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

Member Seen 1 mo ago

Gotham City, East End
Grant Park
1:20 AM

"Pick up the pace, Irons! I'm not about to print your obituary!"

Lois Lane grit her teeth and raced forward with the sprint of a lower-tier athlete, heart pounding and adrenaline pumping as she fought against the oncoming glow of the headlights belonging to the out-of-control vehicles heading directly for her and Dr. John Henry Irons. It didn't take an investigative journalist of her experience to deduce that all of this was the work of Winslow Schott, who was now undoubtedly the mastermind behind the many Toyman tasks that had ravaged Metropolis for months, as it hadn't been taken so much of a whisper of Irons' demented former business partner for an attack to suddenly commence out of nowhere. What really threw her was the fact that despite the distance between The City of Tomorrow and the current hellhole that she'd been forced to visit in an effort to get this exclusive, Toyman's reach had been vast enough to follow either her, Irons, or both across city lines. It seemed almost entirely too coincidental, and as Perry White had taught her long ago, coincidence was the invention of the naive.

Nevertheless, Lane wasn't a fool. She knew when to turn on the intrepid reporter mode and when to shut it off long enough to keep herself alive. And right now, there was nothing more important to getting out of the way of these cars, which were quickly amassing into a fleet as people within driving distance were caught in the pull of an unseen signal. Lois fought back every physical limitation that she had in order to push herself ahead, but every time that she looked back, Dr. Irons seemed to be growing farther behind. Clearly, the guy had to work on his cardio if he survived this. Spotting a nearby tree that led into a narrow junction, aswell as a steel bench that sat infront of the area, Lois' mind raced with an immediate plan of action. The problem was, Irons would have to reach her before she could enact it.

Forcing herself to stop, Lois shielded her eyes from the blinding light and spotted the first car that was making a beeline directly for her, as some were selectively targeting her and some were gunning for Irons. Eyes narrowed, she stared it down, counting the seconds away as it grew closer. This was obviously insane for her to even attempt, but she refused to let a man die just for having the nerve to tell the truth. And she could tell that every word of what John Henry Irons had told her was the truth that would provide them with the key to shutting The Toyman's deadly fun and games down for good.

"When The Man of Steel's nowhere to be seen, deadly improvisation a girl's best friend..."

Saying a small prayer for herself, Lois dove directly for the oncoming car as it sped up and beeped, the driver being a helpless woman in her mid-sixties who was frantically trying to warn the young reporter of the peril she was placing herself in by doing this. But as she looked to collide into the windshield, Lois immediately grabbed her thick leather purse and held it above her head as a makeshift shield, lessening the impact as she hit the speeding vehicle head-on. Luckily for her, the contents inside were enough to keep her from any serious danger as she bounced off of the hood, rolling onto the grass with barely even a scratch as the old woman looked back, amazed.

Lois smirked to herself for a moment, before realizing that the woman herself was in danger of colliding with the bench. She didn't mind if the car itself was totalled, but the woman inside was an innocent in all of this. Reaching out in a vain attempt to try and help her, Lois' eyes widened as the car suddenly stopped, revved it's wheels, and performed a one-hundred and eighty degree turn. Reaching into her purse, she tried desperately to look for her phone, but only felt broken plastic and shattered plexiglass from where it had once been.

"Oh, come on. Next you'll tell me that the psychopath can parallel park from here, too."

"Miss Lane, find cover! I... I can't shake them and there's nowhere else for me to go!"

Glancing over her shoulder as she stood, having been ready to make another run for her life, Lois saw Dr. Irons race towards her with sweat beading from his brow and heavy breaths echoing out of his chest. There were at least five cars targeting him compared to the one or two chasing her, making it clear that Irons was the one Schott wanted silenced the most. It was a damning turn of events that verified the story in all the ways needed - provided either of them lived to tell it. Looking back towards the car that had already tried to render her into paste, then back at Irons, Lois shot straight for the director of SteelWorks and fiercely grabbed him by the arm.

"Don't be an idiot! We're getting to cover!"

Using as much strength as she could to pull them both ahead at a running speed that met the divisional line between her and John's, Lois practically dragged Irons off of his feet and into a running leap. The car ahead was still gaining on them, but The Daily Planet's senior correspondent already had a plan ontop of her other plan. As the headlights from the car once again lit up the path ahead, Lois once again spotted the bench leading up to the tree. And all that was standing in their way was a 2004 Lime Green Chevy with a screaming woman flying into the back seat.

"Get ready to jump! You hear me?!"

"Hear you, yes! Know if I can do it? No!"

Lois shot him a smirk.

"The goal is not to die, Doctor! The landing might be a little messy, but we're not competing for the Olympics!"

Irons defeatedly shook his head.

"It's no use! Winslow is after me, and he's not gonna stop until I'm dead! You're better off leaving me behind!"

"Kinda think that we're in the same boat on this one, Doc! If Toyman went to this much trouble, he's not about to leave a witness!"

Pointing towards the tree ahead of them, Lois signaled for Irons to brace for the jump. Then, after a silent count of three, she grabbed ahold of him and shoved him ahead of her. Irons frantically looked back, horrified at the implication, but Lois gave him a reassuring nod.

"Relax! Just giving you a boost! You ready?!"

"God, no!"

Lois looked back at the vehicles gaining traction behind them. There was no way to prevent a collision now, but the fact that the woman had been shot to the back seat of the car meant that there was less of a chance of serious injury if the front collided with another. She had to time this just right, or she'd end up getting them both killed.


Pushing Irons as hard as she could, Lois watched as the Doctor jumped as instructed and flew onto the top of the car, the extra velocity from her boost saving him from certain doom. Except now, instead of vaulting over the car as she'd intended for him to do, he was clutched onto the hood and refused to let go, too scared to make the leap.

"Doctor Irons! What are you doing?!"

As Irons looked back at her, the uncertainty of his next move made very clear by the overwhelmed expression on his face, Lois looked on in horror as the car carrying him came to an immediate and sudden stop. John Henry Irons flew from the hood of it and into the air, sent directly into a nearby tree. Lois gasped as his body fell flat to the ground, having heard a loud and sickening crunch upon his impact. If he wasn't dead, he had certainly endured enough trauma not to get back up anytime soon.

Immediately sprinting ahead to see if he was okay, knowing that the murder machines were still programmed to turn him into street pizza, Lois came to a stop as a car dashed past her, followed by another. Looking around, she realized that she was suddenly being surrounded by them, as if they were a horde of sharks waiting to bite down on a hapless beast of prey. In the distance, she could see a few of the cars heading towards Irons at an alarming speed. She tried to move forward, but the cars were moving too fast. And in the air, drones were now encircling the area once again, having caught up to the chase.

It would take a miracle to save them now. Not even Superman could get here in time to prevent what was about to happen. As Lois closed her eyes and prepared for the worst, she heard a loud and unexpected shattering of glass from a building nearby. At first, her mind thought that Kent had made it to the scene after all, despite her phone being destroyed and rendering her unable to call for help. But the person that she saw diving out of the building wasn't clad in red and blue. He was wearing a cape, but it was black - and adorning a horned mask that covered his face, stationed atop a high-tech looking motorcycle.

Lois stood astonished, distracted from her peril for the first time upon seeing this intervention.

"You've got to be kidding me..."

"Ace! Lock down a scan of every car in Grant Park! Isolate electrical engines from diesel fuel!"

I grunt as The Batcycle smashes over the hood of a truck that isn't currently occupied, nor under the control of this apparent technological virus that's entrapped multiple pedestrians in a high-speed chase across the area. When I was a block away and could see off of radar that the cars were advancing in a singular file position, it tipped me off to the idea that this was being done via remote control. While I haven't been able to pinpoint the source of the signal yet, I made sure to scan for anyone in the path of the cars so that I could prioritize getting them to safety first, before focusing on the unwitting and currently trapped drivers behind each wheel. I'll need to systematically remove them from each car and somehow dismantle the motors in the event that the signal can't be located and shut down in time, but I have to hurry. The chance of costing the city a number of innocent lives hangs between a second's miscalculation.

Smashing through a protective gate that surrounds the park's deeper area, I pick up speed as I notice a woman with black hair being circled by five of the vehicles. Seems to be an intentional method of intimidation at best, and a sign of imminent murder at the very worst. Better get to her first. As she leaps into the air and waves with both hands, trying to make it clear that she's in trouble, I leap onto the seat of the Batcycle and rev the engine even harder.

"Engage autopilot! Approach the cars ahead, then divert!"

I'll remember to thank Oracle for being the first to reveal that the cycle even had the capabilities for this function, aswell as Lucius Fox for giving me direct access to it via vocal command. The Batcycle weaves in at just the right speed and angle, allowing me to brace myself before leaping over the cars and diving directly for the woman. Wrapping my arm around her waist, I twist my body in mid-air and fire out a grapple line towards a nearby tree. Yanking us both out from the circle created by the vehicles, I direct us to a wider branch and grab on, lifting the combined weight of the woman and myself with as much strength as possible. To my surprise, she breaks free of my grip and grabs onto the branch herself.

"I... uh, appreciate the assist. But I've got it."

Pulling herself up, she unexpectedly reaches into her shirt and pulls out a lanyard. I look at the card attached for the briefest second to recognize it as Press Badge. For The Daily Planet. Immediately tensing up, I climb up to her level but refuse to look at her directly, as I don't want The Planet printing an up-close description of my suit or lower facial features.

"Guess this would be a bad time to ask for an exclusive, huh?"

Shooting the woman a stern glare, to ensure the seriousness of the situation is communicated well enough, I turn back towards the cars as they break formation and go directly for the tree itself. With that much force ramming into us their current speed, they could theoretically knock us down or upend the trunk itself. Need to divert the attention of the signal controlling them.

"Stay up here until I've taken care of this. You're better off on the high ground."

Tugging at my cape as I prepare to leap, the woman frantically points downward.

"Wait! There's a man down there that needs you more than I do! He's the one that these things are after and he's hurt!"

Scanning the area, I spot a man in the distance pressed against another tree, clearly injured and unconscious. Must have already suffered the brunt of an attack. But judging from how a few of the cars begin to branch off from the pack and head in his direction, the reporter's claims are confirmed. Giving her a nod, I fire off another grapple line and leap off of the branch.

"I'll see what I can do."

Spotting The Batcycle as it automatically tracks my movements, I spread my cape and descend atop it just as it comes to a stop. Assuming manual control once again, I jumpstart the engine and drive directly for the imperiled man too injured to save himself. Weaving out of the way of several cars, however, I notice a startling trend - they're not acknowledging me in any way. They're still hellbent on trying to kill the reporter. As I slide the cycle to a stop, my eyes widen as the cars ram directly into the tree at full speed and knock the woman off of the branch.


Too late. She falls head first onto one of the cars and rolls off, lifelessly flailing onto the grass. Blood is oozing from her temple, indicating head trauma. I look back towards the man as a set of cars come barrelling for him at breakneck speeds. Great. Now I've got two injured parties to help, but the reporter will have to wait. I need to save that man right now or he's destined for a fate much worse than her's.


Watching the speedometer blindly switch from a little over a hundred miles to two hundred and fifty miles an hour, I clench at the console with one arm and reach into my belt with another. Producing the Utility Gun, I line up the shot to one of the tires of the vehicle and fire off a rubber bullet. The rubber of the tire explodes, sending the vehicle swerving off of the path. That's one down. Slamming a proximity mine squarely onto the console of the Batcycle, given that I used all of my C-4 in the fight with Clayface, I leap off of it and activate my paraglider once again, ascending upwards and watching as the only vehicle that I use to operate at night drives directly for the cars looking to crush the injured man. With an explosive attached to it.

That's three hundred million I'm never going to see again, but if it saves his life, it'll have been worth it. Now I just have to be fast enough to save the lives of the two other motorists that are still trapped within those vehicles. Firing off another grapple line towards the second vehicle, I get it to attach and press the trigger for me to be reeled. Once I zipline for the truck, I slam onto it with the armor of my boots' heel first, cracking the windshield. The man inside screams as I then smash through the glass, grab him by the jacket, and attach the grapple gun to the front of his jeans.


Firing the grapple for a nearby anchor point, I hit the reel once again and watch as the man screams even louder after being violently yanked from the front seat of his truck. With no grapple to help me save the third and final motorist, I take out a pair of batarangs and dive from the truck to the Sedan, raising both batarangs high. Slamming the razored edges into the hood of the car, I manage to keep myself from falling off as I reach through the open driver's side window, pull out a woman who's as equally terrified of me as she is of this predicament, and shield her with my cape as I jump off, carrying her in tow. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see The Batcycle closing in. Have to be sure that the woman's protected from what comes next.


Trembling, she ultimately complies, and I wrap the cape even tighter around her as we hit the grass. Using the other side of the cape to shield my own body, I grit my teeth and brace myself for what's about to happen.


An explosion demolishes the two thankfully unmanned vehicles and prevents them both from accelerating any further. The Batcycle's demolished aswell, but the plan worked, as I pull the cape from around the woman and stand. She wordlessly gets up herself and runs in the other direction. Smart, given that I was about to tell her to do that myself.

Now, to see if I can...


Eyes widened once again, I look towards the skies upon narrowly being missed by a hail of gunfire, only to see... drones? Active and armed, they're an advanced model that I've yet to encounter before - designed to look, bizarrely, like toy airplanes. They're encircling the sky above me, prompting me to prepare another batarang. But as I go for the defensive stance, the red targeting lights from their on-board cameras align me in their crosshairs. One batarang isn't going to cut it, and The Batcycle is destroyed. I have to stowe the impulse to fight and take off running if I'm going to escape this.

What the hell is going on?
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by AndyC
Avatar of AndyC

AndyC Guardian of the Universe

Member Seen 20 hrs ago

The world around me is a blur, thanks in part to the haze in my mind that’s been irritating me ever since regaining consciousness, but mostly due to the sheer speed as I tear through the sky across the Bay.

Thoughts are still scrambled, memories not piecing together the way they should, but the fog is starting to lift a little. There’s a country-wide crisis going on, maybe a worldwide crisis, across multiple cities. Jimmy mentioned Central City-- could mean the Flash is in the same sort of situation. New York has a few heroes as well, who might be targets. God only knows who else is in the line of fire right now. And I’m already running on fumes.

All of that is just so much background noise, however, things I’ll have to deal with later, as I see twinkling lights of Gotham City on the horizon, growing larger with every second as I close in. Right now, there’s only one thing keeping me going as my body begs to give out, one person for whom, even as drained and worn-down as I am now, I’d gladly charge the gates of Hell and fight the Devil himself.


Since our meeting in Nairomi where she gave me the idea of going public with my abilities, since she pulled strings to get me an interview with Perry White, since she coined the name ‘Superman,’ she’s been at the heart of what I do and how I do it. We watch each other’s backs, we keep each other’s deepest secrets, we trust each other to the ends of the earth. But the exact nature of our relationship has always been….cloudy, at best. The complications of me being who I am would make it difficult to be with anyone. I assumed that I’d never truly be able to connect with someone, to consign those thoughts to daydreams and what-ifs, my desires and common sense colliding to leave me a stammering mess when the subject comes up.

But even as my thoughts are a haze, one thought pierces through like a beacon: I’d move Heaven and Earth for Lois Lane. And if she’s in danger, God Himself won’t be able to help whoever’s responsible.

I see pillars of smoke rising above the skyline, hear the pop of gunfire. Whatever the larger crisis at hand is, it’s reached Gotham City. And if I were a betting man, I’d put good money on Lois being in the thick of it. Straining hard to keep myself airborne, I push myself that much harder to speed towards the chaos.

Touching down, there are overturned cars, a blazing wreck that looks like the aftermath of a bomb going off, and a flight of drones whizzing through the air firing at someone obscured by smoke.

“Toyman,” I scowl as I see the drones, painted and dressed up like old-timey toy airplanes. I didn’t think he’d launch an attack outside of Metropolis. Nevertheless, I need to shut this down as quickly as I can.

Normally, I’d just blast them with Heat Vision, but I don’t have enough energy in the tank for that. Still, I can’t have them gunning down innocent people.

“HEY! Over here!” I shout out to try and get their attention, turn their guns on me instead of their current target. Sure enough, one of them swoops towards me, painting my chest with a red laser dot.


High-caliber armor-piercing rounds slam against my chest, each one connecting with a hard thump that makes me have to plant my feet to avoid staggering back. They sting like crazy, but I hold my ground.

“You’re gonna have to do better than that, Toyman!” I shout to the killer drone as it pulls up and away, two more of them swooping down behind it to continue the attack. This time, rather than just take the gunfire, I go on the offensive. Ripping the door off one of the wrecked cars, I fling it through the air like a frisbee, smashing into the two drones before they can break away.

Charging forward, I single out a fourth drone and leap into the air, winding back my fist as I reach the crest of my arc and smashing the flying robot with a wide right hook. Unable to generate enough of a gravitational field to stop the arc of my jump, I strike the side of a building, my face taking out chunks of concrete as I glance off of it and tumble back down into the street.

“Three down,” I say to myself as I pick myself up, “two to go.”

The first drone has looped back around and begins to pepper the pavement with gunfire. I shrug off the bullets that smack against me, and grab hold of a parking meter, uprooting it from the ground. As the drone dives for another strafing run, I charge towards it, swinging the metal parking meter like a baseball bat. Several million dollars’ worth of high-end military hardware bursts into a shower of sparks and shrapnel upon contact.

As the last drone banks away to try to escape, I take my makeshift weapon and hurl it like a spear, which arcs gracefully through the air before smashing into the drone and sending its debris to the ground.

Now that the immediate crisis is at hand, some more of the fog in my brain starts to lift as I begin to search the area for people in danger.

“Is everyone all right?” I call out into the turmoil of the park. “Does anyone need-”

That’s when I see him, lying in a heap beside a tree.

Doctor John Henry Irons.

Dammit, Clark, he was the Toyman’s target. Of course. Lois said she was going to talk to him, about an old associate, a Winslow Schott. Somehow, Schott must have gotten word, targeted Irons and--

Oh, God.


She’s unconscious. A trickle of blood seeps from her head. Every thought in my mind falls away. The fog in my head that was starting to lift becomes a storm. Everything goes red.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement. A figure in black.


The one I was hunting. The Batman.

Before I even know what I’m doing, I rush towards the cloaked figure, and feel my hand at his throat.

You, I growl as I hoist him off the ground. “What was your part in this? What did you do?!
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
Avatar of Master Bruce

Master Bruce Winged Freak

Member Seen 1 mo ago

Gotham City, East End
Grant Park
1:31 AM

Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement. A figure in black.


The one I was hunting. The Batman.

Before I even know what I’m doing, I rush towards the cloaked figure, and feel my hand at his throat.

You, I growl as I hoist him off the ground. “What was your part in this? What did you do?!


My mind reels as events unfold infront of me at a speed that I can barely comprehend. It started when the drones suddenly refocused their attention elsewhere in the Park after threatening to cut me down. I had made an honest run for it, and even attempted to divert the weaponized machines away from the injured civilian and the reporter by allowing them to give chase, but my curiosity had been piqued by their newfound interest in a third target. So instead of running any further, I made my way to a secluded spot and watched, hoping to formulate a plan of attack before Ace completed his scan. But what I saw was... hard to explain.

At first, he seemed like any ordinary man who had jumped in to lend a hand. Wearing a cape, certainly, but Gotham is no stranger to the extreme and the flamboyant. I couldn't make out his features in the dark, so I prepared my grapple to fire and save the idiot from getting himself killed. Then I heard the power in his voice, and it caused me to freeze. He spoke with a tone that was almost ear-shattering in it's sense of authority, as if he were an army general or a man of absolute conviction. That should have been my first clue of whom I was dealing with, but I wasn't absolutely sure.

Then he took one of the drones head-on, had it explode against his person, and emerged unscathed. My eyes widened and a chill went down my spine as the lighting from the small fire caused by the explosion illuminated his chest, revealing a diamond crimson symbol that I had seen many times in the news before. In the last seven months, that emblem had almost been impossible to escape.

For reasons I don't fully understand, I suddenly remembered exactly where I was when I first saw it. Bleeding in the back of a Porsche driven by Alfred after a particularly bad night. One of the first nights I was ever out, infact, after I had made the decision to take on Gotham's filth and change the city by my own hand. The Batman didn't yet exist, but I had chosen a costume - a ski-mask and bulletproof vest over dark clothing. As I laid in the backseat, bleeding all over the upholstery after getting stabbed multiple times and having the side of my jaw kicked in by a particularly brutal enforcer for the Falcone family, we passed through Unity Square on the way to the hospital. And looking towards the heavens in my daze, I caught a glimpse of the jumbotron overlooking 38th Street, focusing on the headlining story:

Mysterious Man Deflects Bullets, Totals Vehicle Of Would-Be Terrorists.

At the time, they only had blurred video footage recorded off of a burner phone's camera. Easily assumed to be the work of digital manipulation. But an artist's rendering had accompanied the footage, and that diamond - with an S running through it - was on every subsequent channel for the next few days, followed by eyewitness testimonies of the event that all correlated the footage. A man who could bounce bullets off his skin. Lift a car over his head and smash it with his bare hands. It seemed so surreal at the time, but the public had been yet to be made aware of the metahuman phenomena. Within the week, a reporter from The Daily Planet had even coined a name for him.


As I watched Metropolis' mysterious self-proclaimed protector advance towards the unconscious body of the female reporter, it suddenly hit me. I hadn't just encountered a normal, run-of-the-mill staffer for The Planet who was visiting Gotham to see the Knights game, or some other trivial fluff. The woman I had saved was the person who had, perhaps unintentionally, started all of this and irrevocably changed the world. By exposing SHIELD's attempts to cover up the growing number of metahumans across the world and even verifying the existence of earlier figures thought once to be fictional, Lois Lane had earned quite the reputation over the span of a relatively short amount of time. And now knowing that she was here in Gotham for a story, I couldn't help but become suspicious. Was she sent here because of Freeze's attack? Something about the Five Families? Or worse yet, the story that everyone seemed to be fixated on - Batman attacking the GCPD.

I suppose it doesn't matter now, as the situation has escalated. Before I could so much as move or even say anything in response to his arrival, the Superman turned his eyes on me with a monstrous gaze. His eyes glowing with red energy, cradling Lane's unconscious body, he became but a blur of blue motion. Less than a millisecond later, I found myself in his grasp and being lifted off of the ground. The pressure against my throat is unlike anything I've ever felt. As if someone were actively clamping my neck between a mountain and steel beam, holding it tightly enough to avoid snapping the base of my spine, but making it clear that it would take very little effort to do so.

For some reason, he's angry with me. As though he blames me for this attack, specifically, despite the fact that I barely know anything about it myself. But the hatred in his eyes is utterly clear. And that fact has caused me to feel an emotion that I rarely ever feel, as I'm often told, to a fault.

I feel afraid.

"D... Don't..."

Clutching at his unbreakable grip on me, knowing that any action I take is futile, I immediately scan the area to give me any sense of what I could do to get him off of me. Given the level of pressure being applied against my windpipe, restricting my oxygen intake, I could pass out within the minute and leave myself vulnerable to an angry god's wrath.

My brain actively reminds me of the more volatile threats that I've fought against in recent weeks: Deadshot, considered one of the world's deadliest assassins. The metahuman Poison Ivy, controlling an equally powerful meta named Jessica Jones. Mr. Freeze and his ice cannon, which itself nearly brought me to the brink of death. And barely even half an hour ago, the shape-shifting Clayface, whose origins are still entirely unclear.

If even half of what The Planet had printed about the man choking the life out of me is true, all of those threats combined don't even hold a candle to Superman's capabilities. There's so much more that we don't know that he can do, and what we already know is the stuff of nightmares. I can't shoot him and expect him to fall like Maroni. Can't beat him like Lawton. Definitely can't block him away like Ivy, or use some sort of device to tamper with the source of his power, as with Freeze. And I'm fairly certain that he just demonstrated that an explosion sure as hell won't work.

Using one hand to try and feebly lighten his grasp to no avail, I mercifully notice that he isn't paying attention to my other hand as it slowly reaches down into the utility belt. Already used one grapple gun to save a man earlier. I only keep one spare, so I need to make this count. Whatever I'm going to do, I need to do it fast.


As I make it seem as though I'm beginning for mercy, I manage to spot the debris of one of the destroyed drones. It's a long-shot, and a hell of a chance, but it's the only one I can take while he's got me in his grip. Firing the grapple line past his head, I watch as the hook grabs onto the burning debris. Pulling the trigger so that the line reels, the debris goes flying towards us and hits Superman squarely in the back of the head. It certainly doesn't hurt him, as his expression barely registers a reaction... but it is enough to momentarily distract him, even for a second.

Seizing my opportunity as his grip loosens in the confusion of what hit him, I take both legs and kick myself off of his chest, releasing me entirely from his grasp. As he spins and attempts to grab hold of me again, I somersault over him with just enough speed to pull a second distraction out from my utility belt: smoke bombs. They all explode in Superman's face simultaneously, leaving me to roll and collapse, finally being able breathe for what feels like the first time in eternity.

Not out of the woods yet, Bruce. All you did was manage to get out from under his thumb. A thumb that he could press down at any second, even harder than before. You've got to figure out a way to fight him before he moves to attack you, or you're risking serious injury - perhaps even worse.

Think, dammit.

"A... Ace..."

Still can't properly breathe. It takes a cough before I can even form a sentence.

"Key in... on my position. Re-route all of the suit's systems into the Utility Gun. Boost the taser."

Rerouting now, Mr. Wayne.

Taser is now at 100% optimal output.

Producing the weapon once more, I manually switch the ordinance to electrical, aim at the smoke cloud that Superman seems to barely be affected by... and fire.

You may be faster than a speeding bullet.

May even be able to leap a few buildings.

But let's see how powerful you really are, you son of a bitch.

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

Member Seen 20 hrs ago

Once again, I feel a million pins and needles sticking into my body as my muscles spasm from the Batman's taser. My jaw clenches so hard I feel like my teeth are going to break, and my back arches back so far I can feel my vertebrae pop. The air around me smells of ozone, before it's mixed with the odor of smoke as my t-shirt starts to singe.

"Y-.....---you're---.....--you're th--" I try to speak, the words getting caught up and stopped by the intense electrical shock. With as much willpower I can manage, I uncurl one of my fists just long enough to grab the prongs from the taser, rip them out, and toss them aside with more than a little contempt.

Sparks fly as the electrical cables dance across the ground, and I take in a deep breath before glaring at my opponent.

"As I was saying," I say between breaths, "You're the third person today who's tried to electrocute me."

Stalking towards him, I can start to feel my arms grow heavy, my head swimming. That taser was minor compared to what the self-proclaimed 'Electrocutioner' was carrying, and nothing at all compared to what Livewire can do, but with so little power left in the tank, it still did its damage.

But Batman doesn't need to know that. So I do what I always do when I'm hit with something that hurts like hell and leaves me sapped of my strength: I square up my shoulders, puff out my chest, and I keep moving forward. Most of the time, the difference between being tough and being 'invincible' is keeping up appearances.

"I don't know how you've gotten wrapped up in the Toyman's plot," I say, lunging towards him and giving him a shove that sends him sprawling back. "And right now, I don't really give a damn. I've let you go unchecked for too long, let you snap limbs, put police officers in the hospital, attempt to assassinate a district attorney."

I rush him again, grabbing him by the front of his costume, clenching the bat-symbol in my fist and feeling it tear free. The part of me that's seeing red right now wants to really unload on this lunatic, show him the same kind of brutality he's inflicted upon this city. Another part of me is holding my fist back, pleading that maybe there's more to this than it seems, that I'm missing something.

I won't hurt him, if I can avoid it. But I will stop him, here and now.

"You've turned the people of this city into a cowardly, superstitious lot," I say, hoisting him up off the ground, "convinced them that you're a monster, a bogeyman, something to be feared. But I'm not afraid of you, Batman. I'm not going to fall for your tricks, or buy into your illusions. You're not some creature of the night. You're a sick man who needs help before he hurts anyone else."

With that, I toss him up and back, not with the intent to do damage, but to get the message across that he's not going to win this.

"I'm only going to tell you once," I tell him. "Stand down, or I put you down."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Morden Man
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Morden Man

Member Seen 3 days ago

Baxter Building, New York

The Fantastic Four set upon Hector Hammond in unison. It was like poetry in motion. Every punch, kick, or blast from one was followed by an equally potent action by another – the years of fighting alongside one another clear to even the untrained eye. For his part, Hammond battled valiantly, but as each second passed it was clear that he was outmatched. He had little to no prior knowledge of the Fantastic Four and, perhaps most importantly of all, he was fighting towards selfish ends.

Hammond’s telekinetic constructs were weakening. Where once it took several of Ben’s punches to crack them, now they were shattering upon impact. The super-villain looked paniced, his moves had become frantic and badly thought-out, until finally they had subsumed him.

A vicious punch for Ben sent Hammond sprawling across the laboratory into a heap on the ground. He struggled to lift himself with his mind before sinking into the corner with a defeated sigh.

“Give it up, Hammond. You can’t win. Whatever power boost you’ve been given by the Surfer is already fading. If even we can see that, you must know it too. Stop this rampage of yours, return to The Raft, and we’ll give you all the help we can.”

~Help me? How could you help me? ~

Reed knelt in front of Hammond. The villain’s breath was so rancid it made the scientist take a sharp inhale. He did his best to disguise his discomfort and lent towards Hammond earnestly.

“I’ll do everything in my power to make you the man you were before again.”

At first Hector’s twisted features softened. It appeared as if he were considering his life before the experiment. As quickly as the softening occurred, it passed, and Hammond let out a laugh that reverberated around the room.

~You mewling infant. I don’t want to be the man I was. That Hector Hammond was weak – he stood by and watched while Franklin Storm stole everything from him and did nothing about it. But now I am strong.~

Ben directed a derisive laugh towards their downed opponent. “You sure about that? ‘Cause you’re not looking strong at the minute, Hector.”

~Strong enough to see through his lies. Do you truly believe he could not fix you if he wanted, create? You are his plaything. A golem to be commanded into battle at a whim. Nothing more, nothing less.~

The comment stung Reed almost as much as Ben. Ever since the flight that had gifted the Fantastic Four their powers, he had toiled for a cure for his friend. Richards had untied all manner of Gordian knots over the years – curing ailments once considered deadly, inventing machines that boggled the mind, even managing to cross time and space – but Ben’s condition was the one challenge that he had proved unequal to. It was a source of constant guilt.

Yet it was Ben that bore the weight of Reed’s failure. It was Ben that arose each morning to be hit by the awful reminder that his body had been transformed into something monstrous – and now, thanks to Hammond, he bore an ungainly scar on the side of his face. Ben was determined not to let the super-villain know that it bothered him.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

There were some things Hector Hammond did not need telepathy to deduce. Despite Grimm’s best efforts, his displeasure showed on his face, and Hector seized upon it within seconds.

~I know that he trained at Storm’s side. He may not be of Franklin, but he is the inheritor of that philanderer’s lies all the same. When the time comes, he will betray you, just as Franklin betrayed me.~

Sue cleared a path between Ben and Reed. She placed her hand on her still-kneeling fiance’s shoulder and looked down at Hammond. From his vantage point, the couple looked the picture of love and support. They had been anything but in the past few weeks. Their encounter with Namor – and the argument that followed it – still loomed large over their every interaction. In the height of crisis, they had set aside their issues and come together, as all families did.

“Hector, Franklin is dead. Let whatever grievance you had with him die with him. There’s still a way back for you – but not unless you’re willing to put aside this crusade of yours and face the consequences of your actions.”

~The consequences? And what of the consequences of your father’s lies? What of his thievery? Who will pay for those?~

Johnny let out a frustrated sigh at the comment. “Didn’t you hear her, egghead? Franklin Storm is dead.”

Sue shot her brother a disapproving look. He lifted his hands apologetically and took a step backwards. Convinced she was breaking through to Hammond, Sue reached her hand towards the villain. He flinched as it neared him but Sue’s reassuring smile seemed to put him at ease.

“Let us help you.”

Hammond could not feel Sue’s hand as it gently cupped one of his but the gesture seemed to move him all the same. It was the first time in nearly two decades that he had been shown comfort. Greater still, it was a comfort that he did not deserve.

A pang of guilt seemed to strike Hammond. He grimaced as he considered what he’d allowed his thirst for revenge to twist him into. He could feel Sue inviting him into her mind and followed the call. He appeared in able-bodied form, his head returned to normal size, and saw Sue standing before him, silently leading him through her memories. There was death, destruction, and a carnage the likes of which Hammond had never seen before – but there was also love.

~You… you are not of this world.~

Hammond muttered as he snapped back. When he opened his eyes, he seemed to see Ben, Johnny, Reed and Sue in a new light. The villain’s newfound clarity was not lost on them. For all the rage he had felt earlier, Ben managed to muster something resembling a smile.

“Y’know, Hammond, for a guy that’s supposed to be able to read people’s minds, you’re pretty damn slow on the uptake, aren’t you?”

Reed stood up and placed his arm around Sue.

“We know what loss is more than most. Whatever you’ve been through, whatever Franklin Storm did to you, it's as to nothing as to what the four of us have suffered through. There is nothing you could do to us that could come close. So, as Sue said, why not let us help you instead?”

Hammond was on the brink of a nod when a memory as sharp as a knife slipped into his mind. It was twenty-nine years ago, Franklin Storm and Hector Hammond were stood together at a dance sipping on fruit punch. There was a girl across the hall with blonde hair like woven sunlight. She made a beeline across the hall for Hector and asked him to dance. It was the happiest day of his life.

Or at least it was until Franklin cut in after a few minutes. Young Hector stood and watched while the couple danced late into the light. He felt his heart break into a million pieces the girl with hair like woven sunlight planted a gentle kiss on Franklin’s lips.

Her name was Mary.

Hector burst into motion. He knocked his way past Reed and Sue, evading an attempt to catch him by Ben, and hovered in the centre of the lab beside the craft that Reed and Wells had spent weeks repairing. Hammond’s eyes locked on the four of them, bursting with renewed contempt, and the room began to shake.

~No! This is another lie – another one of Franklin’s tricks. You’re liars! You’re trying to confuse me. I refuse to be taken for a fool. Not again! I’ll destroy this place and all of you in it even if it costs me my own life.~

The shaking intensified. What little of the power cosmic remained in Hammond’s system, he seemed determined to expend. Windows smashed, tiles from both the ceiling and the floor came loose, and the Fantastic Four found themselves bombarded by debris among the maelstrom. Suddenly a loud crack appeared in the ceiling above them and the ground began to crumble beneath their feet.

“The whole building’s coming down!”

Reed glanced out through one of the Baxter Building’s broken windows at the city outside. He gasped as he noticed that Hammond seemed to have torn the building from its very foundations. Hector’s nose was bleeding profusely and the veins on his head looked like they were about to burst from the strain. Hector’s grimacing ended and Reed felt the rush of the Baxter Building being dropped to the ground.


Ben shot his the Invisible Woman a desperate look. Sue nodded and extended her hand towards Hammond, trapping him within a hard-light bubble, and erected one around the four of them. They braced themselves as their home hurtled towards the Earth with enough force to reduce the buildings to cinders. Only milliseconds before landing did Reed’s eyes lock on the craft – just in time to see it crumple on impact.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
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Master Bruce Winged Freak

Member Seen 1 mo ago

"I don't know how you've gotten wrapped up in the Toyman's plot," I say, lunging towards him and giving him a shove that sends him sprawling back. "And right now, I don't really give a damn. I've let you go unchecked for too long, let you snap limbs, put police officers in the hospital, attempt to assassinate a district attorney."

I rush him again, grabbing him by the front of his costume, clenching the bat-symbol in my fist and feeling it tear free. The part of me that's seeing red right now wants to really unload on this lunatic, show him the same kind of brutality he's inflicted upon this city. Another part of me is holding my fist back, pleading that maybe there's more to this than it seems, that I'm missing something.

I won't hurt him, if I can avoid it. But I will stop him, here and now.

"You've turned the people of this city into a cowardly, superstitious lot," I say, hoisting him up off the ground, "convinced them that you're a monster, a bogeyman, something to be feared. But I'm not afraid of you, Batman. I'm not going to fall for your tricks, or buy into your illusions. You're not some creature of the night. You're a sick man who needs help before he hurts anyone else."

With that, I toss him up and back, not with the intent to do damage, but to get the message across that he's not going to win this.

"I'm only going to tell you once," I tell him. "Stand down, or I put you down."

My back hits a nearby tree under the speed and force of what feels like a normal man's throw multiplied by five. Were it not for the plating of my armor, the trauma could have likely put me down for the count as it is. Head's spinning, likely because of everything catching up to me tonight. Not only the blunt force of Superman, but the combined effort of trying to save Lois Lane and her companion, the victims of this... 'Toyman', the strain of fending off Clayface, and the injuries that I've suffered over the last few weeks, ever since that night in The Narrows. I've been putting off some much needed rest ever since, and I can feel the tank starting to run on empty, as it were.

But something about the way that he speaks to me - his self-righteousness, his contemptible sense of authority over matters he doesn't even begin to understand, combined with all of this power that he's misplaced in trying to apprehend me when there's a real threat to take down - it turns my fear in facing him and twists it into a boundless rage. I honestly didn't know what to expect if it ever came down to meeting him, but so far, the 'Man Of Steel' is coming up short of any expectations I would place on someone of his capabilities. Were I to wield his strength alone, I would know how to better utilize it. He seems to operate purely on ego.

That makes him dangerous. And if he's been going into battle like this every time, his headstrong attitude is liable to get someone killed. He needs to be brought down to Earth and taught what it really means to be afraid.

"You think that I made Gotham like this? That I alone put the fear into them? Look at the hell that surrounds us!", I growl, pointing out towards the cityscape. "Gotham's been bought and sold to corrupt politicians and the mob long before you or I were ever born. I held back with the police because of Gordon, and he's the rare exception in a sea of thugs under the payroll of a crimelord named Salvatore Maroni. The people have nowhere to turn. No one to stand up for them, unlike your insufferable residence."

I can see some of Superman's rage subside for a moment, as he considers whether or not I'm telling the truth. In all honesty, he has no reason to believe me. What I've been blamed for in the media is damning enough, but it wasn't until now that I realized by allowing those stories to perpetuate what the public thought of me, it was only a matter of time before I brought about contenders and potential fellow vigilantes coming in to bring me down under their own sense of moral obligation. I've unwittingly invited this sort of behavior to Gotham by refusing to clear my name.

"I already know that the people of Gotham are afraid of me. But I'm only doing this out of a sense of duty to them. I'd rather have them scared than dead, which is what they would be if I'd stood by and allowed the mob to continue their reign on the streets.", I elaborate, slowly picking myself up. "Do I want them to be afraid of me? No. I only want to evoke fear in the guilty, to make the men that prey on their fear too scared to go out at night. But things have been escalating out of my control, lately... and that's largely because of people like you."

Pointing an accusatory finger toward that damned S on his chest, I narrow my eyes as he looks down at it himself, wondering what I'm about to say next.

"Clearly, symbols don't mean a hell of alot to you. But they mean something to me. And that thing that you wear on your chest? I've got news for you. Some believe that it stands for hope, but there are others who look at it and see the symbol of a world's that's only become more dangerous ever since you crawled out of your hole and started imparting your authority on everyone weaker than you. I took the fight to the criminal underworld, but you? You're scrapping with giant robots. Metahuman threats. Insane opportunists looking to challenge you because of your very existence."

Gesturing my hand across the space of the Park around us, where burning debris of the machinations of this 'Toyman' still burn with an open flame, I shoot Superman a glare that would likely mean another man's crippling. But I'm way past the point of reason with this idiot. He's got the entire world on edge, and he thinks I'm the damn problem.

"Your intentions may be genuine, and they might be even noble. But it's clear that I'm not the only one who's been operating under a cloud of naivety. The truth is, 'Superman'... you came into my city. You attracted this madman to my doorstep, and then had the nerve to blame me for it. Your reporter friend? She'd be dead if I hadn't intervened. That other man was going to be rammed to death by cars under the control of Toyman, but I got to them and saved their drivers in time. And I did not try and kill Harvey Dent. That's simply another lie perpetuated by the same people I've been taking the fight against. People that cops like Gordon are powerless against."

Placing my hand squarely against my chest, where my own symbol used to be, I openly challenge him to continue his attack. There's certainly nothing I can do to stop him. But maybe, just maybe if he listens to reason for a moment, we can end this before it gets worse.

"This may be a foreign concept to you, but not everything you see infront of you is black and white. Sometimes there are gray areas that no one wants to face. But in Gotham, we're all exposed to it on a daily basis. We live in fear of the true oppressors and the power that they wield. Compared to them, I'm nothing. But at least I'm trying to do something about it."

Producing three batarangs, in the event that none of this works, I stare him down and raise them behind my head. I don't expect these to do any damage, but if I'm going down, I might aswell go down fighting.

"So do your worst. Because I'm not standing down. Not for anyone, but especially not for you."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by DocTachyon
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DocTachyon Teenage Neenage Neetle Teetles

Member Seen 7 days ago

”The Ranchero of Miracle Mesa” - Glitter And Gold: Part Four

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


Warpath, Texas

"Unless you've got a hand grenade in that belt, I think you might need my help!"

”Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch wouldn’t do much, kid.” Vigilante wouldn’t be surprised if he could outrun the shrapnel, somehow. Conventional approach wouldn’t work, sumbitch was too strong, fast, and durable to tag ‘im. Only thing Vig could think of was maybe putting two shotgun barrels in his mouth and hoping that’d crack it… But mosta the guns were in the barn now, and that was busy gettin’ perforated by pieces of the town. There were a coupla spare shotguns n’ rifles over by Black Star but… Gettin’ those presented its own problems.

”This guy's a bit above our weight class- we're gonna need a plan!"

”Could try to keep this dust up n’ you could pepper him with yer irons… Assuming you’ve got any in that thing.” Vig responded. He slashed at the ground with his whip again as a hunk of concrete as long as his arm sailed past his head. Vig shot a glance back at the kid to watch as the armor around his hands shifted into a huge plasma-cannon-dohickey. Vig grunted in satisfaction and slashed again. Maybe things weren’t so desperate after all.

Fool! Release me!” The Spirit howled in his mind. Vig grit his teeth. Damn thing always wanted out, but it never fought like this. It really wanted a crack at whatever the hell kinda force was powering Black Star. Vig could still feel the waves of energy rolling off of Black Star, like The Spirit was hijacking his sense to make him understand… Vig considered letting it out. Certainly stood a better chance than he did. But maybe it was keepin’ mum on the kid ‘cause it knew Vig would never let it out otherwise.

”Yeah, not helping. You get any better ideas other than 'kill him'?!"

”Tryin my best, compadre.” Vig frowned, trying to whip up more dust. It was so scattered by now that it was gettin’ mighty hard to get up another cloud… Their time in cover was limited, n’ it seemed like the kid was pussyfooting around shooting the bastard.

”I got it! Not compatible! Dios mío you're useless. What does that even mean?!"

Vig didn’t have a spell to consider that particular statement before the kid raised his cannon and started firin’ anyhow. Teenagers. Every shot of the plasma was boring a big ol’ hole in the cloud. It seemed like it was taggin’ the big feller good, but it was also makin’ em easier targets. Vig tried to usher him through the remnants of the cloud as he fired, minimizing the amount of shots Black Star could get in on them. Big guy wasn’t takin’ em too good. In the moments of clarity Vig had, he saw burns all over his costume, and he looked mighty pissed.

”Kid, I’m startin’ to think this ain’t exactly tenable. We’re blowin’ through our cover fast n’ a one-legged man in an ass kicking competition.” Vig whipped again and no dust rose from the cracked surface of the ground. Do or die time. Vig turned to look at the kid. He seemed deadly focused on firing, not paying Vig no mind. At the same time, he seemed like he was somewhere else entirely.

”Great. Just great. My psychotic Jiminy Cricket comes with an error message. Terrific."

”Kid?” Vig watched as the alien’s weapons melted away into wicked blades protruding from his forearms, they looked as long n’ sturdy as the prow of a battleship. As the smoke cleared Vig saw tension ripple across the surface of the armor. No.

”Kid!” Vig tried to loop his lariat around the kid but it was too late, he rushed forward, blades at the ready, coming to puncture Black Star through and through. Vig launched after him, but the kid cleared the way to Black Star in what must’ve been miliseconds. He tried to sidestep but the kid caught him just right, puttin’ one of his stabbers right into the big guy.

”AGH!” Black Star recoiled. ”Insolent whelp!” A hand as big as a baseball mitt curled into a fist and crashed into the kid’s stomach, making him stagger back from the force. Black Star threw and uppercut and the kid got launched into the air like a rocketship. Black Star caught him by the neck at the peak of the throw and choke-slammed him into the ground. The sickening crunch of alien metal reverberated through Vigilante’s head.

”Motherfucker!” All Vig could see was red. This… This animal had come into his town and was beating a goddamn kid half to death. He could barely register his movement, all he could hear was his breathing and the pounding in his ears, and The Spirit boiling to the surface of his mind. He could feel his legs starting to pop and boil with an unnatural heat, but he didn’t mind. He pulled a double barreled shotgun from one of the proches that lay unmolested and screamed, firing one, and again. He was right before Black Star now, and his gun was empty. The supervillain raised a hand to crush Vigilante’s skull. Vig brought the shotgun around for a swing,

And The Spirit of Vengeance finished it. Orange hellfire exploded from Vigilante’s skull as The Spirit cracked the shotgun over Black Star’s chest. The villain stepped back and grunted, then delivered a palm strike to The Spirit’s jaw. The Spirit stumbled backwards and snarled. Hellfire was already knitting the crack in the bone back together.

”A metahuman after all.” Black Star drew himself up to his full height, towering over The Spirit. ”But dead all the same.” Black Star lashed out and The Spirit and slammed it back, sending it crashing through the dust and cracking the surface of the dirt and stone below.

The Spirit’s head yanked up and stared Black Star down. ”Suffer!” Black fire billowed from its skull and roared across the sands into Black Star’s face. He sneered and swatted the fires away. He smiled.

”What!?” The Spirit cried. It could feel a niggling presence worming its way to surface of the swirling mass of souls that constituted its consciousness.

”My prowess is wasted on you.” Black Star snapped out a kick into The Spirits chest and smashed it clean through the siding of a house and through the antique living room couch.

”Hrrm…” The Spirit drew to its feet and stared out at Black Star, taking contemplative steps towards it, head held high. The presence fighting through The Spirit’s mind was stronger now, pushing aside more and more souls and climbing its way to the top. It was shouting, trying to force The Spirit’s attention. The Spirit ignored it and grabbed half of the couch it had crashed through and heaved it at Black Star.

The supervillain stopped in his tracks and absorbed the blow. The couch detonated into a cloud of splinters across his body. He started forward. ”To think that you are the only obstacle to my conquest. All this time plotting and planning, and I have the power dropped on my doorstep!”

The Spirit recoiled, feeling the presence emerge on the surface of its mind, blazing with fury. You can’t take him alone! Neither of us can!

”Watch me.” The Spirit grabbed the lariat from its side and it snaked around the home’s television set. The Spirit jerked its arm and the set slammed into Black Star’s face, burying shards of glass in his skin. In a moment The Spirit was upon him, slashing him with burning blows of the lariat and driving fists of fire into his body. Black Star howled and swept The Spirits legs out from under it, and kicking it through the drywall and falling through the porcelain sink.

He’ll kill us both! Let me help you! The Spirit shook stars from its vision and grabbed what was left of the fixture, hauling itself to its feet. Black Star picked his way across the destroyed living room, heading for The Spirit. ”Do not believe you can control me, mortal.” The Spirit grabbed the cover of the toilet’s tank and charged Black Star, shattering it over his head. Black Star grabbed The Spirit and threw it into the air, obliterating the ceiling.

No! The presence called at the apex of the throw. The Spirit flopped onto the roofing, knocking off a score of shingles. We do this together. The Spirit struggled to hold itself up. It shot a glance below, Black Star was preparing to leap up. ”Fine.”

Brilliant red fire surged through The Spirit, pouring out of every gap in bone and sinew. A plume of fire leapt twenty feet in the air. The Spirit fell onto its back while Black Star flew up through the gap in the roofing. ”Try this one on for size, pardner!” Vigilante’s voice leapt out of The Spirit as two boots in a cloak of fire slammed into Black Star’s chest.

The Spirit had already rolled off the roof and begun sprinting for Vig’s house before Black Star landed. It reached out with his mind, feeling for something he always knew was there, waiting for its chance. It reached out to him, its presence in his mind only seeming to amplify his power. A rumbling grew in the Saunders household as The Spirit drew closer.

The sound of shattering wood blew through the town in a sonic boom, and The Spirit looked into the sky to see Black Star coming down in a divebomb. Most of his costume had been burned away. His face was contorted in anger. The Spirit hopped backwards as Black Star hit the ground like a warhead. The Spirit staggered and locked eyes with Black Star. His chest was heaving. Wordlessly, he raised arms as big around as tree trunks to deliver a takedown.

A wicked bike exploded out of Greg Saunders’ garage in a sweeping arc, blowing Black Star’s legs out from under him. The motorcycle’s engine purred as it reached The Spirit, seeming to almost nuzzle into him. The motorcycle was warped from the one Greg Saunders had known. Bones and dark metal spiraled up and through its construction, like skeletal hands caressing the gas tank and accentuating the blazing skull at its front.

The Spirit sat on the bike and revved the engine. The sound reverberated through his very soul. He was home. Black Star pushed himself up, coughing out a mouthful of blood. Blood dribbled from his mouth as he stared at the bike and steeled himself for the coming blow.

”Now we’re cooking with gas! The motorcycle surged forward and smacked into Black Star like a battering ram. The Spirit could hear the crunch of Black Star’s collarbone as he tried to hold the bike back, digging his heels into the sand. The engine howled and crushed Black Star into the dirt. The Spirit pulled the motorcycle into a wheelie and then smashed down with it as an improvised fulcrum. Black Star’s nose cracked like a gunshot, his muscles quavered, trying to push the cycle off him.

The Spirit gunned the engine and ground a tire track onto Black Star’s face. He stopped moving, spare the subtle rise and fall of his chest. The Spirit stood, pushing the bike aside and balling up handfuls of Black Star’s costume. The Spirit held Black Star high in the air, and then brought him down like a cudgel, back into the dirt.

The Spirit knelt next to him, drawing close. Flames licked his face, burning away what little was left of his mask. ”No one messes with my town.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by AndyC
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AndyC Guardian of the Universe

Member Seen 20 hrs ago

"'Do your worst?'" I ask, hearing myself give an incredulous chuckle. "I haven't even started trying, pal."

Before he can throw his projectiles at me, I rush him again, grabbing him by the wrist. He can punch and kick all he wants, but he's not going to get anywhere.

"You're one to talk about power and oppression," I glare, applying just enough pressure for him to feel the bones in his forearm scrape against each other. "I use my powers directly, yeah, but that's because that's what I have to work with to make a difference in the world. You, though? Look at the equipment you've got. How much does that suit of yours cost, or the weapons and gadgets you're packing? How many families could you have fed with that money instead? How many jobs could you have created, how many desperate people you could have taken off the streets and out of the cross-hairs of criminals, if you weren't so focused on pouring a fortune into bashing in faces and filling up the trauma ward?"

When I first started hearing stories about the Bat-Man, I got conflicting reports. He was an actual bat-creature, a vampire who could fly and disappear and drink people's blood. He was a shadow, a mystical warrior who could cloud men's minds. He was a lunatic, a back-page story for the crank file who was going to get himself shot. But he's not some supernatural menace, and he's not just a sick man in a cape. He's clearly got very deep pockets-- or at least, he works for someone who does. He's using high-end military equipment, spending God knows how much, to wage a personal war on this city.


"I've met plenty of people like you," I say, returning his own contempt in kind, "Angry, violent men who project the darkness in their own hearts onto the world around them, telling anyone who can hear them that things are so bad, that the people around them are so weak and helpless, that the only way to change things is with fists and fire. Terrorists. Mass shooters. Political radicals. People in love with the idea of righteous violence, the notion that they live in hell and can only survive by becoming the devil."

With a twist of his arm, I flip him onto his back. Thankfully, he doesn't resist, or I may have pulled the arm out of the socket completely.


"Thing is," I say as I circle over him, "statistically, most terrorists these days don't emerge from bombed-out hovels, but come from wealthy families. Your average shooter doesn't come from some hell-hole in the backwoods or the inner city, but from a pleasant home in the suburbs. And your average violent political radical is usually a student at an ivy-league college with a cushy job waiting for them when they graduate. They're not the righteous dark heroes they make themselves out to be. They're just spoiled, rich brats hiding behind a cause as an excuse to hurt people."

"....Superman! Superman, you've got to stop this, this isn't you!"

Batman tries to get up, but I pin him down to the ground, and rear back a fist.

"You wanted me to do my worst?" I snarl. "Here it comes."

"Supe--oh, God dammit, CLARK! STOP!!!"

I freeze in place. The voice is like a splash of cold water across the face. Or like a searchlight on a foggy night, as it cuts right through the red haze that had been clouding my thoughts. All that anger, that rage that was driving me forward, evaporates.


She's about ten paces away from us, one hand putting pressure on her forehead to try and stop the bleeding. Still, she's conscious, and on her feet. For a moment, a wave of relief washes over me.....until I look her in the eyes.

I've seen her angry plenty of times. But behind that is something I've never seen in her, something that might as well drive a stake through my heart. She's afraid.

"He was helping us, Clark," she says. "What the hell are you doing?"

All the righteous anger I'd been using to keep pushing myself forward gives away. I scramble away from the man I was about to beat into the dirt, trying to get away from myself just as much as I'm trying to get way from him. Looking around me, the cloudy red haze gone completely, I finally see what's going on, what I'm doing.

And all I can feel is shame.

She's afraid of me.

"I....I wasn't...." I start to sputter. "Livewire, she......my mind, it's not.....I'm not......oh, God......I'm sorry....."

Earlier today, I'd been talking with her about the potential run-in with the Batman. I'd been the one willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, to think maybe there was more to him than what the media had made him out to be. Now here I am, proclaiming judgments and ready to cave his skull in.

Maybe Lois was right. 'Sometimes a wild animal is just a wild animal.' But maybe Batman isn't the animal here.

"Easy there, Big Guy," she says, taking a few tentative steps closer to me. "It's gonna be all right. Maybe you weren't yourself for a moment there. But you are now, right? You're gonna get a hold of yourself, and you're gonna make this right.....right?"

".....right...." I mutter.

"And you," she says, turning to the prone form of Batman, "First and foremost.....thanks. Dr. Irons and I would be dead if it weren't for you. Secondly, I'm guessing you've got a bunker or a headquarters or somewhere that we can take Dr. Irons where the Toyman can't reach him. And thirdly, while we're there, I'm also going to assume you don't go to a public hospital to patch yourself up, and I'll be honest, unless there are two of you all of a sudden, I'm a little worried I might have a concussion. Think it'd be possible for you and my man to stop hosing down the street with testosterone long enough for us to take five?"
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
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Master Bruce Winged Freak

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"I....I wasn't...." I start to sputter. "Livewire, she......my mind, it's not.....I'm not......oh, God......I'm sorry....."

Earlier today, I'd been talking with her about the potential run-in with the Batman. I'd been the one willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, to think maybe there was more to him than what the media had made him out to be. Now here I am, proclaiming judgments and ready to cave his skull in.

Maybe Lois was right. 'Sometimes a wild animal is just a wild animal.' But maybe Batman isn't the animal here.

"Easy there, Big Guy," she says, taking a few tentative steps closer to me. "It's gonna be all right. Maybe you weren't yourself for a moment there. But you are now, right? You're gonna get a hold of yourself, and you're gonna make this right.....right?"

".....right...." I mutter.

"And you," she says, turning to the prone form of Batman, "First and foremost.....thanks. Dr. Irons and I would be dead if it weren't for you. Secondly, I'm guessing you've got a bunker or a headquarters or somewhere that we can take Dr. Irons where the Toyman can't reach him. And thirdly, while we're there, I'm also going to assume you don't go to a public hospital to patch yourself up, and I'll be honest, unless there are two of you all of a sudden, I'm a little worried I might have a concussion. Think it'd be possible for you and my man to stop hosing down the street with testosterone long enough for us to take five?"


Hearing that causes me to double back on the rage I've directed toward Metropolis' would-be protector. Clearly, some of it was more than a little justified, but it seems that neither of us knew what exactly was going on in this scenario. Even the thought hadn't necessarily crossed my mind before that he would have a name - a human name, rather than some designation given to him by a scientist in a lab somewhere, or however he came to be as powerful as he is - but it almost makes too much sense when presented with the evidence. He's strong and fast, but no one like that simply appears and disappears without some sort of eye in the sky on them.

He would almost have to maintain a dual identity in order to assimilate into society. I wear the mask to scare people, but my status as Bruce Wayne also requires a degree of discretion that the outfit affords me. So I can't even imagine what it would be like if I could also bend steel with my bare hands, or take on rocket launchers as if they were nothing. It's odd to see his rage fade as Lane approaches him, as he appeared in Gotham like a freight train, filled with almost as much hatred and contempt as I held for him. But seeing his regret, seeing that honesty in him, as revealed by being called out for potentially doing something he'd regret - it makes me question whether or not I've even seen who he really is.

Not that I'm completely won over. The man was about to murder me, and I still can't entirely trust someone of his sheer might - whether it be used by his own hand or put under the influence of another. If anything, if he truly wasn't acting himself, this scenario illustrates my long-held suspicions that his power is too much to leave unchecked and roaming free within the world. Some in Metropolis may worship him as a hero, but all I see is a man who still hasn't quite figured out how to wield the sword he's been handed. And given my recent setbacks and close-calls... I'd be a hypocrite to say it's hard to understand.

But it doesn't matter. My point still stands, as do a few of his. I only recently realized the good that I could be doing to give back to the community, and it took far too long for me to even reach that conclusion. Eventually, I'm hoping to be able to find a balance between what both Bruce Wayne and Batman can do for Gotham. But by bringing Toyman here, Superman - or Clark, or whatever his name really is - still unwittingly lured a psychopath onto my city. And I can't let that go, no matter how much I may have misjudged the so-called Man of Steel.

Maybe instead of trying to defend myself with words, I should try and utilize actions that will prove why the public doesn't need to live in fear of me. At the very least, it'll get Superman to calm down long enough for us to solve the current crisis that the Toyman represents. And as wary as I am of him, I'd almost prefer someone of his power to a madman who can remotely control cars and drones and unleash them on the larger populace.


The word comes to me hesitantly, as I sheathe another set of batarangs that I'd prepared to use in a last minute effort to distract him. Again, it would have done nothing to actually hurt him, but it was all I had left in the moment. And I don't want to feel that helpless again. No matter what happens after tonight, you can sure as hell bet that I'm going to do as much research into Superman and his abilities as possible. Someone has to be prepared in the event that he flies off the handle again.

"I'll overlook what just happened in light of Miss Lane's statement that you weren't acting in your right mind.", I explain, my eyes casting a cynical gaze towards him. "And I'll... keep what you said about giving back in mind. The last thing Gotham needs is just a man who solves problems with his fists."

Turning towards the injured civilian, identified as a Dr. Irons, I calmly approach him and check his vitals. Surprisingly stable, despite his apparent condition. Throwing his arm over my shoulder, I hear a slight moan of pain escape the doctor's lips as I secure him enough to allow him to stand.

"I just lost my only means of ready transportation, so getting Dr. Irons cleared is going to be difficult. I doubt that he's in any condition for flight, or leaping, or whatever it is that you do."

Re-activating my communications server after having Ace reroute my suit's active systems to the Utility Gun, I use a touch-screen miniature telegraph attached to my belt to send out a signal in morse code to Alfred. I haven't established any personal safehouses, nor am I willing to send a stranger to The Cave, but Waynetech has a number of storage facilities that utilize cloaking technology to block incoming signals. Haven't had much of a use for them before now, outside of the occasional equipment raid.

"But I have a man who can get him somewhere safe. He's an experienced medic, so Irons will be in capable hands. I just sent out a distress signal that should get him here shortly."

Lane rushes over and takes over propping up Irons' half-conscious body, wordlessly giving me an expression of gratitude. Superman, however, still seems shaken by what's happened. He's particularly tense, but not in any way that seems hostile. He seems more afraid than anything, glancing over to the spot where he nearly killed me with abject horror.

"Look,", I announce, walking to him. "Clark, is it? You're going to need to snap out of this. I don't mind helping the three of you, but I do take issue with someone from your town putting the rest of Gotham in danger."

"So if you have any idea of how to stop him tonight, now would be a good time."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

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Marc had finished the food and abandoned the tray somewhere around the immense mansion and was making his way down a hallway. After eating he’d received a note left on his bed, requesting he wear a full three-piece suit that was laid out for him on his bed by Samuels and meet him in the sitting room as his employer had left correspondence for him. Marc donned the suit fine, his days in the Marine corps had served him well for maintaining crisp presentation when it was called upon him to do so. But the clothes felt very foreign, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, borrowed.

He walked back into the sitting room and saw a folded letter sitting on the mantelpiece, beneath the familiar portrait of the bearded man and his wife. Perhaps this was the letter which had been left for him?

He picked it up and scanned through. No. This wasn’t for him. It was a monthly balance and holdings for the Steven Grant who l--

“Steven Grant. Maa Kheru.” Samuels uttered the words from behind him and they whistled through his ears like the desert sands carried on bitter winds.

Once again his spine straightened. Eyes flickered. And he dropped to the floor in a seizure, his mouth agape.

Just then, as fate would have it, Marlene and Jean Paul were walking past the room to make for the pool. Marlene rushed over once more to tend to Marc and roll him to his side once more.

“C’est pas vrai?!? Again? No more delays, Samuels. You will tell us now! What do you keep doing to him?”

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In a space between places the man in white fell. He landed with a solid bump, despite the desert sands. He was in a perfectly white suit, tailored immaculately as if by the gods themselves. With an all white face as well, marked with a crescent on his forehead that denoted his patron, he was helped up from the sand by a man in desert camouflaged military fatigues, he dusted himself off and adjusted his suit. He began to walk.

The traveller in white walked the cosmic sands with the soldier until they came upon another. One with the head of a jackal took his hand.

And just as Khonshu would assist many in finding their path, the jackal-headed Anubis led the Traveller in the white suit and the Marine to exactly where they needed to be.

There were a set of scales with no marketplace. A ship which sailed the cosmic winds with an audience of deities. A beast. And the scribe.

Anubis walked to the scales and removed the pure white feather of Ma’at. He asked the Traveller in White for a request so politely that he could never refuse, and with permission granted, tore the Traveller’s head off and rested it on one side of the scales where the feather had once been.

Anubis called and Khonshu brought forth what had been requested.

It was a small doll dressed in a three-piece suit. It squirmed between the grasp of both gods’ touch. It ran on moralism and unrealistic conceptual ‘high-minded’ ideals. Highly critical, prone to whine. The Marine scowled. The headless man in white held him in reassurance.

Anubis held the doll at an arm’s distance. Ammut licked her crocodile lips.

Anubis dropped the doll onto the scales, and then set to work adjusting the scales.

The sides reached balance. Thoth nodded his ibis head to the god of death. He picked the head up off of the scales and threw it back to the Traveller in White. The soldier stepped in front and caught the head comfortably. He handed it to the man in white who held his forearm in thanks and gave the “OK” sign with his other hand. Anubis threw the doll to Khonshu who approached his avatar. His chosen one.

The Traveller re-attached his own head. To do otherwise would be impolite in the company of gods. Khonshu approached.

The god of the Moon grabbed the Traveller in White by the back of his head, his head snapped back as he screamed silently. His mouth opened from the god’s shockingly strong grip. The god held the figure above the Traveller’s gaping maw, the instant seemed to last for a minute. The fall seemed to last forever.

Steven Grant felt himself being consumed. He felt himself consume. He once again had form.

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Steven Grant coughed, hacked and rolled onto one knee.

He turned to Samuels and nodded his head.

“In truth, Mr DuChamp. I’m rebuilding your friend’s mind.” The Frenchman and blonde looked at each other in shock.

“And I’m not done yet.”

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Flint drove his dark green BMW from the plaza down to Central with the video running through his mind.

“They’re politicking this.”

The Superintendent himself gave the word on this, so the word was coming from the very top.

Flint furrowed his brow.

Maybe even City Hall.

Flint didn’t like the thought of that. The Superintendent was a role appointed by the Mayor’s office. Was this coming from the top brass down, putting the message in the the mouth of the man at the very top, so it held extra weight? Or was this coming from a Superintendent who was acting as a mouth-piece for the Mayoral office?

Hope said that it was police making police policy.

But Flint wasn’t a terribly hopeful man.

Was Chicago really going to allow itself to be a social experiment for the costumed vigilante justice?

Was this really all it took? A single crazed wild animal cutting a swathe through the city and they’d turn justice over to any wild card?

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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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"Look,", I announce, walking to him. "Clark, is it? You're going to need to snap out of this. I don't mind helping the three of you, but I do take issue with someone from your town putting the rest of Gotham in danger."

"So if you have any idea of how to stop him tonight, now would be a good time."

I nod vacantly, the words only registering halfway in my head. I nearly killed a man tonight, a man who was trying to help us. For months, people like Lex Luthor and G. Gordon Godfrey have been saying I was a monster waiting to happen, that sooner or later, I'd start throwing my weight around and turn against the people I'm trying to protect. Are they right? Can I be trusted with this sort of power when I can lose control of my better judgment so easily?

I catch a glimpse of one of the Toyman's broken drones, and I'm back to reality. You can beat yourself up on your own time, Clark. Right now, there's work to be done.

"I--....yeah, I think I've got something," I nod and face Batman. "Those drones, they look like LexCorp designs. I've got a friend who owns one of the civilian models, he won't shut up about it. Apparently, LexCorp drones don't use the regular radio transmitter/receiver setup, but a proprietary two-way laser communication system that keeps other people from being able to hijack the signal. If we can get one of them working again and sending signals back to the controller, I can take it into the air and watch the beam back to the source."

"I might --*ngh!*-- I might be able to help with that," Doctor Irons says with a groan, even as Lois struggles to keep him upright. "LexCorp's drones are --*hgk!*-- they're based on designs Schott was working on at SteelWorks before I let him go. Winslow took his work and --*nnh!*-- and sold it to Lex Luthor. I'm still familiar with a lot of the hardware, though."

"Are you sure, Doctor?" I tell him. "You're not exactly in the best shape right now."

He waves the comment away. "Batman said help's on the way. Since I'm not going anywhere til then, I might as well make myself useful."

I nod, then head to the wreckage of the nearest drone and carry the pieces back to Irons. While he sets to work, I approach the Batman.

"I know this probably doesn't carry a whole lot of weight right now," I say, still ashamed and angry at myself for my actions, "But for what it's worth, I want to apologize for what I did. I'd just gotten up from being electrocuted across the brain and I wan't thinking straight, but--....but that's no excuse. Once this is over, I'm gonna need to do some pretty serious thinking."

He doesn't respond right away, but the scowl he gives me in return says plenty. I doubt he's ever going to be able to trust me, let alone be on any sort of good terms, but at the very least I hope I can convince him that I'm not going to attack him again.

I turn and take a few steps away, give him some space, and Lois approaches me.

"Starting to feel better, Clark?" she says, putting a hand on my cheek.

"I actually feel a lot worse," I admit. "I wasn't in control of myself there. I nearly did something I'd regret for the rest of my life."

"'Nearly' just means 'didn't'," she consoles me. "You were able to rein yourself in when it really mattered."

"You reined me in," I say. "I've been running on empty all night, but the thought of you in danger, and when I saw you were hurt, I just--"

She gives me a grin. "Bumps and scratches and near-certain death just come with the job, Clark. You're going to have to get over that fact if we're going to keep this up."

Her hand drifts from my cheek to the back of my neck, but before she can pull me close, I take a step back.

"About that," I say. "I don't know if we can, Lois. I mean, if I'm this easy to get emotionally compromised, maybe....maybe my feelings for you aren't--"

"No," she insists. "I've seen you improve so much over such a short time. You're stronger, faster, in better control of your abilities than you were six months ago--hell, you're better now than you were six weeks ago. We just need to make sure your mind is toughening up the way your body is. And I'm going to be right there to help you with that. You might be able to push a continent around, but you are not pushing me away just because of one scary moment. I was there when this started, and I'm going to be there every step of the way. Got it?"

If the determination in her eyes could be transferred into her hands, she'd be able to bend steel right now.

"Lois," I start to say, "Why are y--"

Before I can get another word in, she pulls me in and kisses me. All of my shame, all of my guilt, all of my trepidation and uncertainty, even my physical pain and fatigue, it all just drops away as fireworks go off in my head.

As her lips finally pull away from mine, I catch myself laughing.

"What's so funny?" she asks.

"Something you said earlier," I say, grinning from ear to ear. "'Oh, what are the odds of me running into two super-villains in one day?'"

She thumps me on the arm.

"Can it, Smallville," she says, "and save the wilting-flower act for when you've got your glasses on. Right now, there's a psychotic cyber-terrorist on the loose, and that sounds like a job for Superman. Afterwards....well, we're still on for coffee, right?"

"Right," I nod, and then head to Doctor Irons. "How's that drone communicator coming along, Doctor?"

"Almost have it," he says, carefully connecting wires. "Just trying to re-route power to.....there! I've got it!"

Sure enough, I see a dark red beam-- well, 'red' is the closest name I can give to wavelengths that low on the electromagnetic spectrum-- flashing out of the wrecked fuselage. The beam starts to diffuse when it hits a nearby building, so I pick the salvaged drone up and take it into the sky.

"Let's see....." I mutter to myself as I follow the beam back to its source. I expected the signal would trace back to Metropolis, but it's actually here in Gotham City. No wonder I couldn't find Schott's hideout this whole time; he's been operating remotely from a different city.

Heading back to the ground and setting the drone down, I tell Batman what I've found.

"Otisburg," I say. "Stagg Enterprises has a server farm there, looks like it's mostly automated, completely empty at this time of night. The building has a large transmitter tower on top, and I'm seeing pretty large spikes of electricity being diverted from the city's power grid to feed into a single room on one of the building's sub-levels. Thick lead shields around the room itself, so I can't see if the Toyman's actually there. But I'd bet good money that's where we'll find him."

That steel-bending determination in Lois's eyes must have rubbed off on me with that kiss. Now, suddenly, getting myself airborne isn't a struggle at all. I take to the sky, and then turn back to the vigilante in black.

"Are you coming, or what?"
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Supermaxx
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Supermaxx dumbass

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Cowboys And Aliens: Issue #4

Warpath, Texas

Gutting a living, breathing person was a strange sensation. Skewering through that first layer of flesh and clothing was like sticking a knife into a piece of flabby elastic. It bent and contorted around Jaime's talon, giving so much that he thought for a moment that it simply wouldn't break through. He was wrong, of course; once the tip managed to dig even a millimeter in, the flesh gave way easily. The layers of fat squished and squirted as the razor sliced it's way through with a frightening speed and momentum. It tore open as easily as a piece of paper tore from the rings of a notebook. Passed the initial incision came the thicker bits of the body- the muscle. It was simpler to cut through each layer than the flesh, but there was just so much of it. The sinew was like hundreds upon hundreds of cords tightly wound together, making it near impossible to cut through all of them at once; the blade kept catching at poor angles, slowing it's advance for a short while.

But Reyes kept pushing. The adrenaline pumping through his veins wouldn't let him slow as he finally tasted Black Star's intestines.

It made his stomach churn, but he wasn't given any time to regret the attack before Black Star retaliated.

There was a crack in the air just before his fist made contact with Jaime's gut. It was the sound of the sound barrier breaking just before Black Star struck the teenager with the force of a howitzer gun. The chitin armor on his abdomen exploded into splinters, the living metal screeching and squirming as the knuckles dug into Jaime's stomach and forced their way up into his insides; mere inches of the Scarab lay between Reyes and a fist through the hair as Black Star pulled his hand back and Reyes was sent flying backwards.

He didn't make it far before the villain was upon him, another blow sent crashing against the underside of the child's jaw. An audible, sickening crack sounded just as he was sent air born. The momentum would've been enough to send him flying across town if Black Star hadn't reached out and plucked him from the sky. Massive, powerful fingers contorted around Jaime's throat, cutting off his breathing with an incredible amount of force. The armor bent and cracked underneath the force, threatening to shatter if Black Star continued to apply such pressure.

Jaime was almost lucky that the man imbued with the Power Cosmic decided to slam Reyes's face into the dirt. His face plate cracked in half like it was made of cheap ceramic the moment he hit the ground, bits of dust, blood and mucus spilling out across his face. Though his mouth was agape, he could not scream; all he could do was suck in polluted air in a desperate bid to keep from asphyxiating after nearly having his throat crushed.

The battle that continued around him was a blur of thunderous sound and dizzy, foggy images. He couldn't make much of it with the pounding headache threatening to split his skull in two, and the agonizing pain that stretched across his body from head to toe. Otto's acidic scars had opened up along his back, hissing and screeching as pus and blood dripped down his flesh, warm, sticky and hard to ignore. His ribs were aching fiercely, something scratching and screaming along in his insides every time he squirmed even a little bit. His nose and mouth were both leaking streams of crimson, though he couldn't tell if anything important was broken. It was hard to focus on anything in that moment. Even the pain felt dulled and numb, like his senses had been shoved under water and weren't allowed up for air.

"-...Nnng..." Jaime gasped and sputtered, his hand weakly reaching forward to drag himself along the ground. He wasn't sure where he was headed. He had no idea if he was even going to live through this. But he felt a powerful urge driving him to drag his battered body through the mud.

Then he saw it.

Just barely, out of the corner of the eye, but it was there- he couldn't deny what he was looking at, no matter how unreal or impossible it might seem. "Holy shit." He breathed.

A monster with a skull cased in black fire was clashing with the Black Star. They were exchanging blows and throwing one another across the town with abandon, destroying buildings and crushing cars along the way. It was a terrifying and magnificent sight to behold all in the same moment as the immensely powerful metahuman traded punches with a demonic beast dragged out from the depths of hell.

"What is that?" He blinked, unsure if he was hallucinating. Where did it even come from? One moment it was just Jaime and that Vigilante guy, and the next...

'Entity is of extradimensional origin.' Khaji Da answered flatly. 'Relativistic integrity compromised. Recommend termination.'

"Thanks." Reyes groaned, partially from the pain and partially from the pain of dealing with the Scarab. "That clears that up."

That odd feeling of numbness that Jaime felt only seemed to grow, stretching out across his form like a blanket had been laid over him. He could hear the living metal at work stitching itself back together, the hard plates during to liquid and morphing together to reform itself harder and tougher than before. But that wasn't the only healing being done, Reyes realized, as he felt those same tendrils running along his nose and up his back.'Beginning self-repair process. Recommend rest time of up to forty eight hours.' The Scarab informed him. Jaime's annoyance deflated slightly; so maybe the Scarab wasn't totally useless after all.

Reyes wasn't going to sit here in the dirt for two days, however, as he slowly pushed himself back up to his feet. The destruction had come to a halt, he noticed. The sounds of battle fading with the dying roar of a motorcycle of all things. Curious, he made a cautious trip further into the town. Part of him thought he should take flight while he still had the chance. Trusting a demon bathing in hellfire not to pull his spine out wasn't exactly a smart move. On the other hand, however, he couldn't just leave this town to be ravaged by two all-powerful monsters. People had to have been hurt during the chaos already. Reyes...Reyes didn't want there to be even more names added to that list.

His shock could not be understated when he finally discovered the demon standing over top the fallen form of Black Star, the villain held within inches of it's flaming, menacing head.

”No one messes with my town."

There was something about that voice. That distorted, demonic voice, that Jaime found vaguely familiar. Even through the screams of the damned and the choking heat of the Ninth Circle's embers, that thick Texas accent found a way to shine through. Reyes was taken aback, but all of the pieces seemed to come together at once. "Vigilante?" Reyes balked, approaching the "man" from behind. He made sure to keep his distance on the off-chance he was wrong, yet...Something told him he wasn't.

As he approached, Jaime was once again assaulted by the sound of Khaji Da's abrasive voice blaring within his mind. 'Not compatible.'

"Oh, not this- what? What isn't compatible? How about you explain it to me, bastardo, instead of just shouting in my-" He didn't get to finish as one cryptic message was replaced by another. Instead of two words, however, Khaji Da could only offer one.


"-Like of the Force? You're not making any sense, ese. My L-phone's better at explaining things than you are." It wasn't the time for humor, Jaime realized, but he was very close to snapping after everything he had endured in such a short time. If he didn't do something to break the tension, he might just lose it.

'Your handheld device lacks sufficient information on this subject.' Khaji Da countered.

"Oh, and how would you know that?"

'I checked.'

"You did what?" Jaime blinked.

'I still have access to the device we assimilated seventy one and a half hours ago. Your 'information super highway' knows nothing of the ๔คгк ๒гเภﻮєг.'

It was time for Reyes to throw his hands into the air, turning around to take several steps away from the ghostly Vigilante. He couldn't help but cackle at the sheer ridiculousness of what he was hearing. "My alien parasite gets WiFi! What- what's next, unlimited talk and text? Gonna sell me a cable package too?!" He mockingly joked. "Good Lord, when did the world stop making sense?" And on top of it all, Khaji Da spoke a word that definitely wasn't English. It was the first time he'd heard the Scarab fail to translate anything in his mind. It was oddly disturbing, given the subject matter.

The Scarab never skipped a beat, ignoring Jaime's obvious distress as he continued with his previous thought with brisk accuracy. 'I have cross-referenced the facial recognition software installed in this device with your 'internet.' This 'Black Star' appears only by a different name- one William Mowse. There are several news articles about his incarceration in the prison complex known as the Raft. According to the most recent reports, hundreds of similar inmates have appeared across the United States, performing attacks similar to the one we have experienced.' He explained. There was a pause before he decided to add a more...personal comment. 'I am surprised the warden has neglected to activate the explosive chips embedded in the base of each prisoner's spine.'

"What?!" Reyes shouted incredulously. He knew SHIELD was bad, but-

'...Is that not standard practice on your world? How primitive.'

The pain wracking Jaime's body hadn't fully subsided. He still winced a little with each step he took, and there wasn't a great deal that the Scarab could do the alleviate the exhaustion that had taken deep root in every inch of Reyes's muscles. By all logic he should've simply passed on what he had learned to Vigilante and returned home to El Paso to rest- and to finally see his family after suffering through this ordeal. By all rights, he had earned the rest. He hadn't asked for any of this. Responsibility and power had both been thrust into his arms in equal measure, and the Scarab was expecting him to rise to the occasion like this wasn't complete and utter insanity.

Jaime had no real responsibility to...to any of this, right? What he wished to atone for had nothing to do with the Silver Surfer that had tried to destroy the world.

The Scarab's rage did not burn for the life of the other alien- it burned for Dr. Caulder and Dr. Caulder alone.

SHIELD wasn't going to stop hunting Reyes until he proved that the telepath was responsible for the incident, and not Jaime or the alien.

By all rights, this was not Jaime Reyes's fight. And yet he felt a tug upon his body that went deeper than any of that. It went deeper than the armor covering his flesh. It went deeper than the ache in his muscles. It even went deeper than the very marrow within his bones. He felt a pull so strong and so profound that there was no fighting against it. He knew it wasn't the voice of Khaji Da trying to convince him to join this fight; in fact, if the Scarab had it's way, they'd just lay down right there and not move for the next two days. No, this pull...it belonged to Jaime. It belonged to his mortal soul.

After what felt like eternity he came to a decision, turning on his heel to face the Vigilante that he had met just tens of minutes ago at most. They didn't know so much as one another's names, yet Jaime felt a degree of trust in this man that went deeper than that. The Vigilante had saved his life; and that was a debt not easily repaid.

Jaime had just gotten a metric ton of new information that he needed to share with the man, but there were more pressing matters to attend to in the immediate future. They needed to get moving as quickly as they possibly could. "Right, so I'll...I'll explain on the way, but how fast can that fancy motorcycle-from-hell of yours move? 'Cause if we want to get to the Surfer, we're gonna need to head up to New York and I left my running shoes at home." He joked, smiling underneath his creepy, stoic mask.

"Oh, by the way..." It still felt rude for him to go on without introducing himself, the gravity of the situation be damned. This was his way of coping- by pretending everything was normal and continuing to act like the dumb, stupid kid he still wished he could be. "My name's Jaime. Jaime Reyes. I'm from El Paso."
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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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Heading back to the ground and setting the drone down, I tell Batman what I've found.

"Otisburg," I say. "Stagg Enterprises has a server farm there, looks like it's mostly automated, completely empty at this time of night. The building has a large transmitter tower on top, and I'm seeing pretty large spikes of electricity being diverted from the city's power grid to feed into a single room on one of the building's sub-levels. Thick lead shields around the room itself, so I can't see if the Toyman's actually there. But I'd bet good money that's where we'll find him."

That steel-bending determination in Lois's eyes must have rubbed off on me with that kiss. Now, suddenly, getting myself airborne isn't a struggle at all. I take to the sky, and then turn back to the vigilante in black.

"Are you coming, or what?"

My brow furrows beneath the cowl at the mention of Stagg Enterprises.

It's a name I've heard mentioned only in passing by most, given that it's CEO doesn't exactly run in the same circles that Gotham's elite crowds tend to frequent. But the every word was enough to arise suspicion and lend credence to rumors that either Simon Stagg or one of his high-level employees had been dealing under the table with select members of the Five Families for access to advanced non-lethal technologies, including enhancements to body armor and personal vehicles that would make them more formidable against warring factions.

Nothing concrete's turned up on the streets as of yet, and I haven't ran into such obstacles when taking on lieutenants for Falcone's Syndicate or Capo Italiana, but the idea that Stagg could be harboring a dangerous lunatic like this 'Toyman' lines up too well with the word-of-mouth. If I'm able to convince the board of directors at Waynetech to bring Bruce Wayne into the fold, investigating Stagg will need to become one of my first priorities as one of their direct competitors.

Superman flies ahead as I produce my grapple gun and fire towards the scaffolding building to his left. As the line becomes taut, I look out and notice the familiar sight of the Lincoln Continental peeling onto a street corner that's only a few blocks away. Alfred got here faster than I would've even thought. Indicating the car directly as he expertly weaves in and out among the traffic sitting about a yard away from Grant Park, I leave Lane to care for Dr. Irons in the meantime.

Hopefully Alfred will have remembered to wear a disguise, as I instructed in the message. It'll be damning enough to be taking them to a Waynetech site. Don't need to incriminate myself any further.

"There's your ride. The occupant will take you both to a nearby facility until Superman and I have shut Toyman's operation down. He'll give Irons a patch-up and get you anything that you need, within reason. I'll give the location to Superman once everything's secure."

As I ascend into the air, I glance back at Lane as her eyes remain squarely focused on the man in the sky. I don't think either Dr. Irons or I remained oblivious to the moment that the two shared earlier. Lane and this Superman are... an item, it would seem. I wouldn't say that it really matters or is any of my business, but it makes a certain amount of sense. Lane was the first to break the story of his arrival, suggesting a pre-existing intimacy. And given that journalists are notorious workaholics, I would doubt that this sprang up out of nowhere or became something outside of the newsroom. Makes me wonder if there are any Clarks employed at The Daily Planet...

Focusing ahead, I join Superman in the air as we both push forward, heading for the Stagg Enterprises tower in the distance. There's a sort of awkward silence that hangs in the air as we leave Grant Park in the distance, with neither of us really willing to say anything about the words we exchanged to the other in the heat of the moment. He may have been influenced by an electrical trauma, but I could tell that some of what he said came from a place of truth. And there were certainly no minced words whenever it came to anything that I imparted.

It wasn't until I was face-to-face with the man himself that I allowed the frustration of finding myself incapable of dealing with the growing number of metahuman adversaries to dictate my anger. Perhaps it's because Superman is largely considered the first of them. Barely anything is known about him at this point, and it was alarming for me to discover that he even possessed the capability to see through solid material, much less detect radio frequencies.

And yet despite all of that power, this was also a man that just sheepishly apologized to me for how he had behaved. This is a man that has managed to find love, and potentially even work at a blue collar job whenever he's not trying to save lives. I speculated earlier that Superman had assimilated into our civilization as one of us in an effort to hide what he truly was, but perhaps that was an inaccurate assessment. Maybe it's the other way around, and the true part of him is the one that had the decency to own up to his mistake.

I may never know for sure, and I don't have much of an interest to find out. But it leaves me feeling as though I can at least focus on the task at hand, rather than try and keep my distance in the event that he'll go berserk again.

"For what it's worth... your apology is noted."

"If anything, I'm more annoyed that you had to go and ruin my uniform."

I don't know whether that was my crude attempt to diffuse the tension or a genuine complaint, but I try and keep myself from seeing how he reacts as we head closer to Otisburg.

The sooner that he and his friends leave Gotham behind, the better.

I've got enough to deal with as it is.

"Anything we should be wary of? If Toyman was willing to send drones and manned vehicles after your friends, it's almost certain that he won't be willing to go quietly."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Sep
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Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

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Multiplayer Event 2


The Raft was in flames. Iris had stopped on a quay looking out towards the raft. Alarms blared as helicopters circled the prison, beams of light cast down trying to help the people on the ground see what they were doing as well as identify threats. She looked up as a couple of the jets S.H.I.E.L.D used rushed overhead, moving in and landing at the Raft. She was about to rush towards the prison, begin working on containing and controlling the threat when there was an explosion from further down the street. Followed by screaming.

She turned her head to see a man in prison garb pulling a woman out of a burning shop. Iris took off towards him driving her shoulder into him. The speed at which she did so sent the man careering away, letting go of his hostage out of shock till he hit the street nearby. Before Iris had the chance to think about what she was going to do with this convict, obviously moving him back to the raft was out of the question. Six more figures appeared out of nowhere, circling her. She could already tell, that these weren’t metahumans. These were just your average run of the mill criminal. She laughed as she turned to look at them all. “Really guys? Circling me? Like that’s going to work.”

“You’re outnumbered missy.” Iris turned her attention to the man who spoke, tall, broad, built like a brickhouse. He was obviously the ringleader of this little gang of miscreants.

“Yes, I am outnumbered by average men. Do you know who I am?” One of the men snarled as he dove for her. To Iris he moved slowly, she twisted and stuck her leg out to trip him over. Pulling back and standing in virtually the same spot as before, giving the would be attacker a swift kick on the backside as he fell to the dirt. Ass in the air.

Iris was needed at the prison, she knew that much. It wouldn’t be that long until the Surfer made another move, either powering up more crazed lunatics or coming for them directly. The problem was that not everyone who had ‘escaped’ the prison was intent on causing chaos inside the prison walls. There were those of more resourceful means, more malicious intent who decided to make their way into the city and cause trouble. The police were already going to be stretched thin, not to mention Spider-Woman wherever she was.

To the outside world she became a blur, one second the men were standing with her in the centre. The next they were sitting in a circle with their hands tied together behind them. For Iris it took time. She started by running into a nearby hardware store, picking up a length of rope that suited her means. Tying it around the wrist of the first, she yanked him closer to the second. She continued this trend until she had a line of them, pulling it round a nearby lamppost and tying the final two together.

This was followed by a swift and unceremonious punch to the head of each of the criminals. By the time they woke up the police would no doubt have control of the situation. Iris moved back to the woman who was being dragged before, offering the woman her non-burnt hand to help her up. “Thankyou, Flash.” Iris smiled at her.

“Anytime, now if you’ll excuse me.” She thought about what Barry would say in this situation, something to defuse the tension. Make things seem lighter than they were, ease the tension and put their mind at ease. Iris shook her head as she chuckled lightly. “Gotta run.” Turning she disappeared in a flash of light. She stormed the waterside, punched a couple of escaped convicts. Some of them in a in a state of undress that she’d rather not think about ever again. If anyone was watching the waterfront they’d see a blur moving between buildings, fires going out and people being moved around. Nodding to herself, she had apprehended the majority of the people had seen in the immediate area.

Iris leaned, hands over knees as she stood on the bridge that lead to the Raft. She sighed as she looked up at it, fires raged. Shouting could be heard, gunfire, chaos. That wasn’t to mention the fact that the Surfer had yet to make an appearance. She took off in a sprint towards the prison. There was still work to do, still lives to be saved.

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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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John could feel the corruption in the air. Even from behind the glass partition of the squad car, the two LA sheriff’s deputies reeked of elemental magic. They had no idea they gave off the scent. To anyone else it wouldn’t matter. But John Constantine wasn’t like anyone else.

There was a pale blue corona around their bodies, akin to an aura. John knew the aura meant that these two cops were under the control of someone else. They had no idea of course. They hadn’t entered into the bargain willingly like a familiar might do with a mage. Instead, like a parasite, something was tapping into them for its own uses.

“Where we going, lads?” John asked. “The old drunk tank?”

His question was met with stony silence. John shifted in his seat and looked behind him. Another police car was following closely. This one was driven by the third officer he had encountered. That one didn’t have the same aura as the other two. Whatever it was feeding off of his friends, it hadn’t gotten its hooks into him.

John noticed that they were heading south out of Lynwood to Long Beach and the ocean. John chuckled to himself and looked up front. The deputy in the passenger seat was staring at him intently. John flashed a grin and put his hands against his temples.

“Brian, your mum misses you.”

The cop’s eyes went wide in surprise before they suddenly narrowed.
“Who the fuck told you about my mom, shitbird?! HUH?!”

John could see the blue aura pulsing faster and faster as the deputies face turned redder and redder.

“I’m magic,” John said with a laugh. “Didn’t you fucking hear me a little bit ago?”

“Settle down,” the deputy behind the wheel said. Of the three of them, he was certainly the one in charge. “Whoever he is, we’re going to find out soon enough.”

John flashed the angry cop a wink even as he continued to seeth. His aura continued to throb at a steady, but slower pace as their car made its way through Long Beach. The squadcar slowed and pulled into what looked like an autoshop. The sign by the road was in all Spanish. A latino gangbanger was waiting for them in front of a roll-up door. He waved them forward as the door began to slowly rise. The squadcar pulled through, followed by the second car.

A small group of men were waiting inside the garage. They were all dressed in the cholo chic attire of low-riding khaki pants, wifebeaters, and lots of ink on their arms. The other two men stood out like sore thumbs. One was a swarthy man in an all black suit and tie.The other man looked like a bloody sitcom dad. He even wore a sweater vest and reading glasses. But all around him was the same blue aura as the cops, only his was far darker and far larger. Like the officers, this man was tied to something… but he was higher on the food chain than they were.

“Who the fuck is this?” Raul Garcia asked when he saw John being pulled out the back of the car.

“You tell us,” said Milford. “He seems to know an awful lot about us.”

“I’ve never seen this man before in my life,” said Garcia.

“C’mon, Raul,” said John. “You having a laugh? It’s me, your old mate.”

“I don’t know this piece of shit,” Raul said, louder this time.

John noticed the auras around the two patrol officers began to pulse, which in turn made their boss’s aura grow and pulse as well. Akerman, the one not connected, seemed to just look around nervously with a hand close to his hip holster. The muscle bound deputy with the sergeant stripes cracked his neck and scowled at Garcia.

“You telling me he’s full of shit?”

“If I’m full of shite,” said John. “How come I know about Angel?”

“Shut the fuck up,” the sergeant said, pushing John to the ground.
“What the fuck about Angel?” asked Garcia.

“Don’t you say a fucking word,” Milford hissed. His genial demeanor was gone and another man all together seemed to have taken his place.

“What about Angel?” Garcia repeated. The cholos all started to step forward to surround the cops. “Angel, my best dealer? Angel, my wife’s cousin? Angel, the one who was always ride or die with me? You mean that Angel? What about him?”

“LA County--” John started before Michaels kicked him in the face.

“Touch him again and you die!” Garcia roared. “WHAT ABOUT ANGEL?”

“LA County’s finest beat him into a coma,” John said, spitting blood on Michaels’ shoes. “All to test if Deputy Seward had it in him to be a real white man.”

“Raul,” said Milford, a hand out. “Just calm down.”

But from the ground, John could see Milford starting to go for his gun with the hand not raised. Likewise the other three deputies were doing the same. One of Raul’s gangbangers noticed and started to yell, raising his own gun to fire back at the cops. John put his fingers in his ears and prepared for what was about to follow.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Simple Unicycle
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Simple Unicycle ?

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A Day Later; Noon
The streets of Los Angeles, California


Los Angeles.

I was a fish out of water here, thousands of miles from home. All my life, I had never gone farther than Gotham where I grew up. I was so used to the gloomy, snowy atmosphere of Jersey and New York, tight alleys and brick buildings and long, dark shadows; now that I was in LA where it was all open streets and polished buildings and a bright sun it was jarring. Thank God I had driven and gradually gotten used to the lack of dread that hung to you in the Big Apple, because if I'd taken a plane I'd have died of a heart attack from the culture shock... Or a third degree burn because dear God, I was missing the mild summers of New York right about now.

I wiped the sweat from my brow as I continued to drive down the street. Really wish I had gotten an address out of that guy, but I had my ways of finding out what I wanted to know. I could already tell you one thing for certain: today was gonna be a bad day to be a pusher.

Several Hours Later; Midnight
An autoshop; Lynwood, California

It was probably dumb luck that one of the pushers I roughed up was connected to Garcia. Told me about an autoshop in Lynwood, the place where Garcia usually meets his associates. Said that there wasn't a meet going on tonight, but I might still find him there. Guess now I had a place to go.

The autoshop was heralded by a dented and faded sign in Spanish. The garage door was open, a squad car parked in front. There were a few gangbangers, a Hispanic guy in a suit, another guy looking like he was about to win a Mr. Rogers look-a-like contest, three cops, and a blond guy in a ratty trench coat on the ground. That last guy was definitely out of place in the room.

I parked my van and stepped out, hearing the faint voices from the garage about thirty feet ahead. The voices got louder, and angrier. Whatever was going on in there, it wasn't going well. I'd say I was concerned it was gonna escalate into violence, but that was a load of shit. Not even those cops had me worried; they were obviously in bed with Garcia or one of his rivals to be meeting him without trying to arrest him. If they killed each other it'd just make my job easier.

Then I heard the gunshots. Pulling out my pistols, I ran as fast as I could and jumped into the fray.

Bullets penetrated flesh.

Blood gushed from wounds.

Bodies fell to the ground.


This was...



I blinked.

What the hell was th-



S̸͠UI̶̵҉TS̸̡͟ ̶̡M͏҉E

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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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I blinked.

What the hell was th-



S̸͠UI̶̵҉TS̸̡͟ ̶̡M͏҉E


John stood behind a rusty old car as bullets flew everywhere. Gangbangers and deputies alike were all falling to the ground as they shot each other and at the new arrival. John peeked up above the hood of the car and had to duck back down as a bullet whizzed by his ear.

Whoever that was doing the killing, and John wasn’t exactly sure, was something of an artist in his own fucked up way. The slim Asian man moved like a ballet dancer as he glided around the garage, the gun his brush and the blood of the others his canvas.

~Mooore~ a voice whispered through the room.

John risked a second look. The man who was dealing death was glowing blue.

~More sacrifices, in my honor!~

“You son of a bitch!”

Lieutenant Milford was in the middle of the fire, blasting away at the man. John saw tears streaming down his face as bullets ripped through his mauve sweater vest and stained it with blood. He collapsed to the ground, his face a twisted mask of anger and sadness.

“Why?!” He screamed. “Why did you abandon me?”

John could see something forming through the smoke of the cordite. A face that was laughing with glowing blue eyes. The body of smoke began to form behind the Asian killer. It made eye contact with John before it wiggled its tongue made of smoke.

~John Constantine… Johnjohnjohn. The one and only... What did I do to ever deserve such a treat?~

It knew his name. There was only one other plane of existence where he had such a reputation among its residences. He felt anger rising at the thought. He was John fucking Constantine. He stood toe to toe with the First of the Fallen, the man who had tricked Lucifer himself. There was no way in bloody hell some third-rate fear-mongering demon from the pit would be his doing.

“You wanna a treat, you cunt?” John asked, throwing his jacket off and letting it fall to the ground.

He stepped out from the car and took his time to roll up his shirtsleeves. The bullets all missed, regardless of the people who were aiming at him. He was untouchable now and he knew it. The Synchronicity Wave was riding high and he was along for the ride for as long as it lasted.

He began to make motions with his hands, a summoning spell that would drain him of his energy and maybe a little of his blood when it was all said and done. But he didn’t care. He was so pissed off that he was beyond caring about consequences. The demon watched on with an amused look at John shouted out a name in guttural German and slapped his palm on the ground.

He appeared in a bright light and started shooting. Sergeant Michaels felt a bullet the size of a ball bearing rip through his body and sever his spine. Raul Garcia was dead as soon as two perfect shots followed one after the other into his forehead and out the back of his head.

With his two six-shooters, he killed with a rapid efficiency that put modern weapons to shame.

~No,~ the demon said with a shake of his head. ~No! It can't be.~

After a casual spit on the concrete floor of the garage, the Saint of Killers went to work.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
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Master Bruce Winged Freak

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He could feel their respective triumphs as they had each occurred. The test had finally been completed as it was always meant to be - and the results, much to The Silver Surfer's surprise, were yielded in the favor of this world's metahuman protectors. But this unexpected victory did little to dissuade the contempt that had slowly grown within The Surfer as he had remained floating, invisible to the human eye, above the skies of New York. Initially having chosen this spot to watch the events that would transpire at The Raft Prison Island with his own eyes, The Surfer's thoughts had quickly become clouded by the actions of those below. The humans, whose very existence relied on these chosen and often anonymous protectors to step against the very brink of certain annhilation by utilizing themselves as shields. Had the race of these predominant species truly been so weak before the arrival of these superhumans? And what's more, had they not become even weaker for their use of such individuals as a crutch against disaster?

The Surfer's mind was weighed heavily with these questions, as he took in the thoughts of those blow him. Their trivial fears of that which they did not know. Their wasted hatred for one another, and themselves. The emotions that guided their every action, leading them in the feeble attempt to stem back an inevitable extinction. Lord Darkseid sought to end the suffering of the cosmos themselves. Without the universal balance that would upend the chaos which even now swept across the galaxy, affecting the lives of billions of creatures inhabiting millions of worlds, they would bring about their own destruction through an imperfect nature. Not only would this be the fate for the people of Earth, but of distant worlds such as Hala, Rann, Kylntar, Thanagar, Xandar, Oa, and many more.

It had happened before. The inhabitants of this system's planet Mars were brought to a silent end through senseless war and unimaginable violence, leaving but one survivor whose destiny was uncertain. The world of Titan, which shared many similarities to a moon orbiting this system's planet of Saturn, had prospered for millennia before eventually succumbing to it's own overpopulation. Sensibility and reason were lost on the Titanians, and the very few remnants of that world had been driven mad by the cruel loss. Were either the Martians or Titanians allowed to share one soul, one mind and heart that drove them to prosperity, the inhabitants of the universe would not only achieve everlasting peace, but the secrets to immortality.

But it would have to come at a great cost. Darkseid knew this, as his endless search for The Anti-Life Equation that would secure him the will of every living being had allowed the universe to advance without his generous and fair rulership imposed. The results were, as The Surfer could tell by the inhabitants of Earth, catastrophic beyond measure. Even now, millions of this planet's people were suffering under the threat of violence, the harsh reality of famine, the predominant human desire of personal greed, and many other self-imposed impediments that brought this species closer to the end.

The Surfer could do little to hold back his frustration, knowing that when given the choice, each chosen prisoner of The Raft had sided with personal retribution over the path of virtue. All they had been tempted with was a mere taste of power, and their greed did the rest. Mick Rory had sought to be one with the destructive flame. Doris Zeul had sought the strength to match her ability to transcend stature. Aviva Metula had sought a greater link with this world's literal darkness. The team of thieves once known as Matthew Hagen, Preston Payne, Sondra Fuller, and Basil Karlo had sought to be unified in power stemming from this world itself, despite becoming a singular abomination. Hector Hammond sought ultimate knowledge and the power to control it. And Leslie Willis, already having mastered the power of electricity, sought only to be turned loose and make the world feel her wrath.

Insolence. Barbaric, justless stupidity. It was barely a wonder that each had fallen at the hands of Earth's so-called heroes, and each so very quickly. But The Surfer had nevertheless proven the point that Darkseid sought of him: the metahumans of Earth would suffice to build the foundations of an army. With their unification, the millenia's old quest for Anti-Life would be complete, and Apokolips would serve as a beacon to the galaxy that New Genesis paled to in comparison. All that The Surfer had to do now was wait - and approach.

"I sense..."

As if answering his beckoning, The Surfer felt three powerful life-forms converge onto The Raft at once. One, he had already encountered before in Central City, feeling the familiar pull towards an unknown force of speed. The other two had joined forces in an impressive alignment that had tamed the fury of the rechristened 'Giganta'. The Surfer pried further, awakening recent memories within these two radically different female minds. Gwendolyn Stacy, forced to reveal herself infront of a father who sought to put her in chains. Bekka, curiously a former resident of New Genesis, reliving the horror of that massacre through her dreams. They were both known to the world at large as Spider-Woman and Wonder Woman, respectively.

And even now, as The Surfer reached out to the larger area, he could feel another champion approaching. These four would do well, for the moment. They would be able to be swayed, and convince their compatriots to do the same. If they resisted, they would simply perish and negate favorable outcome of the test. Holding up his palm, watching as light dance between his chrome fingers, The Silver Surfer blinked out of existence...

...Reappearing infront of Spider-Woman and Bekka, with The Flash not far behind.


Extending a hand towards them, there was an equal sense of benevolence and malevolence in the act. Whichever had been intended would all depend on their actions going forward.


The Surfer's emotionless face cast a reflection of both the masked visage of Gwendolyn Stacy and the immediately tense expression of Bekka.


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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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Suddenly, without warning, the Silver Surfer appears directly in front of me. A moment I hoped that would never happen is now here in the blink of an eye, right after a fight that's already taken a ton out of me. I can feel the power radiate off of him like the bass coming out of the speakers at a concert. Whatever he is, where ever he came from, he's possibly the most powerful being on the planet. Superman couldn't stand up to him. The Flash couldn't either. I don't know if Wonder Woman can. But I know I can't.

Even if I'm going to try.

The bald bastard starts going on and on about some conflict. Something about stopping chaos. It's all a bunch of bullshit considering what he's already done since arriving, but he sells it well. He's clearly bought into all this. He has the mega church, televangelist preacher vibe mixed with a Rain Man like lack of emotion.

This isn't gonna end well.


Cocking my head to the side, I hold my hand up to the Surfer, "Listen, Shiny Vin Diesel. I'm gonna stop you right now. You've got the sales pitch down real well. If you were offering me a Slap Chop or some commemorative plates, maybe I'd go steal my dad's wallet. But I'm not much of a 'joiner', especially in an army of some weirdo. Some weirdo named Darkseid, was it? Man, if he's looking for people to join him he should really think about changing his name. Branding is just so important these days."

Jesus Christ, Gwen. You're seriously machine-gun quipping the guy who went toe-to-toe with Superman. You have a death wish, don't you? Sure, not the best plan I've ever had, but maybe I can get him to slip up. I can fight him. Not straight up. But keeping him both occupied and annoyed may just do something.

Granted, that something may end up being getting me killed...but hey, no going back now.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by TGM
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TGM clichéd tsundere™

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New York City, New York
Issue #2 Unseen Enemies

Bekka's eyes narrowed at the mere mention of Darkseid's name.

“The only life under Darkseid is a graveyard of plasma and ash.” She retorted in a stern rejection of the idea that she would let another people, weak as they may have been, in soulless servitude to a inter-dimensional tyrant who sat on a throne made of bones. “The protector of New York is correct. I will not let the people of this planet suffer at apokoliptian hands.”

Bekka twirled her sword in her fingers. Unlike the fight with Giganta, Bekka was not confident in this fight. This Silver Surfer was a man entrusted to a very specific mission by her mortal enemy, a tyrant who decimated worlds no matter what dimension they called home. If she would surrender these people to him like she had convinced herself she had done with her brothers and sisters, what kind of person did it make of her? She had told herself she was sick and tired of doing nothing when she stopped the 747 from crashing down into Gateway City and this was not a situation that would change that resolve, even if she knew the odds were far greater. She always knew Darkseid would come for her. She just didn't know when.

Before the apokoliptian could respond she charged into him, elbow-first.

“You can tell Darkseid one thing when you crawl back to him! He should have killed me when he had the chance!”
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