Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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January 31, 2019

The Being in the impeccable white suit walked among the throngs of celebrating humans. It passed through the crowd as if It was Moses parting the Red Sea. Humans ebbed and flowed out of Its way subconsciously as It exerted Its influence on them as casually as one of the pitiful primates breathed.

It watched as the fireworks went off in the night sky, people hugged and kissed their significant others, and friends sang along with the inane song that they always played on this night of the year. There was so much the Being would never understand of these worlds, yet they fascinated It all the same. All these beings living fleeting, insignificant lives, yet every moment they burned as if they were a universe all in their own. Emotions swirled in them like nebulas, exploding forth in words and actions like stars and planets. It was a thing to behold. So much sound and fury all signifying the most banal thing creation could ever have conceived.

So many of these little worlds had been its entertainment. It had traveled from one universe to the next, watching and studying. It learned something new each time about the banality of the multiverse. It longed to make these worlds perfect, to complete their meager lives by providing something they all lacked: A purpose.

Still, some of them were of interest. Beings of almost mythic power compared to their compatriots on these little balls of dirt called planets. They did not possess the kind of power It did, but they were still leaps and bounds more impressive than the normal rabble that mulled around it. They had terrific strength, speed, and watching them smash into one another like a child played with toys gave the being a thrill It could not get looking elsewhere over all the creations.

It was why It had brought them all here, why It had taken all the time and energy to form this branch of the multiverse and make it perfect for its inhabitants. It was a grand experiment undertaken by The Being.

And it was such a great disappointment.

Heroes It had selected for its enjoyment had disappeared, seemingly into thin air. Gone to ground due to one reason or the other. Those that remained fought valiantly, but The Being knew how this would end if nothing was done. The heroes It found so engrossing would be snuffed out by these normal, pedestrian cretins that surrounded them. Fearful creatures that saw something different and wanted to do nothing but make sure it was brought to heel or snuffed out.

The Being couldn't have that. Not after It had worked so hard to bring them all together. This was Its world, and It was going to keep it.

The Being in the Suit came to a stop in the middle of the crowd and breathed deep, raising Its hands to the air. Most of the humans around It, if they even noticed, would have seen it as an act of taking in the moment.

In reality, The Being was reshaping all of reality. It felt every atom, every tachyon, of existence swirling around It. Every insignificant part of creation was at Its beck and call, falling into place exactly as It wanted it. No more would the mundane dominate Its creation.

No, now this would be the Universe of the most climactic battle of good versus evil the multiverse had ever seen.

"This is going to be fun," The Being smiled to Itself as it continued walking through the crowd.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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Three Weeks Ago

"You shouldn't do that," the girl recoiled from the doctor's touch as the physician went to check the girl for broken bones and bruises. The girl he had saved from the Church of Humanity had come to on the way to the doctor's office. She panicked initially, but Steve was able to calm her down and explain the situation. She protested going to the doctor, but he insisted. Scout helped calm her down too. That dog was worth his weight in gold. "Trust me. It wouldn't be fun."

"Please, young lady," the doctor motioned towards Steve, "Mr. Rogers says you were out in the wild alone for a long time. I just want to make sure you're okay."

The doctor moved in closer and the girl yelled "No!"

But she was too weak to move out of the way, and the doctor managed to brush against the girl's skin. What happened next seemed to go in slow motion for Steve. The doctor's body siezed. It went rigid as if she was undergoing rigormortis in moments. Meanwhile, the girl seemed to go into a trance.

Steve moved in and pulled the doctor away. Once he did, she gasped for a breath, and the color seemed to come back to her face. He looked up to see the obvious fear and shame in the girl's eyes as she cowered in the corner.

"She's...she's one of them," the doctor choked out. "A mutant."

The girl merely nodded, and the doctor fainted.

Clarity started to come to Steve's understanding of the matter. The Church of Humanity was experimenting on the girl because she was a mutant. But why? Were they trying to synthesize a virus that attacked the mutant genes in her blood? Or was it some other reason? Whatever it was, it wasn't going to be a good thing.

"Yes, she is," Rogers nodded. He offered the girl his gloved hand, "Come on. We need to get you out of here."

"I...I didn't mean to," the girl responded through tears. "I n-never mean to."

"I know you didn't mean to," he smiled warmly down at her. "I know you didn't. But we need to get you out of here. I don't think it's going to be safe for either of us much longer."

She looked up at him with watery green eyes, tears still streaming out of them, "You should leave me. I'm no good to anyone. Just gonna end up accidently hurting you. Better off alone."

"That's no way to talk about yourself," Steve smiled. "And I'm not leaving you. I made the decision to get you out of there. And I'm going to make sure no one ever hurts you again."

She took his hand, and they ran.


"You're really standing at a payphone?" Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, and one of Steve's former teammates asked, an air of detached irony floating along her Russian accent. "Like an honest to goodness payphone?"

"Yea, Nat," he whispered, looking through the dingy glass of the payphone towards the McDonald's where he could see Anna Marie, the girl he had saved, paying for their meager dinner for the night. "And if I didn't know any better I'd say you're trying to track my position."

"Okay, okay, sorry. You always were such a square," he could hear the smirk on her face, somehow. "You were apparently spotted in Tennessee a few hours ago. Considering you're nowhere near there, I think you're safe. But Pierce and Waller have been keeping a tighter eye on me. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to feed you info. Stay safe out there."

"Will do, thanks, Nat," he breathed a little easier. Only a little longer and he'd be able to get the girl somewhere safe and he could go to ground a little easier.

"Anything for you, Cap."

"I'm not Cap anymore, remember?"

"You'll always be Cap to me," she hung up the phone.

He did as well, and rubbed his hand over the beard that was starting to fill in, before pushing out into the snow and stuffing his hands in his pockets. As he approached the truck, Anna came out of the fast food joint shaking the bags of food in the air with sarcastic excitement.

The two of them took their seats in the front, and Scout poked his head through the gap in the seats, so excited to see the two people he had been spendinig every waking moment with for the better part of the month. Anna patted the German Shepard on the head and passed him a few McNuggets, which the pooch scarfed down with aplumb.

"You're gonna spoil him," Steve shook his head as he put the truck in reverse and made for the motel they'd be spending the night in.

"You're just mad he likes me more than you, sugah," she winked and popped a few fries into her mouth.

"Oh there's no way that's true," Steve lookekd down at the dog. "Isn't that right boy? I'm still your favorite right?"

Scout looked from Steve to Anna, and from Anna to Steve. After a few double takes, the dog let out a surprisingly human whimper of indecision, and turned away from the two of them to lay on the back seat.

"Ha! Baby boy doesn't want ta hurt your feelings." She passed him the bag, "Honestly you must be the only person in the world who eats the Filet o' Fish."

"Not the only one," Steve responded defensively. "They wouldn't have it on the menu, otherwise."

"Okay, the only person under seventy...which you technically aren't, so maybe it all makes sense," she shrugged and reached back to pet Scout. After the incident at the Montana's doctor's office, Steve had been worried about her hurting Scout with skin-contact, but it turned out that her powers only seemed to work with human-to-human contact. She wore a pair of leather gloves at all time in public now. An easy thing to explain away in this cold. But it may be a bit more conspicuous in summer.

The truck rumbled into the motel's parking lot, and the three of them quickly made their way to the room. Once the door was shut behind them, Steve pushed the couch to block the door, and sat down at the table to finish his food.

Anna plopped down on the bed and started flipping through the channels, "Oh man, they have HBO! I'm totally catching up on Game of Thrones. I'm pretty sure I was in a medically induced coma for a full season."

"No smut," Steve said, cursing himself as he did. Why did he always have to be such a square.

"Ha! Okay, dad," her voice was sarcastic, but he could sense a tinge of bitterness in there as well. "You're not, you know. And even if you were, you'd be a deadbeat. Looking to drop me off the first chance you got."

The words stung, even though he had only known the girl for a month. They had bonded in that time on the run, holed up in one motel after another. He didn't see her as his daughter, but he still cared about what happened to her. Wanted her to be safe. That's why he was going to get her somewhere she could be safe.

"Anna, it's-"

"Rogue," she cut him off. "I told you. My name is Rogue."

He put his head down. Her mutant name. He still didn't understand mutant kind fully, but many of them chose to make their own names, especially those shunned by their family or society at large. He didn't blame them for that, but it was going to take getting used to.

"Right, Rogue. Sorry," he said, breaking the awkward silence. "I'm not dumping you off. I'm taking you somewhere you can be safe. With people who can take care of you better than me. People who won't be getting shot at constantly."

Rogue shuffled her feet along the bed, "We been together for a month now and ain't no one shot at us yet. I figure we can keep that going. I can handle myself."

Steve chuckled lightly, "I'm sure you could. But I can't have anything happening to you on my watch. I've already got too much on my soul."

His thoughts drifted to Sharon, then to Bucky. Two of the people he had loved the most in this world, and two people he lost under his command. There was no way he was going to allow a kid to do the same.

"Okay, well...you better visit," she responded, defeated. "With Scout,. If anything happens to baby boy, you'll have me to answer to."

Steve looekd over to see the dog cuddled up next to the girl, "It's a deal. I don't think I'd be able to keep him away."

She flipped through a few of the channels, until the TV landed on the New Years celebration from Times Square. In all the craziness, Steve had completely forgotten the holidays. The ball dropped and people on the screen went crazy, and the TV flickered, just for a second, due to some kind of interference.

"Happy New Year, Steve," Rogue smiled, yawned, and flipped the TV off.

"Yea, you too Rogue," he smiled as he laid down on the couch, which only smelled a little musty, and switched off the light.

The Next Morning

"Well, ain't this fancy," Rogue whistled as the truck rolled through the automatic gates.

On the brick column on each side was a plaque that read "Xavier's School for Talent Youth".
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by webboysurf
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webboysurf Live, Laugh, Love

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Malibu, California - New Years Day, Early Morning
Issue 1.01.01: The Wee Small Hours of the Morning

Interaction(s): None
Previously: None

Tony shook his head as he sat in the passenger seat of his red and gold luxury car. The driver-less vehicle sped along the winding roads along the Malibu coastline with expert precision, much to Stark's delight as he reminisced about the night he had. To his own surprise, the billionaire had chosen to spend the New Years festivities at Happy's. He had declined a visit on Christmas, and Happy's wife was as hard-headed as her husband. Their son seemed to enjoy his new, state of the art and specially designed drone. The kid didn't seem to mind that the gift was a week late, but Happy was a little pissed that "Uncle Tony" had managed to spoil his boy yet again.

The memories of that night slowly trailed off, though, as Tony's gaze fell upon his home in the distance. "JARVIS, go ahead and turn the lights on 50, and filter out any blue light. I think I'm going to go straight to bed."

There was silence for a moment, before the disembodied British voice replied softly over the car's speakers. "I'm sorry sir, but it appears that I cannot connect to your home system."

Stark's head cocked to the side for a moment as the car began to slow down, its headlights washing over the circular driveway of the beach-side mansion. His face relaxed from alarmed to annoyed as it was apparent a single black SUV sat parked in the driveway. "Go ahead and park her in the garage once I get the connection restored. We've got company."

The sports car pulled up behind the SUV, and Tony's door swung open on its own as the industrialist moved to exit. He walked with no hesitation in through the front door of his house and straight ahead past the double staircase to the second floor towards the living room overlooking the beach. To no surprise, watching out over the piercing night was a suited man. As the intruder began to turn, Tony called out. "You know, you can always just call sometime."

Rhodey gave a small smile as he nodded and walked towards his old friend. The two shared a short embrace, before James broke away straightened his coat. "Happy asked me to come too, but you know how SHIELD is about..."

"Everything?" Rhodey gave an awkward chuckle as Tony moved towards the bar on the South side of the room. "I take it you're not here then to just wish an old friend a happy New Years, then."

"I take it you haven't heard anything about the backdoor in the Legion coding?" Tony stopped mid-pour of his nightcap, his head cocking to the side but his mouth incapable of making any noise. Rhodey sighed. "One of your software engineers, Tyler Rahm, sent an email on January 30th to both you and Ms. Cabe detailing a cleverly hidden backdoor in the current version of the Iron Legion's firewall."

Tony took a deep breath as he finished pouring his scotch, turning to Rhodey with a quizzical glance. "I never got an email from Mr. Rahm, and JARVIS would have notified me the second I got that email."

"The email was deleted in the one millionth of a second between the time the email was sent and the time it would have been delivered."

Tony's eyes widened for a moment, before he set the drink down and immediately broke out into a hurried pace across the living room. "I need you to drop your Fury-branded cone of silence bullshit so I can get JARVIS-"

"We're way ahead of you, Tony." Rhodey reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a small metal disk that he set down on the coffee table in front of him. A large holographic display sparked to life. Glowing with a strange blue light was a map of Europe with a red dot glowing in the Mediterranean off of Greece, the email Tyler Rahm had sent, a digital copy of Tyler's employee badge, and a picture of a car being towed out of the water at some dock. "My team has been true to their word in only monitoring Stark Unlimited's premises and email communication. The very second that Rahm's email was sent, our own software was able to intercept and receive the message. A second after we received that email, our server shut itself off from all internet connectivity in response to a hacking attempt. To put it simply, someone really didn't want you to find out about that backdoor."

Tony's jaw and eyes clenched shut for a moment as he took a moment to compose himself. Tony then opened his eyes and gave a curt nod. "You have a lead?"

"Ever heard of Midas Management?"

Tony was silent for a moment before nodding. "Yeah... yeah, private hedge fund. They also provide gold for some of the components I use in the Iron Man suits. You think Midas would-"

"We traced the attempted hack into our servers to a private island owned by Mordecai Midas."

Tony gave a nod. "Alright. What's the plan?"

Rhodey stood silently for a moment, his gaze lowering to the ground. "Midas is untouchable. Waller denied my request, saying that my team can't lead a raid on his private island. Especially given Midas is bankrolling a couple of SHIELD projects until next years budgets are formalized."

Tony sighed, walking back over the bar to sip on his scotch for a moment. The retired superhero turned his gaze back towards the projections. "That's Rahm's car, isn't it." Rhodey solemnly nodded. "Alright. Then I'm going to schedule a meeting with Old Mordy for later this week. Tony cocked his head back and downed the rest of his drink, using the back of his hand to wipe off his mouth after slamming the glass down on the bar. "I'm extending everyone's holiday through next Monday, so I don't want anyone going in or out of Stark Tower in New York until then. Got it?"

Rhodey nodded. "Yeah. I'll let my team know right away." The two men nodded and made their way out of the living room and to the lobby, with Rhodey only stopping along the way to remove a small magnetized chip from a security panel on the wall. The lights came back on with a soft glow, and the front door swung open on its own as they approached. Rhodey was halfway out the door before he hesitated and looked back. "And Tony...?"


"Happy New Year."
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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Space Sector 3120
300 Miles Above The Surface

Jessica Cruz dropped out of transluminal flight and into a warzone.

Or at least the staging area for one.

An armada of long, jagged warships circled the planet of Bion. The holographic display hovering just above Jessica’s eye scanned and relayed information to her. They were each two hundred meters long and eighty meters wide and every single one was fully armed and operational, dropships and fighters inside them ready to deply. Loaded for bear, as they might have said in another time and place. Ready for invasion.

To people in this part of space, the brutal designs of the ships were a common sight. They were the hallmark of the New Men of Rann. Compared to the old empires and republics of the galaxy, the Rannians were indeed the newest kids on the block. Which meant they had something to prove. This wasn't their first attempted conquest, and Jessica was sure it wouldn't be the last.

Warning! Target lock inbound!

Jessica’s display flashed over two dozen aiming computers that had her in their sights. She threw up an emerald shield to offer cover from any impending attacks. As powerful as her shields were, they would only serve as temporary protection. This armada had enough firepower to desolate the surface of the planet below.

Incoming dispatch.

“Receive,” she said aloud.

The HUD expanded to form a holographic monitor. A long-faced Rannian with pointy ears and slicked back black hair stared at her coldly. He wore the uniform of a naval officer with chest full of medals and badges indicated his rank.

“This is Green Lantern Cruz, 2814.2,” she announced before he could speak. “I am here to inform you of your unlawful encroachment into neutral space. Your fleet is in direct violation of the Arctrus IV Accords--”

“You have two minutes to jump back into transluminal speed, Lantern,” the admiral snapped. “Or every ship at my command will open fire.”

Jessica squeezed her fists so hard the knuckles cracked. His arrogance bothered her more than it should have. She'd dealt with plenty of pompous military men, men that seemed to take small pleasure out of trying to intimidate a Green Lantern. They just had to show they were tougher than her. And every time they tried, they always failed miserably. She wondered if Hal had this problem? Probably not. When Jessica spoke again, it was just above a whisper.

“Thirty seconds,” she said softly. “You and your navy have thirty seconds to start a full-burn out of here, or I will make you pay.”

The admiral raised an eyebrow. He touched a badge on his tunic.

“Admiral Aco to the fleet. All ships, on my order you are to open fire on the enemy combatant.” He took his hand off the badge and smiled at Jessica. Her HUD began to rapidly flash target lock after target lock. Too many to count. “One minute and a half, Lantern. My entire fleet against just you. I hardly think that’s a fair fight.”

“Agreed,” Jessica said as her eyes glowed green. “You should have brought more ships!”

Six Months Later
Space Sector 0001

To Hal, the best part of Oa was the view from space. The light from the system’s star reflected off the surface and bathed the entire planet in an emerald glow. The sight always reminded Hal when he would watch The Wizard of Oz as a kid. It struck him as a hell of a coincidence that the emerald plant, Oa, was so close in name to Oz. But he’d seen a lot of that in his three plus years traveling the void. Synchronicity, someone once labelled it. Coincidences in places where there shouldn’t be any. Some people took it as a sign of deeper meaning, that there was some grand architect working behind the scenes. For Hal it was just proof that even in the vast expanse of the universe there were only so many combinations of words and numbers you could go through in every tongue.

He flew past the emerald bastions as he began his descent. Oa, for all its power in the universe, was barely the size of the moon that orbited around Earth. Its main purpose was to house the corps’ nerve center and no piece of land went to waste. Every single part of the surface was covered by some building or fortification. Chief among those was the main citadel Hal was currently flying towards. He was just one of dozens of Lanterns coming and going in the air above Oa.

Hal touched down on the landing pad at the Citadel’s entrance. He was heading in when he stopped at the sight of a familiar face.

“Boodikka,” he said with a wave of his hand.

The tall, purple skinned alien turned at the sound of her name behind called. She flashed a smile when she saw Hal and walked over to him. While Hal was tall for an earthling, Boodikka had almost six inches on him.

“Lantern Jordan, what brings you back to the shop?”

“I have been summoned,” Hal said with a smirk. “By his Excellency.”

“Oh, no,” she laughed. “You’re in trouble…”

“Probably didn’t polish my ring to his standards.”

Boodikka cleared her throat and lowered her voice. “Have you… heard anything about Cruz?”

Hal shook his head. “No. The last time I was here -- two months ago -- the Lamplighters said her ring hadn't activated its legacy protocol.”

“And they couldn’t send a homing signal?”

“They sent one. It was never answered. She’s somewhere out there," said Hal. "Or at least her body is, separated by the ring."

"There is no way Jess would ever part with her ring." Boodikka shook her head. "She'd fight to the death over it rather than give it up."

"She's alive," said Hal. "But where?”

“Let me know as soon as you hear anything,” said Boodikka. “I have to go.”

They said their goodbyes and Hal headed into the Citadel. He passed more Lanterns on his journey but he didn’t stop. Many of them he either didn’t know well enough to speak to, or he didn’t know them at all. Oa always reminded him just how far from Coast City he was. A Lantern that looked like a giant slug slithered by and grunted a greeting at Hal as he passed.

Hal slowed his gait as he passed the Wall. It stretched across the expanse of the Citadel and inscribed on it was every Lantern who had fallen in the line of duty. He saw the last name etched on the stone wall was one he knew well, even if he had never known the man. Abin Sur, Lantern 2814.1, was Hal’s direct predecessor.

“You’re late, Lantern Jordan.”

The yellow eyes of Senior Lantern Thaal Sinestro, bore into Hal from behind his office desk. Hal stood at attention before him and reminded himself to not say anything rash. Sinestro rose from his desk and walked around it to face Hal. He was maybe an inch taller than Hal, close enough in height that Hal didn’t have to adjust his head to look into his eyes. Sinestro ran a thumbnail across his mustache.

“I am less than thirty seconds late,” said Hal.

“Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable,” said Sinestro, repeating a mantra Kilowog loved to use. “You’ve had that drilled into your head since training. Any reason you’d like to give for your tardiness?”

“I stopped to look at the Wall,” snapped Hal. “To make sure my partner hadn’t been added to it.”

Sinestro stared long and hard at Hal. It was small, but Hal saw his expression soften just a little.

“And if you had found Lantern Cruz’s name there among the fallen?” he asked softly. “What would you have done?”

“Kill every single bastard responsible for her death,” said Hal. “Just like you did when they murdered Abin Sur.”

Sinestro smirked and walked back behind his desk.

“You saw the scraps of that Rannian war fleet, Jordan. Cruz more than made them pay for any harm they could have caused her. And as far as justice against the people or Rann? Let me deal with that. Let’s talk about why you’re here.”

Sinestro held his ring out. He projected a star system map in front of them. It showed a large yellow star with a smattering of planets orbiting it. Sinestro zoomed in on the largest planet in the system.

“This is Cromica C21,” said Sinestro. “If you look up the very definition of the word ‘backwater’ in the Encyclopedia Universum, you’ll find a picture of Cromica C21. It was never even given a name, just an identifier based on its relative location within the system. Since the beginning of intergalactic travel this system has been little more than a scenic detour through unincorporated space. Until six years ago, that is.”

“What happened six years ago?”

“They discovered dark matter reserves on Cromica C21 and its moons. Corporations swooped in.”

“So it’s a boomer?” asked Hal.

Sinestro nodded his head curtly. “Correct. The planet never had any true natives, but there were pioneers living on the planet for various reasons. Some for religion and others running for something. Mining teams flooded the system, along with all the different facets of a boomer economy.”

“Prostitutes, gambling, narcotics, loansharking,” said Hal. “If it's illegal, they're dong it. Where do I come in?”

“Since it’s unincorporated space no particular faction has right to it. At least for now. It’s in the process of forming a planet-wide government and peacekeeping force, but that takes time. Reports are the crime and corruption are becoming an issue. They’ve appealed to the GLC to send a temporary peacekeeper.”

“I can handle that no problem.”

“There is one issue,” said Sinestro.

Sinestro zoomed the system map out. Hal could see that the system lay within a few light days away from Kree Empire space.

“That’s going to be a problem,” said Hal. “The Kree don’t recognize our authority.”

“Yes, but they aren’t suicidal,” Sinestro replied. “They won’t let us patrol their empire, but they know better than to invade a system under GLC protection. They're a lot older than Rann. They know how the rules and respect them. But still. Don't be afraid to flex a little Lantern muscle.”

Hal didn’t comment. It reminded him of a movie. A boomtown -- boomer system, in this case -- plagued with lawlessness and greed. And then a stranger rides in to bring law and order.

“Sounds simple enough,” he said.

Sinestro’s mustache twitched as he smirked. “Famous last words, Lantern Jordan.”

Space Sector ???

“... This is Jessica Cruz, Green Lantern 2814.2… come in Oa. This is Jessica Cruz, Green Lantern 2814.2.”

Jessica stood on a sand dune and looked out across the vast expanse of desert. She saw three glowing suns overhead, each one in a different stage of setting. She had no idea where she was or how she’d gotten there. She remembered the fight against the Rannian warships. Something during the fight hit her. It didn’t reflect off of her like other blasts did. She felt a coldness creeping through her body and then a bright light and…

Then she woke up here.

“Ring, power status.”

Insufficient Charge. Please charge ring to proceed.

That was impossible. She’d fully charged her ring before leaving to confront the Rannian fleet. Even with all the power they drew, a power ring could keep its charge for weeks at a time. How had it died so quickly? As the suns started to dip below the horizon, the stars came out. For the first time since waking up, Jessica became truly worried. She’d been a lantern almost three years now and had traveled across the universe to entirely new and different galaxies. She thought she’d seen it all. But the stars looking down on her, those indifferent stars above. They were completely foreign to her.

Jessica Cruz was stranded and truly lost.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by TGM
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TGM clichéd tsundere™

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“A New Day” Part 1
Metropolis, Delaware

“Tell me something, detective.”

Detective Aaron Jase was having a bad day.

After chasing down informant-to-informant, he had finally happened upon information regarding what could have possibly been the largest criminal network in the Delaware Bay since the FBI finally nailed Bobby Gazzo a decade ago.

It had been a stretch and his superiors at the Major Crimes Unit told him to follow the trail despite there being little to no consistent evidence that a new crime lord had risen up beyond the usual stink of street gangs and hustlers. By the time he had infiltrated a smuggling ring he had found out that there was a name. A name that the others in the ring weren’t keen on mentioning and now he knew exactly why as he found himself tied up to a chair in a dark room underneath the decrepit harbor on the south side of the slums. There was only one other person in the room besides him. The man he had loosely heard about that had decided to fill the criminal power vacuum.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m no rat.” Jase uttered as he pushed against the ropes that bound him to the old chair.

“Still pretending? Clever, but not clever enough.”

Irish accent. Buried and restrained, but he could hear it. Jase couldn’t quite place much more than that, but that was more information before today.

“Trust me. I'm all the aware of you, Detective Aaron Jase. Badge Number 14412. I've got ears everywhere in the harbor and you wouldn't be fooling no one.”

The revelation that he knew his name and badge number caused the undercover detective to fight back against the restraints instinctively as he could hear the sound of his captor’s boots meeting the wood floor, moving some distance away.

“You’ve got me mixed up with someone else. My name ain’t that. Someone's lying to you.”

“You know, there is one way to prove what you’re saying.”

Jase rose an eyebrow, “I’ll do anything to end this misunderstanding, boss.”

Before the detective knew it, his captor was upon him, slamming his hands upon his restrained ones with great force. His face apparent even through the darkness. But what unnerved Jase the most was the man's menacing eyes.


The man's eyes turned a ghastly blue in an instant.

“Look into my eyes.”

Those above in the streets could hear Jase's screams for miles.

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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Supermaxx
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Supermaxx dumbass

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SEASON THREE Justice Rising
SUPERBOY: GODBORN #1 Home Sweet Home

The Acropolis Unknown

Superboy strut down the hallway, the sound of a thousand screaming fans thundering in his ears. They were chanting his name, 'Superboy! Superboy!', over and over again, growing louder with each successive cry. Anticipation filled his chest as he looked down at his hands, staring wide-eyed at the boxing gloves that covered them. He'd give them a show they'd never forget; remind them all why he held the title.

The doors to the ring opened and an overwhelmingly bright light swept over him.

The Ring's name was more than fitting. It was a large, circular chamber, its paneled walls a sterile white. Intense lights shown down from a vaulted ceiling, so acute that it hurt to look up. The room was empty, save for a single soul waiting for HIM just inside the entrance. He was a tall man in grey fatigues, a tablet in one hand and a remote in the other. He gave Superboy a smile. "Feeling good today, are we?"

"Good n' ready to kick some tail, Jimmy." Superboy proclaimed, holding his arms out in front of him. The gloves were gone, replaced by a pair of heavy steel spheres wrapped around each hand and joined together by a thick bar. Impact-absorbing jelly sloshed around inside the spheres as they were moved around.

"Glad to hear it, Kid." Jim Harper lifted the remote in his hand toward the manacles and waved it around in the air. Something inside both devices clicked, and the specially-designed shackles loosed around Superboy's wrists and dropped to the floor with a clatter. Superboy flicked his hands at a few hundred miles per hour to get all the lingering jelly off of them.

With slow, deliberate pokes to the screen Harper punched a series of codes into the linked computer system, shutting the only visible entrance to the chamber. He spent the next few minutes running through a diagnostics check, and then double and triple checking it, ensuring the session would run smoothly without interruption. The consequences of mucking this sort of thing up were all too familiar to him. "Take a minute to stretch while I figure this dumb thing out. We don't want you pulling any muscles during a session again, alright?"

Superboy nodded and wandered a few feet away to comply with the order, initiating some basic warm up techniques. Reaching down to place a palm flat on the floor was easy task, the costume clinging to his lightly-built form offering no resistance at all. The suit was fashioned to mimic the one worn by his original template, though obviously it'd been improved: the cape was gone, Thank God, the boots were a sturdier black leather and a holster pouch hung 'round his right hip in lieu of adding pockets. Pockets never looked good on spandex.

As he arched his back and stuck his arms into the sky, Superboy paused partway through to stare at the back wall, and the sheet of one-way glass running along the top of the Ring.

Behind it, on the monitoring deck, a half dozen specialized technicians were operating the holoprojection matrix under the watchful eye of the science team. Each of the scientists manned a different station, their terminals displaying rivers of data floating before them in interactive holograms. A black woman in a white coat and round rim glasses stood on an elevated platform overlooking the rest of the deck like a steely captain commanding their ship. Her icy gaze just crossing over a man's back was enough to get him to quicken his pace.

"Dr. Spence? You may want to see this." Dr. Packard, a rotund man with a balding head and a bushy mustache, called her name, motioning wildly for her attention. Once she deigned to offer it and moved behind him, Packard pointed to the screen in front of them. There, a silhouette marked 'Subject 13' showed dozens of sensors sewn into the subject's suit feeding data to the computer in real time.

It took Spence a moment to parse the information, but her expression noticeably shifted once she understood what she was looking at. "These readings are-"

"-Extraordinary!" Packard cut her off in his excitement. "Its only been a day since his last check-in and his telekinetic field is already 150% more efficient. None of the previous versions come even close to this level of growth. If Superboy maintains these rates consistent, he may even surpass-"

A hand coming to rest on Packard's shoulder was enough to shut his mouth. Spence didn't need to verbalize the meaning of the gesture for her colleague to understand it. She stood quietly for a few moments, chewing on what she'd learned. The excitement the rest of the team showed was palpable, but her steadfast grimace never faltered. There were risks here that the others refused to see, too blinded by their faith in Westfield's alleged genius to be objective. It was up to Amanda to keep a steady head. To make actual progress with Project Kr instead of resting on what they'd done so far like the rest of them did.

"Today's opponent will provide ample opportunity for Subject Thirteen to prove itself," She finally broke the silence. Stepping away from Packard, she crossed the room in long, brisk strides, coming to a stop at the window. "...Tana, is the session ready?"

At hearing her name Tana's head popped out from behind a pair of technicians at their computers, too short to be easily seen before. She exchanged a quick word with them to confirm the status of the program, firing a thumbs up in Spence's direction once she had it. "Program S is loaded in, just give us the go ahead."

"I'll inform Thirteen," Spence nodded, "Look alive, people."

He was back in the center of the ring, the audience chanting his name. Tonight was a full house, not a single seat unoccupied. A mass of faceless people, writhing and jittering in uncontrollable excitement. They'd just finished playing his walkout song. The announcer's voice sprang from a loudspeaker somewhere high above Superboy, giving a triumphant introduction to the Boy of Steel, the heavyweight champion of the world- no, the galaxy! Not a soul had come close to taking the belt from him: a fact that kept Superboy bubbling with confidence. The announcer's voice sounded strangely like Doctor Spence, but little thought was given too it. He was too busy basking in the love of his fans to notice.

He began prancing around the ring, giving wide, arcing motions for the crowd to get louder. So thunderous were they that he could scarcely hear himself think. It felt like the very ground was reverberating with their cries.

Jumping up to the top rope, his arms held out wide, he drank it in, as an emaciated dog might lap up water. Emboldened by their cheers he looked to the opposite door where his opponent would soon enter the arena, and called out to them in a loud voice, "Who the hell do you think you are steppin' up to me?!"

The cheering came to an abrupt end. A gust of wind blew away the crowd, leaving Superboy alone.

Darkness swept over the stands, leaving only the lights above the ring itself light. A series of spotlights began to turn on one after the other, tracing along the entrance ramp to the steps that led up to the fighting mat.

Apprehension suddenly formed like bile in his throat. Superboy leaned forward, squinting his eyes as he stared at the doors. They crept open and a rush of fog filled the room, sweeping out to cover the whole of the floor. A human shadow appeared in the billows, the shape of a cape flowing back behind it.

"What the fu-"

And Supergirl fed the clone his teeth.

The punch knocked Superboy out of his daydream and sent him skipping like a rock across a pond, bouncing three times on the sterile, white floor until he came to a violent stop against the far wall. An indent was left in the metal when he peeled off it and fell back to the ground in a disheveled heap. The sudden sucker punch left him dazed but not down as he pushed himself to his feet, wiping the blood from his face with the back of his glove.

She was hovering less than a foot off the ground, near the center of the room where Superboy had been standing a moment before, flicking a bit of his blood off her shoulder. There was no discernible expression on her face, no evidence that she gave a damn about the creature she'd just brutalized; only the apathetic resolve of a god stepping on an ant resided there.

For his part, Superboy managed to maintain a modicum of his dignity by shooting a cocky grin her way. "Didn't expect it to be you. Didn't expect you to hit that hard, either. Guess I won't go easy on you, even if you are my templa-"

The Kryptonian vanished from sight, only to reappear right on top of Superboy with a hand wrapping around his throat. He never stood a chance at dodging her hand. The damn thing moved faster than he could even see, smashing into his Adam's apple with the force of a bullet train. She lifted Superboy up off his feet, slamming his back into the wall three consecutive times. Jolts of pain shot up along his spine. Screaming in agony wasn't even possible with how tight she was holding on to him.

They locked eyes for the longest second of his life.

Superboy brought his hands together over his head and bashed them repeatedly against Supergirl's wrist. Each one fell in quick succession. He counted eighty seven over the course of a few seconds before her fingers budged even slightly. Just enough for him to weasel out of her grip and leap away from her.

"What've you been feeding her, Venom? Christ, she hits like a truck! Big one, too." He yelled between long breaths, taking a moment to recover what energy he could. He'd fought these programs near every day for the past five months and not a single one of them compared to this one in speed and strength. "There's no way the real deal's this tough-"

The speaker system buzzed to life, casting the voice of Dr. Spence over the Ring. "We do not have the equipment to properly simulate her upper limits. This is the Supergirl at half strength and you are failing miserably, Subject Thirteen."

He froze.

She was lying. Had to be. There was no way she was this strong, no way anyone was twice this strong. He could bench press a tank without a sweat and this poor facsimile of her was tossing him around like a toddler stuck in a wet paper bag. And her speed...A few weeks ago Superboy caught a bullet with twizzers on a dare, and he couldn't so much as see her when she rushed him. How the hell did CADMUS expect him of all people to match her?

Spence pressed down the speaker button and offered but two, commanding words upon seeing him hesitate. "Subject, attack."

He was moving before another thought could register, hands balled into fists. Supergirl left the ground to meet him. She landed an uppercut into his abdomen that shook his very core, but when she came around with a hook to finish him off she found an arm in her path. Even deflecting a blow made Superboy's bones ache in agony, but he was forced to continue his attack. He had been commanded. Compliance was mandatory.

A lightning-quick flurry of jabs impacted against her shoulders, arms and upper body. Wild though they might appear to an onlooker, Superboy was probing her defenses, looking for opening where he could slip in an important blow as Harper had taught him. His opponent didn't seem nearly as well trained, her movements were impossibly quick yet basic, predictable. If he could just get her to shift her block...

There! Short though the window of opportunity was he leapt to take it, a fist barreling passed her guard and impacting against her cheek. A loud clap of air followed it after a beat, the sound barrier breaking with the speed of the successful blow. There was faint cheering somewhere up and behind Superboy.

Actual, not-his-imagination cheering.

Supergirl touched her cheek, rubbing at the scuff mark his knuckles had made. It hurt enough to give her pause and make her stumble- something a moment ago he would've thought impossible. Any sense of elation that came from that was cut short before it even had a microsecond to register as she came at him again with renewed savagery.

It could've been four hits or forty for all he knew. Her hands moved too quick for the pain to even register, led alone slow enough to count the successive blows that rocketed into the clone's body and face. Each one sent him reeling yet she pursued all the same, at one point reaching out to pluck Superboy from the air when one of her attacks hit so hard his feet left the floor.

His cheek tore open first, the fabric and flesh around his ribs following swiftly after. Every inch of his body was either bruised, aching or bloodied, with several parts feeling all three at once. Superboy teetered on his feet, too dazed to know what was going on, until a final, light push placed him on his back.

White noise filled his ears. And his head.

The loudspeaker split the air with an obnoxious start, and Spence began to speak again.

"If you can't get up you may as well die and stop wasting our time."

Superboy rolled onto his stomach with a groan, but he didn't rise. His arms had given out on him.

"Did that last order get your broken skull? Get up, Subject 13."

There was no reply, so she sounded the speaker again.


It took a great deal of effort on his part, but Thirteen managed to wiggle his arms underneath his battered form. Taking several, long breaths he attempted to push himself up via his elbows, only getting so far as sliding his knees along the floor before he collapsed again. "I can't." Superboy wheezed, coughing up a chunk of red viscera. "She's too..."

Amanda cut him off, addressing Supergirl instead. "Finish it. Its of no more use to us like this."

Supergirl took a step forward, flipping him over with her boot and placing it on the clone's chest with the intent to cave it in.

"Stop this madness!" A voice snarled from across the room. Jim Harper came marching into the Ring, a hard grimace set upon his face as he approached the two supers. There were calls of protest from the monitoring deck but he didn't react, moving right through the projection of Supergirl and kneeling down to check on the boy.

He offered Harper a pitiful thumbs up.

"He's barely able to breath led alone fight!" He yelled in protest over his shoulder, swiftly spinning around to stare up at lone window. It didn't need to be two-way for him to know who he was staring daggers into.

Spence cleared her throat. "You're interfering with our work, Harper. We were gathering valuable data from this encounter-"

"Like hell you were, you're going to kill him!"

"I can't kill something that's barely even alive, Captain, now move. You don't have authority in this matter and the Board will not take kindly to your actions." A less-than-veiled threat that everyone listening could recognize, save the boy stuck on his stomach. He likely couldn't recognize his own reflection at the moment.

There was a long, tense period of silence before Harper stepped out of the way.

Supergirl moved through him and reached down to pluck Superboy off the floor, holding him to his feet by his shirt. She slapped him across the face hard enough to send him reeling back to the ground, tearing his suit in the process. The sound of a winding down engine came from somewhere above them and Supergirl faded from existence, the S she'd torn off of Superboy now falling to the floor in a crumpled ball.

As his vision began to darken, Superboy imagined himself lying on mat of a boxing ring. It was quiet, and he was alone.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by IceHeart
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Member Seen 11 mos ago

M a n t r A

Location: Canoga Park, California - Work Day
Issue #1.01: Being Eden Blake

How long had he been stuck in this woman's body? A month or more? But in reality it had been about three weeks. This body was already messing with Lukasz's sense of time.

Why had Archimage decided his best bet was to send him into the body of this woman? Lukasz was a solider, a fighter, a warrior who he had learned many forms of combat over his many lives lived, but in order to properly use such forms one needed a strong body. Eden Blake was over thirty years old, a mother of two, and thankfully she at least seemed fit for a woman in her position but she was certainly no fighter. No, Eden Blake was only an ordinary woman...but an ordinary woman with the potential for powerful magic. Magic was great and all, but with all his previous bodies he had always been given a strong, physical body that could perform at a moment's notice and usually only required a little training to get into peak performance. Of course it had always been the body of a man.

Eden Blake sighed as she looked in the mirror. Lukasz had to admit she was beautiful, beautiful enough to stare at until he remembered that it was actually his body now, but heavens, had it been a shock when he first got a look at his new form. His first instinct had been to cover up her naked breasts in alarm, a sense of shame had overwhelmed him, which he had never felt before as a man. Lukasz had considered leaving on his quest as soon as he was properly dressed but soon realized that would be a faulty move, unlike his previous hosts he was weak and suddenly leaving as a woman would cause a much greater stir than any man doing the same. Lukasz could not alert Boneyard to his new identity, as no doubt his agents would be on the lookout for the knights' new hosts. No, for now his mission was to keep a low profile until he could find a lead, so it was absolutely essential for him to take on the role of Eden Blake.

If he was unable to locate and free Archimage however, there was a possibility he would be to live the rest of his days in Eden Blake's body. That thought was absolutely terrifying to Lukasz, no, he would be sure to jump ship as soon as he rescued Archimage and have his master send him into a man's body. Having to deal with all this hair maintenance, make-up, and the devil's cruel joke of a shoe, the high-heel, was going to drive him insane if he was forced to wear them too often. Thank God the kids had school to go to, but of course Eden Blake had work to do as well so that ended up only being a light reprieve. He had been in much harder situations before for sure, but he had never had to deal with such, alien situations before, now that he was a woman.

Eden Blake had at last finished getting prepared for the day. It had taken a bit of time to piece everything together but through a rigorous examination of the house, her phone's text records, her morning alarm, and plenty of how-to videos on her smartphone to educate herself on everything she needed to know about things like make-up and bras in order to get a firm grasp of Eden Blake's life. Lukasz had never learned so much, so fast before in all his lives. He found it helpful to remind himself that this was his mission for now, as Eden brushed her long, black hair and applied just the right amount of mascara to look...more attractive? A woman's world was certainly a strange one.

One of the last things given to him by Archimage, was passed on through one of his dying familiars, Katinya. She gave him a small charm in the shape of a mask and a mantra to live by. The mantra could be used as a way to channel and hone Eden's mystical talents, making it imperative that whenever she had the chance to grow her magical abilities, that she use the mantra to do it.

Eden looked at her smartphone for the time, 6:38 am. It looked like Lukasz had managed to shave his womanly prep time a little this morning which meant Eden had some time to train. Eden walked over and clambered onto her bed. She sat down, cross-legged and put her fingertips together in front of her in a meditative pose. Eden took a few deep breaths and prepared herself.


With that word her normal clothes changed into her sorcerer outfit, a strange, skimpy thing and a silver mask appeared on her face. This mask had been the object that had been fought over in the battle that had ended Lukasz's life as a man. Thankfully the mask had been recovered by Mantra at an auction house and with its help, Mantra had succeeded in escaping with it after fighting off some of Boneyard's lackeys.


With the chat beginning, Mantra's body floated above the bed and she could feel the magical power building up inside of her. Lukasz had started to get used to the sensation but without anyone to really guide him in the use of magic, the power could be built up forever yet he would still be an Amateur while using it. Thankfully, the magic really did help Mantra in a fight and Lukasz's experience as a very long-lived soldier came in handy during combat, it was the only reason he was still alive after the battle at the Auction house.

Mantra had barely been training for a minute when there was a knock on her bedroom door.

"Mommy...can you make us breakfast this morning? I miss having a hot breakfast, I don't really like cereal that much."

Evie pleaded from behind the door with her young, troubled voice. Lukasz was tempted to just tell her no, but Eden's motherly instincts kicked in at the sound of her daughter's voice. For some reason it just felt wrong to say no, also it wouldn't do Lukasz any good to alienate Eden's kids more than he already had.

"Don't worry Evie, your mother will get on it right away."

With a sigh, Mantra gently fell back onto the bed and changed back into normal attire. There would be no more early morning training today. At least over Lukasz many years of life he had learned to cook, which was a must considering all the time on assignment he had been working alone on missions. Though it probably didn't have much of a woman's touch.

When was he going to find the time to actually get anything of worth done!? Lukasz thought as he trudged out to the kitchen to start cooking. The kitchen was not a place he had ever expected he would need to spend a lot of time in, but here was Eden Blake, making breakfast for her family. Why couldn't there have been a man with a strong magical bloodline nearby?

The toaster smoked a little as if to mock Lukasz. Eden glared back. The toaster won.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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Member Seen 22 days ago

"Coming through!"

Michelangelo slid on the back of his shell along the wet, slick concrete. Nunchucks twirled like minitaure cyclones as he did. One of the metal-tipped weapons slapped against the knee of a Purple Dragon, while the second one struck another in the crotch. The man collapsed to the pavement in a heap of pain, a spray of vomit coming up as a reflex, splattering on his gang mate who had fallen to one knee.

"Whoa, bro, hope you already had your kids," Mikey winced.

"Actually, considering his line of employment and clear lack of grooming practices, I really hope he didn't," Donnie went back-to-back with the now-standing Mikey. "You know, prenatally speaking, he's not the best choice."

A third Dragon flew through the air, over a nearby car, slamming into the other two. Raphael appeared on top of the car, admonishing his brothers, "Would you two shut the hell up!? We got a job to do. My patience is about to run out."

Mikey pointed down the street, "Would you look at that, Don?"

"What's that, Mikey?" Don called back.

"It's Raph's patience running-Woah!"

Before Michelangelo could finish the joke, a Dragon swung at his head with a bat. Mikey's head retracted into his shell, and the bat flew through the thin air until it was caught mid swing by a green hand. The weapon was yanked from the man's hand, and the owner of the green hand's foot swung around and struck him in the chin. The blow sent the gang member twirling through the air before falling unconscious on the ground.

"Raph isn't wrong, you two need to pay attention," Leonardo looked at the two of them before turning to Raph. "And you need to not worry about them. That guy almost got a shot in on your legs while you were yelling at them."

Leo motioned over his shoulder. Raphael looked at the foot of the car behind him, where a Dragon was crumpled into the gutter.

"The Foot is out there somewhere in this city, guys," Leonardo looked into the night. "The Shredder is out there somewhere. And we need to be the best we can possibly be if we stand any chance of surviving that."

He had been thinking a lot about his failure with Karai and the Hand. Nearly every minute of Leonardo's waking day was spent analyzing what he could have done better. Master Splinter and his brothers didn't blame him in the open, but that didn't matter. He knew, deep down that he had failed, and that the Shredder was back because of him.

"Yea, sorry, bro," Mikey was forlorn.

"Fearless leader thinks we need to be better," Raph pushed by Leo, shouldering him as he went. "Splinter Junior is disappointed. Oh whatever will we do."

The tension between the two of them had really ratcheted up since the Karai incident. While, before then, Raph had started to come around to Leonardo's leadership, he was now back to believing that he would be the better leader. It had almost come to blows during multiple training sessions with Splinter, leading to the rat sending the two of them to their rooms, much to the enjoyment of Mikey and Donny.

Ignoring Raphael, Leo walked over to Donny, "Another bank in Tombstone's territory. The Dragons have been getting more and more aggressive. It doesn't fit their MO."

The Purple Dragons had never been more than a bit player in the New York crime scene before. Common street thugs that were happy to make their profits on the margin of the bigger players in the city. For the past few months, however, they had been hitting former Kingpin syndicate locations, not to mention locations in Tombstone's territory. It was brash, and brazen. So far the Turtles had clashed with them near a dozen times. What was even odder, though, was the fact that the Dragons seemed to be gaining more and more men. Every time the Turtles put some of them away, more showed up.

"No, it doesn't," Donnie agreed. "Either someone is directing them, or their tired of playing second fiddle."

"They don't have the numbers to keep doing these kinds of jobs," Leo mused as he walked the crime scene. "And angering Tombstone is just asking for trouble. He's the biggest player left with the Foot taking the fight to the Hand. If he retaliates he could wipe the Dragons out. What is Hun up to?"

"We could ask Casey," Raph suggested. "He seemed to know what he was talking about with the Dragons."

Leonardo sighed. Raphael had brought this up multiple times since the gang had gone on their rampage, but Leo had shot him down each time.

"No, Raph. No outsiders. End of story."

With that definitive rebuttal, the brothers heard the sound of approaching police vehicles. By the time the cops pulled up, they found nothing but the unconscious criminals.

"O'Neil!" the bark came from the other side of the slightly-cracked office door, snapping April's head up from staring at her feet in the waiting area outside. She then looked up at the secretary next to the office. The older woman motioned her in, with a hurried look that said, "You better move quickly."

April sprung up out of her seat and hurried through the door. The man behind the desk, his chair turned to stare out the window with cigar smoke wafting up from one that hung on the side of his mouth, barked again, "O'Neil, good. Was wondering if you had gotten lost out there."

He swung around, placing the cigar in an ash tray to smolder. April had heard stories about J Jonah Jameson before, but nothing could have prepared her for the reality of the man. His hair was so straight and flat that it looked like a LEGO piece that he snapped onto his hard, angry face. His mustache twitched as he spoke, like an angry caterpillar about to launch itself at April's face.

JJJ had been a titan of New York publishing for decades. The Daily Bugle was a rag, April had to admit, but it was a widely read one, especially since Jameson had been among the first to really push the paper into the digital space. He was the preeminent salesman in the media game, and he had the attitude to back that up.

He had also bought her picture of the "Terror Turtles" as he had called them, as well as her story. Since then he had been bugging her for another picture or a story. Jameson was obsessed with the metahumans in New York. Mostly Spider-Man, but April figured he saw the Turtles as a way to sell even more papers and online subscriptions.

"Now, Fenwick at ESU says you don't want to intern here. Why not?" his stare was like the strictest teacher she had ever seen.

"Well, Mister Jameson, I'm flattered, but-"

"But you want to be a real reporter, and working for the Bugle would be a black mark on your record?" a laugh burst forth with this. "O'Neil, no one is gonna remember where you interned, and no one is gonna care if you can write worth a damn. So, when can you start? Fenwick says it'd give you some more credits."

April's mind raced. Fenwick had pushed her to take the position, and Jameson had echoed his words almost completely. If nothing else it would give her far more resources to investigate what was going on with the city. Things had been getting worse. Even if most people didn't want to admit it, parts of New York were getting downright dangerous again. And this was her chance to really have an outlet to talk about it.

"Mr. Jameson...I'm in."


Casey Jones lost his edge on the ice, and sprawled out, smacking the puck he had been controlling in a wild and desperate shot towards the net, which the goalie easily knocked aside. He slammed his gloved fist into the ice and got back up, but as he did the coach's whistle blew, and the ESU hockey team coasted over towards the bench to grab a drink of water.

Before he could get there, however, the coach skated up to his side, "You okay, Jones?"

"Yea, sorry, just caught an edge, that's all," Casey smiled meekly.

"You seem to be doing that an awful lot lately," the coach sounded suspicious.

He was also right, and Casey knew it. Jones hadn't been playing well at all, and it all stemmed from the fact that he knew his father was building up the Purple Dragons for something big. Casey had barely been sleeping, spending most of his nights on the streets trying to figure out what Arnold was really after with all these new movements.

"Yea, I...uh...family problems," he shrugged. "Sorry coach."

"Listen, Casey, I know it's not easy where you came from,' he clasped Casey on the shoulder. "We can work that out on the ice, but you need to focus on your grades. The university let us know things were slipping. That we can't let slide, especially since you're on scholarship for hockey. We're going to get you a tutor. Get your grades up, get yourself in order, and then you get back in the game. Understand?"

Casey sighed, "Yes, sir. Understood."

The winter wind whipped along the outdoor observation platform of Oroku Saki's penthouse as Karai stepped out to talk to her "grandfather". Of course, he was her blood, but it was far more distant than that. He was the patriarch of her family from hundreds of years ago. The greatest shinobi the world had ever known, and one that had dominion over all Japan at one point in time. That was before the cowardly actions of those that he called brothers. Before he was sealed away.

But now he had returned, and he had even greater ambitions than Japan this time. Karai's sister, Pimiko, had told her all about Saki when they were young. She had gone on and one about how no one could best him in combat, and how his strategies were unstoppable. The stories did the Shredder little justice, however. In the weeks since his return, Saki had already began building the Foot into a threat it hadn't been in centuries, and had begun to form a stranglehold on New York through proxies. Before long, the city would be his, and the real work would start.

Karai approached the man, standing in a simple ninja robe as he peered over the city. He looked down at her, he was a truly massive man, but when he fought he had the grace of dancing water.

"Karai," his gravely voice had warmth in it, at least for her and her sister, "the world has changed so much since I've been gone. It is truly incredible."

"Yes," she smiled up at him. "More connected. More engaged."

"All the easier to spread our shadow, my granddaughter," he counseled. "The Foot grows in this city. Soon none will be able to stand in our way. But that will not be enough. We require more. We require hearts and minds."

"Yes, grandfather," she nodded. The Foot, the remnants of them from when Shredder first fell, had been planning for this. Through the years, they had gathered financial resources, shell companies, and other assets in order to ensure financial movement for Saki when he returned.

"I want you to set up a press conference," Saki turned and smiled. "It is time to introduce myself to the city."
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Simple Unicycle
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Simple Unicycle ?

Member Seen 1 day ago


Location and Time: Hub City, Illinois - New Years Eve, 11:34 PM
Issue #1: Divide

Interaction(s): None
Previously: None

The pulse pounding beat emanating from my stereo combined with the three energy drinks I had just chugged were enough to keep the adrenaline flowing through my blood. These back roads are empty, far away from everyone that's getting ready to watch the fireworks at Hubert Square. Part of me thinks that I could hit up the festivities when I'm done, but I have no time for those thoughts. Right now all I've got on my mind is a warehouse full of punks one of my contacts told me about. Some no-good gangsters squatting there, using it for drugs or weapons or whatever else I've got no clue, all my contact told me was that there was bad stuff going on there. I probably should take it with a grain of salt, after all Roscoe had a habit of hitting the sauce, but he's never steered me wrong before. This is much, much bigger than anything else he's brought me, though.

No time to doubt him though. I'm here. I pull my VW up to the warehouse, killing the stereo and grabbing the ski mask off the dashboard. Sliding it on and opening the car door, I step out and approach the side door of the warehouse. I open it slightly and peek in, gazing around and trying to gauge what's going on in here. Just dusty old boxes as far as the eye can see until... There. A group of men sitting around a table. Only a single light pierces the darkness of the warehouse, but from what little I can see I'm positive these are mobsters or some such. I can feel the cold dam of detachment that's been holding back my anxiousness begin to strain, begging to let loose. I haven't been this nervous since my first fist fight. I need to hit something, someone.

I keep a hold on my jacket tighter. No, give it a minute. Walk forward, announce your presence, give them a chance to surrender. Like a hero would. You're a hero, Sage, not some crazy vigilante. Continuing to hold back the building tension within myself with a snarl, I step forward into the single light so the thugs can see me. They continue sitting there until I see the motions of one nudging his buddy. Quickly, they all scramble from their seats and stare at me with apprehension. For a moment I wonder why I thought this would be smart as now one of them was definitely gonna shoot me. He spoke, "Y-yo, what do you want, man?! This is our t-turf!" The voice belonged to a teenager, and was that specific tone that indicated you were terrified yet still trying to be fearless.

Hearing his words, the growing tension within me died out slowly. I pieced it together; these weren't badass mobsters, these were kids playing at being a gang. My suspicions about this info had been right, and I was stupid enough to follow through anyway. Now I was facing down a couple scared kids trying to be cool. "Don't want anything. I came to the wrong place. I'll leave." I raise my hands as I speak, trying to appearing non-threatening.

One of the other boys steps forward. "Bullshit! You're probably here to take our place over. Well we won't let you! Me and the boys are gonna fuck you up," he says, voice steady and confident unlike his comrade. In a quieter voice I hear him whisper to his friends, "Just like we always talked about. Rush him on three."

The kid definitely has a future in politics, as his taunts toward me seem to bolster the confidence of his gang. They all grab nearby wooden bats and two-by-fours, probably never actually used as weapons before, and begin to take menacing steps towards me. Four in all. I can take them.

Quietly, I hear their leader count up from one...



I step back as one of the kids rushes ahead of the rest and swings his bat at me, missing by scant inches. I throw a jab at him, catching him in the side of the neck. He drops his weapon and grabs his throat, letting out a gasp. I pick up the bat and raise it above my head, swinging it hard into his head. The wooden piece of sports equipment knocks him clean to the floor and sends me stumbling forward from the sudden stop against his head. A two-by-four finds its way into my gut and I stumble backwards, accidentally dodging a baseball bat that would have caught me in the side of the head.

I drop my bat to the floor, barely keeping my footing after the attack. With a yell the leader swings his bat at me, but I manage to raise an arm and block it. I feel pain shooting up the limb from the hit and give a slight hiss. Doesn't matter. I grab the bat and yank it from him, sending him stumbling forward and right into a left hook to the jaw. He falls to the ground and I kick him in the head, knocking him out.

The other two probably would have surrendered at the sight of me standing over their unconscious leader if they weren't about as high off adrenaline as I was. They both run forward together, one swinging his bat at my head while the other swings his two-by-four at my side. I use my bat to block the first hit while repositioning myself in an attempt to avoid the second. I manage to block one attack but the other manages to catch me in the ribs. The wind knocked out of me, I stumble back and barely have time to recover enough for another dodge as a bat swings right past my face.

I reel away and create distance between myself and my opponents. Looking around, I spot an empty, sturdy crate that looks just small enough for me to lift. Tossing my bat at the two punks, I manage to nail one in the chest and knock him back before I sprint for the box. The other comes running after me, readying his two-by-four as I lift the box up over my head. Barely stepping out of the way of a wild swing, I slam the crate down onto his head and send him to the floor with a grunt. To be safe, I give him a quick kick in the side.

The last one is steadying himself by the time I return to him, gripping his head and mumbling incoherently. I pick up the discarded bat and ready it, before giving a sharp whistle. He turns his head towards me and I swing, snapping his head back and sending him back to the floor. A bit worried, I kneel down and check his pulse; still alive. Good. Don't need to kill anyone.

I look around at the unconscious teenagers, shaking my head. What a damn idiot I was for believing that old drunk. The most he ever gets me is gangs like this, so expecting him to come through on a tip about an actual mob racket? Too good to be true. With a sigh, I drop the bat to the floor and leave the warehouse behind. Best not to call the cops on these little punks, they'll probably get in enough trouble with their parents as is.

Taking off the ski mask and tossing it onto the dashboard, I wince as the adrenaline finally begins to die down and my wounds come back to haunt me. Definitely gonna be some bruises. If I'm unlucky enough I might have cracked a rib or something. Guess I'll find out in the morning. I start up the VW and drive away from the warehouse.

I drive myself to Hubert Square, parking my car and approaching the gathering crowd that's waiting there and chanting the countdown. I look down at my watch. Just in time, only a few seconds until New Years. Smiling slightly to myself, I join in, "Five! Four! Three! Two! One!"

Happy New Year.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by TGM
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TGM clichéd tsundere™

Member Seen 0-12 hrs ago

“A New Day” Part 2
Coast City, California

New Year’s Eve was typically a night of celebration and excitement.

For some, that was true. But for Kara she was a little occupied with something far more important than attending a rager on the top of a Metropolis Penthouse.

“I’m going to ask one more time. Stop. Or else.”

There had been an incident in California. Some bio-lab had decided that in their infinite wisdom that they, too, couldn’t contain whatever weird clone experiments they had been working on for the last few years. It seemed that the new age of superheroes had caught several scientists off-guard, sometimes to the point of deciding that humanity needed to “catch up” to the metahumans and extranormals so that they could better combat them. Unfortunately, this meant a lot of these labs were on a short timescale and didn’t have the resources to contain their marvelous experiments. This had not been the first time Kara had to deal with it with her own two hands.

The buildings around her were on fire.

Shattered glass covered the streets as the creatures took to her like they were starved animals. Kara frowned. She wanted to help them. She certainly didn’t want to hurt anyone who used to be human, but her choices in that were quite slim. Using her controlled strength she could knock them out after a few punches, but she had to be careful considering that the incident had caught a bunch of civilians in the crossfire. She had to be fast. By the numbers she was outnumbered, but numbers never really mattered to her. Especially now as she got older, more fluent with her powers, and more confident with herself. She wasn’t a girl being overwhelmed as she tried to catch a plane anymore.

“Grah!” One of the test subjects growled as it lunged in Kara's direction, but not before Kara moved backward in the air.

One. Two. Three. Four.

There were four of them encircling the street as civilians scattered. The first of the ones she had struck with a flying punch was still on the ground, gaining his composure. The one she had hit that got the other three’s attention all on her. She sighed, as she tried to come up with the quickest plan that A--didn’t destroy public property and B--didn’t inhumanely put these monsters out of their misery. Well, the damage that wasn’t her fault. Kara didn’t cause the fire. It had started before she got to Coast City around ten minutes ago.

“Alright, I get you’re mad, what with being a freak experiment and all. But I didn’t do that.”

The subject growled again as it jumped toward her, slamming its fists down into the concrete when she dodged again before slamming her fist across the subjects jaw, sending it flying backward.

“I'm sorry.” Kara muttered, as she cracked her knuckles. “Didn't want to do this.”

Moving forward at breakneck speeds, Kara sent out another fist into the subject’s jaw, sending it into the air. She had to hand it to the evil mad scientists involved; they knew how to amplify the human genome to take a punch from her at a small fraction of her power. Had they not turned them into incomprehensible idiot monsters, she would’ve been a little impressed. But there was more to metabiology and genome melding than flipping a switch.

She snapped to above the subject, slamming it downward into the streets below—knocking it cold.

Looking over to the remaining three she wondered at that moment about who they used to be before they signed up for this terrible experiment. After they and the fire were dealt with would she be able to investigate the computers inside the burning lab before some failsafe activated?

Probably not. But it was worth a look.

This fight wouldn’t take much longer now that she saw their endurance and speed in action. Not too much longer at all.

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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Master Bruce
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Master Bruce Winged Freak

Member Seen 1 mo ago

The Journal Of Alfred J. Pennyworth
June 27th, 1947

One cannot ever properly prepare for death. The war taught me this cruel lesson in earnest. Watching friends and compatriots alike be ripped from this Earth with such precise ferocity was supposed to steel one's heart from feeling these bitter strikes at the center of my soul, and yet, here I find myself again. Answering death's call, my grief at the ready. I received a knock at the door of the Manor at 11:30 PM. A pair of uniformed officers, barely even half my age, waiting for me in the pouring rain. They tell me that they've arranged for me to be escorted into the city. Their words ringing in my ears as they've spoken of an unthinkable tragedy. Master Thomas and Lady Martha. They...

I suppose it does not do anyone any good to detail the grotesquely violent manner in which they were taken. Nor do I feel it necessary to offer my opinion of the event itself. I was, after all, not present for it. A fact of which shall haunt me until my dying day. Would I have been able to prevent it? Were the instinct to take hold, would seven years' service of training in combat medicine and the theater arts have given me some disproportionate advantage against their murderer? Perhaps not. But were it required for me to lay down my life for either party, for they were two of the finest people I shall ever know, I would have done so without question.

But the burden of my grief for their passing shall have to wait. In some small way, perhaps, the shock of their sudden removal from this life will allow me to carry on with my duties. For as important as it may be to honor the memory of the Wayne family, the tragic reality is that they are not the last of their bloodline. They left behind a son. A small, inconsolable boy whose life was just shattered amongst the rain. Carelessly taken for granted in a world where the horrors of humanity are becoming a more frequent companion to any redemptive qualities one might find.

Young Master Bruce. How I should hope that you never have to read this entry. For this night may undoubtedly be your darkest, my immense task shall be to guide you as far away from these memories as possible. Though I am neither your father or your blood relation, I owe it to your parents to try my very best. The world has such greater things in store for you than this, and when you are to come of age, I shall be comforted to see the pain of losing your family be washed away by your immeasurable success. In time, perhaps we shall even look back at this night as a faint glimmer in your life's overall story.

One could certainly dream.

Two shots ring out into the Gotham City nightscape. In a space where three individuals once stood, a boy drops to his knees and screams.

The gunman grabs the couple's valuables and flees for his life, never once daring to look back at the sobbing child's immeasurable loss. He simply wanted them to hand over some spare cash, he tells himself in between fits of panic. Why didn't they just give it to him?

He doesn't stop to question that line of thinking. He doesn't stop, period, as the sirens begin to sound off a mere block away. The police are already on his tail, and this idiot's still holding the smoking weapon. He hops a chain-link fence, lands hard, and takes off down a dark alleyway. His ankle beginning to lock up, the thug gasps for breath as he pitches the gun into a nearby open dumpster. Long as he has the cash, he can stay alive long enough to buy a new one. That's what the man wearing a sports jacket labelled "J" above the faded starting number for the Gotham Knights tells himself to remain assured that he didn't just shoot a couple of people for no good reason, that he didn't make an orphan out of some kid who never meant him any harm. That he didn't just fuck up and ruin his own damned life.

"Jesus Christ, call an ambulance! We've got a couple of gunshot victims on West 39th!"
"Over there! I think I hear footsteps..."
"He's over there! He's over there! In pursuit of suspect!"
"You two! Cut him off on the opposite alley at O'Neil Jewelers!"

The harsh barking of orders from a fedora adorned detective echoes out from behind the mugger, giving him even more reason to keep pushing past his aging body's limitations. He tosses the hat that he wore to keep his identity conspicuous, in the event that there were unexpected witnesses to his crime. He'd worked up the courage to do something like this for months, and it all seemed to go swimmingly in his mind. A pair of bodies, no kid, no police. It was supposed to be clean and simple. But he'd gotten desperate, and desperation had evaporated what was left of his patience, putting him squarely in the line of sight for Gotham's dirtiest bunch of crooks, the GCPD. He wouldn't have been surprised, he thinks, if they were on their way to collect protection money whenever they heard his two-bit 22. go off.

But that was just how it rolled. In Gotham City, you were either born as the top fish, or you always got swallowed up by the bigger one. And ever since The Roman's Holiday Massacre of 1929, the top fish in town was always the one in control of the cops. Sergio Falcone had taken a dive so that his own son could plunge the city into open chaos during one night that served as a grotesque power shift between rival factions of the mob. In alot of ways, it felt like the city would never recover from that night. And here this clown was, trying to scrape a couple of bucks off of some punk's mom and dad. He shook his head to himself, wondering how he'd ever worked up the stones to try and pull this pathetic stunt off. The amount of money he'd stuffed into his jacket was probably worth far less than this month's rent.

Just as it seemed that he'd outrun his pursuers, tires screeched out across the street infront of him. Red and blue lights shot out against the pitch black darkness, causing the crook to slide to a complete stop and stumble forward. He flailed wildly, trying to push himself up, but he heard the clicks of their weapons. He saw the slicked shoes coming towards him, and worse, he could sense even more coming his way from the rear. He was cornered, and this was over. He'd violated his parole, and this would easily send him back to the pen for life.


"Don't even blink, asshole! We've got you pinned from all sides! Let's see those hands!"

"You're under arrest for armed robbery and double homicide! Put your hands on your head and lie forward on the ground!"

With an exasperated breath, the sweating crook complied with the officer's demands. His chin soon found itself against the pavement, and he could feel the cold steel of the officer's handcuffs snap hard against his wrists. Two sets of hands pulled him to his feet, and in a moment he'd feel particularly ashamed of later, a third officer pulled out the earnings of his crime: a measily fifty-seven dollars in cash. The criminal looked on with shock, swearing that there had been more. The way the bills were stacked, it seemed like so much more. But he'd killed two people over less than the going price of the gold necklace adorned around his neck. The criminal hung his head in shame as the officers forced him against the nearby squad car, patting him down for the murder weapon or any other unpleasant surprises.

"And so began the true end of Johnny 'The Spider' LaMonica's life..."

Mugshots from that night flash across the screen, showing the real-life Gotham City gunman that looked practically unrecognizable next to the actor that had just been shown playing him in a very dramatic re-enactment. The actual LaMonica's forehead was busted open, clearly suggesting a more violent encounter with the police than the television program had been permitted to show. Stories like this were often alot worse than they were presented as told.

"Caught dead to rights in the city's East End, LaMonica was arrested and charged with the murder of local grociers Edwin and Patrice Prewitt on October 12th, 1951. One of the more prominent couples in the city's growing community of African-American leaders of business at the start of the 30's, Edwin Prewitt and his wife were considered patron saints of the Park Row slums, with many residents portraying them as lively storytellers, eager to spin a yarn about Gotham's glory days for any customer that seemed to want to listen."

Tragically, a pair of photographs show the victims of LaMonica's crime in happier spirits, with Edwin Prewitt playing an impromptu set of drums outside the entrance of his supermarket, clearly helping out a group of street performers looking to make an honest dollar. His wife looks on, mid-laugh, as a vague tune can be heard in tandem with another set of photographs of the two together.

"It was this crime, among notable others, that led to Gotham's restructuring of Park Row as the now infamous Crime Alley. And their murderer, as identified by their grieving grandson, the sole witness at the scene, would soon face two life sentences in exchange for coldly taking the couple away in the midst of a botched robbery. LaMonica pleaded no contest, with his lawyer stating at the time that the known trigger for hire had expressed deep remorse for the senseless act, citing his inability to keep a steady job following the criminal takeover of the East End by the Falcone Crime Family as his only motive."

Grainy newsreel footage shows LaMonica, in prison stripes, being led out to an awaiting Blackgate Penitentiary escort amidst a field of reporters.

"Though speculation at the time pointed towards it being a racially motivated assault turned calculated murder, the Prewitt's grandson would later cooaborate LaMonica's version of events during an adulthood interview in retrospect. LaMonica was eventually locked away on August 3rd of the following year, leaving behind a tragic legacy that the victim's family would never be able to escape."

Unexpectedly cutting back to a panaround shot of the actor playing Johnny LaMonica in the re-enactment, now dressed in a prison uniform and sitting in an obvious television set's recreation of an interrogation room, the show keeps "LaMonica's" side profile in focus as the door opens. Two suited men enter, throwing down a lengthy file and staring the crook directly in the face. LaMonica's tired eyes, likely an effect of makeup, stare blankly at the mustached member of the pair.

"But would that be the end of The Black Spider's story? Or would this so-called 'deep remorse' act as fuel to an escalating fire within Johnny LaMonica, arguably put into this position by the very criminal factions that he used to run with?"

After a silent moment between them, the suited man nods to someone on the other side of the door to the room. In walks a third party, a member of the prison staff, carrying a massive suitcase. LaMonica looks confused, but distinctly intrigued. Something more is going on here. Something much bigger than him, it seems, as the camera focuses on the badges pinned to the suited men's lapels. The letters 'FBI' shine against the glare of the light, dramatically recontextualizing this seemingly innocuous meeting.

"He had the motive. He had nowhere to turn. And as far as the world was concerned, no one was ever going to miss a lifer that had plainly made his bed and chosen to lie in it. What if, instead of the reported hanging that would seal LaMonica's fate in the history books as a man who'd chosen to take the easy way out, The Black Spider had chosen to align himself with Uncle Sam's top men? What if the hanging was a cover-up made to conceal the fact that LaMonica had simply traded one animal moniker..."

The suitcase lands, hard, onto the table infront of him. The convict takes it with both hands, and slowly lifts open the top half, revealing contents which clearly shock LaMonica to his core.

"For another?"

The camera pans around, finally revealing what's inside the suitcase.

A fearsome, leathery black garb, seemingly extended from a mask attached to a folded cloak.

A black garb in the form of a Bat.

"I'm Waylon Jones. And tonight, we're asking Gotham City to contemplate the question that has rested on the minds of each citizen for half a century: which one of their own could have possibly been... The Batman?"

Lightning strikes, ever dramatically, across LaMonica's face as he raises the cowl to meet his own. The scene fades out to a heavily produced title card, displaying an assortment of headshots and mugshots alike across a golden banner, with the center filmstrip reading off the program's all too familiar title:

A loud cough interrupts the program just as it goes to commercial, prompting the junior member of the board of directors - who had been streaming the latest episode of Gotham's hit "reality" television show on his smartphone, while waiting for this meeting to begin - to suddenly look up and gauge the room around him. Practically everyone was either staring or side-glancing him, having noticed that he'd put in his wireless earbuds and wasn't paying the slightest bit of attention.

Adjusting his tie, nervously, the 31-year-old proceeded to remove the buds and place his phone on lock, quickly slipping it into the pocket of his suit's jacket. If his face weren't a shade of red before, it certainly was now, looking toward the far more professionally dressed woman standing at the end of the long table.

"If we could have everyone's attention before we proceed?"

The younger member of the board places his hands together, nodding silently while refusing to make eye contact. The woman merely shot him a stern look of disapproval before turning her attention towards the digital clipboard that she held firmly infront, marking down a note with the strokes of her fingertip.

"Glad to see that we're all equally as engaged. Please continue with the next phase of your pitch, Mr. Isley."

A red-headed gentleman adorned in a several-thousand dollar suit glances over his shoulder, clearly annoyed at the sudden interruption, but quickly composes himself and clears his own throat. He gestures to the image floating infront of him, projected via hologram.

"Yes, well. As I was saying, esteemed members of the board, I feel as though the next logical step for this company to take is one that evokes a more vested interest in New Gotham's economical growth than we've seen in the last decade."

Waving his hand over the hologram, Arthur Isley watches as a digitally reconstructed neighborhood of Gotham's slums becomes a theoretical haven of modern shopping, with several dummy businesses - such as a smartphone carrier, a couple of trendy restraunts, a corporately owned boutique, and a clothing store - appearing in the places of buildings seemingly abandoned and left to ruin over the years. Some eyebrows raise, while others sit intrigued.

"While these are just a few examples of the jobs we'd be creating if we pursued my initiative, imagine if we invest in enough neighborhoods to provide these spaces to prospective small business owners aswell as the local corporations. What you see here reflects a more traditional sense of systemic consumer output, but what if we could diversify the palate? What if we could actually turn one of the city's most notorious neighborhoods, affected in equal measure by crime and the impoverished conditions that have made these streets practically uninhabitable, into a more attractive lure for tourism?"

Several of the storefronts change, reflecting Isley's 'diversity' - though each new business seems to be a hollow imitation of the ones that came before it. Still, several members of the board eye eachother, clearly seeing the potential in such an investment.

"And if there's anything Gotham ever needed at this stage of it's economical lifespan, I would say tourism ranks far higher than the more steady approach we've taken in the past. While vital city resources have come to rely on us for land development, market research has suggested that the margin of tourism has dipped by over sixty-one percent ever since the implementation of Mayor Dent's Blackgate Wall."

Placing his hands together, Isley initiates the hologram's shutdown, triggering the overhead lights to come on and illuminate the room.

"Bottom line? This company's focus on reaching out to those affected by the conditions of the Mayor's strict documentation regimine for leaving the suburbs of Old Gotham is, while I can agree to be a noble cause, leaving the rest of the city to hang out to dry up in the current landscape. While we've no shortage of practical businesses operating out of the area, what we need is a firm invitation to people across the country - nay, across the world - that Gotham is once again open for business. Not just for local consumers, but to the casual market aswell."

Looking upon the room, Isley's eye darts to a seat at the very front that's been turned away from him for the entire meeting. It remains turned towards the large window overseeing the city below them, with the sunlight just barely reaching the chair's as-of-yet silent occupant. Isley raises an eyebrow, turning towards the individual members of the board.

"Are there any objections? Questions? Any feedback at all?"

While some go to speak up, evidently ready to share their own opinions, a voice of a much lower register cuts them off before any can attempt to broaden the discussion.

"This proposal is absurd."

Isley's annoyance only grows as several members of the board are caught off guard by the harshness of the older man's tone. The chair slowly spins around to meet the stewing business executive's gaze with an equal amount of contempt. Dressed in an entirely black suit with a silk tie that clearly costs more than any given part of the room itself, the elderly CEO of Wayne International remains completely, almost chillingly still as he continues to outline his displeasure.

"Gauging tourism, in my experience, has always proven to be a temporary fix for much bigger problems. And while we can certainly try and make the city seem appealing from afar, the fact remains that nobody's coming to invest their money here anytime soon. You of all people should know why, Arthur."

Isley, while clearly flustered, stands as one of the few in the room completely unintimidated by the commanding presence of the 81-year-old.

"Perhaps you'd care to enlighten us, Mr. Wayne."

Bruce Wayne sneers, slowly rising from his chair.

"While your people have been conducting market research, I've been paying more attention to the headlines. The crucial element of engaging tourists that you're missing is good publicity. And publicity for Gotham ever since Dent took office has been decidedly unkind. While most consider us to simply be bad for business, I keep hearing a common refrain used to describe the state of the city."

By the time he's fully stood, Wayne clearly stands a few inches taller than Isley, even at his advanced age. It quite literally casts a shadow over the executive, whose brow furrows when confronted with the debilitating fact.


Isley scoffs, turning towards his fellow members.

"An overexaggeration, I assure you."

"But a believable conceit in the minds of the public."

His hand gripping a polished wooden cane, Wayne begins to walk across the whole of the table as he eyes each individual member of the board himself. They're quick to pay attention, as the aging billionaire has spent a good portion of his life building up a reputation for blunt honesty, something that Isley seems to shy away from.

"The reason that Wayne International has been reaching out to the, as you call them, victims of 'documentation' is because we've devoted our resources towards helping those that are financially unable to provide the city with sustainable business. Not only those living in complete poverty, but those struggling to even stay afloat. Even if we were to cut out a swath of land for an investor with a modern sensibility, the fact remains that without the citizens of Old Gotham and New Gotham working together to provide revenue, we'd be delivering a staggeringly empty promise. In the short-term, that could be damaging. In the long-term, crippling."

Turning to meet the whole of the assembled board members, Wayne's face is only partially lit as he continues to outline why the proposal won't work. It's an image that unnerves even the stoic Arthur before the elder Wayne eventually steps forward to become fully illuminated.

"Our focus is to be dedicated to uniting both halves of a city that our Mayor has carelessly sought to divide. And as long as I'm still CEO, that's where it will remain. Vote however you wish, but I think I can safely speak for most of our stockholders when I say that Mr. Isley's proposal will solve nothing."

Arthur crosses his arms as his barely contained frustration washes over him.

"All in favor?"

A deafening silence fills the room, causing Isley to bitterly sigh.

"All opposed?"

Unanimously, the entire board raises their hands. Wayne's gaze never leaves Isley as he turns to head back to his seat.

"Meeting adjourned."

Helped back into his seat by his assistant, who hands him her clipboard while simultaneously beginning to pour him a glass of water, Wayne removes two pills from his jacket's pocket and downs them before anyone can notice. Taking a careful swig of his drink, Wayne does everything he can to hide the fact that his pulse is racing. His breathing momentarily shallow. It would be an eye-opening glimpse at a titan of industry, were anyone paying attention to anything other than the desire to leave the room and resume business.

But just as the door opens and people begin to pour out, Arthur Isley takes a few steps forward.

"And how exactly do you suggest that we unite this city, Mr. Wayne?"

"Your proposal is denied, Arthur. The meeting is over."

"But the discourse certainly isn't!"

Isley's outburst catches the attention of everyone. Wayne merely stares back.

"For months, I've been coming to this table - this same table from the same position - to do nothing but offer new ideas and expand the company beyond it's shrinking potential. And yet at every turn, you've made it your mission to cut every proposal down in it's infancy. The problem that the stockholders see with Wayne International is an inability to try something new, but you won't even let us get to that point. We're draining resources fast, and all because you tout an idealist's dream of bringing together a unified Gotham."

Isley finds himself leaning against the portion of the table directly infront of his boss, unafraid to get too close.

"You're the leader of this company. So I implore you, Mr. Wayne, to lead us. Help us understand your strategy for doing the impossible."

Bruce leans forward. "It's called faith."

Isley corrects his posture, immediately on the counter-offense.

"It's called suicide. We need to be proactive if this company's going to last into the next decade and avoid a buyout. And hoping that Mayor Dent's crime prevention initiative magically goes away along with that wall is well within the area opposite of productivity."

As the members of the board look towards their CEO, Wayne remains curiously silent.

"I realize that in your day, Gotham was an easier landscape to navigate. But we're suffocating under the conditions that you refuse to acknowledge as anything but temporary when, infact, all evidence points towards the contrary. I want to help the citizens of Old Gotham as much as you do, Bruce, but that's what the Wayne Foundation is for. And the whole of this company can't exist entirely as your charity."

Isley's tone borderlines on disrespect, but it's laced with enough truth to keep Wayne from an immediate retort. The two men clearly don't like one another, but the question of which one is ultimately right becomes more blurred as Isley speaks.

"But you and I both know that already. You also know what this is really about. So with all due respect, I'll try not to waste any more of your valuable time."

As Arthur turns to leave, finally, Wayne eventually speaks up.


Arthur pauses, but doesn't bother to turn around and face his superior. He knows all too well where this discussion will lead. He's already cursing the fact that he even tried persuading the old man to see it his way. And yet the next few words still send a tremble down the spine of each lingering member of the board.

"Bruce is reserved for friends."

Seemingly lowering his shoulders in defeat, Isley gathers up his materials and wordlessly exits the room, along with the rest of the board. While Wayne's assistant personally sees to escorting Arthur out of the room, for fear of another outburst, Bruce takes another sip of water. By the time the door closes, his steely gaze gives way to a look of tired, frustrated repetition.

He made the mistake of giving up on Gotham once, years ago. And it cost him everything he held dear. The Manor. His closest friends. The remnants of the family that he built. And the other part of himself that could have fixed this - could have solved the problem before it even began.

If there's ever been a time for Bruce Wayne to remain hopeful that his city can power through the darkness, it's now. Because his days of fighting for Gotham are long since over. All he can do is sit back and allow it to try and heal itself.

Because right now, it's limping.

"Package is en route to destination. I repeat, package is en route to destination..."

A figure watches from the darkness above Gotham as two trucks cross the bridge from Arkham Island. A shipment of materials from The Arkham Institute is on it's way to the Blackgate Wall, to be delivered back where they originated: GCPD's archival warehouse. The figure has waited weeks for an opportunity to sneak into the heavily guarded facility, but he wasn't sure of how to gain entrance until a request for research materials was processed. Turns out, there was a mistake, and no doctor from Arkham had requested any of the items onboard either truck. That would be what happens when a report is electronically falsified, as the figure knows all too well. After all, he was the one that falsified it.

Perched atop two stone gargoyles, the figure briefly looks out across the Gotham skyline. He remembers, as a child, when it was brighter. The skies seemed to illuminate in a perpetual glow that cast the normally dangerous city in quite literally a safer light. But a sharp line now stands between that light and the people on the other side of the Blackgate Wall, cutting it off and leaving 'Old Gotham' in a shadowy landscape of terror and oppression.

No more, the figure thinks to himself. After tonight, everything will change.

It's been too long since Gotham's had a reason to believe again.

In hope.

In the future.

And especially in heroes.

The figure doesn't know whether he has what it takes to fill the void. But he's going to try his best, even if it kills him. And it may very well do so. Nevertheless, he positions himself firmly against the gargoyles that once were laid claim to by another man - and leaps into the night.

The first of many.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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Unknown Planet
Unknown Sector

“There’s someone out there in the wastes…”

The soldier looked out from his trench after his partner’s comment. Sure enough, a figure could be seen through the shimmering desert air. The soldier spat and pulled out his telespecs. There was never anyone out here in this section. This part of the wastes stretched on for miles. So many miles no one had been able to traverse them all and live to tell about it. The soldiers were only on sentry duty here because it was where they sent troops when they rotated off the front. So little action it counted as R&R.

“It’s an alien,” he said to his partner. “Unidentified type.”

They slid ther rifles off their shoulders and trained them on the figure as it approached. The alien’s long black hair dangled over its sunburned face. It shuffled seemingly unaware of the two weapons the soldiers were pointing at it.

“Halt!” The soldier yelled. “Halt and identify yourself.”


The alien collapsed in front of them. The soldiers climbed out of their trench and inspected it. It was covered in a hard exoskeleton that, after vigorous poking, revealed itself to be body armor. It looked a lot like them, at least on the surface. On the chest of the armor was a strange sigil neither one of them recognized.

“Water?” one of the soldiers asked. "What the hell kind of name is that?"

"What side is it on?" The soldier's partner said, a finger cocked at the emerald symbol on the armor.

“I have no idea,” he said to his partner. “But this is officially beyond our paygrade. We need to take it to the captain.”

Cromica C21
Space Sector 2814

Jelcs sighed deeply as he looked himself over in the mirror. He felt like a fool in the chief constable’s tunic, the blaster on his hip so heavy that it weighed down his trousers. There was still blood on the side of the shirt where Melm had bled out. Melm had been a real lawman, a former MP in the Shi’ar navy before a long career as city cop in the Shi'ar homeworld. He was picked by the provisional government to keep the peace because he was hands down the best candidate. Jelcs was an afterthought, picked as deputy because they needed someone and he was once a paralegal back home. He knew laws and rules. But enforcing them? That was Melm’s department.

At least it had been up until a week ago. Now it was Jelcs’ job. He tried to recruit a deputy, but every time it was brought up people ran the other way after politely declining. They were the smart ones, Jelcs figured. Whoever ended up as his deputy knew it would only be a matter of time before they took Jecls’ place as chief constable. He was in the rickety building that served as the jailhouse, little more than two cells and just enough room for a desk. The cells were where the rowdy drunks went. They’d never had anything more serious than a wifebeater in the cells. Anything above that? Well Pax’s people took care of them.

Jelcs looked up when he felt the shaking. His first thought was that it was an earthquake. Cromica didn’t have that kind of geological instability, he thought. But with all the mining who he hell knew what kind of shape the planet was in now? A loud boom cracked and Jelcs raced towards the door with his heart in his throat. It was a dropship, he figured. Had to be the Kree coming to take the planet over after so many years of speculation. There was no way in hell they could even begin to put up a fight--

The townspeople outside were gathered and staring up at the sky. When Jelcs saw what it was, he almost wished a Kree dropshop had appeared instead. An honest to god Green Lantern hovered a few hundred feet above the town. He looked down at theme with something Jelcs could only describe as detached curiosity. Like a kid back home playing with a nest of darnuks. There were a few screams as the Lantern began his descent down to the ground. The group of people scattered and took cover. By the time he touched down, only Jelcs remained to meet him.

“Lantern Jordan, 2814.1,” he announced to Jelcs. “I’m searching for Chief Constable Korvus Melm.”

“He’s dead,” Jelcs croaked out. “He… was killed last week.”

Jelcs saw the Lantern’s eyes take him in. He noticed the blaster on Jelcs’ hip and the logo stitched into the breast of the tunic.

“And my powers of observation tell me you’re his replacement?”

“You can’t replace Melm,” said Jelcs. “But… I am the new chief constable, yes.”

“I have been ordered by the Guardians of Oa to take over peacekeeping duties for this planet and system. You are hereby relieved of your duties.”

He felt a wave of relief wash over him. It was now someone else’s problem. More specifically, it was a Green Lantern’s problem. He could now go back to his family and burgeoning farm on the outskirts of town and---

“But I am using the powers vested in me by the Guardians of Oa to declare you a temporary auxiliary member of the Green Lantern Corps.”

Jelcs looked up at the Lantern and furrowed his brow. “What?!”

“I was told the situation here is tricky,” said Jordan.

“That’s… one way of putting it, yes.”

“Well I’ll need someone to use as a guide,” he said with a hint of a smirk “And since you’re both the planet's top lawman and the first lifeform who didn’t run at the sight of me, that someone is you.”

Jelcs sighed. He could say no. May be a bit foolish to say no to Green Lantern… but it was now his mess to deal with. It was his job, literally. Jelcs hadn’t asked for any of this, but yet here he was. Why, exactly? Because he believed in the law. He believed in justice and duty and all that other stuff a cynic would call silly. But Jelcs was a believer. He believed in making Cormica a better place, better than the planet they'd come from. It’s why they made the journey here in the first place.

“Well, Lantern Jordan,” he finally said. “What can I help you with?”

Space Sector 0001

Sinestro stared at the galactic map. The holographic display covered the entire wall of the Citadel’s operations room. Thousands of green points of light covered the map. There were so many that an uninformed spectator would think they were stars. But every dot represented the locations of each and every one of the thousands of Green Lanterns operating across the void. With the map Sinestro could zoom in to see the movements of every Lantern and their status. What planet they were on, what their current assignment was, and even how their vital signs were reading. Detailed data on every Lantern under his command.

All of them except one.

Well, two actually. But Gardner’s lack of appearance on the map was for a reason.

“Stare at the map all you like, it won’t make her appear.”

Sinestro turned and saw Salaak standing there, all four of his arms crossed and his three eyes staring at Sinestro without blinking. Those eyes unnerved many wrongdoers and Lanterns with something to hide. They seemed to stare into you and see something deep down in your soul. Sinestro once heard Salaak’s species were telepathic, but those rumors were as of yet unfounded.

“Two Oan years,” said Sinestro. “That’s how long we’ve been waiting on the New Men to provide us with their report on the incident between their fleet and Lantern Cruz.”

“These things take time. Diplomacy works slow, but it is steady.”

Sinestro drummed his long fingers on the console in front of the galactic map. He’d read their report on Cruz’s last moments so many times he could recall the details exactly. Elevated heart rate and adrenaline, typical for humans engaged in battle. But then, curiously, her glucose levels dipped as everything spiked. Their default expert on humans, Lantern Jordan, had said, after a quick information search, that glucose was found in the human blood stream and was what they used for energy. After the spike and depletion of glucose, Cruz’s vitals… flatlined.

No legacy protocol issued by her ring, no sign of her body when a recovery crew was dispatched. But that didn’t mean there wasn’t a body. The recovery crew had been turned away by the Rannians on the grounds of top-secret security. For fear of kicking off an even worse incident they obliged. But whatever had happened above Bion ended wiping out their entire war fleet. Cruz could have easily done that herself. She'd definitely inflicted her fair share of punishment, but had it been at the cost of her own life? Sinestro thought of those ghouls with one of his Lantern’s bodies and it made his blood boil.

“Computer,” he announced without warning. “Hail the Rannian government. Encrypted communication, only for the Premier’s eyes.”

“What are you doing?” asked Salaak.

“Diplomacy, old friend,” said Sinestro with a smirk.

After a few moments, the galactic map in front of them disappeared. Replacing it was the image of a Rannian man with slightly reptilian features blinking back at them. His hazy eyes and mussed hair made it clear he had been woken from sleep. Sinestro had no idea what the local time was on Rann, and he didn’t really care.

“Your Premiership,” he said with a slight bow. “I am Senior Lantern Thaal Sinestro, and this is Senior Lantern Salaak we are--”

“What is the meaning of this?” the Premier thundered. “We are in talks with your people over the incident. Why are you calling me in the middle of the night. Do you not understand proper channels, Lantern?”

“The time for talk is over,” said Sinestro. He crossed his arms as he spoke. “You’ve wasted enough of our time. A fellow Lantern is missing, something that we do not take lightly. And you and your people are to blame for it. You violated intergalactic law with your attempted invasion of Bion. Our transcripts of the moments before the ‘incident’ as you call it show that your military officers disregarded an order from Lantern Cruz to stand down. You attacked one of our own, Premier. The only reason your planet is still intact is because Lantern Salaak here dictates that the Green Lantern Corps must abide by the rules and regulations set out by the law. A law you and your people openly flaunt.”

“The invasion of Bion was undertaken by a rogue military faction,” said the Premier. “Their actions were not approved by our government. So do not preach to me about intergalactic law.”

“Then release the report,” said Salaak. “Let us know what happened and what happened to our fellow Lantern. The sooner we clear this all up, the calmer it will make my fellow Lantern here, and the sooner we can move on.”

“I know what this is,” the Premier said through gritted teeth. “Good Lantern, Bad Lantern.”

“No,” Sinestro said softly. He held his right hand up so that the Premier could see his power ring crackle with energy. “No mind games, no tricks. This is a simple message to you and the people of Rann. With one Lantern, we destroyed your entire fleet. With two Lanterns? Who knows what damage we could do. End transmission.”

The last thing they saw before the video cut out, was a look of terror on the Premier’s face.

“I don’t know if that was wise,” Salaak said after it was over.

“Probably not,” Sinestro shrugged. “But at the very least it will get things moving in a direction. The Corps has been around a long time and some seemed to take us for granted. The galaxy has to know, Salaak, that you cannot attack a member of this Corps and walk away unscathed.”
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
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Gotham Village

Alice Young looked out the window of her room. Dawn was still a few hours off, but she could make out the dim shapes of the stockade fence in the dark. She knew just past those fences, well within walking distance, would be the gallows. At daybreak they would slip a rope around her pale, slender neck and tighten it until she could barely breath. Then a hood would cover her face and Minister Thatcher would read the list of charges against Alice and pray for her soul. Then there would come the drop… and hellfire that followed.

Not that Alice believed in hell. Or at least not the hell that Thatcher sold his flock. She had no use for the old man’s tales. She kept the old gods, the ones of her mother and her mother before her. Alice carried them over to the New World with her, keeping them secret from the rest of the god-botherers she’d traveled across the water with.

She lived outside the village proper, in her little hut made of mud and sticks, and was only occasionally bothered when some desperate mother came to her door with a sick babe looking for a healing. Her reputation in the village bought her peace from everyone else. She was one of the few in the area who did not attend Thatcher’s torturous sermons and nobody missed her presence. They would give passing glances her way on the few occasions she came to town. They muttered crone and hag after she passed, but always under their breath. The rumor was that a farmer who crossed her ended up losing half a herd of cattle to blackleg. That fear kept her safe from their rage. Their fear bought her a wary respect.

But then the sickness came. The pox ran roughshod over the village that winter. Sixteen, the young and old most of their number, were taken by the disease. From his pulpit, Thatcher rained fire and brimstone down on the villagers. There had to be a reason for God’s displeasure. They had done something to offend Him. And since there were no Jews to blame, their eye turned to Alice. A mob came for her in the middle of the night and dragged her from the hut, her nails scratching across the dirt floor as she tried to fight.

The mob searched her house and found damning evidence. They found the shrine Alice had erected to her gods, the little sculptures of wood and rock that represented the fae and those gods who were in existence long before some Roman scribbled the name Jesus Christ on a piece of parchment. They found the drawings on the walls. The shapes and forms that represented the sacred geometry. The things that kept the darkness at bay.

“Good morning, Alice.”

The soft, velvety voice made Alice jump. She spun around and saw him… a tall, thin man with a mustache and wearing some outlandish clothing Alice had never seen before. Form fitting and ostentatious, it was in stark contrast of the people of Gotham’s modest dress. She’d never seen it before because it didn’t exist. Not yet, anyway. The word Victorian wouldn’t mean anything to the world. Not for another two hundred years.

“Who are you?” Alice hissed.

“Names…” the man chuckled. “Names have power, you must certainly know that. If you must call me anything… Call me The Architect.”

At the mention of names, Alice began to dig into the dirt with her fingers. She etched shapes into the ground and stepped back until she was pressed against the wall.

“Stay back, creature.”

“I mean you no harm,” said The Architect. “At least not in the way the people of this village mean you harm. Aren’t they funny? The people of Gotham. They cling to their scripture and pray to their skygod, someone who has long since grown bored of His creation and turns a deaf ear to their pleas.”

The Architect walked forward until he was at the very edge of the line of shapes Alice had drawn in the dirt. He glanced down at them and chuckled as he brushed them away with the toe of his shoe.

“I am not some creature or spirit simple runes can hold back. I am something more, Alice Young. I am beyond heaven or hell. So save your tricks for someone else, hag.”

“What… do you want?”

“I’ve come to strike a bargain,” he said with a smile.

Alice had heard this story before. The handsome stranger mysteriously shows up and is looking to make a deal. It never ended well, and there was always some unforeseen cost. But she was facing the gallows in just a few hours. If the choice was this… thing’s offer or whatever awaited her at the other end of the hangman’s rope… well, that wasn’t really much of a choice at all.

“What did you have in mind?” Alice asked.

Gotham City

“Where the hell am I?”

Tork looked up at cracked facade of the church. He could make out the faded letters of “Our Lady of Sorrows” against the side of the building. This was the thirteenth precinct? This rundown, shabby little church with the boarded-up windows was supposed to be home to the Detailed Case Taskforce?

“It’s not much.”

Tork turned at the voice. Standing on the sidewalk beside him was a man in black suit. Tork noticed the emerald tie around his neck matched his eyes. His bright red hair had a shock of white running through it.

“But it’s home,” he said before he offered his hand. “Detective Jim Corrigan. Are you the new sergeant?”

“Frank Tork.” They shook hands. Tork did his best to not make a face when he felt Corrigan’s clammy hand against his. The detective made an apologetic face.

“Poor circulation, sarge. Let’s go inside and meet the rest of the gang.”

The inside was as dumpy as the outside, Tork found. The entire nave was gutted. The space that had once held rows and rows of pews was now devoid of that. Desks and metal work tables were scattered around the room in place of a pew. Though the church still held some of its former trappings. Tork was brought back to his Catholic school days by the statue of Christ on the cross hung on the far wall. The son of God's eyes were frozen in agony and they seemed to follow Tork as he walked across the room.

"So what exactly do you guys do here?" Asked Tork. "I hear stories."

"I bet you do," Corrigan chuckled. "None of them good, I bet. We do a bit of this and that."

Tork was about to ask what they exactly meant when the front door opened and an honest to God nun walked in. Tork felt his pulse quicken at the sight. He thought of the nuns at Sisters of Mercy and the metal rulers they used with impunity.

"Sister Justine," said Corrigan. "Come meet the new sergeant."

“Why is there a nun?” asked Tork.

“And a good evening to you, too, sergeant” Sister Justine said with just a trace of an Irish brogue.

“Sister Justine is one of two civilian consultants Detailed Cases employs,” said Corrigan. “She has a double doctorate in theology and abnormal psychology, a masters in archeology... and am I forgetting something?”

“A bachelor's degree in criminal justice,” said Sister Justine. “Tell me, Sergeant... “

"Tork. Frank Tork.”

“Short for Francis, is it?”

Tork cleared his throat. “Yes, Sister.”

“You were raised Catholic, right?”

Tork was taken aback. “How’d you know?”

“The fear,” Sister Justine said with a grin. “I can see it in your eyes, Francis. No doubt you had a few run-ins with the sisters.”

Tork heard a loud bang somewhere, followed by shouting in a foreign language Tork couldn’t readily identify but sounded Eastern European in nature.

“That’s our other consultant,” said Corrigan. “Dr. Lazlo Tarr. He specializes in forensic pathology, among other unconventional sciences.”

Tork put a hand to his forehead. A nun and a forensic pathologist on the payroll for this weird as hell unit. He needed to talk to a grownup.

“Where’s the CO?”

“Lieutenant Haskins has left for the day,” Corrigan said with a smirk. “He’s really more of a 9 to 5 type of guy.”

“Doesn’t like to keep our hours,” said Sister Justine.

“So... ,” said Tork. “Who’s in charge?”

“I guess you are,” said Corrigan. “You’ve got the rank.”

Tork started to say something, but a radio on Corrigan’s desk squawked to life.

“Charlie-13, it’s Delta-5. Do you copy?”

“It’s Drake,” Corrigan said to Tork. “The other detective in the unit.”

Corrigan picked the mobile radio off its charge cradle and pressed the button.

“Charlie-13, go ahead Delta-5.”

“Jim, I think we got something. The boys at the 3-7 called in a homicide that sounds like it's up our alley. It’s run of the mill except for one thing… an eyewitness saw the doer walking through walls.”

“Copy that. Give us your twenty and we’ll head out.”

Corrigan looked over at Tork and raised an eyebrow.

“You’re in luck, sarge. You’re about to get a first hand look at exactly we do here.”
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Simple Unicycle
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Simple Unicycle ?

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Location and Time: Hub City, Illinois - Two Days Later, 6:17 PM

Interaction(s): None
Previously: Divide

I give the old drunk a sharp shove and he lands ass first on the pavement. "What the fuck, Sage?" Roscoe asks, standing up and rubbing his rear end with a wince.

"You know exactly what the fuck, Roscoe. You sent me after some teenage wannabe thugs squatting in a warehouse? The hell happened to that drug racket you were babbling on about?" I pick him up off the ground by the collar, sticking my face inches away from his. Smelling the stale whiskey on his breath is almost enough to make me want to drop him, but this way I can clearly show how pissed off I am.

"Come on, you gotta... Start small on this sorta thing. You can't go right into the big leagues. I was tryin' to... Test you?" His words are uncertain, phrased like a question. I shake my head and growl in frustration.

"You had no damn clue what was going on in that warehouse, did you?"

"I... Wouldn't say that."

"Oh, so you lied to my face, is that it?"

"I... Yeah, okay? I did. I used to sleep in that warehouse Vic, those damn punks drove me off. I wanted you to get rid of 'em, y'know? You have to have a little sympathy in your heart!" At that, I pinch my nose, sigh, and release my grip on Roscoe's collar. He falls to the floor again with a grunt.

"One of these days I'm gonna kill you, you damn old coot..." I pull out my pack of cigarettes, pluck one in between my lips, light it, and take a drag. I blow out a puff of smoke into Roscoe's face and he gags.

"Jesus, Vic," he coughs out. "Those things kill, y'know?"

"So does that cheap booze you drink." I take another drag. "There anything else you want me to take care of, Roscoe? Maybe some other hobo stole your cardboard box."

Roscoe gives a snort, but I can tell there's something he's thinking about. "... Maybe. I overheard some guys talking when they were leaving a restaurant. I was in the alley next to it, you know, just minding my own business..."

"Digging through the trash?"

Roscoe sneers but otherwise doesn't deign to respond. "And these two guys walk out. They looked normal enough, but I couldn't help but hear them talking about their plans for tonight. Something about hitting Al's. You know the place?" I hum in acknowledgment. An old convenience store on O'Neil Street, run by this old guy named Al. Strangely, he says it's short for William. "Though they could have been talking about their buddy Al's or something..."

"Well, I'll check it out anyway. If you're wrong, I guess I'll only have myself to blame for listening to you again." I pull out my wallet and hand Roscoe a twenty. "Don't spend it all in one place."

He snatches the money greedily, hugging it tightly to his chest. "Thanks, Vic. You're a pain in the ass but at least you pay good." Sticking the money in his back pocket, Roscoe walks out of the alley and around the corner.

"Feeling's mutual. Bastard..." I sigh, then leave the alley myself. I check my watch: only 6:26. Guess I'll be staking out Al's for the next couple of hours. Getting into my car, I start it up and begin the drive to O'Neil Street.

The stakeout was, to put it simply, boring as all hell. It took all my willpower to not drive off and find something else. Part of me knew that this was going to amount to nothing, but I held out anyway, hoping against hope that this would be the time his info was completely correct. The hours ticked by slowly, ever so slowly, each second seeming to last days...

11:19 PM. I finish off the fourth and last energy drink I had brought, but at this point it's starting to feel like I've built up a resistance to them. If anything, the music playing is doing more to keep me going than any sort of caffeine. This one's an old favorite I first heard back in high school, and I feel myself bob my head back and forth to the beat. At least I've got something to keep me entertained.

11:20 PM. A beat up old hatchback pulls up to Al's. Two men step out, then slide on ski masks. Shit. Guess Roscoe was right after all. "Goddammit, of course it had to be during this one..." I kill the stereo. I wait until they head in, then turn the car off. I open the door and slide out. Time for some vigilante justice.

I stride slowly towards the store from across the street, peeking in through the windows. Between shelves of chips and other assorted snacks I can make out one of the men pulling a pistol on Al while the other heads around the counter to enter the register. Al, an older guy with balding gray hair and thick horn-rimmed glasses, simply rolls his eyes and sticks his hands in the air. Probably done this whole song and dance dozens of times in his life.

I pull the door open, a soft ding indicating my entrance to the robbers. The one with the gun spins around, setting his sights on me. Behind his mask, two blue eyes narrow at my own. "Who the hell are you?"

I raise my hands and put a slur into my voice, "Woah, like, take it easy, guy. I'm like, just here for a midnight snack, bro..." I slowly lower my hands and stare at him, squinting my eyes. Hopefully he underestimates me, thinks I'm some dumb stoner trying to get some snacks. "Yo, you guys are real, right? Did Jeff lace my shit?"

The gunman groans and steps forward, placing the barrel of his pistol against my head. "Back the fuck up, buddy. Turn around and leave, or I'm blowing your brains out all over the floor."

"Woah, easy, easy!" His elbow is locked as he points the gun at me. Bad idea. "I'll go, but like..." I make my move, grabbing his wrist with both hands and twisting the gun away. He shouts and fires, the bullet going wide and hitting a bag of Doritos which explodes, sending bits of nacho cheese chips and orange dust flying everywhere. Keeping my left hand on his wrist, I ram my right palm up into his elbow, a gnarly CR-CRACK! telling me all I need to know. Nasty break.

With a scream the gunman falls to the floor and his pistol disappears under the racks. I kick him in the chest, then sprint at the counter. Vaulting over it, I try to use the motion to kick the other robber in the chest. He manages to sidestep out of the way and I find myself landing on my back with a grunt. He raises a foot up to stomp on my face, but I roll away and right into Al. The old man falls on the floor with a shout of surprise.

I jump up onto my feet and catch a fist to the side of the head, sending me reeling back and right into the cash register. I steady myself, ducking under another wild punch before retaliating with a quick uppercut. His head snaps back from the force and I take the opportunity to tackle him, sending us both to the floor. As he struggles beneath my grasp, I raise my fist up and slam it hard onto his face once, twice, three times. Blood spurts from his nose and leaks out of his mask, and he groans before going limp underneath me.

I crawl off the second robber and look at Al, who has gotten up and is readjusting his glasses. "Thanks, I guess. But I was dealing with them. Didn't need you stepping in and messing shit up."

I shrug, glancing at him. "I was just in the area, figured I'd stop in and help like the good Samaritan I am. Not asking for thanks."

"Well you'll get none from me. Got a bullet in one of my racks. Gonna have to order a new one to replace it." He reaches for a phone and dials up 911. "Now get out of here, before the cops get here. I'll keep an eye on these two bozos."

"Don't have to tell me twice." With those words, I turn towards the door and make my leave.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Bounce
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It began in the summer of the sixteenth year of the rule Alesand’r of Clan Quohog, Twelfth of Elona and first of House Tamarus.

The great sages, K’Ehelyr of Okaara and Ganthet of Oa, recorded that it was on the 43rd day of Maktag when the fire first appeared in the skies over Tamaran. It was the start of what all the nearby stars would come to know as the Citadel War -- an aggressive push by the Citadel Star Empire for interstellar dominion. The heavens beckoned the Tamaraneans to answer a call to arms, and their warrior culture responded in kind. Since the time of the first High Kings, the advance of the Citadel was halted against the immovable spirit of the Tamaranean people.

And the heart of Tamaran caused great changes in the cultures of their neighbors. The once peaceful planets of Okaara and Euphorix adapted to ensure the survival of their societies, and the first Council of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds was formed. Where once Okaara had fostered men of great learning in the Grand Viziers, now it became feared for the shrewd, unmatched strategy of those who would be called Warlords. Euphorix, prized for its engineers, harnessed its knowledge of energy to great impenetrable shields that secured their world and those of their allies.

And so the war lingered on, day by day, year by year, decade by decade. Neither side yielding, as the Citadel consolidated its power throughout the Vega Galaxy. From beyond the edge of their stars, the Guardians of the Universe moved to contain the malevolent ambition of the Citadel to within its own galaxy, restricting the Citadel’s reach while also limiting the ability of Tamaran, Okaara, or Euphorix to receive aid.

So has it been for more than one hundred years.

...until today.

- excerpt from the memoirs of Shaka, "When the Walls Fell."



Space Sector 2814 | The Sol System

The ship blinked into existence.

Exiting out from the jump point, the small vessel listed to one side as it careened wildly through the unfamiliar star system it had just entered.

Inside the cockpit, a golden child struggled to breath through acrid smoke that was clouding the interior. An unkempt mass of fiery red hair framed his youthful features, and the term fiery was used advisedly -- as shimmering and flickering flames seemed to spark within the thick mane of hair. His eyes were as gleaming emeralds, entirely green with no visible sclera.

Flashing in the heads-up display, two larger vessels appeared in the space behind him. Lights ignited the heavens, as bolts of plasma sailed over the canopy. The ship bucked and rocked, pitching the lad from out of his seat as the vessel was assaulted.

The boy’s left hand dialed in a series of commands to the vessel’s navigation. A series of red markers, however, gave notice that the ship’s engines would not support another jump. He had exhausted his resources in the fleeting leap that had brought him here.

...where ever here was.

So, instead, the boy began looking for alternatives. There were eight planets in this star system, two of which were gas giants and one of which had a substantial debris field encircling it.

Angling the ship toward the epistellar jovian, the child did his best to hold course as the ship struggled against his hand, and the repeated harassment of the larger vessels was certainly not helping to smooth the passage.

As chunks of ice and rock began to become more thickly present, that difference in size started to work to his advantage. Weaving among the particles and debris, the boy managed to maneuver a small lead over the attacking vessels.

Pushing the engines for what they might yet yield, the boy sped toward the middle of the star system. An internal debris disk offered a wealth of asteroids, both massive and miniscule. If he could find a cave or shelter, or even just find a place to land and power down, then his pursuit might well mistake him for the rock.

He had barely made it half the distance, when they caught up with him again. Red bolts of plasma lanced into the side of the ship, sending the vessel into a slide that the boy could not repair. So, instead, the youth threw the helm over.

The small vessel seemed to shudder, bucking against the rudder even as it turned back upon its course. As it did, it collided with the closest of its pursuers. In the impact, both vessels were engulfed in a plume of flame as their reactors briefly flared into miniature novas... and were quickly extinguished by the vacuum of space.

And, from out of that cold, endless dark, a green spark ignited.

Enveloped in emerald flame, the child flew through the stars under his own power. The flames burning from off his head seemed to lengthen, forming a brilliant contrail as he pushed onward toward one of the asteroids.

Slipping under and behind the first, the child looked for a second to duck away to, before the enemy ship re-positioned to try and re-acquire him.

A sharp, burning sensation was piercing beneath his breast. A hand pressed to his chest, as he tried to quell the pain. The smoke inside the cabin of his stolen transport had not given him the opportunity to prepare for exposure to vacuum.

Turning his hand over, the jewel atop the gauntlet that he wore around his wrist glowed faintly. The fourth planet from the sun was closest to this orbital axis, but the measurements indicated that its atmosphere was too thin to have offered any respite. The third and second planets, however, were showing indications of a more substantial atmosphere.

Slipping between another pair of asteroids, the flaming haired nymph risked the briefest survey for signs of the enemy, before he launched in a dead sprint across the endless night for the faint blue-green light that might be his only hope.

The burning in his chest was gnawing at him. The veins in his head and neck became prominent as the body began to lapse into the grip of suffocation. His vision was blurred, even as he felt himself colliding with a powerful radiation source. Green flame spiraled from off his body, as the energy he absorbed began leaking through every pour. He would have screamed in pain, if he had so much as a single breath left him.

He knew not whether the world below was paradise or poison, but as the child descended upon its atmosphere, he felt his consciousness slipping away even as he succumbed to the harsh embrace of its gravity...
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Retired
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Retired "Hayao Miyazaki"

Member Seen 2 days ago


Fourteen months ago
Camp Dwyer FOB, Garmsir District, Afghanistan

The steel point pierced through its target, embedding deeply inside until the metal was completely enveloped in red. An anguished cry let loose an instant after the impact.

"Fucking Christ!"

Frank Castle whipped around to stare at the source. The smirk playing across his lips hidden by the beer bottle he sipped from.

"What," he said, meeting the gaze of Lance Corporal Ross Conway. "you really doubted me?"

The young man and newest member of the platoon swept his eyes from his senior to the corkboard across the room. Five darts stuck out of the bullseye in such a close grouping the corporal had a hard time believing his eyes. "That's unreal, man..."

A deep voice chortled at that. "When it comes to Frank, there's a lot that seems unreal. Especially that mug of his."

A tall, well-built man stepped up beside the two and reached out to rest a hand on Frank's shoulder. "Every day I marvel at how this guy managed to get married. Now that's hard to believe."

"Come on, John, jealousy doesn't suit you." Frank shrugged off the hand and spun around, swatting the larger man's midsection. "Then again, with a gut like that, not much does suit you."

"Ah, cute. Real cute. Maybe you wanna hop in the ring so I can put another dent in that ugly snout of yours." John shot back, gesturing towards a nose that had visibly taken some hits in the past.

"Oh yeah?" Frank's eyes narrowed, his right fist raised. "Square up, Gunny. I'm good to go."

Gunnery Sergeant John Stewart glanced around at the mostly empty bar, his gaze passing over the younger Conway who seemed unsure and slightly worried at this turn of events, before settling back onto Frank's. "Right then."

John stepped forward, his right arm also outstretched.

The two jarheads clasped arms, huge grins breaking out across their faces as they pulled one another into a hug.

"Damn, Frank, I think the newbie just about shit himself over there," John told his friend as they broke apart and turned to face the corporal.

Laughing, Castle added, "yeah, this one's a little gullible. Should have seen him the other day, the other guys had him convinced platoon tradition meant all fresh blood had to give the CO a special gift. You should have seen his face when he handed the lieutenant a box of chocolate."

John looked over to the younger man who had his eyes cast down sheepishly. "Aw, hey, don't feel too bad about it, Rookie. When Frank here first joined up, one of the boys told him—"

"Woah, I think we've taken up enough of the corporal's time. Isn't that right, son?" Frank cut in, casting a 'not a chance' look towards his best friend.

"Tell you what," he told Ross, "it's getting late, how's about you head on back to the barracks and leave John and I here to catch up."

"Uh, sure. Alright." Conway looked towards John, "but you've definitely gotta tell me some of the stories another time, Sarge. Something tells me they're worth it."

"Over my dead body," Frank laughed again, grabbing a beer and tossing it towards John.

The two migrated over towards the empty lounge chairs as they began discussing events of their respective last few weeks. John, Frank's closest friend in the corps, had just gotten back from leave while Frank had been tasked with overseeing the newest trio of graduates from the scout-sniper school. They both would have preferred swapping positions, truth be told. Frank hadn't seen his family in person in close to five months, and John... Well, it was never easy to bury your mother. He'd have welcomed the chance to distract himself with recruit supervision.

"How're Maria and the kids? Spoke to them this week yet?" John said an hour later.

"They're good. Great even. Lisa just had her dance recital last week and Maria tells me she killed it. And Junior, man, that kid just wrote his full name for the first time. Can you believe that? He's already grown up so fast."

John could hear his friend's voice catch slightly at the sentiment but chose to let it go without mention. "You put in for leave? Doesn't look like we're going to spin up for a while, should have time to spend with them, at least."

Frank scoffed. "I tried. Twice. Brass keeps denying me for some reason. Tells me I'm needed here."

"Hey, you know how it is. I'm sure you'll get cleared sooner than later."

"Right. Until then I'll keep missing all the moments that matter."

The two sipped their beers in silence, letting that thought hang for a moment.

"You know," Frank finally added, "Maria and I were talking last time I was over there. About how in a couple of more years I'll have hit my twenty. About how, maybe, it's about time."

John cast a surprised glance at his fellow marine. A few years ago he never would have expected the man to even hint at such a thing; Frank Castle lived and breathed the marine corps.

"You considering it for real?" John asked.

There was a long pause before Frank finally answered. "Yeah. Yeah, I think so."

"Well shit."

"I miss my family, man. I miss holding my babies. No," he paused for a moment, reflecting. "I already did miss that. They're no longer babies... I just don't want to miss anything else."

"Hey," said John, "you don't gotta justify yourself to me, brother. Twenty years is a long time to serve. Several lifetimes for many of us. There's no shame in retirement. And, if anyone deserves it, it's you, Frank."

The two clinked their bottles together and took another sip. It was getting late, the sun was only a few hours from rising, and they knew it was about time to call it a night. As they stood, however, a gravelly voice called out.

"Staff Sergeant Castle."

"Yeah, what's up?" Frank spun around slowly, careful not to lose his balance. He was partway through lifting the beer back to his lips when his eyes widened.

"Shit," he cursed under his breath soft enough that he hoped the man before him wouldn't hear. Hastily shoving his near-empty bottle toward John, the marine straightened his back and offered a salute.

The man before him wasn't someone Frank recognized, but the polished gold insignia was impossible to mistake.


"At ease, Marine." The officer didn't bother returning the salute, instead, he passed his gaze over the scene and sergeants before him with a critical eye. "Getting an early start to the morning?"

"No, sir. Late night, sir." Frank gestured towards John who by now had also stood and saluted. "The gunny just got back and we were catching up."

The older man, his hair starting to gray, nodded. "Well, I hope you two boys have finished reminiscing. I've got an assignment I need to speak to you about."

"Sir?" John spoke up, confused as to why this couldn't have waited until morning. And why it was being brought up in a bar instead of a proper war room meeting.

"Not you, Gunnery Sergeant." The major focused his gaze, and the slightest of smiles twisted his lips. "I need Castle. Special reassignment."

Present day
Over New York City, USA

"Approaching the AO. ETA two minutes."

Frank Castle gave two clicks over the headset's mic to acknowledge the update, not that his pilot needed it. First Lieutenant Natalie Reed was just about the best damn air jockey Frank had had the pleasure to ride with. She knew the drill as well as he did.

If circumstances were different, he thought he might actually enjoy the ride. Frank had never been a fan of helos in the past, but he also knew that the bird he rode in currently was unlike any other.

The Super Blackhawk, while modeled after several of its famed helicopter predecessors, was the first in a next-generation series of utility and attack aircraft. Featuring twin self-articulating gyroscopic rotors, it was fully VTOL capable. Not that it was unusual for there to exist vertical takeoff and landing craft, they had been around for decades now, but the Blackhawk was unique in its mobility, speed, and range. It could carry a fully loaded complement of twelve assault troopers across the entire continental United States in less than ten hours without the need to refuel.

And it was now Frank's personal transport. Much to the annoyance of many military higher-ups.

Glancing out the viewport, his eye caught what remained of the Empire State Building. He could see even from this distance the recently erected scaffolding that marked what would become the start of the reconstruction process. He touched his chest and the emblem there as he stared at the wreckage. The battle that had ripped the famous monument from the New York skyline was also, in part, responsible for why he was here. And it reminded him of the destruction this city had experienced two decades earlier.

Back then the tragedy had inspired him into action, propelling him into his career as a marine. Now, a similar tragedy was urging him to even greater action. The symmetry would be beautiful if it wasn't born of sadness.

"Thirty seconds from LZ, Captain," Reed informed him over the radio. Ahead of him in the cockpit, she flipped several switches before adding, "we're running silent now."

Captain... Frank didn't know whether or not he should scoff at that title. A year ago he was a staff sergeant and would have had to address Lieutenant Reed as a superior. Now, and purely because of his new role, he was a fully commissioned officer who had skipped several grades straight to captain. That fact had never sat well with him and he wasn't sure he'd ever get used to it.

"Understood, Lieutenant."

Frank moved quickly, undoing his safety harness and standing by the Blackhawk's large, starboard door. His hands running across his suit and checking and re-checking his gear as a habit while his eyes bore into the single light above the doorway. Waiting for it to indicate he was clear to deploy.

The seconds dragged on, seeming to stretch into minutes. The only thing audible from where he stood was his own beating heart. Even the rotors, normally deafening in a regular helo, couldn't be heard due to the silent running protocols.

Frank listened, counting the beats in his chest. As the thirtieth second drew nearer, the beats came faster.

This is it, he thought. All the training. All the expectations. This is the moment.

From beneath his custom helmet, Frank Castle grinned. He hadn't been this excited for a mission in a very long time.

The doorway light flashed from its usual red to a dull yellow then to a bright green. He barely registered Reed's voice confirming they were over the landing zone as he reached out and yanked, sliding the door wide open.

He looked down from where the Blackhawk was hovering over Manhattan, the city streets over eighty meters below. Folding his arms across his chest in a cross, his grin widened. Then, he took a step forward, immediately dropping from the Blackhawk.

"Oorah!" Said the new Captain America as he plummeted to the ground below.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by HenryJonesJr
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Member Seen 22 days ago

The house smelled old to Rogue. Actually, house wasn't a word that did the place justice. It was a full blown mansion if she had ever seen one, which she hadn't before.

That was besides the fact, of course. The place was incredible. Dark, intricately carved wood lined the walls, the smell like what she imagined a grandmother's old house would smell like. It was welcoming and homey. In the main foyer, beautifully abstract stained glass rose along the high arching walls, diffusing the light in a warm rainbow of light. It all felt like something out of a fairy tale.

As she followed Steve Rogers down the halls of the mansion, multitudes of kids from all age groups rushed by them chatting, laughing, and playing. She had been in an orphanage with a bunch of kids before this, but the other kids never acted like this. Everyone was miserable, and few of them really wanted to make the others around them laugh or feel better. Again, this place didn't feel real.

Rogue was embarrassed to say it made her feel uncomfortable to be around so much happiness. She had never experienced anything like it before.

"You dose me this morning, Steve?" she asked with some suspicion.

He looked over his shoulder at her and chuckled, "What's that supposed to mean?"

"I dunno," she motioned around her, her white streak of hair swirling around her face as she did. She pushed the hair back out of her eyes, "Suburban Hogwarts don't feel like a real place is all."

"Xavier's School is a place that is only real because of the sheer will of its headmaster," Steve shrugged. "Charles is the preeminent voice in mutant rights. And this is the place he built so mutant children could be safe."

Rogue nodded and grumbled something incoherent. That's why he was bringing her here. To dump her off somewhere safe. It was a nice place, that much was obvious. But she still wasn't comfortable with the idea.

Steve rapped his knuckles on the dark wood of a door, and a refined voice from the other side announced, "Come in!"

The heavy door swung open, and Rogue walked in behind the former Captain America. Inside waiting for them was a man in a sports coat and jeans, with auburn hair leaning against a wall looking out the window. The man was almost Steve's height with a leaner, but still powerful-looking, build. He turned and smiled, revealing the ruby sunglasses that were on his kind face. Rogue had to admit he was handsome.

Behind the desk at the center of the room sat a bald in a tweed coat. It even had the leather patches on the elbows like in the movies. He looked about as stereotypical as any headmaster could possibly be. But there was a keen intelligence behind his pale blue eyes.

"Steven," the man behind the desk smiled before sliding back, revealing he was sitting in a wheelchair. He glided up to her and extended his hand, "And I believe your name is Rogue. Welcome, my name is Charles Xavier. We're happy to have you."

She flinched a little at his outstretched hand before remembering she had her gloves on. She shook it, and smiled, "Yea, thanks. Glad to be here, I guess."

"Rogue," the younger man pushed himself off the wall and shook her hand as well, "I'm Scott Summers. Or, Cyclops, if you prefer. I'm the school's history teacher as well as athletics director. Good to meet you. Later I can take you around and introduce you to the other teachers and some of the students in your year."

"Yea, uh, about that," Rogue shrugged. "I still ain't sure this is for me. I ain't been all that good at school in my life, and I definitely ain't fancy like this place."

"Many feel that way before they spend time here," Xavier smiled slightly. "But I promise you-"

"No, Chuck," Rogue shook her head. None of them understood. She had grown up in a swamp to a mother and father who hadn't even finished elementary school, let alone high school. She had barely learned to read from them before they went and disappeared and dropped her off at the orphanage. She had never had any real friends, just other orphans who wanted to get adopted as much as she did. That never happened, and then she ended up kidnapped by those bastards. What point was there in pretending she could belong here. "I don't think it's gonna work."

"Rogue," Steve sighed, "this is how it's gotta be. Where I'm going, you're not going to be able to follow. I'm not going to be able to protect you and stop the people who abducted you."

He just wants to dump me off like the rest of them. First person that actually seemed to give a shit about me and he's dropping me off somewhere as quick as he can.

"I'm a mutant, Steve," she put emphasis on his name. "I got powers. I can fight. It's not fair that I ain't go no say in this."

The three men in the room all looked at one another before looking at their feet.

Good, Rogue thought to herself, I hope they all feel bad.

"If I'm staying here, I at least want to do one thing before I do," she folded her arms. "I want to go to the orphanage and tell them I'm alive. In person. The place was a shit hole, but a few of the staff was nice enough. I'd like to let them know I ain't dead or human trafficked or whatever."

Another sigh from Rogers, "Rogue I need to-"

"It's no problem, Steve," Charles waved his hand. "Scott, can we take the two of them on a ride in the Blackbird?"

Cyclops chuckled, "Professor, I'll fire up the engines."
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Sep
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Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

Member Seen 18 hrs ago

100 Years after the Dawn of Man // Jotunheim

While the mortal men of Midgard still struggled with the beasts of disease, cold, famine, and starvation wars raged on in ways that their primitive minds could never imagine. Races that had existed at the beginning of time, and would see the end of the Universe itself fought. Bor, Allfather to Asgard, the eternal city lead the charge on the cold world of Jotunheim. He raised his bloody war ax in the air, behind him legions of gold-clad warriors looked to him for guidance. Heeding his every word as he led them through the battle against the fearsome Jotuns. The average Jotun was twice the height of an Asgardian, though what they made up for in size they lacked in skill or discipline. Clawing at their foes with poorly crafted swords made from ice. "ᛈᛖᛟᛈᛚᛖ ᛟᚠ ᚨᛋᚷᚨᚱᛞ! ᛏᛟᚷᛖᛏᚺ'ᚱ!*"

Jumping in the air he used his extreme strength to bring his ax crashing down into the ground, sending waves of debris towards the enemies who dared stand in his way. The legions gushed forth, blade clashing against blade. The sound of war barely piercing the howling winds that brought snow down, whipping at the faces and eyes of the Asgardians. The Jotuns seemed unphased, while many an Asgardian fell. Blinking at the wrong moment, repositioning their hands or losing their grip on their weapons entirely. Bor cursed, swinging his ax with his left hand he extended his right towards the arm of a Jotun attempting to cut him from behind. Grasping the beast's arm he twisted it with a nasty crack before following through on the attack by pulling his arms together behind his head, hands apart on the handle of the ax. As he swung the mighty weapon Dáinsleif over his head bringing his hands together. The blade cut straight through the beast's skull, splitting him from head to his groin. The two separate parts of his body splitting and falling different directions, blue blood-stained Bors face and the white snow.

Still, the winds howled, growing in strength and ferocity. Bor feared that the winds themselves would be enough to turn the tide of battle. He turned his head, looking for his eldest son. "ᛟᛞᛁᚾ, ᛁ ᚺᚨᛋ'ᛏ ᚨ ᛏᚨᛋᚴ ᚠ'ᚱ ᛏᚺᛖᛖ! ᛏᚺᛖᛖ ᚹᛁᛚᛏ ᚠᛁᚾᛞᛖᛏᚺ ᛏᚺᛖ ᚲᚨᚢᛋᛖᛏᚺ ᛟᚠ ᛏᚺᛁᛋ ᛁᚾᚠ'ᚱᚾᚨᛚ ᚹᛁᚾᛞᛖᛏᚺ, ᚨᚾᛞ ᛈᚢᛏᛏᛖᛏᚺ ᚨ ᛋᛏᚨᚾᛞ ᚺᛟ ᛏᛟᛟ ᛏ ᛟᚾᚲᛖ ᚨᚾᛞ ᚠ'ᚱ ᚨᛚᛚ*" Odin stepped forward, beams of light splitting forth from the mighty weapon Gugnir. Spearing through his enemies as he nodded towards his father. He would not fail him this day, today they would have their victory.

Present Day // Asgard

Thor walked the gilded halls and golden spires of Asgard. As a child, he had looked up the spires with a sense of wonder and achievement. Asgard had been built by his father and his father before him. Tales were sung in the great halls, stories told to all children of Asgard of the achievements of Bor Allfather, and Odin Borson. Stories of Loki and Thor Odinson spread through the halls too, off that he knew and yet, he felt all the more hollow for it. Those days were long past, the golden spires designed to bring hope to the people of Asgard had become his prison ever since peace was brought to the nine realms of Yggdrasil. In the thousands of years since only one realm remained in danger. Midgard, and yet by the very terms that brought peace to the other nine realms Thor could not set foot on Midgard, for it violated their treaty. A treaty that he had a duty as Odinson and protector of the nine realms to upkeep. He saw the people of Asgard busying themselves around their lives, some washed the clothes while others trained. He could see a father teaching his son how to hunt.

There had to be more to life than this, the life of a God should hold more significance. Thor clenched his fist slightly as he shook his head, he would follow his fathers' instruction. The Dwarves of Nidavellir had called for help, their seers sensing much danger as a ship sailed through the skies between worlds, heading directly for their world. Darkness the likes of which the Nine Realms had not felt for centuries. Thor couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement, for whomever these foes were they would no doubt they would feel the might of Mjolnir and remember the name of Thor Odinson. As he reached the end of the city a vast ocean lay before him, before dropping off into the void of space. The rainbow bridge being the only pathway forward, at the end stood Heimdall on the edge of the bridge between worlds. Forever standing guard, his eyes seeing all that ever was or ever will be everywhere within the nine realms. Thor approached the mighty guard, as there was a flash of light as the Bifrost opened. Through which a figure could be seen walking through snow, stepping through the portal Balder shrugged snow from his shoulders.

Thor smiled. ”Hail Balder the Brave!”

The two clasped hands and gave each other a pat on the back before Balder bowed his head slightly as a sign of respect. ”Hail Thor Odinson.”

Thor cast a wary glance over his brother in arms. The man looked tired, a look of defeat on his face. ”Tell me, Balder, what plagues you? Did the Jotuns give you trouble?

Balder shook his head. ”Nay. The giants still hold to the treaty, but pray tell have you spoken to any of the seers recently?” Thor merely shook his head. ”Every Seer in all of the eight realms we have access too sees a coming storm, a great threat rising from Midgard. One that threatens the very heart of Yggdrasil.”

A look of shock crossed Thor's face as he turned to Heimdall. ”Pray tell me Heimdall, did you know of this?”

The eternal guardian cast his blind eyes that saw everything towards the Odin Son. “It is true, the threat you go to face in the realm of the dwarves is but the first act in a much larger scheme. The culprit behind which remains hidden away from my sight. I fear we are pawns in a much larger game, but it is a game we must play.”

Thor nodded. ”Fear not brothers, for I shall deal with this threat to Nidavellir as surely as I will deal with this threat on Midgard.” He stepped forward as Heimdall raised his sword in the air, and with a swift turning motion, he cut a hole through the Bifrost straight to Nidavellir. Stepping into the portal he felt the rush as he was transported in a rainbow beam of light through the branches of the Yggdrasil, landing on the firm surface of Nidavellir. A metal city stood before him, practical rather than ornamental. A smog-filled the sky as the forges of the Dwarves never ceased in their thirst for fuel. Production never halted on the Dwarven world.

A Dwarf came walking towards him. “Hail Thor Odinson! You have come.” He bowed his head out of respect, a gesture the Asgardian returned. The Dwarves may have been smaller in stature, though Thor had naught but respect for the masters of metal. For without the Dwarves he would not have the mighty Mjolnir by his side in battle. Nor would his father have Gugnir, or Heimdall his sword to open the Bifrost.

”Master Dwarf, Odin sent me as soon as he heard word of your worries. Tell me, where am I needed, and I shall go there with due haste.”

The small, but surprisingly stout, individual pointed towards the sky. “Our seers predicted its coming and told us it befell a great tragedy. We cannot get more out of them, other than it was host to a threat greater to any we have ever seen.”


The Dwarf shook his head. “Nay. Ragnarok is the end of Asgard and the rebirth of her people. Our seers see an end to the World Tree itself, all worlds die.”

Thor's face went stern. The Ragnarok Cycle was part of life for any Asgardian, there was no telling how many times he had died and been reborn as part of the cycle. Each life different, each life is forgotten. If this threat was greater than that of Ragnarok, if it threatened the world tree itself then it was like a crisis unlike any other the nine realms had faced. ”Fear not my stout friend, I shall see to this threat personally and ensure no harm befalls you and your people-” He started to spin Mjolnir in his hand, letting go and allowing it to pull him into the air, a crack of thunder could be heard in the skies above. “-So says the Mighty Thor!

Flying through the air he passed through the smog that polluted the dwarven world, and into the void of space. In the distance stars glimmered, looking around the vastness of space he focused on spotting the threat that the seers were warning them off. Eventually, he picked up on something moving, straight towards him at high speeds. Something the likes of which he had never seen before.

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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

Member Seen 9 hrs ago

Adolphus Wood Parkway
11:23 PM

“So how does a nun take a job with the Gotham PD?”

Tork glanced out the corner of his eye at Sister Justine. They rode in his squadcar while Corrigan and Dr. Tarr dove ahead of them in a white van leading their two-car convoy. He noticed she worried a well-worn rosary between her long, slender fingers.

“Detective Corrigan,” she said. “He recruited me along with Dr. Tarr.”

“And the Church is cool with you moonlighting with the GCPD?” asked Tork.

Justine paused for a long moment before they shrugged. “My relationship with the Church is… complicated. I haven’t been ex-communicated but I am… never particularly welcomed whenever I interact with their emissaries. The things I’ve done in my past are well within acceptable Church doctrine, but it’s not something they like to discuss. ”

Sister Justine looked over at Tork and stared at him solemnly.

“Are you a religious man, sergeant?”

Tork felt his face flush. He didn’t think she was doing it on purpose, but she had the capability of shaming and embarrassing him. It seemed to be something every sister possessed. “I used to be. But the things I’ve seen since becoming a cop have made that faith erode.”

“The work we do here will make restore your faith in God,” she said softly. “You’ll know He exists… and then you’ll wonder why He allows this world to continue.”

“Again,” Tork said with a sigh. “What kind of work does that to a person?”

“You’ll see,” she said. “If I describe it you’ll laugh me off. The only way to become a believer is to see firsthand.”

They followed Tarr’s van down an off-ramp. They were somewhere on the outskirts of the city. The small, cramped rowhouses of the East End were replaced by comfortably middle class homes.

“What about the L.T.?” asked Tork. “Is he a ‘believer’?”

“He’s a clockwatcher,” said Sister Justine. “Counting down the days left until he takes his twenty year retirement. Lieutenant Haskins is the boss, but you’ll find that Corrigan is the one who really runs the show.”

An unmarked police car with flashing lights sat parked outside a nice two story home. Tork was surprised something gruesome had happened out this way. They were still in the Gotham city limits, but just so. A few blocks away would be unincorporated Gotham County, where an entire generation of working professionals called home. Not the city that their parents and grandparents had been raised in. Good enough to work in and commute to, but not good enough for them to actually live in. Because of that this part of the city was without a doubt the most sleepy and peaceful section for the GCPD to police.

Their small convoy pulled up behind the unmarked. Tork and Sister Justine got out along with Corrigan. Dr. Tarr rooted through the back of the van for some sort of equipment. Waiting for them on the lawn was a dark haired woman in a pants suit. Tork saw the badge dangling around her neck.

“Sergeant Tork, this is Detective Lisa Drake,” said Corrigan. “The last member of merry little band.”

Tork shook Drake’s hand. He saw a curious look flash across her eyes as they temporarily glazed over.

“Club soda and dishwashing detergent will get that stain out…”

Tork furrowed his brow. “What stain?”

“Your coffee stain,” said Drake.

Her eyes focused again and an apologetic look flashed in them.

“Sorry, Sergeant Tork… just, umm... Yeah you’ll see.”

“Did someone reach out to your or did you hear it over the scanner?” Corrigan asked Drake.

“I heard on the radio a patrolman calling in for a potential psych eval on an eyeball wit. That peaked my interest, and it doubled down on the description of seeing someone walking through walls. Then I got here and convinced the uniforms to let us have a look before the coroner shows up--”

“This whole place is covered in orgone energy,” said a heavily accented voice from behind Tork.

He turned and saw Dr. Tarr, a tall and thin man with a receding hairline, thick goatee, and even thick glasses. In the good doctor’s hands was a battered metal toolbox.

“Do you not feel it, Sister Justine?”

Tork glanced over at the nun. There was a worried look on her face and she worked her rosary beads intently.

“Let’s go inside and see what’s going on,” Corrigan said. “Then we can talk about energy, orgone or otherwise.”

The inside of the house was decorated in what could only be called New Age Basic Bitch. Lots of mason jars, signs about home and wine. An unironic Live, Laugh, Love sign hung above a fireplace. In front of that sign, dangling from the ceiling fan, was a dead body. A thin, middle aged man hung from a necktie. He had all the signs of death by strangulation. Bulging eyes with a swollen tongue poking out the corner of the mouth.

Tork had seen his share of hangers, but it seemed like the rest of the group saw something he didn’t. Corrigan scrutinized the dead body while Sister Justine and Dr. Tarr carefully examined the floor beneath the dead man’s dangling feet.

“Who is he… was he?” Tork asked.

“Peter Thatcher,” Drake said as she walked towards the far wall. “Forty-five years old, employed as an architect. The wife was found on the floor right here at the wall, scratching at it and screaming her head off. Said she saw someone go through the wall just as Peter started to swing.”

“No chair,” said Tork. “Nothing for him to stand on or jump off of.”

“Well we know she was telling the truth,” said Corrigan. “We just need to--”

“Wait,’ Tork interrupted. “How do we know that?”

The four members of the squad exchanged looks with each other. Corrigan looked at Tarr and nodded. The doctor placed his toolbox down on the floor and popped it open.

“It appears that you are a man of science, Sergeant Tork,” he said as he rooted through the box. “Like me. Now our colleagues here, they have the gift of the Sight. But for you and I?”

Tarr pulled a pair of glasses from inside the toolbox. To Tork they looked identical to the own thick lenses the doctor wore on his face. The only difference was the greenish tint on the lenses.

“We must adapt.”

He handed them to Tork and raised an eyebrow.

“‘One of the four beasts saying 'Come and see,' and I saw,’” said Tarr.

Tork slipped the glasses on and immediately wished he hadn’t. The entire room had took on a ghostly green aura. He could see Thatcher’s dead body was covered in it, particularly around his hands and neck. At his feet a collection of the energy spiraled upwards in a slow pattern. There were bright green footprints that led to the far wall where Drake stood. On the wall was an outline of a door.

“What the fuck,” Tork said as he took the glasses off. “What is that?”

“It’s what we see, sarge,” said Corrigan. “Drake, Sister Justine, and I. All the time.”

Tork let the glasses fall to the ground. Tarr let out a gasp of concern, but it died in his throat when the glasses safely landed on the carpeted floor.

“Fuck this,” said Tork.

He stormed through the living room and found himself in the kitchen. Tork paced furiously across the hardwood surface. He didn’t notice a half empty coffee cup on the edge of the kitchen island until he ran into it. The cup fell to the floor and spattered his pants with coffee. Tork took a deep breath and laced his hands through his hair. Deep breaths were the key to keeping himself calm and steady. Big breath in… hold it…. Now big breath out.

“We’re not fucking with you,” Corrigan said as he came into the kitchen. “And we’re not crazy… well, we’re crazy, but not to the point that we’re making all this up.”

“So what is all that shit I saw out there?” Tork snapped. “If you’re not fucking crazy, and if you’re not pulling my chain, then what is it?”

“Magical energy,” Corrigan said with a straight face.

“Yeah, sure,” Tork laughed. “You like the Easter Bunny for this?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Corrigan. “This is more the work of an occultist, a powerful one by the looks of it.’

“Makes perfect sense,” said Tork.

He started to pace through the kitchen and shaking his head.

“What the fuck did I get into?”

“This is what we do, sarge,” said Corrigan. “Our unit. On paper, we’re listed as some backroom research squad. But the truth is much more complicated. Sometimes the supernatural forces of Gotham step out of line. That’s where we come in. You may not believe in it, sarge, but that doesn’t matter. It sure as hell exists.”

“James, Francis,” Sister Justine called from the living room. “We found an item of interest, please join us in the sitting room.”

“Just sit back and watch,” Corrigan said. “Watch us in action. If this gets too real or you can’t handle it well… you can always ask the lieutenant for a transfer.”

“Actually, I can’t,” said Tork. “But I’m sure you know that.”

“I looked into you,” Corrigan said as they walked back into the living room. “Anybody who joins my team, against their will or not, I make sure I can trust them before they come aboard. Come on.”

Drake, Tarr, and Sister Justine were gathered around… something on the floor. It was at the base of the wall where the door had been formed. Tork reached down to the floor and picked the pair of glasses Dr. Tarr had given him up. He slipped them on and let the greenish hue fill his vision again. Tis time Tork was ready for it. He and Corrigan joined the others at the wall.

“There’s something here written on the baseboard,” Tarr said. “Looks to be the work of our perp. We can’t make it out.”

“Looks like some kind of dead language,” said Corrigan.

“It’s Old English,” said Sister Justine. “The common tongue of witchcraft.”

“Shit,” said Drake. “An honest to God witch?”

Dr. Tarr pulled another device from his toolbox. To Tork it looked like a basic tablet, but he saw the blood red filter on the tablet’s camera lens. Tarr bent down and snapped a photo of the writing. A few seconds later the tablet chimed.

“The translation is as follows,” he said. “‘Wrath be to the house of Thatcher on this day and time. Be it so that the line ends on this day and time. A curse upon this house and all who shall dwell in it. So be it ordained in my master’s will and covenant, Goodewitch Young.’”

“Yep,” said Corrigan. “Not a dabbler or some asshole with a few pages of a spellbook… a proper incantation and curse. We got a real witch…”

“Club soda and dishwashing detergent,” Sister Justine said to Tork.

“What?” asked Tork.

“The stain, dear,” said the nun. She pointed a finger at below Tork's waist. The upper thighs of his pants were flecked with dried coffee stains. “Club soda and dishwashing detergent is best for coffee stains.”

Tork looked over at Drake. She simply shrugged.

“Tried to warn you.”
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M a n t r A

Location: Canoga Park, California - Work Day
Issue #1.02: Their New Circumstances

After fifteen-hundred years one tended to forget a lot about their past bodies. Anything past 100 years ago was pretty much a blur while he was in a body. He was reminded every time he had to swap bodies as he was forced to go through the soulwalk where he was forced to walk past all the lives he had displaced over the years. Of course he didn't actually know if they were in fact the real souls of the people pushed out or if they were just the imprints of their minds, left behind in his unconsciousness. They had never reacted to him before, so perhaps it was the latter rather than the former, course if he learned more magic he was probably sure to find out at some point.

At first when he had started hopping from host to host he had been rather appalled at the situation; eventually the reality of the war being fought won over the casualties of his body hopping. Archimage was a sorcerer of life, while Boneyard was a sorcerer of death. The one rejoiced in the wonder of life, the other revealed in the power of death. Throughout the centuries Lukasz saw many people, even entire cities drained to the last drop by the evil of Boneyard who prolonged his life and grew more powerful through each siphoning of a mage's magic. Boneyard's hunger for magic would have doomed the world if it had not been for the Archimage and his 12 knights, thousands, millions, or even billions would die under his cruel heel if he had his way. With that thought in mind each life taken over was just another casualty in this fifteen-hundred year war, a necessary casualty to stop many others.

At least, that was how he managed to cope with it.

Eden Blake was forced to live in reality however, and that reality was a 9-5 job to support her kids. It was some kind of office job, Lukasz wasn't exactly sure of the details but it was something like a secretary, though no one person she was in charge of. In any case it involved computers a lot and thankfully Archimage had always been pretty insistent on using technology as their primary weapon against Boneyard so he was already quite familiar with it along with the faint memories that leaked out from Eden's brain into his own memories. Eden was apparently quite adept at her job.

"Hey Eden! Your department has been slacking a bit, not sure what is going on with you these days but I need this done by the end of the day!" One of Eden's superiors barked. Lukasz didn't know his name but as Eden's superior he had least demanded respect.

"Of course sir, I'll make sure it gets done." The higher up nodded and walked away. Eden sighed and went back to the computer.

"It's not like you Ms. Blake to get behind, usually you're so poised but these days you seem a little...grouchy?" Eden raised an eyebrow and looked at the entrance to her cubicle to see a man from the cubicle next to her's leaning in. He was a bit of a scrawny fellow, not at all like the bodies he had been put in before, but he still would have preferred that to this.

"There's just been a recent...change I have to get used to is all and it's throwing me off Mr..." Eden's eyes wandered to try and find a nameplate or some kind of identification but there was none unfortunately.

"Boy you really are out of it, I know we don't talk much but you should at least remember your neighbor, Thomas Roth."

"Don't worry, I'll be alright Thomas."

"Well if you need any help while you're having trouble don't be afraid to give me a call, I'll help out as best I can."

"Well, thanks, but I'll be fine." Eden calmly rejected the offer of help, as at this point Lukasz could easily tell that Thomas was not just trying to be helpful, his eyes were wondering a bit. Lukasz could emphasize with the man as he was forced to look in the mirror every morning and see what Thomas was seeing right now, an extremely attractive raven-haired beauty with a rocking body. Boy, if he had been in a male body he probably would have tried get with Eden if he had the chance. She had a beauty that could attract men with a single look, the effect was kind of ruined though when you realized you were attracted to what was essentially now your own body though.

Come to think of it, in his last male body which lasted pretty much literally only a few hours before he had been killed by Warstrike, he remembered seeing Eden's face before he left to join the other knights. If he was not mistaken, the black chick who he assumed had been the man's wife, was at Eden's house with when he left her. It had been a very short and violent life for his few hours as...Carl? Well Carl was dead now so no use dwelling on it.

Thomas tried to put on a smile as he retreated to his cubicle. Ugh, it just felt wrong to have a man look at his body in such a way, even if it was actually Eden's body. He should be the one looking at her like that, not that scrawny pipsqueak but instead he was her.

"Pft, that guy has no backbone." Eden blew away a curl before promptly forgetting about Thomas to focus on her job. Only a few more hours before she would be free to search for clues about how to free Archimage and track down Boneyard's goons. No doubt Notch wasn't too happy he hadn't been the one to kill Lukasz's last body.

Location: Boneyard's Prison
Issue #1.02: Their New Circumstances

Deep underneath Boneyard's palace was the wet, stone cells of the tyrant's prison. The stench of rot, decay, and feces wafted around in the dampness. With virtually no light, the cells were designed in order to drain the will of any prisoner such inside, the only company one had were the biting bugs and the strange creatures that were this world's rats. Boneyard didn't mind any of this in the least, in fact, he revealed in the misery in brought whenever he went down there to check on the fools that opposed him, in particular one very important fool.

"I commend your resolve brother, but you will tell me eventually where you sent your last hope, and who that woman Mantra is!" Boneyard watched as his brother writhed against his chains as his torturer, Notch, went to work with his blade. The Archimage looked like a bloody mess with cuts and bruises all over his skin. His body was haggard as Boneyard continued to drain Archimage of his magic. The Archimage was powerful, but he was also a mage that had reached his limits centuries ago and had stagnated, it had only been his experience that had put him on a level playing field, and the fact that Boneyard was forced to remain in his conquered realm most of the time.

Boneyard had no such limits, as he simply drained the magical energy from others, but that also meant he needed a way to replenish his reserves and unfortunately for the Archimage he would be a ready supply for quite some time.

"Little brother, you know that since this war started I was prepared to die to save Earth from your grasp. If you let Notch go too far with his torture I will surely die and you will have learned nothing. Surely you must know I was prepared for an event such as this."

"You always were a schemer Archimage, but what you fail to realize is that here, in my realm, I am GOD. As long as I am in control you will never be able to die, older brother. While you may have the mental fortitude to resist Notch's skills with a blade, every mind has a breaking point, especially if the time we have together is eternal!" Boneyard grinned, his half robotic face restricted part of his mouth's movements which made it look eerie and twisted.

"Notch, be sure to continue peeling Archimage down, but try not to kill him since I'll have to waste power bringing him back again." Notch bowed as boneyard flung his cape around and stomped out of the prison. Notch grinned as he turned back to the Archimage.

"Say Archimage, I have this game I want to try. See for every notch on my blade I'm gonna carve out a little piece of ya. Consider it payback for all the times that solider boy of yours, Lukasz managed to kill me over the centuries. Torture is no fun without a little sentimental value no?" Archimage gritted his teeth as Notch went back to work.

"Oh...I'll have to add another because that woman got in way and stole the mask from us. I'm still pissed about that. Who did you send into her anyway? All your soldiers were muscle-brained idiots as I recall...well if we meet again I'll be sure to find out even if you don't tell me!"
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