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”The Ranchero of Miracle Mesa” - The Magnificent Seven: Part Three

“You think I'm brave because I carry a gun? Well, your fathers are much braver, because they carry responsibility — for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a-a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground.”

-The Magnificent Seven

New York City, New York --- The Offices of Roman J. Solomano

The lobby wasn’t much like Vig had expected, but he didn’t suppose anyone would’ve expected a bunch of folks in suits sippin’ their Starbucks and tippity-tapping at their phones. It was maybe naive of him to expect a buncha bikers crushin’ beers and throwing knives at hostages on a giant dart board, but either way he couldn’t take these folks lightly.

He could sense an air of menace around the place. It weren’t nothing physical, no freaky architecture of skulls-on-pikes or anything overt like that, of course. No, it was a feeling in the back of his mind, almost like his head was underwater. Doctor Occult had told him once it was called psychic pressure. Most folk couldn’t feel it, but puttin’ it simply, Vigilante wasn’t most folk anymore. All things considered, his head was quiet for once. The Spirit should’ve been going hog wild here -- even he could sense the evil emanating from this place. But he supposed that the both of them knew that from the start, n’ he was just waiting for his chance to be useful.

Vigilante was all done up, his hair slicked back and his duds hidden under a peacoat that was a size too big. At The Kid’s insistence he’d stuffed his hat into the thick briefcase he carried and taken the spurs off of his boots. “Stealth mission,” he said, “try to get to the man upstairs without arousing suspicion,” he said. City slickin’ boy ain’t keen on no firefight ‘cause he don’t carry a gun for no damn…

The plan was shit simple, just like Vig liked it. Saunter up to the front in disguise and pretend to have a meeting with the boss man. They were expecting The Punisher, not some fast talkin’ southern businessman with some proposition or other. Least that was the way Stripsey figured it -- no one else had much better a plan than trying to wedge Frankenstein through the ventilation pipes, or just running in guns blazing.

Vig smoothed the wrinkles in his coat, mostly to feel the subtle press of the holsters hidden beneath. It was a kinda comfort, they were about to be knee deep in hostile territory. They hadn’t passed the metal detectors yet, but Frank’s friend Micro had sent ‘em a handy dandy little bug to circumvent that particular problem. Stripsey and The Kid were by his side, idling around the lobby. The Kid flipped through a magazine, but kept his eyes squarely on Vig. Stripsey, on the other hand, was trying his damnedest to figure out how the new-fangled auto-Barista machine worked. He’d be ready, when the time came. Probably.

”Scuse’ me ma’am.” Vigilante tapped on the desk twice. It was a long marble thing, dominating the center of the lobby. It was flanked by two gleaming elevators on either side, about a half dozen yards away. Her eyes came up to meet his, and the corners of her mouth turned up in a smile. Her eyes didn’t crinkle.

“Welcome to The Solomano Building! Home of Solomano Incorporated! How can I help you today, sir?” One hand came up to the monitor inlaid in the marble of the desk. The other drummed silently. Impatient.

”Well, I, uh, would like to see the Boss-man, if at all possible. Uh, Mr. Solomano, that is.” Vigilante swallowed. The woman nodded and tapped at a handful of buttons on her computer. Her other hand stopped drumming.

“Do you have an appointment, sir?” Her eyes came up to scan his face. They lingered at his scars. On his eyes. Her other hand drifted below the desk. Around the room, iffin’ you listened real closely, now, you could hear the subtle shift of fabric. Folk leaning against water coolers and casually putting their hands on their hips. Some scratching at an itch just under their shoulders. Vig could see The Star Spangled Kid tense up across the room. Stripsey straightened his coat and turned, eyes to the elevators. He fiddled with his watch.

“Well, no, but I was hoping I could arrange one, iffin’ it was at all possible…” Vigilante calmly placed his hand in his pocket and broke his gaze from her face, keeping and eye on her hands. One still typed at the computer. He could see the tendons in the other flex.

“Let me just pull up Mr. Solomano’s schedule…” Tap. Tap. Tap.

She was quick at pulling out her handgun, but not quick enough. Vigilante thrust his hand through the holes on the inside of his peacoat pocket and annihilated the fabric of his coat with the pump action shotgun slung across his chest.

”Action!” Vigilante hurled his briefcase across the room, popping the buttons off of his peacoat as his hand tore it open from the inside. He grabbed the stock of the gun and brought it around, waving it at the hostiles, givin’ ‘em something to think about while they tried to draw.

Stripsey snagged the briefcase out of the air and brought it down against the skull of a nearby goon. He carried the strike’s momentum through to the next, planting it inside the stomach of the nearest henchman. “Cover!?”

”Comin’ right up.” Vig swung the shotgun around and fired a buckshot into the mass of the crowd. Goons fell as guns clattered out of their hands, clutching at their injuries.

Across the room, The Star Spangled Kid flicked his wrist and seemed to snatch a length of steel pipe from thin air. A man pulled a gun as the pipe seemed to grow into a bowstaff; The Kid swung it around with a purpose and knocked over a row of the suits and then flung himself into cover.

The room erupted into gunfire as the city-slickers managed to wrench their guns out of their holsters. Vig fired his pump with one hand, sighting up on the biggest masses of ‘em, and with his other, unloaded his revolvers. Chunks of marble were shorn off in an instant as fire shredded Vig’s cover. He threw himself down on his back and plugged more rounds into his pump. The three of them more than had the element of surprise, but if things didn’t change soon, they’d get beat by sheer weight of fire. Luckily for the Soldiers, they still had an edge to call in.

The glass revolving doors of the Solomano building were reduced to twisted metal and glass fragments as a mottled mass of flesh hurtled through it, swinging as a sword as long as Vig was tall.

“Jesus!” Across the room, fire redirected to Frankenstein, but the big feller ate the bullets up for breakfast and pressed on, cracking skulls with the hilt of his blade. On Frankenstein’s back was the Crimson Avenger, all strapped up to the dead man like a backpack. He had what looked like a grenade launcher resting of Frank’s shoulder, dropping tubes of sleeping gas en masse.

While the two of them drew the bulk of fire, Stripsey had taken the time to unfold the suitcase into a great big shield, complete with gaudy SHIELD Eagle on the front. They’d felt a little sour for takin’ their equipment like that but… Desperate times, right? Stripsey threw over the one thing that the suitcase had actually held -- Vig snatched his hat out of the air.

He fired the pump’s last round as The Avenger finished his launcher and dropped off Frankenstein’s back, scurrying over to Vig’s piece of cover. Frankenstein continued to mow down the rest of the floor’s opposition, with occasional help form Stripsey and The Kid.

“Security Office is on the fifth floor!” Vig could scarcely hear him over the gunfire. “If you can get me up there I can send you right to the top!”

”Will do!” Vig pulled his second revolver and fired over cover. The crowd was starting to thin out, by now. First floor almost cleared.

Only forty-nine more to go.
Goddamnit, this will turn into my Fusionfall game before Fusionfall gets off the ground.
Though I did originally throw my hat in with the Pro-Hiatus crew... I can't say that Morden and Henry haven't changed my mind at least a bit. That said, a good number of us are interested in hiatus and UOU isn't necessarily the same without a fuller party.

A potential third option is to have a quasi-hiatus, essentially having this be the "off" season. Things would go slower, maybe even a laxer post check schedule, but also no significant MMEs? That'd let those of us burdened with finals/Writer's Block/whatever a chance to get our mojo back, but also let people like Henry, Morden, and etc. keep pumping out great work like they have been to set up for S3, which would be a full season again? Just an idea.

But if it is a binary choice, I think I'm going to abstain from voting. I'm very much on the fence, at this point.
I'm super interested but unsure of my ability to dedicate the time at this juncture. I'll let y'all know after finals in ~2 weeks or so.
Interested, but my time might be a wee bit short.

”The Ranchero of Miracle Mesa” - The Magnificent Seven: Part Two

“You think I'm brave because I carry a gun? Well, your fathers are much braver, because they carry responsibility — for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a-a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground.”

-The Magnificent Seven

New York City, New York

The road to New York was different than before. But then, the difference a hurtling fire bike and a dinky old panel van was nothing to sneeze at, neither. The rush of countryside exploding into the wealth and concrete of the city became slow, rolling hillsides that gave way to nothing but wide plains of grass. Wasn’t nothing of particular interest, but it was better than staring at the five other men assembled with him.

Every rumble of the van along the road set each of them to hushed groans, hands coming to nurse the fresh wounds. It was hard to look at ‘em like this, cut up and bruised but still bein’ shipped out to fight. The body heat of six fellers jammed into the same metal tube wasn’t helping much either. Just more uncomfortable memories bubbling to the surface.

Instead Vigilante held his hat in his hands, tracing its contours with his finger. Gazing out into the great green yonder. Billy Gunn had told him once, when he was knee high to a grasshopper, that they had the whole of this country mapped or carto-graphed in some way or another. He could hardly imagine it, then. The desert seemed to stretch off and beyond into infinity from the roof of his house, to the tune of guitar strings from the house below. But no, he’d pored over the map of the route like it was one of them Dollars trilogy movies. Frank had said somethin’ about not worrying about an ambush or nothin’, but the Soldiers were none too careful. Just their way, n’ that.

Speaking of, it was a shame to see Frank go. Man had his mission, n’ Vigilante wasn’t the sort to stop him from it. He’d been more than kind to help the Soldiers this far, anyhow. Now it was just a matter of finishing the fight.

The first signs of the city were starting to crop up, now. Gray and brown industry clawing their way from the ground and marking the sky with lines of smog.

“Changed country.” The Star Spangled kid remarked beside him. His mask was off, and his mop of curly black hair hung loose around his face. He was toying with a billy club they’d “appropriated” from SHIELD before they loaded into the van and drove to meet their destiny.

“Yessir. I suppose it is.” The developed world before them began to reach for the clouds. Vig didn’t much fancy himself the sort to be able to comment, but Warpath seemed well and truly removed from everywhere else. Here was a place that was a tangle of roads and alleyways, full of folk careful to mark each and every little divot they saw fit to pass. He supposed it that the sense of adventure had gone. People were content to build towers so high they could see the world entire. They seemed to forget that just the view wasn’t much worth it.

Well, Vig wasn’t much for sentiment anyway. It was one of them towers they’d come to attack, and it was more than rightly time to start getting ready. The day’s first light was already starting to refract off the glass of the monoliths they passed. Just about go time.

Vig hauled himself to his feet, grabbing at a piece of cargo netting that lined the inside of the van.

”Well pardners… This is it. We all got our part to play, let's keep it in tune.”
So some people got to talking.

A lot of us love this game, we really do but due to real life things the last couple of weeks and the pace of Season 1 and what's happening now feel burnt out. Could we do a Haitus, either end season 2, or call it a loss then have a break before doing Season 3/Reboot Season 2 sometime, possibly in the New Year?

Just food for thought.

I know I love Iris as Flash, I love how Iv'e built her and her cast up and what I've planned to do for Season two. I just feel so burned out to do her right now, and I know other people feel the same. Some distance may help with that, and I know at least a couple of others feel the same.

Just an idea. Don't murder me.

I'm in favor, myself. Me might've benefitted from more of a break between Seasons.

I'm really excited about my plans for Vig, but I've fallen so far behind on account of a couple factors that it'll be really difficult for me to get properly on track.

Plus, maybe a break will give some of our droppers a chance to find their inspiration/time again? Just my two cents. Time to focus on getting a post out, now.
Very behind but I should have a post up soon, tonight or tomorrow. Had to shift some plans around what with Uni's departure, but I should be all set.
Here's a fun little question for y'all (Now I've said y'all a texan girl I know is on her way to murder me, as she told me never to say it again. So you better answer fast before she gets me).

If you could air your own superhero show (live action), about a character who has not recently had their own TV series who would you choose? Who would you cast (either as the main character or do the whole cast if you're feeling adventerous) and who would your season one big bad be?

I'll post my reply in the morning my lovelies.

Obvious, but Seven Soldiers of Victory. Probably featuring Vigilante, Shining Knight, Crimson Avenger, Star Spangled Kid, Stripsey, and stand ins for Green Arrow and Speedy, since those two are probably a hair too popular. I'd imagine it going through the weird and wonderful side of DC's more obscure stuff. I really think the crew has potential. There are some pretty cool ideas buried in those old comics, they just need a killer writing team to bring it to life.

”The Ranchero of Miracle Mesa” - The Magnificent Seven: Part Two

“You think I'm brave because I carry a gun? Well, your fathers are much braver, because they carry responsibility — for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a-a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground.”

-The Magnificent Seven

New York City, New York --- The Offices of Roman J. Solomano

The Solomano building was a monolith, arcing up into the sky as the hand of mankind, waiting to touch the face of God. It rose from a cluster of freshly renovated buildings, their owners warm inside with full bellies and fuller wallets. It’s access was a bay of revolving doors, open to an alley so large it could hardly be called an alley at all. Fifty floors of young professionals flush with cash culminated in the fifty first -- The Offices of Roman J. Solomano.

His office layout had changed over the past month. A mahogany piano seemed to grow from the dark tile of the floor itself, dominating the space. A black wood circular desk was situated at the window, sporting a chromium-tanned leather swivel chair. Its occupant sat with hands clasped together, all ten fingers interlaced. His dark hair flecked with grey was slicked back, and he considered the ice cubes bobbing in his tumbler of bourbon. He was Roman J. Solomano.

“Lupelinos just got outta town with your, uh, project, boss.” George ‘Big Caesar’ Vincenzo rapped his knuckles on the office’s wooden door as he entered. “Preparations are goin’ well otherwise.”

“Goblins are giving us a wide berth, yes?” Solomano pushed back from his swivel, standing and straightening the wrinkles in his suit.

Big Caesar smiled. “Like you always say, boss. Friends in high places.”

Solomano’s eyes flickered down. “One way of looking at it.”

“Anyway, everything’ll be gone by tomorrow morning.” Big Caesar pulled a toothpick from his pocket, rolling it around in his mouth. He sat on the piano. “N’ Castle hasn’t bothered hitting any of our trucks, neither --”

“Get your ass off of my goddamn piano, you fat fuck.” Solomano stepped forward.

Big Caesar’s hands shot up and he stumbled forward. “S-sorry, boss. M-my mistake.”

Solomano nodded, running a hand back through his hair. To think it all lead up to this. He shot his gaze back out over the city. It’d been a quiet takeover. Slowly moving in on operations as the ‘heroes’ picked them off. Setting them up and knocking them down. His piece of the pie was still small, to be sure. But profits had quintupled in the past six months. Nobody wants to fuck with you when the worst man on your retinue is Barracuda. Projections saw Solomano in control of the City within the next two, three years -- Osborn’s Goblins or not.

“Always mistakes with you, Vincenzo. Why am I tolerating your presence now?”

“Ah, Mehrunio’ll be up in a coupla with the equipment you requested. Order just came in a coupla minutes ago. Just, uh, thought I’d letcha know.”

The requisition. He’d almost forgotten -- no, he hadn’t. He just told himself he had to make the wait feel shorter. He turned his hands over, looking at all ten of his fingers staring back at hm through the black leather of his gloves. It’d taken pain to get this far. Pain and death and enough blood to make the streets of New York run red.

Solomano could hear the creak of the door. “Vincenzo?”

“Y-yes boss?” Big Caesar gulped, halfway through the door.

“Is that cocksucker Laughton still in the wind?”

“Our boys traced him past Gotham… We’re trying to get more, but, you know how the folks there are…”

“Course I fuckin’ do. Get out of my sight.” The door closed with a resonating thud.

He pulled his gloves off, one finger at a time. One hand the pink of flesh. The other hard plastic green. The joints clicked and whirred as he adjusted the joints. He picked up his drink.

Another assassin dead. That sick fuck Laughton taking the power and leaving. One chance left. He still remembered it. Who else could it be?

The form of the devil himself, drawn up in his own blood over his desk. It dripped into the fabric of his clothes and ran through the gutter of the tiles. He could still feel the cleaver in his hands now. His choice, his final assassin. After all, no one can escape The Hand.

A mousy man appeared in the doorway, arms wrapped around a wooden box. He made no sound. Solomano’s fingers probed at his elbow. There was a click, and the green plastic of his false arm shattered against the ground.

The man knelt, holding the box over his head like a holy weapon. The box was old, willow carved so fine you’d think it grew out of the ground that way. A glossy black metal hand sat in a nest of velvet fabric. It gleamed in the subtle lights of the office. Solomano’s hand closed around it.

It clicked into place. A familiar symbol on its surface began to glow.

“Mark my words, Mephisto. The Iron Hand shall take no prisoners.”
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