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Mal’ahk #6: Apocalypse Now, Part 2


Dr. Jacob Regan & Dr. David A. Jones


Lost Haven, ME

Present Day


And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. -Revelations 6:4


The first of the smaller ships met its end on the point of his wings as he slammed the two of them together and drove right down the center of it. Presumably sheering the pilot in half. The fire of the explosion washed over him and much to his surprise it didn’t seem to affect him in the slightest. Whirling to look behind him as his momentum carried him forward, Dr. Reagan narrowed his eyes at the tumbling two halves of the craft.

I am the Fire Sword of the Lord of Hosts. Fire is of little consequence to my person.

”Well that’s good to know.” As his wings carried him further up the next fighter his feet smashed into the front canopy and he drove his sword through it before flicking it out through the roof. The sword parted the void hardened front of the craft like paper sending a spray of whatever passed for blood amongst the invaders into the air. It was quickly flicked away by the rushing air.

Onward and upwards Dr. Reagan climb cutting down fighter after fighter after fighter. It was slow laborious work more akin to chopping wood as his wings slapped aside their energy weapons and his sword cut them appart.

We need my fire. This will never matter at this rate. We are too slow and too- Wait.

The air rippled around them and suddenly Dr. Reagan felt his gaze drawn towards a descending drop ship however what was more concerning was the chorus of whispers that rose in the air around him as he stared out towards one of the bridges. Suddenly a wash of eerie red light descended from the sky and struck the ground near the start of the bridge.

”What was that…”

I wish I did not know what it was.That lander is heading right into the heart of the bloodbath around here. That is the only explanation for what is about happen.

Wheeling in midair he lunged past and through any fighters that moved to intercept him. Something had the Angel of Repentance and Fire...scared? That could not bode well. In a diving arc he slammed into the canopy of a fighter and tucked his wings. Driving his sword through the roof he yanked it over by the sword and used it like a glider. Stamping down on the edge of the fighter it tilted and he yanked hard. It curved in a heavy arc as he directed it towards the lander. Until suddenly something fired a surface to air missile at him. With a leap he cleared the fighter right as it exploded. For one thing there was no way a surface to air missile like that could have destroyed the fighter. How he knew that was beyond him but still. Snapping the wings open he descended to the ground only to witness.

Annihilation.

That was the only word for the man.

Wearing fatigues, a grey tank top, and a black tactical vest he leapt to the top of a police car which was parked at the bridge. They had been directing traffic but now with the invaders unloading from the troop transport there was not much they could have done. This man however was walking destruction. Dr. Reagan spread his wings and came to a beating hover as he watched.

The man was wearing what he assumed was a full face ballistic mask but it was in the shape of a skull. ”Who is that?”.

That is War.

Sure enough, that appeared to be exactly what happened.

In the blink of an eye the man leveled a light machine gun and opened fire into the front ranks of the aliens. The result was spectacular and devastating which seemed unusual given the fact that the weapon probably shouldn’t have had that effect. As the invaders spread out to seek concealment from his arc of fire he dumped the machine gun and produced a shotgun. ”Where is he-”

As the sword is a part of me, so is the Red Blade a part of him. They are just different expressions of it. He can manifest them at will.

The man, or angel. Thing. War. Moved from the position on the top of the police car to the nearest position where one of the aliens had concealed itself and fired three shots into the thing racking the shotgun each time sending shells arcing through the air. The others poured energy weapons towards him but he leapt behind the car he had just killed one of them behind only to bodily lift the car and slam it into the next position where one of the invaders was hiding.

He is getting stronger. This fight is about to get worse….

-----


How much longer can I handle all this, will the power last long enough? David bit back his thoughts as several bolts of plasma raced over his head.

He rushed through the air, over open water now, with several alien fighters on his tail. Obviously having taken note of the more notable resistance. They slowed to his speed so they could fire on him. Turning all the way around, he unleashed an elongated stream of flame that burned its way through the clouds, a trade of furious energy attacks traveled between the jets and David. But where he stood his ground, the fighters broke off, and came in from different angles. Neon green bolts pelted David’s body, the energy crashed and exploded into fizzling sparks, the force of the blasts moved him a foot or so out of position.

Fire’s too slow, I need something faster…

The air around his body ceased wavering, a sign that he was no longer channeling fire. The flames of wild fury, gone, replaced by the feeling of decisiveness, the need to reach his enemies quickly. Lightning gathered, and danced across his upper body. Bringing up both his arms, he led one hand over his other arm and swiped across, another hand flew over his chest, as if grabbing that lightning, and flinging it towards the invaders. Alternating hands and arms quickly, his torso blurred as he sent out a shower of sparks flying out towards the jets.

The flurry of fierce lightning blazed an electric pattern in the sky. While some of the shots went over, past, or behind the jets, there were many more that were dead on. A yellow flare gave him the impression of some kind of energy shield, but it quickly dispersed into soft embers. Several of his bolts struck the wing tips of the fighters, or pierced through and hit the engine in the back. Several small explosions told him he hit dead on, if he couldn’t feel it for himself, and the jets tailing him all crashed down into the water. Non-functional, and not a problem.

Except, the day was far from done. Something told him to look off to the distance, and then he saw it. A single fighter flew over him, racing towards a bridge in the distance, and he didn’t need any enhanced sight to see it’s target. Hundreds of civilians tried to pass over it, and they weren’t going to if that fighter had its way. He thought of the innocents lost so far, the innocents being forced into this fight, and blasted off as quickly as he could. However, these jets had one thing over him, it was speed, and at this rate he wasn’t going to make it.

David brought an arm back, and then launched it forward. A firebolt flared from his arm and towards the jet, which promptly broke into a bank, causing it to slow. It was enough for David. While the jet dodged his flame, the heat broke its shield, and he caught it by a wing. David swung himself around as fast as he could, and threw the jet straight down into the water. The wing broke off in his hand, and the jet itself launched into the water; throwing hundreds of gallons of water into the air around him.

A familiar sense of anxiety brought him back on his toes, he tossed his gaze around. For some reason, he felt his attention was divided purposefully, onto a man on the bridge, and another man flying some ways away. That feeling of anxiety manifested into some kind of aura around the bridge, but he couldn’t make sense of it. Looking at the two men, he got the feeling they were alien in the sense that they don’t belong, but not that they were directly related to the current problem. Images slowly poured into his head, pages from his bible, moments from his sunday school days, pictures and ideas he associated with certain figures.

‘The archangel of repentance, Uriel. I-is that right?’

-----


Over the river near the center of the bridge, an Emergency Search & Rescue helicopter hovered in the air, the distant sound of its blades just audible from where they stood as a low, ambient din. Given the sheer chaos unfolding upon the bridge as vehicles slowed to a crawl and civilians abandoned their transports to make their way on foot, its presence was unsurprising. It appeared to be pulling close up to the top of the bridge’s central flat-topped support arch, where atop the massive structure a single distant figure appeared to be waving at the craft as it approached.

War finished with the first wave of the troops from the ship in spectacular order as he plunged an actual chainsaw up to its handguard in one of their chests. Despite the strangeness of the whole encounter there was still a decided sense of mounting dread pressing on Dr. Reagan’s sense. It was as if Uriel was sensing something but the aura of War was blocking the real threat. Not far off one of the cities other defenders flung one of the fighter craft into the water.

It is one of the others. I do not know this one. Though he recognizes me

Moving from his position, hovering over the carnage War was still engaged in, Dr. Reagan approached the being. ”Excellent timing. Something is about to happen. The man down there is literally War. He seems quite content for now to continue ripping into the ground forces but I think something else drew him here.” Dr. Reagan’s gaze was drawn back to the fight unfolding on the ground as the aliens unloaded some sort of heavy armament version of their standard armor pattern. It was equipped with a rapid fire energy weapon which proceeded to lay down a fusillade of fire and wrath on War’s position reloading behind several damaged cars nearby. The man responded by heaving a fragmentation grenade into the massed aliens and laughing at the resulting explosion. With the armored suit momentarily distracted by the explosion, War stepped out from behind the cars and fired the underslung grenade launcher of his rifle into it before stichting the suit with rounds. Changing cars he switched at magazines and drew the things fire away from the bridge.

David tossed them both a sceptical look, not quite believing the ideas flowing into his head. One, from what the Earth was showing, was supposed to be Uriel, and the other was war? The horseman? Fire, bloodied hands, and screams; the sounds of combat echoed in his head, and then the faint impression of cold river water.


“That’s supposed to be war? He looks nothing like I thought..”
David mumbled to himself.

It still didn’t feel right. They were missing something. What was it?

”We need to figure out what is about to happen and stop it. He feeds on death and conflict. He’s waiting on something and I think it has to do with the bridge.”

“Are you Uriel?” He hesitated.
“Can you feel it too?”
David asked the angelic man, and looked about. There were police trying to get people moving, other officers were fighting with ‘war’. Although they, along with David, were surprised by his weaponry, they didn’t dwell on it long. Everyone seemed to be focused on the aliens, the incoming soldiers attempting to take the land, and the fighters that Uriel and David had dispatched themselves.

A heavier feeling took root in his chest. ‘That’s the problem’ is what he felt. There was just the one helicopter, and the police ground vehicles at the entrances and exits to the bridge.

‘Huh?’

Just one helicopter? When the skies were at their most dangerous, and it was here before David and ‘Uriel’ arrived. “Isn’t it strange that emergency helicopters would be flying now?” He ascended and soared towards the craft to get a closer look.

As he flew towards the Helicopter, he saw one of its side-doors swing open, and two men disembark from it, carrying indistinct packages. From this far away, their appearances were still fuzzy and unclear, but he could already tell something was off about them. The irregular bulk around their chests was indicative of body armor of some kind, and he could scarcely imagine any reason why a Search & Rescue chopper would be unloading equipment onto an area like the top of the bridge’s archway. The whole point was to extract trapped and injured people…

As he grew closer still, the men atop the bridge reacted to his presence. One of them pointed to him, the others turning to look - and the helicopter pulled away from the edge of the arch, swerving in the air so that its opened door faced him, and that was when all pretense of legitimacy went out the window. Facing him now in plain and open view was a tripod-mounted, heavy anti-materiel machine-gun with three men crewing it, complete with its own ammo belt and ammunition box.

He barely even had time to register as much before the helicopter’s gunners opened fire, the heavy and audible cracking report of the machine gun rapid-firing was loud enough to be audible even over the cacophony of the helicopter’s blades, with a hailstorm of rounds scythed through the air towards him even as a torrent of spent ammunition casings began to eject downwards out of the mounted gun, clattering against the rim of the helicopter’s floor before bouncing down to eventually clatter amongst the clamoring masses of people swarming across the bridge.

David didn’t dream of dodging the bullets, if he didn’t stand in their way the people on the bridge would be torn apart. As the turret unleashed a hailfire of lead, David stood resolute, he briefly thought about trying to grab the metal to catch the spent casings, but he trashed that idea. This was no time to test powers, and thoughts like that only bore fruit half the time for him.

Soaring forward as quick as he could, David did his best to resist the pure concussive force of the bullets, but he was slowed more than he liked. The gunner took this chance to aim higher, shifting the spitfire of lead towards his head. David placed the palm of his hand in front of his face and continued on, as he got closer the gunner began shouting. Not a shout of fear, but of anger, fury, as if his own willpower could make the gun shoot harder.

David slashed that idea in half. He placed his hand over the barrel, ripped the still spinning turret from its mounting. The sound of hot metal screeching and bending under his fingers screamed out. Then he threw it further into the inside of the copter, denting the cabin, sending the gun banging loudly into the back.


“What the hell are you doing! Don’t you realize what’s going on?”
He shouted in righteous fury of his own, taking a step into the cabin, forcefully pushing the gunner back inside.

The resulting stream of swears from the surrounding mercenaries - and that was exactly what they were, glorified thugs wearing surplus military fatigues and body armor - were barely coherent over the din of the helicopter blades. He did, however, hear several reiterations of “that flying fire freak.” What immediately caught his attention though, instead of the helicopter’s occupants and their dress, was the stack of plastic explosives piled into the back of the helicopter on top of a pallet, set into cases with anchoring rods and arming pins - and how there was a conspicuously uneven number of them across the top of the stack. The men on top of the bridge - their packages would account for some of what was missing. But not nearly all of it. Their intent was clear enough though.

These people were trying to bomb the bridge during an alien invasion.

Before he could redirect his full attention and fury onto the occupants, one of the mercenaries calmly stepped up to him and tapped him on the shoulder, dangling a grenade with a pulled pin in front of his face.

What exactly the mercenary said next was completely lost due to the volume of noise from the chopper blades, but David got the gist of it.

Fetch.

The mercenary dropped the grenade, letting it and its separated arming lever plummet towards the surface of the bridge. David would have given the man a look of scorn if this body had a face, or backhanded him into the wall if he had the time, but none of these were possible. So he dived back out for the grenade.

‘Was it simply going to explode, was it going to have shrapnel?’

If he was a military man he might know for sure, but that’s not what he was, so he had only one plan to be sure. Catching the grenade in one hand after finally catching up, it also occurred to him that he had no idea how long it was. Throwing it like a baseball was entirely out of the question, so he clamped his hands around it, and curled his body over it as much as he could. Then pressed his hands inward.

The grenade popped in what would have been a loud, ear-splitting, explosion, and it was. To David, who was subsequently sent flying into the water, just short of the bridge by the force of the explosion. Luckily for those on the bridge, it exploded several dozen feet above them, with something else taking the full brunt of the blast.

The flying being of fire didn't give Dr. Reagan time to respond as he turned in air; obviously sensing something amiss. It was like something was scratching at the back of his brain and he couldn't but the pieces together. That was until he turned and zipped towards the lone search and rescue helicopter circling the bridge.

Turning to watch him go he tracked the movement and then realized that the helicopter had let people out on top of the bridge but had not seemed to do much of anything else.

As if on cue the helicopter opened up with a spray of bullets. That was definitely not standard for one of those and the being who had so recently appeared flew right into it.

we need to help

Looking down at War dishing out even more punishment to the invaders and the surrounding environment. With a huff Dr. Reagan swooped on his wings and dove low under the machine gun’s arc of fire skimming the surface of the river. He watched as the other being ripped the gun off its mount to toss it further into the helicopter’s cabin. Whirling, he drove straight up underneath the helicopter only to see the other being racing towards a small falling object. He caught it and then it detonated.

Surging upwards Dr. Reagan brought the sword to bear and in a single swoop he sheared through the sidewall of the helicopter before he peeled back the metal. Driving his wings into the gap he pried opening a hole on the opposite side.

Gun fire answered him as the men inside open fired on the opening. He moved to the side using the sheet metal of the helicopter to shield him as they shot at his wing which was still wedged in the opening.

They are persistent

He hung there for a long moment thinking about what needed to happen. Then suddenly he drove the sword straight up into the first set of blades. It ripped part of them free and all of a sudden the helicopter dropped forwards into a slow spiraling fall, keening alarm indicators starting to cry out in the cockpit as all of the mercenaries lost their balance and were sent tumbling across the cabin as the helicopter spun out of control.

Leaping free, he arched backwards and snapped his wings open before striking the back of the helicopter feet first and sending it juddering towards the side of the bridge currently under assault by the aliens.

Turning he scanned the bridge and the people. Where had the other entity gone?

David blasted out of the water, as fast as he could, anxious to rejoin the fight and to finish his business with the helicopter. Only to see it spiralling towards the side of the bridge, with the nearby people scrambling to get out of the way.

Damn, another one? Why is it, there are so many superpowered killers?

Is what he thought, then he remembered who it was, or at least who he believed it was. A problem for another day. He flew towards, then at the falling copter, and caught it. David grunted as he pushed upwards, slowing their descent, and then dropped them as softly as he could onto an area of the bridge the police cleared for him.

Looking inside he could see the men had been knocked out, from being knocked around the cabin, and battered by a certain unsecured gun.. As for the bombs, they seemed inert. Judging by how fast and chaotic the day had been so far, David reasoned he didn’t have enough time to freeze them into a dormant state and called out for a nearby officer.


“Get a bomb squad, check the back of the copter, maybe the bridge too!”


Then he flew back up towards Uriel. It bothered him, an angel, as far as he knew, almost commiting accidental manslaughter. He really, really, didn’t want this to be his problem. But for now, there was another problem.


“The helicopter had bombs, those men at the top are definitely involved. Try to be careful, and please try not to kill them.”


Dr. Reagan opened his mouth to respond but instead it was Uriel’s words:

”They accepted the consequences of their actions and the results of it are not for me to know nor determine. To question the fall of the sword is to question the Lord of Hosts.” Internally Dr. Reagan scowled and pushed at the consciousness of Uriel. It was like trying to move a brick wall. It wouldn’t budge no matter how much he strained until finally it receded and he found himself back in the driver’s seat.

He didn’t like that one bit. Despite all his commentary of the free will of the host Uriel seemed perfectly content to assume the driver seat. That was something to be discussed at another time.

”BUT! As the Angel of Repentance there should be an opportunity for them to do so.” He waited and it seemed as though Uriel considered this internally before Dr. Reagan nodded externally and turned towards the top of the bridge. There was going to be a serious reckoning when this was all over. It had never crossed into his conscience that Uriel’s definition of right might have been different than his. Now it was awkwardly clear that it might in fact be very different.

Moving towards the top of the bridge on heavily beating wings he swooped around the exterior in a wide bank before he landed on one of the pylons. The mercenary drew a submachine weapon and leveled it at him. It opened fire with a vicious rattle. Sweeping his left wing in front of himself he walked towards the man using the wing as a shield.

”You have been found a sinner and stand before the judgement of the Lord of Hosts. Throw down your weapon!”

He felt power flow from him and towards the man who suddenly lowered his weapon in confusion. There was a clatter as he dropped it from numb fingers and Dr. Reagan moved his wing away to watch the man he stood with his head in his hands. Sobbing. “I-I can’t. There isn’t anything I can do to make this right! The bridge. The bridge will explode and I don’t have the detonator!” Dr. Reagan’s eyes widened, just to the right of the man was a placement of the plastic explosives. Beyond that he wasn’t sure what the man would do if he removed his attention. Uriel had been specific, for now at least without the full light of his Halo he couldn’t compel the masses to repentance. For now it required focus.

In that moment Dr. Reagan found himself doing something he never did.

Praying. Praying that the other one would find the detonator. He couldn’t leave this man up here in this state. If he did, he had no idea what he would do. Being confronted with your wrong doings all at once was a highly traumatic experience. The man could very well be like Paul….conversely he could be like Judas. They were on a bridge after all.

David found himself thankful, that he could be wrong, it was relieving that his faith in strangers wasn’t misplaced. Was this part of the grand plan? Focusing himself back to the task at hand, he moved closer to the bridge alongside Uriel, with the both of them separating at an exchange of nods. Uriel to handle one man, with David to handle the other who must have gone further.

Resolving not to lose the last bomber, David soared above the bridge, eyeing everywhere he could have gone, then he felt a strange power surge through him. He didn’t know what it meant or where it came from, the only thing he could say if asked would be ‘resolved’. Then he saw it, a man ducking into one of the arches, into the maintenance accessways. David swooped down at full speed. The area underneath the arch was filled with girders preventing an easy flight, he’d have to be some kind of aerial ace to navigate it through the air.

Except, he played hopscotch with his daughter all the time, along with competing in a charity jump rope contest for parents. Navigating the catwalks was going to be a piece of cake; is how he felt. While David Jones might have accidentally slipped due to arrogance, the newfound power coursing through Terra Firma now ensured spot-on accuracy Still, it was hard to overlook a brightly colored man skipping towards you.

The bomber cursed and unholsted his sidearm, metal pinged on the girders beside him, even on him, causing his aim to wobble, but never falter. David was getting close, but the other man was desperate. Upcoming service workers, who hadn’t yet managed to dislodge themselves from their work and evacuate, made their presence known by shouting in fear. They were pleading with their comrades to get them up faster, the alien invasion had caught everyone by surprise, and now an armed thug was closing in on them.

One of the servicemen managed to get his harness free of his work equipment and was ready to ascend, when the man suddenly grabbed him and placed his pistol to the workers’ head.

“Stop right there freak!”

So he did, David planted both his feet firmly onto a beam and waited.


“What are you going to do? Can you get out of here before the bombs blow?”


The bomber did not answer, and instead visibly glanced at a digital wristwatch on their free arm. Evidently escape was not a priority - but timing was.


“If you kill that man, I’ll make sure you won’t leave this place. I’ll survive, but will you? Surrender now and we all go up happy!”


The bomber gave him blank stare, before calmly asking,

“Have you ever heard the story of five thieves?”

David didn’t know what to think, why bring up a random story, was it related? Or was it simply stalling?

He hesitated, but replied.
“What about it?”


The bomber’s lips curled in a grimace. “Guess not.” He muttered. With his free hand, he began to reach for his belt - David’s eyes were drawn to the detonator there. It looked mostly standard-fare, albeit the head of another digital watch had been adhered to its side. It wasn’t oriented the right way for him to catch how much time was left on it though - if it was even counting down...

It must have been the latter, this farce had gone on long enough, David thought. Hostages, crazed gunmen? This was a ploy he’d dealt with before, though, with far more skilled opponents. The only thing left to spice up this affair was that bomb, and he would not allow that to take the lives of everyone trying to run, or the lives of the emergency personnel doing their best in such an unforeseen crisis.

A thug with an itchy trigger finger was no match for a disciplined and trained merc from the HoH. While there was some distance between them, along with a number of beams in the way, David felt like he could do this, no matter how much time was left on that detonator. It would stop now.

He shot his arms forward as fast as he could, power surged through them as he focused on what he wanted. That gun and detonator had to go. Lightning and foreign energy charged through him and out his fingertips. Fortunately, his aim was true. In the blink of an eye his lightning superheated the man’s weapon, turning it to molten slag, causing him to scream and hastily lose it. Another bolt burned a path through the air and struck the detonator, turning it into tiny, melted pieces of scrap, and junk. The melted gun was the first to fall, then both the hostage and hostage-taker screamed as they plummeted towards the water, only to be caught by fiery red arms.

As David flew them all topside, he briefly wondered if ‘Uriel’ was doing alright. But something was bothering him, the Hounds of Humanity mercs were all fueled by intense hate for metas, in the thickest fighting with them David had felt like he was being swallowed sometimes. Is this man the same?


“Did you really want to take us all with you?”


The bomber said nothing, and simply went limp in David’s grasp. He stared blankly out at the city, where alien strike-craft buzzed over skyscrapers and blocks, like distant fireflies. After a few moments he raised his arm again and looked at his wrist-watch, which David could now clearly see. It was 2:58 in the afternoon, assuming the watch was correct.

David was shocked by what he felt through his empathic senses, if it indeed was coming from the bomber. The Hounds had always felt like fire, temporary, but hot and alive. But this man, he was empty, a void.

“You… You wanted to die?”

“I still do not want to die. It just wasn’t relevant.” The bomber’s voice was eerily steady.


“Relevant? You’re talking about your life!”
David shouted, he had never seen anything like this. Though he was unsettled still by his connection to others by the Earth, he didn’t even bother thinking about it, what this man just said was crazy.


“What are you even trying to accomplish?”


“Not sure. I was just supposed to set it all off. They didn’t even say I had to be there, I just assumed it would shake out that way.” The man shifted awkwardly in David’s grasp. “You planning on landing anytime soon?” The utter lack of concern - or anything else for that matter - in his voice was nothing short of alarming.


“You didn’t mind it ‘shaking’ that way.”
David looked at him with pity, with anger, but remained silent.

He lowered them to a nearby officer, who was shocked at first, but thankfully seemed to recognize Terra Firma. Firstly, he lowered the service worker. The officer nodded and waved one of his allies over, and then the two prepared to receive the bomber. Clearly recognizing that he was part of the problem.


“Get some help.”
Was all he could muster, stopping himself from putting the man into the ground, the hard way. The last thing the bomber did before David handed him off was raise his arm to check the time again. It was 2:59. Probably only moments away from three. Even as he was led away, the man turned his gaze to the West, to gaze at the Eastern Brooksdale bridge in the distance.

David groaned and fell to the ground on one knee, bracing himself with his other arm. Fear, anxiety, pain, so many negative emotions washed over him again, and he almost couldn’t bear it. It was no worse than when the aliens had announced their violent intentions, but it was too much, too soon. The sound of multiple explosions bloomed in the distance, the keening, quaking sound of metal and concrete splitting apart underscoring them, and already David knew what it all meant.

So it wasn’t Uriel I had to watch out for… it was us humans, again…

The man before Uriel had been reduced to a catatonic slack jawed being having experienced the weight of his past. Hopefully with an understanding of it he could move on. Let go. Seek the fullness of redemption as Dr. Reagan understood it at that moment merged with Uriel as he was. For all his violence and apparent callousness to human life Uriel was in fact the angel of Repentance for a reason it seemed. A sudden chill washed over Dr. Reagan as he looked up. In the distance a series of explosions rippled across one of the other bridges.

”No…”

Turning his gaze to the base of the bridge where the last of the Aliens were making a fighting retreat his blood ran cold.

War launched himself over the burned out barricade of police cars and ran at the Alien lines shrugging off energy weapons like they were nothing, instead of weapons War ripped them apart with his bare hands. It was a truly gruesome sight as he painted the exterior of the big with them. Though what happened next was almost far worse. As the lander closed its exterior doors and fired its propulsion to begin its ascent. War’s hands glowed and in one of them a sword appeared bleeding sickly red light. From the end of the sword a chain extended around his wrist and forearm. As the craft began to ascend he hurled the massive blade into its exterior hull and it caught there. Then with a massive exertion that cracked the ground he stood upon he physically hauled the lander in an arc smashing it to the ground.

From his perch atop the bridge Dr. Reagan could only stare in horror as the Second Horseman grew even stronger with yet another act of aggression complete.

Wait…

The Second Horseman.

”War is the second Horseman….where is Conquest…”

That is a disturbing question.

Fixing his eyes on the ground where the being of energy had landed Dr. Reagan leapt into the air and soared down to him.

”At least we saved some. Though I’m afraid War grows stronger still”

He deposited his own wouldbe and thoroughly catatonic terrorist on the ground gently. Near the burning bridge he could just about hear the wails of the dead and dying. ”We should try to find any survivors.”

David slowly rose back up to his feet. He felt as if he was at his limit, aliens, horsemen, an angel, the bombs. It was all so chaotic and strange, yet, that was his life now. He hated that he couldn’t have been there for everyone that was lost, but he did have a duty to those still alive, and the ones he can’t bear to lose.


“Agreed. But I think you know how we can be the most useful now.”


Dr. Reagan felt his eyes slowly drift to the other bomber as though Uriel was subtly hinting at what needed to be done. Despite the supposed benefits of Uriel’s Glory, Dr. Reagan was far from sold on it considering how it had caused a cultist to claw out his eyes and the other bomber to subside into a semi catatonic state. In either case he had yet to see the outcome of it but given that there was some obviously orchestrated plot afoot he was loathed to stand by when he might be able to help.

It was then that it hit him. He was using utilitarian ethics and it made him sick. How could he be the judge of if either of these men’s suffering was sufficiently outweighed by the outcome. It was impossible

For you. But, not for the Lord of Hosts whom I act on behalf of

The statement bothered him deeply but on the other hand they didn’t exactly have time right now with the Apocalypse on them and literal aliens falling from the sky. Turning his gaze to the second bomber he stepped forwards and his wings shook out and spread slightly as the glow around him intensified.

”You have been found a sinner and stand before the judgement of the Lord of Hosts. Tell us why you conspider to murder hundreds of innocents!

Honestly, it was kind of rich coming from Uriel but on the other hand. They didn’t have time right now for him to question. Seeing the outcome this ‘repenting’ had on the last man, David stepped forward, with an idea that he had only vaguely become aware of recently.

David reached his hand and grasped the bombers’, a gentle flow of warm radiance flowed from his chest, and through their hands. He realized what this was, he was sharing a fraction of his power, and a fraction of his mind. The power to resist the overpowering nature of Uriel, that was what was needed, but not enough to completely block the man. He nodded to Uriel to continue.

Still restrained by the two police officers David had handed the bomber over to, the afflicted man, exposed to the unbearable and ineffable presence of the Lord of Hosts, immediately pitched forward as far as the men restraining him would permit and retched onto the surface of the bridge, spattering David’s feet with vomit and bile from the lack of warning. The bomber continued to heave, and then dry-heave onto the surface of the bridge for perhaps a minute straight - his expurgations punctuated and underscored only by the sonorous wail of his grief-laden sobbing, with teary streams and ribbons of snot falling from his face as he was uncontrollably stricken with the unbearable repulsiveness of everything that he had done - and everything that he was.

As Dr. Reagan stood watching this happen and it dawned on him that perhaps this wasn’t an uncontrollable phenomenon. Closing his eyes he focused on just the presence of the bomber as he could feel him before him. The vomits acrid stench filling the air. ”With repentance comes mercy. Clear your conscience and tell us what is happening. Who wants these bridges destroyed.”

The man choked for breath and raised his face - now stained and smeared with bile and mucous - and between tremendous gasps for breath and teary, wracking cries, he finally spoke.

“I was...I was told to do this by a man...I do not know his name...he coerced me with threats against my salvation...he is...he is…”

As the man’s voice faltered, a vision of the one he spoke of bloomed in David’s mind, and Uriels’ as the bomber’s mind surrendered what it knew. A tall, lean man wearing slacks and a dark-red silk shirt beneath a long coat. He was in his autumnal years, that thin period of time where physical ability and the strength of youth briefly matched the wisdom and discretion of years - he has long dark hair, worn in a pony-tail. His face was tall, with handsome features and an easy smile gracing his lips.

There was something wrong with his eyes - whether it was from the imperfections in the bomber’s memory or due to some supernal perception of Uriel, those windows to the soul were an abyss - cloying, ravenous patches of shadow that clawed at the light and pained David to look at directly.

In the vision, the man was speaking.

“Do you know…” He uttered in a hushed, conspiratorial tone. “...the story of Five Thieves…”

As soon as it had come, the vision went.

“...knew all that I had hidden...the children in Columbia...where I was hiding them...the threats he made, the unspeakable things he promised…” The bomber was still sobbing. “I knew I would burn, but I thought...I thought everyone here...they would die quickly...painlessly...that god would justly assort the just and the wicked...but I see now nothing was ever enough...it was never enough...I was sent here just to suffer! This is my prelude to the fires below! My heart! It is bursting! I can feel death festering in my skull…”

The bomber descended into a torrent of incomprehensible, incoherent gibbering, ranging between begging David for absolution and cries of mixed guilt and requests for the most obscene of punishments.


"You can never make up for what you tried to do. But you can take responsibility, allow the police to take you in. Confess everything you've done." David patted him on the shoulder, and shook his head.


“...No! You do not understand! I am damned either way! In my failure, those who serve evil have consigned the innocent to Hell upon Earth, and to Hell in the thereafter! Those I was keeping safe, who I swore to defend, have been damned for my weakness! There is no salvation!” The bomber cried out. David, with his connection to the man, could sense a dawning chasm of oblivion. A dread epiphany had come over this man - if he was not brought down from his state of dark fervor, he would consign himself to it.


"Can you feel it, that warmth, it means you're alive. Even if you feel damned, even if you are, you're alive now. Grasp that feeling, learn from your own mistakes to stop those who follow in your path. What do you think? Do you want to learn from your mistakes, do you want to bring the man behind this to justice?"


“NO!” The man howled. “I want those who I swore to defend to live! To not be condemned to anguish! They are the ones I did this for! I have failed and they will be subjected to the most obscene of torments for all time! I deserve the inferno! But...the one who is responsible…” The man’s clouded eyes began to clear. “Yes...he needs to be punished as well! I can help you find him! He is here! In Lost Haven! He is...nearby...watching! Watching his work...the four...he wanted to bomb FOUR of the bridges...all but the middle one, leading North to Brooksdale…I do not know this man, or where he resides, but one of the others...if any of the other bridges were spared, one of the others with the detonators might know! And there will be more! He will never stop unless YOU find him…!”

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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Mercinus3
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In

A Man Out of Time #10: The Battle Begins

Location: Pacific Point, California



For a tense moment, The Wanderer looked up at the figure in the sky to see if they were going to respond to his call to help. Even though the figure was above him, the nod was clear as they began to use their powers against the smaller ships. The collection of crystals was the only thing the mutant could see as his focus returned to the attacking enemies in the sky.

Surveying the damage that the ships were doing and the water that was further inland, the mutant concluded that most of the water had abated from the area into the soil. His remaining raised hand lowered, disconnecting the psionic energy to the barrier. Whatever water was remaining could trickle back into the city without too much damage. With both hands freed from holding the barrier up, he proceeded to begin his offense, sending smaller beams of psionic energy. The ships buzzed around the city, but with the source of the giant beam being identified, most of the remaining force that weren’t attacking the city or the flying figure were converging on his location. With his energy spent on the large barrier and the giant beam, The Wanderer knew that it was only a matter of time before he was blasted off the building to a probable death.

It wasn’t until the sound of a nearby voice that his focus turned to a figure that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere and protected him from a stray ship that got in his blind spot. The figure, after dismantling the attacking ship, was someone who was different from anyone he encountered. But there was no fooling the psionics emanating from her as he saw from his psionic eye.

”I do but now’s not the time to ask them, Voyager,” he replied, still looking around for the ships that were attacking the city. ”It’s fortunate that you survived the wave, but we need to start taking down whatever these things are and protect the people within the city. At least until that thing…” His finger jabbed at the sky towards the monolithic structure, ”… Is taken out. Any suggestions?”

It was then that another hero slid into the area. When the hero asked Voyager if they are a relative of her, the mutant couldn’t help himself but chuckle.

”Rest assured, this person and Voyager are one and the same. Just that her dive into the water as the wave hit caused the change.” He looked up at the oncoming enemies. ”But enough of the talking. As you can gather, the city at least is under attack. Whatever they are, they want to target at least me for decimating half of their forces. We need to start fighting them back before we could focus on taking the source of the attack.”

Another ship began its attack run towards the trio. The Wanderer slid in front of the other two and fired another psionic beam towards it. While less potent than the initial beam that destroyed half of the fleet, it had enough energy to punch through the ship. Seemingly without control, the ship crashed into the road and skidded to a stop tens of yards away from them.

He turned to the new hero. ”I’m not sure what your abilities are, but do you think you have any use for whatever that is?” He then turned to Voyager. ”I’m not sure what the changes you underwent means, but do you think you are capable to help out in the sky? There is another powered human that is fighting in the sky and would need back up.”

Just then, a larger version of the ship that crashed landed a few blocks down another road. Though far away, he could see something humanoid exit it and was about to head their way. ”If you have no objections, I’ll hold the ground here while everyone gets to work saving this city.” He waited for their responses, blue and purple flames starting to envelop him as a psionic blade formed over his hand.
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Pacific Point

Interacting with: The Wanderer, Voyager and Hound Dog.

"Get out of my way!" Verge yelled out as he dashed and dodged in his ascent to what he assumed was a mothership. As he traversed forth, he pressed forth through his crystal field but he was singed by a stray energy shot from one of the alien fighters. He could feel the burning sensation on his chest, and how it had scorched a section of his tan suit asunder.

'The audacity... you dare to attack a god of this world?! You'll pay for that...' He gritted his teeth together and flung himself after the fighter which had the fortune, or misfortune to land a hit on him. The young man tightened his right hand into a fist and channeled his light energy into it, before punching through the shield of the craft and reaching into what he assumed were the cockpit. Verge soon after detonated a blast of light energy into the spacecraft itself causing it to explode right after he let go of it.

"Hahaha! This amazing power is beyond anything you can hope to fight! Try if you wish! Ahahaha!" He yelled out and laughed aloud as seven other spacecrafts had followed him in his short pursuit of the 'unfortunate target', they opened fire in a manner which could more or less resemble how it would look like taking a shotgun blast to the face. The young man moved his arms apart and began to create a wall of diamond, blocking the energy shots before it began to further reach out almost like a tidal wave or a tsunami, eveloping the seven ships within what came to be formed as a round, hollow ball of diamond. The ships would bounce into the walls and each other within, like as if one would have put goldfish and piranha's together into a single fishbowl. The young man smirked as he saw the ensuing chaos within it, almost having the urge to geokinetically shake it like one of those old christmas decorations which had fluid and 'snow' within them.

But there were no time for such toying, there was a larger ship which were in dire need of a precise landing. Verge reached out with his powers to fly himself and the large ball of diamond, now filled with seven spacecrafts bouncing between each other within like a crazy flippergame, but not to the speed it would cause them to explode on contact with each other. The mothership, as Verge regarded it were indeed massive, it could likely cover the entire city would it crash. Such a potential outcome couldn't be left to chance, it had to be helped along the way. After all, this is what all those humans below deserved. They deserved the same destruction that these invaders would receive, every last one of them. As he had now gotten out of sight for many of the smaller fighters, mostly due to the city below and the other superhuman... or was it superhumans?

He had little time to deduce whereof the one who created that massive beam were truly alone down there. The large ball of diamond and spaceships was soon hurled towards what Verge considered to be the right side of it. If he could bring down that side, the enourmouse ship would surely land on Pacific Point. How he hated the place. Judgement day had finally come for them. As the ball of diamond had been flung towards the ship, Verge proceeded to move his arms and hands in a circular motion starting from his chest, then moving his hands up above his head and shoulders, then down until he had created a full circle. A shimmering disc was forming in front of him, the like one could expect to find in a strong pair of binoculars, a microscope... or perhaps even a periscope. A lens.

'Today's weather is crystal clear and brimming with light...' He thought as a satisfied smile formed on his lips, his teeth showing as he gathered as much of his light powers as he could muster and shooting it from himself in a cone shape, right into the disc in front of him and the beam that was formed from it shot right into the hurled ball of diamond and spacecrafts as it crashed into the mothership. Causing a massive explosion from the detonating smaller ships inside the ball, but also the thing colliding with the shield of the mothership and finally shattering. Then came the energy damage, he wanted to cut open the entire right side of the ship.

'Fall! Fall and crush them all!' The young man withdrew very quickly after unleashing his attack, he flew right towards the city. There was still someone in there who didn't need to perish with the humans after all. The young man finally laid his eyes on the figure from before, his eyes set on The Wanderer.

"It's time to go, friend. Things are about to lit up, the ship above will level the city..." He said in a calmed down tone of voice, and with a satisfied look on his face, that was until he noticed two others present. Hound Dog and Voyager, whose names he didn't know, much like The Wanderer. They were unknown to him. One thing was certain however, all alien had to be rooted out and destroyed.

'Why are they not killing this alien? A defector? A spy? A scout? It doesn't matter... It shouldn't be here, it has to be...' He gathered his thoughts before raising one of his hands, with the palm of it facing towards Voyager.

"Purged." He said aloud, as his wings of light sprouting out from his back twitched in intensity as lit up further. "All aliens must be dealt with no exceptions. Hold still and I shall make your exit swift and painless." Verge said as his eyes narrowed and light began to quickly form in the inside of his palm, before he shot out a beam of light towards Voyager's chest.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Dezuel
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Lost Haven, present day.

Interacting with: Icon

The elevator music did little to calm Kenneth, the anticipation of reaching the roof of the large skyscraper was all he currently was thinking of. He didn't want to miss a good opportunity to see what the whole alien buisness was about, and also see if he could speak with Icon, who had saved Lost Haven from one big space rock. Kenneth's ride up the elevator was not a lonely one however, as he was accompanied by his two minions, Lolly and Coco who were excited but not as much as Kenneth to get a scenic view of what was happening. Once the troublesome trio had made it to the top floor, Kenneth quickly made it up the stairs and ladders until he finally reached the roof. The wind was alot stronger up there, but it didn't concern him. He wanted to thank Icon and also welcome his new potential guests.

"Ahh! Nothing like the scenic view of- chaos? Why in the baker's buttocks are they firing at us? That doesn't seem overly appropriate considering they are guests right? Lolly, binoculars please." Ken said in a frantic tone, grabbing the pair of binoculars which often were carried by Lolly in her side-bag. "Sweet harshmellows, what in the cocochopachubra are they doing? This doesn't look like a welcome party. What a mess, glad I am not the mayor in charge of this major mess. I think it was kind of cool what Icon did before, you know picking up that large space boulder and tossing it back out into space. And trust me there's alot of space! I can imagine there's alot of happy customers being enriched because of not being made into goo goo flatpankake tofu!" The finely dressed man said to his two companions which stood just ten feet behind him now, not overly keen on standing too near the edge of the building.

"I might not be a man of much favours, I prefer dealing in flavours! And if these alien's have this terrible taste and class, we should- Oh look! One of them is coming this way! Over here! Welcome to earth! We come in sweet cheese!" Kenneth said aloud, dropping the binoculars and spreading his arms wide as the alien craft shot him with an energy blast which left a hole in his chest.

"How rude! I am appalled!" The Candycane burst out in a mix of annoyance and surprise. "This alien just made a donut out of me? Sweet and with a hole in the middle! That does it! We are doing this the hard way! Jawbreaker way!" Ken reached down to his belt as the hole in his chest began to close in on itself, he allowed his candycane to fit nicely into his hand. "Now it's time to show sportsmanship. Why not abit of golf? Fore sure!" He chuckled, while forming a few golf-ball sized candies. Nearly indestructible and the only harder material in Ken's possession was his trusty cane, which was not only a thing for him to appear classy and help his walk. It was also a potent tool, even a weapon.

"Lolly! Coco! You two better take cover, daddy is going to score a few points! Like every donut has a hole! Chew on this!" The finely glad gentleman dropped one of the hard candies on the roof, then whacking it using his superhuman strength with his mighty cane. The candy flew far and with immense speed before crashing into the spacecraft that had done the flyby on him, the ball itself bouncing off the spacecraft's shield but the impact itself caused the craft to crash into another skyscraper.

"Whoops! I hope those guys had ensurance on that. But these spacecrafts are completely alien to me, but maybe that is the point? By the sugarcoated donut that is saturnus ring, look at them go! Whooo!" Kenneth yelled out in a cheery manner, shooting another candy towards another spacecraft. "Sir, these ships seem to have some kind of shield on them, maybe a different candy would do better?" Lolly suggested with a hint of worry.

"Salty sturgeons! You are correct! Let's get to giving them something else! Chew chew, said the locomotive! Isn't loco mad in sombreroland? You have to tell me about that later, Coco." Kenneth said aloud and with a ponderous tone in his voice, he attached his cane to his belt again. Then he took a pose resembling a thrower in baseball, he turned his hat backwards and then formed a candy ball inside of his hand, hurling it towards what looked like a transport ship. Upon impact the ball itself spread out like a sticky goo'ey chewing gum, obscuring the ships view and ability to manuever, ultimately leading to it crashing into a smaller craft and then tumbling down to the streets below. "You sir alien, you lack manners! And now you lack flight aswell! Ta ta! He kinda fell for that one he did! This is like a big recipe for disaster! Thankfully every disaster can be solved with enough sugar!" The Candycane twirled on his feet to look to his two minions.

"Coco! I have a question for you! What do I dislike the most?" The man adjusted his hat back to it's original direction, before forming a chair out of sugar to sit down upon, crossing his legs as he did. "I think it's diabetes no?" Coco answered in an uncertain manner, having placed her hand under her chin and poking her lips with a single finger.

"Aha! Close one! But no! I dislike it when the good guys are sugarfree! So what should we do about that? I can't just shoot one of my sweets from down here! He wouldn't see it coming! I am not an underhanded scoundrel who takes advantage of others when they are not looking! I am a gentleman who takes advantage of people right under their nose when they are watching! Now that's a big difference!" Kenneth nodded quickly and then looked over his shoulder and to the sky.

"So how do I get up there? I doubt there is a spacecraft taxi service available! Ahh! Improvising! Ofcourse! It comes naturally to one such as I! Sit back and watch a master at his craft." Ken explained as he rose from his chair, stretching his body abit before walking over to two different ends of the roof and began to create two sturdy and tall pillars of candy. "Ahh yes! This will likely do just perfectly! Da Vinci, watch how far humanity has gotten since your inventions!" Kenneth said in a cheery manner, walking to the far end of the roof where the pillars wouldn't be. The man soon after began to elongate his arms, reaching out to grab with his hands at the both pillars from far away.

"Allright, all I need to do now... is to let- GOOOOOO!" He finalized as he lifted his feet from the air and allowed his body to be flung forwards towards his arms and the pillars, but he let himself go before he would be stopped by them. Flying far up into the air and landing on a solid surface. A large ship. "Whooooa! It's slippery! Crap! I miscalculated! The shield is up!" He yelled as he began to bounce and slip along the large upper side of the spacecraft until finally slipping off it. The crafty sweetsman however had more candy up his sleeves, he quickly formed a large piece of gum in his hand and then began to chew it and blowing it up into a balloon. Then grabbing unto it with his hand. An improvised parachute.

"Mmmhmm! Candy is the cure! Yo! Icon! Pretty neat of you to save the city and all that! But this whole alien thing above us really is spoiling my sweet dreams so be a good boy and get that technological horror away! I make sure to prepare a gift bag with your name on it!" The red and white clad man winked to Icon as he was slowly decreasing in elevation, still holding unto his bubblegum-balloon.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Perse
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Interacting with: Muerte @Klumsykrow357
---

The first line of alien soldiers collapse to the ground as her green faded from their bodies. It was only when they lay there in the dirt and debris did Louisa started to realize what situation she had just put herself into.

"Oh shi-"

The other alien beings didn't hesitate for a moment though and suddenly she was dodging green energy beams and running towards the rubble of what looked like it had once been the top floor of a skyscraper. Now it was just broken glass and a large concrete barrier that Louisa leaned against trying to catch her breath as she heard the telling sounds of something striking her shelter.

'Why did I come here. Why did I put myself in this situation. What the hell was I thinking?!'

The sound of approaching footsteps snapped her out of her panicking thoughts. All she could do now was deal with the situation she was in and even if she didn't think it was a reason to put her life on the line, she was still not a fan of the invading species.

Slowing her breathing down, she listened intently to the approaching warriors. If they were humanoid like she believed she had seen then it was probably 4 or ... maybe 5 moving towards her steadily but on guard.

"Ok ok I got this....
Beings that are not originally from my planet
will now stand still like granite
no longer approaching towards me with ease
they shall stay stuck in their place and freeze
Let them be stunned and clueless
while all their weapons are useless"


The sound of impact on her building shield seemed to go quiet. Quickly climbing up the debris she peaked out from the top of the large structure of concrete. Trying to see if they were actually now made as harmless as she had hoped, she found the humanoid beings still like statues. That didn't keep her attention for long though as she saw the approaching of a black clad figure upon a motorcycle coming towards her and the ship. Quickly popping back down to get out of site, she slipped upong the piece of stone she had been standing on and slid down into the wreck.

"Ow...."
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Hidden 3 mos ago 1 mo ago Post by Klumsykrow357
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@Perse
---
Muerte pulled up to the wreck cautiously as he had seen movement in the area a few seconds before-hand. He parked his bike several feet away and approached the rest of the way on foot, raising the alien rifle as he got closer. It was then that he noticed the group of soldiers nearby. He fired on reflex, melting the target instantly, before realizing that they were not moving. He froze, as the reality of what he was staring at sunk in. He was staring at incredibly life-like statues of the invaders, immobilized mid-combat. Muerte stood there, dumbfounded for several seconds, as his brain tried to make sense of what had caused their making. It wasn't until he heard a noise behind him that he snapped out of his stupor. He wheeled around, rifle at the ready but this time he didn't fire immediately. He waited a few seconds before edging around the corner of the ship that had been sheared off in the crash landing. He was taken aback by the sight of a very human-looking woman laying in a heap inside. He hesitated, considering the possibilities before his curiosity got the better of him. He hid his Latino accent as he called out to her, rifle still raised. "I've got two questions for you: Are you human? And are you ok? And don't worry, I'm not going to shoot you if you say no to the first question."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
@Terminal

Jackie's hands shook slightly as she hung up the phone in her small Chinatown apartment. One of her girls had just called her to inform her that a man had stopped by The Parlor looking for her. They had tried to lead him off but he'd threatened to get rough. When they told him she wasn't there he'd simply nodded and left. He obviously wasn't selling girlscout cookies, but he hadn't asked where she was. Being so long in the biz, Jackie had some idea why: he already knew where to find her. Cussing under her breath she snapped into action; lighting a cigarette, sticking it between her lips, and then retrieving the gun from her purse and placing it in her pants instead. While she ran around puffing and swearing, her eyes kept glancing over the small metallic communicator Al had given her a few months back but refused to pick it up.

She knew that pressing the small red button on the side would have him running to her faster than flies to a cow pie on a hot desert day. Even after she broken up with him he was still at her beckon call and she f*cking hated it; however today she may not have a choice. If the guy was a sup it wasn't a guarantee that her gun would be enough. That and there were still these god damned aliens all over the place too. Getting to Jesus's would be tricky to say the least, and that was IF she was going to go there anyway. How DARE that motherf*cker tell her to get to safety while he gallivants around like Mexican Batman?! She finished and ashed her smoke in the tray on the table before scooping up her bag she'd just finished throwing together. She hesitated, then snatched up the communicator and went to the door. She peered through the peephole to check if the coast was clear and froze as she saw a man enter the hallway.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Perse
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Interacting with: Muerte @Klumsykrow357
---

Crashing down heavily into stone and debris, looking at her scraped hands Louisa took a moment to take account of her hurt body. "Ow..." She said to herself out of habit more than actual pain. It just seemed to be some scratches she thought to herself, but she knew her lower back was probably going to be bruised from that oh so smooth landing. Whatever, she was fine and now she needed to get o-

The unknown voice suddenly snapped her out of her thoughts, her body involuntarily flinching as her eyes quickly looked up at the man dressed in black with a skull like visage. Not only was she in shock of his sudden appearance but the man also appeared imposingly in front of what had been her planned escape. The rifle in his hands also didn't help her really listen to his words, and before he had managed to finish his sentence she was hurriedly whispering a spell under her breath.

"In a battlefield,
make me a shield"


It was only as a neon green barrier went around her body did she let herself relax again and she begun to actually take in the man's words. It was then as Lousia started to stand up and get a better look at the man, the barrier moved to cover all of her, she couldn't help but give a light hearted chuckle at his words. He was intimidating sight that was true, but his words really hadn't matched what she thought was going to come out of the mouth of someone holding a rifle.

"It seems like yes," She put her head to the side quizzically as she looked at the man before her, "but I don't think the rifle and skull mask really help with me believing in that promise though."

Louisa didn't know exactly who the person was before her and if she was actually not going to get shot at, but what she was sure of was that her new made shield would protect her from bullets. So she found herself relaxing around this interesting masked fellow as an easy going smile appeared on her face.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Klumsykrow357
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@Perse
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To his credit, Muerte did not visibly react to the sudden appearance of the green bubble around her. Internally however his mind had exploded in a sudden flurry of thoughts and theories ranging from alarm to intrigue. Shit, a magic user. That green light though... Where did I see it? That's right, the ship. If she did bring the ship down that puts her in the same sup category as Icon. Useful...but also potentially dangerous. Further information is needed.

As she spoke Muerte couldn't help but give a smile of his own under his mask. She's adorable. He lowered the rifle and took up a more relaxed pose. "Well we are in a warzone, and this ain't exactly my day job. It would be kind of a weird conversation over the water cooler if my coworkers saw me fighting off alien hordes," he said in a matter-of-fact way. "Though at this point I have no idea if I have any coworkers left, so it couldn't hurt to get another one. He extended a hand to her. "They call me Muerte. And since you are human AND ok, I could use some help getting these f*ckers out of my city. What do you s-?" He caught sudden movement outside the ship, another company of soldiers had just rounded the corner of the building and spotted him. "Get down!"

Muerte tackled her back to the ground as they opened fire, keeping her as flat to the floor as he could manage while energy bolts flew wildly overhead. As soon as there was a pause he said, "Excuse me, Ill be right back." He kipped up off of her then returned fire until his rifle ceased firing. He chucked it to the side and looked around for any other weapons. That's when he noticed that the hull of this ship had barely a scorch mark where they had been firing. Interesting. He ripped off a chunk of the hull, took a deep breath, then began running out towards them with his improvised tower shield. He could feel the bolts hitting the metal but was unhindered as he plowed into the first row of them. He kept going until he'd knocked his way through the whole rank then swung the hull around to whack several of them to the ground. They regrouped and turned their rifles on him, making him duck behind metal again, but in doing so turned their backs on the ship. A searing pain flared through him. Looking down he saw singed raw flesh on his thigh where he'd caught another bolt. Well that's not good. He peeked around and saw them starting to edge around him to flank him on either side. He waited until they fired to roll suddenly forward. Two of them shot each other and the rest missed. He sprang up and took out the rest of them with another sweep with the hull. Panting heavily he attempted to walk back to the ship but staggered on his wounded leg, feeling a turn of light-headedness. Muscular damage and shock, what a great combo...
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Perse
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Interacting with: Muerte @Klumsykrow357
---

Seeing the man lowering his gun and relaxing, Louisa was happy to see her choice of interacting with him wasn't completely misplaced. Listening him to talk about water coolers and co-workers made her even more curious as she tried to imagine this man all in black garb, with a striped tie on over it all, at an office desk in front of a computer. Would he still be wearing a mask? Or or would he be wearing a mask and glasses as he looked squinted at a computer screen looking at some stupid document or like financial information.
Hearing his name didn't really take her out of this fantasy though as she pondered, Would people meet him at the front of the building holding take away coffee cups and call him Mr.Muerte? Did he have a engraved name sign on his desk saying Mr.Muerte? Mr. Muerte what? or is Mr. what Muerte? or was it like Cher so it was only M-

What did snap her out of her fantasy though, was when he suddenly ran at her and tackled her to the ground before energy bolts flew over both of them. She had been so stuck in her own little daydream that she hadn't been ready for him to rush her, which was lucky for both of them really because if she had been, he would have surely either bounced off her or slammed into her like she was a brick building.
Now she just stared up at the way too close skull facade and her gut started to twist. She hadn't cared much about the aliens shooting at her now she had her shield up, but this face, this face was way too close for her comfort.

She only had to have the rushed panicked thoughts for a moment though before he was up and facing off with the invaders, which now she was alone she started to pick up on probably didn't take so kindly to her actions before. Siting up, she cautiously got to her feet and from a vantage point hid behind some debris. She watched this Mr.Muerte tear off a part of the ship's hull and attack their aliens with their own material.
Huh so he isn't just a wannabe superhero, Louisa thought to herself, as she watched him impressed as he managed to take out the whole crew of attackers.

When it seemed like he was done, Louisa stood up straight again and watched him stagger back over towards where she had been hiding. She couldn't see exactly what was the problem but it clear enough seemed to be one of his legs.
"That looks painful," She called out to him not even really noticing that she was stating the obvious and without thinking about if he even wanted help she quickly recited a spell.

"Heal all on this man that looks sore
and keep it safe from all the future uproar
Make his leg feel it is back to brand new
and speed up the healing of all his tissue "


A neon green light sprang from her and gathered around his body before covering his thigh wound and start to slowly heal it. This was all start to wear herself out but she smiled to herself as she was happy she could help a guy that obviously had just tried to save her bacon.

"Oh and I guess I should say my name. Ahhh... I suppose you can call me Cadence?"
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Eddie Brock
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April Newton stood patiently in line at Dos Hermanos. Here, one could safely count on finding the best damn street tacos anywhere in Century City. Best of all, the mega-popular food truck always parked at a pavilion just a few blocks down the street from the Chronicle, where April worked. It had become something of a weekly tradition for her to go pick up lunch there; even though it meant contending with the usual crowd, the food was every bit worth the wait. Besides, on a beautiful day like today -- as so many Century City days were -- April relished the opportunity to get out of the stuffy office and stand under the bright California sun for a bit.

The line was moving particularly slowly today, and before long, the smartly-dressed young reporter had run out of things to check on her phone. Returning the device to the pocket of her heather grey pantsuit, April looked up with disappointment to find that the line had made very little progress. Sighing, she brought a hand to the back of her neck and began massaging the ache that had formed sometime around her third hour of hunching over a computer screen. As she rolled her head from side to side to loosen the stiff muscle, her eyes found one of the Chronicle's newspaper boxes on the corner.

Despite it having now become a common occurrence, April still hadn't gotten used to seeing her face plastered on the front page. Of course, it wasn't her face, per se; it was the face of the hero that Century City had come to call their own. "MISS MEGATON SUBDUES SHOOTER," the headline read above an action shot of April's alter ego in full glow. And though the photo credit was hidden beneath the fold, April would've bet the entirety of her meager savings that it belonged to one Peyton Campbell. She does have a habit of capturing me in a flattering light, April thought appreciatively. Even so, she forced herself to look away.

It really was amazing how quickly Miss Megaton had become part of the fabric of everyday life in Century City. In the wake of the Sentinel drone attack, her coming-out party, the city had embraced the hero with open arms. The Mayor even put out an invitation for Miss Megaton to accept a key to the city, but April hadn't felt comfortable attending; she was already paranoid enough that Mickey Holtz -- or any of the dozens of trained reporters she worked with -- would recognize her from Peyton's photos, much less a televised public appearance. Fortunately, they hadn't, and after a while, she got over her fear enough to once again patrol the city as Miss M.

The line at Dos Hermanos finally inched forward a bit, but April had been too lost in thought to notice. Suddenly, she was jolted back to the present by a small collision from behind. Snapping out of her stupor, April turned to identify the source of the disturbance. Her eyes found a little girl, no older than eight, with a mop of curly red hair. Around her shoulders, the girl had knotted a well-loved crimson blanket; April smiled at the sight of it. The girl met her gaze, blushed, and scurried back behind her mother's legs. The auburn-haired woman made a slightly embarrassed expression and said, "I'm sorry about her."

April shook her head. "It's no problem," she answered assuringly. Turning her attention back to the little girl, she offered, "I like your cape!"

That brought the girl a little bit out of her shell. She shuffled out from behind her mother, made tentative eye contact, and then grinned as she turned to look away once more. The girl's mother placed a hand on her shoulder and explained, "She's insisted on wearing it ever since... well, you know."

April nodded. "Well, it looks very good on you," she said by way of compliment. "You know, I have one just like it, but I think I like yours better!" That earned another smile. The girl's mother chuckled, too, neither of them the wiser regarding the honesty of April's last admission. Being seen as a role model was definitely strange, but April had to admit that it brought her a certain sense of pride. Now in high spirits, she turned back around and stepped forward in line, being only three customers removed from that delicious taco goodness.

Just then, April felt a buzzing in her pocket. Reaching in to retrieve her phone, she drew it out and checked the caller ID. "Jefferson Boone," her friend and lone confidant. If Miss Megaton was the brawn of their little crime-fighting operation, then Jefferson was definitely the brains. While it hadn't exactly been April's choice to let Jefferson in on the secret -- he had sought her out -- she couldn't imagine how she would've gotten this far without his help. It was a bit strange that he was calling her in the middle of the day like this, but April trusted that he had his reasons. Answering the call, she brought the phone to her ear and said, "Hey, Jeff, everything alright?"

His voice came through the end of the line muffled and distant. "April! There you are. I tried you at your off---. Somethi----------appening."

April frowned. "Say that again? I think we have a bad connection."

If he heard her, he gave no indication. Instead, he pressed on, though she now had to strain to hear him. "You need to-----------r suit. There's a--------h--ded for S-------cisco, and there's more f--ling every minute... April, did you------me? You need to--" And with that, the call finally dropped.

Puzzled, April lowered the phone and examined it. It seemed that she had lost all reception. Glancing around at the other patrons seated by the food truck, she noted that they, too, seemed to be experiencing similar interruptions. That was odd; odder still had been Jefferson's words, the few that made it through the other end of the line, anyway. What concerned April most, however, was the tone in his voice. She had never heard him sound like that, and Jeff was not someone who spooked easily. Figuring that the matter must be more important than food -- even the best Mexican food in the city -- April stepped out of line in hopes of finding a cell signal.

She heard what happened next before she felt it: a low rumble accompanied by the distant blaring of car alarms. As the sound drew nearer, the shaking followed. Like any Californian metropolis, Century City was no stranger to the occasional earthquake, but April sensed immediately that this one was different. She hardly had time to prepare herself for the shockwave when it finally hit; the pavement beneath her feet shifted, attempting to topple her, as the rumble became a roar. The terrified screams of unaware citygoers were swiftly drowned out by the rattling of the surrounding buildings.

April heard a crash and looked up to see that the windows of the glass office building above the pavilion had shattered. The shards began to rain down, threatening the safety of everyone below, and April realized that there was no time to be cautious; figuring that no one would be too concerned with looking her way in that moment, she lowered her glasses and focused her vision. A fan of bright green energy shot out from her eyes, forming a solid plane over all their heads. As the glass shards fell into the searing radiation, they were vaporized, turned into harmless dust. The pedestrians, who had been cowering and covering their heads, hadn't seen... all save for the little girl, who stared with her jaw slacked.

There was little time to address it. April pressed a finger to her lips, and the girl nodded uncertainly. Wasting no more time, April sprinted away from the pavilion, the tremors making it increasingly difficult to remain upright. When she finally reached an abandoned alleyway, she began stripping off her pantsuit. Wearing a costume underneath her clothes was pretty far from comfortable, but days like today proved why it was necessary. As her cape unfurled, April at last removed her glasses and took to the sky as Miss Megaton.

The first thing she did was put on the earpiece that connected her with Jeff. The receiver crackled for a moment, until finally she heard a distorted voice coming through weakly. After a moment, the reception stabilized enough that she could hear Jeff somewhat clearly. "April, thank God! I couldn't hear you at all on the phone," he explained. "With everything going on, I guess the cell networks are on the fritz."

She quickly decided she didn't like the way he said "everything." Frowning, she said, "Well, I'm here now. Downtown's in chaos! I've never seen an earthquake like this..."

"It's not just an earthquake," Jefferson responded, the signal weakening considerably. "That's what I was trying to tell you earlier. A meteorite just struck San Francisco. I'm watching the live feed now; it's... really bad." The news landed in April's stomach like a stone. "And not just there, either. There are reported impacts all over the globe. God, April... it's like the end of the world."

"Hey, keep it together for me, okay?" she replied, assuming an air of manufactured confidence. Jefferson was usually pretty collected, so if even he was shaken by what he had witnessed... There was no point in thinking about it. Miss Megaton had a job to do; she could worry about the apocalypse later. As she flew into the heart of downtown, she noted the sudden silence on the other end of the line. With concern in her voice, she said, "Jeff? Jeff, are you still there?"

At first, static was the only response. Then, Jefferson's voice returned distantly. "-- a lot of interference. Not sure how long our connection will hold."

"Just point me in a direction for now," she answered.

"Can do," his voice crackled. "Head north. Looks like there's trouble by the freeway. I'll work on creating a more stable connection back here."

"Okay," she said, "Be safe."

"You t--"

She'd be lying if she said she wasn't concerned for Jeff, but it helped that she knew where he lived. That part of town was much newer and thus built to higher specifications where earthquake safety was concerned. As much as she may worry about him, he didn't need her help nearly as much as the folks on the edge of town; there, the older buildings had only been retrofitted sparsely. Indeed, as she raced towards the freeway that passed through Century City, she saw firsthand the devastation that the initial shockwave had caused. Some buildings had partially collapsed, and the street was strewn with glass and rubble.

As the freeway drew near, Miss Megaton immediately saw the threat. An oil tanker had overturned and was spilling its contents across the roadway. Smoke billowed from the tanker's hood, suggesting that a fire had broken out inside the engine. Worse yet, the line of traffic that had been following the truck was now trapped, causing a massive backup of cars. If she could, Miss Megaton would simply pick up the tanker and fly it to a safe distance away, but she dare not disturb it for fear of triggering an explosion. No, she would have to do this the hard way, meaning that she needed to get everyone out of the potential blast zone. No small feat.

First, there was the small matter of rescuing the truck driver. Landing gently on the side of the overturned cabin, Miss Megaton grabbed hold of the passenger-side door and wrenched it off its hinges. She discarded the useless piece of scrap metal and ducked her head inside. The driver was bleeding from a blow to his head, and his hands fumbled uselessly at the seatbelt. "Move your hands," Miss Megaton instructed calmly. Once he did, she fired a concentrated beam from her fingertips that cut through the buckle. "Now, grab onto me and hang on." He did as she asked, taking her outstretched hand, and she flew him up and away from the truck. Eventually, she set him down at street level, checking that he was alright before returning to the elevated roadway.

Assessing the situation, Miss Megaton swiftly realized that transporting the civilians or their vehicles one by one was no option at all. The engine fire created a ticking clock, and she would never get everyone out in time. I need to move them en masse, she mused without the faintest idea how she'd accomplish that. "I can't move the tanker, so maybe I'll just move everything else," she wondered aloud. The idea which was formulating in her head was risky to say the least, but she didn't have time to workshop anything else. Darting down to the freeway, she landed at the edge of the oil spill.

The nearest car was only a few feet away, which wouldn't do for what she was planning. Making eye contact with the terrified driver inside the vehicle, Miss Megaton did her best to project confidence. "Hold on!" she shouted, loud enough to be heard. "Don't move for me, alright?" That earned barely a nod, but it would have to do. Placing her hands on the hood of the car, she began pushing it backwards. Before long, she felt it bump up against the next car in line, but she kept pushing. She pushed and pushed until the row of cars -- now scrunched up bumper-to-bumper -- had been moved a fair distance away from the overturned tanker.

She repeated the process for the other three lanes of traffic until finally there stood an empty gulf between the area of the spill and the motorists. A few cars coming from the opposing lanes also had to be moved before she could put her plan in action. Taking to the skies, Miss Megaton stretched out both hands and fired beams at the unoccupied stretches of roadway. Once two clean cuts had been made from end to end, she looped around underneath the elevated freeway and took hold of the girders supporting the structure. Two large, concrete columns supported the weight of the whole thing, but they were no match for Miss Megaton's radiation vision. As she burned through the columns, she felt the weight of the severed freeway section slump down on top of her.

Truth be told, Miss Megaton had never tried lifting anything this heavy before. The steel girders alone made it oppressively heavy, to say nothing of the roadway itself or the tanker resting at the very top. Plus, she had to be careful not to jostle the broken segment, lest she cause a chain reaction that ended with the oil catching fire. Still, straining mightily though she was, it seemed that Miss Megaton's strength would hold up. After a moment, she was able to begin gaining altitude as she carried the length of freeway up and away from the street. She broke west, towards the open water, whereupon she gave a great heave and hurtled the broken roadway as far as she could manage. Like a skilled skeet-shooter, she fired a blast that connected with the tumbling tanker in mid-air, creating a brilliant fireball that vaporized everything but the steel girders. The resulting shockwave carried across the water and sent her cape flapping a few moments later.

"April, are you there?" came Jefferson's voice suddenly, still quiet but finally stable.

Relieved, she responded, "Hey, Jeff. Good to hear your voice again. I dealt with the disaster on the freeway; going to circle back now and assist with the cleanup."

"About that..." As he spoke, Miss Megaton noticed a shadow spreading across the water. She turned back towards the city, shielding her eyes as she glanced up at the sun. A large object was passing in front of it, appearing like nothing more than a formless black shape. As her eyes adjusted, however, she began to make out the details clearly. Even so, what she was seeing defied all belief or reason. She blinked a few times to make sure she wasn't imagining things. "... you may have a bigger problem," Jeff concluded.

"No kidding," Miss Megaton gasped, curling her hands into fists. Just then, a door at the bottom of the spaceship slid open, and dozens of tiny black shapes came spilling out.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Klumsykrow357
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@Perse
---

Muerte stared in utter fascination as his leg stitched itself back together and sealed seamlessly in seconds. He could feel the same thing happening to his shoulder. Before the green light had even faded he felt good as new. Woah! What I could do with power like that! He looked back up at her obviously impressed.

"Much appreciated...Cadence? I like that name. Cadence...her power is tied to her voice? The rhymes maybe? "Well now that I'm no longer a gimp, we should probably get out of here huh? Before more of them show up. Luckily, I've got us a ride." He gestured over his shoulder at his bike before holding out his hand to her to help her over the rubble in her path. With no small degree of charm he said, "Come on, lets go."

Muerte couldn't help it. She was attractive and fascinating...not to mention dangerous. Pulling spaceships from the sky, mending wounds in seconds, turning her enemies into stone...how could he NOT be at least a little interested? One could argue that in the middle of a warzone was hardly the place to flirt but it could also be said that there might not be a later opportunity for it. Besides, magic was literally his top weakness and he wanted very much to be on this woman's good side. What could she do to him if he pissed her off? Rip him limb from limb? Turn all his limbs into spiders? Make his brain blow up?! The possibilities were endless and he wasn't sure if he was more terrified or thrilled because of it.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Alternax
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Mal’ahk #7: Apocalypse Now, Part 3


Dr. Jacob Regan & Dr. David A. Jones


Lost Haven
The Chinatown Bridge


As the adrenaline of the chase began to wear off, Anhur started to go into a limp. The cut on his leg, oozing down his leg from the large gash, started to throb with each beat of his heart. It didn’t take long before the blood was left behind on the ground with a partial print of the boots he was wearing. With his DNA profile obscured from the database, thanks to the connections The Eye have within the DNA database in the country, it would take a long time for any police to connect him to the shooting. That is, if they ever find him again after this.

With the detonator on his belt so the bombs on the bridge could be dismantled safely, he pulled the radio off of the belt next to the detonator and raised it to his lips.

“Dirk, breng de gevangene terug naar de pakhuis. Ik heb hem een paar vragen zodra ik melden met Dullahan over de bruggen.”

“Ok, baas,” crackled the Dutchman’s voice over the radio. “Wij zal uw bij de pakhuis te zien.”

With the order given out, the skull-faced man slowed his pace to allow him to look at the injury on his leg. “Ah, fuck,” he groaned as he pulled away from the fabric of his trousers. “That’s going to need to be treated. I wonder if that fine piece of ass Alison will book in another session to see if she knows how to work her magic on that.”

-----


‘All but the middle one..’

So with the one bridge saved, that meant two other targets. The bridge with their lead was likely the one connecting towards Chinatown, on the other side of Lost Haven. Seeing as how it was one of the only remaining bridges. There didn’t need to be words, Uriel knew this too, and so they both took off. To supplement his speed, David had taken to using his board trick. Using a small section of cement, he formed a flattened construct not unlike a surfboard, but with footholds for himself, and used his power over the Earth to ‘push’ himself towards supersonic speeds. As opposed to his normal flight, which would have been insufficient for the occasion.

His control over it seemed shakier than usual, maybe because this was only his second time using it? Whatever it was, he could only deal with it now. Upon approaching the new bridge he was appalled by what he saw. People were trying to get by, as they should, but there were many shouting and drawing attention to a hanging body.

Uriel would be coming to back him up so he can begin the search first, but David flew towards the body. Nobody deserves to be strung up like some hood ornament. Flames plumed out from his palm as he vaporized the strap he hung by, then carried it down, and lay the body flat.

Dr. Reagan followed along in the wake of his surfboarding partner in crime as they headed straight for the Chinatown bridge. As they approached he witnessed a macabre display that his newly acquired ally immediately veered off to deal with.

He cares an awful lot about the mortal shell it would seem. How strange.

”The fact that you don’t concerns me.” Coming to an abrupt halt in mid air he drove his wings downwards downard and fell into an upright hover as he scanned the bridge. Someone else must have stopped the attack here but who and how? Inhaling he slowly scanned the surface of the bridge. The chaos wasn’t much better here but it hadn’t drawn war’s presence. The destruction of the other bridge combined with the landing of the alien craft must have been the correct convergence of destructive things to bring him into existence there.

There

On the bridge was a single limping individual and when he turned to look at his leg the pattern of a skull face appeared. ”I would hate to assume he is responsible just because of how he looks”

Discarding an anomaly in some false attempt to avoid the appearance of prejudice is foolish.

”Fair enough”

With that he leaned forward and fell into a swoop that brought him alongside the edge of the bridge before arcing out and over the man and then dropping onto top of the bridge's upper arch. Taking him in he looked from the injury to his face to the similar object hanging from his belt. Dr. Reagan had to admit that Uriel had a point. ”Just a moment. Are you the one responsible for stopping the bombers?”

Anhur turned towards the angelic figure as soon as he was called to. Cursing under his breath, he turned to the figure. In the corner of his eye, he saw the hero he presumed to be Terra Firma lay down the corpse of the man he blew a hole into. While he didn’t know the full capabilities of the angelic hero that was talking to him, Terra Firma was a problem for him that he would be easily overwhelmed if they decided to try and take him in. And with the knife wound on his leg, it made trying to fight both of them all the more difficult. Instead, he went for a different method.

While still holding onto the empty assault rifle in one hand and the sniper rifle sling over the shoulder, he reached down to the detonator that was on his belt. His eye caught a glimpse of the boat making its way to a small gathering of people to try and cover their tracks of being in the location and help a few of the people across. Slowly, he unclipped the detonator and raised it for the flying figure to see.

“You mean the assholes that tried to blow up this bridge alongside some of the others?” In a swift motion, he threw the detonator towards the figure hard enough that it was easy to catch at that distance. “Yeah, you could say I stopped them from blowing the bridge up. The explosives are down by the water on one of the columns if you wanted to see what they were using.”

Seeing Uriel stop an injured man caught David's attention and he quickly joined them, just in time to overhear the latter part of their exchange. Eyeing the man, he could tell that his rifles and bloodstains weren’t for show, but the would-be bombers took precedence. Whoever this was, at least he wasn’t trying to do the aliens’ jobs for them.

"We'll have to leave the bombs to the authorities. What we want now are the ones who planted those bombs...."

Anhur looked in both directions at the roughly where he had dropped the bodies and sighed. “Well… if you know how to talk to dead bodies then there’s one in that direction and two in the other. It was only those three at this bridge. Though in all honesty, three dead bodies might be an inconvenience but it’s worth saving the hundreds of people who would have died if the bombs had destroyed the bridge. What would you say?”

“You didn’t leave a single one alive? They could have more bombs somewhere, not to mention that we need to find their boss.”

Anhur’s eyes narrowed at Terra Firma. “Judging from what I have seen, only the bridges have been taken out barring the bridge that, I presume, you stopped the bombers at. If there were any other targets, especially with the coordination shown, then those places would have been gone by now. The less people these bombers have returning to wherever they are, the less manpower they will have to pull something like this again. Plus, it was either me or them and I would very much like to be alive.”

David scrutinized the man, it was true, he could not fault him for killing them if it was self defense. But there were still several problems here. “With the coordination shown there could be future bombs, and they had it on a timer. We can’t rule out another wave of bombs as impossible. But if they’re all dead, I have no choice but to handle what’s in front of me. You left that man hanging, didn’t you?” He started taking a few steps forward, towards Anhur.

In an unusual move, Anhur unshouldered the sniper rifle and set it down on the railings of the bridge. He remained unmoved by the hero’s approach, though inside he relished it.

“Maybe, but they’ll struggle with getting it down with three less mooks running around. While he was dead before he ended up in that position on the rope, it’ll send a message to whoever they work for to think twice about doing something like this again.”

“What really would have sent a message, is following their tails all the way back to their boss. I’ve seen my fair share of gunshot wounds, those Hounds of Humanity were everywhere, you see. It would have taken something a little more high powered than a glock to get through those vests. If your story was true, that he was dead already, I know you’re no innocent bystander here. Why don’t you come with me?”

“See, the problem with organizations like whoever these fucks were working for, there will be pockets where they might be and anything that’s off, they’ll scatter into the wind and disappear. Even before their ‘Finger of God’ had signalled the location of the Hounds of Humanity main base, you heroes had difficulty in finding them. Otherwise, places such as Philadelphia and Nautica Island would still be around.”

“As for your comment of that man getting a hole through him, it’s a reason why that sniper rifle was there. I took it off of one of his buddies and shot him before he could get away with the detonator, which your companion now has. As I still have the rifle in question, it is fucking obvious I’m no innocent bystander but someone who saved those people below from an explosive end. So thank you, but I will not be coming with you. In case you haven’t noticed, there are still aliens attacking this city that needs more attention than whatever this is.”

The earlier words stung David, worse than any of the punches he’d taken so far, but even so, all that meant, was that he’d have to be better for the future. “I would have liked to have ‘followed their tails’ but I can’t now, can I? David stared straight ahead at the man now.

I trust my allies will come up with a plan for the aliens soon. Right now, I’ll thank you for saving everyone here, and I’m not lying when I say I’m glad you were here. Except, your story doesn’t excuse you leaving that man strung up and executing him. It’s within your right to kill in defense, however, it’s not your right to make such a gruesome display. The police have a lot to deal with now, so I’ll personally take you to a station.” David then closed the distance, moving to take the mans’ other rifle, to disarm him.

“I do not think so,” was all Anhur said. While the sniper rifle was still loaded and resting away from him, the assault rifle that was strapped around him was completely empty. But Terra Firma didn’t know that. It only served one purpose at this point and the hero fell into Anhur’s trap. He allowed for the hero to take hold of the rifle. In one motion, he drove the heel of his palm towards the hero’s flaming body.

A shadow washed over David’s mind as a dark energy transferred itself from Anhur, and into his body. It felt like a snake was trying to worm itself in, coiling around his heart, his head, and every nerve in his body. Because of the situation, there was already plenty of screaming and shouting in the background, but Anhur had done something to him. The wailing he heard just a few seconds ago was now loud and booming, fear stricken shrieking pierced his ears, and he moved his hands to his head. Trying to get ahold of himself as his senses slipped further from his grasp, into that darkness, the gloom that began to cover his soul.

A normal human like David might have suffered far worse, and much longer under this ‘fear’ effect. But a warm, radiant, feeling began to spread through his body, pushing back the encroaching shadows, offering him a safe haven. The heaviness and terror that had attempted to cloud his mind had been flushed out by a pure source of energy, night turned to day, and David found himself being guided through the dark. But this was a new experience for both himself, and the Earth. While he may be cleansed of that attack, his own senses were still foggy, the rest was on him.

-----


Catching the detonator as it sailed through the air, Dr. Reagan hefted it in the palm of his hand and then looked back at the man. Interesting. There were more than a few of these wood-be gun toting do-gooders-by-any-means-necessary in the city. That was on one level extremely concerning and on another it was nice to know that Lost Haven was not going to roll over without a fight and it wasn’t just the capes who were taking it to people around here.

Terra Firma joined them and Dr. Reagan continued to study the man pensively. His callousness about the situation bothered him but Uriel didn’t seem to care either way from his notable silence. Must have been his assumption that they got what they deserved. Either way it was really starting to grind his gears that an Angel had so little care about killing people.

Then again…

Uriel was an Old Testament sort of ass kicking waiting to happen. It was strange associating a being that was supposed to be about love and mercy with a messenger like Uriel. Returning his attention to the conversation he caught that all of the bombers were dead. That wasn’t terribly helpful.

We could pluck one of their souls from the Pit. If you had mastered my wings

”I’m aware”

Terra Firma continued to go on about how he shouldn’t have strung the man up in such a display which was fair. Following that he moved into a comment about bringing the man in, which was probably not going to go very well. Sure enough he didn’t seem to think that was what was going to happen and naturally Terra Firma slowly reached for the gun. Dr. Reagan sighed and then the man slammed Terra Firma with the heel of his hand. Was that going to work?

He didn’t wait around to find out. Lunging on the right side of Terra Firma he didn’t bother with the sword. He just drove the tip of his right wing towards the man’s shoulder with the intention of driving the supernaturally hard feathers into the space between the chest and shoulder about six inches.

”Why is it always a fight…”

Anhur didn’t get much of a chance to react to the angelic figure flying close to them and attacking with their wing. Fortunately for him, the motion of driving his palm into Terra Firma caused enough momentum for the tip of the wing to nick his left shoulder with a deep cut. It was one thing to try and fight off a hero of Terra Firma’s calibre, but to fight another hero on top of that? The skull-faced man wasn’t going to lie, he was in a rough spot and it seemed that there was little to no chance of getting out of this uncaptured.

---------------

Down in the boat, close to the shores where people gathered to get onto one of the larger boats to get away from the city, the rest of the Penose blended into the crowd of ships, keeping away from prying eyes. Dirk, the person in charge of the Dutch organized outfit, looked around to see if there were any authorities about. He felt uneasy leaving Anhur behind, but if the head of Lost Haven operations needed to report to Dullahan about the unexpected destruction of bridges, then he understood the reasoning.

On the off-chance of looking in the direction of the bridge, he noticed a meta with a flaming body and a figure with wings in the area around the bridge. Mere moments later, both of them about the area where Anhur was last spotted. The Dutchman didn’t like the looks of that at all. Looking to the waters, he noticed a few of the other Penose boats were coming back after the destruction of the bridge just to the north. Not waiting for another chance, he pulled the radio up and started to speak. It was then he saw the angelic figure landing on the bridge.

---------------

Still recoiling from the cut from the angel, Anhur thought about having no choice but to try and fight both of them off. His hand started to hover around his back to where a knife was. But, he paused as his eyes narrowed to focus on something. As if he was concentrating on listening.

His eyes widened at the recognition of a distant sound. The hand that was hovering around his back snapped to the barrel of the rifle and undid the clip to the strap. Once freed, he allowed gravity to take his body to the floor just as a torrent of bullets whizzed into the area, punching through the steel girders like they were nothing. Peering in the gaps, he saw 4 of the Penose boats had turned around, the men on the boat firing up at the bridge. Concealing his face to the two heroes, he smirked as the white blur of the turrets’ cannons were raining death and destruction towards their location.

The wing clipped the man’s shoulder and sliced through clothing and flesh like it was nothing. Dr. Reagan grimaced as he moved to pass Terra Firma and continued after the man but he suddenly discontent his firearm from the strap and fell flat on the floor of the bridge top. A hail of bullets slammed into the top of the bridge stitching across concrete and steel in an angry whine. Shrugging his wings up and forwards he closed them over the front of his body. It meant he couldn’t see anything but the bullets simply rattled off the feathers of his wings. It was hardly ideal but it was better than getting shot since he was fairly certain that the wings were the only bulletproof part of his body. With the wings providing a sort of cowl he jerked his right hand down and the sword sprouted in a gout of fire. There was no way to tell where the other man was now but he needed to be ready in case of some sort of ruse. Hopefully Terra Firma was resistant to the fullisade of fire.

As the bullets rained on the trio, Anhur saw his opportunity when the winged hero curled his wings forward to defend himself. While the bullets seemed to be bouncing off of them, it completely covered the view of him on the ground. And with Terra Firma still shrugging off the fear effect, the skull-faced man saw the window and took it. Shuffling on the ground, he pressed himself up and began to run back to the location where he climbed onto the catwalk.

David shook his head as he stumbled through the after effects of the man's attack. The crackle and thundering of specialized bullets blasting through the bridge around him quickly put him onto alert. Tossing his gaze around, he saw the murderer making a run for it, while Uriel had taken some sort of defensive stance.

He sprinted off towards the angel, placing himself between a stream of gunfire and the angel, then tasted the power of these special bullets for himself. Hundreds of red and orange sparks shot off his body as the energy in the bullets and his body clashed. David's grunts of pain and strain echoed out as his body faltered, he crossed his arms in front of his chest to better withstand the onslaught of these new weapons.

"Are you hurt... can you fight?" David asked in a strained tone.

Once he reached the railing he climbed over, he turned to look. He smirked at the sight of Terra Firma now also defending himself from the hail of turret fire, even taking some of the fire off of the angel. He wasted no time and jumped over the railing and slid down the entire length of the column, guiding himself down with a steady hand and both feet.

Once he reached the base of the bridge where the explosives and dead bodies were, he looked in the direction of the destroyed bridge further inland. Another boat was coming up. Perfect for a getaway. As the boat passed, Anhur jumped onto it. His body rolled across the small deck until it crashed onto the opposite wall, his blood painting the deck from his shoulder and leg. As the men on the boat went to aid him, he got onto one knee.

“Get us out of here!” he barked at them. “I don’t want those fucks taking me in!”

The men on the boat scrambled to aim for the boat to charge away from the scene. It didn’t take long for the boat to pass the ones firing on the two heroes as it sped away. Now on his feet, Anhur reached for the radio on the boat.

“Listen up, I want to put some distance between me and them. Hold them off for as long as you can before pulling away.” He wasn’t going to lie, some of the men on the other boats were probably going to be captured by Terra Firma and the angel for questioning. But as long as he was not one of those people captured, the others were expendable and they knew what they had signed up for.

Putting the radio back down, he turned to the driver of the boat. “Take us to Rendezvous B. I don’t want them to catch up to us or our prisoner.” The driver nodded as the skull-faced man slumped onto one of the benches.

At Terra Firma’s question Dr. Reagan grunted. ”I’m fine but I’m not bulletproof the whole way through. Just my wings.” At a lull in the fire of the boats he risked a peek through the center of his wings. They were changing out the box on the front machine gun of one of the two boats. Now was his chance before they got it reloaded and opened up again. Crouching low he held his wings up at an angle sort of like the cow catcher on a train until he was at the edge of the bridge and then he leapt. Closing his wings around him in a cocoon he plummeted towards the water.

Knifing through the surface he vanished from the view of the boats. As he plunged beneath the surface he arched his body and his wings. Opening them to carry him through the water as he brought the sword up with an effort and drove it along the bottom of the now reloaded boat. It split the boat and began to sink it.

Twisting his wings as he slid by underneath it he angled them so that he came shooting out of the water. With a powerful stroke of the wings he hovered briefly making eye contact with the driver of the second boat he had turned around to see what was happening. The man reached for his sidearm. With a grunt Dr. Reagan swung his legs forward and kicked the man over the steering of the second boat.

”I’ve had about enough of that for today. Thanks.”

The gunfire had fallen off for a moment, either because they had to reload, or because Uriel had taken their attention back, so David took his chance too. He blasted off into the air as quick as he could, then swiftly bore back down at them, making a '^'-shaped contrail in the sky. They in turn, trained their guns as far up as they could, unleashing a storm of weapons fire as soon as they could.

The sun's glare kept them from being accurate, but they clipped David's body enough to cause him to lose control. Cascading energies exploded off the outside of his body, and the resulting turbulence proved too much. David immediately dropped like a brick, he grunted as he tried to regain control, but there was simply not enough time. He finally splashed down into the water, shooting up water dozens of feet into the air.

But this was fine, in fact, this was the best place to be. The guns apparently didn’t have the ability to shoot low enough to nail targets directly below the boat, nor could they reasonably shoot through it. A bright light closed up underneath them, then the sound of metal crunching, was all the warning the first boat had, and it wouldn’t be enough.

The boat suddenly went under, then emerged upside down, with both the cabin and turret completely submerged, rendering both useless. If one was close enough they could make out muffled screaming and shouting, before the waters turned quiet once again. Not a minute later, the gunmen were tossed up onto the upturned boat; where they lay, able to breathe, but unconscious.

The other boat could clearly tell what happened, and fired on David, or as close as they could based on the glow. Blurring his image was the only protection water offered him, but it wouldn’t matter. David emerged out of the water as quickly as he had fallen, with both arms at the side, fists out, he then quickly brought one arm over the other. Lightning followed his hand as it swiped over the other, and towards the boat’s turret.

As the bolt raced over the water, it met the incoming bullets and melted them mid-air, carving its own path of destruction straight back to the turret. David’s superheated bolt turned the gun into a sizzling, misshapen hunk of metal. Upon seeing this, the mercs shouted at their driver to accelerate their craft. But they would be far too late, a certain someone had landed on their bow.

“You’re all coming, with me.”

Working his way through the rest of the individuals on the boat he’d landed on Dr. Reagan, cut, kicked, grabbed, and flung until the remaining men on the boat were incapacitated.

It would have been swifter to dispatch them. They made themselves enemies of the Lord of Hosts.

It was becoming increasingly disconcerting to him that the Angel was perfectly accepting of the loss of life incurred from stuff like this. Sure he was an unknowable ancient messenger of a potential omnipotent being but still it seemed so out of character. Then again. They were talking about the God of the old testament. At least. In theory. Either way. He shrugged and didn’t bother to give him a further response. Turning the boat and gunning it towards the shore he watched as Terra Firma handled the other vessel.
It didn’t take long to flag down national guard troops and hand over the wood-be terrorists. Truthfully they probably needed the man from the bridge. These individuals were working with him but he had other problems right now. Somewhere out there, there was a Horseman of the apocalypse and probably another one who had been present for even longer.

Looking back to Terra Firma he nodded at him. ”I wish we could do more but I think our only lead took off.” Pulling the detonator out of his pocket he handed it to Terra Firma. ”Hopefully you can make better use of this or know someone who can. I’m rather new to this hero game but either way. You can find me at St. John’s Parish. War isn’t the only problem running around and I think given the actual aliens falling from the sky we are all hands on deck. I’m afraid Conquest is out there somewhere and I need to find them both. Snapping the sword from existence he held out his hand. ”You may call me Mal’ahk it would seem the Lord of Hosts has a vested interest in this fight. Find me and I will help if I can. Otherwise I’m going to try and cancel the end of the world before it gets rolling.”

”Stopping the end of the world? A very noble goal, let’s hope we succeed. Call me, Terra Firma. David took Mal’ahk’s hand, embracing it with his own, and gave it a firm shake.

”Indeed, I’ll give this detonator to someone knowledgeable, and I’ll do my best to keep you informed. Speaking of, will I find Mal’ahk, or someone else at St. John’s?

At the question he took the man’s hand. ”I don’t think there is much in the way of a difference anymore. At least for now, though I suspect the Monsignor who runs the Parish will probably know me more simply as Uriel. I haven’t the faintest if he cares beyond that fact.. Dr. Reagan chuckled but in the moment he realized that it was probably a true enough statement. He was a weapon now.

”I can’t speak for this Monsignor, but I care.” David put a reaffirming hand on the man’s shoulder.

”I doubt it’s the same, but I get the feeling you share the same bewilderment about outside powers as I do. I can tell you aren’t some ruthless executioner, and I don’t know what you consider yourself. But you helped saved lives today, you’re a fellow hero in my eyes. So, whether it’s an ear, or a fist you need, you can call on me. Likewise, if you need me, you might find me at the Lost Haven University."

Dr. Reagan tilted his head in curiosity at the comment. Was it possible that LHU was so blessed or cursed to have two resident super powered beings. ”It is rather surreal I will admit. Though assuming the campus is still standing I’ll be resuming classes at some point. You can call me Dr. Jacob Reagan The day just became curiouser and curiouser.

David resisted the urge to tilt his head as well, instead, his head jerked back. As if someone had just slapped his face. What he just heard had startled him, and had him just a little unnerved. Thinking about the incredible amount of ‘encounters’ he’d been through recently, he couldn’t help but feel a little crowded.

Dr. Reagan huh…just how long had this been going on?

Though he felt apprehensive David quickly got over it. The fact that he had not used that sword to cut down the terrorists, even after their appalling acts of violence, spoke miles about his character. Self-defense was one thing, but so was restraint. They needed the terrorists alive to punish and hold accountable, and discipline so that ‘heroes’ didn’t become scarier than villains.

He firmly believed that he and the other heroes needed to leave a proud legacy behind, to show that a better future was possible, that the superpowered were not a change to be feared. Actions speak loud, and today Reagan had made a friend if not an ally. David nodded, then ‘cleared his throat’.

”Ahem. Surreal is one way to describe it. I’ll return your trust, you might know me as Dr. David A. Jones. I occasionally travel out, but I’m part of the history and archeology wings. Let’s work together sometime!

David then looked towards the sky. Right now though, it seems we both have something we need to do. Good luck with Conquest and War, I’m going to work with Icon to see what we can do about the aliens.”

From here, they separated. David took off towards the skies. Without a lead to chase down, it was finally time to unite with Iron Knight and Icon.

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Hidden 3 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Perse
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Perse

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Looking at the man with the curiosity of a small child, Louisa was happy to see that her new found friend was not only healed but seemed quite pleased with the situation. Not having really planned anything and being in the middle of destruction, she decided that going with him would not be the worst idea.

"Why not Mr.Muerte," she said as she reached out her hand and took his and let him pull her up over the rubble. Smiling at him friendly, she walked past him with a little skip and made her way towards the motorcycle he had a point but before she had even got there was a cacophony of crashing to her left. There out of the debris came a giant body crashing through the rubble and shattering debris and creating a haze of dust. As the dust started to fade, the beast's silhouette was started to be seen. Whatever it was, it was large, at least 6 feet tall, hexapedal and there balanced on it's back was a smaller form of a bipedal.

As the creature stalked it's way towards the two, they could see the dark short fur of the big cat like creature bristle under large defined muscles. It's stubbed face swerved their way as nostrils breathed out the air. It did not have any obviously visible eyes but that didn't stop it as it confidently crushed what had been left of the alien's weapons under it's feet. On top of the beast was the same alien species that they had seen before, he held on to the beast holding on to two of it's multiple antlers that came out of it's heard like ram horns.

Watching the mounted beast with feverish excitement in her eyes, Cadence's face went from one of shock to pure and utter delight. "Actually I have a better idea," Cadence said as she started to step away from both Muerte and the motorbike and started to walk towards the alien beast. She hardly even payed attention to it's rider as they directed the animal to attack her.

"No longer may you ride this beast
you shall instead be deceased

and the creature in question
will no longer be under oppression

let us rather make it a suggestion
that it will show me no aggression

and may we communication transcend
so we may call each other friend."


Bright neon green light came from her and enveloped the enemy before her. A moment passed and then the alien opponent slid off from his position on the beast to fall towards the dirt ridden ground, dead before he even hit the floor. The beast previously getting ready to pounce at them was enveloped in green light and stood still as it started to take everything in. The light around it faded and the spell started to take effect.

Louisa smiled up at the beast before she fell crashing down to her knees. Panting she sat there winded and exhausted trying to catch her breath. She had been pushing her magic further than she was used to and it was starting to catch up to her. A soft padding noise made it's way towards her and got her attention. Rising her head she saw the panther like beast in front of her, it seemed to be studying her curiously. Louisa smiled up at it and felt like her exhaustion was totally worth it as she reached out a hand to the eyeless face.

A few large hot aired sniffs as the monster took in her scent and soon her out reached hand was on what she could best guess was it's muzzle, "It's nice to meet you," she said quietly to her new found companion.

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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Alternax
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Intermission post.
Lost Haven, ME

A future Halloween


Seven days before Halloween.

A casually dressed young man briskly walked through the hallway, breathing heavy and hard. The campus was surprisingly big, and he had a ways to walk before getting to his car. Seeing as it was night, it was obvious there wouldn't be as many people walking around, but it seemed off.

"Whew, super empty..." He muttered to himself. There were rumors about a vampire walking around, but he knew that was just some kind of bullying, he actually had a class with her. Nice girl, great notes, she only got treated like that for being quiet. Still, the rumors about ghosts were a little more valid. That terrorist attack had left an awful feeling for everybody still attending classes, and he could swear he could hear voices under the wind. Sometimes he thought he saw blood under the flooring late at night. But these were just rumors, and tricks of the eyes. Is what he would usually say, out loud too since he was alone, except the wind was pretty loud.

"Brrr... too cold." He muttered again, and then realized what he had just said. The man was still inside, in a building with a perfectly fine AC unit. The wind started howling, then a bright light dashed somewhere behind him.

"Who's there!" He shouted. The wind had stopped, and a voice called back.

"Who's there!" Someone shouted replied from farther up the hallway. One of the classrooms? The man thought. He was about to shout back until he realized something. The voice that shouted back, sounded a lot like his, his legs immediately turned him the other way.

"Nah, no no no, not like this, hell no!" The man started shouting, his backpack swished wildly on his back but he dealt with it.

"Go away.." The voice came as an quited whisper, this time it sounded like it was right behind him. His heart stopped, and he briefly hoped it was just some prank. Maybe the football team was standing behind him with cameras, they'd all laugh about it later, good fun. The voice had caught up to him so quickly, so obviously he couldn't run from it. Probably was the football team, right, could be track?

He turned around, and then he screamed.

-----


Halloween day, the 31st


It was 10'o clock pm, hundreds of families had been out trick or treating, or celebrating the spirit of Halloween. The Jones family were not an exception, having spent the last few hours going around the neighborhood. They eventually made their way to Sherman Square to take part in a special event held being held throughout Lost Haven, everyone throughout the city had hung up decorations in the spirit of fun to help recover from the recent attacks.

Both parents and children were encouraged to participate in costume, which is what David had done. He wore a store bought version of Iron Knights' costume, unfortunately no helmet, and Cecilia wore a Radiance costume. While their daughter, Maddison ,had taken to wearing a TV hero's costume, Pheonix-Man. It had a flashy design, red 'pauldrons' and vest, with gold and black streaming down the rest of the outfit, along with a gold feather pattern on the back, the mask it came with had also featured gold feathers around the edges.

"Geez, I got a ton of candy corn, I hate those..." A girl travelling with them complained. Alice, one of Maddison's friends from school, whom had come with her family; with each of her parents wearing costumes of their own.

"Let me have some of your snickers!" Alice tried to dip her hand into Maddison's 'pumpkin' shaped basket.

"Nooo!" Maddison quickly turned on her heel and ran around her Dad.

"Now, now, no need to get grabby. The night's still young, plenty of chances to get candy later. Here, I'll give you some of mine." David dipped into his own basket, and pulled out a handful of twizzlers and tootsie rolls after a moment of digging around. Alice and Maddison both looked at him.

"Bleh." They said synonymously.

"David, you're still so childish. Stop trying to give them candy you don't want.." Cecily hooked her arm around his. "Well, like you said, the night's still young. Let's get that candy." She smiled.

-----


After another half hour of visiting and looking through the hundreds of attractions, they finally returned to their cars to drop off their haul. While the parents were busy talking Alice pulled Maddison aside. "Hey, look over there!" She pointed towards another building, hidden off their path.

"Huh? Lost Haven University, so?" Maddison tilted her head and asked.

"Your dad works there right, haven't you heard, there's actually some spooky stuff that's supposed to happen at night?"

"Uh, you mean like pop quiz's, 'cuz it's a school?"

"Noooo! They say there's a vampire, and even ghosts!"

"In a school?" Maddison was skeptical, but everyone remembered the Hounds of Humanity, who had attacked the city several times, and even the school her Dad worked at. At the time she was home on summer break, when the news started reporting on the shooting she and her mom had tuned in to see if her Dad was okay. They never saw him in any of the videos at the time, but they were worried. They never called just in-case he was hiding, but they held out hope that the heroes then had saved him. Thankfully, it seemed like they did so they never pushed for details about it.

It made sense that people would think that there were ghosts haunting the place, but it was still a little outlandish. "Come onnn! It's not even that far away, let's just have a look around!" Alice started dragging her hand.

Well, it was Halloween, and what harm was a little exploring going to do? Still, she couldn't just leave so suddenly. "Mom, Dad! W-we're gonna check out one of the haunted houses again!" Maddison yelled out.

"Just come back soon!" Her mom yelled back and waved them off, her dad did he same, but he quickly turned back to say something.

I guess adults have a lot to talk about... Football?

-----


A soft wind had been blowing all night, they were relatively warm in their costumes, but away from the festivities they could actually hear it. It set the mood somewhat for a little late night urban spelunking. The lights were out accross the building, the night classes were apparently cancelled for tonight, and it seemed there was nobody home.

Alice led the way and hesitantly pulled on the door handle, and then stopped. "Ah."

"Ah?" Maddison raised an eyebrow.

"Ah! It's locked..." Alice turned and frowned.

Maddison shook her head and sighed. "Of course it is, it's night time!"

"Then what do we do?"

"Hey!" Suddenly, a voice called out from behind them, surprising the girls.

"The university is closed today, you kids should go home." A man said, there were two other people with him, all of whom were wearing their own costumes. They clearly weren't the security guard.

"Chill, look at them, they probably want to check out those rumors too." One of them said. The first man looked over Maddison and her friend.

"Who are you guys?" Maddison asked, more on reflex than actually being curious.

"I'm Johan." The first man said, he was dressed as Icon, he had the mask resting on top of his head though.

"Rick." The second man said with a shrug, he was dressed as skeletal astronaut, with fake blood that slid down his 'helmet'.

"Dan." The final man said with a limp wave, he was dressed as a completely normal man. Maybe.

"Yeah, well, the door's locked. It's no use." She said with a shrug.

Johan pulled out a silver ring and smiled. "That's why we brought a key."

After that, it didn't take long to enter the school, and it was as empty as it looked from the outside. It was possible to hear the faint sounds of celebration outside, but now that they were inside it was completely silent. The hallways were dark with only the barest of moonlight to illuminate them, the kids ultimately decided to use their phones to light their way. Eventually they even passed Maddison's Dad's office and classroom eventually; she didn't mention it, but she did get an off-hand idea to explore them.

They passed through a few of the outside areas as well as some of the smaller buildings, for Maddie, it was a little weird to see the place her Dad worked at, but mostly boring. Alice felt more or less the same, and spoke up to break the silence.

"So, how'd you guys get a key?" She asked the young men, Dan answered them.

"We stole it!" He said with a smile and made a fake 'hush' gesture. The three of them chuckled slightly.

"It looks like the ghosts are a total bust. You guys know about that vampire rumor?" Maddison asked.

"Oh that? Yeah, I'm actually not sure about it. But there's this really creepy girl in my history 1313 class. That might be what it's about." The Johan said, and put a finger on his chin.

"I dunno, some guy said he saw someone leaping the roofs one night." Rick spoke up next.

"That could have been some random meta. Dan what do you think?" Johan turned around, then stopped. "Uh.."

Johan's weird behavior caught everyone's attention and they all turned around, only to see nothing except an empty hallway.

"Maybe... he got lost?" Alice offered.

Johan tilted his head. "Maybe? He doesn't come to this part of the campus often, if he walked off on his own he could have gotten lost."

"Hey, Dan!"

"Daniel, did you get lost, you dummy?" The two men called out to him.

"Hey!" A voice called back from further back where they came. Rick and the girls were about to head that way when Johan held out his arm and stopped them.

"That voice, sounded a little weird."

"What do you mean?" Alice asked.

"Yeah, actually, it kinda sounded like m-" Rick stopped mid-sentence, someone had thrown a pencil at the back of his head. That caught everyone's attention. The entire group turned around to see a giant luminescent face flying towards them from further down the opposite hallway. It was nearly featureless, only resembling a face in shape with gaps in place of its eyes and mouth. While the entire thing glowed, it seemed to be at its brightest at the 'nose'.

"Go away..."

They all screamed and in their panic, Maddison and Alice nearly took off in different directions, until Johan intercepted their hands to guide them. They ran for what felt like minutes before stopping, their hands each dropped to their knees as the three of them tried to catch their breathe. Now outside, they actually felt a little relieved, compared to the closed off and empty hallways. Outside, they felt more free, and the full moon illuminated much more of their surroundings. The wind was blowing much harder than Maddison remembered, it whistled loudly. Between heavy gasps, Maddie dared to be the first to speak.

"T-that was a ghost?"

"Muh.. maybe.." Johan said, he then took a glance around them. "We lost Rick."

"W-what should we do?" Maddison asked, Alice, still stood silently behind them. "Let's get out of here first." Johan moved to take Maddison's hand into his own, but the ground beneath him suddenly slid forward, and he fell onto his back. He let out a small groan before a hand came down to help him.

Johan looked up to see a skull. "Ah!~ Rick, like, thanks man." He grasped the hand offered to him, and it pulled him up. It even patted down his back to get off some clinging dirt and grass.

"H-hey, t-that's not your friend!" Maddie yelled out. Johan did a double take, his eyes made extra sure to examine the hand he had just taken, and the body it belonged to. Rick had a skull astronaut as his costume, but the only 'skeletal' part was the skull. He was now holding hands with a bare-bones skeleton.

Another one came staggering towards them at an incredibly fast pace. Maddie took Alice with her and ran off, while Johan began to panic behind them. "H-hey, let's call someone!" Alice suggested, and Maddison nodded. They had been using them as flashlights only before now so it completely slipped her mind, she didn't like calling for help, but they were lost, and something weird was happening.

I'll call my dad. She thought, then immediately searched for him on her contacts and called him. Only to realize there was no signal.

"Wha- what do we do?" Alice hesitantly asked, visibly shaking, probably from the cold. Her costume wasn't as heavy, and the wind had seriously picked up recently.

"I've had enough!" Maddison started shouting, she could only think about this logically for so long, but she had no idea what was happening. If weird stuff kept stopping them from running away, they'll run towards it.

"We're going right to the center!" She kept yelling.

"Hey, are you crazy! Keep it down!" Alice yelled back, and tried to cover up Maddie. She pushed Alice away long enough to say what her piece.

"I'm tired of running around with no clue! We've been running like crazy but the wind just keeps blowing that way. Whatever is happening, it's over there, I'm gonna see what it is!" Maddie roared out. She was at her limit, angry, impatient, and a little spooked. But the only way things will move on is if they find out what was happening.

The winds blew in one direction, but as they followed it towards its center it began to curve around a certain area. It looked like it was an old garden, it seems as if it was neglected, flowers had dried up and wilted. Suddenly, two of those glowing faces appeared from mid-air.

"Go away!"

"Go away..." The two of them shouted and mumbled at her, as their forms shifted and wobbled downwards towards them.

Maddison grabbed a hand full of the pebbles that surrounded some of the plants, and threw them up at the faces.

"Owwie.." One of them said.

"Huh?" Maddie stopped herself mid throw, something unexpected happened, those spooky gravelly voices, and turned into a very high pitched and girly voice. The faces merged into something more ferocious, fangs, blood, and a faded out skull beneath it. To join them, the skeletons from ealier emerged from behind a far off building, along with a stiff looking shadow. From what they could see it looked like a man, but half his skin had been torn off, revealing his flesh.

Alice screamed out, Maddison lost her courage and began to cry, when another voice descended down towards them. It was a reassuring voice, one that had saved her before.

"That's enough. These kids look like they've had enough, don't you agree?" A glowing red-orange man slowly descended from the air with his arms out to the sides. It was Terra Firma.

"Foolish mortal, you can no longer contr-" The giant glowing mishapen voice tried to taunt him. Terra snaped his fingers, and a small blue line shot towards the face.

"Ahh!" He shouted in its high-pitched voice again. The giant face disappated, and several glowing motes emerged and danced around him. The skeletons and that other figure suddenly stopped and fell to the ground.

"Heyy, we're just having a little fun!"

"Yeah, you let us stay here!" They glowing orbs tried to make their excuses and raced around him angrily.

"You came here for a reason remember, and it wasn't to scare kids." Terra said sternly and crossed his arms. The scene reminded Maddie of when her Dad would scold her, it was kinda weird, no, it definitely was.

"Oh yeah!" One of them said, and they all floated off. They split off into groups, then shot all accross the garden for a few moments. Now that things had obviously gotten way less dangerous, Maddie approached Terra, though Alice couldn't bring herself closer to this weird scenario.

"Uh, what's going on?"

Terra looked down at her for a second or two, then gave her a reply. "Those things in the school, the animated skeletons, and that thing next to them." He pointed off towards the back of the garden. "The anatomical model, and the skeletons from biology. It seems they look quite scary with low lighting. Brought to life by magic." Terra gestured his hand at the floating orbs.

Magic? Maddie questioned what she heard, but the situation was still too weird to ask that.

"Everything tonight was because of... those things?"

"Pixies, from the stories." Terra nodded. "Every bit as troublesome as you might think, but they never hurt anybody, those older boys are just asleep in the gym. The Pixies are responsible for everything."

'No, no matter what he says, I still can't believe this.' Maddie tilted her head to the side.

"Heyy~! Don't blame us for everything!" One of the orbs came back and rushed up to Terra in a huff. "Even y-"

Whatever it was about to say Maddie never heard it, Terra backhanded the pixie out of the air, it made a gasped in surprise and landed behind some bushes. He tried to disguise that as him reaching up to cover his coughing.

"Ahem. Sorry you kids got involved." Terra then seemed to intensify his gaze on her. "But this school was locked, and obviously closed. This counts as tresspassing, you know."

"W-well, you see..." This definitely felt like a lecture. Terra didn't go that far though, instead he gestured towards the garden again. The winds began to soften, the glowing orbs danced around flowers, trees, and through the pathways. Their colors made it seem as if a rainbow river was running through, pedals flew up and around them as the wind shot up.

"Whoa.." Maddison muttered. The plants in the garden glowed softly as they straightened back up, the ones that had wilted were blooming again, the leaves had returned to the trees, even the grass had suddenly grown just a bit taller. The entire area had a glow to it, as if the sun was out again, the flowers were radiant, the tree swayed back and forth slightly.

One of the orbs floated up to her face, and then she could see it. Terra told them that these Pixies were just like the stories, and they were. She was small, colorful little wings, and some kind of leaf dress.

"Looks like we had too much fun, sorry!"

"Hey, what's your deal? Why'd you try to scare us like that?"

"We just didn't want any humans nearby~."

"Hey, you know this is a building for humans, made by humans, right?"

"Sorry, not my problem! Anyways, good bye!" She said, and then flew off towards the sky. The rest of the pixies followed her up, and they disappeared beyond her sight.

"Wait, what was all this?" Alice asked, finally gaining the courage to come closer, and Terra answered.

"It seems they made a pact to revive this garden. A silly old man's wish."

"And why did they have to scare us, can't they just use magic to stop us or something?" Maddie asked this time.

"Well, Pixies in legend are famous for being supernatural pranksters. Their logic might not make sense to us, but it seems they just wanted to prank people too."

-----


Afterwards, Terra offered to fly everybody home, but both Alice and Maddison declined. He was kinda weird looking, and it wouldn't be good if he told their parents they were sneaking around the university. So instead he went to recover the older guys, leaving Maddison and her friend alone again. They might talk about it again one day, but right now, it was just too weird.

"So kids, how was it?" Maddies father was the first to see them, and he greeted them with a smile.

"Uh.. let's just go home?" She sighed with exhaustion.

"Nonesense, we talked it over, we're all going to visit a haunted house together." Her mom added next.

"Noooo!"


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The Mandela Effect: Part 20


Aubrey Adkins | Will Grant

Two Days Before the Arlaaekan Invasion

A suburb of Columbus, OH


Will and I finally pulled up into the driveway of my parents’ house. After I turned off the ignition, both of us sat there for a few moments. I leaned my head back against my chair’s headrest and I started to rub my forehead with my hand.

“Are you feeling okay?” Will asked, as he could tell something was off. “Is it your power nullifier?”

“Oh, I’ll be fine once we get inside. Considering the punishment I have received as a superhero, I think I can handle a little nausea.”

“You should have told me sooner. I would have drove instead,” Will told me.

“Hey, we got here in one piece, didn’t we? Everything is fine.”

After this little exchange, we exited the rental car and pulled our luggage out from the trunk. We dragged our suitcases to the front door and I then rung the doorbell. For a few seconds, we stood there on my parent’s front porch. Since neither of my parents had answered the door by then, I started to dig through the black hole that was my purse as I searched for the spare key to the door. However, before I could find the key, we heard the door’s bolt click and the door swung open.

Standing in the doorway was my mother. For as far back as I could remember, people have always said that I looked like a younger, split image of hers. Well, this was at least the case until I had that run-in with that metahuman trafficker, who ‘blessed’ me with the physique of a comic book heroine. I guess we can still say that we resemble one another from the neck up.

“I’m so sorry it took me so long to get the door!” my mother apologized, “I was just starting dinner and your dad was out back doing some yard work. But please, come in!”

But before I could step foot inside, my mom noticed that something was wrong, just as any mom would when their kid was sick.

“Sweetie, are you feeling okay? You look a little green,” my mom asked as she pressed the back of her hand against my forehead.

“I appreciate the concern, mom, but I’ll be fine. It has just been a long day.”

“Alright, but if you’re still feeling under the weather, we probably have some Advil or something that might help.”

After my mom had finished worrying about me, Will and I both then entered my parents’ home. Since the stairs heading upstairs were to the right, Will and I left our luggage next to the steps and then followed my mother down the hallway and towards the kitchen. My mother hurried to the sliding door to the backyard and hollered to my dad, letting him know that we had arrived. She then checked the oven before turning her attention back to us.

“Thank you for letting me stay over, Mrs. Adkins. I know my parents really appreciated it,” Will told my mom in an attempt to break the ice.

“Oh, we’re just so thankful that our Aubrey could come home, even if it is for only a few days.”

At that moment, my father finally made his appearance, as he slid open the backyard door and came inside. Since he had been working in the yard, dirt coated the casual pair of athletic shorts and gray t-shirt. I wasn’t surprised at all when I saw he was wearing one of the football t-shirts from the high school he coached at. Before coming in, he removed his shoes so he wouldn’t track soil through the house.

“How’s my little bee?” My dad said as he welcomed me home. However, as his pet nickname for me had slipped out of his lips, my dad paused for a moment. “Wait, can I still call you that since spiders aren’t bugs?”

“Brian!” My mom snapped as she heard my dad say the word ‘spider’. As I had just recently revealed my powers to my parents, they now also had to be careful about what they said about me.

“What?” My dad asked in response. You could tell from his expression that the cogs were turning in his head, trying to figure out what he had done wrong.

“We don’t know if her boyfriend knows about—” my mom paused as she thought about what she was about to say, especially since she just had criticized dad about potentially revealing my superpowers, “—what makes Aubrey so special.”

“Mom, he already knows.”

The tension in the room immediately melted away. My mom gave a sigh of relief when she heard me say that they didn’t just screw up. My dad’s reaction, on the other hand, was quite different, as he pumped his fist, as if he had not done anything wrong. I just rolled my eyes.

“Since dinner isn’t ready yet, why don’t I show Will where he’ll be sleeping,” I suggested as an excuse so I could turn off my power nullifier while not in front of my parents. Sure, they do know about my powers, but I kind of want to ease them into it.

“In the guest bedroom,” my dad sternly told me.

“I’m not in high school any—”

“Don’t make me repeat myself, Aubrey Rose,” my dad replied, “Our rules under our roof.”

“And we already have made up the guest room just for Will,” my mom interjected to get a more calmer voice into the conversation.

“Fine,” I relented, not that I had much of a choice, “Let’s go see the guest room.”

“And there will be no crawling on the ceiling,” my dad called out to me as Will and I headed back towards the stairs where we had left our luggage when we had first entered my parents’ house. “Else, you’ll be using your spider powers to give the ceiling a new coat of paint to cover any footprints!”

At the top of the stairs, there were a set of doors that led into a “bonus” room that acted as an additional living room: the perfect place to watch sports or a movie. A hallway stretched out away from this bonus room, with my parent’s room sitting at the end. The guest room just happened to be the first door after the bonus room. The decor of this room was pretty beige and neutral: pretty much a hotel room.

“You don’t mind me changing into something a bit more comfortable than this dress while you unpack?”

Will nodded. He was about ready to walk into the room, dragging his suitcase behind him, but I spoke up again.

“Before I go, could you give a hand and unzip the back of this dress?”

As I left Will behind, I continued towards my bedroom. I passed the bathroom that I had to share with my brother up until I left for college. I love my brother, but thank God I don’t have to share one with him any more (although some of the girls I shared a dorm with my first two years weren’t any better).

Once I was in my old bedroom, I tossed my suitcase onto my bed and pulled out a pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt. After I had changed and threw my hair into a ponytail with a leftover hair tie I found on my nightstand, I began unloading the rest of my suitcase. When I was almost finished, I heard a knock at my door.

“Yes?”

I had expected either of my parents to be at my door, but when I saw Will peak his head through the ajar door, I just rolled my eyes.

“Will, you don’t need to knock,” I told him with a chuckle.

“Hey, I didn’t know if you were done changing. I would rather not walk in on you while you’re in some degree of undress, especially with your parents being around.”

“And that’s total BS,” I half-jokingly, half-seriously told my boyfriend. Honestly, he was the type of person to be bashful about this sort of thing. Yet, considering my current profession and what had happened between us when my alt-world self was in the driver seat of my body, there was some evidence for me to call shenanigans.

“So, how does my room live up to your expectations?” I asked Will. My room, however, was a shell of what it had been back when I actually lived in it. Just like when you finally move out of your parents’ house, and not just going off to college, the room looked plundered of many of my personal items, as I had obviously taken them with me out west. Sure, my shelves still displayed some sports trophies I had earned all the way up to high school and there were some old photos from my teen years sitting on my dresser and desk. However, I couldn’t help feel like there was a kind of blandness with the room, as I had taken with me everything else that would have made it my own.

“Um—,” Will muttered as he considered his answer and looked around at my room, “I’ll be honest, I never really thought about it. But considering I’ve seen how your apartment looks, I’m kind of surprised this is so tidy.”

“Hey!” I retorted when I heard Will mention how much I keep my apartment decluttered (or lack thereof). But I’m not that bad. Sure, I might leave some clothes lying around in my bedroom, but it’s not like I clutter the rest of my apartment with my laundry! I then picked up one of the pillows from my bed and hurled it at Will. As it was a fluffy, soft pillow, the impact wasn’t anything serious, although it was definitely worth it to see the shocked expression on Will’s face after he realized he was just beamed by a pillow.

After Will tossed the pillow back onto my bed, he noticed a large basket in the corner of my bedroom filled to the brim with stuffed animal plushies. While there was a good variety of animals in this herd of plushies, a good number of them were bunnies, including one especially worn and loved bunny sitting on top of the pile. Before he could make a remark about them or walk closer to the basket, I spoke up first.

“I would have taken a few of them with me, but, considering I’m a superhero, something will eventually go boom and I don’t want them to be unfortunate casualties.”

“Then it’s probably safe to assume this one was your favorite when you were a kid?” Will guessed as he picked up the ‘well-loved’ black and white bunny from the top of the pile and tossed it over to me.

“What gave you that idea?” I replied with a smile on my face as I caught little Oreo in my hands.

“Oh, I have a turtle stuffed animal from my childhood who’s in a similar condition.”

“I would bet they’re going to be best friends some time.”

“I’m sure they will.”

I then set Oreo down right in front of my pillow before I grabbed my empty suitcase and tossed it into my closet. Now that my luggage was fully unpacked, I turned around and leaned up against the frame of my closet’s door.

“Anyways, wanna see a cool trick?”

“You’re not going to do anything to get me in trouble, are you?”

“What? Don’t let my parents get into your head. This is something I think you’ll really dig.”

I then double tapped my power nullifier and deactivated it. Almost immediately my lower began to morph back into its drideresque state, However, unlike the many times I had done this before, instead of my clothes no longer fitting because my arachnid shape, my yoga pants expanded and took on a new form to accommodate my eight spider legs and the rest of my spider body. As this transformation happened, I watched as Will stood there, stunned. Yet the expression on his face showed a piqued curiosity rather than fear or concern.

“So, what do you think?” I struck a pose as I spoke those words.

“Utterly speechless. Athena’s work, I presume?”

“What makes you think that? The fact these yoga pants fit my spider half like a glove? As much as she can really drive me crazy, she did do a grand job,”

Obviously Athena didn’t do this unprompted, though. After I complained enough that switching between my human and drider forms while wearing my normal clothes, especially when I needed to change unexpectedly, was quite a hassle, Athena finally caved to my complaints and worked her magic on some of my clothes as a test. Some turned out better than expected, such as these yoga pants, as they’re form-fitting. Others weren’t as successful. The pair of jeans we tested on were just too stiff and restrictive for my arachnid physique. I would have mentioned this to Will sooner, but all the parallel universe craziness had distracted me.

“Sounds like you’re feeling better already,” Will suggested. My healing factor sure is nice sometimes. Often I just have to turn off my power nullifier for a few minutes to dispel the nausea.

“I’d feel even better if you would come over here and give my shoulders a massage. It feels like someone tangled up a bunch of cords into an impossible knot and shoved them into my shoulders,” I told my boyfriend. I patted the top of my spider thorax, to indicate to him to hop on to give him better access to my back.

Will paused after he heard my suggestion. He glanced back at the door to my bedroom and took care to shut it without it making any noise. I could understand his hesitation: it would be a bit awkward for my parents to walk in on us while he was sitting on the back of my spider half. Nonetheless, after he had shut the door, he followed through with my request. I crawled onto my bed and rested my spider half on the mattress. Once I had taken a spot on my bed, Will then climbed up on my spider thorax.

“Wow, you really weren’t kidding about these knots,” Will said as he began to rub my shoulders.

“Considering the day I had, it’s a miracle there aren’t more.”

“I thought meeting your parents went pretty well,” Will suggested, “although I don’t know whether I should be relieved or offended that your parents are more worried about you getting handsy with me and not the other way around.”

“Oh, it started way before that.”

“First, it was the flight here. Although my power nullifier hasn’t failed me yet, the crammed rows of an airplane would be the worst place for a failure to happen. Even if we were to ignore the part where I would be essentially outed, I don’t even want to image what would have happened if all of this would have spontaneously appeared.”

As I spoke, I gestured to the entirety of my spider half.

“I actually hadn’t considered that possibility,” Will admitted, still rubbing my shoulders. “Maybe on the way home we should give you the aisle seat.”

“Yes, that would help so much to fix the situation,” I sarcastically retorted.

“Hey, it was just a thought!”

“Next, we had to meet your folks first. Will, I mean this in the most loving way possible, but I am never driving with your mom again.”

“Hey, I did try to warn you that she’s the queen of backseat drivers, but no, you wanted to show off.”

“I was trying to give off a good impression. But dear God, I would rather face some wacky supervillains than her.”

“Well, if it’s any consolation to you, it will be a couple decades before we have to take her driver’s license away. Plus, I think she likes you, especially since, and I’m quoting her here, I’m dating a ‘good Catholic girl.’”

“Really?” I said as I cranked my head around to look back at Will. “More like a ‘good Catholic girl,’ whose head is stuck to a porn star’s body, who’s still trying to dress like a ‘good Catholic girl.’ And she doesn’t know about the whole spider thing. So there's that.”

“Hey, give yourself a little more credit! You’re beautiful just the way you are, eight legs and all,” Will snapped back. He then reached over my shoulder and planted a kiss on my cheek.

“Anything else besides introducing me to your parents?” Will then asked.

“Well—” I said with a smirk on my face, which was still turned towards Will. “I have been heaving these humongous girls around all day. They sure haven’t been helping out my back.”

“Oh, what a terrible curse you have, having a cup size big enough to wear as a hat, yet still being able to fit into a size zero dress,” Will teased while still focusing on my shoulders.

“I know, right?” I said half-jokingly. “You saw the bullshit I have to put up with when we went to find me some new clothes.”

“I’ll admit, even I started to feel the pain. Felt like you went through hundreds of outfits before you actually found something that fit well.”

Will then continued to massage my shoulders. We just needed a little ‘us’ time, you know. After being crammed into that plane with a bunch of strangers, then thrown to the wolves with Will’s folks, and then finally seeing my parents, there’s just only so much more you can take. And a little shoulder massage was just what the doctor ordered.

“Aubrey, Will, dinner is ready,” we suddenly heard my mother say from the other side of my bedroom door after she had lightly knocked on the door.

“We’ll be right down,” I hollered. At that very moment, Will had, probably by accident, found a sweet spot on the back of my shoulders. “Oh, that’s the perfect spot. Keep rubbing it right there.”

“Sweetie, is everything alright in there?” My mom asked from the other side of the door. There was a momentary pause before she uttered those words. The tone of her voice made me think she was suspicious of us doing exactly what they told us not to do. Well, technically they didn’t say anything about not having sex. They just said we were going to be sleeping in separate bedrooms and I shouldn’t be crawling into Will bedroom during the middle of the night. So they just insinuated it.

And I'm not sure why I did what I was about to do here. Maybe it was the bitterness I had from my parents treating me like I was still a teenager. Or I might have wanted to see if my mom really thought Will and I were 'getting busy' right under my parents nose at the first opportunity we had. No matter the reason, what happened is what happened.

“Mom, I won’t come in if I were you,” I called out, “Will is caressing my boobs so gently and sensually.”

“What are you doing?” Will hissed in a whisper into my ear. He began to slow down how fast and how much pressure he was rubbing my shoulders.

“Hush! I got this under control,” I whispered back. Now was the time for my best attempt at an acting performance.

“I think...he’s going...to make...me...oh God—” I gasped as those last words escaped my lips. At that same moment, I no longer felt Will’s hands massaging my shoulders, although they were still planted square on my shoulders. For a second, he shifted his position on the back of my spider half, as if he were planning on diving off my back whenever my bedroom door would undoubtedly be swung open. Yet, he seemed frozen in place out of embarrassment and fear.

If my dad had been on the other side of that door, he probably would have crashed through the door and rushed in. Luckily, it was my mom. Instead, she creaked open the door, almost as if she were afraid of what she would see on the other side of the door. Once the door had been cracked open enough for her to stick her head through the opening, she finally discovered that I was pulling her leg. Her face gave off an expression of relief, although I could still detect a little bit of discomfort from my uncanny arachnid appearance. Even though I had told my parents about my secret identity, this was the first time she had seen me without my power nullifier activated. Although she clearly was trying, I knew it was going to take time for her to get used to the idea of a good portion of her little girl was now basically a giant spider.

“Wow, I can’t believe you actually thought we were doing that. Have a little faith in us, mom!” I said with a coil smile on my face.

“I want the record to clearly show that my hands are definitely on her shoulders,” Will interjected with a sheepish voice to highlight his innocence. I could feel his hands ever so slightly shake as they still grasped at my shoulders.

“What? I wasn’t insinuating you were doing anything like that,” my mom tried to defend herself, but the tone of her voice betrayed her, indicating quite the opposite.

“Really, mom? Really?”

“Anyways,” my mom tried to change the subject, “dinner is ready.”

“We heard the first time, mom. We’ll be done in a second.”

“I had not thought about it until now, but do we need to find something for you to sit on at the table?” my mom asked, obviously referring to my drider half.

“Oh, this band I have allows me to look normal whenever I want. So I don’t need any special accommodations.”

“It wouldn’t be any trouble for you dad to carry over a bench or stool over to the table. You don’t have to hide yourself in front of us,” my mom said, although I could see in her eyes a discomfort at the giant spider body attached to my waist.

“No, no, it will be simpler this way.”

“Alright,” my mom finally relented, “but don’t take too long, else your dinner will get cold.”

With that said, my mother exited my room and, presumably, went back to the dining room. Once she was gone, Will and I began to laugh a little at what had just transpired, although his was more of a nervous laugh.

“I won’t lie, but that expression on my mom’s face was priceless.”

“I can’t believe she fell for that,” Will replied as he hopped off the back of my spider half and sat next to me on my bed, “What you were saying was so ridiculous that I don’t know how anyone could believe that could ever happen.”

“Oh, you little spring chicken,” I said before planting a quick kiss on his check.

“Wait, what?” Will asked when he heard my reply. He wore a confused expression on his face as he tried to figure out what I meant.

“Well, I’m going to need a couple more minutes so I don’t see my dinner a second time tonight, but why don’t you head down now?” I purposefully ignored answering Will’s question as he started to push him off of my bed and towards the door.

“Wait, Aubrey. You can’t leave me without an explanation,” Will protested and in vain resisted my attempts to push him out of the room.

“I’ll explain it the next time we want to go to the beach,” I whispered into his ear as I finally managed to force Will outside of my bedroom door.

“But, Aubrey, you still haven’t cleared anything up,” he said as I closed the bedroom door on him. “Aubrey? Aubrey?!?”

I just ignored his pleas and instead tossed myself back onto my bed and sprawled out on it. I reached out and grabbed Oreo, who had been lying on my bed and pulled it into my arms. For a few more minutes, I just rested there on my bed, staring at the ceiling. No supervillains to worry about, not world ending cataclysms. Just a little break from all the superheroic craziness that had become my life, if one would call seeing one’s own parents and your boyfriend’s folk a vacation.

It was definitely good to be home.
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Dennis snored deeply, gravel crunched increasingly loud outside of his bedroom window.

A fist banged loudly against the outside of his thin wall.


"Get up." An old voice said abruptly. "Today's the day. Every second is lives. I need you airborne in less that ten."

The Day.

Words so simple, for a situation so crazy. There'd been a number of conversations about this since the day the man in black had suddenly dropped into their house and turned their lives upside down, but really he hadn't done anything. Just forced the old man to actually be open with the truth.

Dennis pulled his arms through the sleeves of his flight suit jacket.

Truth meant nothing now, though. Only action would matter. Gravel scattered under heavy footfalls as he ran back to the main house.

The old man tossed him the golden rod. Dennis snatched it out of the air with one hand.
"Icon just caught a giant rock that was going to level the city." The old man briefed him.

"And the carriers have dropped the drones? And the destroyers are getting into position?" Dennis asked, clearly they'd since been open about the general tactics his grandfather had observed in the Pocket-Dimension of Concordat when he had accepted the Golden Rod.

"Yes to the drones, no to the Destroyers. At least not yet."

"Well that's something, at least..." Dennis pulled a pair of goggles from his flight mask over his eyes and connected his bluetooth earpiece.

"Dennis... The old man opened his mouth to say something.

"Yeah..?" Dennis had the door open and was about to jump clear.

"..." Alan hesitated, not knowing how to say the thing that regularly went unsaid.

"Me too, grandpa." He took three steps out the front door and took flight.

Alan Coghlan watched as his last grandson soared to the city center, where growing billowing clouds of smoke marked the frontline of the invasion he signed off on all those years ago.






Isaac Fontaine was punching a teal creature into oblivion with rights that packed the weight of Formula 1 car accidents, courtesy of the gravity gauntlets wrapped around each glove. Off coloured blood squelched in coagulated blobs upon the city's bitumen. He stopped, looking up to survey the skyline for any allies this fallen alien might have, before walking over to his fallen craft.

He tore the buckled rear panel off, revealing in full the fuel tank he knew would be there from his own world. With no small struggle he pried the tank out and lugged it over to his vehicle, opening the car's boot up with the latch by the driver's side. He slung it in the back and slammed it shut.

He jumped in behind the driver's seat and went to start the car... and it wouldn't turn over.

With an annoyed grunt he tried again, and still it wouldn't start.

His mind raced with thoughts of instances where this world's destiny proved hard to push against. He thumped the steering wheel. What were the chances none of tese other cars would get him out of here with the can and his stuff either?

He got out of the car with a slam of the door and looked the street up and down, pulling the mask off of the bridge of his nose to alleviate the pressure. They were probably rallying the Guardians somewhere else in the city. Best of luck to those guys. Fate had him pinned down here.


"Looking for help?" A voice he instantly recognized called from above.

The Aquilifer landed gently beside him.


"I took that one down easy enough." The Vigilante responded, pointing to the fallen craft and the pummelled carcass of it's alien pilot.

"Whoa. You... you really let him have it." He commented on the man in black's work.

"Her. It was a her." The Vigilante said hollowly, through his voice modulator. "And this isn't what we do. Not normally."

"Ah-huh. The Aquilifer agreed, not really knowing if he believed him. He remembered the fate of Nightmare and his villainous cohorts, afterall. And the chunks Dennis threw up afterwards. The Vigilante wasn't there then, but the others...

"I mean it. The Vigilante doubled down, hearing the doubt in his voice loud and clear. "This is an invasion force. A war. The rules of engagement. It's different."

"So what are you doing down here anyway?" He asked, looking to change the subject.

The Vigilante snorted out a laugh.
"If I told you, you wouldn't believe me."

"Yeah. Yeah, I get it. Because all of this." Dennis gestured to the alien wreckage, the billowing column of smoke and the mothership hanging over the city. "Tuesday."

The Vigilante smiled and shook his head. "Nope. Still not weird enough."

"Yeah. I bet it was just a day in the life when my Grandpa used to get off the bus and walk down to work just over there." He pointed down the street to a renovated construction site. "He'd just tip his friendly neighbourhood Arlaaekian doorman, and walk into the office."

Isaac followed his finger down the street. Then he looked up and down the street. Skyscrapers enclosed the streets. It was one long corridor. The street only had small one way alleys funnelling in and out on the sides. An idea wormed its way into his head. A strategem.

"Your grandfather used to work down there? Alan?" He clarified. Maybe the reason he was stuck here could be a positive one.

"Yeah. The old Coghlan Cogs factory used to be down here. They moved when he stepped down from the innerworkings of the board. I think they said it's going to be turned into some kind of a bottling factory now." Dennis explained. A wry grin crossed the Vigilante's face through his balaklava.

"What? What'd I say?"

"Don't worry about it. Help me move some of these parked cars..."






It was horrible. Chrissy Jones blinked around the city, her natural response to the fear and anxiety that she was empathically picking up on, but there was no escape. It was everywhere! She was drowning in it! She flickered between being visible to the naked eye and a ghostlike chameleon. She desperately wanted to stay visible. People were distrustful of the invisible. But they would be distrustful of her regular form as well. She just desperately wanted people to not be afraid. Just to allow some semblance of control to resume.

She cried out and blinked to the top of the Chambers building. Far above most of the people it was as close to peace as she could get and still it was a far cry.

Cry.

Flux wept. Had she brought her people here? Had she brought her father's avarice down on them? No. That wasn't how they operated. They had their ways. They used--

The Rods?

Down on one of the streets below. One of the Rod-wielders. Moving cars down on a street below, she could see the glow from the top of the skyscraper. But he was far too young. Probably a descendent. That was generally how these things worked. She felt paradoxical guilt as she felt her guilt relieved that her people had not been sent here after her.

No. Their collection of her would just be a 'pleasant coincidence' for her father. Ugh. The thought sickened her.


"The ones with Rods tend to be leaders of their planets." Chrissy reasoned. "Perhaps if I go down there I may find myself an ally?" She tried to hold back her hopes, and embraced the fear of getting them trampled on. She would need that fear to blink to the street below.

The lone friendly Arlaaekian teleported to the street below.
"Hello, Your Excellency. I wish to assist you in the fortification of your rebellion force!" Chrissy said, as cheerily as she could muster with fear overpowering every part of her being.

"Aaaaaaaa--" Dennis shrieked out in fear at his first sight of one of the aliens.

"What the--? Flux?!?" The Vigilante turned, recognizing his world's old ally, from Dennis' loud - and possibly somewhat girlish - squeal.

"--aaaargh!" His squeal began to contort and become more of an aggressive warcry as the Aquilifer regathered himself, and levelled the Golden Rod towards her.

"Wait-- Hooold up!" The man in black quickly stepped in front of the teal girl. "This one's with us." He calmly explained, looking to de-escalate the situation. His voice hitched slightly behind the voice modulator. The effect of Flux's empathic powers funnelling the anxiety and fear from around them into him, and presumably the Aquilifer as well. This called for as much calm as he could muster.

"But-- How--? How could you possibly--?"

Isaac shrugged. "If I--" "If you told me I wouldn't believe you... Yeah, yeah. So where do you want this car? That alley?" The Aquilifer finished his sentence before getting back to the task at hand.

"Doesn't matter which. We need all of these alleys blocked. Triple stacked. Hell, four if we've got enough cars. And double stacked on either end of the street, up there, and just this side of the junction with Chester. And we need it now."

"Your... Excellency..?" Chrissy queried as the Aquilifer flew past.

"Not quite, Chrissy. But if you tell him what I'm feeling at any point in time here, you'll kill us all and your father will snatch you back up. So... you know. Try not to do that."

"You know my name-- you know my fath-- You know who I am?" She stammered. She had no idea who this man was. She'd never met him before. How could he know so much?

"Yes. And I'm also one of the few people on this planet who knows you aren't some alien spy who sold us all out... so, let's just keep on keeping on. If you could move some of these cars that'd be great."

"I-- I can't. I can only move cars like that when..."

Isaac cut her off and grabbed her face by both cheeks. "Yes, yes. The fear's overwhelming right? Well don't worry about that. Because I've got this in spades..."

The Vigilante pulled Flux's face close to his until they were touching nose to nose and let her have it. All of it. All of the bottled anger, boiled up frustration and pent up rage he'd held back for so long. He thought of a moon broken in three pieces, a hero's sacrifice, burning buildings, the rage he felt because of the needless fear they'd put in others, he thought of Verseilles and Shenzen and the Western Seaboard. Then for good measure he added his rage about this world's version of himself being such a disappointment and the destruction he'd caused. The rage came easy and once he started it was a torrent. An unstoppable wave of concentrated fury.

Pebbles from the street began to levitate and swirl around the pair, and fire hydrants blew. Chrissy's eyes seemed to go blank briefly and her brow dropped to a firm furrow.


"Huh..?" The Aquilifer noticed as broken glass from the lower cars windows circled dangerously close. He quickly through up a shield construct.

"Alright... I may have given her a little too much to start with." The air started to feel thick and heavy.

"Yeah, Chrissy, if you could help him move some of those cars now, that'd be great..."
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by nitemare shape
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nitemare shape GM of Create A Hero and Star Wars: Legacies

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The wind whipped against his suit as he raced through the streets of Lost Haven on his motorcycle. The bike was fast, having topped out at over two hundred miles per hour between Crown Ridge and Lost Haven, however, he just couldn't move fast enough as the images of the destruction that had been wrought across the globe raced through his mind. These invaders knew what they were doing, they had wiped out or crippled numerous cities which were strategic military strongholds, and now they targeted Lost Haven, which was home to a very large metahuman population.

If Lost Haven were to fall, the rest of the world would soon follow.

As Lyger entered Lost Haven, he realized that things were worse than he had feared. The burnt out vehicles that lined the roads, flaming ruins of what had once been thriving businesses and bustling apartment buildings. The panicked residents running through the streets trying to find shelter from the marauding invaders. From the reports that Whisper had been feeding to his comm in his mask, Icon and the others seemed to be making a stand in Sherman Square, which meant that he needed to get there, and fast.

Some things never change. Lyger thought to himself as memories of the various assaults on the city over the years always seemed to culminate with an all out attack on Sherman Square. D-Day, the Hounds of Humanity, and now, invaders from another world.

He rounded a corner which would bring him to the final straightaway to Sherman Square, Lyger saw one of the many alien drop ships, which had touched down throughout the city. A mixture of fear and relief filled his being as he saw a small group of civilians cornered by a single alien soldier, who was pointing some sort of weapon at them.

However, the thing that he found most startling was the vaguely familiar appearance of the alien. The dark blue/black hair, the teal skin. He had seen a being that appeared to be from the same species, and he had learned to trust her during the war with the Hounds of Humanity. However, now he had to wonder...had Flux been playing them all along?

He pushed the thought out of his mind as he leapt from the bike and met the alien soldier with a boot in the chest, knocking the armed alien back. Surprised by the sudden attack, the alien hesitated, which allowed Lyger to follow up with a hard right hand to the jaw, followed by a stiff jab, and a bone crunching kick to the knee, which caused the alien soldier to cry out in pain as he fell to the ground.

“Get out of here, find cover and don't come out until this is over!” Lyger snarled at the huddled people who had been the target of the murderous alien. However, they just stood there, either too horrified to move, or in such a state of shock that his words hadn't registered. “Go!” he exclaimed, his modulated voice amplified over the sudden silence. It was enough to snap the civilians out of their stupor and send them scurrying away, just as several other alien warriors arrived on the scene, seemingly responding to their fallen comrade's pained cries.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



He's done it again. Richard Midas thought as he watched Icon redirect a large space rock away from the city from the large bay window in his office which overlooked Lost Haven. The scene reminded him of the first time he, or anyone for that matter, had seen Icon. The day that he had prevented the Gold Dawn from crashing down in the middle of the city, doing untold damage and killing countless people. That singular event had ushered in the modern age of heroes, and that one act had captured the imaginations of people all around the world.

This was different.

An advanced alien race had declared war on the people of Earth, and in multiple, coordinated attacks the death toll had been unimaginable. Even now, despite Lost Haven's “savior,” his city burned.

As Midas watched the attack unfold before him, he found himself wondering if this was what it was like for the ancient denizens of Rome, who could only watch as the barbarians stormed the gates, and the Visigoths finally sacked what had once been the hub of civilization.

Fortunately Lost Haven had something that the Romans didn't...Heroes.

Heroes with an annoying habit of coming out on top even when the odds seemed insurmountable. Whether it be fanatics who had somehow taken control of orbital weapons, lunatics trying to turn every man, woman, and child in the world into mutated freaks, or beating back the hordes of Hell itself. Somehow, the heroes manage to always come together and save the day.

And for what may be the first time, Midas prayed that they are able to keep their improbable win streak alive, as the very fate of the world depended on it. However, Midas was not a man who left things to chance. He turned away from the window and looked to the “extra security” that his business partners in the Eye of Osiris had sent over.

“Go down to the sub levels and move the twins to the underground labs. Stay with them there, if anyone other than myself or Ms Sparks tries to get it, kill them.” Midas instructed them before turning to Alison Sparks, who had been watching the events unfolding outside of Midas Tower with horror.

“Ms Sparks, I'm not going to rely on people I can't control to keep us safe. I want you to go to Ms Desdemona and bring her here. She's sat on the sidelines long enough, it's time that she earns her keep.”
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Indy Cooper
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Indy Cooper Deity-in-training

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Several days after...that


The remains of Yuma, Arizona


The red McDonnel Douglas helicopter swung around, the pilot checking his bearings in a high desert wind. Bleow, the shadow of the chopper swept over dry canyons and scrub, while ahead, a mesa occluded his target. However, the pillar of black smoke rolling over the top of it and leaving a greasy smear across the otherwise clear blue sky told him his instruments were right and he was headed the right way. He checked the craft slightly to the left, mindful of what effects smoke from unknown fires could have on his engine. As it was the flight down from Phoenix had been a pain in his as and he did not want to set down for an emergency in the blistering heat of the southern half of the state, bad throughout the year but especially now, in the height of summer. His voice crackled over the radio to his two passengers in the back.

“Around ten minutes now, Agent Schmidt. Just over that mesa up ahead.”

The gruff tone from the woman's acknowledging grunt was all she gave him. She was...concerned was slightly less than she wanted. Behind them flew four more choppers, all of those military, diverted from the defense that should by all rights, be taking their attention. On board was a whole platoon of Marines and an investigative team, but the Blackhawks were slower by weight if nothing else out here, and she wanted the first look anyway, so she had pushed her pilot the throttle as hard as he dared in the heat.

She flipped the file open again, staring at the information. Earlier in the week, right before the main attack, an invading ship had passed over Arizona, barely even noticed amongst the chaos of the initial assault, but for all anyone could tell it was just a scout, meandering over the desert out here in the asshole end of the asshole end of the country. She was surprised anyone even lived out here, at least willingly. But shortly after that all contact from Yuma, AZ ceased. No phone calls, no radio contact. The local sheriff and the entire local police department could not be hailed. No one on CB, nothing. Usually, it would take weeks to notice this sort of thing, even as weird as it was, but with the whole of the country on assholes-and-elbows alert level, field ops had noticed, and dutifully alerted headquarters that there might be an invasion force where no one had thought there would be. So the lowest ranking agent in the area (Schmidt) and the local night shift CSI B-team had been sent with some military backup to see what caused a sudden communications blackout in Yuma.

Just her fucking luck. Second week on independent field ops and she was sent to the hottest part of this hellhole. She hated Arizona. In fact, she hated most of the southwestern US, as a devout born-and-bred Easterner who couldn't stand the heat in the winter down here. Oh well. She'd find out that there was some EMP blast or something and go back to the office in Phoenix. At least there the A/C could do something.

Ten minutes to the dot they could see exactly why that wasn't going to happen.




Second Lieutenant Mark Coleman was having a very shitty afternoon. He had thought his platoon was on a routine babysitting mission, the sort they had done hundreds of times before, the sort his men and women yawned at. He knew how they felt. Sitting around and making sure civilians were securely doing their own jobs made his own seem like naptime, but he made sure, no matter what the mission, his Marines were bright and alert. They could complain after they got back to base. Unfortunately, this was not one of those days.

From the Blackhawk he had seen the city of Yuma as the pilot circled to find a good landing spot and check for threats. Marines had suddenly gripped the handles of the machine guns on the bay doors a little tighter. The city looked like some of the worst drone strike-zones he had seen in Afghanistan, though without the telltale craters of ordinance exploding. But even from the air they could pick out the bodies of victims that had crawled from the flaming wreckage of buildings only to die in the street. The burnt out shells were still smoking, and the briefing had stated it had been days since contact had been lost, but the second they had touched down his Marines moved with the precision he expected from them, clearing everything by the book.

Now he sat with the FBI agent from the local office in one of the very few buildings that wasn't a charnel house, around a stone table that had only cracked a little in the heat from the blaze that had taken the rest of the building. They were waiting on the CSI team to finish preliminary examinations of several corpses, and for backup and a refrigerated semi for the corpses to be transported. He looked up, blue eyes shining slightly with tears, at the agent, who looked like she was going to need several decades of therapy.

“We'll have some basic rations soon. You should eat. I know you don't want to, but it'll help.” His bass voice rumbled over her, startling her out of her shock.

“Uh! Yeah um. Food. God, maybe.” She looked up at the officer, horror in their eyes seeming to match. “Was this them?” she breathed out, barely a whisper.

“Not sure.” Coleman reverted to his professional attitude to avoid emotion choking his voice. “No rockets, no explosive damage except from things like propane tanks catching fire. Looks like someone came through with a bunch of flamethrowers or willy pete and nothing else. No one looked shot. Several fights, but it looks like locals only, maybe looters afterwards? Or executions. Not alien tech, though, good ol' ballistics.”

The woman shook her head, short brown hair shifting ever so slightly with the motion. “Too much damage to be looters. I want to say a metahuman but no one we have records on can do this. There was one up north but she's been quiet and this isn't her style.”

Coleman grunted, nodding. “Yeah, could be a meta. Not sure. I haven't dealt with them before. Rest assured though, Agent Schmidt. We will get these fuckers. And we will make sure they never do this aga-”

He was cut off by a shout from outside the perimeter of the ruin they were sitting in. Two of the nerds came running up, flanked by a pair of Marines escorting them. The wiry girl with the glasses and the attitude of a mouse was unusually excited. The two of them sat back on the makeshift stools of supply crates as the four slowed and stood in front of the de facto command here.

The woman's voice was several octaves too high for Coleman's taste, but he swiftly forgot that as she went on, brushing a fringe of hair out of her eyes. “Okay, preliminary reports suggest no additional trauma aside from heat and smoke inhalation but the levels of heat necessary to cause this sort of damage are....incredible. Like, off the charts, we don't-have-bombs-that-do-this levels.”

Her partner picked up. The dude looked like he could have passed PT with Coleman's platoon, and his buzzcut told the lieutenant that he might've tried. “Based on what we can see, we're guessing temperatures between several hundred and tens of thousands of degrees were present. There's no discernible pattern like you'd see with devices at a bombing site. The overlaps seem almost random, and sometimes doubled up. We'd need a full lab set up to tell you more on that, but.”

The chick picked up again, “We found something that we can't...I don't....you have to see this shit.”

Five minutes later, Coleman had been bombarded by observations and scientific principles he wasn't sure he completely understood, but what they had showed him was a clear pattern, at least to him. A trail of glass entered the city on the east side, and they told him this was the entry point for whatever had laid waste to Yuma. They pointed to blast patterns he hadn't seen because they were not in his scope, and they followed the now obvious trail of bubbled and glassed asphalt and sand around the town through a methodical path that seemed like someone looking for something. And then the trail of glass left the city, after doubling back several times. IT had actually vapourised the asphalt of the US 95 heading up through the desert, up beyond where he could see through the heat haze.

Coleman's face twisted into a snarl as he snatched the radio from his belt loop, hammering the button and growling into the microphone, “Fifty-first, form up on the choppers. We have a fucking target.”




Twenty minutes later


The chopper set down just a few hundred metres from the RV they had flagged down. The ground vehicle was a terrible thing. Several soot scars marked the outside, and parts of it had been sloppily painted red and orange. Underneath the meth-head paint job, it hadn't been in good shape to begin with. And Schmidt didn't like the looks of the group that had piled out of the thing, either. They looked..."rag tag" was a little light. Most of them were obviously either former or current drug addicts. Several had the "collected" fashion of the homeless. But she especially didn't like the look of the man in front, dressed in a Catholic priest's coat and pants. And of course it was him who was coming out of the group of...jesus, fifteen of them? To meet her halfway between the still spun-up rotors of the chopper and the vehicle. She waved behind her as she walked out for the pilot to cut the engines. The Marines with her group and the Blackhawks still in the area would be easy enough to cover her ass.

She flashed her badge as the two met, grimacing at his appearance. He had all the warning signs of a cult leader: full, thick blonde hair, artfully out of place, with a gruff beard forming; eyes shining with a fervent light showing a fanatic devotion to...something; confident, arrogant pose and stride, easy movements but with purpose. She instantly disliked everything about him. He, for his part, gave her a nod and an easy smile, then glanced at her identification, holding out a hand so he could examine it more closely.

"Ah, Agent Schmidt," he said, handing it back to her and standing uncomfortably close to do so. "What can my humble flock do for you?"

"Don't bullshit me, preacher. Who are you and why are you following a terrorist?" She couldn't keep the growl out of her voice.

"If you are asking my name, I am simply Roger. Or Father Roger if you need formalities, but I prefer to do away with them. And as to what we are doing, we are not following a 'terrorist', as you say." He leaned down to match heights with her, giving him an even more condescending air. "We are following a messenger of God."

"I'm sorry, what? Were...were you in Yuma?"

The man leaned back, beatific smile beaming for the world at large but her in particular. "Yes indeed, madam! I witnessed firsthand as the Wrath of God Himself, Lord of All Hosts, was visited upon the town I was born in! I watched in awe as the flock I had strove to break of its sinful habits was suddenly smote like as unto Sodom of old! And yea, I was unscathed as the figure of fire walked past me with nary a glance! So I followed, as did those of us who felt her gaze and yet were untouched by flame, those who were without sin!"

"So you're telling me that you watched all this and now you're...wait, 'she'? Singular person?"

"Yes, Agent Schmidt, for the Lord saw fit that his vengeance would be cast into the form of an avenging angel and that its form would be that of a woman. Fitting, is it not, that the form which led Adam astray now corrects his mistake?"

"You watched while people burned to death?"

The smile faded, a solemn look on the preacher's features now. "The town was purged of sin."

The matter-of-fact way the man said that caused a shiver to go through Schmidt's small frame. She had seen interviews with fanatics before, but it had been transcriptions. To hear someone so casually describe the death of thousands as if it were necessary was something she found herself mentally unprepared for. As the wind from the helicopter's rotors died off, her attention was grabbed by the figure which had appeared at the preacher's side.

The woman was utterly shapeless, hunched over by hardship and age and sun-weathered, covered still in the Arizona desert heat by layers upon layers of cloth. She smiled at Schmidt warmly, but the weathered face gave her only further unease.

"Ah," said Roger. "Mim, could you see to the Agent's other questions? I must see to the flock."

The wide face beamed at him and nodded, then turned to the officer. She could see the woman's grey eyes were kindly, but something was...off. She was just about to start with a further line of questioning when an explosion on the near horizon stole both their attentions. A wall of flame, probably thirty feet high, was barely visible.

"Oh dear," said the old woman. "It seems your friends riled her up."

Schmidt bolted for the chopper, which the pilot was already starting up. The four Marines inside looked tense, and she could catch some chatter over their earpieces. Mostly it was screaming.




Ten minutes after that


Schmidt huddled inside the wreckage of the McDonnel Douglas, shivering despite the heat. The groans of the dying and the sizzle of the dead did not drown out the sounds from her memory. The roar of flames and the screaming rage of the woman behind them haunted her on repeat, and would not stop. Marines had fired round after round at her. The machine guns on the Blackhawks had not done anything, bullets turning into glowing stars around the frame of the impossibly bright destroyer killing their friends. Schmidt hadn't even gotten their in time to hear Coleman die, though she had seen the other choppers blown out of the sky like toys.

Hands pried open the door facing the sky, and she realised with a start that she was alive. Somehow, she had survived the blast and the wreck. She moved her head slightly to the right and saw the semi-skeletal remains of her pilot, still smoking where he had been fried to his seat. The Marines that had been with her were nowhere to be seen. But over the edge of the door frame came two faces she knew, though she wasn't exactly sure how. A voice came over her, from the man.

"Unburned! Brothers and Sisters, we have an Unburned! Quickly, bring some water!"

And then the pain smacked her from her arm and her ribs, and she was pulled into the blackness of unconsciousness.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Klumsykrow357
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Klumsykrow357

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@Perse
-------------

Muerte watched with equal parts alarm and intrigue as Cadence as she approached the enemy hunter. When she spoke her words of power, killing the rider and turning the beast to her side he was even more so. Rhyming and voice it seems...I wonder if she knows how far she can take her power?. When she collapsed he lurched forward to catch her, arms cradling behind her back and under her legs. He looked up and found himself face to face with the alien creature. He froze, unsure if the creature would consider him hostile, when it didn't seem to care about him he looked down at Cadence.

"Let's get you out of here. I know where we can go." He looked up at the creature observing them. "Uhh... If you can understand me, we're going somewhere safe. I am sure you can keep up, so let's go!

He slowly stood up and walked to his bike, carrying Cadence easily in his arms. He set her in front of him on the bike and got it started with a loud roar. He put a finger up to his ear.

"Jesus? You there? I've got a guest I am bringing over. Is Jacque in yet?"

"No... I haven't heard from her since the call."

Muerte stopped suddenly. "Her vitals?"

"Still going, but elevated."

"Keep trying to get a hold of her. I'm on my way." To Cadence he said, "Hold on."

He sped off, headed for Jacque's apartment, face fixed in a hard line under his mask. Please be ok...
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Perse
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Perse

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Interacting with: Muerte @Klumsykrow357
---

The feeling of warm fur under her hand, Louisa happily closed her eyes for a moment as she let the exhaustion take its effect. Expecting to land on the hard ground and give herself a few minutes, she found herself bewildered as she had not only not landed hard on her own butt but also found herself in someone's arms. Opening her eyes in her shock, she looked up to see the getting somewhat familiar skeletal facade.

A small smile crossed her face as she looked at her new found associate but nevertheless she started to wriggle and try to get out of his arms. "I can wa-," She started to mumble faintly but looking up at the giant beast looking at her and Mr Muerte, a brighter smile lit upon her face. One of her arms reached out to once again touch the warm fur, "Kitty."

Though this all seemed to be in vain as she was carried towards the motorcycle. Louisa's eyes stayed upon the large beast that seemed to slowly following them on it's large padded paws. It wasn't until she was placed on the motorbike did she once again pay attention to the skull decorated man. "I didn't need help," She grumbled in her own defense but it seemed like he had his own pressing matters. Well it was either that or he was just a mad guy who was trying to talk to his lord and savior.

Pushing her body upwards off the bike that she had been close to hugging, Louisa tried to get closer to see if she could actually hear the tell away sound of an earpiece. Listening carefully she unconsciously leaned against her new ally as she tried to find out if he was actually insane. Hearing the light sound of buzzing and maybe even a voice, Louisa tried to listen into the conversation and see what was going on.

Well it seemed like there actually was someone called Jesus on the other side of the earphone, and they were talking about someone else and vitals? What was someone in the hospital or, wait hold on to what?

With the sudden rush, Louisa fell slightly towards the bike's body before she managed to catch herself. "Whoa.. " She said to herself as she got her balance and started to take in the fact that she was going at a high speed. Wind blowing in her face and neon green hair, she started to watch as the landscape whipped past her and a large smile spread upon her face. This was speed she had not encountered in quite a while and she could feel the thrill start to pump through her and make her fatigue begin to diminish. To her side she could even see the large panther like creature bounding along the roads accompanying them on their journey. This was all before she also started to take in the fact that there was someone's arms containing her on this vehicle. Looking at the hand's controlling the bike she moved her lackadaisical thoughts to the man she knew as Mr.Muerte.

"Who is Jesus?," She tried to shout back at him probably a bit louder than she actually need to, "that's who you were talking to right? not like the son of a really important big guy or something. And who is Jacque?"

Then looking back at the road she finally asked the actual important question, "and where are we going?"
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