, and a potential scandal presented by intentionally blaming an attack against the D.A. on the wrong man would be just what was needed to pull the rug out from under him.

"You're the expert.", Gordon muttered, continuing to look past Nashton. "So by all means, enlighten me."

Nashton immediately seized his cue, not even wasting a breath to relay the theory. It was almost unsettling to Gordon, the way that Nashton revelled in showing off his own intellect. Like a calculated machine that was wearing vaguely human skin, or an outcast that society wouldn't otherwise have whose sole purpose was to celebrate himself as a genius. It gave him a slightly sinister quality, even whenever what he said made sense. And it went beyond just blowing alot of hot air.

"It's hardly a very complicated assertion, Captain. The Batman wishes to project himself as a supernatural force, or a beast of nature that's descended onto the streets. He seeks to intimidate from the darkest corners, but is smart enough to realize that he can't simply exist anonymously in the era of satellite imaging and cellphones. So in choosing the direct opposition to that path, he came up with this as a declaration. A reinforcement of his own myth. He desires for Gotham to see an image of his making, because in his mind, it is a primal manifestation of all that he represents. Perhaps he even believes, in the bowels of his own fractured psychosis, that the symbol represents his status as something above the law."

Lifting his cane, Nashton poked at the badge attached to Gordon's own jacket.

"Very much like this tin monstrosity."

Annoyed, Gordon pushed the cane away and began to walk off.

"So your professional opinion is that he's insane. You intend to file a report on that, along with a dossier explaining how the sky is blue?"

Nashton smirked.

"Amusing. But no, my point is this. Whether or not he even knows it, it's working."

Gordon stopped in his tracks and looked back.

"You seem surprised. But spend so much as an hour on any given social media platform and you'll see that every popular topic involving The Batman includes a headliner image of that symbol. They're starting to print it on t-shirts. There are rumors that a few movie companies want to liscence it out to make him a household name. Public opinion on The Batman is at an all-time high, and I've been struggling to see a downturn in the masses swallowing up these incidents, even in light of what he's been accused of."

Sneering, Gordon turned entirely to face Nashton.

"And that doesn't seem like desperation for attention to you?"

Nashton shook his head.

"The man is alot of things, but a public figure? I doubt Batman would approve, or even so much as pay attention to how others attempt to co-opt his image. If he did, he might be willing to liscense himself out as a toy in kid's meal down at that one gaudy chain of local eateries. What are those called again? Ah, yes.", the Agent replied, looking disgusted. "The 'Condiment King'. I was forced to partake of one of their vegetable burgers just the other evening, and it only confirmed that the garbage that those places peddle out to preening masses are exactly why I've been a vegan since I was twenty."

"How nice for you.", Gordon dryly responded, uninterested in the Agent's dietary habits. "But we have a bigger situation on our hands than debating why The Batman leaves behind that giant spotlight wherever he goes. Did you happen to pay attention to the costume that our perp was wearing?"

Nashton looked upwards, towards the streetlamp that Deadshot had been strung against.

"I did indeed, and I already know what you're going to say. His word is hardly of any relevance."

"Hardly of any relevance?", Gordon snapped back, lowering the volume of his voice. "We just arrested the man that only you and I know tried to kill Dent. If he talks, there'll be questions and accusations to follow. Not to mention alot of blame to shift around, and it's only going to fall back on one source."

Nashton looked at Gordon and sighed.

"Oh please, Captain. Do try and compose yourself. You're overreacting to nothing."


Gordon grabbed Nashton by the collar of his jacket and slammed him against the adjacent building.

"I could lose my job over this! Worse than that, if they can prove it was deliberate! You and your damned idiotic plan could cost me everything, and for what?! To capture one psychopath in a cape?! I should've reported you to Loeb the minute that you suggested we keep this quiet! We're talking about a federal offense, here, and you seem to be entirely unconcerned with the consequences! So I'd say that this is a little more than nothing!"

Despite Gordon's hostility, Nashton remained eerily calm.

"And if you had gone to the Commissioner,", Nashton replied. "Where would that have gotten you?"

Gordon grit his teeth, angrily, but had no response to give. Nashton watched the realization hit him with an immediacy, and leaned forward.

"Go on, Gordon. Tell me what would've happened if your very obscenely corrupt Commissioner of Police would have heard so much as a single negative complaint from you regarding this investigation?", Nashton elaborated. "Or perhaps the more pressing question is, would it have reached his ears... or Sal Maroni's first?"

Releasing the man, Gordon silently cursed himself as he turned around, hoping that nobody had seen his little outburst.

"That is exactly my point. You've been placed into an impossible situation by the rest of this force. You and your entire precinct, infact. And it all hinges on chasing shadows and picking up the scraps that a man in a mask leaves behind. If you actually bought that my sole purpose in Gotham was to apprehend an obstentaciously garbed schitzophrenic and leave it at that, you're as naive as you are impulsive."

Nashton stood up straight and straightened out the creases of his suit.

"I knew that you'd accept my proposal despite the merit of your character, and the result of that decisicion is clearly tearing you up inside."

"It's because despite your assertions about The Batman, desperation is the position that you've been placed in."

Gordon looked over his shoulder, wondering exactly what the Agent meant.

"You're working a seperate assignment?"

"A work-in-progress, more accurately. I'm hoping to present a case to level against the corruption in Gotham to my superiors. The Batman case is merely something I'm tackling at their request, as they wanted to make an example of the recent costume culture that's been giving rise to something the government fears could overthrow them. Frankly, all of that nonsensical paranoia disinterests me. Batman is an easy mark and with the task force at my disposal, he'll be one that you can soon check off of a growing list of this city's true problems."

Gordon looked at the street and off into the distance, wondering if Nashton was telling the truth or playing him for a fool a second time. If what he was saying was his genuine intent, Gordon saw the possibility for an actual alignment within the system that could benefit him. And such a thing was very rare to find, in this city. Nashton had connections, as he clearly displayed the other night by showing Gordon a direct access point into SHIELD's network database. Who those connections were, he wasn't saying, but they were clearly top-level. And if anything could overthrow men like Carmine Falcone and The Penguin, it was government intervention in their illicit activities.

"So before you go and have a mental breakdown over what could potentially happen should this highly unreliable man in with the sniper rifle talk, ask yourself whether or not that it's even going to matter in a few weeks' time. Because should you find yourself in an unfortunate position with Loeb, it'll only add fuel to the fire of the case I'm looking to build. Should you want to help me light it, of course."

Gordon turned back and prepared to respond, only for both men to be interrupted by an all-points bulletin.

"All units, all units, we have a code six-one-six. Metahuman activity reported in The Narrows. The Batman sighted in the area. All units, be advised. Suspect is armed and considered to be extremely dangerous."

His eyes going wide again, Gordon reached up to the radio attached to his jacket and pressed it to the side of his face.

"Copy that. This is Captain Gordon, we're on our way."

Nashton half-smiled.

"Well, would you look at that? It seems as though you really did have nothing to worry about."

Gotham City, The Narrows
Abandoned Lighting Factory
1:35 AM

"All of this hiding. All of that earlier bravado, and what do you have to show for it, little Bat? Just an extra morcel of time before the bitter end. You might aswell show yourself now, while it's less embarassing."

In the ensuing distraction that granted me the leverage that I needed to get to an appropriate vantage point, Ivy's managed to brush off having a building collapse ontop of her host body without so much as a stratch. ACE is hard at work on something of a hail mary, so I can't check on the status of my own injuries, but the pain is still there to remind me. Definitely risking some internal hemmoraging to go along with the broken rib. Mild concussion sustained from one of Jones' attacks, of which I'm fairly certain I'm lucky. The adrenaline shot has returned some of my energy, but I'm of low reserves. All that I need to do is buy myself some time and implement the plan that could very well prove to be a suicidal endeavor. My hand resting atop The Utility Gun, I cycle through the remaining ammo that I have left. Rubber bullets won't do a damned thing to some of Jessica Jones' physiology. Smoke grenades might buy me some time, but I'm saving them for what's to come. Used up the remaining grapple lines and hooks between this fight and my battle with Deadshot. And as I already found out the hard way, a simple taser isn't going to cut it.

I've come to rely a bit too much on the technology I've culminated over these last few months. The body armor, the gadgets, the computer, all of it. I'm afraid that it's rendered me ill-prepared for something of this magnitude. I trained to be a soldier, and this is open combat at it's most extreme. I shouldn't have to rely on tricks that are meant to disorient and terrify the same two-bit hoods that the Five Families use to keep their operations running. I could already tell from the moment that I chose to engage in combat with a known metahuman - this is going to be a learning experience. Provided I live through it, of course.

Keeping myself pressed tightly against the upper floor of the building that I miraculously managed to lure Ivy in Jones' body, I keep a sharp eye out for any sort of conduit that I can use to enact the distraction that I have in mind. Ivy's at the bottom floor, scanning the area. It's impossible to know whether or not Jones possesses the ability to see in the dark, but I think it's unlikely. I'd already be dead. Eventually, she moves on and begins to toss heavy machinery out of her own way like it was made of paper. With each crashing sound, I advance to the left a little quicker. I just noticed that there's a circuit breaker on the level just below me. Might be just the sort of thing I need right now.

Using the same trick that I utilized against Deadshot to throw my voice to the other side of the factory, I confirm my prescence in a bid to keep Ivy distracted.

"I've found that the shadows have always been more inviting."

Ivy turns, her clearly agitated features represented in Jones' face.

"It's funny, I just had a conversation about this very subject recently, with the trigger-man. You and I are of a different breed. You need the darkness because it fits into the whole giant winged mouse thing that you have going on. I can respect that. But plants require a light source, and I intend to cast a very bright light onto Gotham that will make the rest of it grow in tune, in the only way that it should. Under my thumb."

Taking my chance as she's thrown by the direction that the voice modulator emulated, I drop down onto the second floor platform as silently as possible. Slowly, I approach the circuit breaker and peel off the aluminum covering. I take a step back and shield my face from the resulting dust cloud, not wanting to risk giving myself away with a sneeze. And immediately begin to switch on the lights, the circuits leading into the equipment, and every electrical power source that I can possibly identify. The factory lights up beneath me with a brightness that forces even Ivy to shield herself from.

"Funny. I was just thinking of the old addage. Be careful what you wish for."

Adjusting her eyesight to fit the brightness of the room, Ivy laughs to herself, scanning the upper floors again. This time, it's harder for me to stay hidden. So I don't attempt to do so, despite every instinct that I have telling me that it's a bad play. Instead, I leap atop the metal railing and allow my cape to drape over me, staring her down and hiding just what I've got to use against her. ACE has a little under a minute to go. I can only hope that it's enough to keep me alive.

"Very bold of you, little Bat. I see that in your final moments of living, you've embraced my way of thinking. A wise move, all things considered.", Ivy taunts. "It's such a shame that in doing so, you sealed your own fate. Just such a shame. I was starting to enjoy this."

Immediately grabbing a piece of machineary that's three times larger than my own body by it's hinges, Ivy uses Jones' strength to rip it from the ground and immediately hurtle it towards me. Diving ahead, I just barely manage to escape being crushed as it smashes through the metal platform and sends an array of sparks and electricity flying throughout the area. Grabbing onto a nearby ledge, I vault over it and toss out a series of batarangs. Not because I think that they stand even remotely of a chance to hurt Jones, but because I need the extra window of time and the number of distractions are becoming limited.

One slices through Jones' jacket, but doesn't draw blood. Another heads directly for her face, to which she grabs out of mid-air and squeezes, rendering the titanium finish to the projectile as nothing more than a mess of twisted, misshapen metal. The third and fourth, she smacks at, sending them flying across the room. The fifth grazes her across the cheek, but it also does nothing to hurt her. The sixth and final batarang comes flying at her from a lower trajectory, and she attempts to block it with her hand.

To my absolute surprise, that one actually illicits pain, as she gasps and clutches the side of her hand. The fingerless gloves that Jessica Jones is wearing seem to stain with a small trace of blood, even. And that's when it hits me - that hand was the same one that she used to catch the bullet meant for Harvey Dent. Deadshot used a high powered round to try and pull off the kill. She's not invulnerable, after all. Just immensely powerful and very hard to hurt.

"Having trouble?", I call out. "Maybe you picked the wrong body. She's strong, but not as invincible as you probably thought."

"Arrogant worm,", Ivy growls, lowering the bloodied hand. "I'll show you just how strong this body really is. Or perhaps more accurately, how very multi-faceted..."

Assuming a stance that I haven't seen before, Ivy utilizes Jones' body to begin building up some kind of force beneath herself. The factory rumbles, not unlike a small earthquake, forcing me to hit the ledge with a hard fall. Reaching up to get my bearings, I lean against the metal railing of this platform and pull myself up...

...Only to be staring Jessica Jones directly in the face.

Hovering above me, not unlike a predatory animal waiting to feast upon it's prey.

Christ. She can fly.

"It seems that Miss Jones has quite a number of gifts you probably weren't aware of.", Ivy threatens, as she hovers closer. "I'm going to enjoy testing out as many of them as I can in the midst of your evisceration."

Despite the overwhelming shock of this unwelcome new development, I sneer back at the woman who intends to kill me in with a measure of defiance. Making sure to back away towards the railing behind me as I do.

"Perhaps. But all that depends on if you can catch me."

Intentionally pushing myself over the ledge, I reach out and grab another railing to help swing me up into arc. Ivy turns in mid-air and flies after me as I somersault into the air and spread my cape so that the para-glider fibers activate. It propels me into a glide, which I use to dodge the oncoming Jones as she tries to snatch me from the air.

Heading directly for a wall, I maintain my glide into an upwards swoop and kick off of the concrete, backflipping off of it just as Ivy directs Jones directly through the concrete itself.

Now or never, Bruce. You're not gonna get an opportunity like this again.

"Ace! I need a status update!"

Your request is currently standing at 98% proccessed, Mr. Wayne.

Ninety-eight percent. A precious few seconds to complete, as long as the connection remains established. And given I'm running ACE off of a telecommunications fiber hook-up connected to a satellite with internet speeds well past FCC standards, but hidden on a private databank, that doesn't seem likely anytime soon.

Rushing to the main power generator of the factory, which I've isolated through my heat-signature lenses, I leap forward and slam my boot into the access panel, giving it a proper dent. Using both hands and as much strength as I can bring forth to rip open the steel containment door, I kick the rusted hinges apart as hard as possible until I can feel it loosening. Then, with a pull that's even harder than before, I remove it and stand aside, leting it fall to the ground with a loud clang.

As this happens, Ivy bursts back through the other side of the wall, hovering above the factory entrance and glaring down at me. I don't look back, even though I know that she'll be on me in a matter of seconds. Instead, I get to work in unhooking as many of the power cables to the generator as I can, attaching them to the wiring inside of the hidden panels of both my gauntlets.

There's a decent amount of insulation in my suit to prevent an electrocution, but there's only going to be so much for me to work with. And with the power I hope to generate, I had better pull this off as quickly as possible.

Just as I finish, I feel an iron-tight grip wrap itself against the back of my skull. Ivy tosses me aside, mercifully unaware of the cables attached to my gauntlets or what purpose that they serve. After staring me down in a hover, she lands, clearly ready to end this once-and-for-all.

"Enough games. Enough taunts or playful banner. You're becoming too persistent in living, and I can't have that."

I simply watch as the progress meter that ACE is feeding me finally reached 100%. It took some time, given that this model of the A.I. wasn't meant to be able to crack such a heavily fortified firewall so soon, but I finally managed to break into the Gotham City Power Grid. ACE immediately allocates the specified amount of electricity that I requested into the generator of this factory, making my gloves begin to glow with an electrical pulse.

Given that I already tried the shock gloves, I figured it was past due for me to try them again. But with a hell of alot more potency. Rubbing my fists together to build a charge as if they're emergency room paddles, I push myself to my feet as Ivy looks around, confused at the flickering lights infront of her.

"What you have..."

Getting to my feet, I immediately charge her with a hard uppercut. The power that's coursing through my gloves is enough to send Jones' body flying back, in contrast to every previous attempt that I made to land an attack.

"Doesn't concern me!"

I won't lie in admitting that it feels good. It feels pretty damn good, actually, aftering hearing Ivy's incesscent taunting throughout this. But one punch isn't going to solve this. Using the non-electrified palm of my glove to produce The Utility Gun, I switch the setting to smoke pellets and fire off a succession of them just as Ivy pushes Jones' body back up. I already tried smoke once with her, and had minimal effect. But if I keep her distracted, that won't matter. The goal in this isn't to beat Ivy. It's to get through to Jessica. To give her back the power over her own actions.

"Jessica Jones!", I call out, with electricity flying from my knuckles. "I don't know if you can hear me, but I'm asking you to trust me! You're capable of fighting this off, but you have to focus!"

As soon as she emerges from the smoke, I deck her across the face with another highly electrified punch. She falls hard against the ground. Which is hardly surprising, given that I'm using half of Gotham City itself to fight against her.

"Think, Jessica!", I continue. "I've read up your file! I know that you're a private investigator! You specialize in cases of female abuse, so I know that you came here to help a woman and her child, and nothing more!"

Ivy glares up at me with hatred and slams a fist into my chest. I go flying back into an abandoned workstation, nearly feeling as though my chest cavity wants to cave in under the pressure. But I fight through it, as she advances on me.

"I also know why you came to Gotham! You have time that's unaccounted for in New York! Nine months!"

Ivy stops. Though at this point, I'm not entirely sure that it's Ivy whose in control.

"You never went to the police! You disappeared without a trace, and yet you decided it'd be better to move across state lines than to face what happened! You were afraid of something, Jessica! What was it?!"

The green begins to fade from her eyes, and she grasps at her forehead with both hands, seemingly beginning to fight off Ivy's influence. There's a trauma, there, that I stumbled onto in reading up on the SHIELD dossier that Alfred gave me. The one that included all of the redacted information from Jones' childhood.

About how she wasn't born with these abilities, but acquired them through some form of experimentation as a teenager. How she wasn't even born Jessica Jones, but Jessica Campbell. A change made to her name after a horrific car accident rendered her an orphan and placed her under foster care.

I know what it's like to carry at least one of those burdens. It can be a powerful trigger to bring forth memories imprinted on the mind's eye whenever it's brought back to the forefront. That's what I'm counting on to bring Jones back from this.

"No, damn you! Damn you, I won't let you have her!"

Enraged, Ivy smashes Jones' fist against the floor, creating a crack that leads directly to me. I roll out of the way as the surrounding machineary explodes, sending me flying forward. Ivy grabs me by the back of my armor and tosses me ahead, sending me directly into another wall. By the time I fall to the ground, she's already bringing out her fist to smash me into the pavement. Starting to lose my window of opportunity.

"You had a brother!"

Jones' eyes widen, and the green almost completely fades from them.

That's it.

That's the key.

"He died in the car accident. What was his name, Jessica?", I ask, pushing myself to stand. "Think! What was your brother's name?! You know the answer, not her! Think about that day! Think about your last memory of him when he was alive! What was his name?!"

At first, the eyes go green again.

"What makes you think that I give even somewhat of a damn about this girl's corpse of a..."

But a single tear begins to flow down one of the eyes.

Jones is starting to break through.

"...His name..."

Now both sets of eyes are tearing up, as she begins to pound at the sides of her temples.

"Goddammit. His name. What was his..."

She stops.


Jones turns back to me, the tears streaming down her face.

"His name was Phillip."

I don't know what to say to her. I try and reach out for some measure of support, but hesitate whenever I see the green begin to subtlely appear within her irises. Ivy's still in there, and despite what I had previously believed, no amount of willpower is going to sever the connection. I'll have to do something even more drastic.

"Listen. We're running out of time. Your mind has been coerced by a powerful metahuman that calls herself Poison Ivy. If I'm going to break her hold over you, I need your permission to do something that you're not going to like."

Jones rubs the tears away, still shell-shocked from the memories I brought flooding back, and silently nods.

"I'm going to have to knock you out."

Closing her eyes, she lets out a heavy, pained sigh.

"Just get the bitch out of my head."

Preparing my gloves once again, I steel myself for something that's going to take alot of work. And alot of strength that I don't have. The electricity brightens as I close my fists together, watching as Jones readies herself for a beating that she has to endure without putting up a fight.

It doesn't give me any measure of comfort to do this, but it's for the greater good.

And if I can free Jessica Jones from the prison she's currently found herself in, I'll take whatever chance I have to.

"I'm sorry."

"This is the only way."
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The Weapon X Facility, Canada
The Summer of 2018

Doctor Cornelius types away on his computer, his fingers skipping about the keyboard as a young girl would a concrete in a a game of hop scotch. Cornelius had the same excited air about him as that sort of girl, also sharing that gratifying chill of a joyous sweat, and his heart was charging like a drum kit with David Silveria sitting at the throne. Then he rung his boss on the telephone.

"Professor Thorton, have I got news for you! The new patient we've been working on, Patient Ten, he absolutely destroyed his predecessors in that labyrinthine Hunger Games-esque thing we put him through."

"Hmm.." Thorton meditated, leaning back in whatever rolling chair he was probably sitting in, "How much of that do you chalk up to him being under direct control of the staff versus his innate ability and instincts?"

"Poppycock! The boys at the controls we're completely incompetent. So much so that I had them terminated this afternoon."

"I see," Thorton hissed. As he drug the letter S sound out, Cornelius imagined that he was coiling like a Cobra and preparing to lurch directly at his throat through the phone line.

"As far as I'm concerned, Weapon Ten is Weapon X. He's reactive, dangerous and damn near unstoppable."

"So be it. It's time to get this show on the road then." Thorton hung up his analogue telephone with a metallic click before snatching right back out of it's nest, his heart charging as though it were a drum kit with Dan Lomeli on the throne. "Romulus, my lord: Weapon X is ready."

"Splendid. Execute Order 180."

The labyrinth, a place of darkness and confusion, which Patient Ten had stormed through hours before, was screaming with the echoes of hushed voices. Only footsteps haunted the place as a rather plain looking old man waded through the carnage. In spite of being massive and sprawling, he couldn't help but feel claustrophobic as the bloodstained walls threatened to squeeze the life out of him like he were a human ketchup bottle.

Finally, he came across Weapon One. He'd once been a handsome young man, Thorton had recruited him himself.

"See what that smart mouth got you? Wasn't much use when you were against someone stronger and faster, huh. Well boy, you're about as dead as a door nail, but soon you'll only be as dead as a half-decent attack dog."

The head was trashed, so Thorton sawed it off, swatting the flies away, depositing the corpse into a thick plastic bag and sneaking into the cramped, smelly darkness.

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