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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by DocTachyon
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DocTachyon Teenage Neenage Neetle Teetles

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Issue 7.2




New York City, NY --- Queens Neighborhood




The sound had faded into the background, pulsing in the night air but much too far for Peter to hear anything but the barest thump of the beat. Instead, he had to think about the bleating wails of the sirens and arcs of blue and red light that seemed to shoot up from behind every house on the block. The road was shaded from the moonlight by rows of trees, black branches stood out like strangling fingers squeezing the starlight.

He pounded down the road, focusing on every footstep as it came and the shock of each footfall jumping up his thighs. The sky had finally settled in color to black glass, twinkling with whatever gasps of light that weren’t choked in smog or tree cover. Every step was getting a little longer, less like a hobble and more like a leap as he settled forward into the neighborhood. He eyed a sturdy-looking branch and bounced forward off both of his feet, launching a webline forward. It was a clean miss, arcing past the branch and snagging onto the next. No no no--

Peter swung, kicking his legs to try and readjust as he careened into a backyard sliced apart by spotty mower work. The line gave and he fell, crashing into a plastic playhouse and scattering shards of plastic across the green.

“Okay… Maybe no swinging yet…” He groaned as he kicked aside the green plastic door and tumbled out of the playhouse’s blown out remains. His feet smacked against the grass and he was going again, jogging for the road. He hopped up and pulled himself over a wooden fence, sucking in his belly and keeping it from the sharp tops of every spiked bar of the fence.

The new neighborhood was quieter, with nubby trees shrunk into themselves and little brick houses with scrappy lawns lain out before them. The police lights weren’t as strong here, now just blue and red suggestions from neighborhoods far away, sirens pinging off into nothing. Maybe I’m actually getting away! There was something else though, on the edge of his perception. It didn’t sound like a cop car, an engine roaring like a beast with no accompanying siren, the sound tearing through neighborhoods and rebounding off of drywall, spiraling around him, drawing closer. Then were was --? Something in our head.

Peter shuddered and hit his hand against his head, trying to shake the nagging feeling, like a gnat buzzing around his ears. Like for the briefest moment, there was something else there with him, another skin slinking over him, feeling him, controlling him. It was gone just as soon as it arrived, awareness washed over and gone again. But there was still the engine bearing down on him, with renewed focus. He bolted for the other side of the street. Whoever they were, they probably wouldn’t run a rut through some random jobber’s neighborhood. He jumped forward and stumbled across the concrete, nearly tumbling over. He righted himself and set back into a jog, vying for the safety of a random backyard. Any other time, this would be a piece of cake, but now…?

It was too late for the backyard, the car careened around a corner and seemed to lock onto him, a red convertible with a gurgling engine and two indistinct passengers inside. It wasn’t like any undercover car Peter had ever seen, it was all flash and muscle. Coming to think of it, Flash Thompson drove one just like it. The car surged forward and Peter stumbled backwards. He kicked against the concrete and ran as the car wrought huge, ugly skidmarks into the pavement. Something shifted and his Spider Sense went off like firecrackers in his head.

“Hey, pal, you got mail!” A woman’s voice echoed through the neighborhood as he chanced a glance behind him. Trash bins were sailing through the air right for his head, filled to burst with banana peels and discard k-cups dropping as they rocketed towards him. Peter was moving to dodge them the instant they registered; he shot himself into the air and seemed to hang for a moment as the first bin shot beneath him. He kicked off of it and it exploded against the ground while he launched further, backflipping up and over the second bin. Ha! Nice moves, Spider-M--

White plastic and reams of paper slammed into his back like an oversized fist as the mailbox hit and Peter hit the ground, bouncing across the road like a rock across a pond in a flurry of envelopes.

“Every time…” Peter pulled someone’s credit score report from his face and turned to the car bearing down on him. He could see the drivers now, a girl with flowing red hair, and a boy with ruby red sunglasses. They were… Kids? Either way, they were about to make him roadkill. Peter flopped onto his back, facing the car gunning for him. Think Parker, think…

He aimed as best as he could for the wheel bays and unloaded with all the webbing he could muster. His fingers hit his palms over and over again as globs of web shot out to strike the front wheels.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by ComradeMaxx
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ComradeMaxx Aesthetically Displeasing

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L O N G I S L A N D

Night | Queens Borough, New York City
Scott had never seen anyone move like that before. The masked man bent through the air like a leaf in the wind, sliding past two of the three projectiles with a disturbing ease, almost too quick for Summers to really register. Not quick enough, fortunately, to get out of the way of the third. The nail box nailed him and brought their prey to the ground. Scott slapped the steering wheel and let out a victorious whoop. "Nice shot, Jean!"

His celebration was cut short when he felt a sudden and violent lurch from underneath him.

The mutant they were after used something to gunk up the front axle of the car, halting all forward momentum of the wheels. The back two didn't get the memo that they were coming to a stop, and kept on pushing, sending the convertible careening out of control. Scott wrestled with the steering wheel to keep them upright while he jammed the brake as far down as he possibly could. The sound of his and Jean's screams filled the night sky as they started to spin.

"Shitshitshitshitshit-" Jean Grey spewed a string of panicked curses. She could feel the wheels underneath the car leaving the pavement, and they had all of a few seconds before they'd likely be squished into the concrete like a pair of jelly-filled donuts. It took half of that time to realize she actually had superpowers and could do something about it.

'Oh. Right!'

an invisible hand unclicked both Jean and Scott's seat belts, disconnecting themselves from the twisting metal shell that was moments from doing a cartwheel into some poor soul's front lawn. That same hand wrapped itself around both of the X-Men, dragging them together into a bundle and surrounding them with an unseen, protective bubble. It absorbed the impact of them slamming against the asphalt of the road, though when it popped it didn't top either of them from going into a painful roll that dragged them several feet across the street, ending in them both being a considerable distance apart...with one, particular masked man lying on the ground between them.

"You...asshole!" Jean screamed between rugged, pained breaths. She rolled over onto her belly, doing her best to get her bearings after doing one too many loopty-loops. I swear to God your face is gonna be a hamburger after I'm done with you!"

"...Not the car..." Scott managed to squeak, still squarely on his back and with a noticeable lack of glasses over his eyes. He was smart enough to keep them glued shut for the time being, but he was left rather handicapped without them.

Grey brought a fist down against the ground, forcing herself up. Unsteady feet didn't respond well to the command, yet she stood nonetheless, whether her legs felt like doing their job at the moment or not. She brushed her fiery locks out of her eyes and threw a hand back behind her, holding it toward the white, picket fence their foe had recently tumbled over. One of the pickets broke away from the horizontal rails. And then another. And another. They began to leap from the ground like they had a mind of their own, floating through the air in a congo line until they found their way around Jean's head where they began to form something of an orbit. "Y'got one chance to give it up, pal. Or you're in for a world of hurt."
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 A Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

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Previously…


Ted Kord, Genius, billionaire playb-- well, not a full playboy, more of an aspiring playboy. Maybe a playtoddler? No, that’s ridiculous. I mean there’s probably some gold diggers who’d be willing to tune out overly long conversations about nanotechnology’s future in an expanding green new world interspersed with frequent references to Monty Python’s Flying Circ-- No. No there aren’t. There’s easier money out there. Even Anna Nicole Smith only had to dole out the occasional geriatric spongebath, not constant droning verbal torture… Let’s try this again…

Ted Kord, Genius, billionaire… single and available… CEO of Kord Omniversal and aspiring new tech-based superhero has just declared his company’s major flagship product for the next year will be a sophisticated car and personal security system.

Abner Jenkins, married, crusty old Chief Financial Officer, inventor of the B.E.E.T.L.E suit - something which, in Tony Stark’s refusal to release the Iron Man armour, could potentially sell like hotcakes as the most desirable product for any nation’s defence force. He’s more than a little miffed at Ted’s decision.

Ted Kord, ever the sensitive soul, didn’t like where the two left off at that Annual Flagship Product Meeting and looked to extend an olive branch, calling Jenkins and leaving a message for him. He has not returned his call. Hup… spoilers I suppose. It’s not a big one though.

Meanwhile in New York City, “Frank” Farley Fleeter, Head of the floundering Farley Fleeter Advertising Agency, is being leveraged by some shadowy big business type to steal Kord Omniversal’s big product on show at the New York Science Expo before it can be announced to the world. A product which he has been led to believe is the B.E.E.T.L.E suit, with the presumed intention of clearing the field for said shadowy big business type to put some other killamajig in its place - although presumably not called a killamajig, the name probably wouldn’t test well when run through marketing. Fleeter responded by getting all hands on deck at the remains of his company - 6 people - and planning a heist with his fellow “Madmen” (don’t ask…) with a piece of the Farley Fleeter Advertising Agency senior partnership pie as the prize for any and all participants.

And that’s where we are… well, there’s other bit players involved, like “Who did Abner Jenkins call instead of Ted?”, “Who were those other board members you told me about, but now seem conspicuously quiet about?” and the whole “Ted’s father’s brain slowly and prematurely turning to mush” thing, not to mention “What was that whole smart home shower scene? Did you really just write that whole scene just to make a bunch of immature jokes about having an automated shower/blow dryer’s potential use for graphic self-gratification?”... but I’m frankly a little irritated that you managed to get the Abner Jenkins never called Ted Kord back spoiler out of me, so those questions and points will have to wait.

So without further ado…









K . O . R . D . E A S T D I V I S I O N - A D M I N I S T R A T I O N W I N G

Present Day | Boston, Massachusetts

Ted Kord stepped out of the elevator and stopped by the desk of Angela Revere. He waited behind her desk with a smile whilst her keyboard tapped as she hurriedly finished her task.

“Oh, Mr Kord! I’m sorry. Here are your messages.”

She handed him a small stack of index cards, which contained the names of callers and the content of whatever message they had to pass on to the C.E.O.

"Angela, I’ve told you before... ‘Ted’ is fine.” He repeated his daily request to her as he thumbed his way through the index cards. “Hmm…”

“Any problems, sir?” Ted cringed slightly at the ‘sir’, before shaking it off. “Has Abner Jenkins tried to call through at all?”

“No sir. Should I be expecting a call to come through?” Angela replied, as the C.F.O had not called. (***Again, sorry about the spoilers...***)

“No.” Ted said, leaning back in contemplation, thumbing through the cards once more to make sure that no two were stuck together on the first pass. “He probably just figured he’d see me around the office at some point and would see me in person during the day.”

“Any specific plans for lunch today, Mr Kord?” Angela asked.

“Ted.” He once again gently corrected. “There’s no lunchtime meetings today, and I was cooped up in the office most of the day yesterday… No need to set up anything today, I think I’ll take a walk outside today. Around one-ish? I’ll pick myself up something while I’m out.”

“Yes sir, Mr Kord.” She returned to her typing, as Ted walked into his office and closed the door behind him.

“Cheat day at Big Belly Burger it is...” The secretary said to herself, making a mental note of Ted’s dietary calendar as she returned to composing a company-wide memo about the upcoming New York Science Expo.

* * * * *


Ted finished getting caught up on his daily activities and responding to messages and requests by 10:30. He used his phone’s intercom to check in with Angela who confirmed there were no further new messages since he’d last requested them. “No sir, not even from Mr Jenkins.” He ended the call and slapped at his desk rhythmically. Feeling restless he got to his feet and decided to check on the engineering pool. He grabbed his suit jacket and opened the door.

“Early to lunch, Mr Kord?” Angela asked.

“No, no. Not yet. Just thought I’d do the rounds and check on some of the workers.”

“The engineers, then?” Ms Revere knew him well. Ted had friendships and relationships with the workers there from when he first came to work at the company, well before his father had put him on the executive fast track.

“Well, yes…”

“I’ll call Ms Case then.” Angela picked up her phone.

“I hardly think that’s necessary.”

Angela looked over her thick rimmed glasses at Ted.

“Has she asked you to do that? I mean, come on--”

Angela’s gaze held.

“Oh my God. She’s asked you to call ahead anytime I’m coming? Are you kidding me?”

Her eyes softened. “I don’t think it’s anything personal, Ted. But she is supposed to be in charge on site there. And when you come in as often as you do…”

“She thinks I’m undercutting her?”

“She thinks you’re a distraction. And when the workers get all buddy-buddy with the upper management boss, she feels it-- hurts her effectiveness to manage the workforce there.”

“This is ridiculous. This is my company and I have to call ahead? What, am I supposed to sit up in my ivory tower and just get reports in on the local peasantry? That’s absurd! They’re a building over. I’m going.”

“Ted…” Angela pleaded, looking back up at him through her glasses frames which seemed to make her eyes double or triple in size. “Please let me call. It’s a courtesy.”

He looked down at her and sighed. “Do what you need to, Angela.”

She started dialing whilst Ted walked to the elevator.

“And don’t think I don’t know what you do when you give me that glasses look.” He said, calling back to her. “I’m still the boss here!”

“Good morning, Mr Kord!” Said one of the young employees from Public Relations.

“See!” He pointed at her. “Still the boss! Respect commanded!”

The elevator door opened. He walked in and turned around.

“Now please call ahead so that I can see the Research and Development engineers in my Research and Development company...” He called back to Angela as the elevator doors closed.

* * * * *


It took Ted ten minutes to make the brief trek to the Engineering wing, after he’d slapped the guy working the security desk in the lobby five and told him he was going to need the Corporate seats for the Celtics back with the season done. “Next year, Leon, even with no Kyrie, we’ve got the young kids another year older and wiser.”, “Catch you on the way back, Ted. I’ll bring the tix in tomorrow.” A smile to the lady working the lobby reception. “‘Morning Rachel.” and out the sliding doors.

The courtyard between K.O.R.D buildings was sparsely gardened, focused mainly on long green sections of well manicured lawns with the odd aesthetically suitable tree, pruned to shape and was occupied by people rushing between buildings, and the odd smoker. Later there’d be numerous employees interspersed enjoying lunch outside, since the weather seemed nice.

“Jason, you’re logging your smoke break, right?”

“Yes, Mr Kord.” Came the reply, with the slightest melodic hint reminiscent of a school student replying to an old teacher.

“Because I’d rather you take extra breaks, log them and take the time making sure you clean yourself up for when you get back in there. Working with sensitive stuff in there.”

“Yes, Mr Kord.” He repeated with the same tone.

Ted looked at the young engineer, clicked his tongue in his cheek and moved on to the R and D building.

He walked in to find the President of the Eastern Division Melody Case waiting for him in the lobby.

“Mel’ I don’t need this kind of procession. I was just going to pop in, say ‘Hello’ to some people I used to work with, see what kind of things people are working on and then go.”

Melody replies coolly, but with more than a faint hint of frustration in her tone. “Ted, you’re the C.E.O of this company. The procession is going to happen, whether you like it or not, so if you feel you have to do this. Then let’s do this.” She turned and hit the button for the elevators.

The elevators on the R and D building were on the outside and made of thick multiplex glass, providing a quaint view of the courtyard and the whole K.O.R.D complex to anyone watching.

“Is that Jason Fatsis down there, smoking again?”

“Yep.” Ted replied, leaning against one of the elevators sides.

“He’s so fired. His work’s been in freefall the last 3 months, he’s out there smoking as often as he’s in the clean lab and he’s been giving more and more attitude like he owns the place.”

Ted raised his eyebrows but remained silent.

“You don’t agree?”

“I’m not going to tell you how to do your job, Melody. And I agree. In fact, he gave me attitude when I asked him if he logged his break just now. But it’s not my job, it’s yours. And I’m not going to tell you how to handle these things.”

“Oh. It’s just I know you started out here with him and that you two talk quite a lot...”

“And? He has a job to do. And you have a job to do. The fact that I am friends with the people here doesn’t change the fact that they still have to do their job properly, and I’m not in the business of bailing out my friends when they feel they don’t have to pull their own weight just because they know me.”

“Huh…” Melody replied vacantly as she looked out the window at Jason Fatsis, who had just lit a second cigarette off his first and crushed the finished butt under his heel.

The elevator doors opened and the pair stepped out.

“I’m just going to get some paperwork together to sort this Jason situation out.” Melody said, sweeping some of her red locks behind an ear. “If you want to say ‘Hi’ to Murray, he’s in his office, and then we’ll walk the floor together. OK?”

Ted wasn’t one to look a gifthorse in the mouth and said “OK.” with a smile.

Ted poked his head in the door of Murray Takamoto’s office and said “Knock, knock...” whilst wrapping on the door. “You all set for New York?”

Murray Takamoto sat beside a wide solid desk made of quality oak. The old fashioned desk stood in stark contrast to his job title “Head of Cybernetics/Electronics/Online Security” which sat on a placard at the front of his desk. The pair once joked about making his title seem more badass by renaming the position “Grand Scion of Cybernetics, Emperor of Electronics and Grand Gatekeeper of K.O.R.D’s Online Presence, Omnipotent Leader of All things I.T.”

But alas the business world would not be ready for their nerdery. Hence the dull placard on his desk.

“Got my tickets and I’m all packed! Where are we staying?”

“I booked us rooms at the Hilton. Well, I booked me a room at the Hilton, opposite a lovely little backpackers hostel where I’m sure you’ll have a lovely view of me--”

“Ha-Ha.” Murray deadpanned with dripping sarcasm, but then was unable to keep the smile from his face.

“This is going to be awesome!”

“I know, man. So cool!”

“Anyway, I gotta get back to work-- never ends.”

“I know. Good to touch base before we go.” Ted turned to leave and walked to the door.

“Yeah, you know what it’s like… have to delete something called ‘Just Looking For A Good Time.’...”

Ted dropped his head, still facing away from Murray whilst his friend cackled with laughter.

He turned and closed the door behind him before rushing over and sitting down opposite him.

“Come on, you have to get rid of that! I’m not kidding around here!”

“Relax… it’s already gone, I’m just breaking your balls. You’re lucky I saw it too, going through the logs, because I was supposed to present full findings to Melody this afternoon. I figured deleting those under privacy or some such excuse would check out OK with you?”

“Yes, Oh thank you Murray, sweet Jesus!”

“Nah. Still just Grand Scion of Cybernetics, Emperor of Electronics and--”

“--Grand Gatekeeper of K.O.R.D.’s Online Presence, Omnipotent Leader of All Things I.T.” The pair quoted together.

“‘Sweet Jesus’ would mean I’d have to take a paycut. And while the meek may inherit the earth, I’ve got my eye on a kickass new home theatre setup.”

The pair laughed as old friends often do.

“So what’s going on between you two?” Murray started vaguely doing something on his computer whilst listening to Kord.

“Who?”

“Don’t play dumb. You and Melody. Come on, give me something. Let me live vicariously. You’re basically me but with money. If you don’t get somewhere with the girls soon I’m going to start to think it’s our personalities that are the root of our lady problems.”

“Nothing’s happening and I can’t see anything happening in the near future. In fact I think she’s pissed off with me. Did you know she’s told Angela she wants to be called ahead before I come over here? It’s like 50 metres away and is where most of my friends are and she wants to have me asking about visitation…”

“Ouch. Hate to see Mom and Dad fighting like that, but at least I might start getting two Christmas presents from now on…”

“You’ll get nothing and like it!” Ted burst out with his best Ted Knight impression.

“Heh. Caddyshack…”

“So, yeah. I don’t think she likes me much. Certainly like that anyway. It was tense in the elevator. Besides, I’m her boss. I’d need some kind of guidebook for how to navigate those treacherous waters whilst dodging the rocks of sexual harassment suits…”

“Hmm…” Murray vaguely expressed disagreement. “I don’t think that’s your biggest issue there.” His focus was now mostly on the computer, and he’d offer Ted cursory glances or head tilts whilst talking and keeping one eye on his work.

“What are you talking about?”

“If you want my advice… considering my boundless extensive knowledge of the fairer sex…”

“...which you have managed to somehow gain, whilst still being just as tragically single as I am…” Ted finished his sentence, folding his arms across his chest.

“...yes, that. But in my opinion, she likes you. But you’re her boss. And you know Mel’. She’s a serious woman with her work. She’s strictly business. Like EPMD.”

“You’re a second generation Japanese American with your other parent being white.”

“Don’t racially profile me and tell me I can’t like the E-double…” He looked away from his monitor and pointed at Ted.

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Ted rolled his eyes.

“Good... But yeah. She takes her business seriously, and you’re her boss. In a company she’s been ingrained in for a long time. Of a company your Daddy built and you’re the head honcho of. Now how do you think SHE thinks that would look?”

Ted thought on that for a few seconds before breaking the silence.

“...why are we talking about Melody anyway?”

“To assuage my boredom. Also, because you frankly don’t know many women in general, let alone women who can tolerate your presence for longer than 20 consecutive minutes.”

“Harsh.”

“...but true. Anyway, help me out with something. That issue you had with your shower profile, how’s that work with your photographic memory? Funny as it was, I thought you’d know exactly--”

“It doesn’t use a display. It’s not like I can get a visual on what it’s telling me. ...plus, I may have been yelling over it with frustration.”

“Ah. Do you want one?”

“In the shower? Seems like it’d be a more vulnerable point for water damage. Plus, the average person we'll be marketing to isn’t going to have that same preference for the visual that I do.”

“You’ve been listening to that cockhead Randall Truman too much. Surprising, because most people who do that have the telltale horns as a giveaway…”

“Mine are still growing in.” Ted smiled.

Melody Case knocked on the door and let herself in.

“Are you ready, Ted?” She asked the CEO. “Can I borrow him?” She asked Murray.

“Sure, I’ve no more use for him. I grab him by the ankles and shake him upside down til his pockets are empty anytime he strays too close to my office.”

“Yeah, how much did you get out of him this time?” A small smile crossed Ms Case's face.

“Ah not good, Mel’. He’s catching on. I just got an expired Blockbuster card, a validated parking ticket and a movie stub.”

“Marketing must have got to him first, Murray.” Melody's smile broadened.

“Wow. I’m right here in the room.” Ted replied. Flustered she turned a deep shade of scarlet.

“Oh, I’m sorry Mr Kord.” She panicked.

“Melody, it’s fine. We’re all just joking around.”

“I-- OK. Well, should we?”

“Go walk the floor? Got it.” Ted said, getting to his feet. “So, I’ll see you at the airport? I upgraded you out of pocket. First class to NYC. Am I as cool as you now?”

“Let me run the math… Nope. Still short.”

“Oh come on, how do you figure that?”

“Well I had to dock you for not being down with EPMD, plus you said ‘knock, knock’ when you knocked on my door earlier.”

“Not cool?”

Murray replied only by screwing his face up and making a sucking noise on his teeth.

“Now, the first class upgrade got you 50 points… and I only took 10 off you for the ‘knock, knock’... friends rates and all that. But you’re still behind.”

“Melody? Has Mister Takamoto been pulling his weight? Are we going to have any issues with having to let him go in the near future.”

“Murray’s one of the best workers we have, Ted.”

“Really. Damn. More’s the pity. You win this round, Takamoto.”

“I win every round, Ted.” Murray said, shrugging and swivelling a full 360 in his chair in victory. “Catch you at the airport, Kord!”

Ted closed the door behind him and he and Melody walked the engineering pool, as Ted came to terms with their progress, new products, new additions and reconnected with old friends.
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Hidden 1 mo ago 3 days ago Post by Inkarnate
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Inkarnate A Clichéd Tsundere™

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Prodigal Son
Lex Luthor on the Future of Metropolis
© The Daily Planet || article written by JOHNATHAN CORBEN

The world is changing.

There was a time and place where we, as a people, didn’t have to fear the overwhelming dread of the unknowable despair. A time where, no matter all of our faults there existed a commonality in our shared reality. A time where you didn’t have to look at your neighbor, your friend, or your daughter with a gleam of distrust. There was no worry that people you knew had a monster inside them; a piece of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There weren’t lunatics sulking in the shadows, dragging you out of your home in attempt to maim or murder you. No Bats in Gotham. No Monsters in New York City. No gods to demean you.

At some point. We have to address the elephant in the room. We have to find a little hope.

From the rubble of the slums of Metropolis emerges that hope, or so I’m told. Hope for a city. A city of new tomorrow. Alexander Luthor’s tomorrow.

A few days ago, I met the ambitious CEO and lead scientist of LexCorp. I had questions. He had answers.

Instead of a penthouse or well-tailored location, Luthor, or Lex as he prefers to be called, shows the world that he is a man of not wasting time or embellishing his supposed brilliance. Our conversation occurs in his office a few minutes short of lunch hour traffic. I can see the highlight of the ‘Suicide Slums’, the poorest section of our nation’s greatest city. It serves as a reminder to me that this man of brilliance has his priorities set – or that he wishes everyone to believe that to be so. The truth, in my experience, often exists somewhere in the middle. He speaks to me politely and with assurance.




LEX LUTHOR: Welcome to LexCorp, Mr. Corben. Shall we start this interview?

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: Not at all. I’m on your time.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: You’ve built the largest upstart in the tech sector seemingly overnight, what’s your secret?

LEX LUTHOR: Being better than everyone else.

There's a short pause as Lex takes a second to chuckle at his own joke.

LEX LUTHOR: Really, there’s no secret. Building something like this is about having a product or idea and then making the public want it. To stay ahead of the curve, you have to create tomorrow's demands, yesterday.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: True, but being successful is one thing. Outpacing giants like Wayne Industries is another.

Lex scoffs at the mention of Wayne Industries.

LEX LUTHOR: Wayne Industries is a decaying corpse in a sea of sleeping giants. To be concerned about the merits of a company twice merged that peaked during the Nixon Administration is laughable to any company eager to deliver on their promises. LexCorp is above its competitors. Not even Stark International or Queen Enterprises inspire concern.

LEX LUTHOR: LexCorp is the future. And the future is ours.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: And the future is what we're here for.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: Right. So, LexCorp is the result of your hard work and acumen for seeing potential. How difficult was the transition from Amertek to LexCorp? Transforming Amertek into the company of tomorrow must have had some hurdles.

LEX LUTHOR: Amertek was the first piece of the puzzle. As you know, the company was more interested in warmongering than creating substantial products. Once it lost its military contracts with the government it lacked the ability to sell anything outside of missiles. I made some principal investments and the executives were desperate for an out. Had they realized what it would become, well, they are probably regretting not staying on in retrospect.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: Definitely.

LEX LUTHOR: Anyway. We partnered with a cellphone company and after a long research cycle we came out with the Amertek Vision – which as you know made the cellphone market implode. Nobody actually thought we could come out with something so advanced and affordable. It became the landmark of transforming Metropolis back into its namesake.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: People are still trying to figure out how you did it.

LEX LUTHOR: When they figure it out, let me know. I'd love to look at it in retrospect from another perspective.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: What's your perspective of things? On what's going on down there?

Corben motions to the Suicide Slums and Metropolis that is in clear view from the office windowpane.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: The world's on fire out there.

Lex places his hands behind his back as he peers out the window.

LEX LUTHOR: The world has been on fire for as long as man has had access to it. These… metahumans and vigilantes... are an inevitability. They are a symptom of a great problem that we as humans are not being the best we can be; we are not offering all we can offer. Take a look down there.

LEX LUTHOR: We are in the greatest city in the world and still we ignore the homeless and the hungry; the forsaken and the forgotten. Can you explain to me why the city of tomorrow excuses misery? The answer, of course, is obvious. We’ve lost our way. Much like Icarus, we flew too high and were blinded by the idea of something greater than ourselves. We didn’t need to fly to be great. We needed to be grounded with hand outstretched to those in need.

LEX LUTHOR: Humanity doesn’t need capes or cowls. It needs medicine, empathy, and solidarity.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: That brings me to my next question. How can you claim to be helping the citizens of our country when you refuse to lend your aid to research in defending them? Tony Stark cares. Why don’t you?

Lex's grip on his wrists tighten for a second, before he looks over his shoulder.

LEX LUTHOR: Are you a warmonger, Mr. Corben?

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: I’m an American.

Lex offers a stifled chuckle before musing his thoughts for a moment.

LEX LUTHOR: The American Military-Industrial Complex strikes again. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to hear such inane nonsense. Tell me something. How long have we, humans, squabbled in the dirt over arbitrary boundaries and beliefs? How can we become the best of humanity when we are pointing missiles over each other’s heads. It is not my priority to arbitrate development of weapons of mass suffering and nor should it be of any man.

LEX LUTHOR: But don’t you worry, Mr. Corben, for you will soon see how much I truly care about my fellow man. There are ways to protect all of us from threats seen and unseen without resorting to funding these immoral weapon development firms.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: So your goal is to destroy that immoral industry?

LEX LUTHOR: No. My goal is to leave the planet in a better state of being for the generations that follow. I care about the betterment of the less privileged and the systematic removal of poverty bar none; the advancement of humanity. Who wouldn’t want what I want?

Corben scoffs.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: And how are you going to eliminate poverty, Lex?

LEX LUTHOR: An extension of my current projects will lead to this inevitable goal.

LEX LUTHOR: Plans are already in the motion to take down all of those decrepit homes in the Suicide Slums and build a housing project entirely for the homeless. Rent free. No longer will they have to suffer to the elements. That is, of course, only the first of my many projects undergoing development here at LexCorp.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: Interesting. It appears we only have enough time for one more question.

LEX LUTHOR: By all means.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: When can we expect the release of the new Lex/OS?

LEX LUTHOR: Oh, it’s nearing completion. Give it a few months. I hope to have it out this August, but development is never one hundred percent predictable.

JOHNATHAN CORBEN: Until next time, Lex.


Despite our ideological differences, I leave Lex’s office somewhat intrigued. Perhaps there is some truth about this “prodigal son” of Metropolis. I may be growing older but I do certainly know one thing for sure.

LexCorp is the future and the future is now.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Star Lord
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Star Lord Legendary Outlaw

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Velinsky, Trasnia
Present Day

Issue #2.04
𝗪𝗢𝗡𝗗𝗘𝗥 𝗪𝗢𝗠𝗔𝗡

Inside the old room within the Old Fox Pub, Wonder Woman was caught off guard by Aladdin's sudden appearance. She didn't know who the man was but knew that he was trouble. Her sword was still pointed at him and ready to strike if he responded with conflict. Yet, it didn't bother Aladdin at all and went towards the empty Iron Man suit.

"Isn't it impressive?" Aladdin asked Diana while he rubbed the metal shoulder.

"Where is the person inside the suit?" Wonder Woman dodged his question and asked her own towards the man.

"There never was anyone in the suit. A simple levitation spell kept it afloat before it was hit by the missile. Of course, the hardest part was making the iron suit look precisely like the real one. It won't last a single day out in combat, but it will get you first place in a costume contest." Aladdin explained and then processed to grab the mask piece. "It took weeks to make it look convincing enough. I guess it worked perfectly. However, I am here to see you."

"Why?"

Aladdin put the mask piece back into place and responded, "Because you are an essential piece of my plan. Your ruthless methods of killing the enemy never genuinely changed with the times. Almost everything about you changed except for that. While you may think and even defend your actions, the world will judge you until you are forgotten and replaced by the new generation of heroes. Speaking of which, let's see how the world is reacting to the footage of your brutality."

Aladdin shook his right hand for a few seconds until a remote appeared out of nowhere. Wonder Woman knew she was dealing with a different type of magic that she never saw before. She started to question it until the monitors began to show newscasters throughout the world. Each one of them talked about leaked footage, received from an anonymous source, of Wonder Woman excessively killing Trasnian rebels. One of the news channels, GCN, warned viewers of the graphic content before showing some of the footages. Meanwhile, news anchors from the BBC told their viewers that the footages were too explicit to display even when it was heavily censored.

Diana stood bewildered while the screens kept on playing. Aladdin grinned delightfully at the sight of a confused Wonder Woman. Before she could say anything, he walked towards and explained that he leaked the footage to the media. Then, he turned the remote into a cell phone and began browsing Twitter.

Glancing down at his phone, Aladdin began to mock Diana before looking towards her.

"Well," He began, his tone full of taunt as he spoke, "At least you're trending worldwide."

Diana looked at Aladdin's smug smile and immediately felt hatred towards him. She knew that Aladdin understood how releasing the footage was going to be used by her opponents like Senator Swanwick and Veronica Cale. In response to the mockery, Diana spat at Aladdin and snarled, "You bastard!"

"Being one is my specialty." Aladdin responded with a wink, but his time with Wonder Woman was over. For now. "Unfortunately, I have places to be and friends to meet up. I know that I will see you soon. Until we meet again, I wish you well during these troubled times."

With a snap of his fingers, the several television screens vanished as Aladdin walked out of the room. Wonder Woman tried to give chase and capture him for good; however, a familiar face was waiting for her. Doctor Poison sprayed Wonder Woman with some gas designed to slow her down for a few minutes. The effects were almost immediate and Diana felt weak before collapsing to the ground.

"That gas will prevent you from chasing us for a few minutes. But regrettably, you will be fine." Doctor Poison said coldly towards Wonder Woman before escorting Aladdin out of the pub. She was unable to move and felt severely defeated for the first time in a long time. There was nothing she could do to make everything normal again. Then, she realized that her reputation was tarnished forever due to her reckless disregard of her actions. That was when she started to cry out loud.

Diana stopped crying once she realized that she could move again and headed outside. Petrovich and his men were able to escape with all of their equipment without any resistance. She stared at the ground in shame until she heard vehicles nearby. It was when she knew that Etta was looking for her to talk about the footage. And it brought up thoughts about her friends' reactions to her brutality. She froze in place while she listened to the vehicles stopping and their engines shutting off. Diana knew that she wasn't ready to deal with her friends. Not yet. When she heard a car door opening, Diana already made her choice.

Etta left the car and headed toward Wonder Woman while fully aware of the footage. But, she wanted to hear her boss' side of the story. However, Wonder Woman flew away without hesitation and headed west. Etta tried to call out her name, but it didn't stop her. Meanwhile, Diana started to cry again as she flew towards the place that she considered safe. The place where she lived the best moments of her life with her lover.

Home.
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Hidden 1 mo ago 5 days ago Post by Lord Wraith
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Lord Wraith Big Tuna

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We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.


Location: Gotham State University - Founder’s Island, Gotham City
Welcome to the Masquerade #1.05: Curiouser and Curiouser

Interaction(s): None
”I can’t believe you cost me twenty bucks.”

Dana shook her head in mock frustration while she and Terry watched Max walk away. Each step was emphasized with victory fueled swagger as she caught up to Carrie before disappearing into the ever-growing throng of students.

“Your ass is definitely mine tonight, McGinnis.” Dana said, turning towards the dark-haired young man with a mischievous smile across her face. Running a hand across his jawline, Dana paused for a second, her hazel eyes studying Terry’s face as her gaze was met by his own piercing blue eyes.

“You must be spending way too much time with Mister Wayne,” Dana chided with a giddy giggle, “You’re even starting to look like him.”

Scoffing, Terry brushed Dana’s hand aside before wrapping an arm around the petite raven-haired woman’s waist. Walking with Dana under his arm, Terry felt his heart skip a beat as he futilely wished this moment could last forever. Dana and Terry had been considered an item for longer than either of them would honestly acknowledge to each other. Most of their high school years had been spent in an on and off relationship until they finally became an exclusive item in the second semester of their senior year.

While there had been others in Terry’s life, some even who were more kindred souls than Dana could ever know, Terry always found himself coming back to her. Dana complimented Terry in ways he couldn’t have imagined and were it not for his ‘nightlife,’ the pair could have even been living together by now.

“Whatcha thinking about there, tall dark and brooding?” Dana teased as Terry’s mind was brought back to the present.

“Sorry D, that last class just put my brain on the fritz.” Terry replied, feeling a slight burning in his cheeks. Despite the warmth, it would appear that his fair skin hadn’t betrayed him as Dana moved on, swatting him playfully as she responded.

“Oh no, you don’t, I don’t want to hear about how tired you are. We are young and fun, don’t you start acting like my dad who needs to nap after an ‘exhausting day’ at work.”

It’s actually my nights that are exhausting.

Smiling as he dismissed the thought from his head, Terry replied as he took hold of Dana’s hand and continued forward with her.

“Don’t you worry, I am one hundred percent with you in the here, and now, you have my full undivided atten-”

“McGinnis!” A voice yelled from across the parking lot as Dana and Terry turned to see a familiar face moving towards them. The source of the voice belonged to none other than the Knights’ starting quarterback as Nelson Nash approached the pair.

“Hey, either of you seen Chelsea?” Nelson asked, relaxing his broad shoulders before tucking his hands into the pockets of his letterman jacket.

“Haven’t seen her since before practice, and she’s not answering any of my texts, not even the good ones.” The jock smiled, nodding towards Terry while giving him a nudge with an elbow.

“Can’t think of what the hell I did to piss her off.” Nelson added as Dana pulled out her phone and began to scroll through her texts. Scoffing, Terry shook his head towards Nelson as he replied dryly.

“Not even one thing?” Terry asked with a raised brow.

“No man, I’ve done fuck all that would have pissed her off,” Nelson retorted, “She’s got no reason to be ghostin’ me.” He added before muttering under his breath, “I don’t think.”

“Not all that surprising, Nash” Terry replied dryly as Nelson shot him a dirty look.

“She hasn’t texted me either,” Dana interjected, her expression confused as she continued to look down at her phone. Her thumb scrolled along the screen as she continued to speak. “Nothing on her Insta or Snap either,”

“That’s not like her.” Terry stated as Nelson nodded eagerly in agreement.

“Something’s up man, told you I didn’t do nothing!”

“Yeah, you’re a real saint, Nelson.” Dana smiled wryly, “Though, this really isn’t like her.” She added as her brow crinkled in concern.

“Maybe she took a day off from everything?” Terry suggested as his phone began to ring. Avoiding eye contact with Dana, Terry slid it out of his pocket before quickly swiping his thumb across the screen as he answered the call.

“Detectives Gage and Ramirez just picked up a body, heavily mutilated.” The voice on the other end growled as Bruce skipped the pleasantries. “Early analysis suggests he’s the missing ‘Wolf’ from last night.”

“Anything else I should know?” Terry asked as Dana shot him daggers from a few feet away.

“Victim was identified as Richard Cunningham, upper middle class, Wayne/Sionis employee-”

“And Chelsea’s father.” Terry whispered as he cut Bruce off, turning his back to Nelson and Dana before continuing. “Wayne, Chelsea’s gone off the grid.”

“Then you’d best suit up.”

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Hidden 1 mo ago 22 days ago Post by Dblade26
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Dblade26

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Location: Warehouse Rooftop, Star City - Night
Queen's Heir #1.01: First Night

Interaction(s): None
Previously:None


"You must learn to wait properly..."


Connor had been waiting on this rooftop a long time. Like, a really really long time, the kinda wait that would make a meditating Bodhisattva feel vaguely uncomfortable. So far he had nothing to show for it but leg cramps and a newfound appreciation for the diversity of rats that could scurry through a single back alley in a night.

Did he misunderstand the old homeless guy grumbling to him last night, that this was the place and time that some of Brick's foot-soldiers met every week to count up their take from the neighborhood stores they'd extorted and the homeless people they'd robbed? A dingy alleyway between a chop shop and an old Italian restaurant in the Triangle seemed like a weird choice, and counting money and valuables in the open seemed like a bad idea even to a newbie in the criminal underworld like him.

Still crime had gotten plenty sloppy and brazen since his father vanished and someone had to do something about it. Why else would Connor be here, crouched on a rooftop in a green hoodie and a child's mask and about to use the parting gifts his teachers had given him to commit violence? Yeah, this was a great plan, the best.

He bet Oliver Queen never had to get his information on crime in the city from a hungover vagrant in exchange for a breakfast sandwich, or foil a crime while wearing a bad Halloween takeoff on his own costume. He had all sorts of sweet gadgets and information and-

Connor's mental rant got interrupted when he noticed his targets had actually decided to show up on the street below him when he wasn't paying attention, an open backpack off to the side stuffed with ill-gotten goods.

"-an' then I sez to him 'I hear cheek meat slices real nice!' an' the old geezer practically vomits on the deli slicer! He coughed it up real quick after that!"

"Hahahahaaa! Hey Johnny! Tell cold cuts over here about-"

Aaaand that was enough listening in. Raised by Buddhist monks or not there was only so much violent boasting he could take in a night before he had to tune out or else risk doing something very against Dharma. Instead Connor did his best to tune out their words, draw an arrow from his quiver and nock it. For ease of aim in the darkness he focused on the one currently bragging, Johnny. His drunken and wildly gesturing form was simple to pick out.

This was the sum total of his world, now. Just him, the bow and the target. He fixed his eye and mind on the goal, at first letting movement and specific features guide his aim. A trace of moonlight glinting off of the beer bottle in the hand, a gold watch shifting out from under the cloth, all leading to a baggy sleeve raised high...

Connor fixed the point in his mind, breathing slow and controlled, one hand outstretched and gripping the bow while the other pulled back to his cheek, tension mounting through staves and string for the inevitable as he let fly and-

*Twang!*
*shatter!*


"-The Hell!?"

Crap, missed the sleeve and broke the beer bottle. It was too dark for any of them to notice the arrow just yet, but while the first mobster was stunned and cussing through broken glass and booze in the face his friend had already pulled a gun soooo...

*Twang!*

*Crack!*

"Ha, nice! I did it! Disarmed!"

Well, that got their attention in the wrong way. If looks could kill Connor would be dead twice over, three times once his practice round got his eyes clear. That gun would still do the job soon enough, he was just now realizing that since he hadn't pinned the guy's sleeve or plugged his barrel he could just pick the pistol back up. Feeling kind of stupid for giving away his position so easily on top of that, the would-be Emerald Archer slung his bow onto his back and leaped down off the rooftop to land boots-first on the remaining thug before he could draw his own pistol, taking him out even though the impact was killer on his knees.

As he stepped off his impromptu cushion's back the one who'd gone by Johnny was still struggling to clear his eyes, but the remaining thug, 'Cold Cuts' stopped going for his fallen gun to stare at him skeptically and snicker.

"The fuck are you supposed to be?"

"Uhh...Green Arrow?

"Ha, cute. Well tell ya what kid, it ain't Halloween yet so the only thing we're handing out is beatings!"

Before Connor could react to any of that mess, 'Cold Cuts' charged him and swung a wild right haymaker. But Connor was always much, much better in close combat than with a bow. Without even needing to think about it he stepped in to intercept the punch with a jolting elbow to the man's arm, capture it and then absorb the momentum of the charge and throw him hard to the opposite wall and pavement.

Which just left him and Johnny glass-in-the-face, eyes clear now and full of hate and somehow in possession of a very big knife.

"Do we really have to do this? The beer bottle thing was an accident, I mean it!"

That did no good, not that he really expected any of them to just give up quietly. The thug apparently named Johnny tried a prisonyard bullrush and now Connor was the one slammed up against a wall, gripping his opponent's wrist to keep the knife from jabbing in and fighting the other hand to keep from getting his lights punched out. He drove a rising knee hard into Johnny's solar plexus to take some of the fight out of him then followed up with a palm strike to the jaw, reaping his leg out and dragging the knife hand out and high at the same time to drive him headfirst back into the pavement.

"Haa...haa....wow, I'm actually kind of sorry, I didn't mean to take you guys down so rough. I'll do a softer, cleaner job of it next time, promise!"

With that done Connor scooped up the bag and started to leave and redistribute some wealth. If he was lucky he could finish the 'taken from the rich and give back to the poor' routine before-"

"Die you little-"

Connor dropped the bag and whirled around. The guy he'd goomba stomped at the start of the fight was awake, propping himself up on the ground with his pistol from earlier in hand. Reacting without thinking, Connor nocked, drew back and released.

*Twang!*

*shnk!*

Connor stared and so did thug number one, equally surprised. Without really needing to aim, he'd plugged the gun barrel and jammed it to uselessness.

"No way..."

"Ha! Told ya! Green Arrow! Tell all your friends and spread the word! Star City's under my protection now!"

Even as he finished yelling he was trying not to flush from embarrassment at his own bragging and surge in pride, weird as it felt. Still, maybe he was entitled to just a little lapse in humility? His Sensei and his father would be proud!

Well, at least he liked to think Oliver would've been, considering they'd never actually met...

But still, not bad for his first night out, right?
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Natty
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Natty Supervillain Enthusiast

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How are you feeling?” Illyana asked, moving her burrito away from her mouth, and turning her body slightly towards the green-clad man next to her.

It had been a couple of hours since the conflict atop the apartment building. They sat on the edge of the same roof that they had first met upon earlier that night, their legs dangling precariously off the side and over the street below. From their position, they had a perfect view of the apartment building, which now matched the rest of the dark red hues of the Gotham skyline. Now that Marcosa had been taken care of, his magic had faded and all had returned to normal. The building's residents had no clue as to what had happened. Many theories had echoed around them regarding how they'd found themselves atop the neighboring roofs; some blamed a gas leak in the basement that had caused them to all hallucinate, while others even went so far as to blame the Scarecrow, the psychotic villain of old. Never did it occur to them that magic had been in play here. Despite the capes and the cowls that protected the Earth, the people of Gotham kept their eyes to the ground, never thinking of just opening their eyes to the impossible.

That didn't matter too much to Illyana though. It gave both her and Ragman the chance to get out of there without having to answer too many questions. As well as ample time for the pair to find something greasy and disgustingly unhealthy to dig into.

I'll be honest; I feel like shit. But then that's how I always feel after adding another soul to the suit." It was clear to see that Ragman was absolutely exhausted. His mask was pulled up to the top of his head, revealing his five o'clock shadow and large bag under each eye. His eyes seemed to be dropping slightly, as if he were about to stumble into a deep sleep, however with each bite of his burrito he seemed to find himself slightly more rejuvenated. "I know it's hard to believe, but contrary to popular belief, people don't like having their souls sucked out their bodies and trapped in a suit of rags for all eternity. So they kick up a bit of a fuss when they first get in there.

He took another bite of burrito before continuing.

"This though... This is definitely helping."

Illyana let out a chuckle. It was good to laugh after everything that had happened tonight. She admired that about Ragman. However, his jokes could only temporarily distract her from thoughts rocketing through her head right now. The things she had seen within her "room" continued to shake her to her core. The red of Belasco's face still haunted her. The eyes. His teeth. At that moment, Illyana realised just how scared she was of him.

"Rags... About Vhat you saw vin the room..." She began slowly, her voice almost a whisper. Talking about things like this was tough. It always had been for her. It made her feel like the small child she has been in her dream. Like she had been ever since she was taken from her home.

Rory stopped to look at her as she spoke. There was a kindness in his tired eyes. Despite how clearly he was struggling right now, he was there for her.

"That's who your hunting right? The person you were seeing me as."

She nodded.

"His name is Belasco. That was around vhen he... vhen he took me. He took me down to Limbo and tortured me for years." Her throat grew dry as the words came pouring out, yet she powered through, taking something out of her she didn't know she had left to give. "Since escaping I've tried to ignore it. Push the pain avay. Strange's training vas a good distraction... But sometimes it all comes back and I just..."

She broke. Tears began to stream down her face, blackening as they hit her mascara. Her hands shook, nearly dropping her food onto the street below. Once more she felt like that little girl, her entire body trembling. Like a helpless child calling for her mother.

A brief feeling of warmth told her that Rory had embraced her, however, that did nothing to curb the emotions pouring out of her. She sobbed into her chest unceasingly, hands clutching at the rags of his suit. He held her in silence, the two rocking back and forth slowly as her tears and mascara soaked his chest. A tiny lapse let him pull away, allowing Illyana to see his face.

He was smiling. The same smile he had given Illyana during her dream when trying to calm her down. The smile of a friend.

"Looks like you have your first recruit. Let's go burn Limbo to the ground." He mused, before smirking. "Just please promise me that we're not asking that Constantine asshole."

Her laughter cut through the tears slightly. "I promise."
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Hidden 1 mo ago 4 days ago Post by webboysurf
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webboysurf

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Christ the Redeemer Church, Granville, Kansas - One Month Ago

Interaction(s): None
Previously: None

”Forgive me father… for I have sinned. I have had to do the Lord’s work in culling those who violate his laws. My hands are stained red with the blood of sinners, father. I know that God wills it, but doing what the Lord requires is so difficult, father. I beg for his forgiveness.”

The confessionals were cramped, and a thin screen divided the two small chambers so that neither individual could get a good look at the other. The confessor hadn’t even bothered to remove his gear, still wearing a ballistic vest with camouflage military fatigues and a sidearm strapped to his belt. On the other side of the screen, the priest simply nodded his head slowly as he pondered his next move. After a deep breath, the priest’s words lacked any hint of emotion. ”You are not forgiven.”

The confessor tilted his head slightly as he saw movement on the other side of the screen. ”I don’t think this is how confessi-“

Before he could even finish his statement, two gunshots rang out in the entirety of the church. The confessor slumped over in his confessional, while a red-haired man dressed in priestly garb kicked the door of his confessional open and began opening fire on the militia that had gathered inside the Church. The vigilante soldiers barely had time to react as the priest fired with expert aim, bullets piercing the skulls of various soldiers before they could even clutch at their own weapons. The priest briskly approached the stone altar as he fired, ducking behind it just as the seven militia men left standing had turned the safeties off their automatic rifles and began firing.

The priest quickly stripped off his outer robe, revealing a ballistic vest decked out with magazines and grenades over the traditional black button up shirt and white collar. Roy reloaded his two sidearms as the sounds of gunfire and bullets penetrating the altar behind him pierced his ear drums. He had grown accustomed to the noise at this point, though it was never a sound that he had grown to enjoy. After a few moments, Roy smiled as he heard the familiar sound of empty clips. He sprung back up, and fired six shots. Six of the seven remaining hostiles fell to the ground dead. The final one simply drew his own sidearms quickly and pointed them at Roy.

This last man standing was dressed slightly differently from his fellow soldiers. Unlike the, he wore a white mask that was designed to resemble a cross between a dog and a hockey mask. He had more firearms on his person, along with a machete and a metal baseball bat. The two men kept their guns trained on each other, refusing to even turn their gazes away or blink. After what felt like a small eternity, Roy’s target spoke. ”You walk into our territory, dress yourself up like a priest, shoot my boys and you think you can just kill me and walk out of here? You must be a whole new breed of stupid, boy.”

Roy gave a small smile as he slowly inched around the altar to get closer, his guns always locked in his target’s direction. ”Stupid, not really. Borderline psychotic and pissed off to no end, absolutely. You see, you killed someone I cared about more than life itself, Jack Wheeler. So I’m going to put you and your little group of Watchdogs down like the animals you are.”

Time seemed to move in slow motion as Roy’s grip on his sidearms loosened. He let them go and reached his hands towards his vest, managing to clutch on to two grenades with pins hooked on to his clothing. As he yanked on the explosives, he instinctively ducked to his right. He gave two quick tosses of the grenades just as he felt the first bullet impact against the ballistic vest over his left pectoral. Another protected hit was felt against his gut, and then another in his leg. Roy didn’t have much time to process the pain as he managed to nimbly catch the gun he had dropped in mid-air with his left hand. With an aim that seemed almost inhuman, Roy tracked one of the grenades with the sidearm’s barrel until it got within a few feet of the Wild Dog. A single pull of the trigger, and time returned back to normal.

The combined explosion of both grenades sent a shockwave of force and shrapnel ripping through the pews of the rural church. Roy felt wood splinter into exposed parts of his skin as he was sent rolling backwards towards the altar again, coughing and wheezing. The pain was excruciating as he fought back waves of nausea and a splitting headache to try and focus his vision on his former opponent. Roy saw a mangled body writhing in pain in the center of the church, and began approaching the injured target while hobbling along on his feet. Around the edges of the impact area, flames from the incendiary grenade’s detonation began to light on the pews of the rural church.

The Wild Dog’s mask had been blown open in part, revealing the terrified eyes of a man who seemed to be about Roy’s age. The terrorist was breathing ragged breaths, trying to gurgle out some words through his blood-filled mouth that Roy couldn’t comprehend. The vigilante had little room for empathy as he lowered the barrel of his firearm towards his target’s now-exposed forehead, gritting his teeth in both anger and an effort to cope with his pain. ”This is for Toni, you son of a bitch.” One final gunshot rang out from the Church, and Roy’s work was done.

Roy Harper slowly hobbled out of the Church’s open front doors, ripping off the ballistic vest after stuffing the sidearm into the back of his pants. He tossed the vest into the back of a partially-rusted pick-up truck lazily parked along a gravel parking section near the Church’s entrance. The vigilante lazily opened the unlocked door and hoisted himself up into the truck’s driver’s seat. The truck’s keys had graciously been left in the ignition, providing Roy the opportunity to start the truck and begin peeling away from the now burning church.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by ComradeMaxx
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ComradeMaxx Aesthetically Displeasing

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A B A N D ON E D S T E E L W O R K S

Night | Unknown, Somewhere in Connecticut

The sound of crunching metal caused Clayton Burr to jolt awake. Dark splotches filled his vision for the first few disorientating seconds of consciousness. Blinking them away, Burr still couldn't quite tell where he was- shadows fell over most of his surroundings. A few overhead lights flickered a distance away, each flash revealing more of the room. The concrete floor was covered in broken glass, dirt, and discarded trash. The room itself was massive, taking up quite a few stories up and extending for at least hundreds of feet in every direction. All that distance was broken up by rows and rows of gargantuan, complex machinery whose purpose was entirely unknown to Clay.

He tried to bring his hands up to rub his eyes, only to find them bound together by something cold, hard, and sharp. His feet were dangling underneath him and he couldn't seem to find the floor no matter how far he stretched down. Something was suspending him in the air, though try as he might, he couldn't find a chain or rope attached to his person, and there didn't appear to be anything solid hoisting him up.

"What the hell is this?" Burr breathed, trying to make sense of it all. Last he could remember he was enjoying a late dinner with his wife, Marilyn. The cook had prepared an especially delicious main course of truffle tagliolini, and they'd even broken out the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti to celebrate the company's record-breaking earnings for that year. He...he remembered the power going out, too, right before they'd gotten to dessert. They'd just sent Mr. Brackett and the security team to investigate when someone broke down the front door and-

Well, he couldn't remember anything after that.

"This-" A voice suddenly called out from the darkness, just loud enough to be heard over the constant, methodical clanging of metal against metal. "This is a reckoning, Mr. Burr." A man, not young but not quite old, and with a hard to place accent. He was speaking from somewhere in the room beyond Clayton's vision, but it didn't take more than a couple of seconds of thought for it to dawn on Burr.

"You're him." Clayton rasped.

"There are many hims out in the world. You'll have to be more specific than that."

"You killed my son." Burr suddenly snapped, the rage overtaking any fear he'd felt before. "I've spent a lot of money trying to find you, n' you come right to me? You're real fucking stupid, pal, I'll tell ya that much."

His threatening words were met only with a laugh. A surprisingly light and mirthful one, lacking the harshness one would expect from an unrepent murderer. The bashing, metallic ringing came to a close, and silence fell over the rundown factory for several seconds. Then came the footsteps, and a pair of dirt-caked work boots appeared in the low light. They moved forward across the floor, bringing with them a similarly dusty pair of Levis, an old maroon shirt and the unassuming man that wore them. "That's funny. I've spent a great deal of time and effort trying to find you, too. Your son told me that you'd have the names I was looking for."

"What names?"

"Of your co-conspirators, of course," His captor spoke casually, pacing forward with his hands resting behind his back. Dressed as a working man though he was, his stride was almost regal. His diction that of an educated, well-read man. "You sold Roxxon's excess oil to the tyrants, yet those ships carried so much more on them. Weapons. Mercenaries. Lab equipment and construction materials. And those...curious little collars they use to keep my people under their heel. Does any of this sound familiar?"

Burr shook his head. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Genosha. Despite the sanctions, Roxxon's been doing business with Genosha's oligarchs under the table."

"I don't know anything about that!" He protested. "Roxxon- it's a big company, lotta moving parts-"

"If you intended to keep this a secret then keeping a ledger was quite the oversight." The stranger interrupted, bringing his hands around from behind his back. Clutched within them was a black book bound with leather. Unlabeled though it was, Burr recognized it immediately. This guy was serious- whoever he was.

Clayton's mouth went dry as he struggled against the strange binds that kept him suspended in the air. "Alright, f-fine. Ya caught me. But I'on't have any names for you. These ain't the type of guys that hand you a business card. They, y'know, they know how to cover their tracks."

"A trait you unfortunately lacked the foresight to mimic." His captor chuckled. "Despite that lapse in judgement, though, I know you're not stupid. This isn't the sort of operation a stupid man can run and get away with for so long. You wouldn't be working with strangers you knew nothing about. That's far, far too risky, no." He said with a finger pointed up toward Clayton. "You did your research into them, didn't you? You may not have gone far enough to get names, but...you have information I can use."

"And who the fuck are you?" Clayton let out a dogged laugh. "This ain't the kinda place the Feds would use. You a cape, like ol' Wonder Bra?"

The other man went silent and still. Stopped his pacing to stare up at Burr, a cool, indifferent sort of hate leaking from his steelish eyes. Clayton thought his blood mind flash freeze if he held his captor's gaze for a second too long and was forced to avert his own. Then, without his captor so much as twitching a finger, Burr felt a great pressure clamp down on both of his wrists, like some gargantuan thing had taken hold of each and was planning to snap them in two like twigs. Burr let out a agonized scream, the pain so monumental he hadn't even noticed that he was descending toward the ground.

"You took that luxury away from me." He spoke in a low tone, calm, yet with something terrible bubbling just underneath the surface. Something begging to be let out. "She and others like her had the luxury to be born in a place like this, where their gifts are seen as just that. Somewhere men like you haven't gotten your claws in yet. No, no. I can't afford heroism. My name is Erik, and I...I am fruit of your labor. And you're going to tell me everything I want to know."


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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Hillan
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Hillan The Real Dinoman

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Location: Central City
Post #1.05: Nyctophobia

Interaction(s): None
Previously: Blur


The Flash arrived at the remains of Cellblock S in Ironheights. The block was evacuated, six prisoners had escaped in the chaos. It was supposed to be the most secure prison in the Midwest, but those guarantees are hard to keep in this age of Metahumans. The wall was crumbled from a cell to the next, and the room in the bearing wall was torn clean off, like something very, very big had broken out. On the steel beams, one would even spot something that looked like markings from a hand - except about 10 times too big to be a hand.

"Looks like the Iron Giant broke out" Cisco Ramon quipped, as he walked to the stationary Flash, it was just the two of them in the block, Cisco was chewing some red licorice. "Also, dude! Siiick suit! I was working on something like, all red. But I dig the black accents. Gives you almost a Batman appeal. He's back again, y'know? Isn't that super cool?" Cisco mentioned, chewing away at the candy and Thawne shrugged, the mention of Batman never did him well, even if his least fond memories involved a very different Batman... And a .45 handgun.

"What could do something like this, man?" Eddie asked through the mask and Cisco shrugged. "Not sure. Some kind of Meta, for sure. A Giant-Man? Hard light generation? Maybe even a robot? Man, that'd be sick." The engineer said, clearly unable to contain how excited he was over this all, it was only the second metahuman case he had worked on, but Doctor Wells had convinced the police to let S.T.A.R take lead on the CSI work when it came to dealing with the new wave of superpowered people in Central City - it was after all kind of their fault that they were out here.

"See the indention? Whatever, or whoever it was, was very, very big. And strong. Did the cameras show anything?" Eddie asked, looking around.

"Not a thing, they all went dark." Cisco responded, as Thawne saw something in the corner of his eye and dashed towards it, Cisco's hair blowing in the wind and he let out a slight 'whoa'.

Thawne found black dust on the floor. "Hey, Cisco. Come look at this. There's nothing black around here, everything's gray or white. What is this dust? Where did it come from?" Eddie asked and Cisco looked at it, felt it between his fingers, smelt it and even licked a little of it before he made a disgusted grimace.

"Whatever it is, it ain't paint. some kind of metal. I should go run tests on it in the lab." Cisco mentioned, producing a plastic beaker and cotton swab to take a test. As he did, his phone vibrated, he answered it and looked at Eddie with huge eyes. "Dude.. Downtown's under attack by a black sand giant. I think our breakout's striking again." And as Cisco finished talking, Thawne was gone, prompting Cisco to once again let out a involuntary "Wow".

Downtown, the sene was chaotic, the beast was six stories tall and had attacked the office of Mercury Labs's Central City Outfit, tore a hole through the south wall. Cops had set up a perimeter and had opened fire on the sand creature, but the bullets would just get stuck inside of it, doing no damage. The streak arrived on the scene, going to attack from the front, punching it from the legs up across the arm, his fists connecting and distorting his form, but not doing any damage as, after all, he's made out of sand. Thawne lost his grip against the ever changing density and was caught in the undertow of the sand and tossed out of the monster, towards the cops, giving the world it's first still picture of the Fastest Man Alive..

Ass-First into a Police Cruiser.

"Sonofawhore." Eobard cursed under his breath, as he took a deep breath and crawled off of the cruiser, the monster was no longer paying attention to him, rather focused on the inside of the office. Eobard knew that currently, he was no fast enough to chuck lightning at the thing, he couldn't turn it to glass, he needed another solution. Friction could do it.

Thawne sped between it's legs, running back towards the long street, he did the math in his head and 3.5 miles, the exact distance he had just ran, would be enough. He removed his glove on his right hand and softly planted a kiss onto his knuckle. He took a deep breath, as the monster was going in for another hit on the cubicles, where there was still people hiding in terror. Eobard focused, lowering the velocity shield of the speedforce around him, he needed as much friction as possible right now. He kicked off the ground and ran as fast as he could, while running, his naked hand was rubbing against his gloved palm, knuckle towards glove, till the skin was almost raw. As he was about to approach the beast, hitting Mach 1, he saw it turn towards him and throw out a punch. Eobard jumped onto the back of a police cruiser in the perimiter and as he extended his arm out from his gloves palm, his hand caught fire for a split second, coliding with the ginat black sand creature. The heat created a hard surface to hit, and the energy from his sprint created the Super Mass Punch he had known so many times before. The yellow energy shot through the beast and his right arm exploded and the beast fell to the side.
Thawne's hand was charred and he grimaced a little at the pain as applauds erupted around him from the police and bystanders.

And then Cisco came into the communication line. "Eddie! Hey! I just ran the tests. The sand, it's not sand.. It's some kind of metal I've with light absorbing proporties, I'm not quite sure what it is. It's not a Meta who's turned into the dust. It's like it's controlled remotely. " Cisco said as Thawne saw the beast fade into dust, his form changing, as a shadow walked out of the ruins of the lab. A man in a black pair of form fitting jeans, a black tanktop, black leather jacket and black converse stepped forward, clapping slowly. His face was sickly pale and his eyes were covered by a pair of circular shades, a black ballcap sat on top of his head. The dust was being absorbed back into his hand. Eobard saw the man and immediately charged at him, grabbing him by the collar and pressing him against the wall. The man was surprised by the level of speed the hero in red possessed, but clearly not worried.

"Very impressive, Hero." His words echoed as he exploded in a puff of black dust, the dust quickly vanished, scattering in so many directions that Eobard couldn't possible follow. He turned towards the cameras and the police whom were all astonished by Thawne's display of speed, cheering for him. He quickly gloved his hand again and vanished. He had to figure out who the hell this guy was.

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Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Xanadu
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Xanadu fragment

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Location: Oceanside - San Diego
The Storm: 01 - Strangers in the Foam

Interaction(s): None


Arthur closed his eyes feeling the rain splash against his face. He could feel the electricity in the air as the storm swirled above him. Spring’s deluge coming to wash away winter’s death and decay bringing with it new life. Maybe I should let myself get washed away. Might be more interesting.

Ahead of him the ocean churned and twisted with activity. A jumbled mass of gray interspersed with brief periods of tumbling white. It was a powerful roaring declaration of nature’s strength, and it was awe inspiring. Not much was able to humble an ego like Arthur’s but the sea never failed.

As Arthur stared out across the horizon something caught his eye. Out on the horizon and rapidly approaching was a series of explosions in the water. They followed a linear pattern of approach deviating only slightly to the left and right with each denotation. Even with the noise of the storm above, Arthur could hear the low rumble coming from beneath the waves. A final explosion bursted close to the wave’s breaking point. Through the cloud of steam and kicked up sand was the shape of a man crashing ashore a mile down from Arthur. Arthur looked about frantically but he was the only one crazy enough to be on the beach in this weather.

“I did want it to be more interesting.” Arthur muttered as he sprinted across the beach grinning ear to ear.

It was a man that had washed up on the shore. He was smaller than Arthur possessing a stout frame, wispy goatee and a balding head. Steam rose off of a strange looking wet suit, a combination of a dark blue mesh composite and interlocking fish scales. Most of the steam was coming from a large wound centered around the man’s right pectoral. The exposed skin was an angry red color like the whole thing was becoming one giant blister.

Arthur squatted down next to the man to examine his injuries better. Gingerly, he lifted the man’s face out of the sand, feeling the warmth of his shallow breath. He looked for any sort of identifying documents but found none. All the man had on him was a series of metal cylinders, no bigger than Arthur’s fingers, attached to his belt.

“H...Hel...Help” The man managed to spit out nearly causing Arthur to fall flat on his ass out of surprise. The man had turned to look at him struggling to keep his eyes open. He made an attempt to move, but he body thrashed and spasmed in pain and he was unable to get that far. Arthur placed a hand on his stomach trying to calm him down.

“Don’t worry you will be at a hospital soon.” Arthur stated unsure if the man could even hear him. He was about to pick the men up when a voice rang out over the roar of the storm.

”Step away from the body earthwalker.”

Arthur slowly froze turning to face the voice as he rose to his feet. Emerging from the water was three figures. They dressed in what armor reminiscent of a strange merger between a knight and an astronaut. The armor was white save for the one that had called out to Arthur, who had a streak of red across his right shoulder pauldron. They froze in the surf looking back at Arthur.

“Are you guys lost? The astronaut convention is at the next beach down! ” Arthur shouted back not moving an inch. It was hard to tell the reaction of the trio beyond their tinted visors. Arthur felt his hands begin to curl into fists as his fight or flight responses began to kick in.

“This is none of your concern earthwalker." Redstripe warned the tone of his choice clear. Arthur didn't have an option in this matter there was no ultimatum, he was going to move one way or another.

”This man needs a Doctor!”

SNIKT!


A blade came protruding out of a hidden slot in the man’s gauntlet. A flash of lighting in the sky reflecting across the cold metal. Redstripe took another step closer and stared back at Arthur.

“Move.”

Arthur looked at the ground around him looking for something to defend himself with. His eyes settled on a piece of driftwood by his right foot that he leaned down to pick up. Arthur gripped his improvised club and smirked at Redstripe.

“No.”

Redstripe began to move before Arthur even finished the word. He was much faster in the armor then Arthur would have expected closing the distance with rapid speed. Arthur breathed as he gripped his improvised club tighter in his club. In his days swimming with his old pod, they had faced down predators much bigger and stronger than them. Overconfident great whites and tiger sharks that thought that they may make an easy meal. They won those fights by staying mobile, hitting hard and hitting fast. That was Arthur’s plan now and that was fortunate because he was very good at hard and fast.

Redstripe made the first move ending his charge with a punch thrown from his bladed gauntlet. Arthur pivoted his body turning parallel to his opponent dodging the punch. He swung his club using his momentum as he pivoted back to connect it with the back of Redstripe’s head. The other man staggered by the blow stumbled forward before catching himself. He spun around to face Arthur who smiled back at him.

Redstripe retaliated with a quick flurry of blows that Arthur had trouble keeping up. A few times the bladed gauntlet came close to puncturing Arthur but he kept one step ahead. Arthur didn't like being put on the defense like this and he knew sooner or later he was going to slip up. So he seized the initiative and moved in closer to the assailant with the bladed gauntlet.

The blade came soaring past Arthur’s shoulder Redstripe having overextended. As he pressed in, Arthur dropped his shoulder into a rugby tackle hitting Redstripe’s chest. His opponent unable to bear the full brunt of his mass went tumbling down into the sand back first. Arthur followed with a downward smash from his club into Redstripe’s faceplate. The glass buckled and fractured from the blow as water began to leak out as Redstripe’s body went limp.

Arthur turned to the face the other two still standing in the water yelling as he did. “Come on! You gotta make it harder than tha-”

SPLURSH!


A column of jet-propelled water smashed into Arthur’s club splitting it into two pieces. Arthur winced in pain as the splinters dug their way into his flash. One of the remaining two soldiers was pointing some sort of large cannon at him steam rising off the barrel. The other drew a sword from a scabbard at his belt and charged Arthur screaming.

”A sword? What is this medieval times?!" Arthur questioned as he charged at the swordsman.

The man brought the sword down with a vertical chop. Arthur lept backward but was caught by the follow up left hook. The metal covered fist made solid contact with Arthur’s face. He saw stars as he stumbled to the ground as blood began to drip out of his nose.

"That's more like it!" Arthur panted grinning with glee even as the world spun around him.

As Arthur struggled to orientate himself, his opponent brought the sword down again. At the last second, Arthur exploded upwards catching the blade with his forearm. The swordsman let out a gasp as Arthur’s flesh while pierced and now bleeding held firm against the blade.

“After a few bar fights you find out your body is pretty resilient to sharp objects,” Arthur told the swordsman that was now locked into combat with him as the two pushed up against one another. Behind him, he could hear the whir of what he could only assume to be the cannon charging up for another shot. Quickly, Arthur began to come up with a plan.

SPLURSH!


Arthur moved in a blur, using the swordsman's own blade as a pivot point he spun the two of them at the last moment. The swordsman shouted in pain as the column of hyper-fast water slammed into his back. As the swordsman’s body went slack Arthur let him drop to the ground.

Arthur picked up his fallen opponent’s sword and it one quick motion threw it like a spear at the last soldier. The sword went soaring through the air plunging into the weapon right as it was about to fire again. This was a spark of electricity, and the operator had only a moment to yell before the cannon exploded.

SPLURBOOM!


The adrenaline rush began to taper away and the pain rushed to replace it. Above him, the storm continued to rage as another rumble of thunder tore through the air. Wincing and bleeding from his arms and face, Arthur trudged back over to the injured man. Muscles protesting he leaned down and picked him up in his arms. Arthur looked back to make sure he was alone again before he started the long journey back to his truck.

“Maybe I shouldn't take you to the hospital...”
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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HenryJonesJr

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THOR AND STAR-LORD

IN
RUN THROUGH THE JUNGLE




Thor and Heimdall trudged through the jungles of Warworld, keeping their ears peeled for any movement in the underbrush. Thor's friend had explained to him what the planet was. The leader, Mongul, had somehow devised a way to create jump points to maroon curious or desperate travelers on the planet. Once they were here, they became gladiators in Mongul's planet-wide game of kill or be killed. It was barbaric. Heimdall had said the gambling revenues were the largest in the galaxy, according to scuttlebutt. With them Mongul was able to stay off the radar of interplanetary authorities as well as beam broadcasts of the fights daily to illicit areas all over the galaxy.

"How many others have survived?" Thor asked, breaking the plan of staying silent during their trek. If he was being honest, he'd rather have a fight than not. It would be good to have a straight fight for once, instead of constantly getting ambushed by his foes.

"Not sure," Heimdall shook his head. "This place...it clouds my vision some how. Possibly whatever their using to trap ships. I catch glimpses. They're out there. And they're all being hunted. We need a new home, Odinson. Without that we'll be picked off one by one."

He wasn't telling Thor anything he didn't already know. With Asgard gone, they were always going to be in trouble. Even if Thor and his little band of fighters was able to track down their enemy and finish them off, the Asgardians without a home would always be in danger. Someone out there will always try and make a name for themselves by exterminating them.

"We need to get off this planet before we have any chance of finding a home, my friend," Thor smiled at Heimdall. Even in all of this tragedy, even with them stranded on this strange planet, Thor had to admit that it felt good to be on the battlefield with Heimdall again. For years, before Odin had appointed him the sentry of Asgard, Heimdall had been fighting by Thor's side. The Warriors Three may have been more...flamboyant, but Heimdall had been his most stalwart companion. "I assume you have a plan to that affect?"

"Sure," he shrugged. "I don't know how long it's going to take. But I have a few ideas."

Thor chuckled, "Like that time against the Dark Elves? When you had an idea?"

"Excuse me," Heimdall defended himself, "launching Volstagg over the castle wall with a trebuchet worked, if you'll remember."

"It ruined the element of surprise," Thor shook his head.

"What is more surprising than a three hundred pound warrior falling out of the sky into your gatehouse!?" Heimdall chuckled.

The two of them reached a clearing, and a buzzing sound filled Thor's ears. It was electric, like the sound of a mortal weapon powering up. He spun, looking for the source. As he did so, however,the vines below his feet snared his ankles. Before he knew what was happening, he was yanked upwards, flailing for anything to free him from his new predicament.

"Got you, man!" a soft spoken voice came from the trees. "Sorry that you have to die, man. But, well, you know the rules. Kill or be killed and all that."

The vines holding Thor turned him slowly until he faced a living, walking pile of rocks pointing a gun at his face. Beside the living rubble was a squat, pink grub in a robotic exoskeleton, as well as a walking tree, who Thor guessed was the being holding him currently. He cursed himself for being so careless and walking into a trap.

"Put him down," Heimdall shook his head. "I...I told you all I would be coming back with someone else."

"Ah, well, sure," the rocks shrugged. "But you didn't say who he was or what he looked like. For all we knew this specimen was here to kill us."

The tree let Thor go, and he crashed to the mossy floor below. He stood and brushed himself off, responding, "You're a Krogan, right?"

"Yea, man," he nodded and extended his hand.

Thor took it, "I am Thor, the God of Thunder."

"Oh yea? Cool. My name is Korg, God of Stubbed Toes and Broken Windows. Heh. Little rock joke for you there!" He motioned to the grub, "That there is my buddy Miek. He's an insect. Or a worm. I don't know what his biological classification is."

The pink-purple creature chattered excitedly.

"He says he is an insectoid, and I am a dumb pile of boulders," Korg's face scrunched. "Which...is not very nice. And this is-"

"I am Groot," the tree grumbled.

"Good for you," Thor nodded.

"I am Groot," the tree responded gain.

"Yes you said that," Thor looked at Heimdall. "Was he hit on the head or something?"

"That's all he said," Heimdall shrugged. "Far as we can tell he actually is saying different things."

"These are you warriors?" Thor asked skeptically.

"They've got more fight in them than you'd expect," Heimdall assured him. "And they all have their reasons to hate Mongul and stay loyal. That's what's important."

Thor looked into his friend's eyes intently. Heimdall was many things, but he was no fool. If he vouched for them, that was good enough for the God of Thunder.

"Very well. What's the plan?"

**********


Quill studied the Thanagarian intently as they made their way through the jungles. Probably too intently. And probably staring below the belt would get him a stiff punch in the face. That's why he was behind her, of course. But it was more than the fact that she was smoking hot. He had never seen a Thanagarian outside of their military before. Whatever her reason for being a bounty hunter, it wasn't a good one. He would have to tread lightly.

"So why are you a bounty hunter?" he blurted out and shook his head.

She turned around swiftly. He could see the the rage in her eyes, "Excuse me?"

"It's just that," he winced, "all I've known of Thanagarians is that they serve in the military. Never seen one that didn't. That's all."

She turned again and kept walking, "Discharged."

"Discharged?" he seemed skeptical.

"Dishonorable." The word hung in the air like a knife ready to be shoved through Quill's heart. "Another word about it and I'm not gonna wait to kill you."

There wasn't another word. He followed and she led. To where he had no idea. Peter figured she didn't know either. They were both strangers on the planet, and from what they saw at sundown the night before they could walk into an ambush at any conceivable moment.

Quill again cursed his luck, which was the worst in the galaxy, when the two of them were suddenly encased in an antigrav field.

"I don't know how," the Hawk deadpanned, "but this is your fault."

"That's fair," Quill conceded.

They turned slowly, helpless in the grav field's net. Quill heard the rustling of leaves above them. Then to the left. Then to the right. This was it. There were probably a whole squad of Warworld gladiators about to rip them limb-from-limb. He was gonna die here on this godforsaken rock next to a beautiful woman who hated him. To be honest, it was pretty much exactly how he expected to go out.

As the rustles ceased, a small, furry creature jumped out of the bushes. From its mouth came a voice not unlike a stereotypical New Yorker, "Well, well, well. Looks like I caught myself a prize! Who wants to die first."

"Ha-ha-ha!" Quill burst out laughing. He couldn't help himself. "I'm gonna get killed by a talking raccoon. My life is hell."

The raccoon pushed a button on his belt and a current of electricity flowed through the two prisoners.

"Now, there's more coming if you humies don't shut up," the fur ball laughed.

"I am not a human," Hawk seethed.

"Pink, two legs, tall," he shrugged. "You're a humie to me."

"And what are you?" she asked back.

"Ain't nothing like me but me," the raccoon grumbled. He pulled two small pistols off his belt, "Now, again, who wants to die first?"

"None of us have to die," Quill pleaded. "We're gonna steal a ship from this Mongul and get out of here. Come with us."

"I ain't leaving here till I find my friend," the raccoon shrugged. "Way I see it, the quickest way to that is to kill everyone else in this friggin' jungle."

"You gonna be able to do that, rat?" Hawk shot back. "You gonna be able to kill Draaga all by yourself?"

"I caught you two morons," he bared his teeth. "So I dunno how you'd help."

"More weapons are always better than less," Quill said simply.

A low, annoyed growl rumbled through the raccoon's throat, "Fine. But if you try to kill me, I promise you I'll kill you first."

"Yea," Quill nodded grimly, "there's a lot of that going around."

**********


The golden palace of Mongul surrounded Draaga like a living, breathing embodiment of the Mongul's divinity. Draaga had always known the leader of Warworld was a god amongst mortals, but this was proof upon itself. He had always dreamed of being in this place. WHile the Mongul had given him the Hall of Champions to reside in when he was invited to the capital, he had never been allowed in the palace before.

He knew the Mongul was going to present him with something special.

The large, jade doors to the planet's leader's throne room. He stepped into the gilded hall, lined with monuments to the exploits of Mongul. At the end of the long approach, the musclebound leader of Warworld smiled broadly at the gladiator, "Draaga! My champion! I am honored to have you in my hall."

"The honor is mine, exhaulted Mongul," the gladiator took a knee in front of him. "To what do I owe this meeting?"

"Because there is something I need from you," Mongul motioned for Draaga to stand. "You are the only one that I can trust with this mission."

In front of Draaga, a hologram appeared of two people on Warworld. Both were clearly warriors like he was, strong and sure of themselves. They had a noble air around them as well, and the blond one had something else. A sense of power Draaga had rarely seen.

"Who are they?" he asked his leader.

"Men with prices on their head larger than any in the galaxy," Mongul smiled greedily. "I have been promised riches beyond my wildest dreams if we kill them here for the galaxy to see. The one that wants them dead ensures it. And Draaga, if you are the one to do so, I offer you the greatest reward of all."

"Master?"

"Freedom from Warworld," Mongul's smile widened as he saw the desperate desire spring forth from Draaga. "And to kill such illustrious targets, I offer you a weapon fit for a king."

Mongul pulled a sheet from a pedestal next to his thrown, revealing a battle ax that shined like ice against the harsh winter sun. Draaga picked it up and felt its perfect balancing.

"Master, for Warworld they will die!"
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Hidden 29 days ago 29 days ago Post by Roman
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Roman Hyena.

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VIII. Trapped



Ninety-six hours later and Matt pushed his twelfth thug-of-the-night's face roughly into the wall of the money laundering lair he'd busted into in search of any lead on Kingpin's safehouse where Fisk had sequestered himself, or the whereabouts of his elusive aide - the mysterious gentleman with the distinctive watch. He'd had no further attempts on his life from any agents of the shadowy cabal called 'The Hand', but near everywhere he went he felt hooded eyes and patient minds upon his back, biding their time, watching him work. A tiny, darkened part in the back of Matthew's mind quietly wondered what flood water Kingpin held back with his presence; but he would not allow himself to be distracted from his righteous crusade, not when he had come this far, and had so much taken from him. The lines between Justice and Revenge blurred and muddled together in Matt's heart until they were inextricably linked, two sides of the same coin.

This was his third raid on Fisk's operations tonight alone, and he had dismantled seven more of various sizes and purpose in the nights previous since his escape from the custody of police. He was now well and truly a fugitive; there was no remedy, no soothing of the blow. Fisk had backed him into a corner and now Matthew fought with the rabid ferocity of a feral dog. This war between the immovable Fisk and the unstoppable Murdock had thus far been too heavily weighted against Matthew, but now he felt the scales tip beneath his feet and the balance of power slide towards him, every new goon bloodied, bruised, and broken another piece cleared from the board. Kingpin was powerful, Matt held no delusions about that, and probably hoarded enough fortunes to disappear forever - but the flaw of rich and powerful men, Matt knew, was their inability to be sated by their wealth. Fisk would be just like any other man who considered himself above others: unable to satisfy himself, starving for more, using money to fill the void where his humanity fled him long ago. Matthew would shut off his supply, and Fisk would become desperate, panicked. He would make a mistake. It was simply a matter of time.

Matt felt the thug squirm beneath his grip and he pulled his latest victim up by the collar. The thug whimpered slightly. Matt's cowl glared at him with red lenses and there were lashes of blood across his face, very little of it his own, and as he smiled in a violent, menacing grin, the blood seeped into his teeth and completed his ghastly visage. The goon nearly pissed himself in fear.

"Wh-what do you want from me?!" Suppressed panic threatened to overwhelm his voice. Matt said nothing for a second, allowing the sheer tension to disturb the thug further, and then broke the silence with a low, sinister hiss.

"Fisk..."

"I don't know man I don't FUCKIN' know okay?! Ain't no one know!"

Matt unsheathed a billy club from its holster on his thigh and released the end section, allowing it to fall to the floor on its wire. The metallic clang rang through the darkened room and melded with the creaking of the lights left swinging from Matt's ferocious assault. They were the only two things conscious in the building; around them lay the out-cold bodies of 3 more of Fisk's men, all low-level muscle. One lay messy with blood, his hair matted to face. The thug looked around frantically, searching for any single shred of hope, but found none as Matt pushed him to the floor and placed his knee across the top of his chest, restricting his breathing and movement as he picked up the thug's left arm. Matt seemed disconcertingly serene as he methodically wrapped the wire of his billy club around the lowest knuckle of the thug's first finger - and then with a flinch from both men, pressed the button to withdraw.

The thug screamed as the high-tension wire rapidly spun as the club retracted itself, and then cut clean through the flesh and wrenched the finger bone from the knuckle as the two halves of the club came together. Matt stood and allowed the man to buckle over in pain, clutching at his missing digit - only to put his boot back into his chin and the knee back on his chest, picking up the same arm again and releasing the same billy club again and wrapping the same wire around the second finger.

Against the melodic backdrop of blood dripping and quiet sobs, Matt hissed the same question a second time.

"I do-I don't know, please, I don't, I really don't, I-I I ain't told no-one's told please, please! There's one-one guy that knows, his o-only trusted guy. That's it just him he organizes everything for the boss his name's S-Silkworth, okay?! O-Oswald Silkworth. Fuck man take my burner man take it I only ever get, get calls from him, it's in the safe! It's in the safe...code's zero-four-S-L-one-nine-six-four-B-E...just take it..."

He slipped into unconsciousness from shock and fear and exhaustion. Matt let his arm drop to the ground and unwound his baton. He tuned back in to the ambiance of the room for the safe, and felt a hidden crack in the floor in the rear corner where air currents slipped in and pushed back out. He moved towards it quickly and ran his hand across the concrete, feeling the micro-canyons beneath his fingertips...and then felt where the floor changed feeling and pushed. The hidden mechanism activated and the slab popped up on one side, allowing Matt to grab an edge and pull the covering off the front of the safe. The door was thick steel with magnetically sealed lock, and in the center a small screen and keypad. Matt tapped the screen lightly and it whirred to life coming out of standby, and then he ran his fingers over the keypad. He wondered if the screen was QWERTY or alphabetical.

It was QWERTY, and the locks hissed as they unsealed and the safe popped open. Inside was a small phone and nothing else. Matt retrieved it, suspicious and wary, regarding it at arm's length - and then it began to rang.

"Mr Murdock, I presume? Don't worry about answering, there's no need. Presumption is merely a formality, I assure you."

The speaker paused. Matthew didn't say anything.

"Quite. I understand my associate has given you my name, and I already know yours, so we can skip any perfunctory introductions. You are looking for my employer, and I can assure you he is eager to accept a meeting. You've ruffled some feathers, as I'm sure was your intent, and I have to say your efforts continue to surprise and impress us. Simply unacceptable, obviously, but we must offer respect where it is due nonetheless."

Matt growled. "If Fisk wants a meeting you just tell me where and spare me the rhetoric."

"A man of action and not a little bluntness, I see. No room for subtlety these days. A shame. Very well, Mr Murdock, lest you fail to consider either myself or my employer men of our words. There is a vacant property owned by our organisation that we recently scheduled for condemnation on the upper east side of Hell's Kitchen. Should your altercation result in some structural damage the expense will be minimal. I trust we can expect you there shortly?"

This is a trap, Matthew thought to himself.

G O O D the Devil thought back.

"This ends tonight." Matt spoke.

"At last, we can agree on something. It has been a pleasure, Mr Murdock. I do believe we will miss your fervor when you are gone."
Silkworth hung up. Matt smashed the phone in his hand and left.

-

Matt picked his way through the debris that littered the building, thinking that any structural damage that could be done to the place had already been done long ago. He had slipped in to the top floor through a large empty window pane, quietly ducking through the rusted and bent iron frame with ease. Holes in the bare concrete floor were patched over with planks and duct tape; mesh wire stretched haphazardly across gaps in the walls; exposed rebar threatened laceration on the end of every pillar. Glass and rubble crunched beneath his boots and everything he could taste and smell was shrouded in dust and concrete powder. He reached out with his senses with every step, letting the eruption of sound from his footsteps light his way forwards, trickling down steps and around corners. He felt stifled by the stale, unpleasantly warm air, and he knew that any step could be the first one into whatever manner of trap Fisk had laid here for him. He had cleared the top floor, each crumbling room empty save for piles of wreckage and litter, and avoided the stairs down in favour of carefully lowering himself through an uncovered hole in the floor.

He hit the ground with a muffled crunch and paused, listening to his landing ripple out. He felt it immediately - the stifle and suppression he had felt in the holding cells before the ragged man had attacked him. Whoever The Hand were, Matthew knew they and their agents were here now. He felt vulnerable, naked - they had a technique to hide from him, and the concept was alien and frightening. He drew his batons, curling his fists around the cold metal as hollow reassurance. He felt out of his element, relying on senses he could not trust, paranoia playing on a deeper fear. He had built the devil to fight against fear. To be the man without fear.

He knelt, putting a baton carefully on the floor and placing his hand flat on the ground; Matt could feel the building shudder and creak minutely under his fingers as the beams groaned under their own weight. The Hand hid from his ears and his nose, but he doubted very much they could hide from his hands. Touch was firm, touch was concrete, touch was infallible. Touch showed him two sets of footprints coming from the room in the east corner of the floor. The door was closed and locked, but flimsy. It was definitely an invitation. Matt would gladly accept.

He seized his baton again as he took off sprinting, jumping feet-first into the door, boots placed beside the lock and crashing through as the old wood splintered and burst from the force. He landed on the first set of footsteps and felt their ribs break under him, and followed up his impact with a boot to the chin; jaw snapped and teeth crushed, Matt finished him off with a baton to the front of the skull. The man beneath him switched off like a light, but Matt barely had time to switch focus before he felt two sharp stings in his shoulder and ribs - the other agent had taken the opportunity to flank and throw two knives, puncturing Matt's armour, and now they came quick and fast with tantos. Matt rolled backwards and kicked towards the agent's ankle, but he drew his leg up and deftly feinted backwards, before lunging for a swipe. Matt had time to think they're fast as he swung a baton up to deflect and pushed the agent away, stepping back himself to gain some space between him and his adversary.

His senses were still suppressed, sound and smell like faint echoes and wafts; his side ached from the knives and he could feel blood trickling down his leg; he was exhausted from his relentless assault on Kingpin's operations since his escape from the precinct; and something in the back of his mind screamed at him that something was wrong, something was off. The agent before him seemed to swim in his radar, their image fading in and out as Matt tried to keep a clear bead on them. They struck quickly, rushing forwards with another lunge - deflected by Matt - followed with a swipe - Matt ducked and jabbed at the knee - the agent stepped sideways and brought their other leg around - Matt blocked with an arm and stumbled -

A tanto found its way into Matt's shoulder and he growled loud, tearing it out and throwing it as accurately as he could approximate. The agent dodged it easily and Matt felt it vibrate in the wall, using the feeling to judge the positioning and throwing a hay-maker; the agent caught it in midair and jabbed Matt's face, pushing him aside and putting another two jabs in the existing knife-wounds. Matt was in pain and bleeding out. The agent put a solid boot into his stomach and his head exploded as he burst through the weak wall and the weaker floor behind it. Matt un-latched a baton and launched it, hoping to snag something to break the fall. He blacked out when he hit the ground.
Matt came back around a few seconds later. His senses were cleared, he felt that immediately; sound and smell surrounded him and rushed inwards, painting the clearest picture of the building he'd had all night, and now he could feel the wrongness stronger than ever. Something else, something worse, lingered in the air, the faintest ghost of a scent, but present nonetheless: Elektra. Matt's mind spiraled, desperate to find her and protect her, rescue her from this vicious cabal, this new breed of adversary.

"I'm sorry it came to this, Matthew."

His blood ran like ice. Despair clawed at the bottom of his soul and found its way up his core, spilling into his throat and bulging the space behind his eyes.

"Elektra...?"

"Yes, Matt."

He could see her now; she approached him from the stairwell at the far end of the floor. The baton he had launched lay beside him in two pieces, line neatly severed before it had had a chance to got taut around an anchor. He reached for his other baton, but it wasn't there; he tried to reach for the broken end, the stub better than nothing, but his arm wouldn't stretch, his fingers wouldn't work, couldn't form a grip -

"The knives, of course. They were all I needed. Everything else was simply showmanship. Toxin is a cowardly way to best a man. But Fisk...Fisk is a coward."

Matt swore. From the shadows came another voice.

"Were I not indebted to your organization, Miss Natchios, I would kill you where you stand."

Fisk stepped forwards. Elektra faced him.

"You wouldn't be able to."

Fisk merely chuckled. "Despite my... extensive portfolio, I assure you... I still hold many secrets for myself. You have performed adequately."

Elektra ignored him. She continued towards Matt. Fisk spoke again, now with an edge of eagerness and viciousness creeping into his voice.

"Your orders were not to kill him, need I remind you. You have done enough damage. He will hardly make for sport."

Elektra knelt beside Matt, running a finger over his wounds, chuckling playfully when Matt drew a sharp breath from pain. She hushed him, and gently put his other baton back in his holster.

"Step away from him." Fisk ordered, and Elektra complied.

"I was only helping your sport, Wilson. The toxin has done its job; he won't be moving. I trust The Hand can expect you to honor your end of the deal?"

Fisk nodded.

"Then I'm done here. I don't want to spend another moment in this hovel. I feel filthy."

She slipped away, and Matt lost her, his senses dulling again but this time from the toxin. He could feel Fisk moving towards him.

The world grew dark. Matt closed his eyes, and slipped away.
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Hidden 29 days ago Post by DocTachyon
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DocTachyon Teenage Neenage Neetle Teetles

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Issue 7.3




New York City, NY --- Queens Neighborhood




The engine sputtered and the frame of the convertible groaned as the webs slammed into the wheel silos. The webs forced gears to a halt and glued sheets of fine rubber to the pavement as the tires spun furiously. The brake pads howled like banshees, scraping on organic webbing and rubber, trying to slow the car as it swung on the road. The driver looked like he was about ready to rip the wheel off the frame as he jerked it, trying to control the momentum.

“Yes!” Peter scrambled backwards and found his footing, setting into a low crouch on his haunches. Gotta swing away before Thing One and Thing Two… Oh, crap. There was a horrible crunch of aluminum and steel twisting together and grinding past one another, as the smell of burnt rubber streaked the air as the convertible started a reverse wheelie that was definitely not intended by the manufacturer. Spider-Sense flared like ice up and down his neck -- better move, or Tweedledee and Tweedledum are gonna be Tweedle-dead.

He threw himself forward, face first, and by the time his chest hit the pavement his hands were up, squeezing what was left of his web fluid through little pores at the base of his wrists, knotting together into a massive spider web between two sickly oak trees on some guy’s lawn. The car flew with the grace and style of a lead brick as it slashed through the air, dropping what looked like a hazy bubble with the kids from the car crouched inside it. The car plowed through the web with the crackle of shattering bark as the connection points gave way and the vehicle headed straight for the house’s picture window.

Peter was already back on his knees, two weblines lanced from his wrists and snapped to the car’s undercarriage. The lines went taut instantly and Peter yanked backward. His muscles screamed at the pressure, like every individual fiber was supporting a hundred pounds of force, wrenching the car down to earth, it felt like trying to topple a skyscraper. Peter felt the webline in one hand snap and he felt something go pop in his opposite shoulder when the car finally bit into the earth and splintered every surviving pane of the convertible’s glass while the car flattened against the lawn, inches from destroying a residential living room.

Peter’s breath came out shaky and the weblines fell from his hands. His muscles felt like pulled taffy, and as he looked down he became aware of the kid’s on either side of him, the passengers, both dressed in garish blue and yellow costumes. He also became aware of the round, bony joint of his shoulder, hanging at an odd angle from the rest of his torso.

Fucking OWWWWWW! Peter grabbed the arm with his opposite hand and considered it. The black costume was still perfectly free of any rips or blemishes, but the arm sat there, free in the bag of his skin. He shuddered, and tried to remember what Mr. Osborn did when the same thing happened to Harry, when they were kids. Well, I guess circumstances were a little different then. Just gotta get it back in before the shock wears off... He took a firm grip around his arm as the girl from the wreck began to get her bearings.

“You...asshole!” She spat. “I swear to God your face is gonna be a hamburger after I'm done with you!”

“Whoa, Strawberry Shortcake, you the were the one…” Peter’s breath caught as he put his shoulder back into its socket in one move, forcing bone past muscle and jamming it in, “chasing me.” His eyes came up to meet hers, narrow slits of white peering out of a sea of darkness, and he realized the floating mass around himself. It was like magic wicked pickets revolving in a circle, dozens of them, held aloft by some kind of ethereal string Peter couldn’t see. His Spider-Sense reached and miss for something, some mechanism to it, and came back with nothing but the cool breeze of the New York air. He’d run afoul of honest-to-God Mutants.

"Y'got one chance to give it up, pal. Or you're in for a world of hurt."

Really screwed the pooch on this one, Parker. He retreated into himself, lower to the ground, a tiny spider against the makeshift artillery before him. Almost outta webs. Could dodge a couple of pickets… Maybe... He glanced behind him, to a boy with his eyes firmly shut, patting about the patch of concrete he’d landed on. And who knows what kinda power that guy’s packing. He tightened the strap on his duffle and then raised his hands slowly into the air, palms out. It’s the hail mary, then.

Peter arched his fingers and wicked angles, and slouched forward like an animal baring its claws. “You better take your boyfriend and leave, lady, because I’m Spider-Man, and you just made me mad. I’m summoning the spiders. Thousands of them, hundreds of thousands of them! Because I’m Spider-Man!
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Hidden 28 days ago 27 days ago Post by Ceta de Cloyes
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Ceta de Cloyes Catalystic

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V A L O R

M O N - E L , M I K E M A T H E W S



Location: Cape Cazadero, California - Present Day
Familiar #1.02: Celerity

Interaction(s): None

Mon-El could hear an alarm going off... somewhere. It sounded both far away and yet directly in his ears, which was most likely the result of the fogginess scattering his thoughts. He must've taken a pretty significant blow to the head if he felt this awful... and it was so cold too, had he been injured? Sometimes severely damaged patients had to be put under stasis before they could be operated on, but he couldn't quite remember. Maybe there had been a garotta game recently, he had sworn to Worm he wouldn't play anymore after last time, but it was so much fun that neither of them had believed that promise for a second.

Except no, that couldn't be it, he wouldn't be able to see the sky from a medical facility. He was probably hallucinating, this was almost definitely because of zakkarian ale. It was the only explanation for the awkward colors above him. Since when was the sky blue? The sun was yellow and tiny, and oh, and the clouds were white and fluffy. "Oh Worm, my head- what happened?" His voice was sluggish, and he was pretty sure he wasn't speaking the right language- no, that was definitely Xudarian coming out of his mouth, which was weird considering it was his worst language.

”Finally! Mon-El, I fear we are in danger; there are no optics machines in range of my scanners, and I am intercepting a large amount of primitive radio-waves coming from very close by. Your health is flagging, a confrontation is ill-advised; I must recommend immediate escape from the area!"” Worm had a sort of tinny voice, normally it was just blatantly robotic and computerized, but now it sounded strangely high-pitched and ringing. Like the alarms.

Slowly, Mon-El turned his eyes away from the sky to focus on his surroundings; these 'primitive radio-waves' sounded concerning, what could they mean?

Glass shards littered the interior of a pod- interplanetary, mass-modular variant, chariot class - and pieces of it were floating in the air as if bobbing in water, a clear sign the engines were faulty, they always released odd magnetic fields when damaged due to the alloys that powered them. All the lights and controls were dark, but the cryo probes were still extended, their ends frozen over. Cold-sleeping in an escape shuttle, and not an inkling of how he got there.

He sat up carefully, "Worm, whats the last thing you remember?" Whew, and that came out in the proper Daxamite dialect this time! And he hadn't slurred drunkenly either! Small favors at least.

Worm took a moment to respond, which was a sign of something going wrong in and of itself. ”I am unsure, I recall a rendezvous with White Moral, but after... I am unsure.” White Moral, his contact among the palace guards. She was... doing something for him, looking for something. He couldn't remember what.

He groaned and shielded his eyes from the sun, for such a tiny thing it was awfully bright. He wanted to curse, being in the pod meant he wasn't hallucinating, and he was really on a planet with a blue sky and a yellow sun. What a bizarre world. "Any idea where we are?" he asked, standing in the pod to get a better look around. Green plants, a pale sand beach, the smell of salt in the air, an ocean at his back.

”Maybe you didn't hear me, my prince: there are no active optics nearby. I am blind.” Yikes, hello passive aggressive.

Mon-El rolled his eyes and started checking the various pockets inside the ship for any functioning equipment he could activate. Unfortunately, with his senses still semi-warped as they struggled to adjust to the new planets gravity, light levels, atmospheric density, and a dozen other minor things.

He found a med-kit. Mon-El had just enough time to grin cheerfully at his good fortune before he cracked the seal and it exploded in his face.

Vision whited out, the force of the blast threw him from the ship, over the side, and sent him skidding in the sand. Choking on the bits of metal that had tried to shoot down his throat, Mon-El vaguely realized that whatever had scrambled Worm's memory had likely scrambled everything else's programming as well. An imploding nanite controller though, that was a new one.

”What's happening?!” Worm demanded worriedly- then cut itself off with a new update of their rapidly deteriorating situation. ”Incoming signals, I've found an active optics device-” The AI was interrupted by a sharp breathy hiss of pain from Mon-El, his fingers touching his ears delicately and coming away stained with blood.

"Worm, I think I inhaled some faulty nanites. They're- they're doing something..." His breathing quickly began picking up, and his vision started blurring worse than before. Next time he saw the girls in R&D he was going to make sure this couldn't happen again, because who knew what the damned things could do running rampant in his body? The cold-sleep hadn't helped no doubt, he couldn't fight them off this way, but maybe they would have a little more trouble moving through his veins than usual.

Then, Worm made a choice. A new set of signals also entered sensor range; the first group was armed, uniformed, and traveling in large ground-based vehicles, the second group was a duo not of the same species as the first group, or as each other, and traveled on foot through a wooded area, guided by a glowing tablet-shaped machine towards the crashed ship. After a quick risk assessment, Worm messaged the mismatched aliens and killed the armed groups' technology.

REQUESTING ASSISTANCE. EMERGENCY POD CRASHED. PASSENGER INJURED. The alien's device flashed the message once across the screen, in the only Durlan dialect Worm knew, and then displayed a map towards their location. Unfortunately the message had the opposite effect as intended; the aliens halted to discuss their options, and though Worm took the opportunity to gather intel on the language to try and translate it, it was still preferred that they came to the rescue instead of doing nothing. ”Mon-El? Can you hear me? I've contacted help. I think.”

"Good. Sounds good. My fingers are blue. What does that mean?" He asked, still breathing a little too quickly and unable to sit upright.

Then between one blink and the next an alien with orange skin and antenna appeared in his vision. In the next blink it was replaced by another alien, this one more akin to his own looks, but with sharp ears and teeth, and more wild looking. It- he - was speaking, presumably to the orange alien he'd glimpsed earlier, but it wasn't a language he was familiar with.

Blearily he tried to ask who they were; \ "tenahn rraop? tevokai khahp?" \ They exchanged a bemused glance, and then the wild one lifted him up with apparent ease, one hand under his knees and the other under his shoulders. The orange one leaned over, some kind of sticky gel on his hand, and placed it over his mouth. He was confused by the gently made action, even more so when his lips began to feel tingly. Until he recognized the feeling for what it was; Tamaranean balm. Well, that solved the language barrier issue.

Mon-El passed out before the orange one had even removed their hand.

"Fear not my prince, I will watch them while you sleep." As far as parting words of comfort went, those were pretty good ones.
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Hidden 28 days ago 26 days ago Post by webboysurf
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webboysurf

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Hotel, London, England, United Kingdom - Present Day, 14:23 Hours
Issue 1.03.4: Cross of Iron

Interaction(s): None


”So, you are telling me that a werewolf threw you off the rooftop last night and no one else saw it?” Fury raised an eyebrow as he folded his arms in Steve’s new hotel room.

Across the room, Steve was cleaning his sidearm while sitting in a large chair. He sighed, shaking his head. ”Yeah. That sounds about right.”

”Steve, I hope you understand how insane that sounds. You’ve been under a lot of stress, lately, and-“

”I know what I saw, Nick. It was a werewolf like the books when I was a kid.”

Sharon stepped forward from her spot in the corner, her eyebrows raised. ”Wait, Steve, you were afraid of werewolves as a kid?”

Steve shrugged his shoulders. ”We all have unrealistic fears. I feel like in a world where there are vampires and wizards, werewolves are a realistic fear right about now.”

Fury gave a nod and a smile as he began picking up on Sharon’s logic. ”That would explain the strange deaths. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that they mobilized Trauma as part of their master plan. And now that Captain Rogers is here, they want to finish the job they started in the forties.”

Fury turned his gaze back to Cap, who nodded in response. ”That would explain why he had my old uniform. If it’s Agent Ward, then what’s our next play?”

”Simple. We lay a trap. And you’re the bait.”

Rooftop, London, England, United Kingdom - Present Day, 12:27 Hours



The Captain stood in the pouring thunderstorm of another night in London, right near his hotel room. He was hard to miss, decked out in his strike uniform and with his shield in hand. Another crack of lightning lit up the night sky, forcing Cap to squint a little as the thunder rolled. By the time Cap’s vision returned to normal, the beast returned. It seemed larger than before, perhaps by about half a foot. It snarled, its low growl nearly drowned out by the pounding rain. The two figures watched each other for a few moments.

The beast made the first move, just as Steve’s muscles tensed. It lunged forward, closing the gap in a mere second. The Captain lifted his shield, managing to catch the beast’s claws just in time. The two were able to match each other blow for blow. This time he was prepared. Cap was fighting defensively, doing his best to dodge and block the beast’s incoming attacks. This forced the Captain back, inching slowly towards the rooftop’s ledge.

Of course, the beast adapted. Steve could tell it was learning and changing to counter his own fighting style. He felt the fear rising in his throat, but pushed it back down and kept doing what he could. He just needed to buy some time. But time was running out. The beast was able to grip the edge of Steve’s shield with its right hand, ripping it aside to get a swipe at his torso. Cap grunted in pain as he took a step backwards, throwing in a sweep of the beast’s leg. It landed on its back, giving its own growl while Steve lifted his shield back up to continue the fight.

The two continued fighting toe to toe, while on the rooftop across the street Fury gave a nod. ”Bring it down.” From their position, the SHIELD operatives began opening fire with their specialized ICER rifles. Small blue pellets impacted against the beast’s fur, causing it to recoil. Cap used the brief pause in the attack to reach towards his belt, pulling out a metal ring that was still partially open. He slammed the ring into the beat’s neck, and it instantly began glowing and molded around the beast’s neck. As the beast roared, electricity began sparking from the collar and causing it to convulse. It slowly lowered to its knees in pain. The SHIELD volley stopped, and Cap slowly approached his opponent.

As Steve drew near, the beast’s head snapped up to stare him in the eyes. The electricity was still sparking, but it showed no further pain. Cap’s heart dropped as the fear began to overtake him, and the beast lunged. He was really on the defensive now. Fury reached up towards his ear as he watched the battle ensue. ”Carter, you need to take the shot. Silver bullet.”

Sharon nodded and kicked open the emergency access door to the rooftop, gripping her revolver tightly as she circled around towards the fight. Cap’s eyes turned towards her, and the beast followed suite. Before Steve could try and restrain it, the beast began sprinting towards Sharon. Without hesitation, she pulled squeezed the trigger, firing a shot directly into the beast’s skull. Instantaneously, the beast reverted back into its original form. The corpse of Terrance Ward slid along the ground towards Sharon’s feet.

Cap sighed, falling to a knee as his eyes locked on the corpse of what must have been a man no older than 21. Through ragged breaths, he slammed a fist into the ground as he muttered, ”Not again.”
Next Chapter: Come and See
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