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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Lord Wraith
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Lord Wraith Silly Forum Ghost

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

M O N D A Y, J U L Y 3 0T H, 2 0 1 8 - 1 0 : 2 8 p m | T H E G L A D E S

”June, I’m going to need you to calm down.” Blake ordered with a lowered voice as he held out one hand in front of him while extending his other in a non-threatening gesture as he froze in place. “I don’t want to hurt you, I’m here to help.”

The woman suddenly chuckled, her laughter steadily escalating until suddenly she stopped, glaring at Blake, a wicked grin plastered on her face. Shaking her head, she spoke in a chiding manner, her voice ringing out melodically.

“June isn’t here anymore.” She smiled wider. “Only me.”

Before Blake had a chance to react, the woman in front of him changed into the Enchantress. Attacking him, Blake covered his face as he felt himself fly across the room, colliding with the wall opposite Amora as a shower of newspaper clippings and printouts around him. Scrambling to get on even ground with the Enchantress, Blake didn’t have time to retaliate before he was picked up again, tossed around the apartment like a ragdoll. Drywall dust and mold covered his body as he found himself entangled in police tape as the cold night air held him in its chilling grip. Sailing through the previously broken window, Blake plummeted towards the ground only to have his fall broken by a parked car, the vehicle crushing beneath the weight of his impact.

The sound of screeching tires echoed in Blake’s ringing ears as a car came to a sudden stop, the lone occupant climbing out of the the vehicle as she ran over towards Blake. Pausing, she took a look at the man, her head quickly turning to look towards the fifth story window she had just seen him fall from, before she looked back at Blake surprised to see the man freely breathing.

“Uhh, you alright?” The woman asked. It was the only thing she could think to ask, even if it was just playing for time.

The crumpled metal and bent frame had conformed to the shape of Blake’s body as he sat up to free himself from the mangled vehicle. Nodding towards the woman in acknowledgment, Blake slid off of the vehicle as he stood. The pair now gathering several other bystanders as they looked on in astonishment as Blake walked away from the ruined vehicle uninjured.

“I’m good, ma’am,” Blake answered emphasizing his gratitude with another nod of his head as he put two fingers to his brow before continuing, “Appreciate you asking, though you may want to get clear of here, pretty sure we have a rogue metahuman up there.” He lied while pulling his cell phone from his jeans, tilting it away from the woman as he feigned dialing. Holding the device up to his ear, Blake waited for what he assumed was the appropriate time for ‘emergency services’ to answer before speaking again.

“Yes, there’s a rogue metahuman at the Owenstead Apartments.” He nodded, the corner of his eye watching the woman but she didn’t appear to be in any hurry to leave. “Police are on their way? Okay, I understand, ma’am, I’ll wait on the line.” He added remembering his previous call to Marville’s emergency services from two days ago.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” Blake stated as he pressed the phone to his cheek, leaning towards the woman who had checked on him. “I’m going to get clear while I wait for the police, I suggest you all do the same.” He added, extending the warning to the gathered crowd.

Surveying the scene from above, Amora snarled as she watched Thor shrug off the fall as the Son of Odin gathered yet another crowd of admirers. It was of no consequence to her though, as nothing was going to stop her from killing the Thunderer this time, her host had gone silent, defeated by her own desperation leaving Amora to freely control this new body.

Stepping out the broken window, Amora spread her arms, her descent slowed as she floated towards the ground. Landing softly, Amora didn’t miss a step as she casually strolled towards her foe, raising a hand as she dismissed the woman beside him with a wave of green energy before addressing the man she knew only as Thor.

“You and I have unfinished business, your father took away my life, so I’m going to take away yours and this time I will not be interrupted.”

“No!” Blake cried as the blonde woman was sent backwards, screams echoing his ears from the other bystanders as Blake reacted. Overhead the clouds began to block out the stars as storm clouds moved in, thunder rumbling as Blake’s eyes crackled with blue sparks. Moving in the blink of an eye, Blake caught the woman, placing her on the ground before spinning around to move her out of the way of a retaliatory attack.

“I would have to suggest again that you get clear.” He repeated through gritted teeth as he addressed the woman. She nodded her head in hurried agreement as a satisfied Blake turned around to face Amora.

”Wait, what are you going to do?” The woman asked, pausing to watch Blake. ”Who are you?”

“You don’t know me,” Blake said to the blonde woman before turning to face the Enchantress, “But it’s time for me to introduce myself.” He stated as a bolt of lightning arced through the sky before plummeting towards him. Just as it was about to strike, the Enchantress delivered a blow, sending Blake careening across the street as he collided with the lid of a dumpster before falling inside.

We do not require a lightning strike to summon our armor.

“That,” Blake groaned as he sat up. “Would have been good to know.” He retorted before climbing out of the dumpster, relinquishing control to Thor as his clothing began to change. The leather jacket and jeans ensemble was quickly replaced with Thor’s Asgardian armor, the scale like armor coating his sleeves as his chest was encased in the finest cuirass the Royal Armorer had to offer the Throne when Thor had served his father. The flowing crimson cape billowed behind Thor as he walked out of the alley, his outfit and demeanor providing a stark contrast to the modern slum that was Star City’s Glades.

“Amora!” Thor yelled as the blonde woman turned to look at him, people on either side of the street staring as they gazed upon Thor’s attire. “My father is not to blame for your misfortune. You have no quarrel with the people of Midgard.” Thunder boomed as rain poured down on the street driving the bystanders indoors. Illuminated windows were quickly filled with watchers as the Sorceress and the God of Thunder faced off outside.

“No!” She screamed back. “Were it not for the desires of men, I would have been the Maiden Goddess, I would have been revered by the people of Asgard instead of reviled like the town whore!” She annunciated her words with a blast of magic, the flash of green traveling towards Thor. Quickly spreading his arms, a wave of lightning countered the magic, the two energies canceling each other out. Standing defiantly against her attacks, Thor continued to attempt to reason with the enraged sorceress.

“Your sister betrayed you, Amora. Lorelei lied to gain an advantage, she had you framed and then Loki used you. He took your pain and made you into a weapon, further turning you against the Allfather until you were cast out.”

Overheard, the steady whirl of a propeller drowned out Amora’s angered screams as the media arrived to broadcast the conflict. Barrage after barrage of magic came towards Thor as the God of Thunder used his newfound speed to evade her attacks, slowly closing the distance between himself and the Enchantress.

In the sky above, a camera pointed towards the ground as another focused in on the face of a young news anchor. Checking her reflection one last time, as she pulled on the straps of her push up bra, spreading the lapels of her jacket before looking at her make-up one last time as the crew behind her counted her in.

“And you’re live in three… two…. one!” The crewman said from behind the anchor as the pilot steadied the helicopter as the anchor began to speak into the camera.

“My name is Susan Williams of Channel 52 News and I am coming to you live from Star City, where we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you an urgent news alert. Two metahumans are currently in the middle of an all-out brawl outside of the Owenstead Apartment building in the heart of the Glades. Citizens are encouraged to evacuate the area immediately. Emergency services are standing by but are unable to directly interfere. S.H.I.E.L.D. has been contacted and asked to intervene, but there is no E.T.A. as of now.”

The broadcast could be heard all around Thor on the street below as nearly every television and radio were tuned to Star City’s first full-blown superhero encounter. Susan’s voice was as clear as day as Thor and Amora paced back and forth in the middle of the street.

Thor had managed to evade each of Amora’s attacks thus far, but he had yet to land one of his own as the pair dodged and parried the other’s blows. Thinking he was finally a move ahead, Thor was caught off guard as Amora suddenly changed the rules of the game. Turning away from Thor, Amora spread her arms before flying into the air. Multiplying her image, Thor quickly found himself surrounded as numerous Enchantresses appeared above the street. Bracing for the worst, Thor realized too late that he was not the intended target as the real Enchantress turned towards the sky.

A brilliant flash of green struck the helicopter overhead, the news anchor screaming as the chopper began to rapidly descend towards the ground. The broadcast went dark as Amora taunted Thor, her doppelgangers turning on the Asgardian as he tried to escape their grasp.

“What will you do, oh Thunderer?” She asked mockingly. “You can’t save them and keep me at bay. Before this fight is through, I will teach you the feeling of helplessness, I will make you feel what your father made me feel.” She paused as her hands began to glow. “And then, and only then, do you have my permission to die!”

Summoning lightning from the sky, Thor destroyed several of the Enchantress’ doppelgangers as he moved to stop the falling helicopter. Calling upon the winds of the storm, Thor guided the current between the buildings as he sent the strong gusts upwards, slowly the descent of the chopper while he fended off several more of Amora’s illusions. Leaping into the air, Thor ran along the wall of the nearby apartment building before pushing off as he spun through the air, lightning emitting from his body before he landed a lightning laden blow against Amora.

Crying out as the Thor struck her, Amora found herself falling towards the ground as pain gripped her chest. Colliding with the ground, Amora tumbled backwards as she tried to slow herself, wrapping her arms around her chest as she looked down. The amulet was damaged, hairline cracks were creeping across the surface of the gem as they ominously glowed in the night. Slowing the damage with an annoyed wave of her hand, Amora growled to herself as she watched Thor catch the helicopter before slowly placing the vehicle on the ground.

“Enough of this!” She yelled, her voice frustrated and strained. “You die now!” Amora cried as she extended her arms, deadly arcane arrows flew forth towards Thor.

“If you will not listen to reason, then I appeal to June Moon.” Thor replied as he rendered Amora’s attack null with a wall of lightning as he continued to walk forward. “Fight for your body, cast out this witch who has insulated your right to live.”

“I told you before, Thor.” Amora replied as she moved her arms in a circular manner. “The girl is dead.”

Suddenly a streak of brown appeared in Amora’s hair as the sorceress’ eyes went wide. Waving a hand, she dismissed the discolouration as it returned to blonde, resuming her spell only to stumble forward as pain shot through her abdomen. Clutching her stomach, Amora suddenly fell to her knees as vomit spewed forth from her mouth.

“You… bitch…” June’s voice came from Amora’s mouth as Amora tried to stand again, Thor coming closer with each step.

“Enough of this!” Amora roared as she floated to her feet, arms spread as her hands began to glow. "Time for you to perish at my hand!”

As he came closer, Thor could see the damage to the necklace, an idea sprouting in his head as he began to move faster. Amora’s eyes went wide as Thor came closer and closer with each powerful stride. Her spell suddenly fizzling out as Amora felt June fighting to hold her still.

“No!” She cried out. “Not again!”

Thor’s hand became wrapped in lightning as he leaped into the air, bringing his fist down on the amulet as he guided a blinding blue bolt directly to its center. The amulet shattered as the Enchantress’ screams rang in Thor’s ears. The woman was thrown backwards by the amulet’s sudden explosion, Amora disappearing as June returned to her body. Fragmented gemstone flew through the air as Thor moved to protect the girl, rushing forward to catch her before she hit the ground.

Physically, she was mostly unharmed. Several lacerations from the fragmented shards dotted her exposed skin, the worst of which was a large gash running the entire length of her left hand. Mentally, Thor was not sure how she would cope given the stress and strain Amora’s possession likely had on her. June’s eyes slowly fluttered open as Thor helped her stand, a hand reaching up as she touched his cheek, looking at him in utter disbelief.

“You’re...you’re actually real.”

The moment wasn’t meant to last however as blinding floodlights shone down from above the city’s skyline, the silhouette of a large aircraft casting its long shadow over Star City. Turning to June, Thor urged the girl to leave as he spoke.

“You have done no wrong this day, but they will not understand that. Go forth and be free, June Moon.” Thor motioned the thunder rolled overhead, lightning flashes covering June’s escape as she scrambled down the back alleys of the Glades, clutching her hand tightly as she ran.

Turning back to the situation at hand, Thor looked towards the sky as the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents descended from the helicarrier above, their weapons trained on the Asgardian as he smiled innocently at the laser sights illuminating his chest.

“Thor of Asgard.” A woman’s voice rang out from the middle of the street as Thor looked towards the source of the voice. His eyes meeting those of a dark-skinned woman as she stepped forward, her badge proudly on display in her outstretched hand.

“By the authority of S.H.I.E.L.D., I hereby order you to stand down and submit yourself to our custody.”
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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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Interlude Pt. I


Hollywood
12:53 PM


Charlie Rembrandt looked around the opulent mansion nestled snugly in the Hollywood Hills. His own modest home was just a few blocks away, but it might as well have been on another planet. The cheapest home was probably a sixteen bedroom twenty million dollar mansion deemed a "fixer upper" by a chipper real estate agent who wore too much jewelry. With its lush lawns and Olympic sized swimming pools, it was a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in. And Mark Preston collected bad habits the way nerds collected comic books.

Rembrandt walked across the foyer's Italian marble flooring towards the stairs. He was one of nearly a dozen LAPD personnel on site. As RHD, he was the lead detective responsible for the scene and had to make sure everyone was following procedure. The boots were out on the lawn and in the street, keeping reporters at bay, while the crims took photos and bagged evidence. A few of the Hollywood Homicide cops were still on the scene even after booting it up to RHD. Charlie had them downstairs in the kitchen and dining room, interviewing the household staff. A few had found the private security guards who patrolled the neighborhood constantly, lest any commoners linger too long and forget their place. If there was anything worth seeing than the security guards had seen it.

Rembrandt needed them all out working so he could be left alone. There was bad voodoo in this house. Not literal voodoo, which Charlie got a crash course in the last time he crossed paths with John Constantine, but just something in the house unsettled him. This house wasn't that old, but it's history had been pretty remarkable. This home carried a lot of pain in its walls, something had happened here and it had been festering ever since. The Second Sight or whatever it was called was directing him to something inside the house.

The whine of a camera drew his attention away from the hallway and through the door. The crims were busy taking photos of Mark Preston’s hanging body from all angles. The corpse rested against the side of the wall, a chair knocked to the ground just below his feet. A necktie that cost more than Charlie’s entire suit was wrapped around Preston’s neck at one end and nailed against the drywall at the other end.

“We’re taking bets,” Ray Pinkerton said once he saw Charlie looking in. Pinkerton wore vinyl gloves and was in the process of dusting the wall around Preston’s body for prints. “Either suicide or a sex thing gone bad.”

“I think the nail, and the fact that his pants aren't around his ankles, rules auto-erotic asphyxiation out,” said Charlie.

“Auto-erotic what? Use small words, Charlie, I’m just a high school graduate. You think he topped himself off because of the news?”

“A guy worth as much money as he was worth doesn’t just kill themselves out of the blue. This must have been more appealing than a jail cell.”

"Tell you one thing that's fishy," said Pinkerton. "He managed to hit the nail right into a stud without a stud finder."

"Some people know their house," Charlie shrugged. "I could do the same at my own house."

"He doesn't look the type to know anything about home improvement."

"True, but you can never tell about people. I mean, you don't look like the type to be into dogs, but yet..."

Pinkerton laughed and flipped Charlie off with his gloved hand. He turned back to the wall and focused on his work, the time for chit-chat seemingly over. Charlie turned away and started back down the corridor. He could hear whispers, pleas and crying all around him. They filtered in and out so rapidly that he tried to shake his head to clear the sound of it. Yeah… this place was bad fucking news.

She was waiting in the study, her back turned away from the door and instead looking out the window. There was a perfect view of the front lawn and the mob outside filming and waiting to see Preston’s body rolled out on a stretcher. Charlie knew she wasn’t alive because he could partially see through her.

“Excuse me.”

She turned and looked at Rembrandt with wide eyes. She was old, the wardrobe was a dead giveaway. A tight knee length dress with black character shoes and a navy cloche hat covering her jet black hair. A lovely string of pearls was wrapped around her neck. Charlie had seen photos of her in history books. Not her specifically, but her type. She was the prototypical flapper.

“You can see me?”

“Yes,” said Charlie. He pulled his badge and showed it to her. He felt silly flashing his badge at a ghost. If someone happened to walk in it would look even sillier. “LAPD. How long have you been in this house?”

“Years,” she said, turning back towards the window. “Years and years. Are they here for Mr. Preston? I wonder if they can see me...”

“They probably can’t. And they're here for Preston. I don’t know how much you know about him, but he was an important figure in the film industry.”

“He was also a monster,” she said turning back to look at Charlie, her eyes filled with hate.

“The world knows that now. We think that’s why he took his own life. Do you know what happened, Miss?”

“I know what happened. I think...I think I drove him to kill himself.”

Charlie stepped forward and furrowed his brow.

“Tell me about it. Start from the beginning.”

She walked across the hardwood study floors, her heels making no sound, and clutched her pearls as she spoke.

“My name is Pearl Jones, or at least that was my stage name--" her eyes flashed warmly as she thought back to some long ago memory. The memory faded, as did the warmth, and her eyes were once again cold. When she spoke, her voice took on a hard edge. "And my story is one you’ve heard hundreds of times before. A girl who came to Hollywood with big dreams. And then I watched those dreams crash against the rocks…”
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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One second I'm standing inside the museum as alarms blare around me, searching for somewhere private I can change into my Spider-Woman gear, and the next minute I'm standing outside in an alleyway next to Peter. I look around, perplexed by my situation. Peter looks just as confused as I do, which makes me slightly relieved. Still, it makes absolutely no sense.

"Okay," I close my eyes and try to get my bearings, "did I just stroke out for a minute or two or did we just magically appear outside the museum by no means of our own."

"I..."

Before Peter can say anything else, he doubles over and vomits all across the alley floor. I rub his back sympathetically and grimace from the sights and smells of the inside of my boyfriend's stomach.

Gagging slightly, I say, "Oh-gah-come on, Peter. You know I c-gah-n't be around vomit."

"Sorry," he pants as he finishes. "Whatever happened seriously messed with my equilibrium."

"Yea, I'm a little dizzy myself."

Which is weird, because ever since I was bit by the spider I can do like quintuple backflips and not feel a thing. So whatever is inside is either super fast, or has some sort of weird teleportation abilities. Either way, I'm willing to bet they're stealing the Khandaqi riches we were just looking at. Looks like a job for Spider-Woman if I ever saw one.

"Okay, I'm gonna go back in and try and figure out what's going on," I tell Peter as I take my costume out of my pack, spotting a convenient dead-end alley where I can change. "I'll let you know what I find once I'm inside."

I change, constantly afraid someone is gonna turn down the alley and catch me half naked with a Spider-Woman mask on. I'd be less worried about getting caught as a superhero and more worried about them throwing me in Ravencroft. Such is the life of a vigilante. Maybe Peter can design me a suit that just magically appears on me. Maybe some nanobots or something.

Yea, fat chance, Stacy.

Once I'm suited up, I fire a webline through a shattered window of the museum, and yank myself into the building.

What I find I mostly do not understand. Scattered around the room are a group of what appear to be Kingpin or Maggia men, all just seemingly hanging out. What they're watching is the really puzzling sight.

In the middle of the room, a giant column of sand snakes up. As it rises toward its peak, it forms the torso, arms, and head of a man. But not just any man. No, I'm staring at Flint Marko, enforcer for the Maggia, and up until very recently a normal dude. On the ground lays a woman decked out in red and yellow, being pummeled by Marko's fist. Or at least where Marko's fist should be. Instead, his arm ends in a sledgehammer made of sand.

I swear to god I have the weirdest life.

"Hey, Marko!" I call out to the mafia strongman. "I mean I've heard of getting sand in your shorts, but this just seems like overkill!"

"Ah!" he smiles. "The hero I was lookin' for! Looks like I get to kill two superheroes today insteadah one! It's my lucky day."

"Flint, I'm gonna level with you," I scoff as I awing towards his arm, hoping to knock it away from the other hero sprawled out on the ground, "I would never consider a day lucky if I woke up looking like that."

I make contact with his hammer hand, and it explodes into sand particles. When I hit the ground, my spider sense explodes, but far too late. The sand that was his fist slithers off the ground and delivers an uppercut to me that has me seeing stars. I fly briefly through the air and hit the marble floor of the museum hard.

"Ugh," I grunt to the other costumed hero. "Any time you wanna help out, you're more than welcome to."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Nib
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Nib

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Magneto flew through the storm, unhindered by the winds. The bubble of electromagnetic force shifted at his command, finding new anchor point to keep him secure and afloat. He reached the coast and came to a halt in the air, his cape whipping behind him in the gale of wind and rain. The body of the hurricane still churned out at sea, approaching slowly, but he couldn’t see anyone who appeared to be controlling the storm from his vantage point. His silver brows knitted in frustration. He couldn’t risk floating over the ocean; there weren’t any anchor points for him out there, and staying afloat off the force of the Earth’s magnetic field would leave him vulnerable to the winds.

”What is your progress on getting the civilians to safe locations?”

Magneto’s voice came over the communicators each team member had on them, but the storm was interfering with the signal, and they only heard a few brief and garbled words. Quicksilver skidded to a stop and looked to Jean as she hovered inches off the ground.

”Can you reach him with your telepathy from here?”

”Maybe. Give me a minute. You and Sc- Cyclops continue getting these people to the safehouses. I’ll be fine.”

Quicksilver nodded before racing off in a silver blur once more. Cyclops looked to Jean for a long moment before nodding himself and jogging off toward a cluster of people up ahead. She watched him go, his form soon lost in the sheets of rain from the storm. Jean knelt down in the alleyway and closed her eyes shutting everything out. The sound of the storm died down and was gone. It was difficult to get through the dampening on her powers, but she managed to fight through it and focus in on Magneto.

”Max! The comms are receiving too much interference from the hurricane. Scott and Pietro are ushering the last few groups into shelters on our end. I’ll check with Garfield on their end.”

Jean’s words floated into his mind as if she were right there next to him. How remarkable! She fought through the dampening Charles was placing on her telepathic powers.

On the other side of town, a green ox carried several people toward one of the shelters. Terra used her powers to begin forming walls to protect the people as they made their toward the shelters and to reinforced the shelters in some places. Jubilee ushered people towards the shelters, using her powers to fire lights up into the sky to help guide them through the heavy sheets of rain.

”Garfield! How is it going on your end with getting the people into the shelters? We’re just about done here.”

The voice caught him off guard for a moment, but he recovered and kept from dropping the people riding on his back.

”Uh… Jean? Yeah, yeah… We’re just about done here. Maybe one or two more groups left to get into the shelters. Where’s Max?”

”Magneto, Garfield, Terra, and Jubilee are finishing up on their end now. What’s our next move?”

Again, Jean’s voice floated back into his mind as he floated at the edge of the coast watching the hurricane churn and swirl toward his position. How were they to find who was creating this storm, and if they did how were they suppose to stop them?
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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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Music was playing.

Strings, accompanied by French horn. The melody flitted like a hummingbird, energetic and lively, before solidifying into a stair-step arpeggio, again and again. It certainly required no small degree of technical skill for the orchestra to perform, but there was a certain routine to it, prowess without grace. Soon, the orchestra would be silent, to give way for a single pianist. Again, to play the piano part in this piece required all of the trademarks of good musicianship: dexterity, timing, memorization. But there lacked that certain je ne sais quois that made the truly immortal composers stand the test of centuries. It was merely 'some old music.'

The piece was by Antonio Salieri, who in his time was a celebrated and successful composer in Vienna. He was the favored musician in the court of the Emperor of Austria. He was the instructor of titanic composers such as Liszt, Schubert, and even Beethoven himself. He was rich, he was popular, he was successful in every measure....

....and if it weren't for an unflattering depiction in a play written centuries after his death, he would have been completely forgotten to history.

For Salieri was a contemporary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. And while Salieri was rich, popular, and powerful, Mozart....was Mozart.

The strings jumped in again to accompany the pianist's busy fluttering, but the music was drowned out by the sounds of Lex Luthor entertaining his guests in his father's study.

An oil painting of his old man hung over the mantle of a roaring fireplace, gazing down coldly upon a room filled with priceless pieces of art and antiquity. Mahogany armchairs, polished to a shine, dotted the corners of the room, dwarfed by the mighty oak partners' desk and high-backed chair at the end of the room. A huge grizzly bear pelt lay across the eggshell carpet, its visage frozen in a permanent silent roar. The walls, painted a deep forest green, were dominated by massive bookcases on either side, filled to burst with leatherbound volumes. What free space on the walls remained was cluttered with gilded paintings, hunting trophies, or photographs of the old man's conquests. Among them, not a single picture existed of his wives, or his son.

Some men played golf to clear their heads. Some took up hobbies like train sets or ships in bottles. Most men these days simply got drunk and picked up whatever barfly with low enough self-esteem would have them. Lex, on the other hand, had a very particular way of relieving tension after a stressful day, and as the orchestra swelled, he was well on his way to fulfilling it.

*KNOCK-KNOCK*

"Mister Luthor?" came a voice from the other side of the large oak double-doors. "There's been an incident that requires your attention, sir."

Lex's face twisted to a scowl of frustration, his whole body trembling with sudden agitation. The moment ruined, he wiped a hand across his face, took a moment to compose himself, then turned off the music and went to the door.

Greeting him was a tall, fit woman of Asian descent in a smart black dress and rimless glasses, holding a company-issued L-Pad. She did not so much as flinch as the door cracked open to reveal the scene inside.

"Mercy," said the visibly annoyed Lex, "I know you're still new to the position, but I thought I was quite explicit when I told you I was not to be disturbed when I have guests in the study."

"You were, sir," Mercy Graves said, her poker-face not giving a millimeter. "You also told me that I was to inform you of any Alpha-priority incidents immediately, regardless of the circumstances. Between having you temporarily annoyed and having you potentially endangered, it was not a difficult judgment call."

For a moment, Lex eyed the girl, trying to get a read on her intentions.

His last assistant, Miss Tessmacher, was competent, well-mannered, and studious when it came to knowing what he wanted at any given time. She was always nervous around him, however, careful not to say or do anything that might displease him. She had taken an unfortunate fall from the top of the LexCorp Tower during the Toyman's first attack, but was spared at the last second by divine intervention in a blue T-shirt. How tragic, then, that her guardian angel was nowhere to be found when she stepped in front of a train a week later.

Mercy Graves was not cut from the same cloth as Eve Tessmacher. She was a thorough professional, who knew full well what the job was when she took it. Her résumé didn't include the corporate moguls and political power players that Miss Tessmacher had worked for, but included some old friends that made Lex raise an eyebrow when she applied for the position.

Even now, her actions intrigued him. I chose the action that may very well get me killed, the implication was, rather than allow a situation to happen which may get you killed.

After a moment of scrutiny, Lex laughed.

"Hah!" he exclaimed. "Hard help is so very good to find, isn't it? If you'll give me one moment, Mercy..."

Clapping his hands, he turned towards his guests.

"I'm afraid we're going to have to cut it short tonight, ladies," he said, his voice dripping with mock sadness. "The elevator's at the end of the hall; I'm sure you can find your way out from there."

As his guests gathered their things, Luthor crossed his fingers and made a pantomime blessing. "Mediocrities of the world," he said, "I absolve you."

The two guests filed past Lex and Mercy, and Miss Graves did not give them a second glance. She made careful note not to notice the fact that both of them were wearing what appeared to be cheerleader uniforms with Superman's logo on their chests.

She also chose not to notice that one had a bloody lip, and both had bruises forming around their necks.

"So!" Lex started. "This Alpha-priority incident. Should security be sweeping the upper levels of the Tower for unwanted playthings? Toys in the attic, hm?"

"No, sir," Mercy said, ignoring his wordplay, "The breach was reported on sub-level 38. No eyewitnesses, of course, since the only person allowed on that level is yourself. Still, surveillance was able to capture the incident on camera."

Handing Luthor the L-Pad, Mercy turned away, observing one of the framed Gustave Doré lithographs that lined the hallway to the study. Lex glanced for a moment as he tapped the unopened video file, noticing the one she had chosen to divert her attention to. An angelic figure, bathed with light, casting an accusing finger at a man and woman as they cowered in shame away from an idyllic wood.

"The Expulsion from Eden," he remarked. "God sends Adam and Eve away to suffer and grow sick and old and die, because they ate fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. The serpent that tempted them loses his legs, and has to spend the rest of eternity crawling in the dust on his belly. Hell of a price to pay for taking a bite of the forbidden fruit...."

Lex turned the tablet back to Mercy.

"....but hey, what's the harm in having a little nibble?"

Mercy gave Lex a studying look, as the scrawny red-headed man gave her a playful hiss, then stepped toward him to watch the video with him.

"So, let's see what-- ah!" he said. "Object AC1-04-18. Previously in the custody of the United States Air Force, held underneath the Groom Lake AFB in Lincoln County, Nevada. Officially, it doesn't exist, has never existed, never will exist. Unofficially, it crash-landed about twenty-six years ago in a field in Kansas, and its occupant was never recovered. I don't mind telling you, I made quite a mess to get my hands on it, but it was worth every bit of it. It's where I do all my best thinking."

In the time since Object AC1-04-18 was recovered, LexCorp had hurdled its competitors by leaps and bounds. Bleeding-edge electronics, new social media platforms, a whole new generation of artificial intelligence, all ready to launch humanity into the future in such a short time. Of course, those were only the experiments that yielded successful results. Others were locked away in the sub-levels beneath LexCorp Tower, some gathering dust, others still writhing and shrieking in their containment cells, gibbering masses of substance that was once human.

The Object itself was a pod of some sort, a silver sphere maybe three feet in diameter embedded at the front of a golden dart, lined with red-and-blue trim, and fins of gleaming crystal. The spherical pod was open, revealing what appeared to be a small seat, small enough to seat a creature the size of a human infant, ringed with pockets and compartments, some of which had been opened, others remained sealed.

Behind object AC1-04-18 was a transparent tube. Suspended in a clear acryllic resin was Object AS-04-43: a shard of green xenomineral, unlike anything found on the Periodic Table.

Despite the wealth of ideas Lex had gotten from studying these objects, he had yet to make any progress on activating Object AC1-04-18. This cost him no end of frustration.

Without warning, on the video, golden lights began to pierce the outer skin of the pod, crisscrossing it like circuitry. A voice, in a language Lex didn't understand, spoke.





Then, accelerating in an instant, Object AC1-04-18 slammed downward, burrowing into the ground, flooding the room with smoke and dust as the video cut off.

"Looks like Sleeping Beauty finally woke up," Lex said with piqued curiosity. "And I didn't even think to kiss it."

"Should I alert a security team to recover the object?" Mercy offered.

"Hm? Oh, no, no, nonono," he waved the idea away. "This is one I'm going to handle myself. I want to find out exactly where my baby has gone off to, and who's doing what with it. In the meantime....hold my calls."

"And if the Toyman attempts to act on his threat from today?"

Lex shrugged, as if the matter was trivial.

"Then hold his calls, too."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Sep
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Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

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T H E F L A S H


Revelations:

NOT FAST ENOUGH






Iris grunted as she sat back up. Surveying the room she saw that Spider-Woman had made an appearance, it made sense. This was her city afterall, well. Hers and that psychotic Punishers. That said he was said to be roaming the country now, so long as he didn't rear his ugly head in Central City or she'd throw him behind bars.

"Ugh," Spider-Woman grunted in her general direction. "Any time you wanna help out, you're more than welcome to." She saw the mans hand disperse into sand, slamming her with an uppercut and she sighed.

"What is it with you freaks and elemental abilities? First a man made out of water, now sand?" Iris ran towards this 'Flint', raining down a couple of quick blows against his torso. Just like with Hydro-man not a single blow seemed to do any real damage, wherever she hit him his body just turned to sand. The problem was how she had dealt with Hydro wouldn't necessarily work against 'Flint'. She really felt weird referring to people by their actual names.

She did most of this within a blink of the eye, as the mass of sand was fast approaching Spider-Woman again. Running down the extended arm Iris picked up a fallen piece of glass and used it to slice through the sand, splitting the stream of sand in half. As it was separated from his body the sand fell to the ground lifeless. That was merely for a second however as it picked itself back up and returned to it's host body. Iris and 'Flint' stared eachother down as she stood defensively onfront of Spider-Woman. Iris had some responsibility here afterall, didn't she? She had been one of the two to fight the Silver Surfer, had defeated someone just like this the other week and teamed up and assisted Superman who was possibly the most powerful being on the planet. Unless the rumours of this 'Thor' down in Oklahoma were true.

Flint grunted out of frustration, pushing both his arms out he created a wave of sand cascading towards Iris and Spider-Woman. Obviously for whatever reason he had a firmer grasp on his abilities than Hydro-Man had, for whatever reason. Twisting she turned and grabbed the fallen hero, running her out of harms way. Sand-Man moved faster than she had expected however, and the wall of sand clipped her left foot. Dropping Spider-Woman as quickly, yet delicately, as possible, Iris tripped and tumbled rolling to the otherside of the room before coming into contact with the wall. Shaking her head as she stood up she turned to her fellow heroine.

"You know, this is your city and I'm just the tourist. If you've got any ideas I'd love to hear them."

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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, Wayne Tower
Penthouse Suite
2:35 PM


"And that concludes the weather. Do remember to keep your umbrellas prepared, because this weekend looks as though it'll be a rough one for commuters. But proceeding to our top story for the day, Gotham Now goes live to senior correspondent Vesper Fairchild, who is on the scene of an event that has been trending amongst Gothamites for weeks. Vesper?"

"Thank you, Adam. As you can see from the line that stretches alongside the three mile entrance, Gotham Now is coming to you live from the seventh annual Starling Fashion Show! Hosted this year by heiress to the Corvidae Jewelers empire, Margaret Pye, the public are practically sprinting to get what is to be the first glimpse at world renowned fashion mogul Paul Dekker's Faux Cou Noir luxury line, said by industry insiders to be the hottest attraction of the Fall season."

The live feed of Vesper Fairchild is replaced with archival footage of the aging Paul Dekker, adorned in his trademark multi-color "patchwork" suit and ruby glasses. He can be seen shaking hands and posing for pictures with celebrities, politicians, and world leaders at various points throughout a career spanning six decades.

"While Dekker has been frequently cited as a 'crazed genius of couture' in recent years, the in-demand designer's appearance today in Gotham is indeed a rare treat, as the Paris-born revolutionary of the fashion world was thought to be living out his final days in seclusion. But with a newly announced premium line of dresses that promise to be as spellbinding as they are provocative, Gothamites from all walks of life are about to get a firsthand look at what promises to be Dekker's final, and perhaps most everlasting mark as an icon of the industry. Attendees are already looking to be in the thousands, and with less than an hour before the show starts, that number may soar even---"

"Off."



Even after the television cuts to black, I can't help but stare at the reflection looking back from the screen. While all of that nonsense went completely over my head and only filled me with a sense of impending doom, knowing that I was about to enter that world firsthand, what disturbs me more is just how well Alfred did a job of making me look the part of someone with a vested interest. The luxury suit that he had imported from Italy, tailored to my exact measurements, the makeup job that was used to hide my still-healing injuries from last week's battle with a mind-controlled metahuman and the GCPD, even in the distinct way that my hair is parted. It all seems so absurdly contradictory to who I am. I feel like I was being just as prepped to go on that stage as any of the models forced to pose in what is likely to be an overpriced series of garments. And to add to it all, this damned tie is choking the life out of me.

Still, as Alfred has repeatedly reminded me through my many attempts to avoid this, it's a favor that I can't turn down. In an effort to raise my public profile and potentially grant me some minimal leeway with the board of directors at Waynetech to stop their appointment of Roman Sionis as CEO, given that they think me to be just as much of a recluse as that Dekker individual, I also agreed to this farce to show my appreciation towards the surgical efforts made to save my life by the head trauma specialist at Elliot Memorial, Thomas Elliot. So I'm at a loss for any suitable excuses. Ever the glory-hound, Elliot's practically called the Tower every hour since the early morning to ensure that I don't back out of an appearance I half-heartedly promised to make in order to impress his rich friends with a gracious meet-and-greet with Gotham's favorite son.

Or whatever the hell that they're calling me these days. But regardless of my thoughts on the matter, which vary from complete disinterest to borderline aggression for the senseless hoops I'm being made to jump through for this, I don't just have to make an appearance. I need to in order to make it seem as though Bruce Wayne at least has some tangential common interest with the city's elite. Selina Kyle is always pushing me to take up golf, or rugby. Attending something like this seems as though it is a suitable compromise. As it stands, I find all of her and Elliot's friends to be insufferable. And worse, perfectly willing to look the other way while the Five Families active tear Gotham apart, convinced that they're protected from the view of their ivory towers.

Though admittedly, it's hard to say much about that when I'm standing in one of those ivory towers. As I try in vain to loosen the tie, just enough to feel as though I'm not losing oxygen, I turn around to my office desk and carefully open the awaiting glass bottle of a vintage 1939 Scotch. An exceptionally rare brand, and what was once my father's alcohol of choice. I never had much of a taste for it myself, but catching a glimpse of just what I'm in for immediately makes me realize why he felt the need to drink after making these sorts of appearances. Before today, I had considered just shipping this bottle off to Tony Stark as a peace offering, given that our respective companies have been at eachother's throats in the arms race for decades. And it doesn't hurt that if I offered him half of the shares of his most direct competitor, Stark might be one of the only men in the world able to pool his resources together with mine to outright buy Waynetech at a several billion dollar price.

But recently, he's been rumored to be pushing clean energy and isn't even interested in furthering his military contracts. The window of time has already passed. So I pour myself the glass instead, mix the ice in a slow circular motion to allow it to properly cure, and down the contents in one slow intake. Instantly, I wince. It burns at my throat and the sensation continues into my chest. It's what I imagine motor oil mixed with paint thinner would taste like. And yet I'd gladly expose myself to this unpleasantness a thousand more times before even normally considering how I'm about to spend my evening. As I pour myself another glass for good measure, Alfred finally walks through the double doors in order to presumably tell me that he's got the limousine prepared. He nods towards the Scotch, apparently having seen this scene before - many years prior and with a different member of the Wayne family.

"Ah. I see that you've already heard the news, then."

"Heard it? It's all over every local channel.", I respond, not even attempting to hide my disgust. "Really, Alfred, a fashion show? And in the middle of Dini Plaza. It feels insulting. There was a time when people used to go there for groundbreaking business pursuits. Deals that three generations of my family were apart of would be broken in that area that would impact the future of Gotham. This? It just feels like a circus. A circus devoid of any of the entertainment value..."

Alfred's reaction isn't one that I expect. His face reads of worry. A surprising amount, given his usual wry disposition.

"Oh. My word, then you haven't heard at all. Well, one hates to be the bearer of bad news, lad, but I wasn't referring to Mr. Dekker's fashion outing at all."

Putting the glass down just as I'm about to raise it to my lips, I look back at Alfred with confusion.

Did he just say bad news?

"It's Miss Kane. I'm afraid that she was just arrested right in the middle of class. She's sitting in a holding cell at Gotham Central, and the charge is remarkably serious."

Raising both eyebrows, I take a step forward and begin to walk ahead - until my pace eventually builds into a run, until I've made my way past Alfred and into the hallway leading to the elevator. In a bid to try and explain what charges Kate's been indicted on, I realize that I'm not paying attention to whatever Alfred's saying by the time that the elevator doors close to take me down to the garage. He'll probably be worried that I won't make the fashion engagement after all, but at the moment, I could care even less than I did before.

If Kate's in this severe kind of trouble, I had better get down the precinct to sort things out before her father catches wind of it. My uncle Jacob has been said to be many things over the span of his military career. A tactical genius, a cut-throat war veteran, and a genuine hero. But rational and forgiving? Both concepts have always ranked too low on his list of priorities, for my liking - particularly when it comes to his only living daughter. Kate and I may not have much of a relationship yet, due to my nightly commitments... but she's family. And the closest family that I still have, given what remains of the Wayne, Kane, and Arkham bloodlines.

Reaching into my front pocket, I remove my cellphone and dial a familiar number. Even though I've hated to use this as a crutch, it looks like I'll be needing her to get me out of yet another social predicament. And knowing her, she's sure to cash this in for me to buy her a yacht, or something equally as extravagant. That thought and the likelihood of it being true genuinely horrifies me, but what other choice do I have?

"Selina? It's Bruce. I don't have alot of time, but an emergency just came up and I'm going to need another favor."

I pause before saying the next few words. She may be a social butterfly, but even something like this is pushing it. It's a step below everything she usually makes it a point to attend, which I didn't even think was possible. But she's my only out if I'm to balance attending to Kate and still making the show.

"Do you happen to have any vested interest in 'Faux Cou Noir'?"

Gotham Central Precinct
Front Entrance
2:50 PM


"Where to even start with this?"

I place my arms infront of my chest, staring down my cousin as she's released on the sizeable bail bond that I just paid. In contrast to her generally dour outlook on everything, even going as far as to have been in the midst of a Goth phase whenever I first met her upon returning to Gotham, Kate's expression seems to be one of genuine shock. Not because she doesn't know what she did to be arrested, but because she likely didn't think it would ever go this far. I give her a disapproving glance as I open the door to my Lamborghini. She gives me a look back, halfway apologetic and partially disgusted, given my choice of vehicle.

Despite spending many weekends at the Tower to escape her father, she's made it no secret that she's never been comfortable with my wealth. Which is precisely why I chose the car in the first place over something alot more subtle. It's just the first of a series of punishments that I have in store, if I can safely get her across town without a military coup on the orders of my uncle Jake. Wordlessly, she assumes her place in the passenger seat as I assume mine behind the wheel. We both shut our respective doors at the same time and buckle in.

As I begin to back out of the parking space, I give her a side-eye and she looks away. I have to do my best to keep in mind that she's still only seventeen years old, and not to take any of this personally. Should the Dean at Brentwood Academy be willing to overlook this - which is highly doubtful - she may even graduate by the summer. But it's difficult not to be angry, given what the hell she just pulled.

"Look, I... I know I fucked up, but..."

"You pulled a knife on a student and threatened to, what was it again? Ah, yes. Give her a glasgow smile.", I bitterly point out. "I'd say that you're underselling it, all things considered."

Immediately, she turns to me with seething rage.

"You don't know the whole story!"

"I don't have to!", I fire back. "You were the one that brought a weapon to school. You were the one that was caught threatening the girl. You're the reason the Dean had to call the police. You didn't just mess up, Kate. You may have ruined any number of chances that were coming your way. You had a future to look forward to. Now, your only immediate prospect is looking at a potential prison stint."

She crosses her arms and stares out the window as we peel into traffic.

"Oh, sure. Like I had any chances..."

"Just tell me this. Okay? Just tell me what the hell could've possibly been going through your mind whenever you did this. Because if I have to explain this to the Colonel without hearing your side of it, he's going to want to interrogate you himself. And we both know you'd rather be telling me than him."

Tears come streaming down her face as she angrily looks forward.

"It's complicated."

I slam the brakes as hard as possible, causing her to jump. My hands remain firmly on the wheel.

"Jesus Christ, Bruce! Are you out of your mind?!"

Leaning against the wheel as a number of cars begin to honk their horns behind us, I leisurely look towards her with a raised eyebrow.

"It's your choice. Either you tell me the truth, or we remain here and piss off every motorist behind us for the next ten blocks. And I think they're liable to upend the car if I don't get moving, so you'd better talk fast."

She stares at me, shocked, but this is honestly nothing new for me. If anything, I'm utilizing a very unorthodox version of my training as Batman to initiate a confession - in the least threatening way imaginable, of course, but I suspect that it'll get the job done. Looking out the rearview window, I notice a few pedestrians starting to get out of their cars to visibly complain, shouting obscenities and giving me a number of angered, crude gestures. I honk the horn in response, making it clear that I don't intend to budge.

Kate looks back at them, worriedly.

"Oh my god. You're not actually doing this."

I shrug, looking ahead.

"They look angry. Be a shame if they started trashing the car. That's thirty-eight million that I can't easily pay off..."

She looks back at me, then back at them, the pressure of the situation building. She tries to speak, but hesitates. Something's holding her back, and it's alot more than some generalized teen angst at work. She legitimately doesn't want to say the words.

"She called me a stupid queer! Okay?!", she yells, the tears coming even harder. "The bitch called me a stupid queer..."

My eyes slightly widen, hearing the rather unexpected answer. The tension is broken by the oncoming drivers who're looking to get in my face over this. True to my promise to Kate, I immediately shift from park to second gear and take off for the freeway, speeding past a red light in the process but ultimately doing no further damage.

For the first few minutes, I don't... exactly know what to say to her. Teenagers can be cruel, of course, and I have distinct memories of being targeted for my own background by a few bullies just a few years after my parents were murdered. So it's not as if it's something I don't understand.

What completely catches me off guard is just how strongly she reacted to such an insult.

Almost as if....

"And you didn't like that.", I reply, realizing it for the first time. "Because you're gay."

She places her head in both hands, holding back any outright sobbing. Clearly, she's mortified. But I'm not sure if it's due to the fact that it escalated to this incident, or the mere fact that she had to have me say it for her. Eventually, she loses all composure and breaks down.

"I didn't mean to do it. I didn't. She just... wouldn't stop. Every day, she'd push me and push me and threaten to tell everyone else. I wasn't ready for that. I just... I didn't know what to do. I tried being nice about it. I tried ignoring her. But she wouldn't stop. She just... hates me. Just because I'm different."

My anger subsides as I hear her genuine plight. The pain that she must have endured, carrying around such a secret. Knowing that someone else knew about it and was willing to expose her. Made to feel like an outcast for no good reason.

Looking in the rear-view mirror again, I catch a glimpse of myself and have to be reminded that there's always heavy burden with keeping your true self hidden. With me, granted, it's a bit of a different situation. But this...

"Does your father know?"

Immediately, she looks up and panics again.

"No! Oh my god, no. Please, Bruce, I can't let him know about this. Not now. Especially not now. Promise me you won't tell him. Oh, god, Bruce, please promise me you won't!"

"Kate."

I look over at her and raise a hand, indicating that she has nothing to worry about.

"This stays between us. What you did aside, I have absolutely no right to violate your personal privacy. If the Colonel ever learns of this, it won't be from me. You have my word."

Kate looks at me, and subsequently sighs, wiping the tears from her face. I know the look. She's wondering if I'm to be trusted. Perhaps, given what little history we share as family, wondering if she has any choice but to trust me with this until she can be certain that I'm a man of my word.

Which isn't fair to put on her, but is something that I suppose is unavoidable. The time that I've devoted to my crusade has made me distant, which is now more clear than ever, but given this revelation... I think that it's time for that to change.

"What did you mean when you said 'especially not now'?", I ask after a few moments. "You made that sound so specific. Is everything alright at home?"

She looks off again. I'm not going to push her on this, even though we're certainly not done with the discussion about her bringing a knife to school and threatening this girl. Whatever her reasonings and the pressure she's been under, it doesn't justify threatening another classmate in such a vicious way.

Of course, there's an irony in all of this. It isn't lost on me that this is coming from the man that, just one week prior, bashed the back of a Police Captain's skull against the pavement and sent half of a SWAT unit into the ICU. But Kate isn't me, and she isn't out to do something for the right reasons. She was just pushed too far.

"Okay. You don't have to tell me that. But I'll make you a deal,", I elaborate. "If you promise to never do anything even remotely like this again, I'll see what I can do about getting this girl transferred to another school."

Kate's eyes widen as she looks back at me, shocked.

"N-No way. You can't do that."

"One phone call with the Dean and the promise of a donation to the Academy's next school function, and I can pretty much do whatever you want. Provided that this is a road you want to go."

She looks down, mulling it over. Legitimately wondering if I could pull it off.

"No."

I look back over, an eyebrow raised.

"I don't want you to do that. I've done enough damage. I don't need to seek any further retribution ontop of the message I sent."

Admittedly, I'm surprised by her response to that offer. But I can't say that it isn't a mature decision on her part. It would've been very easy to be vindictive after suffering the verbal and mental abuse that she claims.

"Actually, um... could you maybe make it so that her family's better off?"

I look forward, genuinely astonished.

And the surprises keep coming.

"She's, uh, well. She's kinda mentioned it before to some of our mutual friends, but her dad got laid off a few months ago and hasn't been able to get a job since. That was around the time that she started taking it out on me, when she found out I was... what I am. I just don't want her to have to deal with that anymore, especially if it'll get her to lay off."

I don't show it, since I don't want to let her off for what happened too easily, but there's an immediate sense of pride that I feel in hearing that. It's far from the reaction I expected, but it's a such level-headed response to such a painful predicament that I don't think even I would've been able even consider that approach whenever I was her age.

Then the moment passes, and I realize something.

"Wait.", I respond. "If this is what you really want, why didn't you just come to me about this in the first place? This is obviously something you've thought about before, so why the escalation?"

Kate buries her head back into the seat.

"I don't know how else to say this, Bruce, but... I've tried. Many times before. Infact, I was willing to come out to you first because I figured that since you didn't know anyone at my school, and because you like my dad about as much as I do, you wouldn't have anyone to tell. But you're always so busy, and..."

Damn it.

I'd question the validity of that excuse if it weren't entirely true. From the three days that I was out of action due to Ivy's toxin to my recent hospital stay, I can't help but feel guilty about the fact that Kate had nowhere else to turn to. Despite the fact that my efforts have been legitimately being put to use in order to save lives, I do have other responsibilities to the people I care for. Many of which I've been severely neglecting ever since I returned to Gotham. And now I'm seeing the fallout.

"Plus, you kinda got busted on a DUI last week. So, I didn't know how to... y'know. Approach you with that."

I sigh to myself.

"That's because you're not the only one in the family whose made mistakes."

"Dad says that you're a bad influence, and I didn't really believe him. But with that, I just... I don't know. It seemed like a real eye-opener."

"I don't blame you for thinking that.", I reply. "And you're right. I have been unavailable. To you and to several other people that need my attention, and none of it is fair. But especially to you, Kate. I know we don't know eachother very well, but I do want to be there for you. Especially if you're going to be staying at the Tower, and especially now. I know it doesn't seem like it, but family is something that I hold above all else."

She seems to pay attention to those words. As if she's really listening for the first time in this conversation.

"Aunt Martha.", she eventually says. "She died before I could ever know her. She meant alot to you, didn't she?"

I stare off as things go momentarily silent once again.

"More than you could ever know."

Her tone turns somber.

"I know something about watching your mother die infront of you. And your sister..."

My hand grips the wheel even tighter. I've kept this vow a secret since I was eight, but whenever my parents were taken from me, I swore that I would never allow another child to experience the pain that I did that night in the alley. Whenever Kate lost her mother and sister, my aunt and younger cousin, I was abroad and training in Nepal. Had I been aware of the plot to kidnap them for ransom, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I could've done something to prevent what happened. Because ironically, I failed that promise to a child who didn't even share a separate bloodline.

"That family you mentioned. What are their names?"

"Radcliffe, I think. The girl I threatened was named Charlotte. I, um, I think they live in The Narrows, somewhere. I don't know if she has any brothers or sisters, but..."

"I'll make the arrangements. Waynetech has a few openings that I may be able to offer them, even if I'm not technically running the company yet."

She takes a long, drawn-out breath of relief.

"Thank you. Thank you so much. I owe you for this, big time."

My relatively reserved expression turns into a more serious glare.

"Yes, you do. And just so you know, you're not off the hook for this. I want to make perfectly clear. There are going to be some rules that Alfred and I are going to have to implement if you continue to stay at the Tower. And for awhile, they're going to have to be strict."

Despite looking a little less than pleased with that information, she eventually nods, just as I pull up to the curb that leads into the public front entrance to Wayne Tower. Alfred is already standing outside, waiting to take her inside with his passcode for the private elevator. Alfred's always been hands-off when he knows that the situation calls for it, so I don't expect him to give her any unnecessary grief.

But I will feel better knowing that he's keeping an eye on her while I attend to some - well, rather unpleasant business. Especially in a time where Kate is the most emotionally vulnerable to her more base impulses. Had I not chosen to bail her out, she'd be spending the night behind bars. I imagine that the fright of that possibility alone will keep her from trying anything that worsens the situation.

And mercifully, I'm listed as her emergency contact with Brentwood. So if Uncle Jake does know anything about this, he sure as hell hasn't shown his hand. Reaching over and opening the door for Kate, she looks back at me, quizzically.

"You're not coming?"

Apologetically, I look her directly in the eyes.

"Believe me, there is nothing more I'd like to do than avoid leaving. Especially for this. But I made a promise to someone that I can't break. If it weren't related to business, we would already be on the way up."

I know how it sounds, and her disappointed expression all-but-confirms it. But I can't keep Selina waiting at the fashion show, otherwise I'll catch enough hell to last me a lifetime. Placing a hand on her shoulder, however, I give her a reassuring smile.

"We'll talk the minute that I get back. I swear to you, Kate. And whatever you want to tell me, I'll be there to listen. You don't have to hide who you are from me."

For the first time since I've known her, I think, part of a smile starts to form over Kate's lips. She wipes the residual tears from her face and leans forward, doing something I expect even less - she embraces me, as tightly as she possibly can. At first, I'm not sure of what to do. But I eventually place a hand on her back and hope that it makes up for my lack of experience in the department of displaying familial affection. Satisfied, she wordlessly gets out of the car and makes her way to Alfred, who offers her a friendly hand across her shoulders.

It's been... too long since I've had legitimate family to worry about. Even longer since I've had any to feel pride in knowing. But despite everything she just did, I have a feeling that Kate is only on a road ahead that can lead to better things than this. What she did today isn't going to define her future. I won't let it, even if she allows herself to fall back into such behavioral patterns.

Letting out my own sigh of relief, I reluctantly shift gears once again and begin to make my drive towards the Stadium. I've already experienced enough drama one for day, and this isn't likely to help my mood. The only thing that I can count on is that however bad that I think it's going to be, it can't possibly get any worse.

"Teenagers..."

Gotham City, Snyder Stadium
Starling Fashion Show
3:35 PM


"Good God, Selina. Is he usually this late?"

Dr. Thomas Elliot lifted his watch up to re-affirm the time. It was close to curtain call for the show to begin, and there had been no sign of Bruce Wayne in the last hour since Elliot had arrived. Selina Kyle smirked to herself, wondering how long any of these rich men would last in the real world if such trivial matters could get under their skin so quickly. Looking out towards the crowd, Selina spotted several of her father's own business associates among the massive crowd surrounding the massive, neon-tinged stage. Thank heavens, she sarcastically thought to herself. If one of these oh, so highly intimidating sickly looking rail-thin women actually lunged out and attacked the crowd in the middle of their catwalk turn, there'd be at least five mobsters in the room capable of whacking them.

"Tommy, dear, I adore Bruce. He's one of a kind in a sea of dimwits with money. But I still wouldn't count on the man to arrive on time for his own funeral. So all that I can assure you is that he'll arrive fashionably late. But he'll still be fashionable."

Thomas raised an eyebrow as Selina smiled, mischievously. Doctor Elliot was a well-respected surgeon known far beyond his native city of Gotham, and was constantly on call and at the request of several high-profile celebrity clients. Yet he still managed to find time to be able to clear his schedule on occasion. But Bruce Wayne, as he understood it, didn't even have a real job. His family's company was being taken over by an associate of Miss Kyle's father, and the billionaire seemed disinterested in taking up a trade that was all his own.

To Elliot, it seemed like a waste of the well-respected Wayne dynasty. His own late father had known Thomas Wayne personally and considered him one of the greatest to ever live, and Tommy had personally grown up idolizing the work of Bruce's mother at Arkham Asylum before her untimely demise. Had his own domineering mother not driven Elliot to pursue medicine as a practice, he would have loved to pursue psychology as a major.

As much as he hesitated to say it, were he in Bruce Wayne's place, Elliot felt as though he could do so many greater things with the opportunities that being apart of Gotham's first family presented for one's career. Despite it being a considerably dark impulse, Thomas even considered having to save Wayne's life after being in a horrific car accident the very week before to be a waste. In what world would such an aimless man, lacking of any ambition, be of any value to society?

"If you say so.", Elliot finally replied. "I just hope that your billionaire boyfriend is everything the press says he is, because I've been dying to pick his brain ever since I had to discharge him from the hospital. He comes from such an impressive lenieage. It'd be a shame to know that Thomas and Martha's little prodigy weren't living up."

Selina paused, hearing the 'boyfriend' line.

"First of all, he's not..."

She paused again, realizing how defensive the next few words would sound.

"That is to say, we're not involved. He's far too busy counting his coins and playing golf, or whatever boring pursuits that these rich people cling to in order to fill up their free time, to ever consider the possibility of a real commitment. Not to say that I'd ever be interested in the first place."

Elliot smirked to himself, watching Selina's practiced disgust. Clearly, this isn't the first time the subject has come up.

"Uh-huh."

"Don't you dare even give me that look, Elliot.", Selina replied, her eyes shooting daggers. "And secondly, I think his parents' perspective on how he's gotten to where he is is a bit irrelevant, given that they've been corpses for the last twenty years. Everyone gets so hung-up on how important they were, and I've never understood the admiration. One was rich, the other treated the insane. And then they were shot, the end. I'm sure even Bruce would've gotten over it by now if people didn't constantly shove how great they were into his face."

"Point taken, Miss Kyle. You can sheathe the claws.", Elliot responded with a laugh. "Tell me, does he usually get you this unwound?"

Selina began to rub the bridge of her nose.

"Oh, it's not even him. I just hate coming to these things. It seems like such a waste of..."

Suddenly, she looked up, realizing something.

"Hey, did someone just crank up the A/C?", she asked, covering her arms. "Because it just got a hell of alot colder in here..."

Elliot noticed it too, and was visibly shocked as he watched his own breath rendered visible.

"That's... odd. The room's refrigerated. And it can't be coming from outside, since it's the middle of August. So temperatures like this shouldn't be here for another..."

Without warning, the stage exploded into a series of large, sharp and penetrating icicles that seemed to appear out of nowhere, lining the stage and destroying the inner-wiring to the point of sending sparks off to the screaming audience. As people took cover, the entire stage seemed to become encased in a thick sheen of ice.

Selina and Dr. Elliot watched in horror as scaffolding from the ceiling began to freeze aswell, and the wires turned brittle, eventually shattering and falling towards the panicked crowd. Elliot grabbed Selina and pushed her out of the way of some of the debris, getting struck by a large piece of frozen metal himself and being sent flying backwards.

Before anyone could realize what was happening, another explosion rang out across the Stadium. This time from the backstage area, creating a massive hole between the audience and the hidden portion of the stage, causing half-dressed models, stylists, and makeup artists to flee in terror as an unknown assailant followed them. But unlike them, he remained atop the stage, and produced a massive, glowing cannon that seemed to be attached to a bizarre suit. The man's face was obscured by a giant dome, and nothing seemed to indicate who he was beyond a pair of piercing red dots for eyes staring out at the crowd.

His voice, however, was just as chilled as anything in the room.

"I am going to ask this only once, and failure to produce an answer will result in the deaths of everyone in this room. Where is Nora Fries?"



"Where is my wife?"
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Lord Wraith
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Lord Wraith Silly Forum Ghost

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

M O N D A Y, J U L Y 3 0T H, 2 0 1 8 - 1 1 : 1 6 p m | T H E G L A D E S

“The Son of Odin does not submit.” Thor retorted his hands curling into fists, lighting rippling along each finger as the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents steadied their weapons, the red sights dividing between the right side of his chest and his head. Raising a hand to indicate the agents were to hold their fire, the supervisory agent took a step forward before removing her sunglasses as she began to massage the bridge of her nose before speaking.

“I know you’re covering the girl’s escape, what I can’t say for certain is why.” She answered continuing to walk forward. “If you don’t come with us, you’re going to leave me with no choice but to tear this city apart to find her. Agree to enter into my custody and I will give you one chance to explain yourself, if I’m satisfied with the answer, the girl will be allowed to go free. Deny my offer and I will be forced to bring you both in by force and I know for a fact that neither of us wants that.”

Placing her hand on her weapon, the supervisory agent issued her ultimatum, masking her fear as she stood within an arm’s reach of Thor. “So what is it going to be, Son of Odin?”

“You have me at a disadvantage, agent.” Thor retorted. “You know who I am, but I do not know who you are.”

“I am Supervisory Special Agent Julia Perry and I need your answer now, Thor.”

“I enter into your custody by my own accord.” Thor replied reluctantly. While he was assured that he could escape, Thor knew enough of S.H.I.E.L.D. through Blake’s memories to know that his efforts to protect June thus far would be futile if he did so. The weapons remained trained on Thor as two agents approached Thor bearing a large pair of restraints. Raising his fists, the sound of weapons cocking echoed through the empty street as the supervisory agent drew her own gun and aimed it on Thor.

“Allow yourself to be restrained or our deal will be off the table.” Perry ordered as Thor lowered his fists, cursing the woman as his hands were bound.

“SSA Perry to Theseus, drop the pod.” Perry ordered as she pressed a pair of fingers to her ear, agents clearing the central area behind her. A series of hydraulic hisses echoed above the apartment building before a large chamber descended from the airborne vehicle above. Slowing to a halt before colliding with the asphalt below, Thor was escorted inside as Agent Perry took up the rear, her weapon remaining drawn as the pod began to rise.

The ride skywards was quick and silent. The tension in the small enclosed space was high as Thor watched his escorts’ fingers hover over the triggers of their weapons, beads of sweat visible on the exposed skin behind their goggles and helmets. The pod came to a sudden halt as the opaque hexagonal pattern turned transparent, the pair of doors sliding open as Thor was escorted into the helicarrier’s interior.

Marched through the narrow hallways, numerous agents paused as they stood along the corridor to watch as the God of Thunder was escorted to one of the ship’s debriefing rooms. A pair of agents entered the room first before Thor was guided in and encouraged to take a seat at the table. On the side of the table, a button was activated and the restraints were drawn to the table as a strong electromagnetic field held them securely.

“We designed these in the hopes of talking to Superman, they weren’t ready by the time the Central City Incident happened.” Perry said as she took a seat across from Thor. “The Surfer did accelerate their development, however.”

Raising an eyebrow, Thor flexed his arms as he lifted his hands, the restraints easily coming away from the table before he pulled his arms apart in a shower of sparks. Clattering to the floor as Thor crossed his arms smugly, looking down at destroyed restraints before looking back up at the agent.

“They need work.”

The barrel of a rifle was placed at the base of his skull as the sound of several weapons cocking reverberated in the small room. Thor raised his hands with an amused grin, indicating his lack of hostility. Standing over the seated man, Perry motioned for the agents to lower their weapons as she holstered her own and returned to her seat.

“I’ll be sure to let our R&D department know.” She replied trying to cover her own unease with humor before continuing.

“Twenty-eight years ago on the night of August 11th, 1998, an atmospheric electrical phenomenon illuminated the sky above Marville, Oklahoma.” Agent Perry stated as she looked across the table at Thor. “I believe you’re familiar with Marville, you made your first appearance there on June 13th of this year.”

“Until today, you’ve solely appeared in Marville and in fact based on our intelligence, you only came to Star City today in order to pursue this woman-” Perry paused as she placed a well-manicured finger on the center of an image of Amora projected on the surface of the table as the interface came to life, opening the ongoing file. “-who you have seemingly allowed to escape.” She added looking towards Thor. “What I need to know is who is she to you?”

“Dead.” Thor replied as he looked at the image of Amora. “The woman who fled the scene is not the woman who you are currently indicating. That woman is dead.” Thor nodded towards Amora’s image as he continued. “She was nothing more than a vengeful lich possessing an innocent victim.”

“How can you be so sure?” Agent Perry asked as Thor reached to his belt, placing Loki’s amulet on the table. When he had caught June, the necklace had fallen into his hands, due to the arrival of S.H.I.E.L.D., Thor had forgotten he had pocketed it before his ‘arrest’.

“This was the source of the witch’s spirit, and as you can see it was destroyed during the battle.” He replied as Perry examined the necklace running her fingers over the craftsmanship before moving to the bridge of her nose, Perry resuming to massage it as she spoke.

“I’m going to level with you, Thor. The incident in Central City has a lot of the world running scared, they’re looking to the sky for saviors. New York has their heroes, a teenager who swings from buildings and a maniac with a gun. Gotham has its Bat-Man while Central City has the woman known as the Flash who along with Metropolis’ Superman were both involved with the Surfer. But if something like the Surfer happened in Los Angeles or Houston, there would no one to defend them. There’s only you active in the West, and we need to know if you’re on our side.”

“I am sworn to protect Midgard and all its people.” Thor replied. “On that, you have my word.”

“Then, perhaps we can help each other after-”

“No mortal commands the Son of Odin.” Thor interrupted as he stared down the supervisory agent. “I will not be a weapon of S.H.I.E.L.D., nor will I be in your debt.”

“Then perhaps allow me to extend a show of good faith. A token of our blossoming friendship.” Perry replied as she held up the necklace. “This is not the first piece of metal we’ve come across with these markings, nor was August 11th, 1998 the first time that specific atmospheric electrical phenomenon was encountered.”

Opening another file on the surface of the table, the agent rotated an image to face Thor as he looked down at the familiar item.

“Near the end of the First World War, the SSR recorded a similar phenomenon during the Battle of the Sambre. This-” She nodded towards the image, “-was found at the source of the phenomenon, embedded in the ground surrounded by a rune that had been burned into the soil assumably by the electrical forces present.”

A smile crossed Thor’s face, the same smile he had felt in his first life when the dwarves had presented the weapon to him. His memories briefly aligned as image after image of conflict and war bombarded his mind, but the more he saw, the more his smile began to fade. Thor could feel Blake repulsed by the memories, disturbed by the bloodshed that he assumed the weapon would bring.

“For years we tried to reverse engineer the metal the axe was made from, we were never able to completely do it. We did, however, manage to replicate the forging process but only once. They made a shield to go with the axe, the pair never did end up being used together though.”

“Where is the axe now?” Thor asked as Perry opened communication with the bridge as she placed her hand to her ear.

“Set course for the Triskelion.” She ordered before turning to address Thor, ”The axe is currently held in the safest place on Earth. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s headquarters in Washington.”

M E T R O P O L I S, D E L A W A R E:

T H U R S D A Y, A U G U S T 0 2N D, 2 0 1 8 - 0 6 : 3 2 a m | H A L L D O R F H O T E L - N E W T R O Y

Sighing as she entered the hotel room, June placed her bag down on the floor as she inhaled the clean smelling air. After everything that had happened the first thing she wanted to do was soak her stress away in a long, hot bath. Running the water into the tub, June pulled her cell phone out of her pocket, navigating the cracked screen until she found the app she was looking for as she clicked play on her favourite playlist. Soft music filled the room as she girl disrobed, slipping into the hot water, she laid her head back, sighing contently, June closed her eyes and lost herself in the melody.

Opening her eyes sometime later, June realized she had dozed off, looking down she suddenly sat up in panic. The water was turning red as she held up her hand, the palm wide cut bleeding again as the water had softened the scab away. Scrambling out of the tub, June ran over to the nearby vanity, rinsing the cut over the sink as she used her spare hand to open the mirror, checking for anything she could use to slow the bleeding.

Closing the medicine cabinet, June suddenly became hypnotized with her own reflection as she noticed her skin looking much clearer and healthier than it had since before puberty. Absently, her free hand traced the cut before raising a bloodied finger to the mirror as June suddenly realized in horror she wasn’t controlling her arm.

The hand moved in distinct purposeful movements as the bloodied finger began to write as June tried to look away but fear held in her in place until it was too late as she realized what the mirror said, whispering under her breath.

“...Enchantress...”
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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 Four

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

-Anonymous




Warpath, Texas




The firefight was like Hell on Earth, and in a way that was comforting.

The hordes of Bounty Hunters swirled after him, each taking another's place as they dropped. At least Frank had split 'em up; his guns worked a whole lot better in close quarters. Their horses didn’t much take to being crammed between tight rows of windows. But the closer the Black Riders got the further The Spirit seemed to recede, sparsely whispering in protest. Vig ignored it and focused on the rhythm of his guns.

“BLAM BA-BLAM KA-BLAM” His revolvers kicked in his hands as he fanned the hammer as fast as he could. He could feel the heat of the cylinders through his cowhide gloves. It was just like his Pap had taught him. Focus on the gun.

“The only things in the world are yer weapon and yer enemy. Know yer gun like you know yerself. Learn the beat of the hammer an the whistle of the rounds. Sight up n’ aim true. Look yer enemy in the whites of his eyes an’ pull the trigger.”

There was somethin’ about justice in there, too, but it didn't seem relevant to the screaming mass of spirits he faced now. Aim, shoot, kill -- er, disintegrate or whatever the hell was happenin’ to the things. Every head blown off or heart punctured was met by an inhuman screen and renewed fervor in their attacks. The bullets came faster and more and more plumes of sand jumped up around his ankles. At this point, the only real way to keep ‘em at bay was to kill them so fast that their fading bodies became makeshift barricades.

Not long to the Saloon now, anyhow. Just had to trick ‘em into going in and blow ‘em to kingdom come. They were packed in tight to one another, their horses struggling to breach the alleyway and advance on Vig’s position. A handful of shots went wide; sometimes they hit each other. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

“The bounty is collected!” A voice erupted from Vig’s left as a inky black form shattered and spilled out of the window, tackling Vig to the ground. Damn things had gone around. Vig squirmed as best he could, trying to bring his gun to bear. He felt two knees on his chest while the Hunter looming over him unsheathed a knife from its chest. The knife sailed for his head and Vig juked to the right and slammed his forehead into the Hunters chest.

The crack of its chest bone was masked by the shattering of windows all around. The Hunter hissed and drew its hand back to its injury. Vig jammed a gun into its mouth and had already sighted his next target before he pulled the trigger.

Black gore exploded over his face while his other gun barked and dropped another Hunter. The Spirit yelped like a cornered pup in the recesses of Vig’s mind. They were everywhere. Vigilante’s world was a sea of black bodies, advancing on him with knives and whips, wizened up on not hitting their buddies. Vig fired from his the ground anyways, pushing himself back to the nearest wall and forcing himself to stand up against it. He dropped his pair of revolvers and yanked a fresh set the instant he’d fired his last round.

The tips of whips brushed his skin instants before their owners detonated into plumes of viscera and knives near made holes in his new button up before a torrent of lead beat them back. Blood started to run down his body as their cuts got a little deeper every time, that much closer to cooking his gosh darned goose. Vig remembered what he’d said to Johnny Blaze.

Sheriff Saunders didn’t raise no slouch. Vig grunted. He brought one gun up to bear and fired indiscriminately, keeping them back as best he could while the other hand blew holes through the wall behind him. Greg threw himself back and smashed through the weakened wood, crashing through a precarious pyramid of knicknacks. He was in the general store.

Greg jumped to his feet while Hunters slashed their way through the walls and bashed through what windows there were. He pulled his lariat from his side and it shot to the other end of the store. He heaved a sent a case of soda pop crashing into the first Hunter through the breach.\

The second lunged at him, but he sidestepped it and fired. It was dead before it hit the floor. Vig twisted his arm and his lariat snapped the knife out of another Hunters hand. As he worked he retreated to the front of the store, hurling cheap goods and shooting as fast as he could cycle the revolvers.

Finally he shouldered open the store’s door and found himself in the main road. There, just a block down the road, The Crossroads Saloon seemed to beckon. Asking him to have one last drink before he blew the town’s most recognizable landmark to smithereens.

”I’ll give ya that y’all got gumption, but y’all’re already worn slap out!” He taunted them as he ran for it. He dropped his lariat and his gun and broke into a full tilt sprint for the bar. Jne set of pistols left between him and Frank being demon chow. Hopefully ‘The Punisher’ had done his bit and Vig wouldn’t end up stuck trying to throw the trap on his lonesome.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

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"The word: Consume."




"It’s origins, like our good friend Mr Duchamp, come from France, with heavy influence from the Roman Empire prior. 'Consumer'."

"...and not as in 'one who consumes'."

"'Consumer', as I just explained so eloquently, can be broken down to it’s Latin parts."



"'Con-' For 'altogether' or 'all in one bunch' or something of that ilk, and the verb 'sumere'… 'to take up'. As in 'sumo', 'I take up'. 'Sumis', 'You, individually, take up'. 'Sumit', 'He, she or it takes up'. 'Sumimus', 'We take--”

"You know what..? Sorry. I tend to get carried away with my Latin. Beautiful language. It has a mathematical precision… But back to the point at hand."

"You might be asking yourself at this point, 'Well, yes. To consume means just that. To lay waste and devour the whole thing.' Perhaps you are even drawn to the phrase 'to have one’s cake and eat it too' which deals with this nature of consumption, perhaps more aptly the phrase should be 'to eat one’s cake and have it too', but we needn't delve into the inaccuracies and inadaquacies of man here and now. The main point I'm making is that the sentiment generally being expressed in modern times is that some things are a digital 'either/or' situation and that if you consume a thing you can not still have the item with you to use again later."

"But there is a reason why before the Latin used it in a sense of 'to take up'..."

"Understand that many early civilizations often dealt with the nature of cannibalism as a cultural tradition. Understandably, to many members of modern civilizations - say, Jack Russell for instance as a particularly pertinent example - the thought of which may leave something of a bad taste in the mouth..."

"But to these people cannibalism can serve a somewhat respectful cause. To many early tribes it would be unthinkable to allow a relative to be lost without a trace. Without a morsel to be found for his descendants. This is because many of these early civilizations believed that in the consumption of the flesh, attributes of the deceased can be passed on to the eater. Whether this be some concept of a “soul” or merely the admirable attributes of the deceased - such as, say, desirable hunting or gathering traits, keen eyesight, the ability to wage war or defend the tribe. A relative, or occasionally a member of a foreign tribe, all taken up completely, for the benefit of the consumer."

"Again, not the frenchman DuChamp..."



"Having a little something to do with the path to the next world myself, I feel qualified to inform you of the role of consumption for those seeking safe travels between worlds."

"But I’ll try to remain humble, however much that means for one of my station. Sometimes, for a god, attempts at humility are themselves a condescension..."

"Again we’ll consider Khonshu, and the role of one such as him. To aid those traversing worlds beyond this mortal coil. You may remember I mentioned previously how he would capture and kill other gods for the benefit of those travellers."

"To immortals such as gods, death is often a very fickle thing and seldom means the end."

"Particularly beyond your mortal world in the cosmos of the Othervoid and Overvoid."

"The attributes of a god become valuable commodities in these worlds. And for gods capable of rejuvenation and resurrection, the cost of having the eyes and will of Horus, the mind of the mighty Thoth, the dignity of Osiris, the aesthetics of Hathor or the radiance of Ra himself are largely inconvenience."

"So we see that consumption is not always negative, nor an ends of itself. Sometimes it can be it’s own means."

"Of course sometimes that is still the case... Take it from a god of the moon and one who is familiar with Ammut..."

🌑 🌒 🌓 🌔 🌕 🌖 🌗 🌘 🌑

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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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Triskelion, Washington DC

Rachna Koul was one of the finest minds on SHIELD’s books. She was a graduate of the world-famous Baxter Building – her talent spotted by its founder Franklin Storm when she was no more than nine years of age. Rachna had shone under Franklin’s tuteleage. Imperiumology, the study of metahuman biology, was her field and not even Reed Richards himself could hold a candle to her when it came to that.

She had been there at Franklin Storm’s side when the shuttle that Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, and Sue and Johnny Storm had been torn apart. She’d seen the grief on his face in that moment – and watched as he slipped deeper and deeper into depression in the months that followed. After Franklin had taken his own life, Rachna had been lost of all meaning.

That was where SHIELD came in.

Nick Fury had offered her a position heading up SHIELD’s growing imperiumology department. She was, in effect, the most senior scientist employed by the organisation – though her advice was more often than not ignored and she spent half of her time bailing out pea-brained field agents. With one particular instance in Atlantis coming to mind.

After several days of back-and-forth, Koul had finally secured some of Maria Hill’s time. She was halfway through debriefing the deputy director when the sudden appearance of a blonde-haired woman almost shocked Koul out of her shoes. She recognised her instantly.

It was Sue Storm.

But not the Sue Storm she had grown up alongside, she reminded herself as memories of Franklin came flooding back. Before Koul had a chance to open her mouth to acknowledge Sue’s presence, Storm pointed a commanding finger in the direction of the entrance to Hill’s office.

“Get out.”

The hostility in Sue’s voice shocked Koul but she tried her best to respond as assertively as possible. “I’m sorry, Susan, but we’re actually in the middle of so-”

Deputy director Hill shook her head. “We’ll pick this up another time, Agent Koul.”

Rachna shot Maria a look of betrayal, then let out a sigh and gathered together her things. Sue did not so much as look in Koul’s direction as she scuttled out of the room feeling smaller than ever before. Once Hill was certain that Koul had left, she placed her hands behind her head and placed her feet on top of her desk with a smile.

“To what do I owe the pleasu-”

“Don’t give me that,” Sue said curtly. “You know why I’m here.”

Hill’s nonchalance seemed to have stoked Sue’s temper somewhat. With a wave of her hand, Sue knocked the deputy director’s feet clean from the desk with a light construct. For a half-second Hill looked near to losing her temper also but Sue was shouting, an accusatory finger pointing in her direction, before she could do anything about it.

“The Silver Surfer attacked. Galactus was … is on his way and you lock me and my family away like children? How dare you. We’re the only ones on this planet that have ever seen Galactus. No, we did better than that, we beat him. And you chose to keep us sealed away in the Baxter Building to spare SHIELD’s blushes. You ought be ashamed.”

“Is this really necessary?” Hill sighed as she climbed to her feet. “Can’t we talk about this like ad-”

Sue disregarded Maria’s efforts to calm her with a firm shake of the head.

“When Galactus comes, you’re going to need us. You don’t understand how badly you’re going to need us yet, but you will soon enough. And I’m not going to stay hidden away just because you’re scared what the world might think about what you did – what SHIELD did.”

Hill let out a tired sigh. “What is it exactly that you want from me, Sue?”

“I want you to start doing your job properly – and that means putting the safety of the people out there above all else. Just like my family have done for the best part of ten years and just like we’re going to continue to do long after some other empty suit is filling your shoes.”

Something in Hill’s face changed at that last remark. The uncharacteristic patience she had shown despite Sue’s abuse had finally broken. Perhaps in part because of what Sue and her family had been through – or perhaps because she liked Sue more than her wet blanket of a husband or her idiot brother – she had remained cool.

Having weathered the torrent abuse that Sue Storm had thrown her way, it was time that Hill gave her a lesson of her own.

“You want to sit in my seat?” Hill said as she stepped out from behind her desk. “Go right ahead.”

She reached over and grabbed several files from her desk, opening them and brandishing their contents in Sue’s direction. From the first file, Hill plucked a picture of a handsome-looking teenager with a full head of blonde hair – he looked like Johnny had at his age, but with twice the muscle.

“Why don't you tell me what you'd do about the high school senior up in Maine breaking every swim record in the book by day – and committing acts of eco-terrorism by night?”

Hill tossed the file aside and flicked through the next one. From this one she pulled forth a blurry picture of a man in a dark cowl. The moonlight was bouncing off the lower half of his face but the photo was of such low quality that even that was difficult to make out.

“No? Well, what about the sociopath dressed like a bat that’s beating half of Gotham’s criminal population into a coma? Maybe that’s more your speed. What's our play there?”

Maria threw that file back onto her desk even more contemptuously as she had thrown aside the first. She laughed as she opened the last file and produced a final picture. It was of a man in his mid-to-late twenties. His body was coated in an armour that was glowing with what looked to be electricity.

“Oh, here’s the icing on the cake: what about the literal God of Thunder we’ve got working out of Marville, Oklahoma? Why don’t you tell me how to handle that one since you’re so sure that you could do my job better than I can, Ms. Richards?”

Hill let the picture dangle between the two of them as she waited for a response. It was clear that Sue didn’t have one. She glowered, her temper having calmed somewhat as she watched the deputy director vent, until the last embers of anger had all but been extinguished.

“Storm.”

A confused look appeared on Maria Hill’s face. “What?”

“It’s Ms. Storm,” Sue said softly. “We kind of put the whole wedding thing on the backburner after … you know, the whole Darkseid thing.”

For the first time since entering Maria Hill’s office, Sue flashed something resembling a smile. On seeing it, Hill felt her own temper being to calm and she set the last file down on her desk with the others.

The two women stood in silence for a few moments until Hill let out a sympathetic sigh.

“I appreciate that you and your family have been through a lot. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like to live through your world ending, but mine is still intact – and it’s my job to keep it that way no matter the cost. That sometimes means making decisions that civilians like you, Ms. Storm, don’t understand. And that’s okay – I don’t expect you to understand them. One thing I won’t accept, however, is you questioning my commitment to keeping my world safe.”

Sue nodded in acceptance. She was on the cusp of offering her own words of reconciliation when a knocked sounded from the doorway of Maria Hill’s office. In it stood a fairly junior SHIELD officer who looked incredibly sheepish at having interrupted the deputy director’s conversation.

Hill shot him a glare that would make even the most hardened veteran’s blood run cold. “What?”

He scampered inside, whispered in the deputy director’s ear and then produced a tablet on demand. The junior officer scuttled out of the office as Maria Hill sat perfectly still examining the footage on screen. After a few seconds she gestured to Sue to join her behind her desk.

Sue wasn’t quite sure how she knew what was coming – but she did. There on the screen was her younger brother in full flight above New York. With every second that rolled past, things became worse – the fiery Spider-Man sign, chatting away with Spider-Woman in full view of television cameras, and worst of all, strolling through Central Park.

As it came to an end, words that were all too familiar to Sue Storm slipped out. “Oh, Johnny.”

The deputy director set the tablet down and lifted her feet up onto her desk with a smile. It was was equal parts pained and self-satisfied – as if Johnny Storm’s misdeeds had proved her point better than her words ever could.

“Since you managed to find your way all the way to my office without an escort, I trust you can see yourself out without one too, Ms. Storm.”
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Lord Wraith
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Lord Wraith Silly Forum Ghost

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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, A U G U S T 1 1 T H, 1 9 9 0 - 1 1 : 4 7 p m | D O N A L D S O N F A R M

Thunder loomed over the rolling fields of grain as lightning arced across the night sky. Rain slowly began to fall, increasing in pace as it plummeted towards the ground, stalks of wheat, oat, and barley opening their leaves to receive the falling blessing. Bright lights danced across the sky as hues of red, blue and green skirted the clouds before suddenly turning towards the ground. A blinding glow illuminated the darkness as a funnel of light collided with the field below, howling winds whipped rain and grain alike in every which direction until suddenly the light disappeared and only a lone figure remained, kneeling atop a rune left emblazoned on the soil by the bridge of light.

Standing, the figure adjusted the large sword strapped across his back while checking on the small swaddled mass cradled to his chest. Looking towards the horizon, the man’s unnaturally bright, orange eyes spied a lone house, its lights still on as it sat in the shadow of a large barn.

As the man approached, his keen senses could hear the sound of a woman sobbing inside, the hushed whispers of a man came and went between each tear as the woman’s husband did his best to console his heartbroken wife. Stepping onto the porch protruding from the front of the house, the aging boards creaked and groaned with each step the tall, dark man took. Inside the house, the sobbing stopped and the cloaked man could see the husband’s shadow moving towards the door.

Looking down in his arms, he took a hold of the tattered blanket, pulling it back to reveal the face of a healthy, smiling baby boy. Putting a large finger to his lips, the man slowly lowered the baby, leaving him on the doormat before he disappeared into the shadows as the husband opened the door, the butt of a shotgun just out of sight behind the door frame.

“Marcy!” The man yelled, “Marcy, come here!” He urged as a woman appeared behind him, her swollen red eyes burdened with sadness, the hospital bracelet still on her wrist as she held a blue blanket in her hand, the name ‘Kevin’ embroidered on its edge.

“It’s a baby boy!” Erik exclaimed as Marcy bent down, picking the child up, a smile creeping onto her face as tears of sadness were replaced with those of joy.

“No, Erik.” She corrected. “It’s our baby boy.”

A smile crossed Heimdall’s face as he stepped back from the porch slipping away into the field as he moved back towards the scorched rune. Approaching the sight of his landing, Heimdall paused, a rustle in the stalks catching his attention as he paused.

“I may be blind to your appearance, Trickster.” Heimdall spoke, turning his head to look over his shoulder at the man behind him. “But I am not deaf.”

“Do you not tire of this cycle?” Loki asked stepping out of the shadows as Heimdall moved a hand to the hilt of his own blade. “How many millennia have we been doing this now? Asgard dies, the Jotun uprise and then the cycle begins anew.” Pacing, Loki raised empty palms towards Heimdall as a show of non-hostility but the Gatekeeper kept his hand on his weapon.

“We die, we rise and then we die again. We’ve watched whole worlds birthed, maturing under your watchful eyes until their sun wipes them out.” Loki hissed, “But we are gods! Why should we be slaves to fate!”

“That is not how this works, Trickster.” Heimdall warned as he drew his weapon. “We are destined to die by the other’s hand, it cannot be avoided.”

“Why bring him here?” Loki asked as Heimdall was taken off guard. Looking around the field and at the distant farmhouse, Loki continued to speak. “Why here, and why now? This is not a god fearing culture, they will not submit to him as he grows. To them, he will be a freak, an subject to study.”

“The Allfather strained himself this time, did he not?” Loki sneered. “He tried to beat the cycle but he went about it the wrong way. His champion, his eldest son cannot beat my eldest.” Loki boasted as he continued to talk. “Soon I will be forced to create another so that it may grow to challenge the son of Odin, but I do not want to, Heimdall!” Loki yelled.

“I do not want to die!”

“We have no choice,” Heimdall answered, readying his weapon as he spoke. “Draw your weapon, Trickster.”

“No.” Loki answered as Heimdall rushed forward, passing through the Trickster’s illusion only to find himself alone in the darkness.

“Trickster!” Heimdall roared towards the sky, cursing Loki’s existence before speaking again. “What have you done?”



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

T U E S D A Y, J U L Y 3 1S T, 2 0 1 8 - 1 0 : 4 2 a m | S H E R I F F ' S O F F I C E

Blake was Thor.

Barbara was certain of that beyond any reasonable doubt now. He had not returned home since leaving on Sunday night, nor was he at the office. His motorcycle had been found in Star City, a former colleague had emailed Barbara to give her the heads up before it was impounded earlier this morning. But that was hardly the worst thing to come of last night’s events.

Thor was now in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.

Which could only mean that Blake was in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s custody. The agency was far beyond anything that Barbara had any pull over and she had no contacts at the Federal level that could even arrange a meeting with a probationary agent let alone someone who could help her locate Thor. Then there was Blake’s secret identity to take into consideration, although if Barbara was able to determine it, the world’s largest intelligence agency was without a doubt also aware of who Thor was when he wasn’t wearing a cape. But if there was a chance they didn’t know yet, then maybe Barbara could slow them down.

Picking up her phone, Barbara dialed the number for Blake’s practice, listening to the line ring before there was a click as Lisa, Blake’s administrative assistant picked up on the other end.

“Hello, Marville Animal Hospital, how can I help you?”

“Lisa! Hi, it’s Barbara, has anyone called looking for Blake today?” Barbara asked as she tapped a pen anxiously against the desk.

“No, not today. We had a couple yesterday though, but Dr. Donaldson had instructed us to forward all calls to him when he’s not in the office. Which admittedly, has been more often than not as of late. Is he doin’ alright, hun?”

“Oh yeah,” Barbara answered dismissively leaning back in her chair as she thanked whatever being reigned supreme in the universe. She could be thanking Thor himself for all she knew at this point. “He’s been doing a lot of house calls, y’know what it’s like this time of year.”

“Not really, hunnie,” Lisa answered, her tone showing she was obviously confused by Barbara’s statement. “Usually Dr. Donaldson is busier in the spring.”

“Oh well, he’s got that thing ‘cross the border with the bull farm.”

“I don’t see that on the books anywhere.” Lisa replied, “Is that an artificial insemination job?”

“Uh, yeah. Yeah, that’s the one.”

“Well ain’t that just the darndest thing, he didn’t even mention taking that job. It’s a good thing he has you to keep his head on straight.” Lisa laughed as Barbara joined in relieved that Lisa had taken her word.

“That sounds like Blake, so uh, yeah he’d appreciate if you just keep on forwarding his calls for the time being.” Barbara stated as Lisa agreed.

“Sure thing, darlin’. Nice talking to you, y’all take care now.” There was a soft click as the line went dead and Barbara felt his pulse slow ever so slightly.

Putting her head in her hands, Barbara ran her fingers through her long hair, pulling it back behind her head. Tying her hair into a ponytail, Barbara let out an exasperated sigh before hooking her finger into the hair elastic and dragging it out, releasing her hair again as she turned back to the computer screen in front of her.

Barbara had watched the entire encounter on Susan William’s live stream as it had happened. The fight with the Enchantress, Thor catching the helicopter and of course, the subsequent arrival of S.H.I.E.L.D which abruptly cut the broadcast short. That didn’t matter though, the entire event was among the day’s most trending topics. Thor had gone from being captured on poorly optimized cellphone cameras to being national news. On her way to work this morning, Barbara had been affronted by a man spouting praises to the God of Thunder and thanking the Old Gods for returning.

It wasn’t that she doubted Thor’s divinity, hell, Barbara wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Superman was actually Zeus at this point. But, the idea of the man who she had sat beside in church was suddenly being worshipped as a god was too bizarre to wrap her mind around. She could only sit and question just how little she knew about Blake now. Were his parents in on this secret, did they know they were raising-

Barbara paused, changing the tab on her monitor as she opened the Wikipedia page, scrolling for the answer she was after before continuing her train of thought.

Did Erik and Marcy even know they raised the son of Odin? Barbara could only laugh softly to herself imaging Marcy suddenly being pregnant only for a Valkyrie to visit and inform her she would give birth to Thor. Then again, if that had happened, why on Earth would they still be attending a Baptist Church? Given Blake’s modest upbringing, it was entirely possible his parents had no idea. What would they think of all people if they found out their son was a god in his own right?

That would be if Thor was ever released from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s custody though. Barbara wasn’t near naïve enough to believe that S.H.I.E.L.D. would simply let Thor walk after taking him into a helicarrier. One that no doubt made a beeline for Washington the minute he was aboard. Barbara had seen the Triskelion from her childhood bedroom window most of her life, she knew that was where S.H.I.E.L.D. operated from but more importantly that was where they kept their most valuable assets.

It was also where they could make someone disappear.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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HenryJonesJr

Member Seen 22 days ago



"You know, this is your city and I'm just the tourist. If you've got any ideas I'd love to hear them."


Holy crap it's the Flash! The Flash is a woman too! I probably should have known that! But I'm too excited and terrified to think rationally. Flint Marko has become some crazy powerful monster, but at least I'm having a real superhero team up. I know I shouldn't be excited, but I am. And the Flash is a woman! Girl power and all that.

Focus, Stacy.

Okay, so her powers aren't really going to help with this in the slightest. Mine aren't all that good against either. Last time I check webbing isn't all that effective against sand. Outside of that, all I can do is dodge his attacks and...punch him hard. Considering the Flash can move at like the speed of light and her strikes aren't doing crap, so the chance that I'm gonna put a dent into Marko, well one that won't instantly reform from sand, is slim to none.

Before I can start really coming up with a plan, however, the Maggia goons that came to the museum with the super-powered criminal take aim and Flash and I with the automatic weapons they're brandishing.

Sighing, I spring off the ground, flying through Marko's outstretched arms, sand particals bouncing off my costume. He's big, but I need to make sure the other guys are out of the way before we focus on the super-powered idiot.

Landing next to one of the men, I snatch the gun out of his hand while simultaneously firing a webline over my shoulder at the leg of the one behind me. In a swift motion, I whip the webline up, smashing the man's head back towards the hard floor. At the same time, I spin around, smashing the butt of the rifle across the chin of the soldier I stole it from. I may not be the perfect superhero, but man I am good at taking out guys with guns. At least I got that going for me.

I turn, ready to take on the other men, but find them disarmed, and unconscious on the floor. Standing above them is the Flash, who merely shrugs at me.

"Okay, that's...that's not fair," I sigh, realizing the one thing I'm good at in this life I'm not half as good as the Flash at. "Get bitten by a spider, they said. Be a great superhero they said. Not as good as most of the others, but hey, do what you-Oh crap!"

My spider sense goes off as Marko attempts to squash me like I'm my namesake bug. I manage to get out of the way, and this time I'm ready when his appendage transforms mid-swing and a hammer swings out of his arm and barely misses taking my head off.

Spider sense, I've never loved you more.

"Stand still you little," Marko yells in frustration as he smashes his arms down on the marble with such force that it splinters. I manage to barely get out of the way, feeling the air displaced by his strike as I do. "I'm gonna get you! You're the reason I am the way I am, and I ain't gonna let you get away with it!"

"Marko," I respond webbing his eyes up as I get some space between me and the Sandman, "I think you have to blame your parents for that!"

Turning to Flash, I start to spitball, "Listen, I know we're in a room filled with priceless art, but I think we need to get him wet. It's not going to stop him, but maybe it'll slow him down!"
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Mao Mao
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Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

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KNOWHERE //

"Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing
As we danced in the night
Remember how the stars stole the night away"


Peter Quill, Rocket, and Groot had been walking towards the Milano non stop since escaping the nightclub. Eventually, they made to the dock and it was quiet. Too quiet. Groot kept on walking Quill while Rocket looked around for any signs of danger. Then suddenly, all three of them heard someone land behind.

"Stop." Eigessan demanded.

Groot charged towards the alien to stall him while Rocket brought Quill inside the ship. However, he managed to fire a beam near them, causing Rocket to drop him. Quill stopped him from picking him up and said, "I will be fine! Go check on Kraglin and wake his ass up!"

The raccoon nodded and rushed inside the ship to look for the other human. He shouted the name several times with no response until he heard a door open. Eventually, Kraglin woke up from his drunken slumber to find the ship empty. Or he so thought. Rocket ran towards him and punched him in the gut. "What the fuck were you doing?!" the raccoon yelled.

"I was resting." Kraglin responded while trying to get over the punch. "And why did you punch me?!"

"Because you missed our calls! We were dealing with a group trying to kill Quill! Get your ass in gear and start the ship!" Rocket went to his room to a suitable weapon for the bastard.

“Wait, who’s-”

Now with some firepower, Rocket left his room with a rifle and headed back outside. “Just start the fucking ship!” he screamed at the human before leaving the ship. Once back outside, he saw that Groot was doing his best against the alien. Quill tried to help by firing his blasters to distract him. Rocket aimed the rifle and opened fire at the Eigessan. The impact of the explosive bullets caused him to be pushed backwards. But the bullets didn’t stop him at all. He rose from the ground even more upset.

“This ends now.”

The Eigessan punched Groot several times in the face and chest. Admittedly, he was impressed that he has last this long. Then, he grabbed his right arm and turned his hand gold. And in the matter of seconds, Groot watched his arm fall off in horror and tried to react; but, he was knocked out. Rocket, meanwhile, screamed in anger and charged towards the alien. A few bullets managed to hit him before dodging them and flanking him. One hand grabbed the rifle while the other was chocking the raccoon. He threw the rifle to the ground, breaking into pieces and placing both hands on the neck.

“Stop!” Quill yelled out before the alien could kill the raccoon. “I surrender.”

“Finally.” The Eigessan smiled in victory as he dropped the raccoon to the ground and walked towards the human. Quill stood up, dropped his blasters, and walked towards him with his hands up. Once he was close enough, he deliberately dropped his Walkman. When Quill reached down to grab it, he instead grabbed the only working jet boot. It slapped into the Eigessan's leg while Quill turned it on. Immediately, the alien fell face first to the ground and yelled in angry as it flew away. Quill ran towards Rocket, who was waking Groot up.

"We need to go now." Quill stated.

"I know!" Rocket growled at the human while checking up on his friend. Groot was dazed about the last few seconds before he got knocked out. Regardless, he listened to his raccoon pal and went towards the ship. Then, the alien's friends arrived. Four of them landed nearby while keeping an eye on Quill and his friends. Eventually, the Eigessan was able to break free from the jet boot and returned to his pals. And he was so angry. Before he could charge towards him, one of them stopped him.

When he tried to speak, the Kodabak told him to shut up and calm down. The alien walked forward towards the ship as Quill was getting inside. "Wait." the alien said with a calm and demanding tone. "Please listen to us."

Quill turned to look at him and pointed at the Eigessan, "Why should I?! Your friend tried to kill me!"

"He... he didn't mean to. You were fleeing and he thought it was a sure way of stopping you. We were given orders to bring you to our leader. He said that force might be necessary." the Kodabak explained.

"Who's your leader?"

"King J'son of Spartax. The man that wants to see you."

"Then, why isn't he here?" Quill asked.

"He is... busy at the moment."

He reached for his blasters and aimed them at him. "Well, tell him that he will have to get me himself."

"He thought this would happen." Kodabak mumbled to himself before turning to one of his pals.

"Give me the box." he demanded.

The other alien reached into his pocket and pulled out a box. They handed it to him. He revealed it to Quill and said, "At least open this before you shoot at us."

The alien threw the box at Quill and managed to catch it before it could hit him. He placed one of the blasters back into the holster and examined the box. Before opening it, he looked at the group of commandos and said, "I am going to be so pissed if it's a trick."

Quill opened the box and his eyes widen. Inside, there was an old photo of his mom. A young and energetic Meredith Quill having fun. He couldn't help but smile at the photo. It had been a long time since he last saw his mother truly happy. But, there was a man standing next to her with a big grin. He flipped to the back and found a small note:

A reminder of good times - Meredith

"I know that you have questions-" the Kodabak tried to speak but was interrupted by Quill.

"How did you get this photo of my mom?!" he demanded while aiming the blaster at the alien.

"Our king handed it to me. Said to use to prove something." he answered.

"Prove what?!"

"That he is your father."
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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, Precinct 27
Gordon's Office
3:40 PM


"Barbara, honey, I already told you that I'm perfectly capable of getting my own lunch."

Captain Gordon held an ice pack to his bandaged head as his wheelchair-bound daughter made her way into his office with a bag of fresh food. She laughed off her father's unnecessary concern, given that she had only gone across the street to one of Jim's favorite eateries to purchase it.

"And I already told you that you're so not right now. And that I wanted to do it anyway. Besides, you're not the only one who was hungry, so eat up, silly."

Placing the wrapped Pastrami sandwich on his desk, knowing full well that he couldn't turn down the offer of his favorite type of sandwich while running on empty since the early morning hours, Barbara gave him a satisfied smile as he sighed and reached for it. He gave her a look, unwrapping the sandwich and immediately taking a bite.

He started to fake frustration as she began to chuckle at the bits of bread already visible in his mustache, playfully sticking out his tongue in order to gross her out. He smiled aswell as she recoiled, returning to the file that he had been overlooking whenever she came in.

"Fine, fine. You win, young lady. What do I owe you?"

"Oh, stop with that. You know that I love splurging on you whenever I'm given the chance."

Gordon paused.

"And you used my credit card, didn't you?"

Barbara shrugged, knowing that he had her dead to rights.

"There's that, too."

Gordon shook his head, trying to hide another smile.

"I swear, you're as mischievous as your mother was."

The truth was that despite his overbearing nature to do everything for her since she had lost the ability to use her legs, he was the one in need of help right now. The doctors at Gotham General had flatly told him that he'd suffered some considerable head trauma following his violent encounter with The Batman last week, and being ever the stubborn bull, Jim had only taken a leave of absence to heal that had lasted a whole three days. Which was ridiculous, given he was supposed to remain off of active duty for three weeks, but as Barbara had tried to remind him of that this morning, Jim had given her the stock response of 'a police captain doesn't get a sick leave in Gotham'. The big baby hadn't even been taking his medications the way they were prescribed, which was why she had taken the liberty of hiding them inside of his sandwich.

So Barbara figured that if she couldn't keep him bedridden at home, the least she could do was keep an eye on him at work to ensure that he didn't do anything too strenuous. Which she had a convenient excuse for, given that the Captain's daughter had spent the last few weeks volunteering at the Precinct as a data entry clerk, put in charge of re-organizing the very long and out of date criminal database. It was a synch for a tech wizard like her to do, and she intentionally took her time, given how few hours the library were giving her towards college credits.

She didn't know what she wanted to be yet, given that her handicap didn't exactly lend itself to a wide variety of careers, but Barbara knew she wanted to do something with her life beyond staying at home and still getting used to the idea of having to take an hour out of her morning just to be able to get into the shower. Wheeling herself over to her own makeshift desk, which sat in the right corner of the room and was just out of the way enough not to interfere with police business, Barbara began logging into the GCPD database with her own credentials. The username being 'DominoedDaredoll99', based off of the nickname she was given whenever she had been a gymnast in High School.

"Dad,", she began. "I know you've already said that you don't want me to be a cop..."

"Mmm-hmm.", the Captain replied. "And my mind isn't going to change on that anytime soon."

"I know. And I totally get it, I really do. But I was wondering... what if I did something like this all of the time instead? You know, help out with the technical side of things. Become a receptionist, or even a dispatcher. The stuff that wouldn't really put me out on the field."



Gordon looked up at his daughter, who sheepishly looked back towards the computer screen. He knew that a police job meant alot to her, and that she had wanted to follow in his footsteps ever since she was nine. He had already been leery of the prospect before, but following her injury and the countless months of physical therapy it took just for her to be able to function in a wheelchair, there was no doubt in his mind that he was never going to allow her to be out there as one of the officers. But a desk job? Gordon wondered to himself if that'd really be the best alternative.

"I'd have to give it some serious thought. Frankly, if it were up to me, you wouldn't be able to set within ten miles of any precinct in the city. Gotham's only getting more dangerous each day, honey, and the crazies that we're pulling in off of the street are only getting more bizarre. Sometimes, even being in the building is a hazard.", he admitted. "Just the other week, we picked up a perp that claimed he had ten eyes on his fingers and could see through solid material despite being legally blind. The eyes ended up being tattoos and he was diagnosed to be a violent schizophrenic by the people at Arkham, but the point stands. We're living in troubling times, because there was a second where people believed he might be telling the truth. Because there might actually come a day when someone is brought in who can do something like that."

Barbara raised an eyebrow at Jim's story.

"Well first of all, your Terrible Ten-Eyed Man sounds like a real winner in the championships of crazy, and I feel sorry for the people that're gonna have to stick tranquilizers in his rear for the rest of his life.", she flatly joked. "But that's just one instance of danger, dad. And I know that you guys bring in violent criminals on a regular basis. I've seen it more times than I can count already. I'm aware of the risks, but I just want to help. And you made sure that I can take care of myself, remember? That was your first rule, whenever I got put in the chair. I'm a Gordon, and Gordons never stay down. We get back up, no matter what."

The Captain smiled, reminded of his own personal credo.

"I know. And your bravery is very commendable, I'll give you that. So just let me think about it, okay? I'm not giving it a complete 'no', so there's no need to try and butter me up over it."

Barbara gave herself a victorious fist pump.

"Granted, it'd help my decision a whole lot if you started going to physical therapy more often..."

The fist pump ended there, with Barbara shooting her father an immediate glare.

"That's just mean."

Gordon smirked, downing a bit of coffee.

"Those are my terms, young lady. Take them or leave them."

Mulling it over, Barbara finally nodded.

"I'll do what I can. I just get so bored with it, you know? They want me to go at their pace, but I'm making progress way beyond anything they want to teach me."

Pointing to the bandage wrapped around his head, the Captain gave her an empathetic look.

"See? And that's exactly how I feel about this. The doctors tell you one thing, but you know yourself better than they do. You know your own damn limitations. And I wasn't just gonna sit in bed for most of the month and let this department get run into the ground."

Barbara smiled.

"That's entirely different. You're just old and stubborn."

Jim scoffed.

"Okay, stubborn, I'll give you. But old? That just cuts to the core. I should ground you right here and now for insinuating such a thing..."

Their playful banter as father and daughter was cut short as the door to Gordon's office swung open. Duke Thomas frantically entered, giving Barbara a cursory nod as he approached the Captain's desk. The two had formed something of a friendship over the years, given that they had studied in the same fields. Captain Gordon leaned forward, giving his daughter a look that read as 'Can you give us a moment?', prompting her to immediately begin to wheel herself out. As the door closed behind her, Thomas produced his cellphone and slid it forward so that the Jim could take a look.

"Captain, I have no goddamn idea how this hasn't ended up on dispatch, but we've got a major situation happening at the fashion show downtown. Some dude in a giant suit of armor broke into the place and, get this. He's freezing off all of the entrances."

Gordon gave the young police consultant a perplexed look at that declaration, pressing play on an attached video displayed on the phone. It confirmed everything that Thomas had described, despite it's sheer unbelievability.

A man wearing armor and a thick dome atop his head was firing a cannon that shot out beams of light. The walls, the stage, and the ceiling around him were quickly building up with thick sheets of ice, and people were fleeing in terror. The video itself was tilted, obviously filmed through someone's phone.

"Where the hell did this video come from?"

Thomas narrowed his eyes.

"Youtube. And it's live, Jim. This is happening right now."

Immediately standing upright from his chair, Gordon angrily handed the phone back to Thomas.

"Why the hell haven't any of us been alerted?! Nothing's come up through emergency calls from the scene?! News outlets, anything?!"

Duke raised his hands in equal amounts of confusion.

"That's just it! Nobody's gotten this! Not Central, not the Commissioner, nobody! I literally just caught it on my Facebook feed! Montoya's checking the local channels, but as best I can tell, nobody's been able to report on this at all. All of the feeds covering the fashion show went dead just before the attack happened and it makes absolutely no sense! It's like there's been a network-wide lockout!"

"Goddammit..."

Immediately rushing to grab his gun, Gordon pointed to Duke and spoke in a tone that commanded attention.

"I'm grabbing Renee and heading to my car. Get as many of our people out there as you can. I know we're down some men after last week, so call in a few of those favors you have with the other precincts if you have to. We need all eyes on this yesterday, you understand?!"

Duke nodded as he spun around and ran out of the room.

"Already on it!"

Barbara remained outside the entrance to the office, looking towards her father with worry as he grabbed his coat and swung it around himself. Sometimes the early morning hours could be chillier than most, and torrential rain showers in Gotham were a constant, so Jim had brought it out of habit. But the sun was shining outside and it was the middle of the afternoon. Why in the hell did he need it now?

"Dad?"

Rushing past his desk, Gordon paused as he approached his daughter and placed a hand on her shoulder.

"I have to go, Barbara. There's some madman attacking the fashion show downtown. Using an... ice gun, or something. I don't know. I'll tell you about it when I get back."

Barbara looked up at him, her eyes clear pleading with him not to go.

"But dad, in your condition..."

"I'll be fine, I promise. I won't even set a foot inside the building. But my people need me to guide them through this, so I can't just stay here and let the tactical unit take charge."

Giving his pride and joy a kiss on the forehead, Gordon smiled as he turned around.

"I love you, kiddo."

"I love you too.", Barbara muttered, half-heartedly accepting that he had to go. "But please be careful. Don't do anything stupid..."

In the back of her mind, Barbara knew something wasn't right about any of this. Nobody had been alerted about an open attack from a psychopath in a refrigeration suit? That didn't make even the slightest bit of sense. Looking towards her computer as she wheeled back into the office, she began to think to herself.

"Wonder if the department needs any help."

Gotham City, Snyder Stadium
Starling Fashion Show
3:45 PM


"For every minute that I am not reunited with my bride, ten of you will be frozen solid and shattered as though you were made of glass. I do not make these demands lightly. You will bring me my Nora or you will die."



Hiding myself among the rafters high above the stadium, I finally get into a position that gives me some idea of what I'm working with and switch the lenses of my cowl from standard to thermal. There had been no prior warning of any of this through the radio or television networks, and the police bands remained entirely silent. The only reason I knew anything was going on was due to the fact that I had arrived on the scene as Bruce Wayne and saw a thick block of ice standing between the crowd outside and the people inside. The windows atop the stadium's exterior were also coated, making my makeshift entrance through the roof particularly challenging to accomplish. But I knew I had to act if the police weren't aware that this was happening. Normally, I reserve the suit and utilize it strictly for the night night hours. It helps keep me hidden from sight and adds to the mystique of The Batman being a creature of supernatural origin. But I didn't hesitate to park the car in a nearby alleyway and suit up in response to this. Mercifully, I scaled the wall and made it to the stadium's rooftop fast enough not to be spotted by onlookers.

But nothing could've prepared me for this. The man standing just a few feet below is wearing an array of high-density tactical armor that, just by looking at it, I can tell was shopped in from a few different sources. Stark Industries, Lexcorp, Osborn Technologies, Queen Consolidated. Even a bit of Waynetech. The mystery man managed to create an armor out of different parts from each company and workshop them into a cohesive unit that houses some kind of inner-refrigeration device. I can't tell if that makes him a metahuman, given that his ability to render anything frozen solid seems to be technologically based. But he is rather brilliant if he fashioned the suit and the cannon himself, making it impossible for me to go into this underestimating him.

Even worse, a few of the patrons of the event came prepared with their own ordinance and started to fire upon the attacker whenever I was making my way inside. Likely to be mob-connected. But each bullet only seemed to bounce off of the man's suit, and they were each frozen to death for their troubles. The man even went as far to make an example of them by smashing their frozen corpses, indicating that the suit is not only bulletproof, but greatly increases his natural strength. So whoever this man is, metahuman or not, he's more than a formidable opponent.

I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Something like this is completely unprecedented, and people are being put in the crosshairs of an attack that's of a nature completely foreign to any possible strategic maneuver. But I'm not going to say that this isn't a unique opportunity to test my skills at improvisation, given that this man seems to be out of his mind in demanding the presence of a person that clearly isn't here. This only ends when he's taken down, and not a second before.

"Ace. Cut the power to the lights. I need to ensure that our mystery opponent can't see what he's doing."

Accessing the electrical grid now, Mr. Wayne.

Within seconds, everything goes dark, causing people to panic even more than previously. The only light sources are coming from the attacker's suit itself, given that parts of his armor are emanating a neon blue coolant and he's wearing some type of specialized goggles that glow with a red fury. Have to hope that they're not giving him some sort of night-vision capabilities as I fire a grapnel and swing down, seizing my opening to attack. Striking at the man's large and thickly armored exoskeleton with the bottom of both boots, I backflip off of him as he turns in my direction and fires off a stray blast from his cannon. The blast itself is radiant and lights up the room with a particularly bright luminescence, revealing my position before I can react.

"ENOUGH!"



I go in for a direct punch, and my fist hits against the armor as though it were nothing. The impact against my hand actually causes me to double back in pain, forcing me to roll forward and clutch it before I can be rendered the human equivalent of an ice sculpture. The man takes a step forward, the metal of his armor stomping against the floor. He clearly didn't anticipate that I'd be here, but he doesn't seem particularly phased either way.

I ready a series of batarangs and throw them towards his suit, hoping to nick a few weak points. But he fires a light mist ahead of him and I watch as my own weapons are turned to ice. They each shatter upon impact, dealing out no damage whatsoever. I narrow my eyes, angrily cursing this doomed approach. Might've even already broken something in the process.

"I have heard of you. They call you The Batman in the press. By all accounts, you consider yourself an administrator of justice. But you should not have tried to interfere."

Reading another blast from his cannon, I somersault to the side of the stage and dodge it, watching the area where I just stood build up with thick, frozen spikes. He readies the cannon again, and I dive off of the stage, ignoring the immense pain coming off of my injured hand aswell as any impending vertigo from my concussion.

"Perhaps it would be best if we were both to be a name basis. By those who have been unfortunate to cross my path in the past, I am called Mr. Freeze. Though you will come to know me as death itself."

Grabbing a nearby fire extinguisher, I spin and toss it at him with my good hand, knowing that he'll fire again. The extinguisher explodes, temporarily causing him to reel back in surprise.

"I don't give a damn who you are. You're not going to hurt these people."

Leaping into the air, I fire out another grapple line and swing towards him at an even faster velocity. He sees this, and rather than attempt to fire upon me another time with his cannon, uses the brunt of the weapon to knock me out of the air. I go flying back into a large billboard to the right of the stage, advertising the fashion show.

As I try and get back up, already feeling weakened from both the injuries sustained last week and the trauma of whatever damage was just done to my hand, I can hear people starting to scream for an entirely different reason. To the crowd, they're not just being attacked by Freeze. They're being attacked by the murderous Batman, who's still accused of taking a shot at Harvey Dent.

And then my mind reels even harder as I start to realize that I personally ensured someone else's appearance here tonight, making it my responsibility that they're in the very clear and present danger. Looking out towards the crowd, I spot her trying to help Thomas Elliot to his feet after having apparently fallen. My eyes widen, realizing that she's open to attack at any moment, should Freeze choose to fire on the crowd for my intrusion.

"Selina..."

Producing the Utility Gun, I fire a few smoke pellets in Freeze's general direction in order to more effectively blind him. He fires out a few stray blasts of his ice cannon, but is otherwise rendered disoriented. Utilizing the opportunity, I leap into the air and extend my cape, gliding over the pedestrians running in terror from both Freeze's attack and what they perceive as my own. Immediately landing infront of a shocked Selina as she helps Elliot to his feet, I wrap my arm around her waist and fire a grapple line into the air.

"Ma'am. Keep your head down."

She nods, too overwhelmed by my presence to say anything. Having met Bruce Wayne plenty of times, it's odd to see her reaction to me in the suit. Probably terrified that I singled her out at all, given how random it must seem. But I won't allow her to die just because I called her to this place in the event of a personal emergency.

Ascending quickly, I get Selina to the rafters and secured, pointing out the entrance that I made for myself in the far distance.

"There's an exit over there that should be safe. Climb out of here and inform the authorities of what's happening. No one's been alerted to this, and I need someone who's seen what's happening to prepare the cops."

Turning my back to Selina as she nods, I prepare to leap back down and engage Freeze once again.

"Certainly..."

BLAM!

To my shock, the back of my head is struck with an incredible amount of force as I'm knocked from the rafters. Falling down, my descent threatens to hit the crowd below, and I look up to see Selina holding a smoking pistol that she had hidden on her person. She... shot me in the back of the head. The bullet's probably sticking out of the kevlar plate that miraculously saved my life. And she looks to be taking another shot, by the way that she's aiming.

The shock of seeing a woman that I consider a close personal friend suddenly brandishing a weapon to try and kill me is more than I could've ever predicted. Selina's never let on that she conceals a gun. Nor is it in her character, given that she's tried to distance herself as much from her father's operations as much as possible whenever I've talked to her about it. So being openly attacked by her is something of a betrayal, given that I had been led to believe that she was entirely non-violent. Though I guess that she could simply be seeking retribution on Harvey's part...

Doesn't matter right now. I need to stay focused. Stop my own fall before I land on someone and potentially cause even further injury. Throwing out another line to the other side of the rafters, I tug on it as hard as I can to propel myself into another swing. It works, and I manage to avoid colliding with anyone, arching myself into the air and landing on a nearby platform.

BLAM!

A second bullet grazes off of the area near where I just stepped, prompting me to glare upwards. Not only is Selina a damn good shot, but very clearly a practiced one. If I didn't know this about her and could be taken off of my guard so easily, what else has she been hiding from me? Does she work for the Five Families? Has she been in league with her father all this time?

"You idiots, he's right there! Kill both of them and you'll get twice the bounty!"

I look upon the crowd and find that a few more are still armed, having not made the mistake of firing upon Freeze earlier whenever it became clear that he was wearing bulletproof armor. Stumbling through the darkness, they nevertheless act with a sense of immediacy in response to Selina's order. It all but answers the question for me, making me realize that I never truly knew the woman at all.

Of course, there's also the matter of Mr. Freeze.

"Enough of this. You waste my time with these meaningless distractions."

Before I can intervene, I'm horrified to watch as Freeze opens fire on the armed members of the Five Families and renders them each frozen solid in one swift motion. I could have jumped infront of that blast, sparing their lives, but he moved too quickly for me to even react until it was too late.

"NO!"

Freeze stares back at me, his face void of emotion as he turns the cannon on me.

"Yes."

Gritting my teeth and growling back at him, enraged, I lunge forward without thinking...

Inevitably opening myself to the exact same fate as them.

"Do not struggle. Allow the brittle, cold touch of the grave to embrace you as a comfort, Batman."



My entire body goes numb as the sensation overpowers me.

"That is what all self-appointed administrators of justice deserve."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Simple Unicycle
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Simple Unicycle ?

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Evening
Near The Crossroads Saloon; Warpath, Texas

ISSUE #15
GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY
PART FOUR


If you had told me a few months ago that I would wind up being on the run, traveling the country and fighting crime, I would've laughed at you. If you had told me that I'd also end up fighting against servants of the Devil in a small Texas town with a cowboy, I'd have had you locked up in an insane asylum. But here I was, running through the alleys of Warpath, occasionally looking over my shoulder to fire off a few rounds at the ungodly bastardizations of men that were hunting me.

The alley was narrow, and they almost had to come at me in a single file line. It was easy enough to mow them down with a few well-placed shots, and none of them got too close to give me any trouble. The saloon shouldn't be too far away, I should be getting there soon. I just had to hold out a little longer...

*Click* *Click*

My hope was snuffed out with the familiar clicks of empty guns. Rather than holster the SMGs, I tossed them to the ground. Turning around and bolting, I pulled out my twin pistols, just in case I ran into any along the way. They were everywhere, and I could only pray that Greg was doing better than I was. He had that whip of his, maybe if he ran out of ammo he could use that. Me? I'd be thoroughly screwed.

By the time I reached the Crossroads Saloon, Greg was already there, thrashing at the Hunters with his lariat, swinging objects into them as makeshift weapons and occasionally putting one down with a shot from his revolver. Rushing towards the old saloon, I leapt through the windows, firing as I went and taking out a handful of Hunters. I tucked my body into a roll, coming to a stop not too far from Greg in a crouch.

"Cavalry's here." I stood up, twisting around to the entrance of the old saloon. "You got this place primed and ready to blow at a moment's notice?"
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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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T H E F L A S H


Revelations:

NOT FAST ENOUGH






As the guns cocked Spider-Woman leapt into action. Moving towards a group of gunmen Iris sped towards her own group of gunmen, catching them off guard she picked their weapons out of their hands before unloading them. Throwing the ammunition and the weapons in different directions before punching each individual gunmen in the face. With the strength behind the punch had she been travelling at normal speed it likely wouldn't have done much to them. Travelling at spead it sent them all tumbling to the floor, those that weren't knocked out at the very least were out of commission.

As her ally finished wrapping up, or rather webbing up, her own advesaries Iris turned to look at her.

"Listen, I know we're in a room filled with priceless art, but I think we need to get him wet. It's not going to stop him, but maybe it'll slow him down!"

Iris acted fast, stripping the artwork from the walls and moving it to another room. For her minutes passed as she moved between rooms, covering things up while also checking to make sure that none of the gunmen were taking advantage of the distraction to do away with anything. When she returned to the room seconds had passed and Spider-Woman with her aerodynamic defying hood was currently engaged with Marko. "Sorry, just cleaning up."

Scanning the room she smiled at Marko, water was the next thing they needed as Spider-Woman was right, at least in theory water could be used to slow him down. If not stop him. Seeing a stack of pamphlets behind Marko an idea hit her, if she could rub her hands together on them she could set them on fire. Placed near the sprinker system, sprinklers would go off and then indoor rain, it was foolproof. Running past where Marko had been, till she then reached the stack of pamphlets she gasped as she placed her footdown on what she thought was the floor.

Yet the floor didn't rise up and grab your foot before yanking it away from you. Her face hitting the floor she saw stars as she managed to grab a couple of pamphlets. Rubbing two fingers against it quickly it started to smoulder, before she was pulled back and thrown through the air. The smouldering guides falling to the floor. "Spidey!" Spidey? Where did that come from?

The air was knocked out of her as she hit the far wall, the next couple of words didn't escape her lips but she managed to point in the direction of the smouldering pile. Hopefully she'd get the idea.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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Interlude Pt. 2


Hollywood
1931


Pearl Jones kicked off her shoes and walked barefoot through the dirt and grass towards the hill, the bright lights of Hollywood fading behind her. It had been a tough walk up here even though Eddie’s mansion wasn’t that far away. In her condition walking anywhere was hard. It felt like there were hot pins in her left thigh, pins that shot pain through her leg with every step. Blood was oozing out of the deep gash on her thigh and trickling down her leg until it dripped from her feet and coated each footstep in crimson.

“Don’t worry,” she whispered aloud. Sirens began to sound off in the distance, getting louder as they drew closer. One hand held a revolver loosely while the other cradled her swollen stomach. “We’re almost there.”

---

Nine Months Earlier

Eddie Mueller flashed a smile that had very little warmth in it. He sat behind his big, walnut desk and eyed Pearl the way a butcher eyed a cut of meat. His opulent study, nestled in the corner of the mansion’s second floor, contained packed shelves of books with no cracked spines. Directly behind Mueller was a bust of Mussolini. Mueller looked a lot like [i]Il Duce[i], albeit with far more girth around his neck and jowls and his swarthy features replaced by pasty, blotchy skin. He was completely hairless and smooth. To Pearl he looked like a giant baby with a drinking problem. Word was that he had some strange medical condition that made all his hair fall out when he was a boy.

“I saw your screen test, Ms. Jones, and I liked what I saw… oh, yes.”

“Thank you,” Pearl said with a polite nod. “That means a lot coming from you.”

“Been doing background work in pictures, isn’t that correct?”

“Yes, sir.”

Mueller chuckled and stood. Or at least he tried. After four attempts to get out of his chair, he was finally on his feet. He turned the corner of his desk and sat on the end of it. The wood creaked and groaned under his weight.

“This next picture of mine is going to be something spectacular. I got a kid doing the script who’s a whiz. Everything Freddie touches turns to gold. I’m lining up Clark Gable as my leading man. For leading lady… I want you, Pearl.”

Pearl felt her heart flutter with excitement. Her? She’d had dreams of being the leading lady ever since she was a little girl in North Dakota watching Mary Pickford on the screen. After four years of either flat-out no’s or getting paid ten dollars a week getting extra work, she was starting to wonder if it would ever come true.

“I just need to know one thing,” Mueller said, licking his lips. “Can you play sad?”

“Of course, Mr. Mueller. I can--”

She was cut short by the back of Mueller’s pudgy hand slapping her across the face. He was on her, his hands around her throat.

“Can you play terrified?”

Mueller tossed Pearl to the ground. She screamed as the fat man pinned her down, one hand holding her in place while he worked his pants off with his free hand.

---

She was just a few days away from giving birth when she knocked on Mueller’s door intent on revenge. After the day she could never forget, she’d never heard another peep out of the man. Her polite inquiries about the film were rebuffed, and then when she found out she was pregnant her calls stopped being answered altogether. The studio had her on their list of persona non grata and the times she came by the house, the police had been called to escort her away. They would probably be here soon so she had to act fast.

“Look,” the butler said as he opened the door. “Mr. Mueller is not here and if you--”

The revolver in Pearl’s hand shut him up. He started to say something, but was stopped by the bullet to the throat. Pearl stepped over his crumpled body and waddled through the sprawling mansion.

“Eddie… Oh, Eddie.”

She thought that this man, this animal, having a house this big and nice was a waste. He had no family and no guests. He only bought it because it was expensive and a symbol befitting his status. He didn't need it and he sure as hell didn't deserve it. She figured she wouldn’t have enough time to burn it down.

“Please…”

She found Mueller in his study, huddled behind the desk in a vain attempt to hide his mass. Of course he would be here. It was poetic justice that he would die here.

“If it’s money you want, I’ll give you as much as you need. Just don’t kill me!”

She fired a potshot at the desk. Expensive chunks of wood flew through the air.

“I don’t care about money.”

“I’ll make you a star, then. L-like I was supposed to!”

That caused Pearl to fire twice at the desk. Mueller squealed like a pig and started to move around the desk.

“I'm sure Hollywood is ready for its first knocked up starlet. The Floozy Greta Garbo,” said Pearl. “They called me a floozy, you know? The police. They called me a lot of things. I tried to tell them what you did to me. I was making a statement to an officer when a flashy man in a flashy suit came in and started to talk about how I was crazy and how what we did was something I wanted. That I was a dirty little slut who got off on slapping and choking and beating and I was just after your money. They kicked me out and threatened to arrest me for making a false statement if I ever came back.”

“I’m sorry… please… please.”

Pearl came around the desk. Mueller was crouched and shaking in fright. She saw a patch of wetness on his crotch and laughed loudly.

“I got good news for you, Eddie,” she said as she aimed the revolver at Mueller’s head. “You’re a daddy. Bad news? I don't think you're gonna get to teach him how to ride a bi--”

Mueller suddenly lunged at her with a sharp letter opener. She cried out when he plunged it into her upper thigh and twisted. He tried to swat at the revolver, but missed. She pulled the trigger and shot him point blank in the face.

---

Pearl looked out at Hollywood. She stood on the first “O” of the Hollywoodland sigg and tried her best to stay still. It was windy and the soles of her feet were slick from the blood on her leg. At least Hollywood looked nice. It was all lit up and pretty like it always was a night. From a distance it could fool you like that. Fool you like she had been fooled years ago. She came in on a bus in ‘27 and was entranced by the tall buildings and theater marquees and spotlights. It was supposed to be the place where dreams were made. That was true for a few, but for most... it's just where you realized how foolish dreams where. She could see the police cars down at the foot of the hill and little figures marching up the hill towards her. She figured they must have followed the blood trail all the way from the mansion.

“I’m sorry,” she said as she rubbed her stomach. “So sorry. You deserved better than what this world had to offer, kid. I just wish I could have given it to you.”

Pearl Jones put the gun to her head and pulled the trigger. Her body fell the fifty feet down to the ground, where it landed with a loud thud at the foot of the Hollywoodland sign.

---

Now

“Jesus Christ.”

Charlie Rembrandt shook his head and rubbed his face. He sat looking up at Pearl Jones’ ghost. She had her arms wrapped around her and her eyes on the floor. She'd told the whole story that way, too afraid to make eye contact with Charlie. They were in the very study where she had been raped and impregnated, and then committed murder.

“The next thing I knew, I was back in the study. Cops were all around Eddie Mueller’s body but they couldn’t see me or hear me. It took a few hours but I figured out what happened and what I had become. I’ve been in this house ever since. I’m stuck here, detective. I've tried to leave but I can't. How long have I been here?”

“It's been… eighty-seven years.”

“My goodness… I didn’t realize it had been that long.”

“I’ve got a good picture of what happened with our friend a few rooms down,” said Rembrandt. “But I think I need a few more blanks filled in. What led to you driving Mark Preston to suicide?”

“Well, detective,” she said with a humorless laugh. “You see, all this time when nobody could hear or see me… but I could see and hear them. And I saw it all.”
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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HenryJonesJr

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Almost before the words escape my mouth, the Flash has cleared everything out of the room we're standing in. If I didn't know any better, Marko and I share a look of amazement at the speed. I should have thought of the fact that the Flash could have cleared out the museum if she put her feet to the ground. I really, really am jealous. I could do so much crazy stuff with that speed. I'd see like every concert in the world in one night. I'd score the first female touchdown in the Super Bowl before anyone could stop me. I'd pants the president while he was making a speech.

Okay, it's probably a good thing for everyone in the world that I don't have super speed.

But I still want it.

As I'm transfixed by the speed of the Flash, I notice that Marko has completely disappeared, "Well that can't be good."

She appears before me again, and in another blink she's off towards the...map station on the wall? Unfortunately, she moves too fast for me to warn her that Marko's disappeared. When she stops to take some of the maps, the floor comes out from under her like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon, revealing itself to be Marko. He grabs her by the leg and tosses her into the wall across the way.

As she flies through the air, a smoldering map falls from her hand and floats down to the floor. So that's what she wanted with the maps. To start a fire and set off the sprinklers. Good idea. A smart, female superhero. Good to know there are two of us in the world.

I try and move quickly to grab the still-burning paper. Before I can, however, Marko's sandy fist slams down on top of it, snuffing it out, "Not so fast, Spider-Loser!"

"Oh, Marko," I roll my eyes at the terrible insult as I get out of the way of another swinging strike from him. "That is possible the worst insult I've ever heard. I take it they didn't give you super smarts with your super powers? Or was there nothing upstairs to enhance?"

"RAWH!" he snarls at me at turns into a literal wave of sand. I fire a webline to the roof and swing right through it. The impact sends me tumbling through the air, and I fire another line to the ceiling to stabilize myself. As I swing above the museum, I notice the sprinkler for the fire suppression system out of the corner of my eye.

I smile as I remember the time Peter and Harry were playing football in the hall of the school. Osborn tossed Pete the ball, and Peter, being Peter, obviously didn't catch it. The ball bounced off his hands of stone, and hit the sprinkler. It shattered and set the entire school's system off . We had off for like three weeks. It was awesome.

And now that story is gonna stop a crazy giant mob goon made out of living sand.

Isn't life grand?

A well-timed shot of webbing shatters the sprinkler, sending a torrent of water towards Marko. It slams into him, and I immediately know the plan is going to work. It's not hurting him, but already I can tell he's slowing down. His body begins to congeal into a thick slurry of mud, and he is seriously pissed.

"What the heck is this!?" he yells as he attempts to form his fist into another weapon. Instead it just wavers and flops around like a dying fish.

Suddenly, the Flash runs right through him' splattering him across the room. Some of the wet, dirty globs of mud form back into Marko, who's stared down by the two of us, now standing side by side. He looks from one of us to the other a few times before snarling, "This ain't over, Spider-Woman! Next time you won't have your fast friend, and that time, I'm gonna kill ya!"

Before Flash and I can do anything about it, Marko slips into an air vent in the floor and disappears like some Alex Mack shit.

"I mean, am I the only one who thinks that looked like crap?" I ask the Flash. "And I mean that literally. One of my villains literally looked like crap going down the drain. God I have the worst villains."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Roman
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Roman King of Dirt

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II. Case Closed


Matthew's hand twitched as he sat patiently while the defense lawyer finished his barrage of inane, irrelevant questions to the one surprise witness he had managed to drum up for the trial. Matt could hear the man's heartbeat from here - high tempo, a light, rapid pulse, wild fluctuations as he gave his answers. He was lying. The sweat coming off him assaulted Matt's sense in waves of uncomfortable heat and foul odors - but Matthew also knew that the trail of 'factual' documents and corroborating individuals would be set up far beyond the scope of his reach. He wouldn't be indicting anyone for perjury today, but the dishonestly from both the witness and the defense lawyer built a slow, bubbling anger within Matthew. A rising rage combined with more cups of coffee than he'd had hours of sleep, and he could feel himself becoming irate and unstable. He flexed his fingers and clenched his fists alternately, feeling the patterns of his own skin and the smooth, varnished surface of the table equally, focusing on them both to center himself.
You are Matt Murdock, New York Assistant Defense Attorney. You will charge this man. You will attain a verdict of guilty. There will be justice.

Matthew looked toward the jury. A few glanced back quizzically; most ignored him in favor of focusing on the witness in the box. Steady hearts in most of them, although a few slightly elevated. Most likely simple nerves. He heard nothing from Katherine Spencer beside him; his DA was stoic and measured as always, her heartbeat a steady tide against her equally balanced breathing. In, out. Pump, pump. Nothing seemed to phase Kate...Matthew wondered if she had some kind of trick, some meditation or happy place. It didn't matter. She was up already, cross-examining the witness, carefully pulling at the threads that the defense had spun until they fell apart. Matthew had discussed his proposed strategy with Kate in Pre-Trial, and she had heartily agreed; pulling the accused off the streets would barely dent the mob's operation, as there were other lieutenants already subsuming the responsibilities and the money that came with them. But if they were able to glean a few vicious insights into the mob, with names and locations attached? They might be able to begin to staunch the flow of crime and corruption that had plagued Hell's Kitchen for years. This was the best shot they'd had in months; if they succeeded here, Matthew might not have to bring the Devil back out of his cage again. He might be able to stem that zealous tide of anger.

To his left he heard low murmering from the defendant and his lawyer. They were worried, that much was clear - a bead of sweat broke on the lawyer's forehead that he hastily mopped off with a handkerchief, and the defendant himself whispered in harsh tones, with the heat and heartbeat of anger. They were losing, but that was obvious; it was what they were whispering about amongst themselves, while Katherine was distracted prodding and probing their surprise witness, that was interesting.
"You said you could get me off, Harry." The defendant hissed through the side of his mouth. "You said easy, no sweat."
"Shut your mouth, Vincent, trial ain't done yet." His lawyer hissed back, eyes fixed forwards on the judge. "Didn't realise they had so much on ya. You never learn to be careful?"
"I never learned to deal with snitches proper. Told bodies are worse than words."
"You shouldn't have snitches in the first place."
"I shouldn't be here in the first place. How'd this go from a night out to bein' rinsed by the DA?"
"It ain't my problem you got a dirty habit and fidgety paws. You should consider AA."
"I should consider recommending we get another lawyer. You ain't good to us if you can't do your job. We'll get someone who can."

There was a pause in the conversation and Matthew noticed a distinct rise in the lawyer's pulse that indicated panic. Katherine finished her questions, and the witness was taken from the box by the court's security officer, practically dripping from sweat. Matt suppressed a gag as they walked past him up the aisle and out of the room. Katherine sat back down beside him as the court settled, the jury silently deliberating among themselves about the questions asked and answered. The defendant remained quiet as the lawyer tried to calm himself, and Kate leaned toward Matt, her body heat pressing on him uncomfortably in the stifled hall. He focused on her perfume over the lingering cloud of body odor.

"I think this is a slam-dunk, Murdock. You've outdone yourself with this pre-trial work."
Matt smiled politely and nodded. "I can't claim all the credit. Karen managed to dig up the history and Foggy's consultancy was instrumental."
"I understand we employ Karen, but you should watch how much you rely on your friends. Especially when they currently work for external law firms."
Anger flashed in Matthew again and he could feel his face twitch, before taking a moment to collect himself.
"I trust Foggy, and he's not working on any cases right now. I wouldn't cross-contaminate."
"But every time you involve him, you risk the integrity of our cases."
Matt's cheeks flushed as frustration burst forth, his rising heat feeling like it was scorching his own skin from the inside. To their left, the defense lawyer rose from his seat and approached the judge. Matthew couldn't hear their whispers over his own heartbeat in his ears, too rattled and irate to focus properly. The judge rapped her gavel and stood.
"The defense has called for emergency recess, and is granted such. Court will reconvene in three hours." She sat, and rapped her gavel again as murmurs erupted among the courtroom. "Dismissed!"

Matthew and Katherine dutifully stood, Matt taking Kate's proffered elbow as he allowed her to lead him from the room, cane and casefiles tucked underneath his other arm. She spoke to him in a low, measured tone as they slowly filed out.
"What the hell is this about? Emergency recess?"
Matt shrugged. "Probably buying time to find another surprise witness or pay off the judge." He replied, with reluctant resignation giving his voice a weary tinge. Kate shook her head brusquely.
"Judge is clean, I made sure. She's newest in the city, no prior involvement with known crime organisations, and she's put away several mob thugs already. She's the best we could get for this case."
"Another witness or 'overlooked' evidence then. They'll dig something up."
"We'll see." Kate replied, with a distinct finality that stopped Matthew's mix of anger and defeat in its tracks. "Let's just sit tight for three hours and get right back in." They pushed through the double doors at the back of the courtroom and found themselves in the main corridors again, the hustle and bustle of the judiciary system weaving around them. Matthew found a bench, while Kate looked impatiently up and down the hallway. "I'm going to get lunch and find the judge. Meet me back here in two-and-a-half. If you find yourself fidgeting, try tea this time."

Matt gave a half-hearted chuckle as Kate walked away, and he tracked her by the click-clack of her heels against the stone tiles. Ten metres. Twenty. Thirty-five. Her perfume mingled with the crowd of busy attourneys, court officers, defendants and claimants, and at fifty metres, he felt safe to stand and walk in the opposite direction, listening carefully for his marks; their voices, their heartbeats, their footsteps. He drew deep breaths through his nose, trying to find a hint of their cologne or body scent. He didn't have to go far.
They were muffled, their voices bleeding through several walls and closed doors as they discussed...something. Matt couldn't quite make out the whole conversation, just scattered pieces. He focused, blocking out the ambiance that bounced around his skull and zeroed in on their discussion, all the while following their sounds and scents trying to get closer. Their private court chamber was well-guarded, and Matthew knew he risked being held in contempt should he be found snooping around too close during recess, but he had to know if his strategy was working. He had to know if what he and Kate were trying to do was working. He had to know.

A door opened twenty feet ahead and to the right around a corner and the voices came through clearly and Matthew froze, moving backwards towards a bench he had passed a few feet back to take a seat and try and appear innocuous as he listened. A set of footsteps walked out the doors, paused, and then disappeared in the opposite direction. Matt used the sound to paint a rough picture of the owner: tall, male, smartly dressed, neat hair, glasses. The distinct ticking of a Patek Phillipe 5327G model watch - exceedingly expensive. A peculiar and singular scent, fine leather and tasteful cologne combined. It hadn't been present in the courtroom, or indeed any pre-trial on-goings. Matthew racked his brain, trying to decipher the mystery of this individual that had suddenly injected himself into proceedings at this critical juncture. He didn't have long to think; the door opened again, and another man stepped out. The smell hit Murdock instantly, and this was without question Harry, the defendant's mob lawyer. He held the door open and spoke back through it, presumably to his defendant, the only remaining man in the chamber.
"I'm advising you, Vincent. As your lawyer. Think about your options."

He let the door close and then walked away, towards Matthew this time. Matt hunched a little on the bench, holding his cane in both hands between his legs. He wasn't quite sure what face to pull, if any. The lawyer rounded the corner and stopped short when he spotted Matt on the bench.
"Stretching your legs, Murdock?" He asked, an air of irritated incredulity inflecting his voice.
"I got restless, so I took a walk. Lot of coffee today. Can't say I'm one-hundred percent sure where I am."
"Too close to the defendant's chamber, that's where. Wouldn't wanna accuse you of tryin'ta snoop now, would I, Assistant Defense Attourney?"
Matt's face twitched but he maintained composure. "Of course not. I know when I'm not welcome."
"And yet here you are anyway."
Matt said nothing, just stood and took a few steps towards the lawyer. He could hear a nervous heartbeat and smelt mild sweating, but a thick layer of the mysterious man's cologne rested above anything else. "I just needed to stretch my legs. Clearly I wandered too far. A lot to think about in this case." He took a step back and gestured down the corridor the way he'd came, holding out his other hand with an open, upturned palm. "Care to help me back to court? Assuming you can step away from your client temporarily, of course."
The lawyer sniffed and took a moment to regard Matthew. He wasn't sure if he was sneaky or just an idiot. After a few painful moments he conceded, and stepped in front of Matthew, who put a hand to his elbow as they walked in silence back towards the courtroom.

-

Two-and-a-half hours, after Matthew's jaunt, had translated into two more beverages - although he had taken Kate's advice and gotten cups of hopefully-soothing herbal tea instead. The bitter, earthy taste still clung to his back teeth, and he fetched a small cup of cool water from the nearby water dispenser on the wall as Katherine paced back-and-forth in front of the doors to the courtroom. She muttered angrily to herself, and Matthew simply let her stew; patience was never Ms. Spencer's strong-suit. They were waiting for the reappearance of the defense in order for court to be reconvened; as it stood, they were twenty minutes late and another ten away from contempt. Matthew kept an ear open, but mostly tried to ignore the distinct flavor of peat from the tea and chalk from the water it had been made with.

"Something's happening, Murdock." Kate suddenly interjected, and Matthew listened. She was right; at the far end of the corridor, a commotion was steadily building, with several guards ushering people in one direction while a few more jogged in the other. Kate took off towards the crowd, and Matthew found his stomach replaced by a pit of cloying despair. He crushed his empty cup in his hand and took after Kate, walking at a brisk pace, barely bothering with the pretense of his cane, trying desperately not to break into a run. He caught up with Kate as she wormed her way through the crowd and then reached back to grab his hand and pull him through too - and then he realised they were heading towards the defense chamber, and the pit of despair swallowed his lungs too. They had reached the bench that Matt had been sat on a mere three hours ago when Matthew heard a gurney being rattled out of the chamber and across the hallway. Kate swore profusely.

"Fuck. Fuck. It's a goddamn bodybag, for fuck's sake."
Matthew grimaced. "Who's in it?"
"My client." Came a voice from behind them both, and Matthew knew who it was before Kate whirled around furiously to confirm. "Overwhelming the accused seems like a nice tidy strategy one way or the other, huh?"

The pit changed from despair to rage and now took Matthew's heart as well and he dropped his cane on the spot, taking two long, quick strides straight forward with a clenched fist, winding his shoulder back -
Kate caught his arm before he even got to release it with a remarkably firm grip and roughly pushed his cane back into his other hand. The lawyer took a step back.
"Case closed, assholes. At least he's off the streets, huh? Nevermind about his little girl."
He walked away as Kate guided Matthew to the bench.
"Get a damn hold of yourself, Murdock. He's right." She straightened up as Matt breathed heavy, rubbing her forehead as she took a deep, measured breath herself. "Case closed."
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