Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Sep
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Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

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"My fellow Americans, today is a hard day. Four years ago, to this day. An alien by the name of Despero attacked the headquarters of the Justice League, right here. In our nation's capital. When the dust settled, and the heroes went home to lick their wounds we, the people, were left to once again to tidy up the mess of the Superman and the so called superheroes. In my tenure as CEO of LexCorp I did all I could to help restore the Metro-area to what it once was, and as President I have spent my time trying to limit the access, abilities and destruction caused by the meta-human.

In these troubling times it is more important than ever to look out and care for one another and just know that we are here for you, the people and are doing everything possible to make this world, a safer place.-

"-Officials have warned that while there will be an unusually high number of meteorites visible to the naked eye this year that many of the objects are such a size that they will burn up harmlessly in the upper atmosphere. Certain internet micro-communities claim that this is some form of alien ruse however I can assure you that the finest expertise in their fields have assured us that there is no risk however we can all look forward to experiencing one of the finest meteor showers Earth has ever experienced. This is a once in a Generation event-"

It had been a wonderful trip to the countryside in Colorado. A real escape from the city, somewhere where the three of them could be together in nature and just breathe. There was no rush for anything, no chaos, no superheroes doing battle with the latest villain of the week. It was just Jack, Daniel, and Samantha having the time of their life. They had spent their day walking before Jack had suggested they head back to the car to try and find a good spot to set up camp.

They hadn't driven for very long when they came across a clearing that looked out towards Cheyenne mountain. Setting up camp they built the three tents, got the fire going, sat down to eat, and then went to bed. It was the perfect day, until Daniel started to dream.

He couldn't remember screaming and groaning in his sleep as his friends woke up, the sweat clinging to his skin. his friends in their night-clothes sat crouched in the opening to the tent with looks of concern on their face.

"Pain. He's in Pain."
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

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Dog carcass in alley this morning. Tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face.

The putrid stench of death which comes as bile hits the open air. The Question stands over a body lying spread-eagle in an alleyway, black tread from the loss of traction over the body's torso. But the face is familiar.

It's his without the mask.

Ted Kord steps in next to his colleague, the Bug hovering far off overhead.

"Well, there's something you don't see everyday..."

"Ee-- Nightshade! Careful, his power is almost boundless!" Captain Atom called out.

Eve Eden melted into the shadows, and transported herself to sights unseen.

"Imp! Who the devil are you?!"

"I am Qwsp! And as you bedevilled my friend, so shall I be a devil upon you! Hee! Hee!"

Civic City had been turned upside down by this monstrous diminutive entity. In some places quite literally. This Qwsp seemed to have more power than he knew how to use it.

"I give you fair warning. Friend or no friend, if you don't stop this behaviour instantly I'll break you down on a molecular level and scatter you through the Quantum field!"

The imp cackled with uproarious laughter at this threat.

"What?! Have you not been paying attention? Interdimensional teleportation? Reconstituting ourselves from a molecular level? We learn how to do that in Elementary school... as well as which elements to transmute ourselves from when available... bu why am I discussing grade school with you people?"

"We'll stop you all the same!" Boomed Allen Adam, pushing ahead with the 'Fake it til you make it' form of superheroics.

"How? The only way to force me to stop is if I were somehow made to say my name backwards. I'm not some melodrama villain, how could you possibly even do that?"

Nightshade re-emerged from a wall, brow furrowed, seemingly perplexed by how to use this new information.

"Qwsp... What's that? Pissweak?"

"Noooo!" Hollered the 5th dimensional imp, in an overly dramatic way which lets us all see exactly what's coming. "Not Pissweak! Pswq!"

Before his eyes doubled in size as 5th dimensional imps are so often wont to do in the situation.

"No! No! Blargh! With my parting words... I curse that treacherous Thunderbolt! Damn youuuu Yyzzzzzzzzzz--! {-Pop-} "

Nightshade and Captain Atom looked at each other in shared thought through the richening silence, before sharing the only question possible under the circumstances.


It was ridiculous that Johnny found himself here. At this door. He wasn't some scummy no good 2-bit P.I. But he'd been asked kindly in good faith by a young woman begging for his help. The gods tended to frown on these types of things.

The gods who gave him his powers, were petty as Hell, and could take them away in an instant for... well, refusing exactly this kind of charge.

And besides. The woman said the guy was a creep. And she she know, she married him.

And that's why Johnny was now knocking on the door three times.

He barely heard footsteps approach the door, then it gave way, revealing a man so heavyset it left questions how he approached the door without being heard.


The man was grotesque. But that wasn't what had captured Johnny's attention. His legs. Something was wrong with his legs. If anyone could tell that it was Johnny.

"I was sent here by your wife. She's asked me to get you to cease and desist--"

"Yeah, I'm not going to do that."

"Excuse me?" Johnny asked, more out of surprise than meant as any kind of threat.

"My wife. Aphrodite. She clearly sent you here as some kind of cruel joke, I mean, look at your leg. And I'm neither going to let myself be hurt by her sending one of you people..."


"Oh relax, I meant mortals, not handica-- I mean, look at my legs. C'mon now. Give me some credit here..."

"Vulcan! Help me Now!" His clothes seemed to fold out into the divine uniform of a centurion.

"Oh... so this is happening... I hate burning favours, but..." The man whistled.

"What's that supposed to do?"

"Oh, when you see her you'll know. Someone owes me a favour. After all, I made most of her outfit. I'm something of a weapons manufacturer myself."

Aphrodite. The legs. Weapons manufacture...

"She didn't even bother to tell you her husband's name, huh?"

The Son of Vulcan sighed out the name. "Hephaestus."

"Yep, because I'm betting no matter how she tried to spin it, I bet she'd have a hard time getting you to go ahead and do this if she said her husband's name was 'Hephaestus', huh. Anyway. You can talk it out with her."

Johnny turned to see who he was referring to, but he already knew exactly who he was going to see.

"Diana. We seem to have a disagreement here. Please straighten this gentleman out."

The Question led the way through the sewer system holding out an old miner's lantern he'd bought cheap from Army surplus, the light cutting through the darkness as he made his way. This time with company.

"So, you're saying you had no idea that you had an alternate version of yourself who was also living in Hub City?"

Kord's question was met with only some kind of grunt. The Question was thinking. Still trying to divine meaning from what he'd witnessed this night.

The Question pushed on through the darkness, his lantern swinging gently from it's handle. He got to a large ceramic tile and slid it over, revealing a small chamber about the size of a small one room apartment. A mattress, a blanket, a small generator, a small hotplate.

"Good God! You're LIVING down here?! Why didn't you tell me? I could have--"

"Temporary. I'll have a new place in two weeks."

"Still... I could put you up in a hotel until then..."

"Refried beans?"

"Hell no. I don't even want to think of the kinds of microbes and bacterial-- oh you're just going to dig right in there, huh?" The Question had peeled back the mask and was already firing down the opened can of beans with a spoon.

"Short night. I'd heated this an hour ago."

"Sure. Here's one you prepared earlier..."

"Asking the wrong question."

"What? About what microbe or bacteria you're sifting through in there, because my money's on e-coli--"

"No. *Gulp* About other me living in Hub City."

"How's that?"

"Did whoever kill him mean to get him or me..? *Burps*"

Ted stared on in shock.

"...That's the Question."
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by TGM
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TGM clichéd tsundere™

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Prev | Next

I never forget.

I guess you could say it is my superpower. The unshakeable commitment to remembering what I really shouldn’t. The funerals. The smell of the arid desert. The screams of the innocent people that were put between me and my crosshairs. The utter dread that has followed me since I was twelve years old. It’s made me what I am. Resilient. Strong. Clever. It’s pushed out what I’m not. Obedient. Unquestioning. Foolish.

The shadow that lingers over me is not one that I fear anymore. It is one I weaponize.

It is one reason I bear the symbol of the Bat.

A symbol that represents the fearless. Those that sulk in the shadows and bring the darkness to light. No matter the cost. No matter the toll. My choice has earned me no friends. No allies. And I like it that way. I don’t care about The Batman. I bear his symbol not out of loyalty but creed. The crusade he has waged. The principles he represents. The price he’s willing to pay to be the light in the darkness, reminding Gotham that there is always hope in the most unlikely places. I understand this well. I am a soldier. I am a Kane.

I am Batwoman.

Detective Sonia Alcana was exhausted. The long nights were pretty much the expectation in the GCPD, but the shake-up at the department had pretty much taken everybody that she knew off guard.

And here she was, waiting in the middle of the night risking her neck because a normal murder ended up being not-so-normal. The Mayor would’ve swiped her badge if he knew she had called someone outside of the force’s sphere of influence. Hell, the newly minted Commissioner would’ve gladly given her the lashing of a lifetime. But in Gotham? When something spooky happens in the middle of the night decorated like it wanted to be found? Alcana’s instincts always pointed to signaling a bat. With a lit cigarette in hand all she could do now was wait. It didn’t take long.

“Those things will kill you.”

“With how this guy went? I’ll take my chances with the cigarettes.”

It didn’t take long for the two women to move through the harbor and into the crime scene. The detective had played it smart and close when she went about contacting Batwoman. She only made the call after there were no eyes on the scene, nobody who could’ve made the detective’s life sore by reporting she was involving a vigilante with the case. Alcana was turning thirty-five soon and the adjustment to be ‘hands off’ with Bat-vigilantes was something she didn’t very much get. Batman & Robin had been pretty much a needed element when she had joined the force and under Gordon’s directive the relationship they had was far less adversarial. But times were changing.

Detective Alcana didn’t very much care for the mayor. She didn’t vote for him. Not a bad guy, just an idiot.

But rules were rules. Sonia wasn’t keen on losing her job. Fortunately, the nearest coffee place that was open by the harbor was aways away. The officers she sent off wouldn’t be back for a few minutes. She could fill Batwoman in with what she needed to.

Inside the warehouse sat the victim, laid down in the middle of the room in a very deliberate manner.

His chest was carved open.

“Pretty obvious cause of death. He’s missing a heart. Who is he?”

“Name’s Fred Stickley. Upper management at Strader Pharmaceuticals.” The detective remarked as she looked at the vigilante. “We found his heart in a box. Right next to him. With a bow, all tidy-like. Oddly, weirdest thing was this.”

The detective reached in her pocket and handed the vigilante a card.

“Queen of Hearts.”

“This town has a funny way of being sometimes.” She took another smoke, “Personally, it's downright annoying.”

“I’ll look into it.”
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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Los Angeles

Charlie Rembrandt parked his unmarked LAPD cruiser in the fire lane and killed the lights. A steady downpour of rain splattered against the windshield. Charlie watched the drops roll down his window. He was the rare native Los Angeleno, born and bred in a city of 3 million transplants. He’d experienced drought, earthquakes, and forest fires. But he’d never seen rain like this in his lifetime.

For the past week and half it had rained every day in a steady downpour. The usually dry LA River was now filled to capacity. If it didn't stop within the next few days, it would only be a matter of time before the streets started to flood and mudslides destroyed the homes in the hills around the city.

Charlie stared out the windshield at the building that loomed in front of him. Even through the heavy rain Charlie could make out the expensive white facade of Lux, Los Angeles’ preeminent nightclub. The place was one of those pieces of offbeat LA lore tourist usually passed by on their tour buses through the city. Tonight the usual long line outside the front was not present, the neon sign above the entrance off. But Charlie knew the owner was there. He was always there. And Charlie could feel his presence. It loomed over Lux and the area around it like all the rain clouds that swirled over the city.

He climbed out the cruiser and made his way across the street towards the front door. He felt a bit self-conscious as he approached the door, very much aware of the gun on his hip and the blue windbreaker he wore with the words LAPD on the back in bright yellow letters. He knew whatever was going to happen, whatever authority and power he had, it was about to go out the window.

The door opened after a few loud police knocks from Charlie. He held his badge up and had to resist the urge to flinch. Most people would see a heavyset, balding man standing in front of them and staring back with a scowl. What Charlie saw instead was a face with rotting flesh. Maggots crawled across it, the maggots’ scuttling so intense it made the man’s face appear to be vibrating.

“Help you,” the ghoul grunted. Something close to a wry smile flashed across his face. He knew that Charlie could see what he really was underneath the facade, and he could also tell it freaked the cop out.

“I need to see your boss,” Charlie said. He reset himself and got into cop mode. This man, or thing, or whatever he was, was just another person to interview on his case.

“You got a warrant?”

“I got this.” Charlie held up a piece of paper. He saw the ghoul’s eyes flash something approaching curiosity. He looked at the paper then back to Charlie, before looking at the paper again as if to confirm he was seeing what he was seeing. Charlie passed the paper to him.

“Okay, I’ll check. Wait here.”

Five minutes later Charlie followed his escort through the darkened halls of Lux. They passed by the empty dance floor and bar. The decorations were austere and someone’s idea of trendy. Black on black on black with black leather couches around the dance floor. Above the floor was a terrace with the words The Pit written in some sort of fancy charcoal font. Charlie assumed it was the VIP section.

Charlie climbed on the elevator with the heavy and rode it up above the club and to the penthouse section of the building. The doors slid open and revealed an all white room in stark contrast to the darkness of the club. White hardwood floors, white sofa and loveseat, and white chairs. Further in the penthouse there was a voice. It was, naturally, angelic as it sang a song with piano accompaniment.

"Seems it never rains in southern California," the voice sang. "Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before."

The ghoul lead Charlie through more white on white decor until they reached an open space. He found the owner of the voice sitting behind a white grand piano, his long and nimble fingers playing as he sang. The wall behind him was all glass with a giant window that looked out on the city of Los Angeles. Charlie used to love the sight of the city, his city. But now he could only see the terrors of the city. A green smog hung heavily above the skyscrapers just below the storm clouds. The smog was able to be seen even in the middle of the downpour. It was the residual psychic trauma and emotional energy of millions.

“It never rains in California. But girl, don't they warn you? It pours, man, it pours."

Lucifer Morningstar stopped his playing and looked at Charlie with a raised eyebrow. He looked every bit the fallen angel he claimed to be. A beautiful face with blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. The only mar was the long scar that ran across his face from the left eyebrow down to the right side of his chin.

“Charles James Rembrandt,” he said softly. It unnerved Charlie how his eyes seemed to see through him and could see something inside him that Charlie himself didn’t even realize was there.

“What a life you lead, Detective.”

Lucifer stood and when he did, Charlie saw the wings. Two giant wings with pure white feathers covering them. Morningstar couldn’t help but show a ghost of a smile at Charlie’s expression.

“I am curious as to how a LAPD homicide detective can see my wings, the same way he can see Mordecai’s rotting face underneath the cloaking rituals." Lucifer reached down and picked up a piece of paper from the piano and held it up. It was the same paper Charlie had given Mordecai earlier. "How is it that a highly decorated murder police such as yourself has the second sight… and walks into my domain with the blessing of John Constantine?”

“It’s a long story,” said Charlie. “Complicated.”

“Most things involving that man are.”

Lucifer closed the distance between him and Charlie. He passed by Charlie and headed towards the bar on the other side of the room.

“Do you know what I like about people on earth, as opposed to the people in Hell?” Lucifer asked. “The subtlety. The… layers. By the time they reached Hell they had already been judged, found wanting, and condemned to eternal damnation. They were divided up into neat little sections based on their sins. Here there’s complexity, there’s ambiguity. Like yourself, Detective Rembrandt. A crusader who will not, nay, who cannot rest until justice is done. But even you have darkness deep down.”

“I’ve heard about this,” said Charlie. “Your little magic trick, calming to know everyone’s deepest and darkest secret. What’s mine? Did I jerk off in Catholic School? Feel up my cousin?”

A dry chuckle escaped Lucifer’s throat as he made himself a drink. He poured liquor and ice into a shaker and began to rock it back and forth with his hands.

“For a detective who can see ghosts, you’re quite the skeptic. But okay.... In 1999 as a rookie detective you arrested a man named Justin Garcia for sexual assault. He was innocent. He spent six years in prison because you made a mistake.”

Charlie felt his face flush.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” He asked.
Lucifer shot him an incredulous look.

“They call me the Prince of Lies for a reason, Detective? Anyway, Walter Wirtz -- a serial rapist -- was the real culprit. He raped another six women before he went to jail in 2005. But that’s not your real sin, Detective, making an error is not what you’re guilty of.”

Lucifer poured the drink into a long-stemmed martini glass and carefully dropped an olive into the glass.

“Your sin is you found out Garcia was innocent. You discovered he had an alibi during the trial and covered it up to save yourself. How is that for a parlor trick?”

Charlie's face heated up in both anger and shame. The Garcia case was his first felony case as a plainclothes officer. It was the one that got his name out there. When he had first zeroed in on Garcia, LAPD had requested records for Garcia's home phone the night of the rape. In a pre-internet world it took six months to get those records. By the time Charlie had evidence Garcia was at home the night of, the trial was already well underway and there was talk of Charlie's good work being rewarded with a transfer to robbery. Charlie quietly shredded the phone records and tossed the scraps in a random trashcan six blocks from downtown LA.

“You bastard,” Charlie spat.

“Quite the opposite actually,” Lucifer said with a wink. He swallowed his martini in three quick gulps. “I, in fact, know exactly who my father is. And He’s the one who is a bastard, really. But you’re here today to talk about more than just your sins, aren’t you? Tell me why you’ve come to me, in need of my help?”

Charlie stood in silence a moment. He didn't want to give this son of a bitch too much, let him know he was in serious need.

“Are you familiar with Albert Lee?” he finally asked.

“My true crime knowledge is rusty,” Lucifer said with a shrug. “I’ve been meaning to get into podcasts. It’s on my list.”

Lucifer started on a second martini while Charlie talked.

“Albert Lee murdered sixteen people in Koreatown between 1996 and 2010. They called him the Koreatown Killer. I was on the LAPD task force that arrested him in 2012. He was sentenced to life without parole and died in prison in 2018.”

“Well done. I imagine this time you got the right man.”

Charlie shook his head. “Without a doubt Albert Lee is the most evil man I’ve ever met… present company excluded.”

Charlie saw Lucifer scowl slightly as he poured the contents of his shaker into another martini glass.

“I am going to ignore your use of the ‘E’ word slur, Detective, and instead ask the question: what does this have to do with me?”
Charlie licked his lips and took a deep breath. This is where it got weird.

“Robbery Homicide has been investigating a string of copycat killings that started earlier this year. Two days ago a potential eyewitness gave a description of the killer… It was a perfect match for Lee. They brought me into it to consult, see if we could track down a relative or a child Lee may have had. But I can see things other cops can’t... and I think Albert Lee is back from the dead and killing again. I need to know how he came back… and how to send him back to Hell.”

“Bold of you to assume he went to Hell,” Lucifer after another long sip of his drink. “If mass killing barred you from Heaven, well… Heaven would be a lot emptier than it already is.”

Charlie watched Lucifer walk to the giant window with his drink in hand. He was quiet, his back turned to Charlie, for a long minute before turning and looking at Charlie with his raised glass.

“Well… with the rain, Lux has been rather boring the last few days. But your predicament sounds like quite the mystery.”

“I believe I could offer my assistance… for a price.”
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Sep
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Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

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Rain poured as if the heavens themselves were expressing their grief. The Hall of Justice still remained in ruins, a memorial atop the steps for all those that lost their lives on that fateful day. Thousands were gathered in candles and flowers, the steps littered with a tribute to the fallen. In among the crowd there stood a man, chiseled and rough. His hair was both immaculate and unruly at the same time, and callous' on his hands betrayed the labor of his work.

Clark took a deep breath as he tried to compose himself. He looked down at the small child holding onto his hand. He saw much of Lois in Jon these days. It both made him proud and scared all at the same time. He still blamed himself for Jon being there that day, had Jon not been there Lois wouldn't have been there and if she hadn't been there then his entire life would be different right now. he let out another deep breath, controlling his thoughts before they ran away from him, something he was trying to work on. The temperature in the local area dropped. A couple of people turned to look at him, a brief sparkle of recognition on their faces before they realized how silly a notion that was, and turned back, working their way slowly toward the memorial.

Clark lurched forward as Jon pulled him onward toward the memorial, as they got closer his feet got heavier. His breath came harder, and his vision blurred. This was the first year that they had come to the memorial, Jon had wanted to pay his respects to his mother. Jon had such blurred memories of that day, even now in his therapy sessions he still struggled to explain what happened in anything resembling linear events.

They continued their way through the crowd, moving closer and closer to the steps.

You can't hope to defeat my master.

The first step was like climbing a mountain, he swore he had leaped buildings smaller.

Get Jon out of here!

His eyes were firmly affixed to a single name on the memorial now, dead ahead. He cast his eyes down to his son to see he too was locked in.

I'm so sorry Clark.

They stopped as they stood before the plinth. About halfway down the lane, in bold letters. LOIS LANE-KENT. Time seemed to slow, his mouth opened and closed and yet no words came out. Pulitzer prize-winning Journalist and he was lost for words.

There was a clap of thunder overhead, Jon flinched momentarily and then spoke in barely a whisper.

"I miss you Mom."

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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by AndyC
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AndyC Guardian of the Universe

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All around me is wreckage and death.

The air is choked with smoke and dust, heavy with the roar of fresh flames, the wail of sirens too far away, and the screams and cries of the dying.

"Momma, you've gotta get up!" I hear a young girl cry as she pushes at the body of her mother, the older woman's glazed-over eyes staring vacantly into nothing. "Please get up! Why won't anybody get uuuup?"

My ears pound from the hammering thrum of my own pulse. One eye is swolen shut, my nose is a ruin, and my mouth is filled with the copper taste of blood.

My left arm hangs uselessly by my side, broken in three places. It may be easier to count which of my ribs are not broken or cracked, grinding against each other and sending bolts of white-hot pain throughout my body with every breath.

To even stand is agony.

But I've done it. I've beaten him. I've won.

My right arm holds the Sword of Athena, and its point is at the throat of the alien monster Despero.

"...stop....wait...I..." he sputters in between ragged breaths, his enormous frame oozing deep purple ichor from slashes across his torso and deep into his arms and legs.

The brute's power is unbelievable, possibly greater even than that of Superman himself. Even fighting as one, the Justice League could not contain his might.

For a few moments, he had managed to split me away from the group, perhaps hoping to kill me in single combat before doing the same to the others. Despero's strength was unreal, his technique formidable, and his strategy sound. But for just a moment, the gods smiled upon me, and I managed to turn the tide.

A desperate counter which cost me the use of my arm allowed me an opening, and I took full advantage, carving into him with my blade. Muscles split and tendons gave way, taking away Despero's ability to fight, to stand. A slash across his third eye took his psychic powers.

Now, all I have to do is bring the tip of my sword forward another two inches to pierce his throat, and this madness ends.

Just two inches.

Despero looks up at me, and with his two remaining eyes I see something that hadn't been there before, that perhaps had never been there: fear.

"...p-please..." he begs.

My lifetime among the Amazons tells me the course is clear. Despero is a monster, a butcher of the innocent. To let him live would jeopardize the lives of everyone in this world.

And yet, I cannot bring the point to bear.

My time among the heroes of the world of Man has changed me. The Justice League preserve and protect life; they do not dole out judgment and death even against their enemies. We fight the forces of evil, but we will not be their executioners.

"Yield....now," I order him, the tip of my sword drifting away from his throat. "You will face justice for your crimes, on this world and the others. But I will grant you this mercy. You will leave this world, and never return. Whatever fate awaits you, yield now, and face your justice with honor."

Despero places his hands up in submission. "I....I yield...."

I can choose victory now. I can choose to end this madness.

I instead take the road that Kal, Bruce, and the others would choose.

I choose mercy.

I choose justice.

My sword lowers....

....and only too late, I see his wounds knitting shut, his third eye restored, and a cruel smile split his face.

"I yield....to NO ONE!!!!" Despero roars, sending me reeling with a powerful psychic blast.

I tumble end over end, head and limbs smashing against ground and rubble, before finally I come to a halt half-buried in the wreckage of an apartment building.

My head is in a daze, as I hear Despero's triumphant laughter.

"That is for your 'mercy!'" he mocks as he rains down blows upon me. "That is for your 'justice!'"

Finally, he picks up my limp form and slams me into the pavement.

For a moment, I look to where the young girl and her mother had been. All that remains there is a pile of debris, and a dark red smear.

My vision blurs, and I hear the battle rage anew as the other members of the League rush to take my place.

I try to join them, but my strength gives out...

...and darkness takes me.

I wake up in a cold sweat.

"Hnnnnh," Steve stirs in his sleep as I rise from our bed. The chaos and horror of that day fade as I regain my bearings. "Something wrong, Di?"

"Just...having trouble sleeping," I say, trying to ease his worry as I head toward the bathroom and turn on a cold shower.

"Bad dreams again?"

I don't answer.

Four years have gone by.

I am in the penthouse suite of the Themysciran embassy in Washington, D.C.

The threat of Despero has long passed.

The wonderous work of Amazonian healers had restored in days wounds that should have taken years to mend. Even so, I am scarred.

I shower to shake off the nightmare, wash myself as clean as I can. Still, I feel stained inside.

Steve says I beat myself up too much for what happened. None of the League placed the blame for the deaths of innocents on my failure. My sisters called the defeat of Despero a great victory, regardless of the cost. Even when I told my mother I was unworthy of bearing the title of the Amazons' champion, she claimed I bore no shame.

Despite their praise and their platitudes, I know what truly happened that day. I chose the high road, and countless died because of it.

After a few minutes, I step out of the shower and dry myself off. Coming back into the bedroom, I see that Steve is seated at the foot of the bed, the sleep gone from his eyes, but not the concern.

"Di, we've been through this," he begins, gently but with certainty. "There's nothing wrong with seeking counseling. Etta's offer still stands, and I think-"

"Steve," I interrupt him, "I thank you...but I doubt my issues can be resolved with a few sessions of talk therapy."

"Then maybe some action can take your mind off of things?" he says with a grin.

"I'm really not in the mood for--"

"I meant combat action," Steve chuckles. "There's an ARGUS operation in south Rhelaysia going down in the next twelve hours. They're targeting a guerilla group that they believe has ties to Kobra. Intel says the operation is feeding a chop-doc, an underground surgeon who experiments on trafficked victims to turn them into metahuman soldiers."

"Immoral human experimentation, weaponized metahumans," I say with a touch of scorn. "Is that not what ARGUS is known for?"

"What they were known for," Steve says defensively. "You and I can keep them honest now."

"Of course," I say, only half-convinced. In truth, we had both labored hard over the years to help turn the metahuman response team into something more noble, rather than another shadowy organization for mad scientists and warmongers. Sometimes I wonder if we have made any real progress, but to discredit Steve's efforts would be to dishonor him.

"Anyway," he says, "Officially, this op is top-secret, and me telling a foreign diplomat about an ongoing military operation is a compromise of national security tantamount to treason. Unoffficially, if Wonder Woman just happens to arrive in a situation with lives in danger, well, that's just a superhero doing what superheroes do. How about instead of staying up all night beating yourself up, you take it out on some truly bad guys?"

I look to the far corner of the room, to the rack where my armor and weapons are placed both for display and for easy access.

"Truly bad?" I say, raising an eyebrow.

"The worst," Steve answers, knowing he has my attention. "These people kidnap women and children, do terrible things to them, then cut them up to see if they can make living weapons for Kobra. You want to cut loose a little? This one's guilt-free."

I'm sure if Kal or Bruce were here, they would have some harsh words to say, some high-minded idealistic lecture to prevent me from indulging in the darker parts of our nature.

But Kal and Bruce aren't here.

And we already saw where high-minded ideals got us.

"We will take the jet," I say as I head towards the armory rack. "Give me a moment to get changed."

The next few hours are spent in a blur.

The chatter of machine guns.

The pained groans of foes as they fall before me.

The shock of impact up my arm as my fist smashes into an armored tank.

The elation of rescuing victims who are still alive.

The cold fury of finding those who are not.

The fire of vindication as I wreak vengeance for the dead upon their killers.

The electric thrill of Steve Trevor's kiss as I take him in the back of the invisible jet.

Needless to say, my blood is up when I hear a whistle, and recognize the call of Hephaestus.

"Diana. We seem to have a disagreement here. Please straighten this gentleman out."

"Watch your tone, Hephaestus," I say with a fair amount of indignance. "I am no hireling to act at your beck and call. And I am in no mood for nonsense."

"Hey, I'm just asking you to help me de-escalate a situation here," the deformed weapon-smith says, putting his hands up in mock innocence. "And I was just thinkin you might be willing to do me a solid since, y'know, I made pretty much your whole kit--"

"I seem to recall more than one of my enemies wielding weapons that bear your signature as well," I glare at him. "Still, I will speak with this visitor. If his reasons for coming here are more just than yours for calling upon me, then you and I will have words."

Hephaestus backs away, knowing better than to prod at me too much. Then I turn to see his visitor.

The first glance tells me he has a similar arsenal of divine weapons, though they appear to be of Roman make rather than Greek. He wears the garb of a centurion, a worshipper of Mars. The Roman iteration of Ares.

Given my past experiences with Ares and his various incarnations, challenging me to a fight would be a spectacularly poor decision, even were I in a better humor.

"Now then," I address the stranger, my left hand resting on the Lasso at my hip, my right hand slowly reaching for the pommel of my sword, "I would recommend you explain your reason for being here, and I would very strongly advise you speak only the truth."
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by PatientBean
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PatientBean Problematic Gay

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Chapter 1: The Lonely Hearts Club

"Summer has come and passed, the innocent can never last..."

Dinah stood there on the stage of the Iceberg Lounge, getting herself lost in the music. She often did when she sang, especially with a song that hit too close to home. It had been years since she lost Oliver, but that didn't mean the hurt didn't rear its ugly head from time to time. "That's what grief does," her therapist had said to her. "There is no time frame for grief after a loss." What was she paying him for anyway if not to fix her?

But he had a point. She did not know if she would ever get over the hurt.

"Here comes the rain again,
Falling from the stars.
Drenched in my pain again
Becoming who we are."

Dinah glanced over the audience as her words flowed to the corners of the room. She could not make out faces, just faceless silhouettes, enjoying their time together. She felt eyes on her, which on an average night would be welcomed. Appreciated even. But now she felt like her heart was on her chest being jabbed by nails and screws, each person looking at her, expecting her to burst from pain.

Deep breaths.

Don't let them see.

Don't let them in.

"As my memory rests, but never forget what I lost...."

Dinah had an appointment later. Well, it wasn't an appointment per se. That was what she referred to patrols as. She really, desperately needed to hit something and there was no better punching bag than a criminal. She debated on checking in to police dispatch and opted to just drive around and stop when it suited her.

She knew she was not in the proper headspace to do such, but she did not care. So long as she got bad guys off the streets, what did it matter if they had a broken arm or two. Her mind flashed to Batman, knowing he would say something. It was hard to respect the man she vehemently disagreed with. Wouldn't life's problems be solved if they were no longer running on the street or locked up in jail that they broke out of time and time again?

She shook it off. She needed a drink. Or twelve.

"Like my father's come to pass
Twenty years has gone so fast,
Wake me up when September ends
Wake me up when September ends
Wake me up when September ends."

She allowed the applause to reach her, giving a small bow before she exited the stage. She ignored the well-wishings, the "you were so good", and made her way to the bar. "Bourbon. Double it. Neat."

This was going to be a long night. She may as well be drunk for it.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by King Kindred
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King Kindred

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"My fellow Americans, today is a hard day. Four years ago, to this day. An alien by the name of Despero attacked the headquarters of the Justice League, right here. In our nation's capital. When the dust settled, and the heroes went home to lick their wounds we, the people, were left to once again to tidy up the mess of the Superman and the so called superheroes. In my tenure as CEO of LexCorp I did all I could to help restore the Metro-area to what it once was, and as President I have spent my time trying to limit the access, abilities and destruction caused by the meta-human.

In these troubling times it is more important than ever to look out and care for one another and just know that we are here for you, the people and are doing everything possible to make this world, a safer place.-

The TV in Kieran's dorm room would explode mid-broadcast and his eyes would glow a faint red before a knock was heard at his door. The young Kryptonian sped over to his nightstand where he kept his pair of glasses and sped back to his bed just as the door to his room began to open. Kieran quickly put them on and pretended to read a book as his friend Brooke Baker ran inside.

"Kieran are you okay?" She asked frantically before scanning the room. "I heard an explosion." She was the floor's RA but they became close after he came home late after a night of patrolling the campus and city. She spotted the TV and gave it a puzzling look before turning her head to look at Kieran who was acting like there wasn't a busted television in his room.

Kieran was a terrible liar and just said the only feasible thing he could come up with. "It spontaneously combusted. Probably got overheated from the steaming pile of bullshit coming from Luthor's mouth."

"I don't think that's how TV's work, but how are you feeling? I know it's the anniversary since your mom... You sure you don't want to take off from classes for the week and visit the monument with your dad and Jon?"

"He doesn't want me up there. He doesn't even want me around." Kieran put his book down giving up on the facade that he was even reading. Lois and Kal-El had given him everything for three years. He felt their love and acceptance, but all that went away when she died. He still looked up to what Superman was and hoped that his continued actions as Seraph and wearing these stupid glasses would get him to notice him and come back to the light, but that's all it was. Hope. Nothing would be the same ever again and he was coming to terms with that.

"That's not true." She ran up to him and embraced him in a hug that felt like a warmth he hadn't experienced in a long time.

"It is true. He sent me to Metropolis to live with my uncle before I enrolled at MSU."

"He's going through grief, Kent. The life they made together? Lois and Clark are the stuff of legends here in Metropolis. What they had isn't so easily worked through. Give him time. He'll come around."

Maybe she was right. About almost all of it. Maybe he did need to take some time off to work through his grief this week. However he didn't have plans on going to the Memorial. To work through his grief he needed to punch something, hard.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Sep
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Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

Member Seen 18 hrs ago


"WHY?" Supermans voice boomed throughout the prison. His fists clenched with enough pressure to forge diamonds. "TELL ME WHY!"

"Because of you, Kryptonian."
Four Years Ago

Clark walked to the edge of the trailer, put one hand beneath the bale of hay, and lifted it, sipping from a cup of coffee in his other hand he walked to the barn where he raised himself off the ground and stacked it with the rest.


Confused, he put his coffee down and looked around. Focusing, he looked through the walls of the barn and scanned his entire surroundings.

"Is someone there?"

There was a flurry of movement overhead, but by the time Clark looked up, it was gone, pushing himself off he raised himself up and out the door before landing on the roof.

Just look at you. Is this what Lois would have wanted?

Clark winced as something struck him in the back, something fast.

What kind of lesson does this teach Jon?

He gasped as it struck him again.

When life gets hard to give up?

Clark felt fabric in his fingers as he tried to grab it, only to be spun around once again as it collided with him.

"Who are you?"

Clark gasped as he was knocked off the roof, face-first into a puddle on the ground beside the barn. He pushed himself up from the ground, staring at his reflection rippling in the water. It turned solid as he peered closer, as a fist came straight out of the puddle grasping around his throat. It was followed by an arm clad in a blue costume. He clawed at the fist as it pushed him further from the puddle as more and more of his assailant came forth out of the reflection. Until he was held in the air by himself.

I'm not you. I'm Superman- the reflection spoke, throwing him through the wall of the barn. Hovering off the ground, the reflection followed into the barn. Beams of energy fired from his eyes set the hay alight. I am everything you could be, everything you should be. Instead of this...

Clark pulled himself out of the flame. "I have responsibilities here, to Jon. I have to tend to the farm, the world doesn't need me anymore."

That's where you're wrong.

Clark woke so quickly and forcefully that there was a whimper as Krypto was thrown from the bed, he sighed as he wiped the sweat from his brow and patted the bed beside him. "Sorry buddy, c'mere" Krypto hopped back up, nuzzling into Clark as he petted him. Krypto was one of his oldest friends, even with him being enhanced by Kryptonian powers the poor boy was getting old. When Lois had died Krypto had barely left Jons side as he had been plagued by nightmares.

"I guess you've decided its time to look after me huh-" Clark held Kryptos head in both hands as he spoke, looking into the old dogs eyes. Krypto let out a low whimper before assaulting Clark with his tongue, licking his face. "-Gah! Down boy down." Rolling out of bed he clicked towards the door. "Go make sure Jons up."

There was a woosh as the dog sped his way out of the room, and it wasn't long till he could hear Jons laughter at being victim to the same assault that Clark just had been. It was always good to hear Jon laugh.

Clark sighed heavily as he got himself dressed, rubbing his stubble he flinched for a second as he eyed himself in the mirror. No Superman in the mirror. There was part of him that felt sorry about that, he had been having the dream more and more lately but what exactly did it mean?

"No way! DAD! Come-" Jon had couldn't even finish the sentence before Clark rushed into the room.

"-Quick- Oh." The eight-year-old giggled nervously as he looked down, the floor nearly a foot below him as he hovered unsteadily into the air. Clark's heart both leaped out of his chest and dropped to his toes all in one weirdly sickening, nauseating, gut-wrenching, heart-clenching movement.

He remembered how scared and alone he had felt when his powers had started to manifest, how confused Connor had been as he worked to become his own person free of Cadmus, and how lost Kieran had been without a home and a people. "Now son I know you're scared but I promise we'll get through this, I'm here to help you every step of the-"

"This, is so, AWESOME! Clark wasn't even entirely sure that Jon had heard him, as the suddenly invincible, flight-capable child shot up into the air directly through the ceiling and into the morning sky, he had to chuckle slightly as he turned his attention to the perplexed looking dog in the corner.

"Krypto." Krypto cocked his head in response. "Fetch"

With a single bark, the impossible dog took off after the impossible boy, tail wagging happily. This was going to be a long day.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Retired
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Retired "Hayao Miyazaki"

Member Seen 5 days ago

"So, which floral centerpiece did you like best?"

"Uh," a distracted Virgil Hawkins hesitated. "The pink ones?"

"Virgil, you didn't look at the photos I sent, did you?" The voice of his fiancee, Frieda Goren, gave no indication of being upset or disappointed. She rarely if ever was after so long of knowing him.

"Sorry," he answered back sheepishly. "It was a long flight and an even longer day."

It had been the longest continuous flight of his life. Dakota City and Jump City were separated by a handful of states and over 2,000 miles. For most, that meant more than a day of non-stop driving. For Virgil Hawkins, the hero known as Static, it took him just under ten hours at his top speed to arrive at the west coast city. As it turned out, flying on a metal disc propelled by powerful electromagnetic forces didn't make for the most comfortable trip.

He had arrived in Jump City the night before and immediately crashed hard at the nearest hotel. While Virgil could have quickly replenished his energy and kept on task, the travel had been mentally taxing, and as far as he was concerned he had earned a warm bed.

Virgil came to the city with a clear goal: to find some old friends. Years ago, as a teenager, he had lived there for a time. During which, Virgil had met several other young heroes and had been invited to join their team. Those were still memories he could look back on with fondness. Now, almost a decade later, he returned to Jump City in hopes those old connections could be called upon.

"I know," Frieda said after a moment's lull. "You've got a lot on your mind, baby. It's okay."

An understatement if ever there was one. 'A lot' would be focusing on his upcoming nuptials. 'A lot' would be a concern for his family's safety in a city he had left behind. Attempting to lift the Justice League back out from the rubble of its failures was decidedly more than 'a lot.' And that said nothing of what he was about to do.

"Are you sure you want to do this? You know I support you one hundred percent but once you do this there's no coming back. Nothing will ever be the same again."

He considered those words for a moment. "If there's another way, I'm not seeing it, Frieda."

When justice fell only a few years ago, the country lost faith in its heroes. It's not as if the world's defenders had gone away entirely, but people just didn't look up into the sky with the same sense of hope and confidence that they used to. Virgil knew if he went through with his plan today that nothing would ever be the same again, just as Frieda had said, but in his mind that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. The world needed a change and if no one else would step up to make that change happen, then he would.

He had come to this city to find some friends. To find heroes. Brave individuals whom he had fought alongside long ago, whom he had been able to put his trust in, and whom he believed the country could put theirs in, too. But those friends weren't here. The headquarters they had once called home was abandoned. The young heroes he used to know had moved on, it seemed. Which made his resolve that much stronger.

"It's time," he told her.

On the streets of Jump City a thousand feet below where Virgil was hovering, the moment he had been waiting for had arrived. The radio waves he was picking up and had been listening to for the last few hours were telling quite the tale, and it was just the opportunity he had been waiting for.

He flipped his goggles down over his eyes and slid his hood into place. "Love you, baby girl."

"I love you, too," his fiancee answered. "And I'm proud of you. Just promise me you'll dazzle them all."

"You know me," Static told her as he propelled himself forward racing toward the city below. "I'll put a shock to their system."
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Byrd Man
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Byrd Man El Hombre Pájaro

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Da Nang

Drunken GI’s and Vietnamese were spilled out onto the dirt roads of Da Nang as midnight and Christmas Day rapidly approached. MP’s and RVNP’s patrolled and kept a handle on it from getting too crazy, but one serviceman dressed as Santa was busy puking his guts out as Roque passed by without a second look.

A group of six Marines were singing “Little Drummer Boy” very poorly as two Vietnamese prostitutes did their best to sing along in the pidgin English they spoke. One soldier laid against the wall of a building and drooled on his clothes. His head would sway forward and he would almost fall over, only to snap back upright and start the process all over again. It was a familiar sight in Saigon and it was making its way all over the country. The Dope Fiend Lean they called it.

Roque glided through the chaos without running into trouble. That was generally the case for him. He was always given a wide berth even in the wild west atmosphere of South Vietnam. It was the scar, Roque figured. It ran vertical down his face, starting at the forehead and going through his right eyebrow and eye before ending on his right cheek. A reminder from a few years ago that even being in the Navy was no guarantee that you could get out of Vietnam unscathed.

The lights of the Carousel Club were green and red in honor of the holiday. Someone had hung up a paper Santa on the doors. A wiseass had drawn a cock on his mouth, someone else had scribbled a word bubble on the door beside Santa that said “Ho, ho, Ho Chi Minh is a cocksucker!” Roque pushed through the doors and entered an even more hectic party than the one outside.

The Carousel Club was the kind of place that gave Vietnamese dive bars a bad name. GIs downed drinks while “Susie Q” by CCR pounded from the speakers and half-naked Vietnamese women go-go danced on makeshift stages around the room. Even more scantily clad women walked through the room and flirted with GIs. Of course they reminded them that for a small price they were all theirs. Roque knew somewhere in the back room was the hourly donkey show featuring Donkey Dom and Madame Nguyen.

Roque pulled out a cigarette and lit it as he walked through the raucous crowd. His field jacket was a navy one, but it was still the same dull green the rest of the soldiers wore regardless of branch of service. Unlike theirs his jacket carried no nameplate stitched on the breast. He wondered if anyone would remember his scarred face, but it was obvious the second he stepped into the bar he was overthinking it. The men here were more focused on having a good time with the drinks and girls and not looking at yet another soldier.

He walked through the bar and found the stairwell down into the basement. The stench of opium and piss hit him like a brick as he stepped down into the dimly lit cellar. Soldiers were laid out on cots, some actually smoking opium while plenty more had medical tubes tied around their arms and hypodermic needles by their side. This was where The Dope Fiend Lean got its start. The junkies of the future started as the soldiers just needing something, anything, to escape this fucked up war for just a little while.

"You looking for something?"

A small Vietnamese man was at Roque’s elbow. He flashed two rows of yellow teeth.

"I Uncle Ace, and I fuck you up for right price."

Hoang Tich Phan, aka Uncle Ace Phan, was the owner of the Carousel Club. According to the government intelligence apparatus he was also a Communist sympathizer who used his club to gather blackmail and intel for the NVA.

"I'm here for you," Roque said as he pulled out a pistol with a suppressor on it.

Uncle Ace's eyes got wide as Roque fired two shots into his head. The junkies around him stayed in outer space as Uncle Ace flopped to the floor and twitched away his last few moments of life. Roque tucked the gun back into his jacket and flicked the butt of his cigarette on Ace’s body before he calmly walked back upstairs to join the party.


Clay sat at a patio table and watched the steady flow of traffic down the avenue. Pasteur Street ran through the heart of Saigon, and as such it was one of the busiest streets in all of Southeast Asia. Large trucks shared the same road with cars, mopeds, and the bike rickshaws the Vietnamese called cyclos. Clay observed most of the traffic was Vietnamese. Only a few westerners would be out and about this time of day, and most of those would be soldiers on leave.

He tried to remember the last time he’d taken leave. ‘66? Or maybe ‘67? The last time he’d left the country was ‘66 for sure. He’d flown to Hawaii for a month of vacation without bothering to head further east back home. There was nothing there for him except a wife who hadn’t gotten around to divorcing him yet, and parents who hadn’t gotten around to dying yet. Clay was among the group of “advisors” Kennedy sent in ‘63 to try to help ARVN get a handle on the situation. Going on five years, thought Clay. That meant he’d lived in Vietnam more than any other place in his adult life.He wondered if he would recognize America when he eventually went back? He’d spent years overseas as a Green Beret and came back home to find the country pretty much the same. But the things he’d seen and heard on the news and from other soldiers in-country made him wonder.

“Captain,” Max said as he took a seat at the table

He didn’t look like anyone’s definition of a CIA agent. With his Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and sports coat, and a pair of tortoise shell sunglasses, he looked like a tourist more than anything else. Which Clay knew he was. To him Vietnam was a fun lark. Guys like Max were above battlefields. They treated troops like Clay and the Losers as pawns to move across the board. Max and his kind talked a lot about “collateral damage” and the need to “break a few eggs” to make omelets, because that’s how they talked. They couldn’t accept those eggs had families back in America, to think of the collateral damage as people.

“Good work on that job in Da Nang,” said Max.

Roque put a VC agent down on Christmas Eve with two headshots. Max wouldn’t mention those details. To him, Uncle Ace had been a problem that needed to be solved. And the Losers had solved it.

“Pretty straightforward,” Clay shrugged.

“We like straightforward solutions,” Max said with a smile. “My bosses are talking about you, Clay. They like what you and the Losers are doing.”

To Clay that wasn’t a good thing. The whole point of a black op unit was to stay off the radar. If senior Agency members or -- worse -- politicians got wind of what they were doing, it would only mean more headaches for Clay and his unit.

“I keep waiting to see if we’ll get the Congressional Medal of Honor,” Clay said dryly. “But it seems like we’ll always be a bridesmaid -- never a bride.”

Max lit a cigarette and shrugged. “At Langely we give out covert service medals. We call them jockstrap awards. Never meant to be worn or shown in public.”

“I hear these days it’s not exactly safe to wear regular medals out in public stateside,” said Clay. He’d seen a newspaper report about a returning GI getting spit on by protestors at the Detroit airport.

“Bunch of fucking savages,” said Max. “When we beat the Nazis they threw us ticker tape parades. And now they’re disrespecting our servicemen, calling them baby killers. It’s a goddamn shame.”

Clay leaned forward on his elbows and waved cigarette smoke from his face. “You haven’t spent much time in the bush, Max, but I know for a fact that a ew of them have earned that baby killer label.”

“That’s just–”

“Collateral damage,” Clay replied. “Yeah I know.”

Clay saw Max bristle. He took a long drag off his cigarette before exhaling smoke. Without another word he reached into the breast pocket of his coat and pulled out a folded piece of paper.

“Last night, our friends at the RVNP received a letter, we assume ARVN and CIO got copies as well. It’s a ransom letter for Lê Chiêu Dương, her father is Hoàng Minh Dương. Colonel Dương oversees counter intelligence for South Vietnam.”

“Or at least he oversees what the CIA tells him to oversee,” Clay said as Max passed him the folded paper.

He unfolded it and found what looked to be a copy of a grainy photo of a young Vietnamese woman staring bleary eyed at a camera. Underneath the photo was some writing in Vietnamese. Clay had a basic grasp on the written language. Someone was asking for money to see the girl back safe and had forty-eight hours to get it all.

“Doesn’t seem like a VC play,” said Clay. “They would want prisoner exchanges or weapons for it.”

“We believe the perpetrators are criminals unaffiliated with the ongoing… conflict.”

Everyone is affiliated with the “conflict”, thought Clay. To live in Vietnam was to be part of the war.

“Why isn’t RVNP working this?” He asked.

“They are, but the Vietnamese Police couldn’t investigate their way out of a goddamn paper bag. Plus they’re so corrupt I wouldn’t be shocked if a few of their officers are involved in this. On top of that Colonel Dương is a bit paranoid. He thinks maybe someone in ARVN is behind this. He doesn't trust his own government to do the job, so he's calling in CIA for a favor. Your squad has managed to establish a few underground contacts. Work them and see if you can get a line on her before the deadline is up.”

Clay looked at the picture of the kidnapped girl and put her age at around 12, meaning she was born in ‘56. All she had ever really known her whole life was war and chaos in her country at the hands of foreigners.

“You know there’s a good chance they already killed her,” said Clay.

“That’s the most likely outcome,” Max said with a nod. “If that’s the case I want you and your team to track down each and every person involved in the kidnapping and wipe them out.”

“That’s more our style,” said Clay.
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Bounce
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| The Great Pyramid | April 9, 2012

Dudley Do-Right was what we call in the business... a wanna be.

All right, so that wasn’t actually his name. That was Dudley H. motherf*cking Batson. And, yes, that was absolutely how it was pronounced. Emphasis on the motherf*cker.

Born in the 1950s, this son of a bitch grew up reading comics and adventures of the heroes of the Second World War and it inspired him to go off to war to do his part for king and country when the U.S. decided to stick its nose (and the middle finger) to a South Asia country named Vietnam.

...well, Americans don’t have a king, that’s kind of their whole schtick, but whatever.

What do Americans fight for anyway? For Constitution and country?

Anyway, this jackass got himself blown up by something and wound up getting actual superpowers of a sort. I mean, he’s a two-out-of-five at best, but he can leap tall buildings in a single bound, that kind of shit. So what does he do? Well, being the original, inventive, and thoughtful chap that he is, he decides to take my name. And my look. Red suit, gold lightning bolt, white cape, the whole nine yards.

I really should have trademarked that shit.

“Little help here?”

Oh, and if I hadn’t mentioned it yet, Captain Motherf*cker was also getting his ass handed to him at present.

That was actually the second highlight of today.

Sitting cross-legged in mid-air, the young boy hovered over the battle unfolding below. It was a little too cliche for his taste – alien warlord descending from the mysteries of the cosmos, declares himself humanity’s new god, and proceeds to build his temple.

Which, in this case, apparently involved taking the Great Pyramid of Giza apart, brick by brick.

The simplicity of it all made the boy wonder why he’d never thought to do this.

The Egyptian military was clearly outclassed. They were just throwing money up into the air and letting it burn with the artillery they were firing at this point.

Then there was the name-dropper. Getting bounced around like a pinball, then flopping around the desert floor like a fish pulled from the Nile.

Shifting the sandwich he was cradling, the boy licked the sauce from his fingers. Which, by the way, little falafel cart outside of Cairo. F*cking amazing. “What are you doing?” the youth asked callously, speaking down at the haggard, aged figure of yesterday’s hero. “Because you’re not doing it very well.”

Breathing heavy, the blue-eyed man pushed himself up from the ground. He’d been knocked down time and time again for the past four decades. Now, aging into his sixties, Dudley Batson wasn’t as marvelous as he’d been in his prime. But he still managed to get back to his feet.

“You’re one of the Titan kids, right?” the man managed, between ragged gulps for breath. His age was showing, even with his abilities. Dudley Batson might have been able to outrun a locomotive, but he wasn’t outrunning the passage of time. Sweat ran down his face, as he spared a glance back up at the boy. “At least I’m doing something.”

Bits of fried chickpea mash flew from the boy’s lips, as the bloated old goat drew a genuine laugh from the impish figure.

Was the old man glaring at him?

“Oh. Oh, you’re serious,” the boy realized aloud. As he leaned in to take another bite, he paused a moment to add, “I’m just here to watch, Old Man.”

The boy bit into the sandwich, chewing as he watched the so-called Captain Marvel make another futile attempt at flailing about, before he made a successful faceplant into failure. Giving a shrug, the boy just savored his food as he inclined his head toward their new alien overlord du jour. “Might offer him a hand, in fact.”

As the sandwich disappeared, the boy balled up the wrapper it had been sold in as he mused aloud. “Is it a him, you think? Gender in the context of extraterrestrial life can be difficult to...”

“These monuments are priceless to all mankind!”

The irritation he felt was seen in the twitch in his left eye. A loud crack of thunder cracked overhead, even though no clouds were present. “Don’t speak to me of the pyramids. I was here when they were built,” the boy snapped. As the wrapper crumpled in his fist, a tendril of smoke and the crackle of electricity rose from the child’s hand as ashes and dust trailed into the wind. “Do you have any idea how many slaves died so that you can take selfies and marvel at the wonder of Egyptian engineering?

Dudley managed to get back to his feet, yet again.

Except this time, he stumbled. Sinking down onto one knee, the old man labored for breath and felt the strength starting to leave him. And the pain start to catch up to him.

Finally, the old man turned his head up to the boy, then looked over at the pyramid. “...while these pyramids stand, the stories of those slaves can still be told,” the old man stated, peering back up at the boy seated in the air. “When they’re gone, who will speak for them then?”

The child’s jaw tensed, his teeth grinding as the old man’s words really pissed him off.

The large, alien figure brought its fist down to crush the red-garbed hero once and for all.

Dudley just bowed his head and waited for the blow to come.

When it seemed to take longer than he’d expected, the old man just blinked as he opened his eyes and looked up.

The boy was standing there, one hand raised overhead as he stopped the giant’s attack. A well-worn, blue t-shirt rippled in the breeze along the lanky frame. A faded S-shield still visible on the front even after having been washed to within an inch of its fabric life.

No, he wasn’t a fan. It had been on sale at Goodwill for two bucks.

At first startled, the alien’s reaction was instead one of amusement. “Oh, what is this?” the Goliath-esque being uttered, withdrawing its arm as it sized up the petite form that now stood in defiance of the glorious rule of...

...of whatever the alien had said its name was.

Yes, there had been a whole thing about this. The usual speeches, villain monologues. Teth had gone to get his sandwich during most of it and hadn’t been listening to any of it even when he’d come back.

“You brought your sidekick?”

A roll of thunder cracked overhead, as the boy’s visceral reaction was immediate. His lips curled back as his eyes glared up at the figure who was trying to intimidate by making himself larger than life.

In Teth’s experience, those who tried to cast the tallest of shadows were often the smallest of men.

“What are you? Twelve?” Alien-of-the-Week boomed, before making a dismissive gesture. “Go home little b...”

There had been no warning. Lightning came before the thunder. Only after the deafening clap had split the air had anyone realized what had happened. Whether it had come from the ground, the sky, or the boy himself – or a combination of all three – the force of the blast had been enough to lift the giant off his feet, throwing him back in the air.

When the smoke had cleared, the boy had been replaced by a much larger figure.

Arms outstretched, the black-garbed figure seemed to be waiting for the stunned alien to say something.

When he didn’t, the Champion did. “If I looked like this, would it make you feel better about getting your ass kicked?”

Laid flat on the desert floor, a smoking crater rose from the alien’s rock-like chest. The self-declared dictator of the Earth struggled to even sit up, as the black-garbed figure started walking slowly toward him. “I am Theo Ramses Teth-Adam. I have been called the thunder god,” the mysterious figure uttered, as the sky boomed overhead with each word.

Cracking the knuckles of either hand, the Champion then cracked his neck from side to side, as the alien was just starting to pick itself back up. “Spare the prayers for mercy,” the black-garbed figure warned, a wicked smile flashing on his face. “The gods will not be watching.”

Dudley had seen a lot of brutal fights in his time, but the raw savagery that was on display in the next moment made the old man sick to his stomach.

He was toying with the giant. Batting it around like a cat playing with a mouse, letting it run before pouncing. The alien’s blood, vomit, and tears spilled onto the Egyptian army – probably not an accident – as one of giant’s teeth missed Dudley’s head by mere inches.

Brought to its knees, the alien slumped forward. Defeated. Unable to even raise its head.

Raising himself overhead, the black-garbed figure stretched out his hands. Mystic symbols appeared at his fingertips, as he began to draw a rune in the air. “To the current of life we succumb, it’s judgment swift and final,” the Champion intoned, speaking life into the spell as a guillotine blade seemed to form in the air over the giant’s head. “It’s bite as cold as ste...”


A pair of glowing, smoldering eyes glared down at the red-garbed Marvel.

For a moment, Dudley felt as though he might be next.

Then the guillotine faded back to nothing. The mystic symbols faded, as the figure of the black-garbed man seemed to dissolve in ash that seemed to peel away to reveal the boy underneath.

Dudley and the boy just stared at one another.

One gripped with terror and the other anger.

It was the boy who looked away. “There. I saved the pyramids,” he offered coldly, before disappearing from view in another flash of lightning.

“And The Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place, part I” | ◄ | Post Theme

S U D S & S T U F F L A U N D R O M A T
| Happy Harbor, Rhode Island | Present Day

“Fifty years I’ve been doing this.”

The young boy had half a pop-tart hanging out of his mouth, using both hands to pull clothes from dryer and dumping them into a laundry basket. Reaching up to pull the half-eaten, untoasted pastry from his lips, the dark-haired youth looked up as he mockingly asked, “Washing your cape?”

A heavy sigh escaped the man as he straightened back up. Well, tried to straighten back up anyway. He was starting to have a slump to his posture. “Well, yes, but that’s not what I meant,” Dudley answered, shooting a glare over at the imp.

“I know what you meant,” the kid replied evenly, picking up the laundry basket and moving it over to a folding table near the old man. “I just missed the part where being a hero was a paying job.”

Holding up the remaining bit of pop-tart, the boy muttered “...in this century, anyway,” before popping the cheap meal into his mouth. As he chewed, he started pulling clothes from the basket and folding them.

A pair of large white boxers with fading hearts on them caught him by surprise, which turned to disgust as he realized the old man’s underwear had gotten mixed in with his clothes.

Chucking the unmentionables at the white-haired boy scout, the child’s eyes seemed to pulse with an otherworldly glow as he remarked, “If we had actual income, we wouldn’t be squatting in an old League safehouse.”

Folding a t-shirt in his hands, the boy turned back to what he was doing.

The god-king of Kahndaq and a man who’d saved countless millions over a fifty-one year career as Captain Marvel. Reduced to Goodwill donations and scraping quarters out of sofa cushions to do laundry.

“Cheap bastards could have at least put in a washer and dryer.”

Stacking the old man’s laundry basket on top of his own, the boy balanced both on the top of his head as the pair stepped out of the laundromat.

It was an unconscious thing, he didn’t even realize he was doing it.

In Ancient Egypt, males would balance the jars of water they’d drawn on their heads, whereas only girls sensibly carried them on their shoulders. He supposed it was a bit of a game, to show that you could do it and not have to make multiple trips back because you’d spilled your jar.

A hipster had recognized Dudley, delaying them for a selfie with the old man, but at least this time it didn’t descend into Dudley re-telling the time he stopped some ridiculous thing that called itself Mister Mind from controlling President Reagan. He liked to tell that one. Often. Too often.

“I’m just saying, there’s gotta be something we can do to bring in some extra cash,” the old man was lamenting, as the pair shuffled along the streets of Rhode Island, schlepping back toward the glorified ant hill that might as well have been called The Rock of Homeless Sons of Bitches.

“You’re on Social Security and your nation has a thing against child labor,” the boy deadpanned dryly, even as his own words rang hollow in his ears.

A slave at eight years old. Thrown into the lightless reaches of a mine. The only kindness his masters showed him were the lash and the words, dig well and live.

O wise king, god and liberator of the slaves... Why hadn’t he thought to end child labor?

“You could turn into the big guy if you wanted to,” Dudley quipped back, drawing the boy from his reverie.

“Excuse me.”

The boy just rolled his eyes, as young and old turned expecting to find another fan wanting a selfie with the great and glorious action hero of the 80s.

It was a middle aged dude in a suit, stepping onto the sidewalk from out of a limousine.

In unison, Teth and Dudley blinked. This was not the usual.

Neither was it for someone stopping them on the street to even notice the Mediterranean-looking boy accompanying Captain Whitebread, but Dude-in-a-Suit seemed solely focused on the boy with the two laundry baskets balanced atop his head.

“You’re Teth-Adam, correct?”

The boy’s eyes narrowed.

Whether conscious or not, Dudley took a step as if to insert himself between the stranger and the boy.

Unperturbed, the Dude-in-a-Suit just continued. Removing his sunglasses, the man folded those away into a pocket inside his suit coat as he casually asked, “Or do you prefer the name Theo Ramses?”

“I prefer people get to the point,” the boy uttered flatly.

“My name is Sivana,” the man stated.

Doctor Thaddeus Sivana.”
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Master Bruce
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Master Bruce Winged Freak

Member Seen 1 mo ago



The outrage in Bruce Wayne's voice echoed throughout the deep catacombs of the Batcave as he stood, already suited up with just the cowl missing, and turned towards the man facing him in the opposite direction. It had been years since Dick Grayson had left the cave behind himself, choosing to establish himself with a new team - and eventually, a new city - under an alias that was all his own. Despite his adoptive father's clearly agitated tone of voice, Nightwing didn't even flinch as he crossed his arms over his chest and positioned his body language into a relaxed stance. He wasn't going to be scared off of this that easily. The Batman may have struck fear into the hearts of the criminal element, but to Dick? He might aswell have been trying to put the fear into the wind. Nevertheless, Bruce could barely hold himself back as he stormed over and stared straight into the eyes of his former protege.

"Are you out of your mind?! Do you have any idea what you're suggesting?!"

Dick narrowed his gaze back.

"I do, Bruce. More than anyone alive, I imagine."

Bruce gritted his teeth, his words coming out in a growl.

"That isn't what I meant, damn it, and you know it!"

"I know. But I felt it necessary to remind you of who you're talking to so that you can better understand where I'm coming from. Believe me, I didn't arrive at this conclusion lightly. But I'm asking you to hear me out."

Reaching over and snatching the waiting cowl that laid on his workbench, Wayne immediately made an angered beeline for The Batmobile that had just risen from beneath the automatic turntable.

"We are not discussing this."

Without hesitation, Nightwing placed himself directly in Bruce's path.

"Yes, we are. Because if you don't listen to this now, you're just going to wind up having to deal with it later. And by then, it may be too late to avert something bad from happening."

Bruce glared at his former protege with a combination of disappointment and utter contempt. It was a look that Dick had, unfortunately, become accustomed to over the years. A look that suggested that whenever the great and powerful Batman didn't get his way, no one was going to be able to function correctly within the confines of either the Batcave or the labyrinthian Stately Wayne Manor above them.

"If I entertain this for even a second, it'll already be too late."

Nightwing shook his head.

"Okay, I can tell this is already getting nowhere, so I'm gonna pull a page out of your playbook and railroad over any attempt you're about to make to stonewall me."

Bruce stood in silence for a moment, partially stunned by Dick's wherewithal to suddenly push back against him. It hadn't been the first time it had happened, but usually when it did, there was an understanding that it was still his decision as the head of the household. Dick had grown more independent in alot of ways since moving out of the Manor, but he'd never been forced to take up the contrary position to Bruce on equal footing. And because of that, both men were now left at an impasse.

Slipping the cowl over his face, Batman marched onward - and Nightwing followed, determined to either get him to stop now or chew his ear off about it on the ride into Gotham. There was no stopping him, and despite his protests, Batman knew it.

"Alright, let me start off by saying that I get it. I completely understand why you'd never want another Robin after what happened to Jason. There was a big part of me that never wanted that either. Even though the kid meant the world to you, he meant alot to me too. But we both know that Jason was alot more than just Batman's new partner."

Leaping into the Batmobile's cockpit, Batman braced himself as Nightwing somersaulted into the passenger's seat. The turntable positioned the vehicle directly towards the exit ramp. As Dick continued, The Dark Knight began the sequence that would activate the atomic batteries and bring the turbines to speed.

"And this new kid, Tim Drake? He's alot more than a costume, too. I've seen it in action. He's got skills that would have easily put me to shame whenever I was his age, and I'm not talking about being able to do a run on the trapeze. He's insanely intelligent. Gifted, in that rare way that you never quite think is possible until you witness it for yourself."

"Intelligence isn't enough to---"

"Let me finish. I'm still on the ground floor of this particular elevator pitch."

Batman sat motionless for a moment, hands gripping the wheel tightly, before continuing with The Batmobile's power-up. Nightwing sat back in his seat, silently grateful for even the slightest hint that his mentor was willing to amend his complete stubbornness.

"What I mean by gifted is that he's utilized his skills in a surprising number of ways, given the amount of heavy loss that he's already suffered. Were it anyone else, I guarantee they'd be too shaken to do half of the work that Drake has done just to piece our identities together, let alone Barbara's. And all of the other intel he's gathered. It's... incredible, and it was enough to get my attention. So when I confronted him and got him to tell me his story..."

"I already know his story."

Nightwing turned, eyes widened in surprise. Though, he quickly realized that he shouldn't have been. After all, while he never quite bought into the idea of his mentor being "The World's Greatest Detective", he'd seen Bruce perform deductions that would seem ordinarily impossible - and, with a bit of legwork - prove that he'd made the right call every time. But already having put this together was a whole other level of prep-time weirdness, as Roy Harper used to call it.

"Drake was living in Metropolis with his mother and father up until six months ago. The father was an employee of Lexcorp prior to Luthor's bid for the presidency. The mother was a teacher working out of Suicide Slums. Clark even wrote about her once, calling her 'the rare beacon of hope in a part of the city sorely overlooked.' Drake himself was an honor student."

Nightwing leaned back in his chair. "That's... yeah, that's all correct."

"His mother also died the day that Despero attacked."

Dick's expression suddenly became saddened.


"Another failure of mine. And one of the many reasons that we disbanded the League."

Nightwing sighed.

"Not everything is about what you did or didn't do. And I'd tell you that you all tried your best..."

"The point is that while the boy may have the necessary motive, it doesn't give us the right to exploit it. I can reach out to him as Bruce Wayne and help him with the proper counseling. I can speak with his father and arrange a scholarship to send him off to college. I can even get him a job at Wayne Industries if he wants it. Anything."

As Batman spoke, he turned his gaze toward an object in the distance. A glass casing that stood firmly in the center of The Batcave, with a bright uniform - slightly singed and visibly bloodied - suspended within it.

"Anything but this."

Turning back towards the wheel, The Caped Crusader pulled back the throttle and stepped on the gas. Nightwing buckled himself in as he felt the vibration kick into overdrive around him, reacting to the afterburner that was seconds away from propelling the car into an immediate takeoff.

"The answer is no. I won't allow what happened to Jason to happen to anyone else."

Nightwing readied himself for a very, very long drive into the city as The Batmobile accelerated into the massive reinforced tunnels leading out to the exit that began a 14-mile drive into Gotham. Bruce wasn't about to give up on this, but Dick knew that with enough of an argument, he might be motivated to look closer at the situation himself. He wasn't just suggesting this out of pity for Tim Drake. He was doing this because he saw the exact same thing in the kid that Bruce had seen in him years ago, the night that his own parents fell to their deaths - a chance to mold what was already burning inside of him into something positive. Before the grief and the rage took hold and destroyed him.

"I'm not arguing on his behalf alone, Bruce. The way you've been acting ever since Jason died. Hell, ever since the invasion..."

The two men focused on the road ahead.

"Well, it's like Drake said. Maybe Batman needs a Robin."
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Hidden 5 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Bounce
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Member Seen 8 days ago

“And The Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place” part II | | Post Theme

“My name is Sivana,” the man stated.

Doctor Thaddeus Sivana.”

The Dude-in-a-Suit couldn’t have made less of an impression with the pair. Still balancing the stacked laundry baskets atop his head, the young-looking Teth merely continued to regard the man with a mixture of apathy and disdain.

For his part, Dudley seemed to take the more diplomatic approach. “Look, Mister Siva…”

Doctor, Dude-in-a-Suit corrected the retired hero swiftly.

It prompted the boy’s eyes to narrow slightly. “I get the sense that’s not a medical degree,” Teth remarked, not bothering to mask the irritation in his voice.

The Dude-in-a-Suit just gave a slight nod in acknowledgement of the boy’s observation. “I have an... interest in certain antiquities,” the man supplied cryptically.

If it was possible, the man was very quickly approaching the limit of Teth’s patience. Which was not a long runway to start with.

“What’s that got to do with us?” Dudley asked, ever the oblivious Boy Scout.

“You? Nothing,” Dude-in-a-Suit answered, summarily dismissing the current Captain Marvel and focusing his attention instead on the former.

“However, I imagine you’re much more familiar with the history I’m researching,” Sivana added, looking directly at the boy as he spoke.

The child’s eyes pulsed with an ominous glow, as a distant roll of thunder echoed overhead.

For the second time, Dudley took a step to insert himself between the pair. Either out of some misplaced sense of protecting Teth, or else because he could imagine the boy turning the Dude-in-a-Suit into a scorch mark on the sidewalk. “What makes you believe that?”

Producing a smartphone, Sivana casually replied, “TikTok.”

“Yo, what up, it’s your boy, SuperFam19, and I’m here in Happy Harbor at a coin laundromat on a tip that sometimes Captain Marvel comes in here to, you know, wash his drawers or whatever, and so we’re gonna... oh, shit, yo. It’s him. It’s totally him.”

As the video began to play on the screen, Teth merely rolled his eyes.

Startled, Dudley tried his question again. “Well, yeah, but what’s that got to do with...”

“Keep watching.”

“Oh, shit, you’re that kid from the YouTube vid. The one where you and Captain Marvel were fighting that giant robot in Fawcett. Dude, are you like his sidekick? OH, FU--

The video then went sideways. Literally, as if the camera or the one holding it had been thrown through the air. Flashes of light and the sound of something like an explosion could be heard, before Teth’s face briefly entered the frame.

“...I ruled Kahndaq you f*cking plebeian piece of...”

Sivana ended it there, tucking his phone away as he deadpanned, “Rocket science.”

Dudley just blinked. “Well, yes, that did happen,” the Captain Marvel remarked, glaring down at the boy behind him.

For his part, Teth just looked away as if ignoring the whole thing.

“Look, Mister-- Doctor,” Dudley began, stammering over the man’s titles a moment before he said, “Just so we’re clear, we paid for that phone he destroyed.”

-tch- Teth uttered, a click of his tongue capturing the irritation as it was his turn to glare at the old man.

It was clear Sivana wasn’t here for any of that. “I want to ask you about Kahndaq,” the man remarked flatly.

The ominous glow returned to the boy’s eyes, as his glare shifted from the old man to the Dude-in-a-Suit.

After an icy silence, the boy finally answered, “Hard pass.”

With that, Teth merely turned and walked away.

“I’m willing to pay for information.”

The boy wanted to keep going, but he could already hear Dudley saying that they could use the money. Any money.

...and he’d be right.

“Enough to reimburse a few more phones at the very least,” Sivana added, as the boy came to a stop.

The boy didn’t look back as he offered simply, “Do what you like.”

Continuing onward, whether Sivana followed or not was of no consequence to him. Though, when it became clear that the Dude-in-a-Suit was following, the boy said, “It’s BYOB though. Old geezer stocks the ‘fridge with RC Cola. Can’t even afford Coke or Pepsi.”

“I happen to like RC Cola!”

“No one likes RC Cola!”

| 10 minutes later

“Do you prefer to walk? I imagine with your powers that you could have transported us here in the...”

“My gifts are not a parlor trick for your amusement,” the boy answered, his eyes adopting the otherworldly glow as his presence seemed to suddenly fill the room, swiftly silencing the man.

“Nor are they to be taken lightly,” the child-like entity warned, even as he and Dudley welcomed the stranger into their home. Or, at least, what passed as such.

“...including by me.”

Sivana took a moment to regain his cold composure. “Forgive me. On the street, I might have mistaken you for a child,” the man remarked evenly.

“We are, each of us, children in the eyes of someone,” Teth noted in kind.

Sivana seemed to be sizing him up.

“You really are him, aren’t you?” the man uttered after a moment.

Teth’s patience had hit capacity. He rolled his eyes in naked disdain of the man’s awe. “If you didn’t already believe as much, you wouldn’t be here,” the boy snapped.

If Sivana waste his own time, so be it.

His time? Now that was different.

Holding out his arms, the boy hopped back onto a sofa that had definitely seen better days. “So, Mister Doctor, what did you think was going to happen next? For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings.

Sivana’s head inclined, clearly surprised by the boy’s words. Not just the words, but the phrasing. “Shakespeare?” the man remarked, though it was more of a question than an observation. Then, grasping for straws, guessed, “King Lear?”

“Richard the Second, Act Three, scene two,” the boy supplied flatly. Then recited, How some have been deposed, some slain in war. Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed.”

“A message,” Sivana observed, dropping down into a chair across from the boy. Then, leaning forward, asked, “Or a warning?”

“That depends on you,” Teth answered cryptically, before adding, “Consider your question carefully.

Sivana just gave a nod, relaxing as he lounged back in the chair. “I’ve been funding an expedition in the southern Sinai peninsula,” the man announced. Then paused a moment as he started to ask, “You’re…”

“I’m familiar,” the boy answered shortly, interrupting the man.

“They think they may have found the temple of... well, that is to say, your temple.”

The boy’s jaw clenched, grinding his teeth as his eyes pulsed with the same otherworldly glow as before.

Retrieving his phone, Sivana began swiping at his screen. “I’ve found a clue in a tablet fragment that I believe may point to the resting place for an artifact from the era of your rule,” the man stated, extending the phone out for Teth to take and inspect.

On the screen was an image of a stone chunk. Some Egyptian writing visible on it, even from where Teth sat.

He didn’t reach to take the offered phone.

“Kahndaq was a utopia of science and magic,” Teth said, keeping his attention on the little man trying to cast a long shadow before him. “There could be thousands of artifacts, some small, some powerful.”

Sivana merely shrugged. “The scepter of Ra,” the man name-dropped casually, returning the phone to his pocket.

A loud clap of thunder echoed outside the mountain.

“Legends say it was forged for your divine ascension,” Sivana continued. Then, looking the boy in the eye, added, “But not by whom.”

Teth was careful not to give any outward reaction. “A gift, I think,” the boy answered. A calculated statement. Then, unconvincingly, said, “I don’t remember.”

Sivana sat back again, clearly evaluating the boy.

“Unfortunate,” the man remarked, giving a click of his tongue before he leaned forward again. “Perhaps you could elaborate on the qualities of this baton? The legends make it quite... fantastic.”

The greed. The lust for power. It dripped from every word. It radiated from the man’s very pores. Grasping at straws, chasing greatness, never satisfied with what he had.

The longer the boy looked into Thaddeus Sivana’s eyes, the closer he glimpsed his own reflection in them.

The boy’s jaw tensed, as he drew a deep breath. Taking a moment to collect his own composure, least he do something Sivana might regret.

“As I said, I don’t recall,” Teth offered when he spoke again.

“I see,” Sivana remarked, not bothering to mask his disappointment.

After a moment of silence between them, the Dude-in-a-Suit stood. “Well, I imagine that should be all,” Sivana supplied, smoothing the front of his suit coat as he started toward the entry.

“You came all this way just to ask about a stick?” Dudley remarked, having watched the entire exchange while nursing a cold RC Cola.

And somehow still missed the actual discussion entirely.

“Yes,” Sivana answered simply, regarding the fat hero for a scant moment before he turned and glared down at the boy. “But I’ve no intention of being lied to, by ancient gods or their regrets.”

“Doctor Sivana.”

The man had taken perhaps three steps when Teth spoke again.

He didn’t look up as he spoke. “There are things that exist which were created in error. Mistakes that cannot be undone,” the boy warned ominously. “Should you go looking for the scepter of Ra, three things will happen. First, you will know fear. Then, you will know pain.”

Finally, Teth turned his head up as he finished the thought.

“And then you will die.”
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by AndyC
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AndyC Guardian of the Universe

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-Collab with @Hound55

"Watch your tone, Hephaestus," I say with a fair amount of indignance. "I am no hireling to act at your beck and call. And I am in no mood for nonsense."

"Hey, I'm just asking you to help me de-escalate a situation here," the deformed weapon-smith says, putting his hands up in mock innocence. "And I was just thinkin you might be willing to do me a solid since, y'know, I made pretty much your whole kit--"

"I seem to recall more than one of my enemies wielding weapons that bear your signature as well," I glare at him. "Still, I will speak with this visitor. If his reasons for coming here are more just than yours for calling upon me, then you and I will have words."

Hephaestus backs away, knowing better than to prod at me too much. Then I turn to see his visitor.

The first glance tells me he has a similar arsenal of divine weapons, though they appear to be of Roman make rather than Greek. He wears the garb of a centurion, a worshipper of Mars. The Roman iteration of Ares.

Given my past experiences with Ares and his various incarnations, challenging me to a fight would be a spectacularly poor decision, even were I in a better humor.

"Now then," I address the stranger, my left hand resting on the Lasso at my hip, my right hand slowly reaching for the pommel of my sword, "I would recommend you explain your reason for being here, and I would very strongly advise you speak only the truth."

Never a backward step.

The gods had strange ideas of what makes a mortal worthy. It molded Jonny's movements and decisions for the common good.

"An ironic compromise of the self". Was how Question had described it. Trust him to find some kind of dark amusement to it, even if he noted it with such a flat delivery.

In order for him to be seen as worthy of the gods, he had to front up to every challenge. And that show of strength was often not the best approach for negotiating common ground, when met with other... strong confident types.

Right now he was face to face with one who personified such traits.

This was a delicate situation to the point of being downright precarious.

He had only a few things in his favour. Diana's empathy for his own situation, and sympathy for the plight of women.

He'd been sent here by an aggrieved Aphrodite, eager to distance herself from the husband she'd long ago been arranged to marry. And if anyone could understand the situation of a... questionably mortal person getting trapped in the machinations of the gods, he was looking right at her.

But this still had to be conveyed from a position of strength. From one that Jupiter and the gods would deem as "worthy" of their favour.

"I was sent here to deliver a message from this one's wife, who wishes to be left alone."

Jonny stepped forward, gesturing to Hephaestus.

"If you choose to blindly take up arms for his cause, I would be disappointed but nonetheless would be forced to match your mettle."

He deliberately kept his hand clear of his hilt. Potentially a fatal error with one such as whom he found himself face-to-face. But whilst he must project forward to be worthy, he sought to keep threatening gestures to a minimum.

"But I must confess, when I found myself charged with delivering this message I was unaware I would once again find myself in the affairs of the immortals."

"'Blindly' take up arms for Hephaestus?" I question him, stepping forward, an eyebrow raised. "Know this: one does not survive long in the dealings of Olympians by entering anything 'blindly.' Nor does one survive long by insulting an Amazon."

In truth, it's likely he means no insult, but his very presence here is an act of intimidation. Aphrodite chose someone from outside her own pantheon to act as a messenger. Not only that, but she chose an agent of the Roman gods, styled after a worshipper of Mars. The Romans' image of Venus and Mars as an idealized couple-- the poetic union of Love and War-- was far simpler, less scandalous, than Aphrodite's torrid affairs with Ares.

"You have found yourself embroiled in troubles that were old when your gods were new," I tell him. "I do not know what Aphrodite has told you, but her role in this is far from innocent. This is a goddess, after all, whose whims and fancies have doomed entire kingdoms. Now she wishes to intimidate and insult her husband, by sending an agent of her adulterous lover."

"That's right!" Hephaestus declares, his courage doubling now that he's safe behind me. "You tell her I'm not backin' down 'til I get what's mine. An' the next time she sends some gladius-swingin' knock-off around, I'll--"

"You're no helpless victim in this either, Hephaestus," I cut him off, not taking my eyes off the armored newcomer. "For all you have bemoaned your wife's unfaithfulness, you have had more than your share of dalliances as well. I am sure the Graces and the sea nymphs would tell quite a different tale from yours."

"Hey, that was only after she started foolin' around with Ares, not--"

"And I am certain Athena has not forgotten your attempt to force yourself upon her."

"....look, that was a different time back then, okay? Zeus had set the precedent, and the rest of us kinda--"

"Enough," I say with cold disgust, "before I let the newcomer 'test his mettle' on you. I am only here because it is mortals who suffer most when the gods begin to bicker. It will be to everyone's best interest to quell this dispute before it flares up again."

Turning my attention fully to the centurion, I move my hands away from my weapons, folding my arms across my chest.

"Now then," I address him, "Aphrodite sent you to deliver a message, did she not? And that message has been delivered. Unless there is other business you wish to attend to here, I suggest you take your leave."
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Sep
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Sep Migs Mayfield - Core

Member Seen 18 hrs ago


"Because of you, Kryptonian."

The alien smirked.

"Because you present a challenge."
Four Years Ago

Clark pushed the nail all the way through the wooden beams with a single finger. He had almost finished repairing the roof when Jons footsteps started coming up the track, Krypto bounding along happily at his heels barking away. With a single bound Jon launched himself into the air, Clark turned and caught him before the projectile child tore a new hole in the roof. Jon giggled at the feat of strength, once the air had returned to his lungs.

"I thought you were never coming back."

Jons face lit up the brightest shade of scarlet. "I may have crashed a few times."

"Don't worry, I saw, and heard."

A sheepish grin crossed Jons face. "You never told me flying was so...-" The boy paused for a second, as if the word eluded him. "-hard." He nodded to himself, content with his choice.

"Well there's a reason I haven't been throwing you off cliffs to find out if you were ready yet. I'm just surprised that you could fly straight away."

"Daaaaad, c'mon. Nobody would do that."

Clark chuckled to himself. "You should see what Batman puts the Robins through-" A lump caught in his throat as Jason crossed his mind. That was perhaps too crass a thing to say.

"I also might be a little jealous."

Jon raised an eyebrow and cocked his head to the side, in a gesture very reminiscent of his mother.

"I had to work up to flight. I started with tall buildings. Did you think they say that I have the 'ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound' came out of nowhere?"

"I thought it was just a phrase."

"Remind me to show you some old Newsreel your Grandma recorded on VHS of me starting out. T-Shirt, Jeans, jumping was the best way to get around."

"That can't be right, wouldn't that be... bad for wherever you landed?"

"Oh yeah. I was the bane of the tarmac before I learned to fly. Your Uncle Conor was the same."

Jon laughed, then a the biggest grin crossed his face. "So what you're saying is... I'm better at this than you?"

Clark laughed and faked moving to shove Jon off the roof. "I wouldn't quite say that yet."

Jon pouted. "Why not?"

"Well. I've not destroyed my bedroom roof in a while."

"I said this day would come." Lex looked through the pile of papers before him, the surveillance photos, radar readings, and sound analysis profiles. Every possible scientific reading that could be taken non-invasively and as discreetly as possible was laid out before him. "I said it years ago in Metropolis when Superman first ousted himself as an alien. More would come, and since then." He pulled a chart to the top of the pile that showed the increase in activity.

"Oh but he's a good alien. That makes me feel so much better. I'm sure some freakshow out there thought Despero was cool, and look what happened there."

Files and files were scattered around the Oval Office, photos, clippings, and scans. It became more unhinged as it got farther away from the Presidents' desk. "I tried making my own you know. My own Superman." Luthor sighed.

"All the powers, all the skills but under the control of people who wanted what was best for the planet and humanity. Someone we could put on the frontline, get the media behind them and make the future of all mankind brighter." Luthor sighed. "He had other ideas."

Luthor stood up and walked through the room pointing at various photos as he did so. "When Superman retired. We met, but not many people knew that. We talked. We had been adversaries for so long it seemed wrong not to. We had waged countless battles against each-other, obviously with nothing substantial enough to hold in a court of law of course. I would never be caught doing anything illegal." His tone changed, almost begging a retort. A comeback, or something witty.

"We agreed to let bygones be bygones. I'm not a monster. He had lost the love of his life, a woman who despite being a thorn in my side I respected. He had a young son at home to care for. We agreed that so long as he never took up the cape again, I'd leave him alone in his grief. He could raise his son without the fear that I'd try and interfere with either of them. They'd live normal lives."

Finally, he came to the most recent picture, a group of satellite images showing a young boy crashing into a mountain before getting up and flying away. He picked it up and handed it over. The large woman took it in her hand and looked at it before closing the folder and starting right at the President.

"What exactly do you want me to do Luthor?"

"I know all about your secret team Waller."

A smirk crossed his face. "I want you to bring me Superman."

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Hound55
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Hound55 Create-A-Hero RPG GM, Blue Bringer of BWAHAHA!

Member Seen 3 hrs ago

There'd been violence on the corner of McLaughlin and Gill for some weeks now. A turf dispute had been coming to a head. Threats gave way briefly to knives, and knives quickly to sidearms. There was even a stream of bullet holes in the building which gave proof to the odd TEC-9 drive-by.

This corner had changed hands 4 times over the course of the last six months, it didn't see enough profit for Intergang to find it worth their while, and the power vacuum saw numerous gangs scrapping over it. The groups a corner was worth the blood spilled for it.

That was how the half dozen young cornerboys found themselves outmanned and outgunned two streets over from where they were supposed to be. A shortcut home with their boys which could cut their lives short.

A corner between rival ever-sliding borders.

A pivot point.

When the smoke cleared a figure standing barely over five feet remained. His silence disquietening. A bright red and yellow sunburst outfit making it clear he had no intention of hiding. His face a hyperconfident smirk, that implied he was in complete control.

The one who'd been ebbing away at the fringes of the Empire City crime scene. A walking myth. Unrecognisable in appearance because the ego of everyone who'd encountered him had exaggerated his size a good foot and a half. The Tiger. The Judomaster.

It was enough to throw a man off balance.

Pax Estate, 25 miles on the outskirts of Calvin City

Christopher Smith adjusted the scope, eyeballing his target as he screwed it tighter, brow creased in consideration.

He'd been gifted the premises by Ted Kord, once he'd got on his feet. Kord bought up large chunks of real estate in Ivy City's sister city as he re-built his company-cum-empire from the ground up. He'd found it cheap to develop and with the major college campuses in the region could headhunt a high-quality employee engineer base, offering them nearby work after graduation in a place with promise.

He'd suggested this place as a slice of peace, far away from the noise of his fellow man and it had proven true.

Plenty of acreage for his own personal "hobbies" as well.

As Chris found few things more peaceful than a place of his own, other than the freedom to blow a sizable chunk out of that place with no complaints to be heard after the ears stop ringing.

Chris checks the accuracy of the newly fitted scope, peering down the barrel. Winced and gave it another quarter turn.

He smiled now, happier with how the scope seemed to align, peering back down the barrel.

Birds twittered in the treelines behind his shoulder. Katydids echo with their own droning song of choice.

...as Christopher Smith's jetpack erupted with it's own cacophony, launching him into the sky! A singular crack from his rifle and a coloured lump plummets from the sky. In stark contrast to the white bird emblazoned on his chest. With another few well timed bursts from the jetpack, Chris touches down where the mass fell to earth, and bending over he picks it up by its talons.

Ring-necked pheasant. Invasive. A destroyer of peace.

And damn good eatin'.

He slung the bird over his shoulder and headed back to the homestead. He hears a rustle to his right and swings the rifle over on his hip in it's direction.

A turkey buzzard. Cleaning up the carcass of a dead squirrel.

Chris smiles a toothy grin, remembering something his father called them when he was younger.

He said the Cherokee Indians used to call them "peace eagles". They refused to kill and only ate already dead carrion. Cleaning it up before other species not as well equipped could feast upon it and spread disease.

Of course, when his father had said that, he'd described the buzzards in more favourable terms than the Cherokee... but he was remembering the fact more than anything at present. And the fact made him smile.

The buzzard awkwardly staggered in it's unwieldy way over to it's less than fresh meal and set to the task at hand.

Dirty work; maintaining the peace.

Ivy Town Police Headquarters

Sarge Steel sifted through his paperwork, in frustration his one flesh hand combed through his hair from front to back. He was reacquaininting himself with key briefs before he was to be brought to testify in court over a case involving a B and E from a few months back. Dotting "I"s and crossing "T"s, but also waiting for...

"So what've you got for me?"

And here he was.

"Preliminary files, a basic rundown on what was public knowledge about each of them. Manilla folder, on top of the cabinet over there." Steel didn't raise his eyes to meet the newcomer. He didn't need to. His voice had made enough of an impression from the moment they'd first met.

King Faraday. Intelligence officer who'd gotten him this job in return for a steady stream. Probably saved him years in re-enlistment and experience re-climbing the ladder to detective. Truth be told if it weren't for the man he'd have probably just gone for his P.I.'s licence and spent his time chasing around philanderers and doing legwork for scumbag lawyers or bounty work. So he owed the man. Even if he was loathe to admit owing anybody anything.

As far as Steel was concerned he didn't owe anyone anything, this foreign world owed him his life back. The one that was stolen from him.

Even if that life was little more than a studio apartment, a tv, a soundsystem and a full liquor cabinet.

That liquor cabinet had a 3/4 full bottle of Jim Beam and that Jim Beam was HIS, goddamn it.

"Public knowledge..." He could tell Faraday was wincing like he'd dropped a deuce in his lap just from his cadence.

"It's a start. Hence 'Preliminary'."

"Look, we did you a big favour, we're going to be looking for a lot more than just..."

"Public Knowledge from their world. I just saved you months of work, and I've had to split my time between that and establishing myself here."

"Alright. Fair enough. Just understand that over time we're going to expect a lot more. What's that you're working on there?"

"Unrelated reading. Going over a brief. I have court after lunch."

Kingsley Faraday grunted. Not liking that his investment's time was being split by unrelated work from what he wanted.

"Hey, this work's the leverage you had over me to get what you've got to start with. You're getting greedy. Give it time."

King went back to flipping through the threadbare contents of the manilla folder.

"So... Personal opinion. Do you think these guys are dangerous?"

Sarge Steel grunted. Before finally raising his line of sight to meet the man who'd been asking so much of him.

"Stole my entire life from me. The most powerful presences of their own world. Can push back against the press of armageddon and can transport themselves and others to an entirely different dimensional reality."

"...I wouldn't know how else to describe that."
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Hidden 5 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Sir Lurksalot
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Sir Lurksalot

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Chapter 1: Fallen Knight
Fandingo's Fine Meats, Seattle Waterfront, 21:43

Now who's bullshit idea was it to have him hiding out in an abandoned meat-packing plant with an actual goddamn cannibal? This had B-Movie Horror written on every goddamn surface he could think of. Actually, scratch that. If this was some B-Horror, he'd at least be sporting the immaculate jawline of Bruce Goddamn Campbell. Mitch Mayo grimaced quietly as he dabbed at the beads of sweat pouring off his furrowed brow with the tomato-red handkerchief he kept in his breast pocket.

He hadn't clawed his way up from being the Condiment King, the absolute laughing stock of Gotham to put up with this shit.

It was supposed to be his first big break; the bosses in Gotham, reeling from some recent body-blows at home courtesy of the new Mayor, had sent him out here with a few good men, a nice three-piece suit and an open mandate to drum up a new revenue of income far from the reach the Commissioner, the Mayor and especially the Bat. Seattle seemed a good enough place as any to start; far to the north of the more studiously watched ports of San Francisco and Jump City but also close enough to Vancouver to cut into the fentanyl and flesh trade coming in from Asia. The only real obstacle he identified right off the hop were the local Tongs, who, though they'd largely put down their guns at some point in the nineties, still remained the largest presence within the city, acting as both power broker and mediator between the smaller local gangs and the larger groups.

Namely the local branch of the Yakuza, led by some spoiled brat with a fetish for parties and fancy cars while daddy was away overseeing things in Tokyo and the Okhrana, a particularly secretive flavour of Russian that'd been in town since at least the last Tsar kicked the bucket and rumoured to themselves be led by a Romanov. Though details on that last bit were scarce at best.

It was the Tongs, led by their 'Sifu'— a mister Chen 'Shaun' Lao— that kept the peace, kept everyone playing fair and set the rules of the game; No business where kids can see you, absolutely no human trafficking of any kind and don't poke the cops unless they poke you. Reasonable. Noble, even. The words of a man he could work with and make tidy profit alongside, given enough time.

Unfortunately, that shit wasn't gonna fly. The bosses back home wanted money now, not later and weren't at all interested in Lao or his rules. So instead they cracked open the war chest and hired him a 'Specialist' to make the magic happen.

And that's how he wound up sharing a mailing address with Flamingo, some lunatic with a fancy pink jacket and a batshit plan to kidnap the Sifu's daughter, pin it on the Yaks, have a sensible chuckle while the two tore the town apart around them killing eachother and move in on their holdings while they weren't paying attention... mixed up with a bit of going into town every once in a while to scoop up the wounded, the unsuspecting, or just anyone he happened across and fancied, to bring them back here and shove them on a meat-hook for 'Fun times and food'.

...Did he mention the part about being trapped in a meat-packing plant with a cannibal?

Because that was very relevant to how Mitch's life was going right now.

For a solid three days he'd been putting up with this insanity. And at this point, he didn't know what was worse; when Flamingo was gone and they were suddenly vulnerable to the shitstorm they'd served up all over this city and the Okhrana— whom he was convinced at this point had caught onto what they had done with how they couldn't go a block without seeing one of them— or when Flamingo was here. Terrorizing him and his men with every breath he took and occasionally throwing one on a hook when he was offended, hungry or just plain bored... hell, it'd gotten to the point where the hourly check-ins with boys patrolling the grounds was less about security and more about making sure nobody else's face had found it's way into their Specialist's stomach.

Hell, the only reason Mitch himself was probably still around was because he was the one with the paybook.

Nevermind that spot between a rock and a hard place he'd found making sure he was always standing between the Magenta-Clad Cannibal and the six year old girl they had tied up in the back of the main office (whom his own bosses would probably grill him for still being there, irrelevant as she now was) while trying desperately not to look like he was constantly between the madman and a hot meal. Sure, he was a gangster, a crook and all manner of bad shit in between— but he still had principles, dammit.

"Tick, tick, tick..." The object of his terror chided at him from his chair across the table from him, playfully tapping at his wristwatch to remind him it was check-in time.

And the start of another rousing round of 'Who's Food Now?'

Wiping at his brow one last time and swallowing hard, the sharp-dressed, now semi-liquid man picked up the squawk box and tried his level best to at least sound like he had his shit together.

"Okay boys, how are things looking out there?"

"O'Keefe here, nothing to report." Came the first reply, quick and to the point like Dan always was.

"This is Fennech, just us and the roaches out here." Joe was second, casual as ever.

"Seleukos, west side's quiet." And there was Laz. Three down, one to go.

Yup. Just one more. Any second now.


...Aaaany second now.

Flamingo's eyes lit up in that creepy little way that made his blood run cold.

"...Waiting on you, Peralta."

The pink-clad cannibal let out a deep, satisfied sigh as he locked his eyes with the former Condiment King. Unblinking. Smiling.


That smile turned into a grin, wide and unnatural. With bleach white teeth filed down to serrated edges broken up here and there with the odd chunk of flesh sticking to the gaps between.

Mitch suddenly became aware of the sound of his own heart in his ears as a cold, black void rose up from his stomach.


More silence. And on shaky legs, Mitch slowly began to rise from his seat.

"Sorry, Boss. Caught me in the middle of takin' a leak."

At once, the shaking stopped. And Mayo flopped back into his chair.

"All's quiet out here."

"Peralta, at the best of times you only need two fingers or a set of tweezers to aim that thing— Answer your damned radio or hand it off to someone else next time."

No sooner had the radio clattered back down to the table as Mitchell visibly deflated and all but collapsed into his clammy palms, did Flamingo let out a loud, barking laugh. A shrill, demented thing.

"Oh, you are just too much fun, Mister Mayo!" The maniac managed between laughs. "I hope this little business venture never ends!"

And that's when the power went out.

"Set of tweezers— Go fuck yourself, Mitch!" Marty Peralta screamed back into the radio with as much vitriol all five and a half feet of him could muster as he hastily zipped up his fly, though he at least had the sense not to have the push-to-talk pressed down when he did so.

Few could blame him though, with just nineteen years and barely a hundred pounds to his existence, the kid had been the butt-monkey for this entire goddamn trip— If it wasn't Mitch chewing him out, it was Danny threatening to kick his teeth in over every little thing, Laz passing all the bitch-work his way while eating his food or, most infuriating of all, Old Man Joe looking him up and down and saying shit like; "Kid, maybe you should go home and take up welding, or something.".

And that was all before the pink guy showed up and started eating his coworkers.

Honestly, if this wasn't his one shot to move up in the family he would've high-tailed it outta here a long time ago. But as things were, he just had to shut up and take it on the chin. Not that the thought made him feel any better as he scratched at his peach fuzz of a beard and stormed back to where him and his crew were hanging out keeping watch, the lad's pace quickening as his stomach growled in want of the food he knew should be there.

At the very least, he could drown his troubles in pizza.

"You fuckers better've saved me a slice of that pie, or SO HELP ME—!" He began to roar, slamming the door open with his boot before the words abruptly died in his throat.

What was supposed to be a room full of some of Gotham's hardest instead looked more like Pablo Picasso's take on domestic abuse; One man with both hands pinned to his ass by his own knife and his face smashed through the wooden table they'd all been playing cards on. Another stuffed head first into a steel drum, the only thing visible of him being his broken, misshapen legs sticking out the top. Some other poor bastard found himself with his head stuffed through the screen of the old CRT television they'd been using, arms so broken, the bones were sticking out of his sleeves, though that little detail didn't stop his attacker from cuffing them behind him either way.

Hell, there was even some poor bastard dangling from the ceiling by his ankles; his face full of bits of glass, and every single one of his fingers bent so far back they were damn near touching his wrists.

All told, if he couldn't hear the groaning, moaning and strained breathing through broken ribs, he'd think they were all dead. If he could think of anything at all over the panicked screaming inside his own head that screamed at his body to move.

And then suddenly the lights went out. And he felt something metallic press into the back of his head.

"Sorry, Kiddo; Think I grabbed the last slice." Came a... alarmingly casual voice from behind him around a mouthful of what the young man suspected to be his pizza. "But in my defence; extra cheese? Double pep? Italian sausage? I couldn't help myself, you guys have good taste."

A cold shudder crept up his spine and he swallowed hard in fear.

...But it was damn near pitch black in here, so maybe this guy wouldn't notice his hands slowly creeping up towards his radio and his gu—

"Marty." The man behind him spoke again to derail that train of thought, making the boy flinch slightly at both the use of his name and the sound and vibration of a hammer cocking behind his skull. "...Seriously, man. How much are these people actually paying you?"

A very good fucking point. And without further ado, complaint, or sound, up went the kid's hands.

"Smart kid." Came the voice again, with a tone that suggested some measure of approval. "You should really think about dropping this gig and taking up welding, or something."



...And down Marty went like a sack of potatoes.

"Temper, temper..." Jason chided the now very unconscious teenager, before quickly sucking the remnants of that pizza off his fingers, pulling his glove back on and reattaching the lower part of his helmet before kneeling down to relieve the poor kid of his gun. Tossing the mag one way, the slide another and everything else behind him.

Next, he grabbed the kid's radio— which had been dangling off his vest— and started prying the faceplate of it off with his knife.

The job'd already started, after all.

So it was high time that these guys got acquainted with Jay's good pal, Freddie.

"Toniiiiight~ I'm gonna have myself a real good tiiime~" The squawk box suddenly piped up from out of nowhere in the dark, damn near making Mitch brown his pants on the spot. "I feel ali-hi-hi-HIVE!~"

"Oh, what now?" He said, after a few seconds of trying to wrap his head around the fact that not only was he now trapped in a meat packing plant with a cannibal, at night, in the dark, but now the radio was apparently possessed, too.

Fumbling about in the dark, he managed to quickly scoop the thing up and flip it over to channel two.

"And the wooooorld, I'll turn it inside out, yeah!~"

...Just to find more of the same.


"I'm floating around in ecstasy~"

Channel three as well.


"So, don't stop me now~"







There it was, broadcasting on every goddamn channel. Blocking out any and all means of communication.

"...What in the goddamn?"

"Because I'm having a good time! HAVING A GOOD TIME!"

The room suddenly got a whole lot brighter and louder as a trio of explosions rang out from just outside and what he was sure was bits of his own car went whipping past the nearest window.

"It would appear, Mister Mayo, that we are under attack." Flamingo observed nonchalantly, rising from his seat. "By someone who knows how to weaponize chaos."

"WHAT?" Mitch shouted, all but leaping out of his chair as his ears rang from a combination of the blaring music, the explosions and a very sudden increase in gunfire and screaming in their postal code.

"Just stay here with the girl, I'll go deal with it."
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Master Bruce
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Master Bruce Winged Freak

Member Seen 1 mo ago

"And when I got back, the first thing I noticed was... was how it was all just so quiet."

The man in the three-piece suit looked down at his hands, noticing for the first time that they were trembling. He looked like he'd been up all night, with his hair unkempt and bags forming under his eyes, despite the incident having only taken place an hour prior. A lit cigarette dangled from his mouth weightlessly, swiping at the air infront of him while it rolled from one side of his lips to the other. He finally had to remove it after a few moments of subduing an intense panic, allowing it to drop to the floor so that he could stub it out. A flash of light from a CSI technician's camera momentarily made him flinch, which made the presiding detective start to wonder if he was fit to give testimony at all. But given that he'd made the call to the GCPD in the first place, Councilman Eric Yorke was the key to the only tangible lead that they had to go on. A breaking and entering to his home and a possible kidnapping without ransom generally relied on forensic evidence to track the culprit, but this time was different. This time, while there were no prints to go off of, something had been left behind. What it was exactly, nobody knew yet. And in Gotham City, that didn't necessarily mean there weren't a ready list of suspects.

James Gordon knew this better than most, quietly surveying the crime scene. His only partner in the MCU following his demotion from Commissioner had been Detective Ellen Yindell, who was in the midst of conducting the Councilman's on-site statement. Gordon had been impressed enough by her tenacity to approve of the choice, despite not getting to have a say. Yindell was fairly new to Gotham, but she'd acclimated quickly to the regular sense of dread that followed these types of scenes. That unspoken idea that any crime perpetrated in the city, no matter how small or trivial, could always lead down a darker path. Which made the more brazen incidents like these seem all the worse - there was never a truly way to tell how they'd shake out.

"The speech at Gotham Square had gone well. I... I think I garnered some points for re-election, I'm not... I can't be sure. It's irrelevant. The point is that when I got off stage, I was in a celebratory mood. I decided to call our groundskeeper and give him the... the night off. Oh, god."

Yindell paused, noting that Yorke had been staring off into space.

"Councilor, if you need a moment to collect yourself, I'm sure that..."

"No. No, I... I think it was around eleven thirty when I arrived back. I had texted Veronica beforehand, you know, telling her that I'd picked up a case of champagne. We had actually talked about... about letting Heather try some for the first time. I mean, she's going away to college next week, right? We didn't... there was no harm in that."

Yindell cleared her throat.

"You said eleven thirty?"

"Y-Yes. And when I got home, I... noticed that the front gate was open. I thought that maybe it was a simple accident, really. The damn gate had been giving us trouble for the last few months. We'd meant to replace it, but... but..."

With tears forming in his eyes, Yorke looked directly at the detective.

"What are the odds that my wife and daughter are alive?"

Yindell tried to smile, but she knew it was a useless gesture. The Councilman had already begun to focus on the worst-case scenario. Whatever she said next would fall on deaf ears, so all the detective could offer was the truth.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't have that answer. We likely won't know anything until tomorrow morning, and even then, I can't make any guarantees."

Yorke sighed heavily, leaning forward on the edge of his bed.

"I... yes, I understand."

"You said that you noticed the front gate was unlocked."

Gordon approached, his tone immediately commanding attention from both the detective and Yorke.

"What happened next?"

"I, well, I drove past it and continued up the path towards the garage. It was raining a bit, so I had my brights on. That was when I noticed that something was wrong with... god, our front door. That it had been tampered with. Practically ripped off it's hinge. Broken glass was everywhere on the steps. I immediately stopped and ran out, calling Ronnie and Heather's names. My heart was in my chest, I didn't know what... and then I got inside. And I saw... I saw a mess. Just a clear, delineated line towards the stairs, up the stairs, leading me..."

"Here, councilor?"

Yorke slowly nodded, finally giving into his emotions as he buried his head in his hands. Yindell looked out towards the scene, starting with the bedroom's entrance. There had been splintered wood all over the floor, evidently from a struggle involving an antique chair. But the trajectory of the wood didn't make sense. It was strewn about, Lieutenant Gordon had noted, like it was intentionally placed there after being broken. The jewelry of Yorke's wife had also been tampered with, ripped from the dresser drawer on her nightstand and placed in half a circle on the carpet. At the foot of the Councilman's bed was some of Yorke's own clothes, taken from the walk-in closet. Wrapped in a ball and dampened with blood. The forensics team had already discovered that inside was the family dog, bludgeoned to death.

Lieutenant Gordon, meanwhile, was looking toward the ceiling. He'd had a hunch since entering the room, but wasn't able to succinctly put anything concrete together. Detective Yindell noticed this, curious as to what he was getting at. Equally curious was the fact that Gordon was holding one of Mrs. Yorke's handheld mirrors. But Gordon knew that something about this was deliberate, planned to the last detail. And he had a sinking feeling at the pit of his stomach...

"Yindell. Do me a favor and hold this up there."

Handing her the mirror, Gordon noted the detective's quizzical expression.

"Just humor me for a moment."

Yindell had been working with Jim Gordon for less than six months, at this point. She'd seen him do alot of weird stuff on the scene, but it was always within reason. Always with a purpose that would be eventually vindicated. Whether anyone liked it or not, Gordon had developed the sort of expertise with these types of unorthodox crimes that would put even the most seasoned criminologist to shame. So when he made this specific request, she only questioned it for a moment before complying. As they both looked into the reflection of the mirror, scanning over the room with it, Yindell's eyes suddenly widened. It had just become very clear what perpetrator had wanted to leave them.

"Jim, is that what I think it..."

"Son of a bitch..."

With his theory confirmed, Gordon rushed out of the room and leaned over the balcony.


The officers and technicians below him jumped, having examined nearly every piece of mail and decor that was strewn about the Yorkes' living room except for one. A large and rustic octagonal box that had been seen on the table next to the family photos. Since the Councilman hadn't mentioned it, it was assumed that it belonged to the family. Now Gordon realized that it didn't, and that the only reason it wasn't brought up before now was because of the fact that Yorke was so traumatized by his missing wife and daughter that it's presence hadn't registered. With Gordon's warning practically still reverberating off the walls, the officers all took a step back and the technicians looked at eachother, unsure of how to proceed.

"Jim? Should we get a tactical team in here? Bomb squad?"

Yorke looked up, eyes widened.

"A bomb? What are you... what do you mean a bomb?!"

Gordon re-entered the room, holding up his hand to downplay the Councilor's growing fears.

"Not until I'm given a reason to believe so. An explosive wouldn't fit his M.O. for this. Usually when he takes someone, there's a specific protocol that's followed. That's how I knew the box was his."

Yorke stood up straight.

"Who are you talking about? Do you know who did this?! Do you know who has my family?!"

Gordon sighed.

"Councilman, I need you to remain calm. You're not going to like what I'm about to say."

"You do know. Oh, god. Oh my god, it's one of them, isn't it? One of those freaks from..."

"When we held the mirror up, the mess in here... it gave us his calling card. Your dog, the jewelry and the broken chair."

"They all made up a third of a question mark."

Yorke's face went white as a sheet.


"I'm afraid so. The Riddler's claiming responsibility."

As Yorke slipped back into a sitting position on the bed, horrified, Gordon turned back towards his partner.

"What time is it?"

Yindell raised an eyebrow, looking down at her phone's lock screen.

"Ten till one."

Immediately, Gordon looked over to Yorke and reached out with his hand.

"Eric, I'm going to need your phone."

"What? Why do you need that?"

"Nigma's going to call you at any time now, especially if he knows we're here. And I have reason to believe that he does, so every move we make is crucial. Your wife and daughter's lives may depend on you following my exact instructions. Do you understand?"

Reluctantly, Yorke reached into his jacket pocket and produced his cellphone. Within a few seconds, just as he was about to hand it over, the phone's screen lit up and it began to vibrate. Gordon took a hurried step forward and snatched it away, recognizing the unlisted number that flashed across the Caller ID. Pressing the button, Gordon held the Councilman's phone to his ear and listened intently as a mechanized voice began to speak on the other side of the line.

"W... H... A... T."

"H... A... S."

"O... N... E."

"E... Y... E."

"B... U... T."

"C... A... N... T."

"S... E... E?"

Gordon looked over at Yorke, who was already visibly on edge.

"Does your wife ever knit? Maybe crochet as a hobby?"

Yorke stared blankly. "Huh?"

"Answer the question!"

"Y-Yes. She's gotten into it recently. Her kit's downstairs."

Gordon immediately turned back towards the phone.

"A needle."

There was a click.

Gordon sighed in relief. He'd answered correctly.

"Yindell, tell forensics to get that kit into the lab immediately. We need to find out what's on one of the needles. It'll be some sort of residue, something specific."

The detective nodded, heading out of the room.


Yorke stared down at the bundle of clothes covered in blood. He'd loved that dog and owned it for close to eleven years. It seemed so needlessly cruel to leave her like this, but he knew that he couldn't touch anything out of fear of tampering with evidence.

"Jesus Christ, he did this? The man in... that guy in that stupid question mark suit?"

"Not him specifically. He wasn't here at your house tonight. Riddler uses proxies to carry out the parts of his crimes that he's too squeamish to do himself. Usually, blackmailed politicians or ex-cons..."

Yorke stared back. The Lieutenant shrugged.

"I know. It's bizarre to think that he only used to rob banks. But there was a turn, at some point. His crimes have only become more sadistic with age. However, I think we can use that to our advantage. I don't think he's truly harmed your wife and daughter."

"How do you know?"

Gordon removed his glasses and began polishing them off, already frustrated with this. He knew that it was the start of Nigma's next sadistic game rather than a simple one-off. While he didn't say it, he already knew a few things to expect. Namely that despite the kidnapping, Councilman Yorke wasn't the actual target of any of this. His family was simply a pawn in a larger riddle. One that would unfortunately only unfold with time.

"God help me... because I know him."

"Wait. The detective. Earlier, she said your name was Gordon."

Gordon looked up as Yorke came to a realization.

"As in Commissioner Gordon?"

The Lieutenant nodded. "Up until recently."

"Then you're the one that..."


Yorke placed his hands together, his eyes telling the tragic tale of a man already past the point of torture. Gordon raised an eyebrow, unsure of what was about to be asked of him.

"Please... for the love of God, call Batman."
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