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S E A S O N O N E | S E A S O N T W O

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ A DC & MARVEL SINGULAR UNIVERSE ROLEPLAY ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

G M ( S ): Lord Wraith G E N R E: Fandom T Y P E: Sandbox with linear and Collaborative Arcs
"We all wish we had super powers."
"We all wish we could do more than we can do."

S T A N L E E ( 1 9 2 2 - 2 0 1 8 )

I N T R O D U C T I O N:

Welcome fans of Marvel, DC and all comics alike. Absolute Comics is a sandbox based RP that seeks to merge and mix the lore of your favourite DC and Marvel characters into one living cohesive world. The idea behind this RP is not to embody our favourite heroes to simply retell iconic stories and origins but to take these characters and make them our own. In fact, the goal of the RP is for players to take their favourite characters and re-imagine them to tell their own stories. We only ask that the 'heart' of the character remains the same. Players will take the roles of their favourite characters and tell stories either alone or in collaboration with other players in order to develop and grow the world.

W O R L D B U I L D I N G C O M P E N D I U M:










S U M M A R Y:

CHAPTERS:

In Absolute Comics, Chapters refers to the individual posts created by each player. Each player's chapters are to be linked to their respective character's Post Catalog. The onus is on each player to keep these Post Catalogs up to date in order to make their stories more accessible to new and late readers alike. In order to view a character's post catalog and/or season synopsis, please refer to their specific entry in the Character Tab here.

CROSSOVERS:
S E A S O N O N E - G O D S A M O N G M E N

ALONG CAME A SPIDER

~Coming Soon~

CRISES:
S E A S O N O N E - G O D S A M O N G M E N

MASS PANIC!
~Coming Soon~
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T H E C O N T I N U I N G S T O R Y:

SEASON ONE RECAP:
March 2019 - July 2019

In a world that has never had Superman, WONDER WOMAN was the first superhero to go public. Appearing during the First World War, Wonder Woman was later joined by the likes of CAPTAIN AMERICA and CAPTAIN MARVEL who fought alongside her during the Second World War. Despite this alliance, the age of heroes did not come from this time. Though the three heroes would go on to inspire the creation of a 'Justice Society,' all would just as suddenly fade from both the public's eye and its memory. Still, the idea persisted, and some would again follow the example set by those who came before them. Throughout the seventies and eighties, rumours flourished of a 'BATMAN' terrorizing Gotham's underworld. While in the decade that followed, message boards across the early internet were set aflame with fear. Fear caused by the metahuman scare that rapidly spread across North America and then the world. Children of the 'Atom,' the general populace feared these so-called 'freaks,' these 'mutants.' In some ways, they were right to.

The most powerful of them were Gods Among Men. At the height of this scare, a young man by the name of Charles Xavier decided to combat ignorance and dedicated his life to the study metahumans and their meta-gene. While across the country, a man with the ability to wield lightning protected the streets of Dakota until his disappearance in the 2000s.

In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States, Wonder Woman came out of retirement. Returning when America needed her the most, Wonder Woman went on to become a global figure. She dedicated her time to lending aid to those in need, all while the United Nations kept a close eye on her activity. While the general populace admired the heroine, the government feared what she could accomplish if she ever chose to side against them.

Wonder Woman was soon followed by others like her. It was a slow-burning fuse, but it would quickly lead to an inferno. In the late 2000s, an alien pod was sighted over the skies of Delaware. This was the harbinger, the herald of an era to come.

An era of hope.

It began with the first sightings of the woman the media would go on to dub SUPERGIRL. A young hero who unlike Wonder Woman, was not associated with war. Rumours of the Batman resurfaced in Gotham while New York was plagued by menace dubbed SPIDER-MAN.

In fact, New York quickly became a breeding ground for these so-called 'superheroes.' Xavier's team of X-MEN soon descended upon the city to clear the good name of metahumans everywhere, while another group of TITANS banded together, united by common goals and needs. Hell's Kitchen is under the protection of a man without fear known only as the DAREDEVIL. Down on Bleecker Street, under the tutelage of the Sorcerer Supreme, the young MAGIK protects that which lies behind the mystic veil.

Even Boston has recently had a hero to call its own, as the odd flying craft belonging to the BLUE BEETLE has been spotted numerous times over its streets. The city of Dakota is now home to both STATIC and VIXEN. Central City has adopted a hero known only as the FLASH while a new GREEN ARROW has appeared to rescue Star City.

To the south, Jump City is under the protection of a group of displaced aliens known collectively as the LEGION while out in the coldness of space, a human and god have united to create the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

Apart, each of these heroes has fought against vicious foes, some more powerful than even they themselves are. But together, they united to stop a threat meant to frame metahumans as terrorists. Led by the mysterious STRYFE, the 'Metahuman Supremacy Front' unleashed a horde of nanoscopic drones which upon embedded in a victim, drove the host into a frenzy. Based on a mysteriously reversed engineered technology from Stagg Enterprises, the drones were made to mimic a metahuman attack. Fortunately for all involved, the timely intervention of the heroes saved the day.

Or at the very least, postponed a larger threat.


INDIVIDUAL CHARACTER SYNOPSES:



SEASON TWO RECAP:
August 2019 - December 2019

To Be Completed Upon Season's End.
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It is the year 2019 and the age of heroes has yet to dawn upon this world. Earth has always had its heroes but no matter the reality, no matter the universe, each and every Earth will eventually usher in an age of heroes where men and gods alike stand at each others' shoulders as equals.

This Earth's started as far back as the first World War, when the Amazonian known as Wonder Woman inspired hope among the Allied Powers, aiding their victory. When the Second World War occurred, she was joined by America's own homegrown hero, Captain America and even fought alongside the hero dubbed Captain Marvel. These heroes ushered in the creation of the Justice Society of America before it was just as suddenly disbanded. For a brief moment in time, Earth had heroes, it almost had its golden age but it was taken from them just as a certain farmer in Kansas was taken from his own home.

Now there's something new coming, a girl who can fly, a spider in New York and bats in Gotham. Across the globe, more and more mutants are appearing each and every day. Rumours of vampires, zombies, and all manner of the supernatural are more persistent than ever with personalities like G. Gordon Godfrey, J. Jonah Jameson and Stephen Shin each publishing their opinions, beliefs in theories on every newsstand, television and blog.

Myths, legends, and folklore each have all had their own heroes, heroes who would go on to inspire literature, film and television. But the world needs real heroes more than ever, it is now time for those who have fought in the shadows for so long to come out of the darkness and to stand in the light. To inspire hope in the downtrodden and to take back the power for the common man.

These are their stories.


♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ SEASON ONE: GODS AMONG MEN ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Location: Off the Coast of Japan - Northern Pacific Ocean, 1943
Season One #1.00: A Scientific Marvel

Interaction(s): None
Previously: None

The waters rushed by as the submarine dived deeper and deeper through the teal green colours of the Pacific. There was something beneath the waves, something that had caught the attention of Hydra, the Black Dragon Society, the SSR and so many others. But they would not be the first to acquire whatever the source of the signal, no that honor alone would belong to O.G.R.E.

The Organization of General Resource Exchange.

The signal was getting stronger now, although the pilot had to admit to himself it was almost as though there was a voice inside his head, guiding him towards whatever it was he and the others were seeking. Ahead, in the shadows, something was glowing. Turning the controls ever so slightly, the pilot positioned the submarine directly in front of the signal as his eyes opened wide.

"What the hell is that?"
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Location: Axel Heiberg Island, Canada - July 2nd, 2018
Prologue #0.01: Alien Angel


Where am I?

It was a weird thought for the blonde-haired teenager.

A few weeks had passed since she had decided to leave the only home she had ever known – or rather, the only home she ever remembered. But things had started to get weirder and weirder since she awoke one night during her freshmen year. It was a wild lunch period, full of screaming and shouting. At the time she had called it “sensory overload” because well, Kara was sort of queen of the geeks. Her alien origin had always fascinated her but it was on that day she realized she couldn’t just run the full speed of a train and lift her dad’s truck over her head. More powers had started to come to her. Weirder powers. If it wasn’t hearing people halfway across the state it was suddenly in chemistry class realizing what seeing everyone’s skeleton would look like.

It was a kind of thing that would happen to her all throughout high school like some wicked alien puberty. As “cool” as it may have been, it also wasn’t something she was exactly a fan of either. Today was just a new thing to add to the list and a few minutes she was utterly lost. But lost was kind of a thing you did when you stumbled upon alien tech in Canada and passed out like you had all the beers at the party you definitely didn't tell your parents about.

But instead of a bad hangover on the couch at Terry's place there was a metal floor and sounds that reminded her of the noise that the hipsters in one town over called music.

“Note to self. Don't follow creepy alien beacons halfway across the continent in the future.” Kara muttered under her breath as she picked herself off the damp, metal floor.

Kara’s blue eyes looked from left-to-right, observing her surroundings as she pulled out the beacon; the beacon that had brought her to the edge of the planet, looking for answers about what she had pieced together over the past four years. When she had arrived to the destination the snow had opened up like a monster’s maw, sucking her into this… construct. That’s what it was, right? A construct? A base? Whatever it was it didn’t look human, or at least she didn’t think it did. Plus, there was a feeling like she had seen it before and she knew for a fact there was nothing like this back in Midvale. If she had to guess it was some kind of outpost her alien-people had built. It looked old. Was Earth originally an alien colony? Kara sighed, blowing a strand of hair out of her face as she thought over all of the possibilities that her dorkosaurus brain could come up with to explain it. But those were theories of a girl who had watched way too much Battlestar Galactica and Firefly. She needed to find a device for her to link up with. If all of this was anything like sci-fi video games that was what she needed to do.

“I’m going to hope that there’s no xenomorphs hiding in the ventilation shafts. I am so not Ripley.” She anxiously joked, her eyes immediately going up to the frozen ceiling above. “No xenomorphs allowed. You can stay in my nightmares.”

Fear of the unknown aside, eventually Kara came to the end of the corridor. In her way stood a large triangle door, seemingly frozen if not for the nearly silent hum of the technology powering it. She looked to her right and noticed that there was some kind of old interface. It definitely didn’t look like she thought it would. As far as she could tell it looked like a dimly-lit crystal. Her alien hearing recognized the same hum, though it was louder. But only loud enough where her specific type of hearing could make it out.

Eureka?

She bit her lip as she slowly and carefully moved her hand to the crystal.

And when she touched it? Everything got a lot louder. Loud enough to where she jumped back out of shock, landing flat on her butt as a loud and obviously robotic voice screamed out at her like she had just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. Her eyes immediately winced in pain, the loud robotic demands calling out to her in a language she didn’t understand. But if she didn’t understand it why did it sound so familiar?


It’s coming to me, like a distant memory… like riding a bike. A totally weird alien language-shaped bike. I understand it. All of it. Don't have a lot of time, though.

What was a screeching robotic monotone one minute had immediately become second nature, as if Kara was an expert on every single intricacy of the Kryptonian language. Kryptonian. She’d have to remember that. Maybe it was another one of her alien powers, or maybe she simply had repressed knowing the language for so long that it took a minute? As she pushed her hands into the floor she bit her lip as she tried to understand the messages the weird alien hideout was shrieking at her about. It was identifying her. It was going through its protocol. It was requesting her to finish what she had started because it had not had enough time to match her “genetic profile” to the database.

“Identify your genetic code. Process incomplete.”

She needed to… touch the crystal again? Was that it? For a full scan? As she got back to her feet for a second time she took a heavy breath to chill her nerves. Creepy Alien Base: 2. Kara: 0.

“I can punch a hole in a barn, but I’m afraid of frickin’ guilty spark. Geeze. How dumb can I get?”

As she touched the crystal for the second time she felt the energy inside, though mostly she was glad that the AI that was running the place was sounding less-and-less angry. Understanding the language seemed to make that a lot easier.

“Alright, doing the thing.” She responded to the robotic voice, though she was pretty sure it wasn't going to hold a conversation while they argued to let her gain access to the door that led deeper into the structure.

It took a few minutes for everything to be “processed” but she sighed a relief when she heard the AI’s “response”.

“Welcome to Solitude, Kara of House El.”
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R O X X O N I V Y B R A N C H H Q - S E V E R A L W E E K S A G O

Midday | Cornell County, Ivy Town, Connecticut

Clayton Burr was an ordinary man with an ordinary life. He met a girl in college and fell in love. Married that girl and found himself a nice house in the suburbs. They'd only been married a year by the time their first son was born. William, a feisty little warrior- reminded Clayton of his own younger brother growing up. The handful that he was, Clayton loved him with all of his heart, and he'd do anything for that boy.

Even stomach working for his father.

Clayton Burr Senior was a company man. Spent his whole life working for the Roxxon Energy Corporation, fighting his way to being the head of the Ivy Branch Headquarters. He didn't care about much in his life. Never much cared for his family, even the ones he'd brought into the world. Didn't much care for his friends, either. But he did love his job- and the piles and piles of cash it brought him. Ruthless, cold and greedy. Clay despised the man, but he needed the job; he needed to leave enough behind when he died so that his own son could be happy and comfortable. So he became a company man, too. For the good of little Will.

He'd worked at Roxxon for fifteen years, and now he had his own office all to himself. Wasn't much to look at. Organized, clean, and bare, save for a single framed photo of everything he cared about. Wasn't much, but it was his. And it was a great deal better than the cubicle he used to work out of. He especially liked how they'd soundproofed the walls so he could work in peace and quiet.

Well. He usually liked it, anyway.

A man had come to visit him during his lunch break. A grim-looking fellow, with gaunt features and sun-kissed skin. Clay could see that age had gotten to him from the laugh lines 'round his eyes and the slightest of wrinkles dotted on his cheeks. No gray in his dark locks yet, though there was no telling how much time he had until then. Handsome, if it weren't for that permanent frown of his.

The stranger had questions for Burr. Questions he couldn't answer. Uncomfortable ones. Ones his bosses had tried to sweep under the rug. No company had clean hands, Clay had learned that a long time ago. But Roxxon's were particularly dirty. He tried to ignore it best he could. Tried to do the straight work and look the other way whenever he could. 'Course, being the son of the executive officer made it hard to blend into a crowd. Burr was an accountant. He dealt in numbers. Numbers that didn't always add up.

Somehow the stranger knew that. And he wanted to know more- but Clay didn't know more. He'd already said everything he could.

So why was he still hurting him?

"I TOLD YOU EVERYTHING!" Burr screamed. He bucked in his chair and flailed his body like a man possessed, desperately fighting against the bent metal wristbands that kept him pinned in place. His face was drenched in sweat, mingling with the tears that flowed freely down his cheeks. The agony was unbearable. It felt like worms had crawled into his veins and started exploring his insides. Every movement brought another whimper from the businessman. "Make it stop! P-please! I'll do wh...whatever you want!"

The stranger sat on the desk in front of him, that same, grim look on his face. "I don't like liars, Mr. Burr." He spoke in a soft voice, touched by an accent Clay didn't recognize. It was thick and beautiful, giving a sharpness to every word the stranger spoke. "You send eight times the oil to South Africa than what actually arrives in their ports. Where does the rest of the shipment go?"

"I told you-" Burr panted. "Their books are the same as ours-"

"I'm sure they are." He interrupted with a click of his tongue. "Books are easy to change. But I've been on those docks, Mr. Burr, I worked in that port and I know those containers weren't there. So I'm going to ask you one last time: where does the rest of the shipment go?"

"I don't kn-" Before he could even finish the stranger had made a flourishing movement with his hand, and the pain had come back with a vengeance. He could feel those things racing through his body, tearing apart the insides of his arms as they moved further inside. He could barely move them anymore. There was no telling what would happen if they reached his torso. "I just- I just handle the books, I swear! I-I write down what they tell me to, I never ask questions, I'm not supposed to know. I sw..swear, I swear I don't."

"Then who does?"

"What?" Burr blinked.

"I need a name." The stranger breathed. He brought his hand upward, palm facing toward Burr. Even the slightest twitch of his fingers made the worms start moving again. Clay had no idea what would happen if he closed his whole fist.

"Wait, wait!" Burr demanded. "My...My father, Clayton Senior. He runs this place. He knows e-everything that happens here. If- if anybody knows, it'd be him. Please, that's all I know, I swear. Don't- don't kill me." He whimpered.

With a flick of his wrist, the stranger pulled the liquid metal out of Burr's body. It exploded from his flesh in a thousand tiny pieces, leaving behind a smattering of red, bloody dots all across Clay's arms. He screamed, but nobody could hear him. "PLEASE!" He pleaded. "I have a family- a son! They need-"

"So did I." His captor whispered. Then he balled his hand into a fist, and the metal in the air tore through Burr's heart like shotgun pellets.

T H E X - M A N S I O N - E A R L I E R T H A T D A Y

8:00 a.m. | Salem Center, Westchester County, New York

Charles Xavier always felt a sense of satisfaction at the sound of chalk moving across a blackboard. Every stroke invigorated him like a shot of dopamine, and he found himself turning away from the board with a content grin on his aging face. "Genosha," the professor stated, tapping the name he'd just writt en in large, bold letters. "Does anyone know who first founded it?"

His question road like a wave across the makeshift classroom, which was little more than a sitting room with the chairs all turned to face forwards and a blackboard rolled in front of it all. Bobby Drake had made sure to occupy the furthest seat from the board, the hood of his jacket drawn down juuust far enough to hide his eyes as he tried to catch up on missing sleep. Movie night with Kurt had run a couple of hours too late. How was Drake supposed to know the marathon lasted that long? He regretted not checking the clock or something, 'cause being reminded by the sun coming up hadn't been very fun.

Kurt, to his credit, hadn't quite passed out yet. His head was resting in his palm, his three fingers running through the blueish fur on his cheek. His eyelids kept trying to clamp shut every few minutes, only for Wagner to lurch awake in a violent and distracting display that would keep him lucid for a couple of minutes before it all repeated again. If he ever tried to answer any questions it came out in unintelligible German.

Two pencils went soaring through the air like a pair of shurikens, one striking Kurt in the forehead and the second bouncing off of Bobby's nose. Both boys were thrown wide awake by the sudden attack, with Bobby nearly leaping out of his chair in surprise and Kurt vanishing and reappearing right back in his seat in a puff of black smoke. They shared a confused glance with one another seconds before realizing where the attack had come from, their heads turning simultaneously to glare in the direction of Scott Summers.

Scott crinkled his nose incredulously at them- even with his eyes hidden behind his crimson visor it wasn't hard to tell he was glaring. Sweat glistened off of the young man's forehead, still clinging to him after his long and exhaustive morning run. After making sure the two troublemakers were thoroughly and silently accosted for sleeping through the lesson he returned to looking in Xavier's direction, unable to muster an answer to the question. This was the first time they'd broached the subject of Genosha, and Scott wasn't too confident he'd be able to even point it out on a map.

The Professor pursed his lips, his eyes slipping between the three of his students as he seemed to contemplate how to deal with the brief interruption. The look lingered on Scott, giving the team's leader his own look of quiet admonishment before Xavier shifted his attention fully back to the lesson at hand. "Anyone?" Charles asked with a raised brow, "Hank?"

It wasn't until he heard his name that Hank McCoy even seemed to notice there was something going on around him. His pencil was rapidly shortening as he ran the tip of the graphite against his notebook full of crazy ideas and half-finished schematics. The current drawing before him was a series of functional upgrades to the team's costumes. Their current suits, aside from being a little tacky, didn't have any kind of temperature control, built-in communications, armor or other crucial parts to any superhero uniform. Hank blinked, pushing his nose up his glasses as he looked up to the Professor and then at the blackboard. "I'm sorry, uh, could you repeat the question?"

"He asked who founded Genosha," Jean Grey cut in before Charles got a chance, speaking in a very matter-of-fact tone as she looked down at her notes, "and you're gonna say the British first declared the colony in 1901, but there was actually activity from various colonial powers going as far back as the 16th century. And..." She stuck her tongue into her cheek, her brows furrowing a little. "Something about making the suits out of a carbon fiber mesh?" Jean leaned over from her seat and attempted to get a look at whatever it was Hank had been doodling on his notebook. "-Are you making us new costumes?" She asked curiously.

"Hey!" Hank practically tore the book off his lap and slapped it up against his sprawling chest. "No mind reading!" He huffed, clearly caught off guard at having his thoughts so casually spoken aloud for everyone to hear.

Bobby was out of his seat and leaning over the back of McCoy's chair as quick as the word 'costumes' had left Jean's mouth. He grabbed both of Hank's shoulders and attempted to drag himself up high enough to see the notebook in his big friend's hands. "We're getting new costumes?!" He inquired with an energetic excitement that had seemingly spawned from thin air. Kurt shared his enthusiasm, popping up on Hank's opposite shoulder in a puff of dark smoke and trying to leer down at the page. Hank didn't take well to the intrusion, trying to buck the duo off and keep the sketches hidden against his chest at the same time.

Jean's face grew beet red the instant she realized what she had done. "I- I didn't- I mean, it wasn't on purpose-" She stumbled and stuttered, retreating behind her red locks as she bent her head low in shame at her actions. Reading minds came to her as easily as actual hearing did. It was hard for her to decipher what were thoughts and what were words, and sometimes it all got so jumbled that she got her own thoughts mixed up with someone else's. "I'm sorry." She muttered.

Hank, still busy wrestling Bobby and Kurt into submission, paused long enough to listen and reply. "It's okay." He assured her. "I'm not- hey!" He started, only to be interrupted by Kurt slipping underneath one of his arms and getting a hold of the notebook.

Nightcrawler slipped right away from the beast of a man's grip, vanishing out of the classroom and appearing in the hallway. He held the picture up in the light, a bright grin spreading across his face. "I look awesome!" He laughed.

"Lemme see!" Drake whined, jumping over chairs and racing over to catch up to Wagner. "When do I get to wear mine?!"

Hank, hot on Bobby's heels and having completely forgotten what he was going to say to Jean, was quick to shout after them. "It's just a drawing! We aren't even in the prototype phase!"

The lesson thoroughly disrupted and Jean left in her silent shame, Charles let out a quiet sigh. Kids, he thought with a shake of his head. No matter what kind of amazing gifts they might have, it was hard to forget that these five were still all children at heart. He placed the chalk back down on the tray and moved his hands onto the wheels of his chair, planning to go to miss Grey, as he had many times before. But he paused, not all that surprised to see that Summers had already moved to her side. He had a hand around her shoulder and he was trying to say something that might've been vaguely wise had the boy any idea how to say it. It brought a smile to Charles's face.

"Come on back, my students, there'll be plenty of time for that later! Our lesson's only just begun." Xavier called out to the wrestling trio in the hallway. They all seemed to look at each other and hold and a wordless conversation for a few seconds before deciding to call a ceasefire and return back to their seats. They spent a little while putting everything back where it was before and getting themselves seated, but their attention was eventually given back to the professor. Even if they bickered, fought or messed up in some fashion, they always seemed to land back on their feet. Always seemed to orientate themselves to point north again, even if it did take a bit of time. Charles let his hands come to rest on his lap as he waited a moment, making sure everyone was ready before he continued. "So, as Jean said, Genosha was founded in..."

B A Y V I L L E H I G H S C H O O L - P R E S E N T

6th hour - 1:24 PM | Bayville County, New York City, New York

Winter was over and life was returning to Bayville. It'd been a cold and harsh winter with plenty of snow and a near constantly overcast sky. But it was over. The people shed their coats and the trees were green again. Birds were singing, children laughing, and the sun was peaking through the clouds, vibrant and warm. It would've made Lance happy if returning to school wasn't part of the deal.

He felt everyone's eyes on him the moment he got into the bus. Never saw them look, but he knew they were- he could feel their stares burning through the back of his Howling Commandos' t-shirt. It was a strange and disturbing sensation, knowing what they were whispering about when they thought he wasn't listening. He liked it so much better when nobody knew he existed.

Lance kept his eyes down and his face hidden behind his long locks. 'Keep your head down.' He ordered himself. Maybe they'd forget after a few hours. Go back to being stupid teenagers.

First hour passed and nobody had stopped looking. They kept whispering. Nobody liked Ms. Harrington's english class. It was boring. Nothing better for them to think about, he guessed. Maybe it'd be better next hour.

Physics. The hardest class of the day. Lance couldn't make head or tails of anything in that textbook, and the teacher wasn't much help. Maybe if he hadn't missed so many days he'd understand half of that bullshit. He was sure everyone else struggled as much as he did. They should'a been paying attention. But they wouldn't stop staring.

Third hour was Spanish. Another boring class. Mr. Rodriguez was ass at teaching, but at least he gave everybody good grades. They were all whispering now. Everybody had heard. Lance had only been there three hours but every single one of them was looking at him now. His face was red and hot. He wished he could just bury his head in the sand and never have to pull it back out.

Fourth hour was the same. Then lunch came. No more whispering. Now they were just talking. Didn't seem to care that he heard any of them. A few of them were even pointing at him. Lance took his lunch outside and ate behind the benches by the Football field. Nobody came back there. It was nice to have some time to himself.

Study hall was right after, so he had even more time to get away from it all. He checked in with the teach and told her he was headed to the library before he walked out the front door. Didn't have time to get far, but he found himself a nice, secluded plot of land a good ways from any of the school's buildings. Lance made sure there were plenty of trees between him and any prying eyes before he plopped down on the grass and let out a heavy, tired sigh.

"Finally," Lance muttered, his eyes snapping shut. He took in a deep, long breath before letting it out just as slowly. He did this six times, each just as long as the last. Careful. Measured. Calm. It took a great deal of concentration to reach out with his mind and feel the earth beneath his feet. Not the grass, or the dirt, but the earth. The stones buried deep. The foundation of everything they strode upon. Nobody ever gave a second thought to the ground. It was just...there. It'd always been there. Dirt to walk on. Stone to hold that up. Nobody really questioned it. Nobody gave it any thought. Not until something went wrong with it. Not until it broke and made a mess of things. That was the only time anyone ever cared- was when it's pain got in their way.

A stone laying at his feet began to shake. He reached out to it, though his hands remained on his knees, and lifted it into the air. He could feel it hovering just a few inches from his face, suspended in the air by his will alone. It gave him an incredible rush every time he did it. Better than any drug he'd ever tried. He let a hand slip from his leg and fall down into the grass, reaching deeper into the ground. It purred and hummed at his touch, welcoming, inviting, obedient. He had heard its hardships. He was the only one that listened to it. He was its friend.

"I been lookin' for you all day, Lance!" Someone called from behind him. The stone dropped to the ground as Lance scampered to get up to his feet. He hadn't so much as turned around before he felt a hand wrap around the collar of his shirt and drag him up the rest of the way.

"Or should I call you mutie now?" The teenager that pulled Lance to his feet snarled, spittle flying from his ugly teeth into the other boy's face. Ryan Griffan- or Griff, as he liked to call himself- was a lifeless douchebag that spent his days picking on the kids that were somehow even less popular than he was. Everybody knew he was an asshole, but nobody ever bothered to get in his way. He was too big for that. Big and stupid and willing to bust your teeth in for even looking at him sideways.

Lance turned his eyes toward his feet, refusing to look Griff in the face. "Don't call me that." He muttered.

"N' why not, mutie?" Griff chuckled, tossing Lance back. He managed to catch himself in a stumble rather than falling right onto his back, but he landed in an awkward stance on his thin and unimpressive frame. He was several inches shorter than Griff, and there was no telling how much lighter. It wouldn't be a fair fight.

"I'm no mutant. Don't matter what they say." He muttered, eyes on the dirt and his chin tucked into chest.

Griff just shook his head. "Naw...Sal's a lotta things but she ain't no liar. Not like you, mutie. You...you're a liar." He laughed again. An ugly, spiteful laugh. Like a Hyena. "And she told evveeryyboodyy, freak, you know that? Whole school's heard about you."

"I know." Lance whispered under his breath. "They won't stop fucking staring."

Griff slipped closer. Two of his dipshit friends stepped out of the treeline. Hovering far enough back that Griff had space to work but close enough that they could pounce if Lance so much as blinked wrong. He'd been on the wrong side of this equation before, but...He knew it'd be different this time.

"What'd you think was gonna happen when you told her?" Griff spoke in a quiet drawl, lowering his mouth toward Lance's ear. "You think she was gonna like you 'cuz you could wiggle your fingers n' make a couple'a rocks float? You think people were gonna start givin' a shit about you 'cuz you're a mutie now?"

"Go away, Griff," Lance muttered, his throat dry and his hands shaking.

"What was that, mutie? Speak up."

"I told you to leave me alone." Lance snarled, turning his eyes up to meet Griff's gaze. The two stared at one another, eyes sharp as spears. They held for precisely three seconds before Griff started to move and the next thing Lance knew he was on his back and blood was running down his face from his nose.

Pain.

It felt his pain.

Like he'd felt it's pain.

"I wanna see it, mutie." Griff declared, hands resting on his hips in a triumphant, arrogant display. He stood over Lance, not even bothering to look at him as he demanded things of the fallen boy. "I wanna see these oh-so-impressive powers you lot are s'posed to have. I mean, I hear about your people hurtin' normal people on the news all the time. So's you've gotta be pretty strong, right? You supposed to be some kinda monster."

Lance rolled over onto his stomach, grass in his teeth. "You wanna see it, huh?"

"Oh yeah, I do. Show me, mutie. Show me." Griff taunted, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt. His little friends in the back were whooping and hollering like the morons they were. They thought they'd get to see Griff beat up on a freak. Maybe Griff would even let them in on the fun if they were good enough. They sounded so very excited.

Then the ground began to shift.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Star Lord
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Star Lord Legendary Outlaw

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Paris, France
Present Day

Issue #1.01
𝗪𝗢𝗡𝗗𝗘𝗥 𝗪𝗢𝗠𝗔𝗡

Diana Prince came awake in the dark and nearly got out of her bed as if she was already in a battle. Then, she realized that she was sleeping in a luxurious hotel room instead of the battlefield. Her dreams felt so real as if she was reliving those moments. But, it became difficult to tell which war she dreamt about. Each of the wars that Diana fought in were almost identical besides its locations and reasons why it began. All of them caused so much suffering and loss regardless of justified cause. She could have listened to her husband and lived a peaceful life after fighting in both world wars.

But, the world needed Wonder Woman.

And for seventy-four years, she started a new battle against the development of nuclear weaponry and the rising military-industrial complex. With help from her husband and the squad, the World Veterans Federation was founded with the goals of promoting world peace and protecting veterans. But it still wasn't enough. The greatest superpowers of the world during the Cold War nearly destroyed the world a few times. She wanted to do something before man did something incredibly stupid like nuking the entire world. However, her husband wanted to live his remaining years in peace and quiet with the woman she loved. So, she did.

Diana's train of thought was interrupted by a knock on the door. "Diana, are you awake?" a familiar voice was heard on the other side.

She got out of her bed and went over to the wardrobe room in order to change into her dress. Today was the day where she planned on giving a speech at the twenty-ninth general assembly of the WVF. Once she was done with the dress, she told the person to come on in while she walked to the bathroom to do clear up a little. Etta Candy, Diana's personal security, walked into the room with a little grin on her face. Despite being the cold hearted badass of the group, she loved to travel around the world principally Paris. "Are you ready for the debrief, madam?" Candy asked Diana while scanning the bedroom.

"Everyone's already here?" Diana asked confusedly while she was picking out the earrings.

"Of course, madam. It is an important day after all." Etta answered with a smile on her face before she straighten up when Diana came out. She looked beautiful as always, she thought with her eyes looking at the dress. She responded with a cough and said, "It looks good on you."

Before Diana could thank her security chief, she saw that her secretary had been staying there with her arms crossed and a grin on her face. Alana Dominguez was pretty damn good at her job given she was made responsible for most of the administrative work and decisions. Dominguez had served in the US military before going to school and getting her associate's degree a few years ago. Diana saw potential and hired her to be the new secretary. "Told you that dress looked perfect on you." Dominguez remarked.

"Well, good thing that I listened to you." Diana gave her a light-hearted smile before walking out of the room with Candy and Dominguez following behind. She knew that it was the same procedure year after year with a few minor changes here and there. Until she found that her chief legal officer, Rachel Keast, had the entire conference room to herself. Without any warning, Diana dismissed both Dominguez and Candy before walking into the room. She knew that something serious was going to happen if Keast was in Paris instead of the United States. "It will be only a few." Diana gave a forced smile before closing the door on them.

Then, she turned and looked at Keast trying to find the right words to say.

"Keast, how was Washington?"

"I am afraid that the rumors are true. The United States are looking into forming a committee on you and your activities. Everything you have ever done and said will be under a microscope. Then, they will decide what the best course will be. I am truly sorry, Diana." Keast said bluntly towards Diana while looking at her eyes with a serious expression. She had been looking rumors that the United States were planning something like this ever since the rise of superheroes. "People are scared right now and what they need is-"

"A scapegoat." Diana finished the sentence. She was clearly disappointed with the news after all she did for man and they repaid her by doing this. "How long do we have until they want my presence?"

"It could be weeks or months before it's requested. But, an announcement of the committee's formation will happen on Friday. And they will start work on the following Monday. Other than that, we are in the dark." Keast answered the question and got up from her seat to comfort Diana. She wanted the rumors to be false so that Wonder Woman didn't have to deal with this attempt to deface her name. Everything that she had ever done could be ruined depending on the outcome. Even WVF was at risk.

Keast placed a hand on Diana's shoulder and insisted, "My legal team and I will defend your name against the committee."

"Thank you." Diana smiled but still had doubts about a good outcome of the committee.


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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Hillan
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Hillan The Real Dinoman

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Location: Central City - 4 Months Ago
Post #1.00: Victory

Interaction(s): None
Previously: None


"My name is Barry Allen, and I'm the fastest man alive. When I was a child, I saw my mother killed by something impossible. Then an accident made me the impossible. To the outside world, I'm just an ordinary forensic scientist, but secretly I use my speed to fight crime and find others like me, and one day, I'll get the man who killed my mother, I'll get justice for my friends, my father and for Iris. I am the Flash."

Lighting struck the ground outside of the suburbs of Central City, The Streaks as the suburb was called, less than a mile off a very peculiar house in the story of our hero. The house where all of this had begun a number of years ago that to him was impossible to know. It was where all of this started, really. Even if he was but a boy then, it was the defining moment in his life. Being this close to that place made his body surge with new power, new purpose. His body that moments ago - in a different time - had felt like it was losing it's power had now become reinvigorated. He was running. God, he was always running. But he was never alone, not anymore. Before, he would've had friends, loved ones, or her by his side, but now, he had the devil on his heels. The same lightning bolt that had struck the ground struck the same place again and behind him he appeared. His dark passenger, his reflection. His shadow.

His Reverse, The man in Yellow came out gritting his teeth, his eyes glowing sharply red as he grappling for the hero. He was narrowly dodged and then counter attacked, a swing towards his yellow-clad face, as their blurry arms collided, lightning rang all around them and what had a second ago been a small storm was now quickly growing into a massive hurricane. Nature knew full well that these weren't simply two men fighting. It wasn't a squabble, and it wasn't even a rivalry anymore. It wasn't a feud between two sprinters, a tug of war between opposites.

It was a battle between titans, a war between two forces of nature. An effort to put an end to the unanswerable question - what if two unstoppable objects collide. They traded blow after blow, moving in circles and every time they did, lightning struck them and another pair of them appeared. They didn't say anything to each other, but they both knew it.

This was the end. It ends tonight. Soon, they had occupied the entire field they were one, a red and a yellow blur moving faster than anyone in the world could comprehend, unleashing enough power that if it wasn't absorbed by the other could've caused catastrophic damage to the surroundings. A kick, a lightning spear was thrown, a velocity barrier was made, they phased at different frequencies, moving through one another, they pulled out all of their stops here and now, using every little bit of all of their might. Finally, The Flash saw an opportunity. A lightning bolt to the Man in Yellow's that he could not parry, he took a few meter's leverage to gain enough speed to hit him with enough energy to end this once and for all. But as his fist was about to collide with the paler man's face, it was over.

All the battles on the field stopped then, as if the entire world stopped.

His hand was shaking, trembling. They were moving at all but normal speed all of a sudden, consumed by what was happening. In the middle of the army of Yellow and Red fighting, there were the pair of them. Flash's fist colliding with Zoom's face, yet, Zoom's hand vibrating through Flash's heart.

"I win."

"You will never win, Thawne." He said with a pained grin, as the red duplicated began exploding into bright glow, absorbed back into the speedforce. Thawne pulled off Barry's cowl, and then took off his, revealing his graying blond hair, matching Barry's full head of gray. He leaned over to Barry, letting him rest one arm over his shoulder, as he leaned in closer. "I win, Flash. I beat you." As he pulled his hand out of Barry's chest leaving a gaping hole as he had vibrated the organs into dust. Barry fell to the ground, his blood splattering all over Thawne's yellow suit.

The Reverse Flash pulled up his cowl again and began laughing, hysterically and manically. He had finally won. He had finally showed that idiot Barry Allen that he was the fastest. He had taken everything that was important to Barry, and now, he had even taken his life.

Gideon's voice spoke softly in his ear.

"Thawne, sir. The timeline's becoming unstable. Your defeat over Mr. Allen must have shaken the speedforce. This timeline is becoming highly volatile, I am detecting anachronisms all over time. Get out of there."

"I'll go wait it out in the negative speedforce. This timeline can go to hell." Thawne said with a smile, as he began running, seemingly a lot slower than he was used to. "Gideon, I am.. Slow." His voice couldn't hide the euphoria he felt, still, but his pragmatism stopped him from celebrating. He was powerful, but even he couldn't survive time collapsing on itself.

"It would seem that your body's connection to the speedforce has been severely damage from your battle. You are essentially out of fuel. You need a recharge of dark matter, Professor. Thawne" The female voice informed him and Thawne smirked, seeing the particle accelerator in the distance exploding.

"I know just the place."

Speeding into the CCPD's loft, the forensics lab, he saw a young Barry Allen climbing onto a shelf to grab some chemicals. Thawne non-nonchalantly pushed him off the ledge with the remainder of his speed - taking Barry's exact place as the lightning bolt came through the window, surging through him. The young Barry Allen was thrown onto the ground, knocked out cold. Thawne had a smug smile on his lips as he glanced over at the young would-be Flash. "Your time's up, kid."

He headed back outside - into a Central City in chaos. Thawne never got tired of seeing all of the mayhem this night caused, no matter how many times he had to see it. He still felt slow, but not as slow as before. The timeline was still deteriorating, and certain objects were melting away. A lamppost, a fire hydrant, cars, even some people were being turned into nothingness. He felt it closing in on him.

"That's my cue to leave." He sprinted as fast as he could, breaking into the barrier of the speedforce.. But it was no refuge for him, instead, he was immediately pushed out of it, landing on his face.

"What do you mean I'm not allowed to?! DO you not know who I am?!" he yelled in anger, as the portal closed again. The Speedforce had illustrated it's conditions very clearly, and Thawne was not happy about it. He tried to pry open the portal into the speedforce again, but to no avail. His left arm was deteriorating.

Feeling how time got even more unstable, Thawne's fist pierced the ground. "Fucking FINE!" he cried out in his fury, his fist summoning a lightning strike as it shattered the concrete under it. He climbed to his feet, and time stopped collapsing, seemingly and his arm stopped falling apart.

"Gideon. Find me Edward Thawne." His words thundered as he sped off in a yellow streak of lightning.



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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Simple Unicycle
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Simple Unicycle ???

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ISSUE #1
GETTING THE PARTY STARTED

Blade's unnamed shop; New York City, New York

The phone was ringing. Here's hoping it's someone with the password. I need some action.

I stepped out of the bathroom and slid into my shirt, sitting down in the chair behind the desk. Grabbing a slice of pizza from the box I had just ordered, I took a bite before taking the phone. "Yeah?" I asked around a mouthful of pepperoni and cheese.

"Are you the hunter known as Blade?" The voice was an older sounding guy, kinda creepy too.

Hm. Guy knows my name. Doesn't seem like I should hang up on him. Still, dude was missing something... "Password?"

"I was told it was 'jackpot'."

I grinned. About damn time. "Haha, finally! Last coupla weeks the only calls I've gotten were from people who didn't know the pas-"

"I'm going to drop off a gift for you."

I knitted my brow in confusion. "A gift, eh?"

"A gift from the supernatural underworld of New York. We don't like hunters." The line went dead.

With a snort, I threw the phone back onto the receiver and stood up, finishing my pizza as I walked around to the front of the desk. "Sounds like trouble. Man, it's always one thing after anot-" Before I could finish my sentence, I felt a sharp pain through my back, as though something had stabbed me. A man walked around from behind, holding a blood coated dagger.

I needed to get to my sword. So, I promptly fell over as though defeated. "Hmph. Thought this would be harder." It was the voice of the man on the phone, and I could see the unnatural yellow glint in his eyes.

A vampire.

I sprung up to my feet and backflipped behind my desk, grabbing my sword off the wall. My body was already healing, the meat beneath my now ruined shirt knitting itself back together. The vampire paled. "N-not possible! The blade is silver!"

I chuckled. "Sorry, bro. Might have all the neat powers of a vampire, but I don't have a single one of their weaknesses." Raising the sword, I pointed the blade at him with a grin. "So come on, bloodsucker! Let's dance!"

His look of shock faded, and as it did he gave me a vicious grin, showing his sharp fangs. "Very well then. Come and get it." I lunged forward with a stabbing motion, the vampire dodging out of the way of my attack and appearing by my side with blinding speed. "Too slow." He swung his knife at my face with just as much speed, and I managed to easily duck out of the way. As I did, I threw a fist into his gut, sending him flying back and into my desk.

I gave a bark of laughter. "C'mon, you can do it buddy! Come at me!" He did, jumping up from the ruined desk and rushing me, and once again I dodged a slice without much effort. "Oh, so close that time!" He smirked slightly, before producing a second dagger from his coat and plunging it into my chest. Shaking his head and sighing, the vampire kicked me away while ripping the blade out. I landed right on my new pool table.

With a groan, I pulled myself up off the destroyed pool table and cracked my back. "Okay, I'll give ya that one..." I turned around and looked at what remained of the pool table, an idea sparking in my head. "Man, I just got this thing! You're gonna be paying for this!"

"Come and get me then."

"No, I mean literally paying for it. Shit ain't cheap, homie."

He furrowed his brow in annoyance. "You expect me to pay for this you little worm?"

I rolled my eyes. "Uh, yeah? You break somethin', you gotta pay for it. You got three hundred bucks on ya by any chance?" C'mon, get pissed, get pissed, get pissed...

The vampire gave a frustrated growl and lunged at me with a yell. There we go. He was telegraphing his moves now. I sidestepped his attack and swung my blade out at his neck, cutting his head clean off. The head rolled off of his body, and he slowly withered away into dust as soon as his corpse hit the ground. Sheathing my sword, I sighed. "Hmph, is that it? Thought this would be more fun. Ah, whatever."

I noticed something that didn't burn away with his corpse: a wallet. Grinning, I picked it up and opened it, counting the money inside. "Haha! Five hundred! Thanks, bud." I pulled the cash out of the wallet and flung it away, burying the bills into my pocket. "Gonna have to replace this shit tomorrow. Time to enjoy the rest of my night off in peace..."

I must've spoke too soon because before I knew it my windows were broken, four vampires had leapt in, and I had four more blades in my body. I ignored the pain, pushing the vampires off of me and pulling the blades out two at a time before looking at the shattered windows. "... Yeah, sure, okay! I don't mind, just break all my shit then! My one night off and you guys gotta ruin it!"

The vampires hissed at me, bearing their fangs and scrambling to pick up their daggers and short swords. I huffed, walking over to the weapon rack on my wall and grabbing the two new pistols I had gotten. "Been meaning to try these bad boys out. C'mon, let's get this over with." Without even waiting, the four vampires rushed forward to stab at me with their daggers.

I jumped up and over them, hopping off of one's head as I went, and firing a few rounds into his back. He collapsed into ash on the spot. "Ah, the wonders of silver bullets. You guys ain't scared, are ya?" Just as I expected, they all backed up a bit, though still kept at the ready to attack at any moment. Silently, I beckoned for them to come at me.

The only one gutsy enough to actually follow up on my taunt was a female, leaping upward to slam her short sword onto my head. I simply holstered one pistol and unsheathed my own sword; bringing it up above my head, I blocked her attack, and the sudden stop sent her flying backwards. "Put a bit more force into it next time, babe." I raised the pistol I still had out and aimed at her head. "Oh, wait. There ain't gonna be a next time." I fired, and she evaporated in seconds.

While I was dealing with her, one more ran up behind me and stabbed me once again. Man, this shirt was definitely ruined. I simply rolled forward, the vampire coming with me and losing his grip on the sword, before landing on his back. I pulled the sword out of my chest and stuck it into his chest, before firing once into his head, and just like his buddies he evaporated into ash.

The last one didn't bother to attack, instead jumping out of one of my broken windows and running away. "Yeah, I better not see your face around here again! ... Dick." I sighed, tossing my pistols back onto the weapon rack and hanging my sword up behind my ruined desk. Gonna have to get a new one tomorrow. For now though? I was gonna take a well deserved sleep.

I headed up to my bedroom on the second floor and collapsed into bed without bothering to take my clothes off, falling asleep in seconds.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by webboysurf
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webboysurf

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Vatican City - 3 Months Ago
Issue #1: Army of Shadows

Interaction(s): None
Previously: None

The sound of gunfire and screams always managed to send a chill down Steve’s spine. He found his back pressed against a stray police car that had pulled into the square upon a call of open gunfire in the public space. The officers didn’t even last a minute upon their arrival. In the middle of the square, terrorists were pressed up against concrete barricades that had been set up for an event the following day. The bodies of civilians, law enforcement, and a few hostiles littered St. Peter’s Square.

Cap readjusted his shield on his left arm before pulling a sidearm from its holster with his right. After a taking a deep breath, the super soldier rose to his feet and raised the shield to cover himself. Bullets impacted against his vibranium shield with metal pangs. Captain America responded with a few gunshots of his own, and his aim was near impeccable. One by one, their numbers began to dwindle. The gunfire slowly came to a halt as the three who remained rested behind their cover.

In a swift motion, Cap managed to holster his gun and switch his shield to rest in his right hand. It remained at the ready as he dashed forward at a full sprint. They barely had time to react as the super soldier vaulted over the barricade and threw his shield into the chest of the one on the right. The force was enough to make the armed terrorist fall unconscious as the metal disk flew towards his ally only a couple feet away. With two men down, Cap clenched his left fist and the shield changed course and slide onto his forearm just in time to aid in the blocking of fire from the remaining terrorists. Steve Rogers was able to draw his own sidearm to put down one of the two who remained so that he could concentrate his attention on the last one standing. He was able to walk straight towards his enemy and knock the weapon out of his hand with a casual swipe of his shield. The super soldier grabbed his target by the collar and lifted him off the ground without so much as a bead of sweat dripping from his brow. ”I recommend you start talking, fat-head.”

The masked figure seemed to squint quizzically, before his expression slacked and his eyes stared ahead blankly. Cap sighed and tried to set the man on his feet, but his entire body seemed to have gone limp. The agent rested the dazed man against the concrete barrier and pressed his the commlink in his right ear to activate the headset. ”Carter, it appears the target is-“

There was a flash of red out of the corner of his eye, followed seconds later by a trembling boom that seemed to rock the very earth. Steve’s eyes widened in horror at the sight. The UNN Aeneid, one of the many Helicarriers in SHIELD’s fleet, was now a smoking fireball in the sky. It grew smaller and smaller in Steve’s vision as it lost altitude quickly and plummeted towards the Tyrrhenian Sea. Before he had much time to react, a black van shot up into the square, and the passenger door was pushed open from the inside. His handler, Sharon Carter, was inside and screaming for him to get in. But Steve couldn’t hear a thing as his mind wandered back to his last mission of the Second World War.
Next Chapter: The Cruel Sea
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by DocTachyon
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DocTachyon Teenage Neenage Neetle Teetles

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Issue 1




New York City, NY --- Thompson Memorial Hospital




Ben’s room at the Thompson Memorial was smaller than it had any right to be, jammed into the corner of the Eastern wing, a room as far away from the bustle of personnel and people with quality medical insurance as they could find. A bundled mass of machines, all constantly blinking and churning out reports, lay in a mess around the room, jammed wherever they could fit to keep Ben Parker alive just a few minutes longer. The two seats in the room were awkwardly together against the back wall, chair legs competing for each other’s space.

Peter in one, May in the other. They’d been told a while ago that the worst of it was over, for now. Nerve damage to the spine, probably permanent, unless Stark came out with some new “revolutionizing gizmo” again. Peter never laughed at their jokes. May always looked up at them with those big, sad eyes of hers whenever they did it, trying to cling on to the hope in their jargon. Not understanding. May’s hand was around his now, white knuckled and bony as always. She stared at the rise and fall of Ben’s chest, but her eyes were glazed over, her mind somewhere else. When Peter looked at her he could only see the age in her face. Past the grief and the tracks of tears, all that was left was her years spent with Ben; walks through Central Park, long swims down at Coney Island beach. Now the wonder was how Ben could get up the stairs to his own bedroom. If he woke up, anyhow. When he woke up.

Peter shifted in his chair and the noise cut through the whir of medical machinery, hard scrape of plastic against cheap linoleum. May started in her seat and Peter gave her hand a squeeze.

“I-I'm sorry Peter dear, I…” May shook her head.

“S’okay, Aunt May. My fault. Sorry.” Peter’s thumb circled the back of her hand. ”Listen, I uh… I think I’m just gonna go outside and catch some air, okay? I’ll be right back.”

May nodded slowly and turned back to her husband, clasping her hands together and receding even further into herself, if that were even possible. Peter stood and winced as he unclenched his hands. He didn’t realize he’d been doing it that hard. Still, to think that some sonofabitch had shot his Uncle and was now doing this to his Aunt, and was… Peter’s fingers dug back into the bruise on his hand and he swore under his breath.

The room’s door closed behind him and he sucked in the stale, reprocessed Hospital air. It wasn’t much better than the stuffed up room, but it was something. The hall was silent, spare for the echoed clack of the receptionist’s mechanical keyboard and the steady hum of the white fluorescent lights. Peter dropped into one of the felt chairs outside and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. How long had it been, now? Three, four days? They weren’t expecting him in school for a while at least, but every day he couldn’t get away from the hospital was another day the shooter had to hide himself from Peter. From the police. From Spider-Man. He grabbed the arms of the chair and squeezed. Useless just sitting here and... And watching him. Peter needed to be out there, doing something, finding the bastard that… Three sets of shoes coming down the hallway. Peter tensed. Already he was up on his haunches in the chair, and he could feel the suit gurgling below the surface, waiting to spring across his body in an instant.

What was it? The killer coming to finish the job? Their steps didn’t have the cadence of the Doctors, and he and May were the only family Ben had. They were nearly to the bend now, Peter’s biceps swelled underneath his shirt and he pointed his hands forward. He reached out for his Spider-Sense and felt nothing, no chill across his mind. Suit on the fritz? Maybe. Either way, just a second now, and…

”Gwen?” Peter realized his mistake and all the fight went out of him. His balance gave and he dropped forward. His chin cracked against the linoleum. ”Ow.” Through the haze of the vague pain travelling up through his chin, he could make out the three of them; Gwen, Harry, and MJ.

“Geez, Pete! Over excited to see us?” Harry Osborn’s smile went from ear to ear as Peter tumbled, awkwardly trying to find his footing and right himself again. His arm was around MJ, she laughed as Peter finally established himself on two wobbly legs. Gwen stood before them, rubbing her hands together.

”You know me. Excitable is my middle name.” Peter rubbed his chin as the pain faded into a background throb and his friends reached him. Gwen threw her arms around him and pulled him in close. Her hair smelled like strawberries.

“Hope you’re doing okay, Peter…” Just as quickly as she’d hugged him Gwen began to pull away from him, blushing. “Sorry.”

“Uh, thanks, Gwen…” Peter patted her on the back and tried to seperate himself from her arms. ”It, uh… It means a lot, actually. What brings you guys out all this way?”

“We’re here to see you, tiger.” MJ said, untangling herself from her boyfriend and going to check on Peter herself.

“We’re, uh, all fine here now, thanks. How are you?” Peter crossed his arms and the words tumbled out. Same old stupid Parker with his foot in his mouth, right? MJ and Gwen looked him up and down while Harry shot off a text on his OsPhone, which he deposited in his back pocket before joining the girls.

”Just been missing you in school, bud. Bet even that jackass Flash is, even if he won’t tell anyone.” Harry didn’t know it but his grin was just like his Dad’s, wide and thin. He always looked like he’d just gained the upper hand. MJ swatted her boyfriend’s shoulder and reached out to take Peter’s hand.

”What Harry is trying to say is that we care about you and just wanted to check up on you.” MJ squeezed his hand and plunked down into the seat he’d just been occupying. Gwen tentatively touched his arm.

”How’s Ben?” Peter pulled his arm away and into himself, scratching at the back of his head.

”He’s uh… He’s hanging in there, yeah. Hanging like Luke in the Wampa den, but… Hanging.” Peter sighed. He looked at Gwen and she looked right back at him. Her big blues were unblemished by tears or sleepless nights over a hospital bed. No, she was just Gwen Stacy. Peter looked away. His hands were balling again. ”Have you heard anything from El Capìtan about Ben’s case?”

Gwen smiled but she looked down, shaking her head. ”I’m sorry, they didn’t put Dad on it. Said he was too close to it. They said the department was putting their best people on it, if that means anything to you.”

”Okay.” Peter nodded again and again. ”Okay.”

”Pete? You’re shaking.” Harry started.

”I’m fine, Har. I’m good.” Peter jammed his hands in his pockets and looked away. He tried to focus on his breathing, on his heartbeat, anything to calm down, but all he could hear in the back of his mind was the steady gurgle of the suit. Waiting. Wanting.

”Peter.” Gwen’s hand on his shoulder. ”I know you want to be strong. For May. But we know… I know what it’s like to lose someone, okay? You can talk to us.”

Peter bristled, every muscle coiled together and prepared to pounce, but Peter just focused on the cadence of Gwen’s voice. She was right, deep down Peter knew that. They wanted to help. But Spider-Man wanted something else.

”I appreciate it guys, really, it’s just, uh…” C’mon, Parker, think! he was never good with excuses.

”If you want us to go, we’ll go, but…” Harry scratched at the non-existent stubble on his chin. ”I just… I unno, it might be better for you if we stayed?"

MJ pulled Harry into a sideways hug as he sat and she looked up at Peter. ”You don’t need to do it alone, Parker. You’ve got May, and you’ve more than got us. Any way we can take the weight off a little?”

Maybe I don’t have to do it alone. But Spider-Man does. Peter massaged his temples. ”Look, I can stick around a while longer but, uh… I think I just need to get my mind off things. By myself, that is. Sorry. Maybe I’ll play The Old Scriptures V again, or something.”

”That works. They just released Byerim on the Os-Homes.” Harry said.

”Thanks for staying awhile, Pete.” Gwen sat and patted the empty seat next to her.

I just hope I don’t regret it…
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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Part I:
Down the Rabbit Hole


"But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
'How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
'You must be,' said the Cat, 'or you wouldn't have come here.'"
-- Lewis Carroll


French Riviera

Tresser watched Vertigo do a line of cocaine off the glass coffee table. They were in the opulent cabin on Vertigo’s yacht somewhere near Saint-Tropez. Vertigo snorted and rubbed his nose before shaking his head and collapsing back on the wall white leather couch.

“Careful,” said Tresser. “Too much and you won’t be able to get hard.”

Vertigo chuckled and grabbed his crotch.

“No need to worry, Tresser. For me, getting hard is so easy.”

Tresser resisted the urge to roll his eyes. With his accent and gaudy jewelry, Vertigo was the perfect picture of Eurotrash. He was from some small Eastern European country, a deposed noble who clung to his title of count like a drowning man clings to a life raft. Regardless of his boorishness, the title at least granted him some partial entrée into the European upperclass.

“How are our friends in New York, Tresser?”

Tresser shrugged. “The Campisis send their love, boss.”

“I can’t spend fucking love. What about their money?”

“I took care of it,” Tresser said with a slight sigh. “It wasn’t easy, but I think Angelo learned the hard way not to fuck with people with enough weapons to supply a standing army.”

Vertigo laughed and started to chop together another line with his black credit card.

“This is good shit,” Vertigo said after doing another line. “I need you back to America, Tresser. A potential business client will need wooing. You know of this Hub City?”

“Vaguely. It’s a real shit-hole.”

“Who cares?” Vertigo asked with a shrug. “Money spends regardless of where it comes from.”

Vertigo stood while Tresser started for the deck of the yacht. Two beautiful women in slinky dresses came from the cabin downstairs and wrapped their arms around Vertigo’s waist. He chuckled and said something to them in French, something that made them laugh, but not too hard do that they sounded disingenuous. That was the difference between top dollar call girls and the cheap ones.

“Call me when you are in Hub City and have made contact,” Vertigo said as he pulled his eyes away from the two hookers. “We’ll go from there.”

“Sure.”

Tresser started to walk away as the two women began to undress.

---

O’Hare Airport
Chicago


Tresser swiped his credit card and bought twenty-four hours worth of time on the airport locker. He placed a simple smartphone inside the locker and closed it up. Tradecraft dictated that someone would be by within the next day to collect the phone. The phone was only capable of data storage. On it was Tresser’s report on his movements over the last month.

Per the op guidelines, he never wrote anything down or left any evidence of his true identity where Vertigo could find them. He always bought a brand new laptop before boarding a plane. While in the air and cut off from almost all digital signals he would write up a report, put it on the dummy phone, and destroy the laptop's hard drive soon after landing.

The report chronicled Tresser’s activities in New York City, along with the meeting Vertigo and Tresser in Turin with some real-life Italian mobsters. It seemed Vertigo was eager to get in bed with 'Ndrangheta, one Europe’s oldest and most powerful criminal organization. If he could do that, then he’d really be playing in the big leagues. Maybe that would get him and Tresser in the room with the real people behind LEVIATHAN.

Tresser used his false passport and credit card to rent a car. Vertigo, for whatever reason, never wanted him to directly fly in to whatever city he was doing business in. He’d always fly into the next closest city and drive the distance. That worked fine in Europe, but in parts of the Americas and Eastern Europe it could eat up a whole day just driving.

The little red compact car was his chosen vehicle and he hit the interstate, a sign announcing that Hub City was a few hundred miles away.

---

Hub City

The lobby of the office building wasn’t much to look at. But then again, Hub City itself wasn’t much to look at. If you could imagine all the worse parts of Detroit and Chicago without any of those redeeming qualities, you got Hub. Treser had only been here once or twice, and only then he was just passing through to a bigger and better city.

When the man he was here to see finally let him into his office, it was as dumpy as Tresser was expecting. A few bookshelves half filled, cheap desk and cheaper computer. It looked like a CPA’s office. The man who occupied this office would never been expected to work with international arms dealers.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he said with a smile. “The surroundings are the point. No flash, no cash, no suspicions.’

He was middle aged, white with greying hair, and his suit was off the rack. A pair of reading glasses resting on the bridge of his nose helped with the CPA illusion. Tresser sat down across the desk from the man.

“You’re awfully trusting,” said Tresser. “To just invite me in to your office like this.”

“You’ve been vetted,” he said. “You and your boss are the real deal. Plus, if you are something like a cop I’m not too concerned. This office and the company who leases it are all registered in fake names. Shell companies within shell companies. I have many names, but nobody knows my real one. If you want to call me anything, you can call me Broker.”

“Okay, Broker. So why are you in need of my services?”

“Guns are my business. The past twenty years I’ve been selling weapons to the gangs in Chicago. Do you watch the news, Mr…”

“Thomas,” said Tresser. “Call me Thomas. And, no, I don’t want the news a lot. I prefer things with happy endings.”

“Right,” Broker said with a chuckle. “If you watched the news you’d see about Chicago. Politicians love to talk about the violence in the city, despite the strict gun laws. It’s a conservative talking point at this point. The problem with that talking point is that as strict as Chicago is with their laws, it doesn’t make a bit of fucking difference. It’s surrounded by Indiana and Michigan, places you can get a gun with no problem. So I buy guns in both states with straw purchasers, completely legal people who always pass background checks. Then I file the numbers off the guns and sell them to people in Chicago at double the amount I paid for them.”

Tresser tried his best to looked impressed. Broker was just another one of a long list of motherfuckers he wished he could put through a wall. The ops objective wasn’t to stop the influx of guns and violence in America. As fucked up as Vertigo’s business was, Tresser’s handler just saw it as a means to an end. They had no intention of shutting it down until Tresser could get intel on LEVIATHAN.

“It sounds like a pretty solid business,” said Tresser. “So why change it up?”

“I want to expand,” said Broker. “Into the other big cities in the midwest. Detroit, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Kansas City. I can’t do that with simple straw purchases. I need to up my supply to meet the incoming demand.”

“That’s where we come in, right?”

“Right.”

“I’ll have to touch base with my boss,” said Tresser. “But I think we can do business, Mr. Broker. Tell me what your needs are, and we’ll do our best to fulfill them.”

---

Tresser pulled his gun from the shoulder holster the second he walked into his motel room. There was supposed to be a splinter wedged in the doorjamb. He’d left it there after he went out to meet Broker.

He saw the figure sitting in the dark beside the lamp. It snapped on and he breathed a sigh of relief. His handler, Sarge Steel, had a jovial grin on his face. Even with the cool weather outside, Steel still wore shorts and flip flops.

“Read your report this morning,” he said with no preamble. “Forwarded the information about the mobsters over to Justice. Hopefully the FBI will be up on them in no time.”

“Why the fuck are you in my room?” Tresser asked as he holstered his gun.

“We needed to talk, ASAP. Can’t do it over the phone. Stopping you in the street would look suspicious as hell.”

Tresser sat down on the lumpy bed and faced Steel. The bed groaned slightly and sagged under his weight.

“What’s so important?”

“Your friend, Broker,” said Steel. “I assume your meeting with him went well.”

“It did,” said Tresser. “And how do you know about him already?”

Steel pulled a smartphone from his pocket and started to scroll through it in silence. When he found what he wanted, he passed it to Tresser. A mugshot of Broker was on the screen. A SHIELD logo in the corner of the photo.

“He’s on the government’s radar already. And I think you’re being led into a trap.”
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Roman
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Roman Hyena.

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I. Pre-Trial


The sound of screeching tires and startled screams filled Matt's world with cascading images of pavements, buildings, letterboxes, every noise flowing out from its source and splashing the environment around it. A runaway truck with hazardous cargo barreled down the street - Matt could hear the driver pumping the failed brakes desperately, could smell the sweat that had flooded out with the outpouring of fear. The horn blared and the noise of it erupted from the front of the vehicle and lit up the road ahead - and then bounced off a frozen figure, paralyzed in fear, waiting for the demise that came screaming towards him. The driver wrenched the steering wheel, the man dived to the side. Truck overturned. Hazardous material blowing its containment. This wasn't right. Matthew watching everything erupt through sound and air pressure. This wasn't right. His father holding his hand, squeezing it tightly as everything unfolded around them. It's okay, Matthew, it's okay. It's not okay, dad. I wasn't blind yet. I can't see. I can't see.

"Dad...dad, I can't see. I can't see! Dad! I can't see! DAD!"

Matt woke up with a gasp and the world lit up before fading back out. He lay still, pushing out against the black; the ambient sounds of the city drifted in through his window; the early sun already laying down a thin layer of heat that rested just above the surface of everything, a silken web that only Matthew could sense. The heat emanated further still from Matthew himself - and also the body that lay next to him in bed, a smooth and pleasant curve that traced down her side to where the sheets lay across her waist. Matthew let the sounds of the city paint a picture of his apartment and softly, carefully, sat up and swiveled himself off the bed, feeling the currents his movements created and the alternating air pressures he'd affected. The wood grain floor under his bare feet felt rough and mountainous with the rises and falls that he could map out beneath his toes, and that microscopic moutainrange served to ground Matthew as equally literally as metaphorical. From this floorboard he knew it was 3 steps forward to the bedroom door and the living room beyond it; 2 and a half to the left to get to the bathroom. Behind him was the bed and its second occupant and beyond the bed was a metre-and-a-half of open space with a window facing onto the opposite building. He'd left it slightly open last night after arriving back late, ever-so-carefully sliding in so as not to awake his guest; now, the breeze flowed through the gap in the window, winding around his bedroom and taking the heat from the bodies within, carrying it out into the living room and through the draught in his apartment's front door. Matthew shivered, and told himself it wasn't, in no small part, the lingering dream that had woken him. He stood, and reached out to his right, groping for the small chest of drawers he knew was there; his fingers met the top handle of the drawer and he moved his arm down to find the third, sliding the drawer open to find the soft cotton underwear and vests within. Slipping out of the bedroom quietly, Matthew made his way into the main room and found his shirt and slacks across the back of the sofa, dressing himself quickly as he attempted to shake off the lingering dread from his nightmare. I can't see. Dad, I can't see...

"Need a hand with that tie, Mr. Murdock?"

The low, husky tones of his lover's voice erupted from the bedroom doorway towards him, the dulcet sounds of her voice spilling out from her and lighting up the room in golden-red waves as they passed silkily over the room and furniture towards him, knocking Matthew out of his memory-filled stupor. He smiled as she walked towards him, and held out the two ends of the tie he had inadvertently paused with to her, which she gracefully took into her own hands to tie an elegant and professional knot, pausing to do up the top button on his shirt before returning to the tie to tighten it up to the collar. She sighed satisfactorily through her nose and Matthew felt the air hit her top lip and curve towards him; she was smiling too, he knew, by the angle of her breath alone. Her heat moved closer to him and suddenly they were kissing, only for her to pull away just as suddenly and leave her warmth lingering on his lips. She stepped away towards the kitchen and pulled two mugs from the rack beneath the island-counter, filling both from the pot she'd apparently started the evening before. Matt hadn't noticed that.

"Making yourself feel at home, El?" He asked, with a whimsical smirk and an edge of teasing. She drank from her mug, pushing the other one across the counter-top towards Matthew as he stepped to join her.

"Oh, you know me, Matthew. I like to be comfortable." She replied. "At the very least, I promise not to disrupt your flow."

"I learned a long time ago how to adapt to...changing circumstances. Just let me know if you create a risk of stubbed toes." He drained his mug. Damn good coffee. "Or I might have to sue you for grievous injury."

"Oh, is that right? Think you'd win that case?"

"I'm blind, El. The jury would love me."

They both chuckled, and the vibrations of the air around her body as she laughed, and then walked around the counter to hug him, forced Matthew to suddenly notice that she was naked, made ever-more abundantly clear as she embraced him tightly. He cleared his throat and felt his own body growing hotter, and even blind he knew his face was red like beetroot. She giggled and pecked him on the cheek before leaving his side to walk back to the bedroom.

"Will you be out all day? I thought we might go for dinner should your trial go well."

"You know how these things can go, El. I have confidence that this is open-and-shut - but defense lawyers are often stubborn bastards." He walked across the main space towards the hallway that led to his front door, finding his blazer hanging on the wall next to his sight-stick as he did so. He could feel her heat pushing towards him from the bedroom as she dressed, and the breeze from the window carried lingering drops of her perfume mixed with her shampoo from yesterday's shower and a natural light sweat from the night, a sweet-and-savoury combination Matthew enjoyed very much. It was all he focused on when she was near. "I'll call you when I can. Will you be alright today?"

"I'll keep myself busy, Matthew. Good luck. I love you."

Matthew smiled, a different kind of heat swelling inside him now. He turned to look at her, and while they both knew he was blind, they were both aware that he saw her in a way no other man ever could. She smiled back.

"I love you too, Elektra. I'll see you tonight."

-

Matthew could smell the burnt coffee from the end of the hall, even through the closed door that stunk of oak and varnish, potent odors that mixed with Foggy's cologne and the lingering scent of sweat from countless anxious defendants. Karen's perfume was there too, a soft and sweet smell that relaxed Matthew. He could hear them talking, light conversation. A burst of laughter from the two of them made Matthew chuckle as well, and he walked the length of the hallway, tucking his cane under one arm as he turned the handle and stepped in, closing the door behind him and carefully placing the brown paper takeaway bag he'd picked up from a family-owned coffee shop that was on the corner. Matt had defended them in an alleged tax fraud case the year before he'd been made ADA, and they still hadn't forgotten him.

"Bringing your own coffee again, Matt? What have you got against my personal brew?" Foggy said, his words sharp but his tone lax and playful. There was no real offence here, but Foggy had always liked teasing Matt.

"You burn it, Foggy. Every time. And I didn't bring just mine..." He pushed the bag across the table towards Karen, who leaned forward to empty the contents - three takeaway card cups, steam still rising from the hole in the lid. Matthew reached for his, a hazelnut mix that he could taste in the air.

"Karen likes my coffee. The burn gives it a perky edge. Right?" Foggy rebutted, looking towards Karen expectantly. Matthew felt the heat from her cheeks flushing as she smiled, wordlessly pulling her cup towards her lips and taking a long drain. Matt chuckled as he sipped from his own cup, before Foggy conceded and threw up his hands, grabbing the final cup. "Fine. But you're both bad friends, and I'm only drinking this because it's a gift from a blind man, and I'd look like an asshole if I didn't." He took a sip. "Damn. That's good coffee."

"I know, Foggy. You say that every time too." Matt smiled and sat down.

"How much of the review have I missed?"

"None, actually. We wanted to wait for you." Karen replied, pulling a briefcase from behind her chair and setting in on the table before opening it and retrieving three separate sheaves of paper - pre-trial stratagem notes. She passed one to Foggy, kept one to herself, and gave the third - a braille copy - to Matt. He began to read as Karen summarized. "We've got a known mid-level mob lieutenant in the box after he got a little too drunk and decided the strip joint on 3rd should have been a brothel. Pre-trial prep has dug up a whole bunch on this douchebag - we've got testimony from previous victims, ledgers from local laundering sites, numerous tips from low-level informants. There's enough here to lock him up for a good twenty years, easy. Jury won't even have to think about it." She concluded, and as the sound of her voice played its last echoes around the room Matthew could see her looking at him.

"But?" He asked. Karen faltered, and Matthew could feel the heat of her blushing cheeks erupting again. Foggy gave a single chuckle and leaned forwards in his chair.

"But you don't need the jury to think about it. You need the defendant to think about it. All this evidence, tension mounting up, all his recklessness coming back around, tips from his own people...you make him think he's sold up the river already. Make him think his friends already know he's spilled. Make him think he's a loose end that his bosses are just itching to tie up. And then he really will spill. He'll spill for anything we can offer him."

Matt smiled. "Exactly, Foggy. Thank you, for this - your consultancy has been valuable." Foggy raised his cup to Matt, and then lowered it quickly, shaking his head. Matt had felt the movement through the air and the heat of the coffee moving, and he appreciated the gesture. It saddened him how limiting it was playing the fool, regardless of how necessary. He pressed a button on the side of his watch, and a robotic female voice announced the time to the room. "We have roughly an hour until the trial begins; I'd like to go over our witnesses, informant testimony, and the order we present our physical evidence in - and then drinks are on me." This time, Matt raised his cup, and heard the replying cheers from his friends. "Foggy...make another pot, would you?"
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Morden Man
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Morden Man

Member Seen 3 days ago


In ... The Beast Within: Pt. I

Kitimat, British Columbia

Heather MacNeil had been holding her hands in front of the heater for the best part of ten minutes and they were no closer to being warm. Beside her James Hudson was bristling in the driver’s seat. His face was as white as a sheet and the blankness of his expression worried her. Rather than break the silence, MacNeil slid one of her icy cold hands around Hudson’s as he reached to shift gears. Usually it elicited a smile from him, but this time he didn’t so much as acknowledge the gesture. Finally the silence became too heavy for Heather to bear anymore.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing,” Hudson murmured without so much as looking in her direction.

“It’s obviously not nothing, James,” Heather sighed. “You’ve hardly said a word all evening.”

Both MacNeil and Hudson worked for the Can-Am Corporation. Three years ago, Heather had been secretary to Truett Hudson, James’ half-brother, but she had given that up to follow James to Kitimat because she believed in him – but most of all because she loved him. It had been hard living for both of them, but the research James was doing had the potential to change everything.

Perhaps sensing that he’d been too brusque, Hudson cleared his throat quietly, and looked away from the snowy road for a second.

“They gave to grant to Langkowski.”

Heather’s hand slid back around Hudson’s and she gave it a sympathetic squeeze. “Oh, baby, I’m so sorry.”

“I’ve got to break the news to Jaxon in the morning.”

Jerome Jaxon was Can-Am’s chief executive. He’d humoured Hudson’s little venture in Kitimat out of sympathy more than anything else. James had needed an escape when Truett passed away and the Guardian project had provided him with it – but it was leaking money like a sieve, and having missed out on a grant for three years running now, there was no way that Jaxon would support it anymore.

“God, Langkowski’s such a hack,” Heather sighed. “I can’t believe it. There must be some other way? What about next year?”

The grimace that appeared on Hudson’s face as the words left her mouth all but confirmed the impossibility of their being some way out for the pair of them.

“You don’t get it. We’re screwed, Heather, without that money we’re not going to make it through the winter, let alone to next year. Everything we’ve done, everything we’ve worked for these past three years, it’s all been for nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

Suddenly MacNeil perked up as if struck by a lightning bolt.

“You still have that money that Truett left behind in his w-”

James shook his head grimly.

“We might as well pack up and head back to Toronto because the Guardian project is officially dead in the water as of this afternoon."

A deflated rattle left Heather’s lungs and she glanced out of the window at the unpressed snow reaching out into the darkness. Hudson’s icy hand switched on the radio. He flicked past a news station, then past another playing metal music, until he settled upon something more to his liking. Kenny Rodgers echoed around the front of the truck as they crept through the cold towards the ranch the pair called home.

“I pushed my soul in a deep dark hole and then I followed it in,
I watched myself crawlin' out as I was a-crawlin' in,
I got up so tight I couldn't unwind,
I saw so much I broke my mind,
I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.”

For a second, Hudson’s eyes began to close with tiredness but he jolted away just in time to see a sudden flash of movement appear in his headlights. His foot crashed down on the breaks and the truck skidded along the icy road, very nearly flipping onto its side at one point, before coming to a screeching halt.

Heather’s eyes were fixed on him in desperate confusion. “What the hell, James?”

“There was something in the road.”

Hudson could tell from the look on MacNeil’s face that she didn’t believe him. He let his hands, now wet with sweat, slip free from the wheel and cut the engine. Now the truck had come to a halt it was clear that there was a carcass in the road in front of them, but it wasn’t the carcass that concerned James. It was what was stood over it.

“It almost looked like a person … but that doesn’t make any sense,” Hudson murmured with shock. “All the way out here in this cold? They’d be dead in minutes. It doesn’t make any sense.”

James tried his best to reconcile what he’d seen with what he knew about the Tundra. Whatever he’d seen didn’t look anything like any animal he’d seen before, but there was no way it could have been a man. He tugged the keys out of the ignition and slipped them into his coat pocket. As he reached for the driver’s side door he felt Heather’s hand clamped tightly around his bicep.

“I think we should call the Mounties.”

“No,” James said with a shake of his head. “It’s fine, I’m going to go out and check.”

Hudson pulled his arm free and stepped out into the road. He slammed the door shut behind him, smiling unconvincingly to Heather through the frosted glass, and slowly made his way towards the carcass. It was a deer – or at least what was left of one. He knelt beside it and pressed his hands against it. It was still warm to the touch. There were no teeth marks, only long, straight gashes along its stomach and neck.

“Whatever that was, it's long gone,” James muttered. “Christ, it really went to town on this poor thing. It’s all torn up. There are claw marks here I’ve never seen before.”

Hudson tried once more to parse the images that had flickered through his brain in the moments before he’d slammed down the brakes. He was still struggling to make sense of it as he set the deer’s head down on the road and rose to his feet. The least he could do was move the carcass out of the road, he thought, as he took one last look down at the savaged animal.

“James,” Heather called out nervously from the truck.

“What’s wrong?”

There was a desperation in her voice this time. “Get back in the truck, James.”

Hudson nodded. “I’m coming, I’m just going to make sure this thing’s out of the road. It’s dangerous enough out here witho-”

Without warning, James found himself on his back with the taste of blood in his mouth. His ears were ringing and there was a dull pain in his chest. In the distance he could hear Heather screaming and managed to lift his head enough to make sure he hadn’t been shot. Standing over him was a hairy brute of a man with blood caked around his mouth. There was a crazed look in his eye that made Hudson’s blood run cold.


“Whoa, take it easy there bud,” James spluttered feebly as he tried to push himself onto his elbows. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

A guttural growl left the man’s chest as Hudson tried to climb to his feet slowly and James froze. He met the feral man’s gaze but something told him not to hold it. Instead he lowered it, glancing towards the hairy, torn feet that looked as if they were frozen through. After a few seconds, James carefully tried to climb to his feet again, slower this time, taking care to step back away from the man and to seem as small and unthreatening as possible.

“Alright, I get it. The deer’s yours. Look, here, I’m moving away from it. You see? Take it. I’m going to just back away slowly and head back to my truck, you hear me? Nobody needs to get hurt here.”

The growling quieted as James retreated and he was sure that the truck was only a few metres behind him. He was almost counting the inches as he moved. He felt the hood of the truck hit him in the back and moved to turn around but as he did so made the mistake of making eye contact with the wildman one last time. James heard the roar and saw a glint of metal as the beast seemed to cut the distance between them in a millisecond. It was inches from him when a loud bang rang out.

In Heather's hands was an old shotgun that James kept in the truck in case of emergencies. It was so heavy that she could barely keep it aloft. The naked man had been flung by the impact of the shot into the snow and looked, as far as either of them could tell, to be dead. Hudson was planted to the spot in shock. It took him a few seconds to realise he hadn’t answered.

“Are you alright?” Heather called out. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“I’m fine,” James mumbled. “Though I don’t think we can say the same for our friend here. That was one hell of a shot, MacNeil.”

It was clear from Heather’s face that she saw through his bravado. “I don't care what you say, this time I’m going to call the Mounties.”

James took the shotgun from MacNeil and trained it on the naked man’s bleeding husk. Heather scuttled towards the truck in search of a phone as Hudson drew closer to the man. The snow around him had been splattered with blood. Under other circumstances, the patterns in the blood-flecked snow would almost have been beautiful. James set that thought aside as he nudged the body with the shotgun. A gentle groan came from it. Hudson staggered backwards in shock.

“Wait,” James shouted towards the truck. “This crazy son of a bitch is still breathing. Get some blankets.”

Heather’s face twisted in revulsion. “What? You’re not seriously suggesting that we try and move h-”

“The blankets, Heather.”

MacNeil groaned and ran towards the back of the truck. Hudson shot her an approving look, and then tightened his grip on the shotgun. The man in the snow stirred ever so slightly, revealing the wound in his chest to the elements. Seconds ago it had been the size of a basketball. Amongst the mess of blood and hair, Hudson could have sworn the muscles were reaching out to one another. The naked man was healing.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Bounce
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Bounce

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J A G G A I V

Skrull Contested Territory | The Andromeda Galaxy

The girl was little more than a teenager.

Clutching at a rifle that was too large for her slight frame, the rainbow haired waif ducked as bombs were bursting in the air above.

A drop pod crashed down just a few feet from where she’d been taking shelter. The shockwave knocked her down to her knees. The rifle tumbled out of her hands, sending her scrambling on all fours as she tried to maintain her balance and also recover the weapon. Just as her hand brushed against the butt of the rifle, she saw the armored clad foot of the first soldier.

Turning her head up, the girl was presented with the face of a Skrull soldier, staring down the barrel...

...a burst of energy caught the Skrull in the chest, hurling the green-skinned alien back into the drop pod.

Swooping over the girl’s head, the blue-and-red clad figure of a small boy paused to offer her a jovial two-finger salute. Then, the glowing figure was gone again -- blazing a trail of brilliant energy bursts.

Another Skrull landed near her. This one obviously knocked into unconsciousness, even before the second stunned Skrull had landed atop the first.

“ISN’T THIS ENLIGHTENING, CHILD!”

The booming voice suggested a presence that was larger than life. And, indeed, the Okaraan’s squat frame soon blotted out the sun, as the warlord heaved a wicked looking maul up onto his shoulder.

A strange light flickered into being, as a young Kymellian boy appeared from out of the air. Reaching out to touch the teen with his large, three-fingered hands, the Kymellian and the teen both blinked out of existence, even as Okaraan lifted his maul up and began charging forward.

The Kymellian and the girl re-appeared a short distance away, sheltered atop a vantage point from which the pair could look out over the battlefield. A massive Skrull carrier was descending from above. A dark cloud spreading as starfighters and drop pods seeded the air.

Reaching a hand up to the link affixed to the side of his head, the Kymellian boy asked, “Are we winning?” No, he didn’t sound optimistic. “I don’t feel like we’re winning.”

Zig-zagging through the air, the human child was a whirling dervish of kinetic energy. Starfighters were beginning to try and zero in on him, even as he was trying to blow the drop pods from out of the sky. “I’m sure it looks worse than it is!” the boy shouted in reply, straining his voice to be heard over the sound of plasma that was sailing by his head.

He should probably stop to take a look for himself. Firing off another volley, the child snapped upward in the air to climb up over the chaos.

From up here, he could definitely see that they were getting overrun. “Ooooo... kay. Yeah, that... that does look pretty bad...” the child uttered, even as he started free falling back down. In a flash of lightning, the boy was zipping back over the battlefield again. “G’Kar, how do we win this?” the human youth asked, scanning the ground below for signs of the Okaraan.

He need only look for the pile of Skrull bodies. Heaving his maul over his head, G’Kar threw his head back and answered, “TODAY SHALL BE A GLORIOUS DAY TO DIE, COMRADES!”

The Kymellian, Majesdanian teen, and the human all just blinked in unison. Touching his hand against his forehead, the human boy muttered, “Not helping, G’Kar...” Then, speaking up, said, “Friday, what do you got on that carrier?”

A calm, disembodied voice crackled over the link. “It is a J’Gnrt-class dreadnought, BillyBatson. Twenty-seven thermonuclear missile tubes, multiple delivery warheads, forty-nine disruptor banks, primary and secondary shields. Even you will be hard pressed to breach its defenses.”

“Yeah?” Challenge accepted.

No, he had no idea about any of what the smartship had just told him. Basically, it was bad. That’s what he understood. Thing in the sky was bad thing. “What kind of battery does it got?”

“Does it have, Billy. And it is powered by a level five solar-ion cascade reactor.”

“Solar-ion,” Billy repeated. “Got it.” He had no idea. But it sounded like something that might make for a big boom. Zipping back through the air, the human imp soared up by the ledge where the Kymellian and the teen were situated. “Kofi, can you get me in there?”

The Kymellian did a double take. “Wait, WHAT?”

The horse boy’s voice totally cracked just now.

Smacking a fist inside the glove of his open hand, Billy reared back as he shouted, “Bodyslide by one!”

Kofi was trying to wave Billy off in a panic. “No no no no no! Are you nuts!? We’re not doing this. We’re not...”

“Punch it.” Billy exploded forward in an eruption of energy, rocketing right at the Kymellian child.

Kofi gave a yelp that might have been mistaken for a twelve year old girl squealing, if not for the din of bombs, blasters, and All Bad Things™ going off around them. As the Kymellian’s powers kicked in, the two boy’s slapped their palms together as though high-five’ing each other. When they did, Billy blinked out of existence.

“I guess we’re doing this...” Kofi lamented.Holding his breath, the Kymellian turned and thrust his arms out as he willed the human to reappear inside the behemoth bearing down on them.

Then he realized just what he’d done. “Oh, x’lth...” the boy uttered, swearing in his native tongue even as he slowly turned his eyes up toward the behemoth with a sense of foreboding that was increasing exponentially. “Uh, guys..?”

Alora was laid out on the ground, using her rifle as a sniper and picking off Skrulls as they started to rush G’Kar.

G’Kar was, of course, loving all of this.

Neither way paying any attention to him. “GUYS!” Kofi shouted. Ducking behind the Majesdanian teen, the boy put his three-fingered hand on the small of her back. “We...” The Kymellian and the teen blinked out. Re-appearing next to G’Kar, as a second sun was starting to shine in the sky.

No, this planet wasn’t in a binary star system.

“...gotta...” Touching the Okaraan on the arm, the trio blinked out.

“...go!” This time they appeared in a starship. As the trio spilled out on the floor, the breathless Kymellian looked out at the planetary horizon. Through the canopy, the Skrull carrier disappeared in a brilliant flash of light. The explosion radiated outward in a violent air burst that cleared the air as the Skrull starfighters were swept aside.

“WA-HOOOOO!”

Flashing with golden arcs of lightning, the human child was rocketing up into the space above.

“That’s how we do it in America! Yeah!

As the clouds fell away, the boy was presented with a view of the cosmos. Starships and parts of starships scattered around where the fight between the Resistance and the Skrull Empire had spilled out among the stars, in addition to the ground.

The Skrulls were reeling, but they’d also be re-grouping. And a lot quicker than the Resistance could, too. “All right, the Skrull fleet is in disarray,” Billy announced, talking into the link. “If we’re gonna bug out, we need to go now.”

Friday’s measured voice came back on the line. “Allied command has already signaled our retreat. We’ll meet back at the rendezvous.”

Just one of these days, Billy would like a real victory. Like, the kind where you save the planet, not just live to fight another day.

Granted, living to fight another day was an important of the whole Resistance schtick, though.

As the first Resistance ships were lifting off from the surface, the boy planed his body out. Arcs of lightning were sparking from off his gauntlets. “First round of root beers on me,” the child said, as he suddenly sparked off far beyond the stars...



All right, people, let’s do this one more time.

My name is Billy Batson and, for the last eighty years, I’ve been the one and only, often imitated, never duplicated, Billy Batson! I’m not originally from here, I’m from Ohio. Fawcett City. I was born there in 1929. Not much to talk about really. My parents disappeared when I was little. I was raised by my Uncle Dudley. We didn’t have much and I worked in a glass factory for about a dollar a day until 1938, when Congress passed a law that made child labor illegal. At that point, I had to start going to school.

Then, in 1940, the greater galactic conflict came crashing down on Earth. The rest you probably know. I saved the city. Fought in the Second World War (vivé la Resistance!). Buried Uncle Dudley, fought an industrial tycoon, and then I spoke up for a friend and got black-listed by this biscuit boxer, braggart named McCarthy. Holy Moley did that ever go sour quick! I took the hint and left the world stage. Went back to cleaning up the streets where ever I went. I think I was looking for answers, but I don’t think I ever figured out what the question was.

The Great Horse-Lord from beyond the stars (his name is actually Aelfyre) came back in 1975, as he promised. Come to find out, there’s this thing called relativity that makes the passage of time all kinds of wonky when you’re traveling faster than light.

Now, I don’t just fight for one world. I fight for all of them. The Daily Planet called me Captain Marvel. The Kree call me Mar-Vell. The Z’ynx call me... something unpronounceable. And the Shi’ar call me Ja’loja.

DON’T ask me what that means (I’m not supposed to say those words).

Through it all, no matter how many times I get hit -- no matter how hard I go down or how many times I fail—I always get back up.

Not because I’m Captain Marvel, but because I’m Billy Batson.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Hexaflexagon
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Hexaflexagon Lost Logician

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Homecoming

Gotham City Outskirts, The Zatara Estate
10:35 AM



The Zatara estate was small compared to many of the manors and mansions the dotted the upper-class suburbs of outer Gotham. An odd conglomerate of a church and a castle built in the Gothic Revival tradition, like a piece of medieval Europe dropped right in the middle of coastal Jersey. Looking at it through the tinted car window Zatanna felt approximately 23 separate emotions and she didn't like any of them.

Reflexively she began to fish around in her purse pulling out a breath mint wrapped in a saccharine yellow wrapper. A short crescendo of crinkles was followed by a burst of peppermint hitting her tongue. Crumbling the wrapper and tossing it aside Zatanna sighed, it wasn't a cigarette but it was going to have to do. She tightened her hands into little balls fighting the urge to check her phone. She promised herself there would be no work calls. Her adoring fans could deal without the Mistress of Magic for a few days.

The car slowed to a lurch as it came to the top of the hill. She took a moment to realign herself as the chauffeur exited the vehicle and walked towards her door. One deep breath and then another. She eyed her reflection in the mirror. The anxious girl returning home wasn't there in her place was Zatanna Zatara badass bitch: confident, cool, and collected. Turns out a career on the stage was good for something - you got real damn at putting masks on.

The door opened and she stepped out easily into the fresh mid-morning air. Her thigh-high combat boots crunching against the gravel of the driveway. Despite the cloudless day and the sun shining above she had to repress a shiver as she marched toward towards the lard wooden doors of the estate. The house looming above her like a giant eyeing up its prey.

Waiting at the door for her was another giant. Dressed in a simple white ao dai was a hulking titan of a man, large shoulders drew back in perfect posture, his hands clasped tightly behind his back. Despite his imposing physicality, there was a softness to his features and his eyes seemed to brighten as he saw Zatanna walking down the path to meet him.

"Still hanging around here Mister Tong?" Zatanna called out to the large man, her facade breaking for a moment as a genuine smile danced across her features.

Her father's former bodyguard and butler return the smile and gave a deep bow. "With all due respect young miss this is my home. Where else would I go?"

"Young Miss?" Zatanna questioned with a raised brow and a curtsey, "I'm not the young girl who played hide and seek with you in the garden Mister Tong"

"No of course not," Tong admitted with a grin. "But you are still far younger than old Tong and as long as that remains true, I shall still refer to you as the young miss."

Zatanna rolled her eyes but the smile remained on her face. As her boots clacked against the stone steps. Tong pushed open the large wooden doors ushering her forward. The grin that had slowly been growing on Zatanna's face died where it stood. She froze there for a minute on the threshold. Unable to move her foot beyond the door, time frozen, the pulse of her heart strong enough to feel in her hands. She bit down hard into the peppermint candy in her mouth, the burst of peppermint as shards of white and red coated her tongue was just enough to force to get her through the door.

Zatanna wasn't sure if it was possibly how it was possible but in her 27 years, she wasn't sure that the house changed. Caught in some unspecified stasis that held every coat and book within its grasp. The same pair of mud-covered boots sat by the door and the same book on the semantic evolution of Swedish sat on the table in the foyer. It had the unnerving and unpleasant effect for Zatanna of immediate drawing her back in time, a time machine composed of old artifacts and perpetual cobwebs.

The pair walked quietly through the halls, the wooden floorboards creaking ever so slightly in protest against Tong's weight. A slow procession passed a seemingly endless array of bookshelves, display cases, and portraits.

"Were you with him when...." Zatanna spoke allowed her whispering tones echoing like a scream in the quiet of the house.

"No," Tong admitted with great pain, "when your father retired for the evening all seemed fine. I did not find him until the morning."

"I see..." Zatanna spoke the words heavy and clumsy coming out of her mouth.

"My deepest apologies young -" Tong started

"No, no" Zatanna answered quickly "it's fine. I was just wondering that was all."

By this time their meandering path brought them to the drawing room. The door was already ajar and the warm glow of light spilling through the crack. Giving one last nod and look to Tong she stepped into the room.ought

There in the center of the room were two chairs and a table. Sitting at one of those chairs was a man dressed in a sharp suit and wearing a trilby hat, his eyes concealed by the shadows of the room as he shuffled through a stack of papers. There next to him sitting on the table was a large bronze urn and one of her father's old antique gas lamps, the flame flickering as it illuminated the space around them. At the sound of Zatanna footsteps, the man in the chair looked up and smiled.

"Ms. Zatara, it is my pleasure to finally meet you." The man said with raising from his chair and offering a hand.

"Just, just Zatanna please" Zatanna insisted as she took the hand. It was cold to the touch the handshake itself was firm.

"Zatanna it is," The man responded with a knowing smile "allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mr. Granters I am the executor of your father's estate."

"It's a pleasure to meet you Mr. Granters," Zatanna replied giving the man the same polite smile that any reporter or fan knew from her quite well. Granters motioned towards the seat and Zatanna nodded sitting across from him. Though as she did her eyes couldn't help but fall to the large urn sitting on the table. A pit in her stomach growing larger and larger the more she examined it.

"Is that...?"

"Indeed," Granters replied with the removed sympathy of a man that did this often "I'm sorry that you weren't able to be there. He was very particular in his will that immediately upon death he was the cremated post-haste. To prevent any "nefarious"" forces from having their way with his corpse."

"That sounds like him," Zatanna admitted with a trace of venom in her voice. She looked over to Mr. Granters as she reached over to touch the urn. The man nodding his head and making a small gesture towards it.

Zatanna took the urn in her hands. The metal exterior was cold and was surprisingly heavy for what it was. Though it wasn’t like Zatanna had much of a metric to judge on, this was the first time she was holding something like this. She reached her fingers against the raised engraving, a repeating pattern of stars and moons that ran across the entire exterior

“Zatanna” Granters started stirring the women from her contemplation.

“Yes?” Zatanna asked as she placed the urn back on the table. Granters now had gathered the collected papers from his lap into his hands and was peering them over.

“It’s time to go over the estate,” Granters explained begining to read aloud her father’s will.

Most of the explanation of the will ended up falling on deaf ears. Zatanna was unable or unwilling to focus on the proceedings. Her attention being dragged away again and again towards where she had placed the urn on the table. The very sight of it making her stomach perform minor curls and flips. Somewhere in the middle she brought out another parcel peppermint and placed it in her mouth, trying her best to quell whatever anxiety was starting to build in her chest.

“There is one more thing,” Granters proclaimed as he cleared his throat and pulled the rest of the papers together “your father had left one more thing for you”

Granters rose from his chair and gestured for Zatanna to follow. Together they took a brisk pace through the house. Climbing up old protesting stairs and turning towards the left, the path they followed was one that Zatanna knew well. They stopped at an ornately carved wooden door, the letters G and Z burned into the wood. Her father’s study.

Zatanna turned to look at Granters who nodded his head. She reached for the handle and tested the door.

Well-oiled hinges swung open without protest. Stacks and stacks of bookshelves lined the walls filled and overflowing, the titles of the bindings in dozens of different languages. A menagerie of artifacts lined the walls: jewel-encrusted weapons, maps, and even the bones of some strange animals that defied explanation. There at the center of it all next to a large fireplace was a large desk and atop the desk was appeared to be a stack of books.

Zatanna looked towards Granters for confirmation but the executor was gone. Taken aback at this she looked down the hallway to her left and then to her right.

“Mr. Granters?” She called out her voice echoing down the hall to no response.

A thud from her father’s study made her address the room. The curtains about the center window fluttered like a breeze had just passed through despite the windows being closed. And there in the center of the room, a book had fallen off one of the shelves. Tentatively Zatanna stepped into the room with the tepidness of a child entering a haunted house.

The first thing that Zatanna noticed was the smell. It smelled like him, the air carrying the faint order of the cologne that he specifically had imported in from Italy. A lingering remnant somehow managing to cling on despite everything.  She kneeled down to pick up the book that had fallen, the cover pulling away from the binding from use and age. The writing seemed to be in a language that Zatanna herself couldn’t read. A strange series of interlocking runes and twisted tentacles creating a series of indecipherable geometric patterns. She carried the book over to the desk placing it on the corner.

There on the desk was a large stack of leather-bound journals and atop of them was a white envelope with her name on it. The only thing inside was a folded piece of parchment. Looking once and twice around the room unable to shake the feeling that she was being watched Zatanna pulled out the parchment. And there was a letter written in her father’s hand.

    La mia bella orchidea,
        If you are reading this letter than I fear you are in grave danger

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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Natty
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Natty Supervillain Enthusiast

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The Oblivion Bar. A place of magic, and a part-time home to those who use it. Back in the day this dingy old bar was roaring in the sound of laughter and stories of old, all competing against the bartender’s favourite rock music which dominated the atmosphere. Its tables found themselves host to patrons of all different shapes and sizes; demons, monsters, magicians, and fairies. All were welcome. If they could find the door that is. You see, The Oblivion Bar isn’t located on Earth but within its own realm, safe from the ignorance of mankind. The door to which would travel from place to place, never staying in the same location for more than an hour, and even if one were to find it, it would only open to those touched by magic. That was then, however.

Now the bar is a mere empty shell of what it once was. The doors to the outside world remain closed. The sound of music and good spirits are now gone, and the bar itself is desolate of life. All save for the bar tender and his most frequent patron. An old man and a monkey in a deerstalker.

They drank in silence, reminiscing on old times. The daily ritual of Jim Rook and Bobo T. Chimpanzee. Both unaware of what was coming.

WHOOSHH

What the fuck is—"

The pair reared back as the sound of space tearing itself apart met their ears. A startling yellow light erupted from the centre of the room as a disc of energy fizzled into existence. Atop it stood a girl, her right hand clasped around a staff of obsidian, her left hand out to balance her. Her dirty blonde bangs completed the punk rock look that her band t-shirt and slashed up denim jeans gave her. As she stepped from the glowing light and onto the wooden floorboards, the energy seemed to vanish, returning the room to darkened state it was in before.

"Well Wong was definitely right; this place has turned into an absolute dump."

Magik?!” Jim Rook exclaimed in confusing, lowering the glowing blade he had just pull up from behind the bar during the lightshow. “How the hell did you get in here? The doors are—

Locked. I know. That was one of my stepping discs. Not even a hint of magic to it.” Illyana Rasputin smirked as she made her way across the room. With a flick of the wrist, the staff she was carrying seemed to fizzle out of existence just like the energy. “You guys really need to step up your security.

Jim just groaned from where he stood behind the bar, running his hand through his hair.

Lil’ miss Magik.” Detective Chimp teased, taking a draft from his cigarette, as she slumped down onto the bar stool next to him. “Strange finally let you out of the sanctum I see. What brings you here?

A drink.” She confirmed, turning to Jim. “Vodka Tonic. No ice.

He simply scoffed in retaliation. “Ooh, no ice? Look at you acting so cool and grown up." He jeered in a high pitched mocking tone. "Yeah, sure thing, just teleport back in here in a few years’ time. You can have a soda.

He began preparing the drink before she could even argue, with the bar growing eerily quiet once more as he worked behind the counter.

So…” Jim began, eyeing Ilyana cautiously as he placed the glass onto the bartop in front of her. “D.C there just made a good point. Does Strange know you’re out the Sanctum?

"He's the Sorcerer Supreme, not my prison warden."

I still call bullshit on that though by the way.” Detective Chimp moaned, cutting Illyana off before she could say anything more.

Are you still going on about that D.C?

Wait, what?

Strange getting the whole Sorcerer Supreme shebang.” He took another draft before turning back to Illyana. “No offence, but back in the ol’ Shadowpact days, we had people ten times the magician Strange is.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Hold up.” Jim exclaimed, turning himself towards the moneky. “Did you just say shebang?

Oh fuck off Nightmaster!

Tell me about them.

The two stopped their bickering and looked back at the young girl in confusion. She simply stared back, a determined look in her eye.

What’d you say?

Tell me about Shadowpact. I want to know.

Why? You thinking of ditching Strange already?” D.C sat back against the bar, bemused.

Nothing silly like that." She replied, a sly grin painted across her face. "I’m raising an army against the forces of Limbo.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by AndyC
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AndyC Freeborn Scum

Member Seen 13 days ago



--AND WHO, DISGUISED AS MILD-MANNERED REPORTER CLARK KENT, FIGHTS A NEVER-ENDING--


"--ill has been unclear about whether he will resume the role, or if rumors of the studio recasting and replacing him are--"


"--right and there is wrong in the universe, and the distinction between the two is not hard to--"

"--show will be concluding after its tenth season, citing low ratings for the network to finally--"


"--little guy needs a name. How about Jonath--"

"--suffered a massive spinal injury, leaving the actor paralyzed from the neck d--"


"--could have changed the world. Now look at us. I'm a political liability. And you....you're a--"

"--restarting their line of comic books from the ground up, streamlining the company's infamously complicated--"


--CAME TO EARTH WITH POWERS AND ABILITIES FAR BEYOND THOSE OF MORTAL--


"--hope this experience hasn't put you off flying. Statistically speaking, it's still--"

"--upstart company, with their own hip and off-beat brand of amazing and uncanny superheroes, has replaced the stodgy old super-friends of yesterday from--"


"--a girl, flying, dressed in a super-costume! It must be--"

"--actor's death has been deemed a suicide, though many still suspect foul--"


--THAN A SPEEDING BULLET, MORE POWERFUL THAN--


"--blames the violent content of 'super-hero' adventure comic books for delinquent beha--"


"--see how I destroy the mighty Man of Steel! No one can stand in Luthor's--"

"--went from a simple children's comic strip character to a genuine cultural--"


LOOK! UP IN THE SKY!

IT'S A BIRD!

IT'S A PLANE!

IT'S--


*BBBRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGG--

The first great test of self-control every morning, being able to tap the alarm clock next to my bed without smashing it to pieces. I sit up and yawn, eyes bleary, my back and neck stiff, then climb out of bed and stretch out the dozen little aches and pains up and down my body.

I rub the sleep out of my eyes and look out the window, the sky still a deep black, only tinged at the horizon line with a barely perceptible glow of red. Dawn is still an hour away, but the first rays of sunlight have begun their work of brightening the day ahead. I should start doing the same.

Walk over to the bathroom and do my business. A mouthful of minty foam and sharp-tasting tonic as I brush my teeth and gargle some mouthwash. A whiff of burnt hair as reflected lasers clear my neck and chin of stubble. I pause for a moment at the upper lip, pondering the possibility of letting it grow out, then decide against it-- somehow I don't think me with a moustache would quite work. A cold splash of water from the sink across my face. I throw on a T-shirt, button up a worn red flannel over that, followed by some overalls, work boots, and finally, my glasses.

They say it's important to establish a morning routine. It builds discipline, and gives you a measure of control.

And control is something you haven't had in quite some time, ain't that right?

I ignore that remark.

Down to the kitchen for breakfast. Flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, milk, butter, eggs. Mix it all together, pour the batter onto the skillet. Allow to heat for two minutes, until it becomes golden brown on one side.

That gives me time to check on a few things. Leaving the batter to warm up, I unlock the back door to the farmhouse and step outside. Krypto stirs, but quickly goes back to sleep once he sees it's just me, and I head out into the pre-dawn sky, reaching high orbit in a few fractions of a second.

"Let's see....." I say to myself as I look and listen to the swirling blue planet below. "I think we'll start by heading east today...."

A highway overpass in South Carolina is dangerously neglected, ready to collapse and endanger hundreds of lives. This early hour, wthout a driver in sight, gives me ample time to work. Crushing concrete into dust, melting down steel supports and rebar, reforging the metal and mixing the concrete all over again, rebuilding the bridge from the ground up, all of that isn't the hard part. The hard part is painting and weathering it so it doesn't look like it was suddenly and suspiciously rebuilt from the ground up. Some men in their old age take up building complex and realistic train sets or model airplanes. I guess this could be seen as the same, only the models I build are to replace crumbling infrastructure.

Next is a quick trip across the Atlantic to the island of La Palma, off the coast of Morocco. The Cumbre Vieja volcano has been building pressure, threatening an eruption that could cause a massive landslide into the ocean. The resulting wave will cause an enormous wall of water to travel across the Atlantic, a mega-tsunami that will devastate the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Or at least, it would. I've been drilling channels through the volcano, pressure release tunnels that will keep the worst-case scenario from happening. Many scientists have already discredited the mega-tsunami theory as completely farfetched, not realizing how accurate their first predictions may have been.

It's best to take care of things like this while they're still little problems, before they get the chance to become big ones. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure, they say. On top of that, it's the best way for me to save lives and do some good while keeping a low profile.

I make a few more quick stops-- filling potentially lethal pot-holes in roads, triggering small landslides and avalanches while no one's around to be endangered by them, and using wide but low-intensity blasts of Heat Vision to equalize air pressure in a storm system to prevent a tornado from forming-- before heading back to the farmhouse to flip my pancakes.

As I approach, I hear Krypto barking. He's normally not up and about for another two or three hours, let alone making a racket. Slowing down to a manageable speed, I swoop down to the old oak tree about fifty paces from the front of the house, where my dog is growling at a shape on the ground.

"What's the matter, boy?" I say, scratching him behind the ears to calm him down. He looks up at me and whimpers, confused. "It's okay, buddy, I'm here. Now what's--"

That's when I see what Krypto was barking at. A form left in the dirt, a thin coat of dust dulling the colors of a bright red cape and blue suit.

"Great Scott...."

This isn't any sort of coincidence. This is deliberate. A message. Maybe a warning, maybe a threat. But a message nonetheless.

Someone knows.

But how? This isn't my world. Kara switched places with Kal-El in this world, arriving on Earth first. There's no recorded precedent of interaction with parallel universes, alternate timelines, or any other form of other-Earths in this reality.....myself excluded. I've made absolutely certain that none of my actions have shown up on satellite photos, and that any written accounts have either been discredited or purged from the internet. As far as this world is concerned, there is no Superman, and there never was. Nobody could possibly know who or what I am, let alone that I'm here.

And yet, someone knows.

Lying in the dirt in front of me is a pile of bones, dressed in an unmistakable uniform.

Someone has sent me a dead man.....

Worse than that, actually......



......a dead Superman.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Inkarnate
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Inkarnate A Clichéd Tsundere™

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Location: Axel Heiberg Island, Canada - July 2nd, 2018
Prologue #0.02: Alien Angel


“It is most fortuitous for you to arrive. I have been waiting for a member of the Kryptonian Science Guild for quite some time. You are the first visitor to this facility in three hundred thousand and nine hundred solar days.”

Kara pressed her tongue against her leftmost canine as she processed the information as she found herself walking through another corridor as an gold-plated artificial orb followed her through what it described as a Kryptonian listening post and research station. Most of all, she was going through her head trying to do math. She looked over at the drone – to which had been designated as “Kelex” upon her entry in the next part of the Kryptonian facility. If what it was saying was correct, not one Kryptonian had been on Earth in over eight hundred years. That specific realization made her even more confused than she already was.

Thank god her “unique” Kryptonian genetic code gave her permission to ask questions.

“Um... Kelex? If nobody has been here in eight hundred years, how do you know my name?”

“Kryptonians store data in genetic profiles, so given my design it was easy to understand when you interfaced with my system.”

“Right. Code’s in my DNA. That makes sense.” Kara muttered sarcastically as she came to another doorway that seemed to immediately open once it scanned her. As they continued toward the “codex” of the archive her mind remained on the information that she could digest and that Kelex seemed willing to answer without issue.

The idea of storing information in DNA definitely sounded like something out of a sci-fi show, but then again Kara’s whole life was science fiction. From the weird powers to the landing on Earth in an escape pod, to her always feeling like the odd girl out in Midvale; it was all there. But knowing she was from an alien species called Kryptonians wasn’t enough. She needed to access the codex to get more information; information about house El, information about Kryptonians, information about these weird powers, and information about other people like her that were out there. She had remembered a name from her nightmares, but it felt so clouded and blurry, almost like it was barely out of reach.

What was the name? The... who did she come here with?

“So, Kelex. This facility, you said it was a listening post and research station?”

“Correct. A team of members of the Kryptonian Science Guild discovered this planet to be inhabited by terran lifeforms. The objective as much as I understand was to observe those lifeforms and their contributions to science, art, and culture. By the time of the abandonment of this facility it was concluded that there was no sustainable, worthwhile value in studying the species.”

Kara snorted. If there was one thing the Kryptonians got right was that humans had a historical habit of being warmongering, arrogant, bullheaded idiots. If Kryptonians thought humans were bad by the end of the 11th Century than she couldn’t even imagine what they would’ve thought if they had stayed for a few more centuries. Kara thought over the big events that her ancestors had missed. The Black Plague. Religious persecution under the Spanish Inquisition. The Crusades. Countless wars based on conquest and greed. The Holocaust. The sort of things that Kryptonians never got a chance to witness.

Still, they left the science facility and Kelex operational in case there ever became a need for them to reactivate it. So maybe they had hope?

Was that the reason her space-dad sent her to Earth? Because there was a listening post? Seemed pretty ballsy to expect some humans to raise her as one of their own and hope she’d find the facility for the answers about her parentage. Then again, they probably didn’t expect Kara to forget her entire culture due to crash landing in Delaware. The only good thing she could take away from thinking about it was that everything sort've worked out in the end. Kara ended up being raised by good people and found Kelex as she was piecing together the madness that was her life.

“Makes sense. I don't know if you've been paying attention but humans kinda suck.”

“I have not. I have been on stand-by.”

Kara giggled, she supposed it was the most robot thing to say in the situation and at its core, that is what Kelex was. “Right. Sorry about that. I won't put you on stand-by for eight hundred years. Promise.”

“I would appreciate that.” Kelex chimed, he seemed happy. Did Kryptonian AI's feel emotions? Given how advanced Kara's ancestors were it wouldn't surprise her.

Before Kara could respond another door opened and her mouth dropped.

It was time for answers.
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'...Reports streaming in from the remote nation of Trasnia where a group of Iron Men...'
'...Ten rings claiming responsibility for the attack, utilising various forms of weaponry formerly built by Stark...
'Tony Stark has called a press conference to address the reported connections between Stark Industries and the Ten Rings.
Previously on Iron Man



STARK INDUSTRIES CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS // LOS ANGELES
"Introducing Iron Man."




Tony could hear the reporters talking amongst themselves in the room just through the door. Pepper stood in the corner shooting daggers at him, he couldn't blame her. She had been against this idea from the outset, ever since he returned from captivity she had known that something was going on. If he had a dollar for every time she had almost caught him in the suit he would be an even richer man than he was now. She was against this conference, though that was largely as Tony hadn't told anyone what it was actually about. They all had their theories, Obadiah Stane stood in the other corner a smile in his eyes, albeit not on his face. Obadiah had his own suspicions about what this meeting was about, suspicions that would make him and the board very happy people. Tony sighed, tapping the miniature arc reactor that resided in his chest. A constant reminder of the world he had helped create. A world where his weapons weren't used to protect, but to destroy.

It seemed like the vicious cycle was doomed to continue. Five years ago the Iron Man had entered the scene. Tackling terrorist and criminal elements across the world that were misusing Stark Industries technology for their own gains, technology that Tony was still trying to trace to who had sold it. Shutting down the R&D and production of Weapons systems was supposed to cut these groups off at the source. Five years later he still seemed to be coming across weapons, and variants of weapons he had designed years ago. Prototypes that hadn't even made it into production. Now someone had made a cheap knockoff of the Iron Man suit. Not nearly as sophisticated as the real deal, but still powerful enough that it was tearing the country apart.

Tony walked over to the double door and sighed, placing one hand on either door he stood up straight and pushed his way through. Smiling as there was a flash of cameras, people went quiet as he walked in. Pepper on his left, the good angel. Obadiah on his right, the devil. Walking straight forward to the podium he flashed a smile as he tapped the microphone, feedback going through the room for a moment before he spoke. "Alright everyone. Please be seated." He cleared his throat as holographic images appeared behind him.

“It has come to my attention that there have been reports of Iron Men in Trasnia. In the previous weeks the extremist rebels have been using Stark Industries technology, and have now come out using a variant of the Iron Man suit. A suit that many have assumed is my technology.” He paused, clearing his throat. “I can now confirm-” Tony could feel the eyes of Obadiah and Pepper burning into his back. “-That the hero known as Iron Man is an employee of Stark Industries.” He was almost blinded as all the cameras in the room started to flash, reporters trying to shout over each other to try and gain his attention. He raised his hand to silence them, raising his voice slightly over the din. “You know if you guys won’t let me talk you may as well go home-”

Tony smirked as the reporters managed to compose themselves.. “-Thankyou, in order to preserve the peace, and ensure lasting security of our assets I have filed patents for the technologies that make up the Iron Man suit. I am also resuming development of Stark Weapons technologies, with an exclusive S.H.I.E.L.D contract with a focus on protecting people from advanced and enhanced individuals, because let's be honest not everyone checks the patent office before robbing a bank..”

There was a thunderous noise, and a clang as the Iron Man suit landed kneeling beside him. Coming through a hole in the roof. Standing up straight there was a round of applause as the suit stood there. The programming hadn’t been simple. Trying to get the suit to work while being run solely by Jarvis and without a pilot wasn’t as easy as he had hoped it would be, being that it was designed as a suit and not a drone so the parts didn’t work the same. “Finally as a warning to those who pervert my technology. I’m Tony freaking Stark, I’ve been near bankruptcy. Declared dead, captured and imprisoned. You don’t scare me, lay down my weapons. Lay down all your weapons, and if not-” he slapped his hand onto the shoulder of the Iron Man suit, clasping it. “-I’m sending my friend here for you.”

The suit turned around and started walking out. Tony pulled a pair of sunglasses from his pocket, placing the on his face. “No questions.” He then turned and followed the suit.
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