Hidden 1 yr ago
Zeroth Post

It began a century ago in the wake of The Great War. While the world recovered from its devastating conflict, scientists in the United States of America made a wondrous discovery; a mutant gene present in some individuals that granted incredible, unique abilities. The American government suppressed this information while simultaneously conducting experiments on these individuals.

The fruits of their research gave birth to the Super Soldier Project and its early successes during the height of the Second World War. Decades of continued immoral experimentation run by the US military and CIA finally culminated in the early 1960s, leading to a series of Congressional inquiries, and, ultimately, the public revelation of mutant kind.

Although a massive cultural and political shift in the American landscape, humanity would face an even larger encounter with the unknown just five decades later. In 2010, sixteen cities across the globe came under siege as an invasionary force from the stars descended on Earth. The Chitauri swarm, commanded by their queen, swept across these cities with unprecedented destructive force.

The Earth's military might proved largely ineffective against the seemingly unending hordes, and complete conquest seemed in sight. Pocket conflicts began to rise, however, across the globe as mutant kind began to rise up and take a stand against the invaders. A handful of individuals wielding mighty powers followed suit in New York City, taking the fight directly to the mothership above the United Nations building. The resistance was short and brutal, but ultimately effective as the Chitauri queen was killed in battle, causing the complete disarray of the invading army.

Hundreds of thousands lost their lives in the brief forty-four hours of that first contact war. Tens of millions more were directly affected by the devastation.

From there, the world quickly changed. In America, the enhanced individuals responsible for the defeat of the alien queen were recruited by the National Security Council into a fledgling initiative to defend the United States against future assaults. SHIELD, a former spy agency mothballed in the 1980s, was resurrected for similar purposes. Calls for new weapons of mass destruction capable of fending off planetary incursions led to the formation of the Sentinel Program. And a renewed spark in super soldiers gave rise to a superhuman arms race undertaken by private corporations and industrialists.

In the immediate months following the invasion, reports of vigilantism skyrocketed. Social media became flooded with the notion of the superhero. In the twelve years since the Chitauri's onslaught, acts of powered and costumed individuals became commonplace.

The world had entered the...

Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Retired
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Retired "Hayao Miyazaki"

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"Congressman Graydon Creed made remarks earlier today outside of Capitol Hill that he believes his party will have enough votes to pass the controversial Mutant Control Act in the House. This comes only three months after President Kelly's full endorsement of the bill—"

"... Trask has been abusing his position as the new owner of the app, that's clear. No one living in reality can argue that fact. He's been telling his 120 million followers to sign up for Wideawake America rallies and posting pro-WAM talking points, then banning anyone critical of—"

"I'm telling you the Purifiers were good people. They had good points. They had values and they knew that God was on their side. You know, people always try to tell me that I'm anti-mutant, but I'm not. I'm really not. But I speak the truth, and the truth is a lot of media is run by mutants. And the Purifiers back in the '80s saw that future. They had that vision. That insight from a higher perspective. And Reverand William Stryker was a brilliant man when he started what he did. So, yeah, I'm just gonna say it, I like Stryker. I like Stryker—"

The screen flickered as the channels of the television were changed in quick succession. The dull glow from the monitor barely illuminated the dirty, dank, cramped room and its handful of occupants. On a dingy couch facing the screen, one individual stared with an intensity that could burn as the various news stations discussed the recent sociopolitical shifts in the mutant sphere. A long, delicate finger pressed down on the remote, and the screen flashed again.

The tv now displayed a cheering crowd thunderously applauding a tall, handsome man in a dark suit who spoke behind a podium marked with the scarlet WIDEAWAKE AMERICA MOVEMENT insignia. Above, a banner displayed the green and blue globe of Earth stamped with a white, closed fist. The Friends of Humanity and its greatest proponent, Graydon Creed.

The figure on the couch scowled in disgust as a well-manicured fingernail quickly tapped on the remote, changing the station once more. This time the screen depicted a young blonde woman sitting behind the Frontline anchor desk.

"As I'm sure our viewers are well aware, the Brotherhood of Mutants began in the early 1980s as a political organization that spoke against the poor treatment of mutantkind," Norah Winters explained. "Their acts of non-violent civil disobedience, however, quickly turned to more aggressive activism, and finally resulted in a full-blown, militant, revolutionary group. Over the decade, the Brotherhood was responsible for countless acts of domestic terrorism, including the attempted bombing of New York City Hall. Ultimately, though, the group came to an end when an FBI raid led to the arrest of senior leadership."

The news anchor continued, "Now, it's been over thirty years since the Brotherhood was at the forefront of public consciousness, but just last month reports of a new Brotherhood of Mutants began rising on various social media platforms and far-right forums. We spoke to Dr. Steven Lang, professor of mutant history and studies at Empire State University, who says these reports are nothing to be concerned about. He suggests that with the prevalence of costumed heroes in our society today, an organization like the Brotherhood of Mutants would be no threat at all in the modern world. He credits these rumors of resurfacing as nothing more than a loose collection of internet trolls—"

The light of the television died out suddenly as the figure tossed the remote away. The small space was now shrouded in almost complete darkness. From the shadows, the silhouette rose and turned to face the others who had been watching in silence. Two bright, amber eyes stood out clearly amongst the gloom.

"Boys," a seductively sweet voice called out. "It's time we make ourselves known. Let's show this Steven Lang just how concerned he should be of our Brotherhood."

S E A S O N O N E :

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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Supermaxx
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Supermaxx dumbass

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ISSUE #1: Logan Goes to Washington

Lion's Head Pub Greenwich Village, New York City

Logan sat alone at the bar counter as he nursed his eighteenth Rheingold beer. He had decided it was shit three sips into his first glass. When the big man behind the counter recommended it Logan had felt an itch at the back of his mind at the name, like hearing a long dead friend's name said for the first time in twenty years. Yet when he finally put the glass to his lips it tasted wrong, somehow. Funny, considering he couldn't remember what it used to taste like; all he knew was it was better than this piss water.

The Lion's Head Pub was obnoxious busy that night. Near half a hundred people were stuffed together like sardines on the main dining room floor. All the tables and chairs were gone so the crowd could better stand around and listen to some speech. Logan was doing his best to tune it out, enhanced hearing be damned. He'd been here first and he wasn't about to go wander the streets of Greenwich looking for a different middling bar to drink a different shitty beer in.

"What's that all 'bout, anyway?" Logan asked the bartender, motioning with his glass toward the crowd at the other end of the pub. There were posters up on tri-pod stands with some woman's face on them looking stern and defiant and bright, bold text beneath her picture declaring 'say no to hate.'

The man behind the bar turned around with a cloth in one hand and a clean glass in the other. Even with all these people around the bar itself was practically dead; everyone had either been served already or were only here for the rally. He was a tall man, broad as he was in the shoulder as he was in the gut. Logan was shorter, denser, and hairier, like the human embodiment of a badger.

"Congresswoman Cooper's an old friend of the owner. Seems like she's been here every other week since that bill hit the floor."

Logan had heard about the Mutant Control Act on the radio a few times, though it never much interested him. People being scared of his kind wasn't new. Ever since he woke up in the snow he'd been treated more like a wild animal than a man. What difference did it make if the government acknowledged what the rest of those pricks thought? "Sounds like a waste of oxygen." Logan admitted, finishing his glass.

The man behind the bar stopped to glare at Logan. "Its important, man. You can't ignore stuff like this just because it doesn't effect you. People are going to get hurt."

The grin Logan gave the man only seemed to agitate him more. He rolled his eyes and walked away to pretend to work somewhere else.

Unable to secure another drink and tired of brooding, Logan paid his tab and wandered over to the dining room side of the Lion's Head Pub. It was a bit larger than the bar portion, especially with the chairs, tables and other furniture removed. The place still felt cramped for a meeting of this size. There was a small stage up against the wall where a young woman in a suit stood giving an impassioned speech on the necessity of opposing bigotry in all its forms. Logan had to admit she was a compelling speaker. The subject seemed personal to her, and she was informative without getting lost in detail.

"We know what discriminatory legislation like the Mutant Control Act leads to because we've seen it happen before right here in our very own city. In the 80s the city government- citing baseless fears the 'Brotherhood of Mutants' had a foothold in our streets- cracked down on our mutant population. Any visible mutation was treated like a danger to the public. Innocent men and women were violently attacked by the police and imprisoned for the crime of being born wrong."

Her passion spread through the room like a wildfire. The crowd was visibly angry, many people shouting their agreements loud enough to drown Cooper herself out at times; but the woman had some pipes of her own, to her credit, and she never stayed unheard for long. Part of him wondered if all that fury was coming from self-preservation. Wouldn't be the first time a mutant tried to hide who they really were. 'What else could it be? S'not like there's money to be made defending dangerous freaks.'

Something caught Logan's attention, dragging his thoughts to his surroundings for the first time. He sniffed the air, sifting through the smell of sweat, cologne and alcohol. Gunpowder. There was armed security on either end of the stage so that shouldn't have been surprising. Still, even as he tried to watch Cooper, that scent nagged at him. Slowly, casually, he made his way through the crowd, sniffing like a blood hound on the trail of a downed bird. There were the two guns nearby on the hips of both bodyguards, and...something fainter. Further away.

Logan stopped at the window next to the door to peer outside. The street wasn't particularly busy tonight. There was a van from a local news station parked outside, and a small group of protesters on the sidewalk making sure they could be seen in the background of the news caster. But the scent was coming from further up, on the other side of the street. Police sniper? No, the NYPD used a specific finish on their rifles.

"Shit. Get down!" He shouted at the top of his lungs, turning on his heel to charge at the stage. The security man nearest him was caught off guard by the act and failed to draw his pistol. Clambering confusion turned to panicked screams as a bullet tore through the window and into Logan's back just as he reached Cooper, shoving her to ground to kneel over her.

Two more shots rang out, another into Logan's skull and a second into the bodyguard closest to the window, who dropped like a sack of potatoes. People ran for cover, and the door, or went nowhere at all and stood in stunned silence at the unexpected violence.

By now the other bodyguard had drawn his gun and returned fire, though he didn't seem to know what the hell he was shooting at. Logan grabbed the back of his bleeding head. "That's an apartment building, dumbass. Stop shooting." He managed to groan. He either went unheard or was outright ignored.

"Jesus, are you okay?" The congresswoman looked up at Logan with a mixture of fear and concern on her face. She attempted to grab him and push him out of the way of further gunfire, only to find it was harder to move Logan than a fully stocked fridge.

"Just peachy, bub, now stay down." He yelled over the din, trying to get an eye on the sniper. A flash came from the third window from the left on the top floor and something dinged against Logan's forehead. There was a metallic ding as metal collided with metal and a gout of blood poured down his face. He had his target.

Logan grabbed Cooper by the shoulders and all but dragged her across the stage to where her guard was taking cover. She offered a word of thanks as she crawled into safety, making sure to keep her head well away from the line of fire. Once he was sure she was good Logan took off at a sprint. He moved faster than a man of his weight had any right to, barreling across the pub and leaping through the pane glass window before the sniper had even adjusted from the recoil of their last shot.

"You picked the wrong bar, asshole!" Wolverine roared as his claws burst out of his flesh and he barreled through the building’s front door.
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Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by Mao Mao
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Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

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"It's truly a delight to be here with all of you today. These last couple of days might have been tumultuous for many of you. Adjusting to your new home is... difficult, to say the least. But each one of us is here to begin anew. And as you embark on this incredible journey, know that you have the support of faculty and your fellow classmates. You belong as part of this community. You don't need to hide your true self any longer. You don't need to be constantly afraid of not fitting in anymore. And most importantly, you can feel safe here.

This place is a safe haven for each one of you.

Everyone at this stage will do their utmost to protect you from harm. That includes challenging the harmful rhetoric against mutantkind. And ensuring that this little sanctuary is secured with help from the X-Men, who are making sure that my dream is achieved. What might that dream be, you ask? It's quite simple for everyone to understand: harmony. A world where humans and mutants love each other and co-exist in peace. A world that doesn't restrict mutants out of fear and ignorance. That world is possible, my students.

Some of you might think of me as naive for having this silly little fantasy. And some know for a fact that the world I talk about is inconceivable. I understand your doubts and disillusions, for I used to believe the same for a long time. But I was reminded that being taken down a peg only makes you stronger. I have no doubt in my mind that all of you will be carrying the dream by the time you graduate. That's my promise to all of you. That's the promise your teachers and protectors will uphold. The promise of this school."

The auditorium erupted in applause shortly after Charles Xavier concluded his speech to commemorate both the new year and the first day of school. Erik Lehnesheer couldn't conceal his smile, even if it was only momentary. It was fortunate that he wasn't standing with the faculty on that stage, or his old friend would've never stopped teasing him about it. To think, Erik was standing at the revitalized Xavier Institute as an ally, not its adversary. Still, it was better to keep his involvement distant despite Charles' obvious disapproval. He decided to join in the applause long before his friend began wheeling his way toward him. That was when he felt his phone vibrate.

Not now. Erik cursed himself, knowing precisely who was reaching him. It was also unfortunate that he didn't have enough time to hide his annoyance or silence the vibing. Charles' smile nearly became a frown upon the realization before he took his friend's hand to comfort. "We should talk in the war room." That still surprised Erik, even if such actions were constant occurrences from his friend.

Erik nodded and started following behind his friend as he took out his phone from his dress pants pocket. He knew for a fact that his anonymous 'associate' was reaching out for him, meaning that he was finally willing to talk—in person. And if his theory was correct, which was incredibly possible, then he would have exclusive knowledge of the new Brotherhood of Mutants. Not only that, but he might learn about its nameless leader, which would make dismantling the organization more manageable. At the war room, reserved for the X-Men and its leaders, Erik placed the phone on the wireless data transfer device. Then, the text messages appeared on the big screen behind him instantly.

you wanna talk so badly?
fine. meet me at st. paul's right after morning prayer.
don't cause a scene or you'll regret it, magnus.

Charles tried to make sense of the meeting location, wondering if it was a genuine attempt at contact or an ideal trap. Then, seemingly unconsciously, he caught a glimpse of Erik and saw his apparent discomfort with the entire thing. More particularly the alias than anything else. There were still things neither side knew about the other that were left unexplored—for now, at least. Charles didn't like the idea, but he understood why his friend was reluctant to talk about his past. And given the recent return of the Brotherhood had clearly reopened old emotional wounds, it made sense to give him some space. Erik sensed that his friend was staring at him and began to speak. "I can leave in the early hours and be in the city right as service ends."

"You sure that'd be wise? You could have the X-Men come with-" Charles bit his tongue, realizing too late it was a stupid suggestion to give.

"No, bringing them along will certainly spook our contact." Erik dismissed the idea more harshly than intended, which was why he grabbed his friend's hand reassuringly. "I have to do this alone, Charles."

"I understand." Charles nodded before making his way out of the room. He stopped at the exit for a moment and then turned to his friend so he could bid him a temporary farewell with a warning. "Just be cautious, Erik."

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Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by PatientBean
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PatientBean Hi, I'm Barbie. What's up?

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Chapter 1: Never a Dull Day

Domino's Office The Bronx, New York City

Carolyn typed on her keyboard, eyes scanning the page in front of her. She pushed her glasses up her nose, a bad habit when she was in a "thinky mood". The fact her boss rarely, if ever, did paperwork would annoy another personal assistant, but it made Carolyn's day. The fact she could get it all done in a matter of minutes was neither here nor there. Even if it took her all day, she would relish it. After all, how many people could say their boss was a genuine superhero? Granted, her boss would kill her if she heard that word used. Her boss had a habit of hating "heroes". She recalled a day not too long ago when the two of them were drinking at the nearby pub and the news was on ("The fuck kind of pub has the news on and not a stupid sports game" her boss had asked no one in particular) and someone on there had mentioned heroes. "If people acted decently towards others, there would be no need for heroes" her boss had said. Carolyn didn't ask for elaboration.

However, as she typed, her eyes scanned the nearby video she had pulled up to the side. On it, the news anchor was speaking about the Brotherhood of Mutants and their rise from non-aggressive tactics to full-blown violence. IF she were honest with herself, Carolyn could see reason on both sides. The president all but saying mutants were a menace and moving forward with the Mutant Control Act, is anyone surprised they would lash out?

The door to the office slammed and Carolyn quickly shut the video down as her boss glided in.

Neena, or Domino to her enemies (or enemies turned lovers back to enemies), appeared like she just rolled out of bed. Sunglasses covered last night's binge drinking and this morning's hangover. "Carolyn. How's the best secretary in the Bronx doing tonight, baby?"

Carolyn's eye twitched. "Personal assistant. You know how I feel about that word."

Neena made a 'pssht' noise ad flipped her hand. "I know, I know, but it's sooooo sexy! Never would have thought I'd have my own one of those, let me tell you."

"Well if you continue to not fill out reports and leave me with them, you won't have one at all."

"Bitch, please, I know you have a lady boner for doing it. But I'll try to be more on top of it. Anywhoodle, any new clients?"

"Your friend came in talking about some gang activity, but other than that, nothing came in. He's in your office."

Neena finger-gunned Carolyn and made her way to her office door. She opened the door and saw Ceasar laying on her couch, snoring. She picked up one of the books she had on the table that made it seem like an actual office and not just a place she nursed her headaches and tossed it on the boy's stomach. He woke up with an 'oof' before knocking the book to the ground. "Hey! What'd you do that for?"

"My office is not your bedroom. I get things are tight at home, but you still need to go to school. Education's important."

The two waited a beat before barreling over in laughter.

"Sorry, have to say that otherwise I get sued. What are you here for?"

Ceasar, a hispanic 16-year old boy who constantly wore a knit cap on his head and baggy pants that exposed his buns to everyone within its radius, came over to her desk and sat down. "You hear the news?"

Neena waved his question away. "Course not. All it ever is is bad stuff going on. I'm already aware of that being a Black woman in America."

"Well that's not why I'm here anyway. Word on the street is something big's going down."

"Typical players?"

"Nah, chica. This one's different. Heard of The Big Man?"

"I don't do religion Ceasar..."

"No not that Big Guy. The Big Man. He's this enigma. No one knows who he is but he has his fingers all over. I heard a local group talk about working for him. I think something's happening."

"Something is always happening." Nenna leaned back in her chair as she pondered this. "The Big Man huh? Sounds like a supervillain. I ain't some do-gooder, cape wearing, skintight latex freak. That's out of my wheelhouse unless he hurts one of mine."

Ceasar knew this. Respected this. He also hated superheroes. "I only bring it up because I think he's making his move into the Bronx. If he does, things are going to get dangerous. Well....more dangerous."

Neena sighed and rubbed her temples. "It's never a dull day here, is it?"

"That's why we are lucky to have you."

Luck. Heh, that was funny. Maybe her power, the power she was hated for despite its good intentions, was being used for more than just nabbing up criminals. "Thanks Ceasar. Keep an ear to the ground for me. In the meantime, I may hit the streets, see if I can pick up work."

Cearar snapped his fingers and exited the room. "See ya in my dream's tonight Carolyn."

"You are a minor Ceasar. Don't make me call your mom."

"Aww, man. Why you gotta do me like that?"

The door closed and Neena waited for a beat before she picked up her belt, fitted with an assortment of protective merchandise, and her leather jacket, flying it over her shoulders. "I'm heading out. Call me if something comes in, but if not, take the rest of the day off."

"You know damn well I'll be here until sundown doing your notes."

"Love you, baby!"

Neena exited her building and began walking in any direction. She had a feeling today would be wild.
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Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by Bounce
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The Xavier Institute

Westchester, New York | Issue 1.01: Toro [ Next ] | Post Theme | Tags: @Mao Mao

"...know that you have the support of faculty and your fellow classmates. You belong as part of this community. You don't need to hide your true self any longer.”

The boy sat toward the front of the auditorium’s bleachers, part of the class that was both the youngest and, as befitted that reality, also the smallest in stature.

This wasn’t his regular school.

He wasn’t even sure it was a school at all. Was it a prison? A punishment? A wellspring of emotion threatened to choke him. A pain laid across his chest like an unfathomable weight. The blue eyes that darted around the unfamiliar surroundings seemed on the verge of either panic or tears.

”You don't need to be constantly afraid of not fitting in anymore. And most importantly, you can feel safe here.”

A spark of anger shot through the boy. Intensely, he stared across at where a bald, white güey – the headmaster or some shit – was talking.

He called it a dream.

And Toro?

Toro called it a lie. He didn’t feel safe. None of them were. Crossing his arms, the boy grabbed onto his shoulders as he hunched over, hugging himself tightly as he tried to breath through the myriad of thick emotions.

Everything had been fine. Everything had been normal. Then the fire had come. Quietly, like a thief in the night. Toro had gone to bed like any other day in his life. Looking back, now it all seemed like that had been the dream.

…and he’d woken up to the nightmare. He’d woken up aflame. Surrounded by fire. On fire.

He could feel it still, inside of him. Waiting for a spark to set it free.

He wasn’t safe. He was a monster.

As people broke out in applause for the ojete in the wheelchair, the boy just flipped the hood of the sweater he wore up over his head to try and hide the tears that had started running down his face.

He wanted his old school. He wanted to go back to California. He wanted his life back..

He wanted his parents back.
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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Bork Lazer
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Bork Lazer Chomping Time

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arc 1: furnace
issue 1.1.1 - vengeance from the grave

A graveyard.

That’s all that remains of the city around him.

He walks around the corpses of hooded mothers cradling the corpses of their children. He walks around young soldiers who died for the mirage of a country they once believed in.

Vietnamese rebels. Haitian protest leaders. Revolutionaries. Slaves.

The faces are all different but they all have the same end.

Being the fuel to his father’s furnace.

A cry like a foghorn splits his ears and he looks to a canyon of crumbling buildings to his left. A colossal hulk of steel and iron eclipses the horizon. Its chest is cracked open, rivulets of metal magma spewing out of it. Its mouth is a churning furnace, grinding and chewing. Its hide is bristling with missile pods, artillery cannons, armaments, the enemy of life. It devours and devours, growing and growing until it's bulk blots out the sun. Its eyes turn towards him. Before he can run away, its maw opens, pulsating with violent red energy that bubbles at the surface. vomits out a baleful light that swallows him with the truth.


The blanket flies off as Tony rolls off the bed in a stupor. He hugs himself, yearning for the warmth of the RT unit in his chest to warm the cold sweat off his skin. Still shivering, he looks up at the digital clock sitting on the bedrest.

4 hours of sleep.

From a statistical perspective, it was a measurable improvement

Frequent trips to DIY and home improvement stores were an unfortunate part of being on the run.
His cart was loaded with every bit of scrap, solder, wiring, batteries he could get his hands on. The first few months shopping in DIY stores felt as though he was a Renaissance artist being forced into finger painting. There was no way he could acquire high quality grade fabricators or machining equipment from a civilian store and accessing Stark Industries high-tech RnD workshops were out of the question without proper clearance procedures. It’d been a year and he could still feel the phantom pain from having to disassemble smoke detectors to salvage enough americium for his first RT unit. Working on a portable nuclear reactor in a minivan with only tin foil for radiation protection wasn’t something that appealed to him.

Besides, it was better for the world to believe he was dead than sacrifice a little subterfuge for comfort. He wasn’t sure who to trust at this point.

As he strolled towards the electronics, tossing a can of WD-40 in his ever-growing cart, Tony could overhear the argument of a child and her father in the background. He slightly turned his head sideways and pulled on his hood to hide his face. The girl’s head was adorned with brown cornrows and her dark-skinned cheeks were puffed out in anger. The father ran a hand through his coarse short-cut brown hair and shook his head.

“ No, you can’t have the hammer, Riri.”

“ But, daddy, I wanna play with the hammer!,” Riri pouted, stamping her feet on the ground in frustration. “ I need it to build my magic tree house.”

“ C’mon, Riri,” Her father crouched down, scratching his chin in deep thought, before snapping his fingers in enthusiasm. He stuck out his hand to Riri. “ How about I teach you how to use the hammer and we can build that tree house together.”

Riri’s eyes were narrowed, looking at her suspiciously before slowly gripping his hand, hers comically undersized in comparison to his.

“ Okay but I get to decide on the paint job.”

Tony watched from afar with bitter longing as the father then hoisted Riri onto his back. Riri, patted his father’s head like a drum and proceeded to point in front of her as if to direct her. He tapped his fingers on the handle of his shopping cart mindlessly and decided to move on. If he stared at them all day, the father might notice and call security on a certain coded billionaire hobo who looked to be in charge of a child trafficking ring.

As he walked to the checkout counters, he ignored the strange looks everyone gave him as he lined up with his shopping cart, the massive weight just enough for their design specifications to handle. He gave a cheeky smile of apology at the employee manning the checkout who looked as though he wanted to give a world weary sigh at the dilemmas of 24/7 grocery jobs. Maybe, Stane would have more success if he hired every disgruntled individual

“ Home renovations?,” The employee questioned, voice clearly disgruntled. He scanned each and every barcode with the speed of a man who burnt through all of his years of youth looking for job promotions.

“ More like a personal project,” Tony replied back curtly.

The mounted TV in the corner of the stall flickered to WHIH news and Tony reflexively looked down at his feet the moment he saw what was on there. There was a picture of his face, one he took for Times Magazine back in 2017 when he first took over the reigns of CEO of Stark Industries. There was a cocksure, arrogant smile on it that only hinted at an unstable egomaniac. It was like looking at a man from another planet.

“ Today marks a year since the mysterious death of former Stark Industries billionaire CEO, Tony Stark. Often noted for his eccentric idiosyncrasies and public controversies, a burnt coastal mansion on Malibu remains a memorial to his unmistakable legacy on America’s tech industry. The investigation into Stark’s death has now been closed by the FBI and the CIA, who have reported that a simple gas accident was the cause of the house fire. However, many, including Tony Stark’s former acquaintance, Colonel James Rhodes, disagree with the CIA’s conclusion.”

The television screen switched to a live interview of his friend and Tony cringed. Shame filled his chest as he saw how disheveled his friend was. His spotless military uniform was unkempt and his beard was untrimmed. His eyes were bloodshot and his calm voice that had been a rock of confidence during hsi most troubled times had wilted just so lightly since Tony’s disappearance.

“ He was my damn friend. I won’t rest until his killer or killers have been brought to justice under a U.S court. It’s plain and simple.”

“ In the middle of Obadiah Stane’s eulogy to Stark, the CEO of Stark Industries was violently attacked by a water bottle thrown by protestors in the crowd claiming to be a part of the radical activist group “ Rising Tide”. The protestors then started flinging spent bullet shells on stage, claiming that Stark Industries has failed to send financial remunerations to families allegedly impacted by their weapons in various overseas conflicts. Their demands include the immediate cessation of U.S government relations with Stark Industries and the formation of an independent commission to investigate Stark Industries for crimes against humanity.”

“ The Starks are mongers of iron. The money they make is lined with the blood of refugees and orphans. We will not rest until the iron is rust!,” The leader, cloaked in a red bandana, held his fist up and the rest followed in a sequential rhythm, mimicking the motion of a wave.


“ In the midst of all this, Stark Industries remains embroiled in a series of guerilla attacks from the mysterious armored terrorist known as the Iron Man. In a following statement, Stark Industry public representatives denounce the claims as false and ensure the public Stark Industries has a rigorous internal affairs process to mitigate corruption - “

The television cut off just before Tony could laugh. Internal affairs? That was a joke. Stark Industries had no internal affairs. His father was the sole dictator of the entire company and it was by his hand to declare the company corrupt or not. Internal affairs and anti-corruption regulations would slow down ‘the gears of innovation’ as he would call it.

And what did I do about it?

His amusement quickly faded. He paid for his goods in an orderly fashion and pushed the heavy shopping cart out of the entrance. The van was located in a distant corner of the parking lot. It was rust-laden, the paint chipped off. Mold and dust blackened the windows. Looking over his shoulder to make sure no one was looking, he pressed a button on the car key and the back of the van slowly folded open. He’d converted the inside into a makeshift workshop. A bench was mounted on the side and the Model 1 was placed on a makeshift stand, standing ready for deployment at a notice. Numerous tool cabinets had been welded together in a grotesque monstrosity that only a mind like his could navigate. Closing the backdoor, he separated and stored the goods into their respective sections whilst peeking over his shoulder for any signs of suspicious activity outside. Tailgaters, mysterious men in trenchcoats, oddly large groups of people. After the house fire, he couldn’t become complacent again.

Once done, he clapped his hands and the holo-frame projector whirred to life. Crafting it out of a cinema projector and a bluetooth speaker was an experiment in agony and it sure didn’t measure up to his old one at home but it was functional.

“ Show the nearest route to Stark Nevada Cloud Facility,” Tony said. The blue light morphed into a topographical map of Texas, constantly shrinking in scale until he saw a spherical domed facility. A bush of chain link fences and concrete walls surrounded it. It was by far the most guarded data server bank in Stark Industries and for good reason.

It was where they were keeping JARVIS.

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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by webboysurf
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webboysurf Live, Laugh, Love

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Chapter 1: Look in a Mirror

Sunset Diner Keasbey, New Jersey

“So, are you going to lie and tell me you fell down the stairs again, Clint?”

Bobbi Morse cut into her omelet without looking up towards her breakfast companion. She seemed slightly out of place in the grungy diner, with most of its patrons wearing trucker hats and flannel. Agent Morse was instead dressed up in a suit and tie, her own sort of uniform. Of course, Clint Barton seemed more dressed like a cartoon character; he sported a bright purple t-shirt with a white thermal long-sleeve underneath, matched with non-descript jeans. His face was a tapestry of bruises and cuts, covered up in part by old HawkeyeTM branded band-aids. He was busy chowing down on his own stack of pancakes drowning in maple syrup. He didn’t bother to answer his exes’ hypothetical. She already knew the answer. She always liked having all the answers.

“If you want back in the game, there are plenty of pieces in play. I’m currently running point on a potential deal going down in Madripoor. It’s well-suited for your kind of work.”

Clint swallowed his current bite hard, resting his knife and fork on his plate as he grabbed a couple paper napkins from the dispenser on the table. He wiped the sticky syrup from his lips, his eyes finally turning up to meet Bobbi’s. She stared back at him with a stoic expression. Clint read volumes of worry in the way her eyebrows furrowed slightly the longer she stared. “Bikers. Stalking my building. Either one of them was stalking my 80 year old neighbor to confess his love… or…”


Clint sighed. They both knew the answer. Speaking it just made it more real. “They’re trying to intimidate whoever lives in the building.”

Bobbi nodded to herself slightly, taking a sip from her coffee and stewing on that for a moment. She looked casually about the diner as she swallowed. “And why would they be doing that, Barton. What’s the motive?”

Clint shook his head. He hated when she talked to him like this, talking to him like he was some kid in her English Lit class. “Can you stop talking down to me like I’m an idiot, Bobbi?”

Bobbi’s lips pursed for a moment as she slowly turned her gaze back towards Clint. “You are an idiot, Clint.” She reached her free hand across the table towards his, grabbing on to it firmly. “You’re not stupid. You just refuse to look in the mirror and see yourself.”

Clint cocked his head slightly to the side. The insult was expected… but it wasn’t a jab. The words were vaguely familiar. Bobbi had called him an idiot so many times over the years it almost felt like his own name, but today it was different. There was meaning behind it. Some of it was hurt, some of it was pity. Clint didn’t want to dissect it further. He just looked at Bobbi as she pulled her hand away and checked her smart watch. “I’ve got to go, Clint. I’ll be out of town for a few days. Clean yourself up by the time I get back.”

She was gone within a minute, a crisp hundred dollar bill folded neatly under her plate. Clint ate the rest of his food quickly in silence, only nodding towards the money when the waitress came by with the check. He shook his head when she came back with change, and half-heartedly nodded along as she gave him a hug. He couldn't quite make out the words as he had taken out his hearing aid when Bobbi had left. Her words were still bouncing around in his head as he ducked out of the diner and made his way to his red and black 1970 Dodge Challenger. He sped off from the Jersey diner, following the signs back to NYC.

Clint slid his hearing aid back over his ear and turned on the radio, flipping through a few news stations. He tapped away on his steering wheel as he listened to the usual: politics, anti-mutant legislation, shootings. The same old news he listened to all the time. His eyes shifted to the same old scenes he was used to on this drive by now. A couple of the billboards had changed again. Clint's eyes drifted until he caught a tiny bit of movement in his rear-view mirror. He locked eyes with himself for a moment. His face seemed more purple and red than pale. It was no wonder Bobbi was concerned.

Clint turned his rear-view mirror away slightly, so he could no longer see his reflection.
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Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by Sep
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Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

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22,012 // ORBUCEN

Attention Richard, it is critical you pay attention at this time.

Richard woke with a start as the planet came into view. He could already see the extent of the damage to the planet below and realized that it was too late. The 8x8 distress call had come through weeks ago, and despite starting at the other side of the Galaxy Richard was still the first one to respond. A Cosmic entity had come and destroyed the planet. What was left was a dying planet all its energy depleted as its ecosystem went through one final collapse. "Give me a full scan of the planet."

Confirmed. Within two hours life on Orbucen will cease, most the life on the planet appears to be congregated around evacuation ships, however, they appear to be inactive.

Without further hesitation Richard flew down to the ships, most of them had their ramps closed, but he could still see thousands of refugees clamoring at the gates to get in. Women, children, and men all screamed, pleaded, and begged to be allowed on. There had to be room for their family or even just the youngest among them. It was all in vain, the promises of wealth meant nothing in the face of destruction. The guards knew their families were safe, and that was all that was important.

There was a shift in attention though as the sky lit up as the Nova Centurion came within seeing distance. This is the part of the job that Richard found hardest. Giving hope, when he knew he'd never be able to deliver. "Worldmind send my ship, and repeat a call for assistance from the corps-"

There are currently no other Corps personnel available, and your ship will not arrive for another-"

"Just do it."

Richard flew in closer once he recognized what was likely a launch control center. Orbucen was a type-I civilization and if they had any chance of fleeing it had to be now. He winced a little at the relief on the face of those in the control center as he approached.

"Centurion! I am glad that you were able to come, even if it is at the end. We still need your assistance."

"I came as soon as I could. More help will arrive soon-" It hurt to lie. He didn't do this job to lie to people, especially in their time of need, but better in these last moments to offer false hope, than none at all. "-what seems to be the delay in getting these ships off the ground?"

"All ships except one are full to capacity. The Central Authority will not grant the codes to allow the ships to take off until they have arrived, however, protestors have barricaded them in their offices and we are unable to get them. Please rescue them, so we can leave.

The Central Authority is the Oligarchy that rules this world, Richard Rider. We will need to evacuate them in order to proceed with the evacuation.

It was the end of the world, and of course if the powerful weren't allowed to survive. No-one was.
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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Bork Lazer
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Bork Lazer Chomping Time

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arc 1: furnace
issue - alive or dead?


By Ben Urich

“ When asked by Verity Willis of WHIH during the 1985 Stark Expo whether world peace would be possible by the end of the 21st century, Howard Stark replied with his most infamous quote to date:

“ Peace isn’t profitable. Consider that and you’ll have the answer already.”

Born to a shellacker and a stenographer in up-state Manhattan in 1918 during the end of World War 1, Howard’s appetites and ambitions couldn’t be contained, leading to earning a full scholarship to MIT at the age of 15. Becoming a three-time Collier award winner in his undergraduate years and earning dual-PHDs in both electronic and mechanical engineering, Howard Stark was widely considered to be a pioneer of his generation.”

“ World War 2 was widely considered by many to be the catalyst to the formation of Stark Industries. Joining the OSRD in 1941, the network he formed would eventually become the first board of directors for the now famous industrial start-up. After the conclusion of the war in 1945, Stark Industries grew to a multi-million and eventually, a billion dollar empire. The Cold War only served to bolster Stark Industries prominence and close affiliation with the government as a military weapons contractor, earning Howard Stark the nickname “ The Iron Monger…”

…. [CONT ON PG 5]

“ Mr….Hogan-”

“ That’s me,” Tony pulled at the collar of his polo shirt tightly. His fingers mussed through his dyed hair worriedly as though his disguise would melt off any second like the Witch in the Wizard of Oz. The chair he was sitting on was uncomfortably inhuman. The plastic laminate seat pressed painfully against his back and he swore that the thin legs were incapable of supporting his weight. It felt as though the chair could fall apart at any moment and was only held together by the power of his belief. The interviewer was a balding, bespectacled man who was in an over-dressed suit and tie that made Tony look like a suburban father with his get-up. The interviewer adjusted his glasses, an unimpressed look at his face, before looking back at his clipboard.

“ What qualifications do you have to succeed in Stark Industries?”

“ I’m applying for a janitorial job, right?” Tony questioned. The interviewer’s face didn’t budge and Tony sighed, clearing his throat, as he went on a diatribe.“ You know, I had to work for everything in my life. I’m a go-getter, a guy who had to pull himself up from the ground to get where I am now. My father never left me with anything. Hell, I never took handouts and you’ll never find a harder worker than me.”

By the time he’d finished, Tony struggled to hold in his laughter. The interviewer had nodded throughout his entire rant, taking down notes, and appeared to even look interested. After a long period of silence, the interviewer spoke again.

“ But what actual qualifications do you have?”

Tony bit his lip nervously before shrugging half-heartedly.

“ I can also code in Java?”

“ You’re hired, Hogan.”
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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Redcord


Member Seen 9 mos ago

SHEILD safehouse, Brooklyn New York

Steve Rogers breathed in slowly.

The air was a little stale, unsurprising for a place of brick and old wood that looked like it had been barely cleaned in a decade, even though he had spent the whole of yesterday tidying things up. It had been his sole occupation, in between reading whatever history books he could stomach. He was still struggling to wrap his head around things. Last week he had been in Germany, ducking behind whatever piece of rubble he could find while Nazi’s took pot shots at him and his boys. HYDRA had been up to something, even as their country collapsed all around them. Even as it was so damn obvious that the war was lost.

The next he was walking up in a cold, sterile room staring up at the faces of surprised doctors.

He frowned as he flexed and massaged his right hand, pulsing with an old ache he earned doing something stupid in Tunisia. In a way he was glad he had been as disorientated as he was when he…woke up. The doctors had just been doing their job, thawing out what they thought was a corpse. Nobody expected him to be alive. Him included. Who the hell could live through something like that?

He had been focused on getting out. They had chipped off most of the ice that, lethargic and confused as he was, he could do the rest. The race through the base had been…well, not pleasant. In hindsight he could understand their tactics more properly than he had in the moment, when everything was a bloodied blur. They tried to restrain him, first. But when he had cracked enough skulls they just decided to hang back, keep an eye on him while he tried to run and form a proper response team. He had stopped when he had burst onto the deck of the Helicarrier. So much space. So much impossibility.

When he had calmed down, they approached him. Began to explain.

Steve took another deep breath, letting the stale air wash through him. He held it for a few moments, before slowly releasing his breath. It had been a week or two since that mess. He couldn’t stay so directly on a SHIELD facility like that, apparently. People were already beginning to talk. So they had, upon return to New York, shunted him into this safehouse while they figured out what to do with him. Maybe he could’ve run. Slipped out the door and began to explore his home, so twisted and changed by the passage of time. But he had caught a glimpse of it on the way in.

He’d get used to it later. Right now he preferred this solitude.

Walking to the center of the room he approached a stained punching bag. It was an old thing, of taut leather and faded colors. Scratches marked it, and here or there lay a sloppy patch job to keep it together. He couldn’t even begin to let loose on it. But it was what he had. So he settled into a stance, and went through the old motions.

As his fists hit the punching bag he couldn’t help but note with some amusement that he probably would’ve found this place nice, back in the day. Small, compact and filled with all the little necessities of life. If he had seen it when it was first built, that is. Right now he was most likely older than it. Maybe the whole building.

Rusted metal chains groaned in protest when he hit the punching bag too hard, sending it snapping it away from him. For a second it looked like the punching bag was going to slip loose, but ultimately the chains and leather held, and it soared back to him. He caught it with a single hand, frowning.

He was already looking at the door before it even began to open.

Sharon Rogers stepped in. A short woman, dressed smartly in a SHIELD issued suit, her dirty blond hair was neatly tied in a bun. And her cool blue eyes swept the room, before meeting his own for a moment. Under one arm was a roll of newspapers. A duffle bag was slung over her other shoulder.

“Captain,” she said, unsmiling. He nodded to her, holding the punching bag in place so the creaking of the steel chains didn’t get too loud.

Shaon Rogers was, apparently, a descendant of his sister. She was a link, of sorts. A thing to hold to and say that this world was real. Probably why they assigned her to be his handler. And that's what she was, despite all the words they tried to use. They wanted to make sure he didn’t break anything. Storm through central park on a rampage. They didn’t say any of that, of course. But he wasn’t an idiot. Well, not completely. He accepted the oversight, such as it was, without a word. He understood. The world was beyond strange, and he appreciated the company.

As she entered the room she tossed the wad of newspapers on an old, cheap table. The duffle bag gently sat on the ground next to it. “Looks like things got out.” Sharon said as she leaned against a counter, crossing her arms.

Steve walked over, shifting the newspapers so he could get a look at them all at the same time. Pictures of SHIELD, its helicarrier, its bases, symbol, whatever they could get their hands on stood prominent on the pages. A few of them had some scientists that he had been told found him. And, most prominently, photos of him.

“Not surprising.” Sharon continued. “Something like this…well, it was never in the plan to keep you hidden forever. Just long enough to get your bearings.”

And for SHIELD to get its own, Steve thought.

“But too many people saw you. Some grunts probably talked too. So the timetable has been moved up a bit. Tomorrow the Director will be confirming that you’re alive. I’ve been asked to put forward a request that you stand on the stage when that happens.”

“A request?” He said, wrapping his hands.

Sharon nodded. “Just a request. Not an order. Things have moved more quickly than we had hoped, so…”

He had never been shy, not truly. But the thought of standing in front of stage, looking into a sea of strangers, nailing it in with their questions and their cameras that he was truly lost from his home punched at him. Maybe he should. Get out of this safe-house, stand in front of the world proudly.

But he was never proud.

“I’ll think about it.” He said. “But no promises.”

Sharon shrugged. “Don’t worry too much about it. This was a last minute thing.” She waved a hand, gesturing to the duffle bag. “Besides, they managed to gather some of your old things.”

Old things…? Curious, Steve picked up the duffle bag and hauled it onto the table. He only opened it half-way when he saw his shield. He paused for the moment, staring at the gleaming metal. When he last saw it, the old girl was coated in frost and blood. But now…now it was clean. Proud. He pulled the rest of the zipper back, revealing a uniform he was all too familiar with.

Slowly, with a care that he knew with bone deep experience that was unnecessary, he picked up his shield and held it in front of him. The white star flashed in the low light.

“A bit delayed,” Sharon said quietly. “But welcome back, Captain.”

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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Natty
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Normally this time of night on a Friday, John King would already be three pints deep at his local dive bar, swapping the same old stories he always repeated and reminiscing on the same exes he also moaned “got away.” Sadly rent was on the up, meaning less time for drinking away his problems, and more time begrudgingly working all of the overtime he could muster. As a result, tonight the lowly engineer found himself down in the darkened subway tunnels beneath New York City, his hands tinkerings with one of the signalling posts, as the sounds of clattering train carriages rocketed the tunnels around him.

Normally the work itself wasn’t too bad. He’d spend some time on each signal, chatting leisurely with his partner, yet today he had been abandoned. So instead he worked alone, headphones in and blaring music into his ears, as he audibly grumbled about his plights in life.

It was because of this that John was too distracted to hear that something was currently moving down the darkened train tunnel towards him.

The being moved slowly, keeping to the darkness as it eyed its prey. The hiss of its tongue escaped from under the blood-red cloak that encapsulated its body.

John continued to work away as it crept closer, his eyes fixated on the multimeter in his hands. He was oblivious.

Closer and closer it moved. A low growl began to echo as the glint of teeth began to pierce out of the darkness below its hood.

Closer and closer until it was ready.

John let out a gut-wrenching scream as a burning erupted from his back, as the beast began to sink in its claws. He fell, agony sweeping through him as his both seized up. He barely managed to turn his head up to look at the monstrosity before him. The pair of rolling, mad eyes; the pig-like snout, twitching and quivering in his direction; and the drooling mouth, saliva
hanging in slippery ropes from yellowish fangs. Whatever this beast one, it seemed to stand tall on its hind legs, with one muscle arm emerging from the confines of its cloak, his scythe-like claws now dripping in what he could only imagine was his own blood.

And it was hungry for him.

He struggled backwards as fast as he could, fighting through the pain as it towered above him, stepping forwards menacingly. It was enjoying this. Enjoying the hunt. Wiping the blood away with the cloak, it readied itself to strike.

Yet before it could swing, a shout echoed around the corridor. Over the sounds of the trains in the neighbouring tunnels. Over the sounds of John’s screams. Piercing their ears as if reality itself was shouting.

The tunnel illuminated a fiery red light as bands of crimson energy rocketed towards them from the darkness. They withered like snakes around the beast, ensnaring the creature’s raised arm and its upper torso, tightening as they burned into its skin. They overwhelmed him immediately despite their strength. It tried to lunge forward against its victim but found itself stuck in place.

It roared, shaking its body from side to side as it attempted to turn and lay eyes on its attacker.

It didn’t take long for her to step into view, however. She moved confidently despite her small frame. Her hair was a mess of blonde, with a scruffy fringe covering the entirety of her forehead. Her clothes followed suit; a torn band t-shirt and ripped jeans, topped off by a pair of dusty military boots.

At a first glance, there wasn’t anything too intimidating about her. That was if it weren’t for the obsidian staff she hand clutched within her hands. She pointed it forward with a fury, with the end blaring in a combination of vibrant reds and oranges, the crimson bands themselves originating here. They were hers to control, and thus, now was the beast.

Momentarily, her eyes flicked to the left, where John still lay in a now growing puddle of his own blood.

Run.” Illyana Rasputina ordered. “This demon is mine.
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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

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It is a common misconception people made.

Understandable, to some extent. The crescent darts, a truncheon which he threw.

People thought Marc was a ranged fighter. A marksman.

But I watched him train. I saw his background. He was a boxer with tools. A melee fighter. He wanted to get in close, he breathed perspiration and blood.

And when I say that, I don't mean just a common brawler like today's prize fighters. Hair-trigger meathead punchers where the only science involved was looking to maximise a punch's power in Newton force per body mass index... No. Marc was a technician. A sweet scientist. He may not have had the feet of a Maurice Béjart, to call him a dancer, but he had all of the craft of any prizefighter you could name.

A flutter of crescent darts released from the rear hand, under the fore's elbow to disguise their approach until later. But the darts were not the threat, they merely allowed him to slip in left under the guard and the opponent's heavy right. A truncheon to a nerve cluster. A hard punch just below the heart. Turning an elbow to weaken a counter, recognising and slipping the overly aggressive haymaker of a frustrated powered opponent. Equal punching power and comfort from either hand in myriad situations.

He was Mercel Cerdan in a cape. But with weapons which distracted from his true intent. His true intent was one of malice, and would end with you grounded; on the floor by his hand.

I am not Marc.

D U C H A M P : M A N T L E O F
T H E M O O N ' S K N I G H T

W E S T 2 1 5 T H S T J U N G L E

Present Day | Manhattan, New York Years ago | Country Undisclosed

"Il y a un spectacle plus grand que la mer, c’est le ciel ;
il y a un spectacle plus grand que le ciel, c’est l’intérieur de l’âme."

"There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky;
there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul."
- Victor Hugo

Cold rain beats down. I wear a dead man's clothes. But here I perch, and wait, in my own warmth.

Beating tropical rain. I've awaited the target for hours, my rifle propped and steady. A single trigger's pull can change the fate of an entire nation of people. The paint on my face, my clothes, on this day I serve death.

This part of town lacks true tall skyscrapers, but its the best I can do, for overlooking the target. 215th Street Station, the quietest in Manhattan. The perfect place for my prey to feed. I hold one of Marc's crescent darts between my fore and middle finger in a hand hidden well within the depths of the cape. I'd inspected its splendid stirling silver in the moonlight earlier, when I had first gotten here, but have since tucked it away. The sniper's training to remove anything reflective coming back to the fore.

I lie here, secluded by canopy and brush. Far below, a series of tripwires and claymores should buy me further time to escape, upon the descent of madness which will inevitably come with the trigger's pull. My scope wavers slightly as my attention is drawn by the sound of wheels in the mud.

Heels clack up the stairs to the station. A woman ascends. A duck call would have been more subtle.

A family alights. This wasn't the plan. What warlord brings his family out to his distant getaway? Intel had him here with numerous women who were not his wife on frequent occasions. I wonder to myself if she knew he owned this place all the while, or if she discovered its existence and the family was brought out here to justify its existence as his own private getaway. I wonder if shining a blacklight through the building wouldn't get his wife to do my job for me, before I redouble my focus both mentally and through the scope.

This is far from ideal. To kill a man in front of his family. What if his kids run? I try not to think of the tripwires and claymores that lie between us. What if his kids decide to go for a walk through the surrounding scrub? I feel added pressure to find a clean, clear shot.

Second guesses. Third guesses. These things are killers in the business of a killer.

Lights flicker. Common with these, the Hellbent have this effect often. I turn the crescent dart in my hidden hand. I sight my prey.


It's a big one. The dart won't be enough. Heaven help me, the dart won't be enough.

The woman starts to panic, sensing its presence. Possibly OUR presence.

I silently curse myself at the predicament. Lady's in the killbox. I'm not Marc.

But today, I guess I'll have to be enough.

Twenty minutes have passed, and the family have since moved inside and mostly settled.

Far below I hear a door clatter and slam in the wind. My scope angles. He's alone. Breathe. One-two. Pull...

With a rifle crack a life ends. With a child's scream a family is altered permanently. I curse myself for failing my training, as I dispel the casing and take aim a second time.

A rifle crack, a mother screams for her child to get back, and I feel satisfied I've kept the child from charging the brush to his certain death.

I scoop the two empties, and turn and start to make my way towards extraction. A quarter-click back there's a jump-site. Behind me I hear yelling covered quickly by the first claymore's dark call. A gentle jog onwards, then a shot hits a tree just in front of me, spurring me on faster. Guards. Not just outside the building, must have extra sentries surrounding. Another claymore explodes behind. I don't plan on being close enough for when the final one sounds, I sprint through the jungle, foliage whips and occasionally tears at my flesh.

Then nothing.

I tumble through space, I pull the jump chute and I'm away. I guide my chute around into the lee of the clifface away from the gunfire of the pursuing guards.

I stow the crescent dart. I'm not Marc, and whilst I've little doubt I'd strike my target true, I think the loss of the element of surprise would be too costly for whatever advantage the damage of the dart could do.

Two steps and I hurl myself across the gap into the night. The cape billows and catches me, then I draw it closed and turn myself into a missile. Driving a shoulder through and tackling the demonic beast off of the platform and onto the tracks. I pull the truncheon and club it into a panic in the moonlight. Then the moonlight brightens and I realise what will happen next. I quickly fire a grapple line from the truncheon, pulling myself away to the far line of the station as the subway barrelled through.

I puff and pant. Close contact. Melee fighting. It's not for me. And then my salvation - the ladder from the Mooncopter whisks me away.

Tired as I may be, tonight's only just begun.
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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Retired
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Retired "Hayao Miyazaki"

Member Seen 6 days ago

G M E V E N T # 1
Waterside Plaza, Manhattan, NYC

Roxxon Energy Corporation, a multi-billion dollar oil and gas enterprise, operating in almost thirty countries, was experiencing its most profitable period since its founding in the early 20th century. The company's newest CEO, industrialist entrepreneur and investor, Dario Agger, having taken over in 2011, was mostly credited for the record-setting successes Roxxon was seeing due to his aggressive, forward-facing business strategy. In reality, the multinational behemoth's $500 billion annual profit was owed to an entirely different factor. While the world knew Roxxon as one of the largest and most influential global conglomerates, the company was rooted deeply within the criminal underworld.

The Chitauri invasion and subsequent 44-Hour War changed how the world viewed life itself. For Dario Agger, already an amoral businessman, it entirely altered his perspective on enterprising profit. In the decade since taking control, Agger rapidly became the 8th richest man in the world and established himself as one of the central figures in the superhuman black market. Manufacturing of illegal weaponry based on scavenged Chitauri technology; development of super performance enhancing drugs; trafficking mutant slaves; genetic engineering. The Roxxon Energy Corporation dabbled in it all, unbeknownst to the public.

All across New York City, Roxxon Energy tanker trucks cruised the streets. Ostensibly transporting fuel, the vehicles were in truth smuggling next-generation weaponry out of the Big Apple. A fact that wasn't as secret as Roxxon's CEO would have believed.

One such tanker and its inhabitants, idling at an intersection in Waterside Plaza, discovered this the hard way as the heavy truck suddenly teetered violently from side to side accompanied by a cacophonous blast. The high-explosive grenade that had rolled underneath the vehicle impacted with enough force to lift the rear end several inches. A hail of bullets followed, striking both the sturdy doors and scattering across the bullet-resistant windshield. Screams filled the air as the surrounding vehicles slammed on brakes and hurriedly threw their cars in reverse to put as much distance between them and the chaos.

At the same time, two large garbage trucks slammed through the traffic, tossing smaller vehicles in their path aside, as they maneuvered to block the tanker. From the backs of the garbage trucks, fourteen armed individuals clad in an assortment of dark hoodies, masks, and patched-together body armor poured out, surrounding the tanker. Another figure, this one in less-tattered tactical gear, emerged from the rear garbage truck and gestured towards several others.

"Hurry up and cut into that thing," he said in a thick British accent. "The Big Man wants what's inside."

Four men broke formation to approach the large, metal tank. They produced palm-sized cylinders that began sparking blue from the tips. High-intensity plasma cutters would make short work of the tanker's shell and reveal the hidden goods within.

"Mort!" The panicked voice came from the front of the Roxxon truck in the moment of silence following the pause of gunfire. "We've got a problem, there's something in the—"

The shouting was cut off by the abrupt sound of tearing metal and thick glass exploding, replaced by a short-lived scream of terror and a sickening crunch.

Mortimer Norris, leader of the assault team, took a step back as he witnessed a hulking figure drag itself out from the passenger side door - or rather, where the door had once been.

Standing seven-and-a-half feet with thick, armored plates decorating his massive, orange-grey body, the monstrous Antonio Rodriguez towered over the assembled men circling the tanker. His services retained to guard this particular shipment, he growled ferociously as the onslaught of bullets returned, this time harmlessly ricocheting off his body.

"You don't know who the fuck you just messed with."
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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Sep
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Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

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22,002 // ORBUCEN

Richard flew, more or less, straight to the government building. He did what he could on the way, with Worldminds constant nagging in the background. Save a couple of people from falling buildings, and move them in the direction of the ships. In the distance, he could see the rioters outside protesting the Central Authority. Good for them, shame it came right at the end. Richard really had no notion to move in and help them, but considering the fact that these officials held the lives of everyone aboard the ships in their hands he had no choice. If he couldn't save everyone, he had to save someone.

Without pomp or ceremony, he crashed through a window and into the center of a room. There were screams of panic, guards sprang into action before a very well-dressed alien came forward raising his hands. "Hold your fire! This is a Nova Centurion!" The being approached him, Richard extended his hand and it was grasped by both of the aliens' hands. "I am glad to be seeing you now. We had hoped that our planet could have been saved, however with you here now we can maybe save what is left of our people. The disturbances within the atmosphere have prevented our evacuation, and the protestors have prevented our land transports. You must see us to our ships."

Richard pulled his hand back. "I'll see you to your ship, but first give me the codes to launch the ships-"

Caution Richard Rider, adrenal spike detected in many of the occupants of the room.

"That way if you don't make it the ships can still lea-"

"Unacceptable. You will take us, and then we shall supply the codes."

"I only mean it to make sure your people survive."

"Either we all survive, or none of us do. This is the way of things. If you do not help us, none of us will survive and that will be your burden to bear."

"But your people will die."

"Only if you fail to save us."

Richard had to refrain from physically frowning, it cost all his focus to stop the rage from translating into his eyes. "Fine lets go, but no-one gets hurt."

Without offering a chance for any rebuke Richard led the group of five out of the room, through the council halls, and out into the public. As soon as they appeared the crowd surged forward, and objects came flying at them. Thrown from protestors. "Graviton shield to full strength, full coverage."

There was a flash of light as the field expanded, objects bouncing harmlessly off. As they moved into the crowd anyone that attempted to stand in their way was pushed aside. Richard could see the pain in these poor people's faces, the anguish, and the anger. The rage.

Richard had never felt more ashamed in his life, all these people wanted was a chance to survive. He could be doing something, and yet here he was. A chaperone to the powerful.

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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Supermaxx
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Supermaxx dumbass

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ISSUE #2: Logan Goes to Washington

Greenwich Village New York City

Agent Thaddeus Moore swaggered into the crime scene. He chewed thoughtfully on a wad of nicotine gum as he stepped over a pool of blood, careful not to get any on his polished shoes. It was a dingy apartment by all accounts. The TV was a fat box that went out of style in the early aughts. Beneath his feet was a formerly orange carpet that might've been the tackiest thing he'd ever seen. Greenish particulates covered the blinds, giving the room the vague scent of marijuana. And then there was the corpse.

He leaned down to examine the body closer. White male in his mid-thirties. His face was freshly shaven and he wore a tight, military-reg haircut. Thaddeus had seen a thousand men just like him in his career. His armor was much more interesting. It was a cutting edge set of powered armored. Exterior shell appeared to be some kind of titanium alloy. Inside was a powered exoskeleton strapped along the arms, legs and side of the dead man. The shell was painted a maroon so dark it was almost black. No serial number or other obvious identifiers, either.

"Almost looks like SHIELD assault armor." Moore mused aloud to his partner.

Another agent in a similarly expensive suit to Moore's was peering out the shattered window the shooter had fired from. Celia Paddock was shorter than Thaddeus, paper white to his charcoal and had a shock of hair more orange than the carpet. She was scowling as she ran a device along the broken glass on the window, gathering up gunpowder residue for further examination.

"The gun ain't SHIELD that's for damn sure," Paddock responded, nodding her head toward the broken firearm leaning against the wall. It was like nothing either of them had ever seen before. Sleek, sophisticated and completely unmarked. The thing may as well have come from Mars for all they could discern of its origin. "So what've we got, Moore? Summarize."

Thaddeus took a deep breath to collect himself before speaking his piece. "The shooter took up position in this room roughly four hours prior to the attack on Congresswoman Cooper. The landlord claims the shooter has no relation to the actual tenant. Old lady next door says she buzzed him up because he 'looked nice' and said he forgot his key. He unpacks his weapon, gears up and waits for the rally to start."

He stood from the body, making his way to the window. "Waits until Cooper is almost finished speaking to take his first shot. No idea why as of yet. Witness report the Congresswoman was knocked out of the way by a, quote, 'effed up lookin' fella with bad mutton chops-'"

"You can say fuck, Moore. Your mom can't spank you anymore."

After shooting Paddock a look, Thaddeus continued: "The man took two shots meant for Cooper and seemingly walks it off, no sweat. Then he jumps through the front window of the Lion's Head Pub to make a mad dash across the street. Witnesses report he used bladed weapons to cut the door to the building down and charged up the stairs. That's when things get fuzzy."

"No direct witnesses for the actual scuffle," Celia agreed with a nod, crossing her arms. "The old woman across the hall reports hearing several more gunshots and screams. Lots of fucks and shits and insults, too. Guess it took awhile for our shooter to go down."

"And mutton chops just vanishes into thin air right after." Moore sighed. "He left behind a lot of blood but no body. And no trail."

Celia Paddock pulled out her phone and began tapping out a message to persons unknown. "Doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out who we're after. The blood samples'll confirm it but, yeah, this has Logan's stink all over it. He's either gotten bold or sloppy if he's leaving behind this much evidence."

Thaddeus looked from Celia back to the corpse. "We need to I.D him, too. The brass will want to know if someone's gunning for the president's political enemies. And given how well equipped this guy was I doubt he was working alone. Might be we have a new Purifiers on our hands."

Paddock pulled a cigarette from her jacket pocket and lit it up, much to Thaddeus's disdain. "We got a long fuckin' night ahead of us, Thad, tell you what."
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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Bork Lazer
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Bork Lazer Chomping Time

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arc 1: furnace
issue - dead or alive?

“ Look. I’m just asking you to have an ounce of introspection - “

“ And I do. I’m an introspecting individual, or in the process of it - “

“ Do you seriously not believe you have responsibility for the deaths your weapons cause?”
“ First of all, the technical term isn’t weapons. Obi calls them “ applied military technology” and before you give me that look, I put the legwork in the RnD and give the scraps to the design group. They’re the ones who point it at - “

“ Is that seriously your defense?”

“ Look, all I’m saying is that I make the tools. A hammer doesn’t kill people.”

“ But a hammer wasn’t originally designed to kill people.”

“Look, how do you think we get funding for our other sectors? Military contracts. Look at our biotech divisions, telecommunications, software, that’s only possible with the money we make from - “

“ Killing people to save people. Does that equation balance it all out? ”

“ It’s our history. My father’s history - “

“ The futurist who's also a stickler for tradition. That’s a joke if I ever saw one.”

“ Can’t beat that tongue of yours.”

“ Oh, you can beat me in other ways…..”

During the fifth day of his entry level position in the Stark Industries Nevada Server Farm Facility, Tony had finally figured out how to hack into clearance. Sure, it took a little bribery, 24 hours of bypassing his own outdated encryption firmware he made in his twenties and elbow grease but the location was still the same. If he had access to his now-destroyed supercomputer with terabytes of processing power.

He could have bulldozed through the facility with the Model 1 like a bull in a china shop. But hardware was hardware and servers were especially delicate hardware. With all of that in mind, the firmware and server banks required to house and contain an V.I was a glass chandelier. As far as he could tell, JARVIS’s primary neural matrix was in cold storage. JARVIS wasn’t a true A.I. He had over-ride functions, commands built within him to prevent him from becoming a crappy 90s cliche. However, one of those commands was to stay locked within deep storage in the eventuality of his death.

Tony breathed out fog in the depths of the cold facility, liquid nitrogen running through the walls to cool down all the immense heat produced by dozens of server banks working non-stop 24/7. A Stark technician was meant to come down here in a HEPA-registered custom built isothermal suit that kept them from dying of hypothermia. All Tony had was ten layers of T-shirts, a wool parka he got from a 5 dollar thrift shop and cooking mitts to keep his hands warm. His testicles felt like two ice cubes as he shivered, trying to locate the exact server port for him to access.

“ 25-A, 6-B, ah, there we go!,” Tony unscrewed the plastic seal of the server rack, gently setting it down so that he wouldn’t make any noise. Decoupling a connection cable, he plugged it into his computer and begin uploading his script to break past the hardwalls. The script would send a trail of crumbs for the 22 engineers on standby to prod at curiously whilst he could root around in their orchards like a raccoon in a garbage bin. His eyes flickered through multiple server logs and server pings that were being set off by his relatively messy manner of hacking. The sound of hissing cooling pumps and the electronic hums of server frames kept him company.

So much so that he didn’t even feel the gun barrel pressed against his head.

“ You have 10 seconds to explain what you’re doing in this secure location before I shoot you in the head …..” A woman’s voice spoke softly, cutting through the cold like a thin razor. A glove hand appeared to the left of Tony’s vision and tugged the lanyard out from the front of his chest to behind him. “ ….Mr Hogan.”

“ Lady, I’m just doing maintenance - ,” Tony couldn’t finish his words as a hand forcibly slammed his head against the plexiglass cover of the server.

“ Like I said, what are you doing here?”

“ Sorry.” Tony said groggily, trying to process her words through the pain on his head. “ Still trying to get over that concussion you gave me.”

“ Does this help jog your memory?,” Tony felt something thin against his ankle and before h react, it jabbed him at an angle that made him squeal and flop to the floor like a cut puppet. He was gasping at the agonising pain and watched as a figure floated into view, looking down at him upside down. A curtain of black hair floated down around a gold mask. Cold blue gimlets peered out down at him. “ I’ll ask one more time. What are you doing here?”

“ Well, a little. Is this supposed to be an interrogation or foreplay?”

The masked woman grabbed him by the collar and pulled him up as though he weighed no less than a cat. She then shoved his back roughly against the server frame, making it creak. She then placed the barrel right between his eyes.

“ You say one more quip out of that insufferable mouth of yours and I’ll shoot you in the lap first.”

“ So I'm not a fan of this type of roleplay. Maybe, start with a little bit of teasing -,” Tony croaked out desperately as she loudly cocked the receiver, thumbing the trigger warningly. He raised both of his hands in the air in surrender. “ Alright. Alright! I’ll give you what you want.”

The pressure relented against his eyebrows and Tony sighed in relief. He set his arms down beside his side, shaking them to relieve the tension. He took one slow breath in before speaking.

“ Boo.”

“ That’s it?” The masked woman’s chin tilted up in amusement. “Boo?”

“ That’s right,” Tony smirked as he motioned for her to look down. The eyes underneath the mask widened. Pressed against her belly was his palm. His ring finger twitched and dozens of metal scales began to unfurl out from under the sleeve of his coat. A scalloped glove formed with a large white lens on his palm. There was a low whine of power as energy channeled through a hidden wire conduit between his chest RT and the palm repulsor. The masked woman pulled her arms up to shield her face but it was too late. All the factors were there. Point blank. Element of surprise.
The repulsor discharged and a white lance of pure energy slammed into the masked woman’s gut. Her scream of pain was deafened by the pure heat of the energy emission, air rushing in to fill the vacuum the repulsor left in its burning trail. She was sent flying heads over heels, smashing into the opposite server farm and the one behind it. Shards of silicon and plexiglass littered the floor as she laid twitching, her skin-tight suit burnt to a crisp at the torso.

“ Boo.”
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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Mao Mao
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Mao Mao Sheriff of Pure Hearts (They/Them)

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Erik made sure that the taxi driver was appropriately tipped for getting him to St. Pauls. Across the street, he watched churchgoers leave the chapel grounds, and some presumably talked about morning service amongst acquaintances. Then, he proceeded to blend in with tourists heading inside to likely see the exhibits and memorial banners. A crowd was already gathered around one of the exhibits near the chairs. But a few people prayed at the altar alongside the pastor. Erik went over to the chair farthest away from the nosy crowd and began his wait for the anonymous contact to appear. However, to his surprise, the pastor seemingly appeared out of thin air to greet him. "How can I help you, my son?"

"I only need some alone time, father." Erik dismissed the pastor, but he got closer instead.

"Are you sure that's what you truly need?" Then, with a faint smile, the pastor started walking towards the back exit. "Come with me to the yard, and we can talk there."

Erik raised an eyebrow. "And why would I do that?"

"Because, my son, you're looking for answers. And I can provide them to you." The pastor smirked and proceeded to the churchyard before Erik could respond. He got up from the chair and started pursuing the pastor into the empty yard. But then, Erik saw the pastor struggling to transform into a younger woman. Or transform back. She was strained, made evident by leaning against the bell's metal supports. Erik carefully approached her.

"Who are you?"

"Often ask that same question in front of the bathroom mirror." The woman chuckled before putting on a white mask and started standing straight. "But my friends call me Slips."

"Friends?" Erik moved closer to her.

"Yeah, the ones that helped me set this meeting up." Slips remained composed with her arms now crossed. "The ones you still think betrayed you in '87."

Erik stopped and took a step back out of surprise that she knew about that year. Everything from the anonymous contact to the little indications of their former association began to make sense. He was talking to an agent of the Thieves Guild, a renowned secret society of thieves united to offer their services to those willing to pay the right price. Erik paid that price once, and it ended in ruin. Now, he was talking to one of its agents. It wasn't a surprise he became upset.

"I see your boss sent lackeys in his place." Erik said with pure disdain toward her indirectly. "Still afraid of meeting with me?"

"You know that this isn't about him, Erik." Slips groaned at his remark, more annoyed than anything else.

"Then, you're just wasting my time, child." Erik started walking from her, clearly unpleased with... well, everything at the moment. Finding out that the anonymous contact was just a pawn of the Thieves Guild was disappointing, to say the least. But instead of chasing after him, Slips pulled a black USB stick out of her pockets and began fidgeting with it playfully, almost as if she was showing it off. "Shame. And here I thought you'd be interested in learning who the Brotherhood's first target is."

"What." Erik froze in place without turning around to face her. He didn't need to look at her to feel that grin behind the mask. It was truly an agonizing experience as if he heard her say with that infuriating amused smile: You heard me, old man. But even the tiniest bit of information she possessed was crucial to expose the new Brotherhood. So he bit his tongue and returned to Slips, more willing to be friendly than earlier. Only to get that info without incident.

Slips pretended to be surprised by his return while still playing with the flash drive. "Good to see you're back from your little tantrum. Now, what do you know about Dr. Steven Lang?"

"Someone who thinks they understand mutantkind better than we do?" Erik answered cheekily.

"Cute." Slips dismissed the attempt at humor and then stopped messing with the stick to show it off again. "But he is certainly a professor at Empire State and recently made the mistake of disregarding the Brotherhood publicly. So naturally, they want to know everything there's to know about him. All because they're petty about what he said about them in some interview days ago."

"And what did the guild learn?" Erik crossed his arms.

"You mean, 'what did my team and I learn.'" Slips corrected him while putting the flash drive back in her pocket. "Quite a lot, actually. It's incredible how easy it is to obtain someone's weekly schedule from their phone. Or how much you can learn about someone from hacking into their socials. Like how our dear professor hides his anti-mutant stance from his workplace and public life."

"What else did your team uncover?" Erik interrupted, slightly irritated that she was starting to go into too much detail about something totally unrelated.

Slips shrugged her shoulders. "Nothing else worthwhile. I doubt you want every piece of detail my team had to gather for the contact."

"And the flash drive?" Erik asked directly, now completely tired of her stalling.

"Afraid that isn't for sale. You really thought I'd break the guild's rules for your cause?" Slips giggled and made her way toward him. "Come on now. I have not, or will never, betray my clients. It's bad for business, after all."

Erik wasn't bothered by her boasting and asked in a rather harsher tone than expected. "So why bother telling me everything if you were never going to help in the first place?"

"Using your fist to deal with a bigot, especially the outspoken ones, is one thing. But turning them into martyrs will hurt mutants more than the bigots in the long run." Slips began explaining her reason when Erik noticed her mood had shifted. It wasn't as nonchalant or boastful as moments ago. There was more to her reason, but that damned mask hid her emotions well. In a sudden move, she started making her way out of the churchyard. But she turned to face him one last time with a brief sadness underneath that mask. "And I suspect we both know the professor's death will be used as an excuse for the government to eagerly slaughter us all in a heartbeat."

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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by mickilennial
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mickilennial is trying to survive

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Prev | Next

“You are Kree.”


“Correct. Kree. The architects of this universe of ours. My name is Mar-Vell. Let me show you the way.”
The Past

“This is Captain Marvel. Sorry about being late.”

The half-Kree smirked widely as she spun around a flurry of energy blasts.

It wasn’t often that planets with protected status in the Kree Empire were targeted by pirates. In her experience, pirates typically didn’t like messing with the Kree; especially when the current situation with Xandar made most of council space ripe for the taking. Carol still wasn’t sure what was going on with the Nova Corps or its centurions, but the last few months had sort of left her too preoccupied to do much thinking.

Not that she was ever good at thinking.

Distant colonies in Kree space had been left to their own devices. The Supreme Intelligence had ordered Ronan and the rest of the Kree military forces to assemble toward another sector. Only Hala and the central nucleus of the empire remained well protected by the reserves as a result. Places like Halexa? They were now new targets. Pirates–and low rent ones at that–could now target Kree resource magnets like Halexa without much recompense. How did the Supreme Intelligence think this was a logical course of action? It seemed like the dumbest thing ever.

“Das’t, girl.” She heard over Kree communication lines. She could hear the resentment. “We didn’t call for your help.”

She held out her arm, stopping a blast of energy from one of the pirate ship’s turrets before sending it right back.

“Nobody ever does.”

It didn’t take long for the pirates to scatter back before moving into a defensive formation. Made sense. They had all pretty much a clear idea of who she was. She had been aiding the Kree ever since she had been awakened by the Psyche-Magnetron and she had built up a pretty sizable reputation due to it. The Kree treated her with kid’s gloves, but most of the time when they needed her she was there to at least pull them out of a sticky situation. It was a pretty safe bet that they knew who she was when she showed up.

Her eyes shot to the ships before her as what remained of Halexa’s defensive force got into formation behind her.

“I don’t see any colors. Definitely not Ravagers or Starjammers.”

“They could be unmarked.” Another Kree uttered over comms.

“Guess we’ll find out.” She smashed her fist into the palm of her hand and begun channeling more of her latent energy. “This’ll be quick. Stay behind me.”
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Hidden 12 mos ago 11 mos ago Post by Bounce
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Ingleside, Texas

12 days ago | Issue 1.02: Fauna [ Previous / Next ] | Post Theme

“...and in his remarks at the victory party celebrating his successful re-election, the Texas governor vowed to continue his policy of bussing mutants to so-called sanctuary cities.”

“Thank you, Dick. For more on this story, we go now live to Alexa Lujan.”

“Thank you, Larry, and good evening. I’m standing at a bus station in Ingleside – a small town only about a hundred and fifty miles from the Mexican border. Even here, away from the state capital of Austin or the sprawling Houston metro area, we can see the effects of the governor’s edict. Tonight, Ingleside is the first stop for a bus that will make several stops in the state before setting off for New York. No promised jobs, no promised housing. Just one very clear message: Get out.”

The backpack hit him in the chest.

In it were a few clothes. A change of underwear. Pajamas. Aside from it and the clothes on his back, he had five dollars in his wallet.

He was being put on the bus.

He was only twelve years old. Mamá, no,” the boy begged, tears running down his face.

It was still the same face. The shape, at least. It had started about a year before, when they’d realized his eyes had turned green. Then it had been his hair. Finally, his skin had started to change. Now, even though he was the same, he was different.

He was green. A green face framed by green curls.

A hand grabbed him by the front of his shirt, shoving him back hard. It was his older brother. “That is no mother of yours!”

Hugging the backpack against his chest, the boy just continued to sob. Swallowing, feeling his throat tighten, a softer voice pleaded, Mamá, no.”

He got no reply, at least from her. The woman simply turned her back him.

His father stepped forward, gesturing angrily toward the bus. “You are dead to this family!” With a second, flippant gesture, the man barked, “¡Descuéntate!"

With that, the man turned his back, guiding his wife back toward the car.

As his brother started to follow, he turned back to spit on the ground at the child’s feet.

Then, they left him.

He stood in that same spot for several minutes, trying to process the pain that gripped him. When he’d finally mustered the strength to move, the green-skinned boy slowly meandered his way to the bus.

As he boarded, he was met by downcast eyes. Misfits. Monsters. Outcasts. He threw himself into the empty seat that he came upon, burying his head into the backpack in his lap.

It was going to be a long night.

And what would happen to him when they arrived..?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Xavier Institute, Westchester, New York

Nothing had survived the fire.

Underneath the Xavier Institute hoodie, he was wearing donations from the fire department that had rescued him – and also extinguished him on several different occasions – before Social Services had finally managed the connection over to the Institute.

Coming from California, the Goodwill t-shirt wasn’t cutting it with the colder New York weather, but it seemed the school anticipated supplying clothes to students.

He’d been handed a piece of paper with the number of the room he’d been assigned, and verbal directions to the boy’s dormitory that he’d managed with only one wrong turn.

Well, two wrong turns technically, but one had been a dead end and so that wrong turn had made itself known as soon as he’d made it. So that one shouldn’t count.

Cracking open the door, the dark-haired California boy poked his head in. “Hola,” he uttered nervously, as his eyes landed upon the figure in the room.

It was a boy who looked to be his age.

...and was green? Like, completely green.

The shock of the other boy’s appearance brought home the reality that Toro was in an institute. A place for freaks.

Monsters, just like him.

After an uncomfortable silence, the boy simply said, “I guess we’re gonna be roommates.”

The green-skinned kid just motioned to the other bed in the room, which didn’t even have linen on it. Just an empty mattress, with a few articles that the green kid started clearing away.

As he did, the green kid casually popped the question. “¿Hablas español?”

“Caló, si.”

“Cool,” the green kid uttered, as he straightened back up and turned back to face the newcomer. Me llamó Des.”

Me llamó Toro.”

The name drop seemed to take Des by surprise. “Toro?” the green-skinned kid echoed back, before giving voice to his skepticism. "¿Neta?"

Hands stuffed in the pockets of his hoodie, the California boy just gave a shrug in answer.

It was after that he realized that Des seemed like he was trying to peer behind Toro. "¿Mande?"

“Where’s your stuff?” the other boy asked, innocently.

Again, the California boy just kept his hands inside the pouch-pocket on the front of the hoodie, giving a shrug as he said, “This is it.”

The clothes on his back.

All that he had.

“Oh,” Des uttered, as realization set in.

There was another uncomfortable silence, as both boys seemed fascinated by the floor at their feet. Then, finally, “I... kinda showed up the same way.”

As Toro glanced back up, he found Des trying to give him an awkward smile as he offered, “Is there anything you need? I could show you where to find everything.”

Anything he needed?

How about his life back. Did Des know where to find that?

Drawing in a deep breath, Toro swallowed as he found the word he needed.

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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by AndyC
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AndyC Guardian of the Universe

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"Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to WHIH Newsfront! I'm Christine Everhart, and tonight, our guests need no introduction, but I'll be happy to provide them one anyway. Arriving from a parallel universe just in time to help save the Earth thirteen years ago, they've since become global sensations! Pioneers in science, captains of industry, best-selling authors, billion-dollar movie stars, inspirational figures for boys and girls the world over-- not to mention world-saving superheroes! The First Family of the Future, Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four!"

"A pleasure to be here, Christine."

"The pleasure's all mine, Doctor Richards. Now, first, if I may, love the new look. The beard really suits you."

"Ah, thank you, I guess, I, err, I've been spending a lot of time in the lab lately and haven't had much time to shave--"

"Though I did manage to convince him to trim it a bit before we came today. Poor thing looked like he'd been castaway on a desert island. Once he gets his mind on an idea, it's all he can think about until he cracks it."

"Well, I think I can say for everyone that we're all very excited to see what incredible new experiments Doctor Richards comes up with next. Now then, Miss Storm, you--"

"It's Doctor Storm, actually."

"Ah, yes, my apologies. Now then, Doctor Storm, you're well-known for running the day-to-day operations of the Future Foundation, a multi-billion-dollar think-tank and humanitarian organization. Given how well you handle running such a fast-paced and highly stressful position, enduring the rigors and strains of your activities as a super-heroes, and rebounding gracefully from your very public break-up with Olympic swimmer Namor McKenzie, do you feel like you set an example to the lonely older women out there that they can still be an inspiration in their advancing age?"

"Hey, did it just get colder in here?"

"*pffft* Oh yeah it did."

"....well, first of all, Ms. Everhart, I believe that everyone has the potential to be fantastic regardless of trivial things like age, gender, or status. That's what the Future Foundation stands for: helping every man, woman, and child on Earth achieve their best possible future. We believe everyone has the potential to make the world better, whether it's through saving lives, fighting injustice, advancing knowledge, or just brightening someone's day. It's never too late to start being fantastic-- and it's never too early to start pursuing worthwhile goals instead of, for instance, spreading tabloid trash."

"....yeesh, and I thought I was the one who handed out burns."

"*ahem*...which, ah, which brings us to you, Johnny Storm, The Human Torch! The thrill-seeking kid brother of the four, you were a teen heartthrob when you first arrived on our world! And throughout your twenties, you became the red-hot face of the Four, with six Teen Choice Awards and voted Sexiest Man Alive three years in a row! And then, this year, you lost that title to your best friend Wyatt Wingfoot, coinciding with your thirtieth birthday. Tell me, now that you're no longer the hot young face of the super-hero scene, what's next for the Human Torch?"

"Okay, well, first of all, thirty is the new twenty, okay? Secondly, I'm really happy that Wyatt won Sexiest Man Alive; he's a great guy and an even better friend, why wouldn't I be happy? And third, just because People Magazine gave some made-up award to someone else doesn't mean the Torch has lost his sizzle! I've still got Rise of the Rawhide Kid coming up this spring, and--"

"Actually, I heard this morning that the studio has hired James Gunn to take over the project, and he's replacing you with Euro-star winner Lon Zelig."

"...o-okay, that's news to me, but I'm sure it's just--"

"And lastly, we come to Ben Grimm, the powerhouse of the team! Sometimes known simply as 'The Thing,' Ben, you've become a real favorite to many fans out there! You've come to show everyone that you can be a hero even if--"

"Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm ugly. Think that's gonna be news ta me?"

"....right, well. There are rumors that Doctor Richards has been attempting to experiment on your skin cells to create new building materials. If you don't mind my asking: why go through all the trouble to replicate orange rocks?"

"Well, first, it ain't exactly rock. My skin, it's made outta....ahh, whaddya call it, atomic lasagna?"

"Close, it's 'nuclear lasagna.' A somewhat whimsical-sounding name for a rather extraordinary material. The atoms in each cell of Ben's skin are so closely packed together that the nuclei form a lattice structure in flat layers. Layers that look like, well, lasagna. This material is so dense, in fact, that it is nigh indestructible, quite possibly the strongest substance in the known universe! And there are only two places in all of the cosmos where you can find it: the heart of a neutron star, and my good friend Ben here."

"Yeah, guess I'm kinda special after all."

"So with that in mind, why try to replicate this 'nuclear lasagna' as a building material?"

"Well, the possibilities could be limitless! The nearly indestructible nature of such a material could be the basis for entire new fields of mega-architecture! Infrastructure that would never have to worry about erosion and aging! Buildings, homes, entire cities that no longer need to fear the ravages of natural disasters! To say nothing of the fact that it would make the most high-profile threat of the modern world, the costumed 'super-villain,' a thing of the past virtually overnight! If we could unlock this secret, we could have an indestructible world....one that would never....never have to...."

"....Reed? Reed, are you all right?"

"Hm?....Oh! Oh, yes, I'm.....I'm fine. Thank you for your time, Christine, it was lovely."

"It was?"

"Yes, well, we hope you'll come back soon and--...I'm sorry, we've got a breaking news report. Sources are reporting an explosion and multiple gunshots here in downtown Manhattan. Police are attempting to cordon off the area, but eyewitnesses claim a super-human is on the scene, and--...Doctor Richards? Where are you going?"

"Mort!" The panicked voice came from the front of the Roxxon truck in the moment of silence following the pause of gunfire. "We've got a problem, there's something in the—"

The shouting was cut off by the abrupt sound of tearing metal and thick glass exploding, replaced by a short-lived scream of terror and a sickening crunch.

Mortimer Norris, leader of the assault team, took a step back as he witnessed a hulking figure drag itself out from the passenger side door - or rather, where the door had once been.

Standing seven-and-a-half feet with thick, armored plates decorating his massive, orange-grey body, the monstrous Antonio Rodriguez towered over the assembled men circling the tanker. His services retained to guard this particular shipment, he growled ferociously as the onslaught of bullets returned, this time harmlessly ricocheting off his body.

"You don't know who the fuck you just messed with."

As the enormous armored man loomed over the hopelessly outmatched gunman, a loud swoosh came from overhead. A gleaming white, T-shaped vessel, held aloft by fantastical anti-gravity technology, swooped down from the city skyline, depositing four figures in blue.

"Hey, pipsqueak!" the Thing called out, his fists making the sound of grinding boulders as he approached.

"How's about you watch yer language? There's kids about, y'know."
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