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

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"When I was still naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me"

An hour of driving the shuttle across the massive forest was boring for everyone but Peter Quill. He was looking at the window while they were driving pass countless trees. It reminded him of all the times that his mother would drive him to the camping grounds. That was one of the few things that Quill missed about Earth. The smell and sight of the Coloradan forests, especially whenever it rained. Yanus was a good enough replacement, but not perfect. While Quill was looking out at the window, Rocket and Groot were waking up from their almost hour-long nap.

"Are we there yet?" Rocket asked Kraglin while rubbing his eyes.

"Just a bit forward and then we got to walk to their camp" Kraglin replied.

"I am Groot."

"Because I am sure that one of us doesn't want to pay for the damages."

Quill was enjoying the sights and listening to music when Rocket noticed the Walkman. It was the first time that the raccoon ever saw it. He was trying to figure out its purpose before he had to ask Quill. It wasn't a device that you would see at a black market and it looked outdated. So in short, it must be something from Earth. Yeah, he knew about Earth because he read classified information on them in a Nova Corps base. If he had to guess, Quill and Kraglin were either humans or Xandarian. The classified information said that they are almost indistinguishable from Xandarians. But, humans lacked pink skins and blue blood, unlike Xandarians. Guess reading all that bullshit was worth it. Rocket thought while looking at the device again.

Quill noticed Rocket staring at his Walkman and stated, "Looking at something?"

"Yeah, I am actually." Rocket pointed at the device and asked, "What is that relic? It looks like it could easily break."

"That 'relic' was a gift. It's a storage for songs that I can listen to whenever and wherever I want. And I have been keeping it clear and do regular checkups to make sure it doesn't break," Quill answered.

"He cares about that thing more than his own ship and pistols," Kraglin added to the discussion. It was true. Quill treasured that thing more than anything else in this universe. It was the only thing that he took with him when he left Earth with Yondu since he was immediately taken away. And they became a source of happiness in his new life with the Ravagers. Even when he adopted the pirate life, he still kept the walkman as a way of not forgetting about Earth and his mother.

"Well, we are here." Kraglin said while he was landing the shuttle nearby the trail. After landing the shuttle, everyone exited and began their fifteen minute walk. While approaching the campsite, the four of them came up with a simple plan to deal with the bandits. Rocket will scout ahead and count how many men were there. Meanwhile, Kraglin and Groot wait until Rocket's signal to attack the camp. And while the camp is under attack, Quill sneaks around to find Zynsalak. With the plan in place, the group split up and went to their positions.

Meanwhile, Peter Quill pressed the earpiece on the back of his right ear and expanded into a helmet. With a press of a button, he became Star-Lord and raced off to find a good hiding spot.
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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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11:42 AM; July 6th, 2018
Meadowview Apartments; New York City

There's never any rest for the wicked; yesterday I took a vacation day to recuperate after my shoulder wound, and then it was back to working for the NYPD. The two days before had been so hectic, due to all the high intensity gunfights, that when I prepared to kick in the apartment door to handle a routine drug bust it felt tame in comparison.

"NYPD! PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD AND GET ON THE GROUND!" I shouted, and instead of being met with a stream of bullets all I got in reply was the panicked screams of a group of meth cooks, all raising their hands over their heads and falling to their knees. I anticipated one of them, any of them, trying something...

But nothing came. They were smart enough to realize that attacking would just end in an untimely grave. My finger itched, begging for me to pull the trigger, but I held back. I didn't want to get saddled with writing a report about my use of a firearm or, even worse, spark a storm of heated political discussions on 'appropriate use of police force' or whatever the hell politicians fought over these days.

Once we had them all cuffed, everything after that was a breeze. Three other officers hauled them out to the squad cars, while myself and a few others were tasked with bagging evidence, mostly chemistry equipment and other paraphernalia like pipes and used needles and whatnot. A decade ago I would've flinched at all this; now I was just going through the motions with a stony, almost bored expression. Much as I hate to admit, the more fucked up shit you see, the more you stop giving a damn about it.

It's not long until we're back at the station, throwing the criminals into the lock-up and heading back to our cubicles or cars and waiting for the next call to action. Until then, all of us were free to unwind; and my idea of unwinding was eating lunch with Dave, who was prattling on about behind the scenes facts for some cheesy sci-fi show from the sixties he had been watching while I just nodded along in between sips of coffee.

Lately our conversations away from the department were of the vigilante nature, but it would be stupid to talk about that stuff in a building full of police officers whose job it is to hunt people like me down. Add to that, after last night's shootout at the Royal Palace, Captain Stacy was prepping his unit to hunt me down. If only they knew I was right under their noses. I almost chuckled at the thought; I was always one step ahead of them. They'd never catch me.

That thought gave me pause. Where the hell did that come from? I was starting to sound like some sort of comic book villain, laughing maniacally as the police scrambled to catch me. But I'm not the villain, right? I'm the good guy here. I'm making sure that the men the law don't touch get what's coming to them... That makes me a good person, doesn't it? Doesn't it?

But when did this become about punishing the wicked, instead of revenge? I got the guys who killed my family. I should be happy, content, over the Goddamn moon. Instead all I'm thinking about is going after more mobsters, and achieving that sense of sheer ecstasy that conquering one's enemies provided. It was dangerous, that feeling; get it too often and suddenly you crave it, burn for it. It engulfs you until all that's left is the bloodthirsty killer within.

I could stop, couldn't I? By the time this was over, I would be able to go back to a normal life, right? More importantly, by the time this was over, it would still be about punishing the evil, and not about getting my sick kicks, right?

"Frank? Earth to Frank? You alright?" I was pulled out of my terrifying moment of introspection by Dave's voice.

"Oh, uh, yeah, sorry. Just zoned out for a moment."

He kept an eyebrow quirked for a moment, before finally shrugging. "Uh, okay then. So anyway, like I was saying, instead of just actually going out to the desert to film those scenes on the desert planet, they just filled a fucking set with sand..."

He kept talking about trivia I didn't particularly care to know, and I just nodded along and occasionally threw in a chuckle. The sixties really were a weird time.


6:07 PM; July 6th, 2018
Romita Heights; New York City

At the end of the day I got into my car and drove back home, being an apartment in the Bronx. The place was pretty high-end, full of young professionals and retirees who had money to burn. When it was Maria and I, we both worked jobs that paid enough to afford living there and still have money to spare. With her gone, I was lucky to be able to pay rent. I should probably look into moving somewhere smaller, cheaper. Besides, all that was left there were memories I wanted to forget.

Once I was back in my apartment, it was time for some rest and relaxation, the only way I knew how. The liquor cabinet was always well stocked. That was always my first priority after the rent was paid. I grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels, unscrewing the top and drinking, not even bothering with a glass. Settling down in my recliner, I grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. Just the same old shit on the news; crime rates at an all time high (when are they ever not?), business suits vehemently denying that their companies are linked to criminal organizations, and the Mets sucking. What the hell else is new?

I turn the TV off after a moment, taking another swig from the bottle. I grab one of Maria's vinyls, inherited from her grandfather, and place it on the record player, letting it play as I head into my bedroom.

My bedroom.

It used to be our bedroom. The guest room used to be Frank Jr. and Lisa's room. I still haven't moved anything from its original place in there. Sometimes I'll go in and pretend they're just at school. Or maybe Maria took them down to New Orleans to visit her parents. It's easier to try and believe a lie instead of facing the truth.

Who the hell am I kidding? They're dead. They're six feet under. Just forget about them, Frank. It's time to move on with your life. Yes, absolutely. Without thinking about it, I head into the kids' room with a trash bag, grabbing all of their toys, coloring books, and clothes and throwing them into the bag. I take all of Maria's things and toss them in. I grab the family photo of ours, taken not long after the twins were born...

... I set the photo down.

I drop the bag and fall to my knees.

Much as try not to, I choke out a sob, pressing my hands to my face.

I can't move on. I still need them.

I don't remember much after that. Just lying on the floor and crying until I fell asleep.

11:29 PM; July 6th, 2018
Frank's Apartment; New York City

I wake up to the sound of my phone ringing and the intense throbbing of my head.

Pulling myself up from the floor, I pull out my phone and answer it, "Ugh... Castle here."

"Frank, you need to get the hell out of your apartment right now."

This manages to wake me up a bit, and I pull myself to my feet. "Dave? What are you talking about?"

"The cops are on their way. They found out who you are."

Now that definitely wakes me up all the way. "What? How?"

"The composite sketch. The fact that the Punisher goes after Jimmy Rossi and Nicky Francesco in the span of just two days. They put it together. They know it's you."

How could I have been so stupid? Why didn't I at least wear a Goddamn mask or something? "Fuck! They're on their way right now?"

"Frank, they were on their way ten minutes ago. I've been trying to call you but you wouldn't pick up."

The sound of loud knocking makes me turn towards the front door. "Frank Castle! We know you're in there! Come out with your hands up!"

"They're already here, Dave."

"... Shit."

"... Don't worry. I've got a plan." Without elaborating, I hang up the phone. Out there must be at least a dozen cops, all hellbent on bringing me in. The thing is, they don't know this apartment. I do. Small as it is, I can already think of a few places where I'd be able to hide and take them out.

Frantically, I close all the blinds and shut the lights off. I head into the hall closet, pulling my Glock out of the holster on my hip; lucky I forgot to change out of my uniform when I got home. There's no way in hell I'm going to kill any of them, I'll just shoot to wound and disarm.

I hear the record player in the living room still playing.

One of them kicks the door. It takes another few hits before it goes down. I hold my breath...

They fan out. I hear a few heading to the bedroom, passing the closet on their way.

I open the door and burst out, tackling one to the ground and punching him in the nose, breaking it and knocking him out. I aim at the legs of the nearest officer, firing and hitting him in the right thigh. He goes down. Two more are up ahead, recovering from the shock at the sudden attack and getting ready to fire. Quickly, I fire off two shots, managing to nail one in his abdomen and the other in her shoulder. The first drops to the ground with a scream of pain, and the other drops her weapon, allowing me to run up to her and slam her head against the wall, knocking her out.

I duck and roll back into the kids' old room, just as gunfire erupts from the living room and strikes the master bedroom door. I hide myself inside the oversized toy trunk Maria got for the kids, now empty due to my alcohol-induced cleaning spree. After a moment, the door opens. Judging by the footsteps, three of them swarm in. I don't know how many more of their friends there are.

"Check the closet," the one who was shouting whispers. I crack the box open ever so slightly to peek around. They all have their backs to me.

Slowly, I open it all the way. I take aim at the one heading for the closet, shooting him in the back of the knee, then jump onto the one closest to me while simultaneously shooting at the third cop. I hit him in the shoulder, making him drop his shotgun, then another shot hits him in the leg and brings him down. I slam my pistol onto the face of the officer under me, then slip out of the room and into the living room.

I see three more in the room, all looking in my direction. Judging by the fact that they don't shoot immediately, they probably can't see me too well. "... Sir? Is that you?" one asks. In response, I dive to the side, shooting his gun hand and making him drop his pistol with a yelp. I scramble into cover, it being a couch, and the officers fire at where I last was.

Once the gunfire stops I pop up from behind my cover and fire at the two officers, hitting one in the legs while hitting the other in his abdomen. They both drop to the floor and shout in pain, before I vault over the couch and rush the unarmed one, tackling him to the ground before punching him in the side of the head and knocking him out.

I keep my pistol at the ready, prepared for another to pop out. After a minute or two of silence, nothing comes. Content that I took care of them all, I leave through the fire escape on the side of the building, passing the officers writhing on the ground and moaning in pain in the hallway along the way. Once I reach the bottom of the fire escape and drop to the ground, I head off into the night, keeping to the various side allies to avoid any conflict on the way to my destination: Dave's house.

To Be Continued...
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Bounce
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Exactly fourteen hundred hours, seventh rotation of the solar equinox as recorded on the planet Oa. During this duty period, there were 7,187 Green Lanterns patrolling 3,600 sectors. 14,501 parking violations, 976 minor traffic violations, and 1,087 arrests for various offenses. All of which has to be codified into reports. That makes it my problem. My name is Salaak. I carry a ring.
"Orphan's Lament" [ Part I ] [ The Scarred Guardian ]

An Interceptor appeared in orbit of Oa.

It was the Sentinel, guided by its artificial intelligence back to the hangars on Oa. To await its orders. Whatever had happened on Scylla, he needed to get to that ship before its programming could be altered. Or its memory wiped.

Turning his head to the side, the Slyggian could make out Green Lantern 2814.2 making his way toward the pre-determined launch position in high polar orbit over Oa.

What was the point of sending Kai-ro off to Scylla if the Sentinel were returning to Oa? As soon as the child got into orbit of the planet, he'd know something was wrong.

Unless he didn't get to Scylla. A trap? The Slyggian worked through the footage he'd seen. The scarred Guardian had put her hands on Kai-ro's ring.

His eyes looking left, then looking right, the Slyggian looked at where the Sentinel was docking in one of the Science Division hangars. And, on the other side of the world, Kai-ro was powering up for the jump to lightspeed.


Things were happening too fast. Glancing over at one of the dispatchers, Salaak signaled the other Lantern. "Take over for me," the Slyggian ordered curtly, even as he started to descend from the raised dias from which he lorded over the galactic operations center. "I'm going to get my meal," the veteran Green Lantern offered by way of explanation.

A lie. But one thought would easily buy him an hour in which no one was at least nominally looking for him.

"Clarissi, the Science Director requests your presence."

The request stopped the Slyggian in his tracks. His eyes darted to the monitors. Kai-ro was no longer in orbit of Oa.


What could he do? Refuse? That would draw too much attention, and do nothing to help anyone. Turning, the Slyggian gave a nod of acknowledgment. "Lunch will wait. Tell the Director I'll be there immediately."

He stepped into the Science Director's private office.

All things considered, it may have well been named the Legion of Doom. Turning his head, Salaak waited and watched as the door shut behind him. Then he just stood there, his eyes piercing daggers toward the diminutive blue devil who lounged behind a red and white robe.

"Clarissi Salaak," the scarred Guardian remarked, rising from out of her seat as though genuinely pleased to see him. Walking toward him, the woman tucked her arms into her sleeves as she added, "This may be the first time we've spoken since your promotion. A belated congratulations on your continued success for our Corps."

The Slyggian just gave a hollow-sounding grunt. "I see no reason to maintain this fallacy," the Lantern intoned pointedly, looking down at the woman. "I've disabled the ability of yours to record my speech or actions through my ring, as you have done the same in your office."

The smile fell from the woman's face. "Your candor is the least of your admittedly lackluster attributes." Turning away, she paused a moment before looking back. "Do you not acknowledge your superiors? Have I not earned my status as Guardian?"

Another grunt, this one half a laugh at the suggestion. "Forgive me if I do not bend a knee," Salaak quipped back dryly. "Arthritis you know."

"Actually, I don't," the woman answered sweetly. The smile returned. A Cheshire grin, like the devil's own. "Enlighten me. What is it like to be mortal? The bones becoming brittle, the flesh becoming weak, the mind... fading."

The Slyggian merely inclined his head. "Tell me, how old must one become before their soul rots from the inside?"

The smile faded. Just a bit, but noticeable. "Ha!" the woman scoffed, giving a dismissive gesture as she said, "You think in such small terms. You should read more. Expand your mind."

The Slyggian did take a moment to appreciate that she was, at least, someone who took her own advice. There were bound tomes from every conceivable culture dotting the landscape of the office. Bending down, Salaak picked up a random one whose typeface was in a language he didn't recognize.

On a guess, he turned the book to face out toward the woman, as he asked, "The human poet you quoted earlier, perhaps?"

The edges of the smile quivered. He'd struck a nerve.

"I should have you reported for stalking," the Guardian noted coldly. "And, no. That's Milton. You should take it. A mind like yours might appreciate the wisdom in it."

"Perhaps there is some other wisdom you called me here to receive?" Salaak offered snidely, discarding the human book. He was growing impatient. And, at least in the present circumstance, not afraid to show it.

Making her way over to a sidetable, the Guardian pulled down a decanter and a glass. "I thought after that little incident on Xabas that we had reached an understanding," the woman noted, pouring herself a sniffer of some kind of amber-colored liquor. As she put the decanter away, she added, "That's why I supported you when you left that horrible Abin Sur behind and came to work on Oa."

Through gritted teeth, the Slyggian deadpanned, "You've no idea what that support means to me."

Ignoring the jab, the woman casually turned toward him, swirling the liquor around in the glass. "I'm perfectly content to wait you out, Salaak. I've nothing but time on my side," the Guardian noted in the same brutally detached manner as before. Pausing, she continued. "But whenever your associates challenge my agenda, I'm forced to have to push my schedule up. And that will cost you," she noted, taking a delicate sip of the brandy. Lowering the sniffer back down, she added, "I thought that was a lesson you'd learned by now."

Now she'd struck a nerve. Bristling, the Slyggian stiffly noted, "Is that what you thought murdering Ch'p was going to achieve? Teach me a lesson?"

The woman just stared back at him, as though on the verge of laughter. "You think far too highly of your own importance," the Guardian answered candidly. Swirling the brandy around in the glass, the woman reclined back into an oversized loveseat. "Oh, and see about sending someone to go fetch 2814.2's ring... would you?"

If he was half the Green Lantern that Abin Sur had been, Salaak would be testing the limits of that supposed immortality that the Guardians possessed. "He's just a boy."

"Yes, he was."

The Slyggian just stared coldly at the scarred woman. His hands balled into fists as a cold rage seethed through his body. His thumb was brushing against the ring on his finger.

The two were sizing one another up. A showdown inside her office was not going to end well for Salaak, no matter what the outcome of that fight might be.

To be honest, Salaak would be lying if he said he wasn't tempted to try it anyway.

The moment came... and went. Neither made a move. Instead, the scarred Guardian sipped brandy even as she boasted the murder of a child. "This is business, Salaak. You're either my customer... or my competition." Setting the sniffer glass over on the coffee table, the woman rose back to her feet and walked over toward the Slyggian. "I'd been content, to this point, in letting you linger but now I really must insist that you decide which it is going to be."

"Business was never my forté."

"Amusing," the woman said. Clearly it wasn't. Turning, she made her way back toward the loveseat. "I need your resignation," the scarred Guardian declared, dropping back into her seat and reaching over to pick up her glass of brandy. "Tender it and I can ensure that your retirement is one of luxury..."

The door to the office breezed open, permitting the passage of another diminutive Guardian entry. "Have you seen this report on Tamaran..." Appa Ali Apsa was remarked, before he looked up and realized that Salaak was there. "What is going on here?" the Guardian demanded.

An avenue of escape. "The Science Director was just giving me an assignment," Salaak offered smoothly. He was thinking on his feet, but he'd dare the Science Director to contradict him.

She was the one who called him here, after all.

"An exploratory mission toward the Vega System. Due to the sensitivities, she felt it necessary for me to observe the work personally," Salaak remarked, turning his head to look over toward the woman.

To her credit, she just inclined her head toward him.

It also worked to get Appa's attention off of him. "Why was I not consulted about this?" the man demanded, turning toward the scarred Guardian.

"As he said, it's an exploratory survey," the woman answered calmly, adding, "I, for one, was not aware that matters under the jurisdiction of the Science Division were under your purview."

"Hmph." Appa huffed, before turning back toward the Slyggian. "Leave us."

Bowing slightly, Salaak uttered the obligatory, "Guardians," as he proceeded back out the door of the science lab.

He got four steps down the hall before he could be certain that the door had closed behind him, then his ring activated as the Slyggian made a run for it.
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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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I don’t like going to Hollywood if I can help it. Not for the reason most people avoid it like the plague. On any given day it’s dirty, crime-ridden and filled with street hustlers looking to squeeze you out of every last cent. Place like that would be home to me if it were anywhere else. But Hollywood has a lot of spiritual baggage. More so than any other place of its age. It’s not shocking, really. The people love to wax poetic about the magic of the movies, and almost all of it bollocks that people in the film industry love to spout off to play up their importance. But there’s truth there.

In today’s world, the latest big budget blockbuster schlock-fest is an event. People in the States and around the world pack the cinemas by the droves and watch. Millions and millions of eyes on the screen, millions of minds all with the same ideas planted in them. That’s powerful, primordial stuff. On top of that power is the macabre history that people love to obsess over. I’m talking Fatty Arbuckle crushing Virginia Rappe to death while they fucked, smoldering pretty boy James Dean with his love of fast cars and even faster men, George Reeves -- the original Doc Savage -- and his downward spiral and eventual questionable suicide. Doesn't matter if it's true or not, all that matters is it gets spread. Rumors and urban legends given power with each and every repeating, each and every time a new person discovers the old stories and believes it.

No, I don’t like going to Hollywood if I can help it. But since when do any of us ever get a fucking choice in this life?


2:21 PM

He sat in the semi-darkness of the club, playing to a room of empty chairs. His long, graceful fingers danced around the keys of the piano. He played the mournful melody with his eyes closed as he sang.

“Now I've heard there was a secret chord that David played, and it pleased the Lord but you don't really care for music, do you? It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift. The baffled king composing ‘Hallelujah.’”

The voice that came out of his mouth was beautiful, quite literally angelic. Just like his looks. His perfect blonde hair and crystal blue eyes were part of a face that turned heads wherever he went. The only mar to the beauty was the scar. A great gash that ran from his left eyebrow to his right jaw. It was a battle scar, delivered by a fiery sword wielded by his own brother.

“I did my best; it wasn’t much. I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch. I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you. And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah...”

John Constantine walked around the edges of the club, unlit cigarette in hand. As the man finished up his song he approached. His blue eyes sparkled even in the dark. Eyes that had seen billions of years of war and suffering, eyes that carried behind them cursed knowledge and a desire for freedom that had been his undoing once upon a time.

“Know any Sex Pistols?” asked John.

“I’ll work on it,” Lucifer Morningstar said, standing. “Thank you for coming.”

“Well, the king of Hell summons you,” said John. “You come toot sweet.”

Former ruler of Hell.”

“Mmm,” John said as he lit his cigarette. “Could never reckon why you gave it all up. I may not be one of those public school ponces, but I know my Milton. ‘Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven’ and all that.”

“A few million years of being a scapegoat for man’s weakness and God’s inequity will turn anyone off the idea of being the devil. Man kills and rapes because he wants to, not because I make him. They were made to be violent and petty, made in His image, but yet they look to me instead of their creator.”

“We love to blame,” said John, holding his smoldering cigarette up. “Bobby Joe smokes three pack a day and when he gets lung cancer, he blames the bloody cigarette company. Don’t take it personal, Lucy, just our way.”

A look of annoyance flashed on Lucifer's face at the use of the nickname. He walked passed John and headed for the club’s bar. John followed in his wake, taking a seat on a stool while Lucifer went behind the bar to the liquor shelf.

“Lux caters to plenty of Hollywood people. Powerful people,” said Lucifer. “One of my regulars came to me recently with a problem. It bores me, but it’s right up your alley, Constantine. You've always enjoyed getting down in the gutters.”

“Need help getting pesky stains off that casting couch?” John asked with a grin.

“Something a bit trickier.”

He took his time, taking a bottle of scotch from the top shelf and pouring himself a glass. John had to resist the urge to laugh. The towheaded cunt was every bit the showman.

“Tell me,” he said before taking a long swig of his drink. “Are you familiar with Jake Stowe?”


Laurel Canyon
8:21 PM

“Come in, come in,” Jake Stowe said with a withered hand. “I’ve been expecting you, Mr. Constantine.”

Jake Stowe appeared to be ancient. Stoop-shouldered with a wrinkled face, a neat black mustache, and massive eyeglasses. Despite his age, his hair was still jet black. Though John could see black spots around the hairline and upper lip, places where he’d spilled the dye during the coloring process. Even at his home he was immaculately dressed in a black suit with white pinstripes, a blood red cravat tied around his neck. The one hand that wasn’t free clung to a dark, wooden cane with a golden top.

“Follow me,” Stowe said.

He hobbled through the house while John followed. The walls of the hallways of the home were filled with framed movie posters. They were cheap things with half-naked women splayed across them in sensational poses, and ridiculous titles like “Dykes From Hell”, “I Was A Japanese Love Slave”, “Werewolves In Love”, "Nazi Vampires From Space", and “The Devil is My Step-Daddy.” Each and every one of the posters, no matter how trashy, had the words “A Jacob Stowe Picture” written somewhere on them.

Stowe led John to a sitting room. Just like the hallways, the walls of the room had posters and black and white photographs on every inch of them. Comfortable couches and chairs faced the fireplace. Above the fireplace, hung above the mantel, was a poster unlike the others. In stark black and white, it showed a beautiful man with a horrendous scar across his face. He stared straight ahead at the camera, his gaze piercing and his hands clasped together in mock prayer. Underneath him were the words “LUCIFER” in a simple font, while the words “A Jacob Stowe Picture” were written above his head in an arc.

“Not long after he fled the Pit, our mutual friend dabbled in acting," Stowe said as he plopped down on one of the couches. “I ran out of cash halfway through the film, and people were too spooked by the title of the film to put up any more money. This was the sixties, and any movie -- even the usual tasteful art house pictures I put out -- with the devil as the main character was going to be a hard sell. I still have the reels from it. It’s become a bit of a Hollywood urban legend.”

“That’s what you’re known for, right?” asked John. “The keeper of Hollywood legends and dirt. A gossip monger. The man with the longest memory.”

“Yes,” Stowe said with a touch of pride in his voice. “The scandal sheets today have such a fleeting nature. What they think of as controversy today is nothing compared to the dirt I’ve uncovered. Have you ever read my books, Mr. Constantine?”

“Can’t say that I have,” John said, glancing out the window. To anyone else, the view would be a breathtaking scene of L.A. lit up at night. But all John could see was the toxic green smog of the city and spirits floating in the sky, too far off to be anything other than hazy objects. “But I know the stories pretty well, maybe better than most.”

“Are you familiar with the story of Frederick Waltham, then?”

“Can’t say that I am,” John said, turning away from the window. “Mind if I smoke?”

“Help yourself,” said Stowe. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a plastic cigarette holder. “While you’re at it, may I have one?”

After everything was settled and both men had their smokes, Stowe took a long drag from his holder and blew smoke out of his nostrils. Like Lucifer, John noticed the old man liked the pregnant pauses and the dragging out of things.

“Oh, that’s good. I really shouldn’t at my age, but I don’t have long left in this world so I might as well indulge.”

"Gotta die of something," said John. “So, who is Frederick Waltham?”

“The reason you’re here,” said Stowe. “His story is not one for the faint of heart, but one I’m sure you’ll find it fascinating. A brilliant screenwriter, a multi-Oscar winner, and an avowed Satanist, Waltham cheated, Mr. Constantine. All that talent, money, and prestige was not hard-earned. It was bought. For the low, low price of his soul.”
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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Member Seen 22 days ago

Greco Jewelers
Bronx, NY

Emil Greco begins locking up his store for the night. Business was good today. Both of them. Plenty of cash to funnel to the boss as well as his own pocket. That was always a good night. He makes sure the cases are all locked tight, and presses a button that drops the security gate over the front facade and display cases. Greco had learned the hard way that being part of the mob wasn't enough security. There was a time when being part of a family meant no one would mess with you without a formal declaration. There used to be rules. Now there is just the freaks in the costumes.

Emil heard stories from friends in Gotham. The Batman sounds like a real piece of work, but even he seems to have rules. The new Spider-Woman seems to have rules. But the one who wears the skull on his chest, the one that calls himself the Punisher. He doesn't have anything but a blood lust. What he did to those men last night was disgusting. There's no honor in what he does. Only rage and violence.

There used to be rules.

Greco finishes inside the shop, and heads out into the alley where his car and guards would be waiting for him. As the door opens, however, it's clear that something is wrong. His two guards are unconscious, tied up by a thin, almost translucent string. One of them moans in pain, while the other is completely unconscious.

"What the?"

Before Greco can react, I kick the door closed from my perch on top of the dumpster next to it. He turns to face me, attempting to draw a gun. As he pulls it from its holster, I web up his hand and fire a line from my other hand up to the top of the building. I turn back to him and smile, "Ever go on one of those slingshot rides at the boardwalk? No? Well get ready!"

I yank on the side connected to the building, sending the two of us flying towards the rooftops. The entire time, the mobster screams bloody murder, clearly terrified for his life. Good. That's the idea.

When we get to the top, I toss him into the air, allowing the line he's on to go to its full length before dropping him down the alleyway. He bounces slightly on the webline, "Oh god I don't wanna die! Don't kill me!"

I have to laugh at that as I haul him back up. Detaching the webline and hanging him from the building's fire escape, I climb down to look him in the eye, "Oh, don't worry, Emil. I'm not going to kill you. But I can't guarantee the Punisher won't. He seems to have a real crush on you and your friends."

"You don't have to tell me that you crazy freak!" he spits and cries. "He already hit my store up. Wrecked the place real good and stole some of my best merchandise while I was locked up in my panic room!"

So this is where he got his guns. That's good to know. It also means the police were right in believing Greco is a small arms dealer. Once this is all over, at least there will be one more of them off the streets. The Kingpin and Silvio Manfredi will lose another source of death in New York.

"So he did get his guns from your supply," I pat him on the face. "When? And how?"

The mobster tries to struggle against the webbing on his hand, and I look at him sideways, "You do know that if you cut that off you're going to fall like four stories, right? Now, I'm not a doctor but I would think that fall would kill you. At the very least I'd think it'd paralyze you. Either way, not the funnest thing in the world."

"He blew out my windows, killed two of my guards and crippled a third," Greco snarls at me. "He somehow knew about the button below my cases that reveal the guns beneath the jewels. I managed to scramble into the panic room while he took what he wanted. He took ones that I didn't have time to file down. Knew they would lead right back to me eventually."

The Punisher certainly is smart. Stealing guns from someone who shouldn't be selling them in the first place. Cops would eventually come around to pick up the guy who supplied the murder weapons.

"And you couldn't call the cops because you'd give yourself away," I realize another genius reason for Punisher taking these guns. "But you have to have video of him. Something from the security cameras? Anything that could lead me to him?"

"You want to catch the maniac?" Emil is shocked. "I figured you costumed freaks all run in the same circles."

"Not me and this guy," I respond, deadly serious. "I'm not a cold blooded murderer. This guy does it and makes it look like an art form. Whether he's doing it to bad people or not, he's eventually going to kill someone innocent. And that I can't allow."

Emil Greco considers his predicament for a while. Sure, there's a chance someone heard his screams and called for help. It's also just as likely as someone thinking it was just the screams of another New York wino pissing away his life. Actually, those circumstances are probably the more likely scenario. He clearly doesn't like the idea of helping me, but he realizes he doesn't have any other choice, "Fine. Let me back in the shop and I'll get you his face."

"Okay," I smile, "but just to warn you, I have super speed and reflexes. You try to pull anything, and you will be spending a few weeks in the ICU. Understand?"

"That's about the first thing you've said that I'm used to in this line of work," the greasy mobster smiled, a single gold tooth in the front of his grin gleaming in the street light.

The two of us head back into the shop after I free him from the webbing, as well as disarm him from his gun. He walks up to his computer and begins unlocking it. He brings up the security cam footage and waves his hand as if presenting it to me, "There you go. A deal's a deal."

"Thanks!" I wave with a chipper disposition before webbing him to the wall. To Pete over the comms, I say, "Okay we're in."

"What the hell are you-"


I cover the mobster's mouth with webbing, "Shush, this is a work call, and it's kind of important."

"Just put the drive into the computer," Pete responds. "Just like I did with your dad's."

I do as my friend says, and stare into the eyes of the Punisher, his form frozen on the security camera footage. My comments about him being a machine seem all the more based in reality. As he fires a gun at the two guards, there is no emotion in his eyes. There's no fury or malice. There's only a cold, calculating gaze. How someone can dole out so much death with so little feeling is beyond me. Hell, it's beyond any rational person.

"Okay, I have his face, going to try and match it against the NYPD facial recognition database. That should-Whoa okay that was fast," Pete is surprised when the match dings in front of him. "Holy crap...he's a cop. The Punisher is a cop. Name's Frank Castle. Looks like he's got a stellar record too."

"Get me an address," I ask Pete. "I'll head that way once I'm done here."

Turning, I see Greco struggling against the webbing, and I shake my head. He won't be getting out of that any time soon. I search under the front desk for the button he said reveals the armory he keeps hidden. I find two. Pressing the first does nothing, but the second transformers the store. Each jewelery case folds back to reveal handguns, rifles, and high powered automatic weapons. Suddenly, it dawns on me what the other button did, "Oh I just called the cops, didn't I? Jewelry store panic button? Well, that saves a step. Enjoy jail, Emil. I'm guessing you'll be there a while."

Next to the computer I notice a pad of sticky notes. I grab a pen, jot down a note, and stick it to the trapped arms dealer.

Courtesy of your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Woman. :)


The scene outside of Frank Castle's apartment building looks like a triage from the Civil War. Cops nursing wounds, bloody sheets, and cries and moans of pain. Abandoned squad cars from the haste to catch the man sit on the sidewalk, lights flashing and illuminating the street in red and blue. Behind them are the ambulances treating the wounded. Looks like the cops found Castle before I did, and I curse myself for being too slow. If I had found him first, maybe these people would have been spared.

Then the thought crosses my mind.


I quickly call my father, and when he picks up I can tell he's shaken, but not injured, "Sweetheart, I can't talk now. Important business."

"Okay dad," my voice sounds relieved. "Just wanted to check on you. Love ya."

Hanging up, I call Peter back, "Pete, see if you can tap into the police scanner. NYPD found Frank first. There's wounded. Don't know if there's any casualties."

"Okay, will do," he says tentatively. "Is your dad okay?"

"Yea, he's fine, I just called him."

"Oh thank god," he sighs with relief as I hear the scanner tuning in the background. "Okay...I think...Yea, it sounds like Castle escaped on foot. At least that's what they think."

He couldn't have gotten far, and he definitely didn't come out this way. Which means one of the side alleys. Good thing I can run across rooftops.

You are not getting away that easily you maniac.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Lord Wraith
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Lord Wraith Silly Forum Ghost

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Thunder rolled overheard as Blake picked himself up, out of the mud. The smell of apples overwhelmed his nostrils as he slowly stood up, his head spinning as he looked around. Nearly ten paces in front of him lay the barn as Blake took a slow step forward before gaining momentum. Tossing open the doors of the barn, Thor walked into the Asgardian banquet hall. Cheers echoed all around as tankards clashed together, the frothy mead head spilled over the edge of each mug, dripping onto the floor where the hounds eagerly lapped it up.

Smiling, a sense of belonging washed over Thor as he swept his fur cloak over his shoulder, spreading his arms wide as he made his way down the marble steps into the great hall. Each pillar was carved with runes and pictographs, the images depicting the tales of numerous heroes, including those of his father, Odin, and Uncle, Tyr. Now the carvers added the tales of Thor's own adventures, his likeness hoisting the Midgard's Serpent above its head.

Accepting a tankard from Fandral, Thor raised it to his mouth, dipping his head back as he inhaled the drink, its froth nesting on his beard before he pulled the mug away from his mouth and slammed it to the ground.

"Another!" He shouted as the hall erupted into cheers and another tankard slid down the table into his waiting hand. Tipping the drink to his mouth, Thor surveyed the room until he spotted the long blonde locks of his beautiful wife from across the room. Approaching her, Thor wrapped an arm around Sif's waist as he spun her around. As her eyes raised to meet his, Thor suddenly staggered back as Sif's golden hair went pitch black, her rosy cheeks turning as pale as death as she looked up at Blake.

"He will fail you as he failed me if you let him."

Her hair suddenly fell from her skull as her eyes rolled into Blake's open hand causing the man to jump in disgust as the great hall of Asgard was ripped away from around him and Blake suddenly found himself in the midst of a cornfield. A flock of black birds circled around him, their constants caws loud enough to prompt Blake to cover his ears as he tried to run through the rows upon rows of stalks. No matter which way Blake ran, he found his way back to the initial clearing, until finally, he surrendered to the field.

Falling to his knees, Blake looked to the sky as the birds suddenly went silent. The clouds darkened as a lone lightning bolt struck the ground in front of Blake, thunder echoed all around as he was thrown backwards by the force. From within the lightning stood the silhouette of a man as he slowly stepped towards Blake as the latter scuttled out of the way.

"You are weak." The figure spoke as Blake turned his eyes upwards to see his own face looking down on him.

"You're not me!" Blake cried back as he struggled to stand, all the while the doppelganger advanced on him.

"They will not remember you." It snarled back as the figure held out a hand. The corn stalks shuffled as something moved within the field. Seeing his moment, Blake launched himself forward tackling the other figure to the ground. Raising a fist back, Blake felt something fly to his hand as both figures turned their heads to see a hammer in Blake's hand.

"NO!" The doppelganger cried. "How could you be worthy!" It protested, the shade fading beneath Blake, leaving him alone in the field as Blake turned to stand. As he did, the corn around him faded away, the smell of apples returning as Blake took a step forward, an orchard appearing around him as an elderly man helped himself to a nearby tree.

"It is going to be a lovely harvest this year, would you not agree, my son?" The man asked, turning to greet Blake as the latter stumbled along, the hammer handing from his wrist by a throng. Nodding towards the hammer, the elderly man continued to speak. "I see that at least some part of your subconscious has begun to accept your birthright. Do you know where you are?"

"I'd know this place anywhere," Blake stated with a weary smile, taking a deep whiff of the air. "Colborne's Orchard is the highlight of Fall in Marville." He answered absolutely.

A chuckle escaped the older man's lips as he leaned heavily on his cane and approached the young man, his rags disappearing as golden armor adorned his body. The walking stick forming a pointed spear as the man straightened his back, his body language changing drastically as the need to bow in the man's presence washed over Blake.

"No, I am afraid this is not Oklahoma," The older man gestured around the pair with his free arm. "This is the Orchard of Idunn, home of the Maiden Goddess herself." He said matter of factually.

"You are in Asgard, my son, or at least, how you remember Asgard." His tone saddened at the latter part, but everything he said after 'Oklahoma' was lost on Blake as he suddenly noticed for the first time that the apples were neither red, nor green, but rather a glistening gold that shone in the sunlight.

"Asgard isn't real," Blake responded as he reached towards the apple, taking a hold of it, astounded by the metallic appearance. His hand jumped back as the texture of the apple matched that which he knew, but contrasted with its appearance was almost too much for his mind to comprehend. "I'm dreaming."

"Were you dreaming when you summoned the powers of Thor?" The older man asked again as he took a seat on a nearby stump. "You deny your birthright."

"I denied my birthright when I became a veterinarian instead of a farmer. I'm denying insanity by rejecting the idea that I am a mythological figure at the age of twenty-eight." Blake retorted again. "Who are you supposed to be anyways, Merlin?"

A hearty laugh left the older man's chest as he wiped a mirthful tear from his eye, a hand slapping lightly against his knee.

"While Merlin is a good friend, Alas, I am not he." The older man answered after several seconds of chuckling. "I am your father, Odin, son of Bor, Allfather of Asgard."

"Okay then," Blake muttered, crossing his arms as he turned to address 'Odin'. "Let's say for a moment, that I did, in fact, call upon the power of 'Thor'," He said as he made sarcastic 'air quotes'.

"I've only done it once and it was under your suggestion. How am I not supposed to think that you're some sort of 'power gifting' metahuman with a god complex?" Blake challenged as Odin chuckled softly again, leaning on his spear as he stood.

"Are you so stubborn that you have repressed your own memories." Odin scolded as he approached Blake. "Perhaps, it is time for some perspective." He continued, his hand raising as Blake quickly found a finger pressed to his forehead before he could react.

Celebratory music echoed in his ears as his eyes adjusted to his new location. Opening wide at the familiar sight of his university campus, the music was coming from all around Blake, playing all across campus, loudly blaring from party to party. Looking down, he felt out of place at the victory party, the home team had won yet again prompting all of San Marcos to explode into Homecoming celebrations, most of which were taking place across Texas State campus.

Taking a sip from the plastic cup in his hand, Blake coughed as the beer hit his taste buds for the first time, swallowing hard in order to keep himself from spitting it out. The beer was warm and tasted about as good as it had smelled, which truthfully, hadn't been all that good. Still, it was his first drink of alcohol, despite his father's best efforts to keep Blake from falling into 'sin'. His friends from high-school had often referred to beer as being an acquired taste, much like coffee. To Blake, that meant it could only get better with a second sip. Taking another swig from the cup, Blake coughed before spitting the liquid over the edge of the roof.

It hadn't got any better.

"Is that how all Southern men drink?" A voice teased from behind Blake as he turned around to come face to face with Barbara. For a second, Blake had almost forgotten how stunning she was, even when she wasn't trying to be. The memory suddenly became more clear as he looked at Barbara, her hair was pulled back, a tank top barely covering her bra as she stood in front of him in a pair of snug jeans.

"Just the smart ones," Blake replied as he cracked a wide smile, leaning back against the edge of the roof. "Where are you from?"

"Washington," Barbara said taking a swig from the bottle in her hand. "District of Columbia, not the hippy one on the coast." She added taking another swig. "How do you deal with this heat?" Barbara asked as she joined Blake by the roof's edge, looking out over the campus as fireworks went off in the distance. "October back home, I'd be at least wearing a cute jacket by now."

"Texas heat can take a little getting used to." Blake smiled, "Guess they should change their slogan, everything is bigger and hotter in Texas."

"Is that so?" Barbara replied with a raised eyebrow, pressing the cold bottle against her glistening neck. "I'd kiss the first man who could make it rain right now."

"You don't normally kiss men?" Blake asked with a coy smile.

"Normally not ones that can't hold their beer." Barbara teased back as clouds gathered overhead, brought on by a cool breeze. "I don't suppose this is you?" She added with a mischevious smile.

"And what if it is?" Blake responded. "Are you going to kiss me?" He asked, turning to face Barbara as raindrops began to fall from the sky.

"I do have a reputation at stake, I'd hate to tarnish my word," Barbara said as she turned, smirking mischievously towards Blake.

"I'm glad that you're the reputable sort," Blake stated leaning forward further as Barbara placed a hand on his chin.

"Shut up and kiss me."

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

M O N D A Y, J U L Y 2 N D, 2 0 1 8 - 0 1 : 0 9 p m | D O N A L D S O N F A R M


Blake's eyes shot open as he looked around, grogginess betraying his ability to gain his bearings only for a massive hand to grab the back of his head and force him to look upwards. The smell of stale straw mixed with faint undertones of ancient manure told Blake that he was still in the barn.

"Three fuckin' hours you've been knocked the fuck out. I am damn well not a patient man, Donaldson." Creel sneered as his face loamed over Blake's.

"But apparently one with a flair for the theatrical. Why else keep me alive?" Blake spat back as he struggled against his bindings.

"I've got bigger fish to fry, just thought they might have shown up by now. What's a guy got to do to get Sparky's fuckin' attention?"

"Where's Barbara?" Blake demanded as he continued to struggle while Creel merely sneered at him.

"Oh your girlfriend, eh she's a bit tied up at the moment. Say, how long do you think she'll take to get over you?" Creel asked, every word dripping with malice. "Your girl is fuckin' hot, don't know how a pussy like you ever managed to land that knockout, but I know if she was mine, she certainly wouldn't have been working and she definitely wouldn't be able to walk fuckin' straight." He smiled as Blake remained silent, his eyes doing nothing but shooting daggers across the room.

"Oh but wait, she's always looked like that huh? Man, that sucks for you eh, ya stupid fuck." Creel laughed. "Lands the hottest girl in this dump, 'cept she's a terrible lay, ain't never had to suck a dick in her life cause she's got the face of an angel and the body of a fuckin' porn star." Creel walked over to Blake, patting him roughly on the back as he continued to speak.

"Don't worry pal, after I take care of Sparky, you can watch her suck my dick in exchange for your lif-" Creel didn't get a chance to finish as Blake suddenly broke free of his bonds, a fist to the chin lifting the other man off of his feet before landing flat on his back amidst the straw-littered ground.

Within Blake something had surged, fear had parted enough that an ancient thirst for battle awoke within. Conflict still remained in his subconscious but for now, the competitors were on the same page.

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

Member Online


"Life is good, wild and sweet
Let the music play on
Feel it in your heart and feel it in your soul
Let the music take control, we going to
Parti', liming, fiesta, forever"

Once Star-Lord got into position, it was only a matter of time before he would hear Rocket's signal. Suddenly, he heard screaming and shouting coming from the other side of the camp. Then came the gunfire. It was time to get to work. Star-Lord leapt from the bushes and quietly ran towards the camp. He got inside the camp while the men were reacting to the firefight. Earlier, Rocket counted around thirty-four men in the camp with four outdoor tents. While running towards one of them, he saw a tree coming down upon another tent and destroying it in seconds. Then, he proceeded to enter the tent while men were running pass him and towards combat.

Inside, he found dozens of artifacts and prized possessions out for display. Nearby an artifact was a tunnel designed to send them down towards the underground part of the camp. Star-Lord was interested with everything in the tent, but he heard noises nearby. He immediately hid by one of the displays and watched as Zynsalak and three other men entered. "You two follow me into the underground," he barked out orders. "and you will lead the men to victory or death."

The woman nodded and ran outside to fight against the enemy. Meanwhile, one of the men asked what to do with the remaining artifacts. Zynsalak looked around as if for the last time and sighed. "Leave them be. We can finish later or leave it from mother nature." With that, the three men walked down towards the underground. Star-Lord found what he was looking for and returned outside. The fighting was still ongoing with sixteen men dead, according to one of the pirates. He pulled out his blasters and carefully approached the firefight. Unfortunately for them, Star-Lord was spotted right away and opened fire. He managed to kill two of them before flying away thanks to his jet boots.

In the air, he spotted the others using another fallen tree as cover and landed nearby. He ran to cover and greeted the others.

"You found him?" Kraglin asked while Rocket was firing at the pirates.

"Yeah." Star-Lord responded. "You should see the entrance. It's filled with ancient artifacts and other amazing shit!"

"Did you say ancient artifacts?" Rocket stopped firing and looked at Quill.


"Alright then." Rocket got excited and reached into his belt, pulled out two grenades, and handed them to Quill. "Take them and use your jet boots to deal with these pirates. We will attack once you drop the grenades on them."

Star-Lord nodded and activated his jet boots. Rocket and Kraglin provided covering fire while he flew towards the enemy. He had to a couple barrel rolls to dodge the lasers. Before he was over the enemy, he put his blaster away and grabbed the grenades. Now with a clear view, Star-Lord pressed the red buttons and dropped them above them. The grenades blew up the second they landed on the ground and did serious damage. Star-Lord pulled his blasters again and opened fire once he was on solid ground. He used a crate as cover. Meanwhile, the others were using Groot as a shield to push forward.

The fighting continued for a few minutes with the pirate losing more people. And soon enough, there were only three people remaining. Of course, they kept on fighting until Groot impaled all three of them. To make sure they were dead, he smashed them against the ground and one of the tents. It became increasingly violent to the point where everyone was caught off guard. Even Rocket was taken back and told Groot to stop.

"I am Groot?"

"You overkilled it, pal." Rocket explained.

Star-Lord and Kraglin were stunned with the brutality and walked away from them. They arrived at the tent and entered it with Rocket and Groot following them shortly after. Inside, the room was quiet and the artifacts were still there. Rocket became amazed with the potential value if they were to take and sell them. If they weren't fakes. He glanced at every artifact before finding the tunnel along with the others.

Star-Lord turned to the others and said, "Zynsalak is in there with two other men and we need answers. So let's not kill him yet."

Rocket turned towards Groot and asked, "Can you walk ahead of us? Just in case."

Groot nodded and walked faster than the others. They were near the entrance when Zynsalak's men opened fire on the tree. Their weapons were no match for Groot's tough wooden hide. He stabbed one of the guys while Star-Lord shot the other with his blaster. Zynsalak surrendered the moment his men dropped dead. Both Kraglin and Quill couldn't believe that they were facing the only man with answers.

"What do you want?" Zynsalak asked while realizing that every one of his men were dead.

"Answers, Zynsalak." Kraglin coldly replied and raised a blaster to his face. "Tell us about what you were doing near the Eclector's last location?"
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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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12:14 AM; July 7th, 2018
One of Many Side Alleys; New York City

Dave's isn't far from here. Just another street or so, and I'll be able to relax, or at least be away from constant gunfire long enough to come up with some sort of game plan. I was thankful I was smart enough to stash away all the guns I had... Acquired from Emil Greco, somewhere safe. At least I didn't have to worry about having to use a half empty Glock with no other ammo for the rest of my crusade. I'd also have to find some place to lay low, like a warehouse or an abandoned building or something.

I hear a scream emanating from behind me. I stop and turn my head, seeing two silhouettes, a womanly figure pressed up against a wall by a larger, masculine one. Mugging, rape, whatever it was, it didn't involve me. It didn't involve me. I was being chased by cops who were hellbent on me getting the gas chamber. I just needed to get to Dave's house, it was only a few streets away.

It didn't involve me.

I didn't have to do this.


He drops to the floor, bits of his skull decorating the ground around him and the woman. The woman looks in my direction, before running. I look down at the pistol in my hand... Idiot! They're gonna be all over you now! But you just had to let your white knight complex fuck everything up, didn't you? Just shut up, Frank. Keep running. Don't stop until you're inside Dave's house. Keep your gun out just in case someone comes at you.


... Or have it snatched out of your hand.

I look up at the direction of the spiderwebs that pulled the Glock from my grasp, there standing a woman in a costume, the details of which I can't make out in the moonlight beyond the hood pulled over her head. Then again, spiderwebs and a woman wearing a hooded costume; it was a no-brainer. Looks like I was finally meeting New York's friendly neighborhood Spider-Woman, and I can already tell why she was here.

"I'm giving you one chance to walk away. I don't like hurting girls. But if it comes down to it, I won't hesitate to break you," I say, readying myself to avoid any webs she slings my way. Her style was to quickly ensnare and incapacitate her opponents, and leave them there for the police to find. I wasn't going to be the next 'criminal' she captures, and if I was, I'd be damned if I went down without a fight...

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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Nib
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Member Seen 3 mos ago


The green-furred gorilla spun around like an olympic thrower and let a clay disc fly; it was wearing a primarily white suit with black trim placed in a way to form a massive ‘X’ across its chest . Through his visor, Scott saw everything tinted in red, but that wasn’t anything new to him. Even the glasses Hank made especially for him had to be tinted red to hold the beams back. What was new was the assisted aiming and crosshair sight Hank outfitted the visor with. The crosshairs moved slightly within the visor and gave him a readout of the disc’s drop speed and the approximate moment to fire. When the sight lit up green, Scott pressed in on the button located in the center of the dial on the side of the visor. In midair the clay disc was struck with a beam of red energy and shattered.

The gorilla clapped and spun around, grunting loudly. A moment later, it was replaced by a young man with green skin, cheering and clapping; the suit shrank down to match his body size. Another invention of Hank’s to aid the newly formed and approved field team.

”Yeah-ha! Nice shot, Scott! I mean… Cyyyclops!”

”Thanks, Gar. You’re getting the hang of shifting faster.”

”Thanks, man. And, it’s Beast Boy.”

A silver blur flew past the pair, kicking up a gust and rustling their hair. Pietro turned his head slightly as he rushed past Scott and Garfield. The amazing goggles Hank made for him were similar to Scott’s visor and allowed him to track targets around him even at high speed. They also served the purpose of acting as safety glasses to keep debris and the wind from hitting his eyes as he sped around and were even tinted to keep any glare off. Along with the goggles, Hank designed his suit to be resistant to the high rate of speed as well as have some extra cushioning and protection to his body. At the corner after passing his friends, Pietro skidded to a halt and reached down to grab a towel and water bottle. He dabbed at his forehead and neck before squirting some water into his mouth.

”Lookin’ good, P!”

Gar whooped and swung a fist around in the air. Pietro waved a hand at him with a smirk as he cracked his neck a few times. He’d have to mention to Hank to try and add a little more cushioning to the neck area and maybe some sort of cooling factor.

”Okay. Run Course 3.”

“Voice recognition: Pietro Maximoff… Confirmed. Running Course 3.”

The floor of the training room immediately began shifting and changing. Scott and Garfield left through the door leading up to the observation room to give Pietro some room. As they left, he stretched his legs and arms out briefly before taking off. In an instant he was a silver blur again, untraceable by the human eye.

He beelined for a path between two shifting pillars of metal. The instant he clear them, the floor panel fell away, but with the goggles helping him track everything around him he was able to clear the gap in the floor. The moment his foot touched the ground, he was off again. A wall of pillars shot up from the floor, and he weaved around them then spun around a pillar that shot down from the ceiling. Pietro continued weaving through the shifting floor and ceiling.

From the observation room, Hank McCoy and Max Eisenhardt watched the silver blur dash around the room. Scott and Gar joined them a moment later. The computers tracked every team member’s vitals through their suits, and Hank watched them with interest. He read the numbers flashing across the many screens and muttered to himself as he crouched in his chair and chewed lightly on his glasses. Max, on the other hand, stood by the window and watched the blur down below.

”Hey, Doc McCoy, how fast is he going right now?”

Hank snapped himself out of his thoughts and turned his blue, fur-covered face toward the green youth.

"Ah, Garfield. His speed varies as he turns and ducks, but he accelerates back up the moment he's past an obstacle. On average, however, he's running around three hundred miles per hour. He's achieved faster in a straight test in a more open environment, but this test is simply for reaction time and to see how he does in more enclosed spaces."

”Uhhh… huh. Cool.”

Scott smirked as Gar’s face fell into a more confused look. He joined Magneto at the window and watched the silver blur rush through the shifting room. Max had a far away look on his face as he looked on. Meanwhile, Garfield had wandered away from Hank and over to the other viewing window overlooking the training room next door. Below, he could see Tara, Jubilee, and Jean training and testing their own suits out. Tara’s eyes flashed yellow as she reached out toward the mound of rocks the training room had produced for her. Pieces of the earth flew around her and launched at Jean. As the pieces sailed through the air at a high speed, Jean reached out with her mind and grabbed hold of several loose objects near her and used them to batter the pieces of earth away and deflect a few toward Jubilee with an extra push from her mind, her eyes flashing pink for a moment. Jubilee watched all five crosshairs light green from behind her own visor and let the energy building up in her fingertips go. From her hands came bright flashes and sparks of multi-colored light. The gloves Hank made her held up against the energy buildup as well as the release of energy. Each bolt of light slammed into a piece of debris or earth and shattered them before they could hit her.

The announcement had come yesterday that the six students training in the two rooms conjoined by the observation deck would be the first field team from Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Children. With the public’s discovery of the superhuman came those who would use their power against the public and cause terror. There were also those with power who stepped up to fight against them, and the X-Force team would be apart of those individuals now. After some intense training and tests they would be cleared by Charles Xavier and Max to enter the field. Of course, Magneto would be their supervisor in the field, and Pietro would act as the team lead. The goal, aside from helping those people in need and to find super-powered individuals living on the fringes of society and give them a place to belong, was for the team to further learn how to control their powers and for Max to eventually be able to let them into the field led solely by Pietro.

None of them knew how long that would take, especially with Max and Charles butting heads when it came to the field team. No one knew what to expect in the field either. Charles hadn’t had a field team since his time working with the government, and that was a whole different ball game then; he would wipe the memories of anyone who saw the team, and it operated completely in secret. This team, though, would be seen and known about. The point was to be in the public eye and help anyone they could along with the other heroes of the world and maybe give hope to those outcasts in need of it. To them, the Xavier Institute’s doors would always be open.

”Hey, Max! The Professor wants to see you in his office!”

The voice came from the very foundation of the building but could only be heard in the mind of Max Eisenhardt.

”Thank you, Daniel. Tell Charles I’ll be there after Pietro’s suit diagnostics come back.”

”I told you, it's just Danny! Yeesh!”


”I trust the tests went well?”

”Yes. The preliminary results show that Hank’s designs for each of their suits worked. The visors he outfitted Pietro, Scott, and Jubilee with helped them track targets and improve their aim. Garfield’s suit instantly conformed to whatever shape he shifted into and back again -”

”What about Jean?”

”The headband Hank designed for Jean so far seems to help keep her powers in check. Charles, I know you worry for her, but she will be fine.”

”I worry for all of them. I worry about how the public will react to mutantkind becoming common knowledge. But… yes, I worry about Jean most of all. Had she been given the opportunity to develop her powers without such a terrible event happening to her…,” Charles looked tired in that moment, more tired than Max had seen him recently. He was noticeably scrawnier and had dark circles under his eyes. It was to the point he had to have Danny deliver telepathic messages to individuals on campus. All of his energy was entirely devoted to the strenuous task of dampening Jean’s powers and ensuring they didn’t overwhelm her again.

”Yes, had it not happened she would be better for it perhaps, but she has found comfort in these walls -”

”Aw shucks, Max - “

”And in your tutelage, Charles. All the students have. You’ve made a home for them here.”
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by TGM
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TGM clichéd tsundere™

Member Seen 0-12 hrs ago

Gateway City, California
July 5th, 2018

Bekka’s hideout was quiet. The New God was still trying to contemplate the next step against the drug she had decided would be her first enemy.

Nepenthe and Neptune. Can’t say this planet’s criminals are talented in subtlety.

Bekka crossed her arms as she looked over the bulletin board in front of her – the beginning of her collecting information related to Nepenthe in the past several months. Where she couldn’t find newspaper clippings she printed out from articles online. It was a weird practice for a New God to have, but even when she was a child she had interest in archaic mediums. The Motherbox could collect all the information in the world and process it better than anything in the universe, but yet it still couldn’t live up to the flimsy and inaccurate medium of news that the earth humans reveled in.

Orion once had teased her about it, telling her how she liked “old” and “broken” things and how strange it was for a warrior to be so fascinated with a scribe’s work. It was probably one reason why she felt so committed to Earth even if it was her refuge from Darkseid. The echo of his laughter ran through her mind, a reminder of what used to be and what she could never have again. A reminder of what Darkseid took from her. It was a memory she wished she could erase, though she would never stoop to the levels of taking Nepenthe to do so. It was one of the many reasons why she couldn’t relate with the drug addicts she had vowed to save.

She took a light breath, pressing her hands down as she looked over the articles for the eighty-sixth time.

These statements made by several of the thieves are nonsensical gibberish. What they do remember has nothing to do with the robberies. It’s like the Nepenthe is the beginning and the end for them.

Her eyes moved to the desk to her left, a personal laptop Bekka had been enhanced by her motherbox stood front-and-center. It may not have been an extravagant choice, but Bekka was good at using what limited resources she had. But then again ‘limited’ for Bekka was inconceivable to others. The wonders of the motherbox and what it could do were pretty impressive to those not accustomed to their wonders.

I just don’t have enough information to determine if this drug is chemical, supernatural, or technological. Or what the purpose of it all is. But I can’t wait longer until more information turns up. The homeless are being targeted and I’m the only one who can do anything about it. I don’t like going in blind, but I don’t have much of a choice.

Bekka just hoped she would be able to get to the bottom of this by scowering the harbor for “Neptune” and using her type of interrogation techniques to get some information before the Nepenthe could take effect. If that did not work the best she could do was destroy caches of the drug until it was enough to get her noticed by whoever was behind it.

It wasn’t the best plan, but it was a plan.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Retired
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Retired "Hayao Miyazaki"

Member Seen 2 days ago


2:02 p.m. PST | July 5th | Los Angeles, California

Astaroth observed the human boy from the mortal body that had become his cage. The dark void that surrounded the demon's consciousness pressing in on him like a vise. Were he not an eons-old entity, he had no doubt such an indefinite existence would drive an individual mad. As it were, the former general of Hell had endured far worse, and his immediate concerns were focused elsewhere; the mission would always be the highest priority.

Through Daniel Cassidy's eyes, Astaroth was able to see everything the boy did. His senses were now that of the human teenager, and yet he could still observe more than young Cassidy would ever have noticed. For instance, the look of adoration from Daniel's young sister, Mary, as she repeatedly sought his attention throughout the early afternoon. Where Dan saw an impetuous nuisance who repeatedly attempted to waste his precious time, Astaroth recognized what was tantamount to idol worship. Something he had witnessed even in Hell while rising through the ranks, albeit not quite as simple and innocent as was the case with this child.

"Where ya goin'?" Mary Frances, barely twelve years of age, chirped excitedly.

"Out." The dismissive one-word response didn't come from harsh intentions, but Daniel nonetheless let his frustrations over the endless questions show. She had, after all, been following him around the house ever since he had come out of his room an hour earlier.

"Okay." The smile on the young girl's face faltered only momentarily before it brightened once more. "Out where, though? Can I go?"

Astaroth watched silently as the boy hurriedly dropped the recently dirtied dishes into the sink, and wiped up the crumbs left over from his lunch.

"I don't know yet." Daniel twisted his body, attempting to maneuver around Mary as she crowded his space. "And no. This is just for me. I don't even know how long I'll be gone for."

"Oh, okay."

"Why don't you go ask mom to use some of her paints or something? I'm sure that'll keep you busy." He added as he snatched the keys to his car off the countertop and began to head for the door.

"Maybe." A moment's pause, then, "hey, when you get home can we play a game? Maybe you can teach me how to play that Smash thing?"

Daniel threw a quick glance back over his shoulder before popping the door open. "Yeah, sure, I guess. Listen, tell mom I might be back a little late for dinner and not to wait. 'Kay?"

Mary's cheerful face immediately lit up even more the moment her brother agreed, even if half-committedly. "Okay! Bye, Danny, see you tonight!" Her enthusiastic wave was met with the closing door as Daniel exited in a rush.

Daniel waited until he climbed into the privacy of his car before addressing his inner demon. "Okay, Astaroth. You say there are going to be things after me now, things looking to kill me to get to this Trident."

"That is correct. However, as long as you remain in your mortal form I believe both your life and the Trident will remain safe and undetectable."

"Right. Well," Dan started the car and backed out onto the street. "That's going to be a bit of a problem. That whole 'I believe' thing isn't very comforting to hear. And if I'm going to be hunted down by freaking demons then I want to be prepared. I want to know how to defend myself. And since you and your precious Trident are stuck in me, I figure it's your duty to make sure I can do that. So," he paused to take a deep breath and glance up into the rearview mirror, meeting his own gaze. "You're going to train me and teach me all I need to know about demons."

Daniel Cassidy continued to be a curiosity to Astaroth. From unexplainably being drawn into his body, to his rather quick adjustment period after coming to terms with this new reality, and now to how well he was reacting to learning his life would be in constant peril for potentially the remainder of his living days. It was unusual, Astaroth found. Not that the ancient being had much personal experience in the matter before now, but from all he had observed of humans while in the lower planes, the mostly level-headed and calm manner in which Daniel was coping did not match all he had seen over the many centuries.

At no point did the young man even attempt to beg for his normal life back. There had been no grief nor disgust. No fear beyond the first few shocking minutes. And even the panic that had overtaken Daniel little over an hour before passed as quickly as it had come. Now, here was the teenager making demands of a demon with little hesitation for consequences. Furthermore, in addition to already accepting he was to be hunted down by the forces of Hell, he seemed to be more than willing to face them head-on with preparation and training.

Astaroth, though he had reservations regarding potentially drawing attention to the Trident's location, could respect that. And, he noted, these were aspects that could be molded into a great warrior with time and effort.

"This I will do. But you must take care, Daniel Cassidy, to be discreet. You cannot allow our presence to be detected."

"Don't worry," Daniel flashed a quick grin at the mirror. "I'm totally discreet."

* * *
3:30 p.m. PST | July 5th | Los Angeles, California

Daniel had driven for the better part of forty minutes before he arrived at his destination. An old, abandoned construction site in Garden Grove. Back in high school, he had known of more than a few keggers held there, not that he had attended any himself. One of his old school friends had, though, and spent enough time regaling Dan of the tales for it to have stuck in his memory. It was isolated enough that no one would stumble across him or mind any noise in the area, and offered a handful of discarded items and broken girder beams that could be used in his training.

So far, that training had not been quite as exciting as the montage he had envisioned during the drive over. Five minutes of scouting the area. Ten minutes of stretching and light, poorly performed exercises while waiting for Astaroth to begin making suggestions and give guidance. Followed by the last ten minutes in which he had shifted to the hybrid, demonic form for only the second time and began to test the limits of his newfound strength.

During this entire period, Astaroth had spoken only once, immediately after Daniel willed the transformation to take place. A one-sentence warning about remaining in this form for too long. Nothing more. Not exactly what Daniel had had in mind.

Taking initiative, Daniel had used what remained of the lengths of steel, first lifting a girder as if it were a dumbbell, then, after discovering how light it felt in his grip, he had moved onto bending it with his bare hands. The feeling of pure power that continually surged through every fiber of his being was almost intoxicating. Intellectually he understood that this wasn't truly his own strength, but to be able to feel himself physically rend thick steel into essentially a pretzel was unlike anything he had ever imagined. Pure, raw, immense strength was at his every beck and whim now, and the more he witnessed these new capabilities the more his head was flooded with new, fantastical ideas and wild notions.

He stepped up to an unfinished, concrete pillar. It rose about a dozen feet before abruptly ending, and with nothing to support, Daniel felt it best suited for his next test.

Glancing down at the nearly one inch long, sharp claws that tipped his fingers, Daniel brought his right hand palm forward towards the concrete. The tiny blue daggers clicked and scraped against the surface. He felt resistance at first, just lightly dragging his claws across, but Dan soon began to apply pressure. It took only a few seconds before he first felt the tips begin to dig in. And only a few seconds longer before he saw the deep grooves he etched into the concrete.

He fought to keep his jaw closed as he sunk the nails deep into the material until his fingertips nudged the surface. The display of awesome might continually surprising and exciting him. He slowly brought his fingers together, the razor-like nails tearing into the concrete now as if it were nothing. Giving a slight twist, he pulled back his grip and watched as a large chunk of the concrete came away with it. Most of the substance crumbled to the ground as it was removed, but a sizeable portion remained in his oversized palm.

With a sudden movement, Daniel brought his fist together and felt the satisfying crunch of the concrete as it gave way from the extreme pressure he was exerting. Opening his hand, Daniel saw the tiny concrete pebbles and dust that remained fall to the ground. That surge of power coursed through him, stronger, pulsing. The euphoria over this display reaching a new height. His gaze flicked up towards the mostly in-tact, partial pillar and a thought crossed his mind.

"Hey, Astaroth." He began, closing and opening his right fist several times, and tensing his biceps. "You're pretty tough, right? Like, this body, is it difficult to hurt?"

There was no answer.

Daniel eyed the concrete shaft, sizing it up as one would an opponent in a fight. Tightening his fist further. "I mean, you'd stop me if I were going to hurt this body, yeah?"


"Okay." A deep breath in, slowly inhaling through the nose before expelling it in one short burst. "Yeah. Okay," the teenager continued, psyching himself up. "I can do this. I can do this."

A brief pause, the slightest of hesitations. Then the blue, muscular arm of a demon shot forward with surprising speed and connected with the concrete.

Daniel wasn't entirely sure what he expected. He knew what he hoped. What he had reasoned to be likely. He understood that the strength of this hybrid body was on a scale above that of even the most intense human bodybuilders. He also reasoned if he could twist steel out of shape and crush concrete in his palm, he could probably put enough force into a punch to dent or smash a piece of it free.

He did not expect, however, to completely obliterate the area surrounding where his fist impacted.

A cloud of concrete dust erupted from the collision, shards launching forward in a spray similar to grenade shrapnel. The resounding crack as he impacted was followed shortly after by a dull thud as the top four feet of the column post collapsed to the ground, no longer having a portion below to connect to. As the dust settled, the once twelve-foot obelisk was now less than half its original size as a large portion of the center was completely destroyed.

"Jesus fucking Christ," Daniel glanced down at his wholly unmarred fist. No bruising or scapes of any kind. No sight of blood, assuming, he thought, if demons even bled. Not even any pain.

"Holy fucking shit. That was... that was..." He let out a victorious whoop, thrusting his fist high into the air in celebration. "That was insane! My God, was that real? Holy—"

"That is enough, Daniel Cassidy." Astaroth's deep voice interrupted, breaking his silence.

Dan froze mid-celebration, momentarily wondering if his use of Heavenly phrases had upset the demon.

"You have taken this form for too long. It is time to revert back before you call attention to our presence."

Releasing a small sigh of relief, he reached into his pocket and produced his phone. Strange, he noted, it looked so small and foreign in his demonic grasp. Carefully using his thumb to avoid damaging the device with his claws, he glanced at the time. Almost quarter till four, which meant he had spent over twenty minutes like this already. Astaroth was right, Daniel imagined he had already pushed it past the optimal period of safety as it was, better not needlessly risk it more right now. After all, he figured, he had plenty of time to continue testing his limits in the future.

Closing his eyes like earlier today, he allowed that sensation of expanded awareness to wash over him. Seconds later, he was back in his own body once more.

"You know," Dan began, sparing one last glance at the rubble of concrete and twisted girder. "I could get used to this."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Morden Man
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Morden Man

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Landing Deck, Pegasus Helicarrier

It had all started six years ago. Back then Guy Gardner was serving as Dum Dum Dugan’s aide. Dugan had taken Gardner under his wing – and shadowing him around all day had allowed Guy to enjoy experiences he could never have even dreamt of when he was busting his ass as a social worker back in Baltimore.

But Guy being Guy meant that he started to take his position for granted. The rest of his class from the SHIELD academy were out in the field kicking ass and taking names. Clay-freaking-Quartermain had turned into a super-spy. It was ridiculous. Guy was better than Quartermain. He was better than all of them.

Maybe that was why he did it.

On the first SHIELD diplomatic mission to Atlantis in years, Guy made a decision that would come to shape the next six years of his life – and land him in deep water with SHIELD high brass.

The Atlantean warrior-king Namor had laid on a feast to mark the occasion. It was an uncharacteristically convivial gesture from a king renowned for his unparalleled austerity. Nick Fury was named the guest of honour and Gardner had even been given the privilege of sitting at the top table with him alongside Dugan.

Dining alongside an Atlantean king might have been enough to sate some people’s need for conquest but Guy wasn’t most people. He had his eyes set on another prize. Namely, the leggy blonde built like an Amazonian that was sat by Namor’s side.

After half of the court had retired and Gardner had put down dozens of flaggons of the finest Atlantean ale, he made his approach. To his surprise, he had found the blonde to be receptive to his charm. They retired to a nearby bedchamber and made sweet, hasty, disappointing subterranean love.

That night, some 20,000 leagues under the sea, Agent Gardner slept as soundly as he had ever slept before.

Little did he know that all of Atlantis would be in open revolt by the morning. The blonde was none other than Namor’s cousin – and heir – Namora. To make matters worse their “union” had been her first. Atlantean customs dictated that the heir to the throne remain chaste until paired off with a suitable mate.

Needless to say Guy didn’t quite meet the criteria.

The entire SHIELD delegation had been hauled from their beds at trident-point. Court was assembled and Agent Gardner was made to recount his “crimes” in front of Fury and Duggan. With each word, the pair’s decade-long attempt to broker a lasting peace between the surface world and Atlantis died a brutal death.

So to would Gardner for his actions – or so proclaimed King Namor before all of his subjects. Only some quick-thinking from a SHIELD boffin named Rachna Koul provided Gardner with a lifeline. Those sentenced to death by royal decree were entitled to a trial by combat.

Namor’s most trusted general Argos offered himself as the crown’s champion. He stood all of seven feet tall and weighed as much as a school bus. To face Argos was to face certain death. But Guy had always had something of a knack for defying impossible odds. After surviving an onslaught of hammer blows from Argos, Guy had driven his trident through the general’s throat and killed him on the spot.

Bound by custom to grant Gardner his life, Namor vowed to exact unholy revenge upon the SHIELD agent if ever their paths crossed again. The SHIELD delegation left in disgrace, with Fury and Dugan's decade-long peace deal in tatters, and Guy spent the best part of the next three years stuck in administrative hell.

“I don’t see what the big deal is, if you ask me,” Johnny Storm said as he reflected on Guy’s tale. “The guy slept with Namor’s cousin, so what? I’ve slept with lots of people’s cousins.”

Sue let out a sigh that was half-exasperation and half-disgust. “You're impossible sometimes, Jonathan.”

The Fantastic Four had accepted Agent Gardner’s proposition. They hadn’t had much choice. Guy had theorised that the Pegasus had unwittingly crossed Atlantean “airspace” while flying low on their way back from Latveria. And Namor had sensed that now was his moment to strike.

Why it fell to Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben to resolve the situation was anyone’s guess. But if someone didn’t stop Namor from tearing the Pegasus apart, a lot of lives were going to be lost.

The four of them stood in the elevator as it slid up through the Pegasus’ floors.

Sue looked to Reed for direction. “How are we doing this, Reed?”

“The same way we always do it. We’ll try to talk sense into Namor first. If that doesn’t work, we’ll need to find a way to restrain him and Namora. We do not want to fight them at sea. The air is our best bet. The more dehydrated they get the less powerful they’ll be, so bear that in mind while we’re out there.”

Sue nodded in agreement. In the corner of the elevator a bashful grin appeared on Ben Grimm’s face.

“What?” Johnny eyed Ben suspiciously. “What are you grinning about, ugly?”

Ben shrugged.

“Just feels good to get back to business, y’know? Good old-fashioned clobbering.”

Hearing even a hint of Ben’s old catchphrase brought a smile to all of their faces. He was right. In their world, they had faced down countless attacks on the surface world by Namor and the Atlanteans. He wasn’t quite their oldest adversary – that moniker went to Moleman – but he was close to it.

It almost felt like old times.

As the doors to the elevator opened, Sue turned to Ben and Johnny with a concerned look. “Remember – this is about conflict resolution. We’re not looking to start a fight.”

There was a loud crash as Namor tore another piece of the Pegasus free and threw it angrily in the sea beneath them. He roared with anger while his cousin Namora stood on with a dejected scowl that seemed permanently carved into her face.

Reed walked towards them as slowly as he could. Sue, Johnny and Ben followed a few paces behind him. Once they had drew within ten metres of them, the Atlanteans turned to face them.

“Namor, my name is Reed Richards, my friends and I are here to broker a peace between you and SHI-”

“Silence, whelp,” Namor commanded with a disdainful look.

Ben stole a playful look in Johnny’s direction. “Looks like Namor’s the same as ever.”

Namor strode towards the four of them. He made no attempt to hide the contempt contained in his steely grey eyes. To deny it would be to deny the divine right imbued in him by Poseidon himself. It was clear even by the way the Atlantean moved his limbs that he possessed the power to cleave nations apart with his hands.

It was a power he had used before and meant to use again if denied satisfaction.

“I have no interest in peace. I am here to claim the debaser Gardner’s head. Until it is laid at my feet, the combined armies of Atlantis will wage unending war on the surface world. No man, woman or child will be safe from my rage.”

Ben pinched the bridge of his rocky nose and sighed. “Yeesh, c’mon tuna breath, you gotta at least try to be reasonable here.”

“You dare!”

The words had barely left Namora’s mouth by the time her fist collided with Ben Grimm’s face. The impact of the punch was so powerful that it sent the Thing flying from the roof of the Pegasus into the sea below them.

Johnny was caught between wincing and laughing as he saw Ben bouncing across the water like a skimming stone.

He glanced at Sue with a haughty smile. “Looks like conflict resolution’s out of the window, sis.”

Storm blasted both Namora and Namor with a wave of flames that sent them flying backwards and Reed and Sue joined the battle. Without Ben there to provide them with muscle they were hopelessly outmatched. But the Fantastic Four had built their careers on doing the impossible – and they had no intention of giving up now.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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Member Seen 22 days ago

I'd be lying if I said I had any idea where I should look for Punisher. I took off in the direction I just kind of figured he'd go in, and now I'm flying blind. Why can't my Spider-Sense track someone? Or why couldn't I have gotten like, super smell in this whole arrangement. Actually, scratch that. I live in New York. I ride the subway a lot. Super smell would definitely, totally be absolute torture every minute of every day.

"Pete," I curse myself as I sprint and spring from roof to roof, "I think I got here too late. I think I may have lost-"


A gunshot roars a few blocks from here, and I take off after it. It might not be Punisher, but at the very least it should give me someone to hand over to the police. I swing over that way, only to find the man I'm looking for. Frank Castle turns away from a man he just murdered and begins to head away from his newest crime scene. I swing over him, snatching the gun out of his hand with a webline as I do.

I land on a fire escape, moonlight filtering into the alley behind me. Frank looks up at me, and a slight snarl crosses his face.

"I'm giving you one chance to walk away. I don't like hurting girls. But if it comes down to it, I won't hesitate to break you," I say, readying myself to avoid any webs she slings my way. Her style was to quickly ensnare and incapacitate her opponents, and leave them there for the police to find. I wasn't going to be the next 'criminal' she captures, and if I was, I'd be damned if I went down without a fight...

"Oh spare me your warning, Captain Toxic Masculinity," I roll my eyes under my mask as I drop the clip out of his pistol and toss it up to the roof above the alley. He doesn't move. He doesn't react to anything I do. Just stands there, studying me. Remember Gwen, he's the Terminator. There is no emotion. No fear. Just working out how he can get to his next objective. "Frank Castle. Punisher. This ends. Now."

Again, no movement from the mass murderer.

"You shot cops tonight, Frank," I clench my fist as the two of us glare at one another. "Now, I hold some obnoxiously liberal views of the police force as much as any other 'millennial snowflake', but attempted murder is beyond the pale. Whatever it is that started this, whoever you were when you started this, but I have to assume gunning down cops wasn't a part of the plan. Innocent people are going to die before this is all over, Frank. Hell they may have tonight."

"Turn yourself in," I growl. "Or I'm putting you down."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by ErsatzEmperor
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ErsatzEmperor Polemically Sent

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"I prefer conflicts that are based on reality rather than based on fantasy. When you get wound up with super villains, super fantastic gadgets and super incredible action, everything has to be made so deliberately that it all becomes senseless. It boils down to what you want a story to stand for. Every person, whether he wants to be or not, is in a continuous struggle. It is a struggle to keep his mind from being corrupted."
Steve Ditko

The Sanctum Sanctorum,
Greenwich Village

"Doctor Strange. Tell me if I'm stepping out of line but you seem troubled."

"Am I that transparent, Wong?" Strange asked guardedly. He sat, hunched on a small armchair in the corner of the room. His face betrayed little of his thinking. Two weeks had passed since Strange had begun instruction under his new teacher, Wong. The physical manifestation of the Mentor's Stone was Strange's only link to the ways of his order, save for the books and scrolls that filled the Sanctum. The artifact had been in possession of Sorcerers Supreme for thousands of years. harking back to the sorcerer who discovered it, Kan, all the way to the last to inhabit the role, The Ancient One. Like his mentor, this stone had a way of reading a soul.

"I have acted as witness to some of the most brilliant Sorcerers this world will ever know, many of which saw great tragedy." Wong began. "It is only natural for those that spend so much time with so much power. So believe me when I say that while I am incapable of experiencing it, I am quite knowledgeable on the subject of grief."

Strange fell into silence.

"Don't dwell on your worries, Strange. Don't dwell on the past. Man's most fatal enemy is one of his own making: his doubts." Strange looked up at this and forced the beginnings of a smile. He was right. Strange had to push on. Getting up, he went to the chest that still stood in pride of place in the centre of the study room. Out of respect for his fallen master, Strange had taken to wearing the cloak and amulet handed down to him. Despite this, he was no closer to knowing their purpose. Indeed, his minimal knowledge extended to many any of the objects that he now presided over.

"Okay, Wong. Humour me for a moment, if you will."

"Of course." The avatar of the Mentor's Stone nods.

"What on Earth is this?" Reaching into the chest, he produced an axe. Its hilt was wrapped with coarse leather bindings, while the axe blade bore intricate engraving in a script that was foreign to him. It appeared to made of a brittle substance, and possessed no more weight than a man's razor. It had clearly seen better days, the surface looking ready to crack under even a modicum of pressure.

"The weapon is known as the Axe of Angarruumus."

"Angra..." Strange started to parrot.

"Angarruumus." Wong repeats. "It is a powerful mystical vessel, with a long and bloody history. You should see it as a great honor that the Ancient One would choose to bestow it upon you." Strange sized it up in his hand, moving it in the air.

"It doesn't look like it will be of much use in its current condition."

"Looks can be deceiving. The items true power does not lie in its physical form. You may discover this in time."

A sheathe materialised on Strange's belt. For that moment, Strange placed it back in the chest. He was filled with questions.

"What do you know of this cape?"

Wong smiled, as if he had been awaiting this.

"You wish to learn the secrets of the Cloak of Levitation?"

"Levitation?" Strange asked, bemused. Wong nodded.

"Follow me."
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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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12:18 AM; July 7th, 2018
One of Many Side Alleys; New York City


"You shot cops tonight, Frank," I clench my fist as the two of us glare at one another. "Now, I hold some obnoxiously liberal views of the police force as much as any other 'millennial snowflake', but attempted murder is beyond the pale. Whatever it is that started this, whoever you were when you started this, but I have to assume gunning down cops wasn't a part of the plan. Innocent people are going to die before this is all over, Frank. Hell they may have tonight."

I furrow my brow. "You're right. It wasn't part of the plan. And maybe you won't believe it, but I didn't shoot to kill. Those were my friends, and it's a damn shame things had to be this way, but I won't let anyone get in the way of my mission. Not my friends, not criminals, and certainly not some superpowered kid playing dress up."

"Turn yourself in," I growl. "Or I'm putting you down."

I force out a humorless laugh at that. "Turn myself in? When this is over, maybe." I let my eyes scan over the alleyway slowly. There are a few trash cans, the old-timey kind with the circular lids, that I could probably put to use. But it would be stupid to stay here, in a cramped back alley, twenty feet under a superhero. I'd have to lure her away, somewhere less open, somewhere where she can't swing and jump around...

Dave mentioned an abandoned apartment near his house a few weeks back. Something about it being a popular spot for druggies before the police cleared them all out. That seems like my best bet; enclosed hallways, lots of rooms to hide in, the like. I didn't want to kill her, not that I could given she probably has more strength and durability in her pinkie finger than I do in my entire body, but if I could find some way to disable her then I'd be set.

But for now, we haven't taken to fighting. There was enough time to talk, then. Maybe make her slip up somehow. "... This is going to sound generic, but we're not so different, you and me. We both saw the crime and corruption around us, both probably had something important taken away from us because of it, and we wouldn't stand for it any longer. Difference is how we go about it; you still think criminals have a chance to redeem themselves, so you haul them in. I don't, so I put them down like the rabid dogs they are."

I could only hope that hit close to home somehow. Maybe she'd get distracted by her own thoughts on what I said. Or maybe I just sounded like some generic comic book villain, monologuing to the hero who couldn't give less of a shit about my motivations, and she would be trying too hard not to laugh enough for me to get away before she can process it. Whatever the case, I decided to chance it; I break out into a sprint, being sure to grab one of the metal trash can lids along the way as an impromptu weapon/shield. Hopefully, that abandoned apartment wasn't too far.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Mao Mao
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Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

Member Online


"And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom
'Let it be'"

"You must be Kraglin," Zynsalak said after a moment of thinking.

"How did yo-."

"Your name was mentioned several times in the communication logs. And who else would face off against forty men and risk their lives for answers? None other than Kraglin Obfonteri. The right-hand man of the former Yondu Udonta. Sorry about the loss by the way."

Kraglin raised his blaster again and aimed it at his forehead.

"Don't tell you are going to kill me before you get your answers." Zynsalak laughed. "Put that blaster down. It isn't like I have any plans of escaping."

Kraglin pulled the blaster away from Zynsalak and allowed him to sit. After that, he thanked Kraglin and went on to answer the question. "My men and I received a distress call for the Eclector its self. Of course, we were curious as to why the Ravagers sent out a distress signal. So we traced it and eventually found it to be heavily damaged. Somehow it was still in one piece when we boarded the ship. And inside the Eclector was the same story. Tons of the dead Ravagers as we made our way to the bridge."

"Umm, look what I about to say next might make you very upset. Just remember that I found him." Zynsalak warned Kraglin before continuing on with his story.

"When we entered, it was the same story as in the hallway; but, we stumbled upon Yondu's body. It was brutally beaten up to the point where his face was swollen. And the iconic red mohawk was ripped apart from his body. Whoever killed Yondu wanted him to die painfully."

Kraglin was on the verge of tears when he learned that not only Yondu was beaten to death, but his 'mohawk' was torn off. "I need some fresh air." he puled while leaving the room with his shoulders shaking violently. Quill needed to check up with him, but he needed to know the whole story.

"Then, what did you guys do next?" Star-Lord asked.

"I have made the last minute decision to download and take the black box. But, we didn't know that it would self-destruct the moment we began our mission. We downloaded as much as we could in the short period before we escaped. As for the black box, it took some damage before our arrival. We have been trying to repair it since." Zynsalak answered.

"Where are they?" Star-Lord demanded.

Zynsalak reached behind his desk and opened a drawer to grab a flash drive. He threw at Star-Lord and said, "Here is everything we got from the bridge. And the black box is in the crate right next to the tree."

Groot looked at the crate and opened it up to find the black box was in it. Rocket immediately ran towards it to start investigating the extent of the damage. Meanwhile, Star-Lord put the flash drive in his pocket and thanked Zynsalak. Then, he asked about the artifacts.

"Oh, those things? They were from my days when I sought out artifacts hidden all over the universe for the wealthy. I spent five years stealing most of them back from those families in the hopes of selling it." Zynsalak responded. Star-Lord went over to one of those artifacts. An orb that looked like it was made out of several colorful crystals. He grabbed the orb and was surprised at how soft it felt. Zynsalak noticed him looking at it and walked towards with a confused look.

"That orb was the first thing that caught your attention? How interesting," he commented. "It reminds me of how I obtained it on a volcanic planet. It had been a few years since I got into the business of finding artifacts. A wealthy organization requested my services to find something worthwhile on the planet. My men and I spent days searching for something until we found the orb. It had been sitting in some tomb for ages with no security system. But, we were interrupted by a Kree cyborg and his squad who demanded the orb. Naturally, we refused to give it up and a fight broke. I lost a few good men to that fucker before he dropped dead for sure. We tore a few cybernetic parts off of him just to be sure. Afterward, the organization didn't like the orb and refused to pay me. I was forced to keep it to this day."

"Why don't you take it with you? It's worthless anything to me and the Nova Corps." Zynsalak finished.

"The Nova Corps?" Star-Lord questioned.

"Yeah, since you killed my men, I have nothing else left to keep going. In honesty, a Nova prison is safer than waiting until one of the families send assassins after me. Plus, the Nova Corps will just return the stolen property to their owners. It's a win-win situation." Zynsalak answered with sadness in his tone as he sat down on his chair. Star-Lord took the orb and tossed it around while checking on Rocket and the black box. Groot was now holding to it while Rocket was making mental notes for later.

"How bad are the damages?" Star-Lord asked.

"Not too bad. If I had some proper tools and enough space, I can repair as much as I can." Rocket said confidently to Quill.

"Good. Take it with us because we are leaving."

Star-Lord turned to Zynsalak and said his farewell to him. Zynsalak appreciated it and watched as the three of them left. Outside, he went searching for Kraglin while Rocket and Groot made their way to the shuttle. Eventually, he found Kraglin bawling his eyes out like he did on the day that Yondu died. It was getting Quill emotional to see his brother like this. He pressed the helmet and it shrunk back into an earpiece and greeted Kraglin.

"Are you alright?" Quill asked. "That was a lot to take in."

Kraglin wiped the tears away and said, "Not really to be honest. But, I will be in time. I want the fucker who killed Yondu to suffer the same fate."

Quill placed his hand on Kraglin's shoulder and responded, "I will promise you that we will find the person responsible and make them pay for destroying the Ravagers."
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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!

Member Seen 30 min ago

“Time… For a story…”

“Once... there was a god--”

“A heavy start, no? Tales of gods and monsters. They usually go one of two different ways. Once upon a time there was a man. He was a good man, met with a challenge and through his pious and virtuous nature he overcame that adversity and gained all of the desirable rewards from the gods that were mentioned earlier in the story. The End. Stories like this, are taught to preach virtues and play on the empathy for the central protagonist.”

“Or… once there was a man, he did something very unwise and non-virtuous. The gods frowned upon him and made an example of him in what eventually turns out to be a very scary and yet poetically fitting style.”

“Be like the first man. Don’t be like the second man. The gods are agreeable and reward the first man, but their retribution knows no bounds with the second man.”

“Carrot. And stick.”

“Elevating. And devouring.”

“Healing. And harming.”

“To teach empathy. And fear.”

“But to get back to the matter at hand--”

“Once… there was a god. A god… of the moon. He was a ferocious god. A fearful god, yes, but a god to want to be on his good side. This god, would aid kings and queens on their path in the afterlife. This god was powerful enough to catch and devour other gods, allowing those who travelled by night to ascend further to greater aspects of consciousness. His name was Khonshu.”

“Suffice to say, this god became a much appreciated deity amongst royalty. And sacrifices and offerings from the most powerful would abound.”

“As well as this god, there once was a king… This king was collecting tribute around Syria. He came upon a regional Prince, who along with a magnificent tribute also offered up his beautiful daughter as a wife to the king. The king was thrilled with the Prince’s generosity--”

“--over the moon, if you will--”

“For the woman was indeed beautiful. The king changed her name to Ra-Neferu. Or The Radiance of the Sun, such was the value this king put on her beauty.”

“Years later and the king and his new queen have long since had a daughter, the Princess is returned to the regional Prince’s town for schooling, as befit custom.”

“One day the King receives a message from the Prince. The Prince requested the King send his finest physicians and mages.”

“For the Princess had been consumed by dark forces. She had been possessed by a demon.”

“So the king sent his very best… Tehuti-em-Beb. Tehuti-em-Beb travelled many miles to get to the town. He assessed the situation, and found there was nothing to be done for the girl and the demon.”

“Tehuti-em-Beb went on his long trek back and arrived back at the city to report to the king just in time for the Festival of Amun, the chief god of Thebes. The king began to wonder if he did the right thing.”

“With dark forces at work, did he send a man to do a god’s job?”

“So the king made his way to the Temple of Khonshu. He made a lengthy impassioned request for the god’s aid. And with offerings the god was dispatched to the town, it’s essence imbued in a statue of the god himself.”

“This time it took many months to return to the town, as the Prophets of Khonshu had to haul the statue imbued with the real god. These are the ways of gods. Everything comes with a price of toil.”

“The Prophets brought the statue before the young Princess. Khonshu announced his presence and his intent. The demon, knowing how much he was outmatched played his only card.”

“Flattery for leniency.”

“For the demon knew of Khonshu’s reputation. For Khonshu was indeed a vengeful, wrath-filled god.”

“The demon agreed to leave immediately. He apologised profusely to Khonshu, and asked kindly if the god could have the Prince arrange a grand feast in the demon’s own name before it began its journey into the unknown realm of the Otherworld.”

“And again, whilst this god’s ferocity may know no bounds, Khonshu’s role is also as the Traveller, ensuring the ascendency and protection of those who travel by night.”

“...Khonshu agreed to the terms.”

“The Prince held a giant feast and all were in attendance, including the Princess, the Prince, Khonshu and the demon itself. After the feast concluded, the demon felled a tree. Turned it’s strongest branch into a cane and simply left. And began it’s traverse across to the Otherworld.”

“So is this a story about the carrot, or the stick?”

“Is this a story of elevating, or devouring?”

“Healing or harming?”

“Empathy… or Fear?”

🌑 🌒 🌓 🌔 🌕 🌖 🌗 🌘 🌑

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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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Member Seen 22 days ago

I furrow my brow. "You're right. It wasn't part of the plan. And maybe you won't believe it, but I didn't shoot to kill. Those were my friends, and it's a damn shame things had to be this way, but I won't let anyone get in the way of my mission. Not my friends, not criminals, and certainly not some superpowered kid playing dress up."

Shooting not to kill is still shooting. That's, like, the lamest defense this guy could have possibly come up with. "Sorry officer, I was only stabbing him to hurt him, not to kill him." "Sorry Mister Human Rights Investigator, we didn't mean to nuke a city with the population of a small country! We just wanted to give them a warning!"

This guy believes whatever he's doing is going to be the right decision. Literally the personality trait every movie villain has. "No really, I'm the good guy here!" Please. This guy is jumping through more mental hoops than an abused lion in the worst circus in the world, which is all of them, really.

I force out a humorless laugh at that. "Turn myself in? When this is over, maybe."

"... This is going to sound generic, but we're not so different, you and me. We both saw the crime and corruption around us, both probably had something important taken away from us because of it, and we wouldn't stand for it any longer. Difference is how we go about it; you still think criminals have a chance to redeem themselves, so you haul them in. I don't, so I put them down like the rabid dogs they are."

Oh my god he isn't seriously giving me the "We're not different" speech is he? Oh my god he is! This guy jumped straight off the screen! Next he'll be offering me his hand and saying he's my real father! That we can rule the galaxy as father and son! He'll be offering me bank bonds out of Yakatomi Plaza. This is insane. I found myself a real life super villain. Maybe I can ask him to be my nemesis. Spider-Woman and the Punisher, doomed to fight the battle of good vs evil for the rest of time.

Before I can respond to his ridiculousness, however, he takes off down the alley, making me roll my eyes yet again. The guy may be one hell of a fighter, but he's not gonna be able to outrun me for long. I swing after him, and it's clear he's got some destination in mind. I don't know if it's some sort of safe house or weapons stash, but I definitely shouldn't let him get there.

"Hey Punisher! I don't wanna brag but I do kinda have super-Oh crap!" my eyes go wide as my spider sense explodes with a warning.

Before I can react, the trash can lid Punisher had picked up flies through the webline I'm swinging on, sending me tumbling to the New York street. Shaking the cobwebs out of my head...heh...cobwebs...I look up to see Frank through his weight through the boarded up door of a derelict apartment building. Broken windows line the five story facade, and some creative graffiti says some very nasty things about cops.

"What a charming place to have a fight," I mutter to myself as I swing through a gaping first floor window. The inside makes me shudder. I've never been known as a clean freak, but this place is the definition of gross. Moldy, damp matresses and blankets are strewn about the crumbled drywall. The lovely smell of mildew and stale urine filters up through my mask. Maybe Pete can make me some sort of filter for situations like this moving forward.

"Gwen." Speak of the devil. "You find him?"

"Yea, and we're now apparently going to fight in the Land of Hepatitis," I gag. "I'm gonna take the longest shower of my life after this. Remind me to get like 5 tetanus shots soon."

"Will do."

I step through a hole in a wall, since the doorway of the old apartment I'm in had collapsed long ago. Considering all the creaking and cracking going on in this place, it's going to be difficult to hear Punisher coming. He's got training, so I'm sure he'll use that to his advantage.

You always hear about how you should never corner a scared or desperate animal, but here I am tempting fate.

Suddenly, another warning sounds through my body, and I move just in time as Frank bursts through another wall brandishing a knife. He manages to give me a shallow gash across the thigh. A small amount of pain runs along my leg, and blood begins to trickle down my suit. He was aiming for a maiming slice, something that would allow him to get away. He really is smart, and I appreciate that he went for a leg and not my neck. But I still grab his arm as he passes me and toss him through the closest wall. The building groans in protest, and some drywall dust rains down on me.

"God I hope this place doesn't have asbestos," I mumble to myself before yelling at Punisher. "I swear to god if that knife wasn't yours and I get super AIDS from this place I am going to kill you, Castle!"

I step through the wall I tossed him through, and find him still brandishing the blade, hunched over like a wild dog, "Give it up, Castle. You can't win this."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Simple Unicycle
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Simple Unicycle ?

Member Seen 1 day ago

12:24 AM; July 7th, 2018
Abandoned Apartments; New York City


Pain runs through every part of my body as the superhero I'm facing off against throws me right through a wall. It didn't hurt as much as it would have if the wall wasn't already brittle and ready to collapse into dust, but then again getting punched in the nuts hurts just as much as getting kicked in them. With a grunt, I pull myself up to my feet, spitting out a gob of blood as I keep the knife at the ready.

"I swear to god if that knife wasn't yours and I get super AIDS from this place I am going to kill you, Castle!"

I step through the wall I tossed him through, and find him still brandishing the blade, hunched over like a wild dog, "Give it up, Castle. You can't win this."

A vicious grin makes its way across my face. "Well at least I'll go down being a pain in the ass!" I say, if only to sound tough. She's right, though; it didn't matter how good I was in a fight, if she wanted to then she could turn my head into ground beef with a single punch. I wish I had a grenade or something right about now. Then again, that would make the whole building colla-

... Wait a minute...

... Well, I was already a dumb move guy. Might as well top all of the ones I've had along this journey.

I rush at her, swinging the blade, which she easily avoids with a sidestep. She slings one of her webs at me, using it to throw me through another wall; just as planned. The building groans in protest, and I pull myself back to my feet again. It's already close to collapsing in on itself, and I'm sure a bunch of the people around here weren't happy with the eyesore. I'm just doing them a favor, which just so happens to help me out too.

I wipe the blood from the corner of my mouth as she approaches, knife still at the ready. "... That the best you got?"
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Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
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Master Bruce Winged Freak

Member Seen 1 mo ago

Gotham City, The Rooftops
The Narrows
8:10 PM

"You know, it's really nothing personal against Dent. I'd have plugged any politician for half the cost."

Studying the enemy before him, remaining stoic and motionless down to even the slightest lingering twitch, The Batman wordlessly scans Deadshot's movements and studies the possible pressure points that could render both of the assassin's arms immobile before he could even attempt to squeeze the trigger to the RPG. What's even more noticeable, however, is the fact that with every word laced in condescension and misspent bile, the mercenary for hire takes one step backward - inching toward the very edge of the rooftop. The vigilante takes note of this, and peers at the finger latched onto the weapon. There's a slight hesitation. A telltale sign that, even to a layman, the threat that was given is an empty threat and the giver knows it. Batman's fingers align themselves with the blades of the three batarangs at his back - and then switch to a different area of his belt. Preparing himself for a very different outcome than expected and hoping that he's right.

"But, hey. Job's a job. And I'm still on the clock, so it's been nice knowin' ya."

With a defiant glare, Batman takes a single step forward. Deadshot flinches, but there's no explosion. No immediate blast that renders the masked vigilante into a skeletal mess of ashes and fire. With his hand still hidden by his cape, the vigilante smiles to himself as his enemy realizes that his own number's up. There was never any danger of a blast to come because the weapon held a dummy grenade. A cheap, dramatic tactic to buy himself some time. Leaving Deadshot with nothing to save himself.


"I'll say."

As Deadshot tosses the large weapon towards Batman's head, the vigilante springs into action with a roll and dodges, pulling out his intended weapon - the utility gun. Firing a grapple line that immediately hooks and recoils with what amounts to an ensnared large metal prop, Batman heaves his shoulder forward and rams the harmless RPG into Deadshot's back as he makes a beeline for an escape. Surprisingly, the mercenary is quick to leap to his feet, indicating some level of high-tension armor underneath the overcoat and vest.

Readying his wrist-mounted guns once more, Deadshot dodges as Batman leaps downward with another intended kick and rolls, readying himself into position. The Dark Knight, however, is immediately onto his tactics, kicking himself off of the door to a rooftop entrance, spinning mid-air, and slamming the razor-sharp fins of his gauntlet across the barrel of the gun, instantaneously jamming it and rendering the firing capabilities useless.

"Not this time.", the vigilante warns, swooping into a brutal haymaker. "And never again. You were finished the moment you stepped into my city."

Deadshot falls to Batman's attack with obvious pain, but laughs heartily to himself regardless, aiming the other armed gauntlet with a wince from impact.

"Really? 'Your' city? Who the hell talks like that? Do you have any idea how ridiculous that even sounds coming from a grown man wearing pointy ears?!"

"This city was bought and paid for by at least a hundred guys waiting to mince everyone below them into ground chuck long before you ever hit the scene, Dracula."


Having leapt to a narrow corner of the roof to protect himself from the gunfire, Batman pushes his back against the brick scaffolding and readies the three batarangs from behind cover. Whoever this Deadshot is, the vigilante notices, he's relying on distraction. Talking exclusively in a barrage of insults and false bravado, utilizing facade weapons in the same circulation as genuine ordinance, keeping his attacks at close range and in short bursts. It was all the makings of a hitman who hadn't been doing this for very long. And definitely not the type of man who had endured any sort of successful military career, given real snipers knew when to talk and when to shoot.

But as bullets flew by just inches above Batman's cowl, he realizes that it doesn't matter. Deadshot had still acquired the skills to backup his namesake, which made him lethal regardless of his background. Were it not for something holding him back, there'd have been at least three opportunities for a man of this level of marksmanship to put a bullet into the vigilante's armor. The best that the mercenary could land, by contrast, was a swipe from a hidden blade. There was something about this encounter that felt off, and The Batman was starting to sense it.


"But I guess I'm one to talk, huh? Pulling that whole bait-and-switch act. It's really kinda beneath me, usually. I guess you Gotham idiots just have an... influence."

An eyebrow raises underneath the vigilante's mask. This seemed to confirm his suspicions, because now there was something almost downright deliberate in the way Deadshot was speaking. As if he were trying to communicate something else entirely that betrayed the current scenerio. With another bullet richocheting off of the scaffolding directly ahead of him, Batman decided that if he were going to figure out what was really going on, he'd have to engage his opponent in an entirely different form of battle strategy.


"I guess we do, don't we?"

Leaping out from behind Deadshot, having maneuvered his way ever-so slightly to the right of the assassin as he frantically scanned for his target's position, Batman tosses the batarangs from up high and pierces both of the assassin's free hands. The third batarang digs into his knee, causing Deadshot to yell out in pain and drop to the ground. Before he can recover, Batman brutally dropkicks him across the face, somersaults, and spins to connect a roundhouse punch to the back of the assassin's neck just as he stands. Deadshot stumbles forward, allowing The Dark Knight a brief moment of relief from the barrage of gunfire.

"Then again, you get used to it after awhile. Gotham's... influence."

Leaping into a sprint, Batman lifts his knee high and grabs the back of Deadshot's skull, making sure the two connect with just the right amount of force. The assassin falls backwards and begins to gasp, showing a clear spot of blood beginning to stain the fabric from behind an area of his mask. A broken nose, throwing his opponent's senses into a whirlwind of trauma. Almost by instinct, Deadshot weakly lifts his arm to fire off another round, but the vigilante quickly dashes the effort with a quick snap of his cape, delivering an unexpected blow to the assassin's wrist through titanium-tipped scallops. Immediately, Batman is ontop of the downed mercenary, reigning down blow after vicious blow.


Deadshot coughs up even more blood, prompting Batman to reach down and rip the mask from the mercenary's face. Beneath it is the broken and bloodied, but still grinning visage of a man in his late thirties, with only a pencil thin mustache and a series of facial scars rendering the otherwise less than noteworthy appearance slightly more worthy of committing to memory. Clearly trying to force another laugh, Deadshot instead hacks up a freshly loosened tooth.

"Six... seconds..."

Quizically, Batman stares back without a clear course of action to take. He didn't know what the assassin meant, and he wasn't interested in riddles. He knew that there hadn't been an explosive charge or other trap planted during the struggle, so it wasn't as though Deadshot was counting off a timer to something ready to explode. Grabbing the collar of his coat, Batman lifts the clearly defeated man into the air.


"Four... nngh... seconds..."

As Batman's rage grows louder and his pulse starts to race, the vigilante suddenly noticed that his vision is also starting to blur. Fearing another episode of his own mental handicap at work, the surprised vigilante drops Deadshot to the ground and stumbles back himself, feeling his breath shorten as colors begin to lose their vibrance. Immediately, Batman recognizes these signs, looking down at his own shaking hand. This isn't a hallucination. This is a toxin working it's way through the vigilante's system. Realizing that the area where Deadshot cut him is starting to burn, Batman begins to piece together the real hidden attack.


This entire fight was a distraction to buy time. Not for Deadshot's own escape, but for Batman to succumb to a poison that had been placed into his system from the tip of the mercenary's hidden blade. Holding his forehead in his palm, The Dark Knight struggles to maintain balance as he tries to make out the scene of Deadshot crawling towards an escape on one knee. Fight it, he thinks to himself, trying desperately to avoid passing out. But the toxin overwhelms him and he hits the back of a wall, slowly sliding to the ground. Leaving the mercenary that tried to assassinate Harvey Dent free to escape.

"Should've... paid... more attention... freakshow."

Batman reaches up at nothing as Deadshot disappears over the edge of the roof, gone in an instant. Reaching into his belt's first-aid pouch, the vigilante produces a potent anti-venom capsule that's generally reserved for rattlesnake bites and wounds that accelerate minor toxicity. It isn't enough to fight whatever's in his system, he wordlessly surmises, but it's enough to at least stave off the effects of it long enough to retreat back to the underground bunker beneath Wayne Tower.

Forcing the capsule down, Batman looks up into the air... only to be met with a bright light that immediately surrounds his position. Suddenly made more alert and agile based off of the adrenaline coursing through his system, the vigilante wipes a mountain of sweat building across his exposed mouth as his hearing goes from a loud whine of white noise into a loud, familiar whirring of helicopter blades. Whenever his vision briefly forms back into place, Batman recognizes the clear insignia of the GCPD on the chopper above him. His eyes widening, he immediately pushes himself past the point of physical endurance to stand.


It was expected that a police presence would eventually arrive on the scene, but The Dark Knight hadn't considered that he would still be there for them to spot, let alone miss the escape of the actual perpetrator behind the attempt to kill the city's District Attorney. His hand clasped around the handle of the utility-gun, Batman subtly switches the dial on the barrel's side to a different setting. There were six settings in total to the weapon that Lucius Fox of Waynetech had only recently completed.

One shot rubber bullets, designed to disperse crowds. Another shot the high-tensile grapple that he'd been learning to use as a default. The third shot the same type of tracker bullet that had permanently ruined Salvatore Maroni's kneecap. Fourth was a two-pronged bola projectile, making it simple to bind an enemy's feet together when running. The fifth shot a single live taser that acted as a homing disc, sticking itself to the nearest enemy combatant and sending a high current of non-lethal electricity through their bodies.

As members of the GCPD's SWAT unit descended via rope onto the rooftop with assault rifles trained onto him, Batman ensures that the gun is set to the sixth setting before lifting one hand above his head. The five members of Gotham's most elite squadron of officers took a good look at the man that Commissioner Loeb had personally ordered to be shot on sight, each expecting something very different than the last based on eyewitness reports. The man standing before them wasn't a demonic creature spawned from the depths of hell, nor was he a living shadow that swept criminals up into the night with a mere thought. It was only a man in a heavily armored costume.

"Hey! Hey, we said both hands! Get 'em up, fucker!", the squad leader demands, steadying his gun. "Get 'em up now or we spray the roof with your brains! You're under arrest for the attempted murder of Harvey Dent!"

Batman narrowed his eyes. He was unsurprised by the assertion that he'd been the assassin all along, and had to admit that the situation was damning enough to warrant such an assumption. Dent was, after all, shot during a rally attempting to decry the vigilante to the public. To the uninitiated that believed Batman to be as much a criminal as the people he fought, that would be just enough cause to try and kill any man, let alone one with a seemingly public and professional vendetta. Of course it wasn't true, but the vigilante knew that attempting to explain that to the men who likely answered to thugs like Maroni and The Penguin was a waste of effort.

So instead, The Batman merely smirks, finally moving the second hand from beneath his cloak. In it was the utility-gun, but the officers were caught off guard by the fact that the gun was aimed at the ground and not at them. With each preparing to fire, The Dark Knight makes sure to fire first, instantaneously blanketing the area in a thick layer of the gun's sixth setting: a potent tear gas. A protective rebreather instantly slides down from beneath Batman's cowl, locking in place over his jaw and he switches his cowl's lenses to their heat-signature mode.


Diving ahead and sweeping one officer's legs out from under him, Batman briefly considers taking them all on just to prove a point to their superiors. But in his weakened, poisoned state, he also knows that it'd be an unfortunate and disastrous attempt and that the GCPD would have him in lock-up by the night's end. So instead, The Dark Knight backs away as the random gunfire begins, allowing himself to fall off of the roof and into the night's sky.

Got to... get to the... cycle...

It was a narrow escape, but an escape nonetheless. Unfortunately, he hadn't been the only one to escape justice this night. Silently cursing the events of the evening, Batman descended into the darkness of the rooftops below and completely disappeared from sight.

Then... Deadshot's mine.
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