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Sorry I've been MIA for so long. New baby and work being crazy haven't helped. Going to do my best to get going again though now that things have calmed down a bit and our nanny has started
Madripoor

The Quinjet swooped down towards Madripoor, then skyscrapers that made up the city state rising like a concrete jungle in front of them. The city state had grown rapidly in the past decade, owning to the expansion of legal gambling and luxurious vacation resorts that dotted its crystal clear beaches. It was known across the world as a decadent den of vice and pleasure, a new Las Vegas without the kitsch. But the true face of Madripoor was one of black market deals, illegal arms, and human trafficking. The glitz and the glamor was just a pretty mask over a leprous face.

"Atom, where are you?" Cap asked as he made his way to the back of the Quinjet. There, already being lifted off the wall by a mechanical arm, was his motorcylce. He straddled the seat, and turned on the super quiet, ARC reactor engine Tony had installed for him. Even Steve had to admit that Stark was damn useful when he wasn't being a pain in the ass.

"We just dropped down near street level," he responded quickly. "Went over the beaches and then into the maze of buildings. Going to fast to see a sign. I'll activate my suit's tracker."

"Copy, we're coming to get you," Steve said before turning to Falsworth. "You take over piloting. The Quinjet won't look good flying through a city. Once Sam drops me off on the main road by the beach, you take over. Sam, you'll be our eyes in the sky inside the city. Union Jack, take her up and make sure nothing gets away through the air. Everyone understand?"

There was a nod, and Sam reported, "Cap, we're coming in. Get ready."

Wordlessly, Rogers steeled himself for what was about to happen. He had done it plenty of times in the war and since being thawed out by SHIELD, but it still never failed to give him a thrill. The ramp of the jet opened behind him, and Sam gave him a hand signal. He allowed the bike to roll backwards, and for a few moments he was freefalling towards the asphalt below. Once he judged the distance and his speed, he revved the bike's engine, watching the wheel spin uselessly like a cartoon character who had just run off a cliff and looked down. Before long, however, the wheels hit the ground, and he took off after only a momentary squeal of rubber on road.

The bike was fast, faster than any he had ever ridden before. At first he had been nervous about it. Stark had poked fun at his reticence to embrace the technological leaps the human race had made in his absence, and that was what finally broke Steve's reluctance. Rogers wasn't sure if he and Stark were friends, exactly. More like brothers who pushed each others' buttons in order to get the best out of one another. But they often did just that, so Cap didn't think about it too much.

Weaving in and out of traffic felt like second nature at this point. With the bike's speed and Steve's impeccable reaction time, there was nothing traffic could do to get in his way. As the blurs of people passed through his peripheral vision, some gaped while some scowled at the Avenger as he made his way towards the Atom's beacon. It was moving away from him, but he was going to catch up. It was already losing ground to him.

"Eyes in the sky, coming through," Falcon's voice announced in the comms. Steve stole a glance up, catching a glimpse of the graceful wings of the backpack of Sam's apparatus. It was a miracle of engineering, really. A high velocity jet pack mixed with flexible, aerodynamic metal wings allowed him to soar through the air like a bird. He was whisper quiet, and perfect for inserting himself behind enemy lines.

"Looks like the beacon has stopped," Sam called down to Steve.

The heads up display built into Cap's cowl showed the same thing. The beacon had come to rest in a building two blocks from here. He punched the bike towards the location, and skidding into an alleyway next to the building. The wharehouse looked deserted, which made sense. But looks could be deceiving.

"I'm heading in, Sam, you come in through the roof," Steve laid out the plan. "We have to figure there will be some of those androids in there. We get Ryan, we get that tech, and we get out of there."

Without waiting for Falcon's affirmative, he knew Sam knew what he was doing, Steve slammed his shield through a window and lept through the shattered glass. But what he found inside surprised him. The place was completely empty save for a jar sitting in the middle of the wharehouse's floor.

Cap approached the jar slowly, but as he got closer realized what was inside. He unscrewed the cap, and suddenly the Atom appeared in front of him. Choi fell to his knees and started gasping for breath. Sam landed on the concrete floor, and Steve motioned for him to give Ryan some air.

"They were ready for me," he shook his head. "Had some weird magnet. Pulled me into the jar and vacuumed sealed it. Happened so fast my suit didn't have the time to compensate and pressurize itself. A could more minutes in there and I would have been toast."

Cap cursed under his breath. He didn't know how, but AIM had been one step ahead of them lately. To the point where he was starting to wonder whether or not there was a mole in SHIELD he had to worry about.

"I don't know where they took the crate," Choi shook his head.

"Fury's gonna be pissed," Sam grumbled.

"Fury's always pissed," Steve sighed. "But we need to track down where AIM's taken this tech. Come on. The quicker we get back, the quicker we can get this figured out."
AIM Headquarters. Location Unknown


Professors Ivo and TO Morrow flittered like worker bees over the mechanical bodies that lay in front of them. The breakthroughs the two had made working for AIM were about to set the world a blaze. Already their prototype android models were out securing a piece that would allow the more advanced models, the ones that would finally allow AIM to bring the world to its knees, to live and work as designed.

Behind the two scientists, they felt a presence loom. They turned to find that gargantuan cranium of MODOK, formerly the scientist George Tarlton, floating over them.

"Good news, my friends," the deformed head smiled grotesquely, "we have what we need. It is time for Project Red to take its next step."
1943. Salerno. Italy

The planes had come quicker than they had hoped. Steve had been sure that with the Invaders leading the charge onto the Italian shore, that the Axis forces wouldn't have had time to really muster themselves before the bulk of General Clark's forces had made the beachhead. But the planes had come quickly.

Normally, Steve and his team wouldn't be on a mission like this, but top brass wanted a beachhead in Italy. They were going to move heaven and earth to get it, so here they were. Not that any of them minded too much. They enjoyed being with the rest of the men. It was nice to meet up with some of the regular GIs and see how they thought things were going. Well, Namor wasn't too happy, but he was never all that happy unless he was smashing some tanks around.

Just an hour ago, Namor had used his incredible powers to silently bring the Invaders to the beach, without the enemy troops being the wiser. Once each part of the team had been deposited safely, Namor had whipped up a doozy of a wave and had it wash over the heart of the Axis lines, which the other members of the team had pour through. Steve and Buck systematically moved from pill box to pill box, loosening up the enemy defenses while Namor and Hammond caused some terror on the front lines. Behind them, the Howling Commandos had made sure to mop up any stragglers. It was about as successful of a first assault as they could have hoped.

But once the boats filled with the rest of the troops started to make their way to the beach, the Luftwaffe had made their presence known.

So now the Invaders had an airfield to capture.

"Looks like they haven't retreated to protect it," Bucky said as he peered through the scope of his rifle. "Still just refueling and taking off. Standard procedure."

"Well," Peggy Carter smiled wryly, "maybe we hit them fast enough that they didn't get word back that it was us. Maybe this isn't going to be so bad after all."

"Oof," Bucky winced at that.

"What?" Carter was befuddled as to what she had said.

"Peggy, you never say stuff like that," Steve tried to hold back a chuckle. "It's a jinx."

"Oh honestly you two," she rolled her brown eyes, her hair waving back off her face. Even with the grime of battle on her she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. "Aren't you ever going to grow up?"

"Probably not," Bucky admitted.

"Don't worry, boys," a voice from behind drew their attention. Even after all this time, Steve wasn't used to the unreal realness of Jim Hammond's dulcet tones. "I'll take care of this one."

They turned to find the Human Torch, clad in his special fireproof suit, climbing over a hill. The name was a misnomer, in all reality. There was nothing human about Hammond. He was a wholly mechanical construct, though easily the most amazing the world had ever seen. His skin and hair were both synthetic, his eyes a special lens made of crystal, and his bones were some sort of alloy that was almost as rare as Cap's shield. His organs, or what he considered his organs, were different bags, billows, and mechanisms Steve couldn't even begin to understand. But Steve knew the Torch was special.

If Rogers was a miracle of medical science, than Jim was his mechanical counterpart, and just as rare. Professor Phineas Horton had dreamed up the being he called an "android", and for it some called him a madman. But now Hammond, the Torch, was an invaluable part of the team. Steve didn't see him as a machine. He saw him as a friend.

"Keep the ones on the ground off my back," he winked at the rest of the team. "I'll deal with the planes."

With that, the Human Torch erupted into a brilliant ball of flames and took off into the Italian sky like Vesuvius erupting once again. The living fireball tore through the Luftwaffe planes like a hot knife through butter, and before long the Invaders had taken the airfield, securing the Italian beachhead.

Over the Pacific Ocean. Approaching Madripoor

The mission had gone sideways quicker than any of them could have imagined. The AIM androids were fast, powerful, and surprisingly advanced. If the terrorist organization had been working on this kind of technology, Steve was amazed that this was the first they had seen of them. Even a few permutations earlier would have been enough to turn some of Strike Team Alpha's previous victories into defeat. But maybe AIM had gotten smarter, somehow. Maybe they had been holding this trump card back until it was truly ready. If that was the case, Steve was terrified to think about just how many of these machines AIM could have dispatched across the globe.

But Captain America couldn't worry about that right now. Right now he had half a dozen of the mechanical menaces taking on his team. Piotr was trying to take on three at once. Choi had shrunk down to do who knows what, while Steve attempted to keep his distance from the other three.

One lunged at him, and he managed to spin out of the way, flashing out the edge of the shield as he did. It caught his attacker across the face, leaving a deep gash across the mechanical man's visage. The inner workings of the machine were visible, and its movement became stiff and awkward, after another lunge it collapsed like any dead man.

"Come on," he motioned at the other two, "I've been itching for a fight."

Before they could attack, however, one of their fellow automatons was tossed into them, collapsing the three of them into a writhing pile of artificial limbs. While the three of them attempted to untangle themselves, Steve turned to find Colossus's fist wrapped around one of the other's head. With a great flex of his mighty fingers, the android's head popped like some grotesque pinata. Gears, glass, and gyros rained onto the floor, the metal pings of like rain on a tin roof.

The remaining android that had been attacking Piotr leapt towards the mutant as his back was turned. Before it could land on its target, Captain America's shield sheered its head off before bouncing back to Steve.

As the other three began to get to their feet, Steve could hear the footfalls of more approaching, "We need to get out of here. Where the hell is Atom?"

The two of them abandoned the plan to head to the plane's bridge. They would never get there now. That much was certain. There was bound to be too many of them that way. So Cap thought there was only one plan of action.

"Let's head to the cargo hold," he nodded to Piotr. "We're taking the express exit."

They turned and ran that way, Colossus closing off the door behind them, hoping to buy them some time.

"Cap!" Crimson Fox's voice came over the comms. "They're-"

A loud bang from behind them drowned out Vivian's voice, and told Steve that the door didn't stand much of a chance against the strength of the androids.

"Repeat that!" Steve shouted as he and Colossus moved as fast as they could through the tight halls of the SHIELD plane.

"They just jumped! Four of whatever they are! Rockets came out of their feat and they were headed for Madripoor," she responded, explaining the situation.

Things began to become clear. It was nothing but a trap. AIM may not have expected the strike team to catch up, but they certainly had a plan if they did. Meaning they had to get off this plane as quick as possible.

"Everyone back to the Quinjet now!" he yelled, he and Rasputin coming to a skidding halt. "Sam, be ready to take off! We're gonna come in hot."

There wasn't much time, Steve was sure of that. He felt the slick layer of sweat building up under his suit. His team was in danger, more than most of them realized. If they weren't on that jet in a few moments, they wouldn't be coming back from the mission alive.'

When they reached the access hatch, Colossus tossed Steve up, and he landed deftly in the Quinjet. He dropped down the tow line for Piotr to climb up. By the time the mutant was inside, Vivian and Joseph were also following him up, but there was no sign of Choi.

"Ryan! Atom! Where the hell are you? We gotta get out of here!"

The minute Steve waited for a response felt like hours. He wasn't one to leave a man behind, and he had no intention of starting now. But he also knew that if he waited any longer he'd lose his entire team, and that was a nonstarter.

"Sam, detach!" he commanded.

"We can wait! There's none of those things down there!" Union Jack pleaded with Cap.

"It's not the androids I'm worried about!" Rogers retorted. "Sam, now!"

His friend nodded and in a violent maneuver he detached from the SHIELD plane and got some distance between them. Just in the nick of time, as well. As they flew parallel the bigger plane, the explosion that Steve had been expecting ripped through the middle of the cargo jet. A blazing ball of fire engulfed the aircraft, and shrapnel began to rain down into the ocean around Madripoor.

The team was silent, realizing that one of their own had just fallen. Choi may have been a pain in the ass, and often took orders from Beijing more than he took orders from Steve, but he was still a teammate, and a hero to boot. Rogers slammed his shield into the floor of the Quinjet, leaving a dent.

But before any of them could say a word, the comm crackled to life, "-in! Come in! Do you guys read me?"

Ryan's voice brought a smile to everyone, and Piotr let out a whoop.

"You sneeky git," Union Jack laughed. "Where the hell are you?"

"On the shoulder of one of these things," the Atom sounded pleased with himself. "You guys come pick me up, they seem to have stolen our package."

"Well, let's take it back," Rogers nodded to Sam.
Metropolis

Evelyn knew she was late, and peered nervously over her shoulder at the crying baby in the back seat. She was super late. That's all that was running through her mind as she braved the downtown Metropolis traffic. She was late and her boss was definitely going to give the promotion to Phillips if she wasn't on time for the meeting. But she had to drop the baby off at day care before she went to work. There was no way she'd be able to get someone at the office to keep an eye on her all day.

From the back seat, another wail from baby Laura drew her attention, causing her to miss the fact that the light in front of her had gone from yellow to red with surprisingly little time in between. By the time Evelyn's head came around, there was a car in front of her ready to be t-boned. Its driver too focused on their coffee to notice Evelyn's crossover SUV plowing into the intersection.

There was no time for her to swerve. This was it. She closed her eyes and thought of her baby, prayinig that at least she would be spared.

She felt the world shift under her, and was surprised that there was no sudden jolt or the sound of sheering metal. Maybe she died instantly and was on her way to the afterlife. That would be nice.

Opening her eyes, she found her vehicle drifting slowly back down to the pavement. It was a miracle. In the back seat, baby Laura gaped in amazement as a figure soared upwards away from the car.
**********

Jack's hand shook as he pointed it at the bodega clerk behind the counter, the empty bag he had thrown there still without any money in it. He didn't know if he or the small Korean teenager were more afraid. But he needed the money. If he didn't the Intergang thugs who threatened his pop's shop were gonna be mad, more mad than they'd ever been before. Might even burn the place down.

"I said put the money in the bag!" he screamed again, putting the gun even closer to the kid's head. He smelled the tell tale ammonia of the piss running down the clerk's leg.

Before anything could happen, a blur swept over his vision, just for an almost imperceptible second. He looked down, and the gun was gone, replaced by a still bubbling puddle of molten metal on the counter.

Still shaking, Jack turned and saw the tell tale blue and red. He was paralyzed with fear, "D-don't kill me man!"

"I don't do that," a calm, melodious, but powerful voice responded. Jack wasn't a religious man, but it was the kind of voice someone would have written a few things about if they heard it thousands of years ago. "Go home. Don't let me see you doing this again, or I won't be as nice."

"B-b-but Intergang is gonna-"

"You let me worry about that," the voice said, and Jack instantly knew it wasn't bluffing. He ran, never really getting a good look at the voice's owner.
*********

Joseph had decided to end it all the night before. Sitting over his measly, frozen pizza, he saw that there was little use in continuing the charade of a normal life. He was thirty-four, had been single for longer than half a decade, was stuck in a dead-end job, and could count how many friends, real friends, he had on one hand. Continuing on in this state, this joke of a life, was too much. Better a quick death than a long, slow one alone.

That's why when he woke up this morning he took a big swig of the cheap bottle of whiskey from the cabinet above the sink and made his way to the rooftop of his apartment building. If he jumped into the alley, he'd be able to do it without risking hurting anyone else. That was the last thing he wanted. He wanted to be done with all this, but he didn't want to go out hurting someone else.

He stepped up to the edge of the building and took a deep breath.

Before he could jump, however, a voice, like the most calming voice from the most calming children's television programming Joseph could ever imagine, cautioned, "Watch your step there. Wouldn't want to fall."

Joseph turned and saw the most striking image he had ever seen. There, standing on the ledge along with him, was a tall, well built man in what, if Joe didn't know better, he would have called red and blue pajamas. The man's strong, pronounced chin was cocked towards him, his kind, blue eyes transfixed on Joseph's, and a single curl of hair fell down from the well manicured cut onto his forehead and bounced in the wind. Joseph had heard the stories, and seen the news, but they did the reality of Superman no justice.

"I came up here to fall," he admitted, unable to look away from the Man of Steel.

"Yea, I kinda figured," the superhero smiled. "Doesn't seem like a great idea now, does it?"

"Best idea I've had in a while," Joseph shrugged. "No one's gonna miss me."

"Oh I very much doubt that," Superman smiled radiantly. "Someone's always gonna miss someone."

"I only got like three friends," the depressed man shook his head. "Barely any family."

"And none of them count as people who will miss you, huh?" the Man of Tomorrow smirked. "Sounds like you've got a whole bunch of folks who will miss you, to me."

"I'm just...so alone," Joseph began to cry. "And it wears on me, ya know? I just want...someone to share my life with."

He felt a big, strong arm placed around his shoulders, and Superman said, "You ever talk to those friends or family about this? I bet they'd be able to help you. That's what they're there for."

He shook his head, "Nah. Don't want to bother them with my troubles."

"I think you'll find they'd prefer hearing your troubles than hearing you threw yourself off a roof," Superman smiled sadly. "But let's make a deal, if you step back off this ledge and don't feel comfortable talking to them, I'll swing back tomorrow and we can chat. You and me."

Joseph was flabbergasted, "D-don't you have more important places to be?"

"What would be more important than helping out my new pal?" Superman smiled at him with the warmth of the sun, and Joseph felt like, for the first time in a long time, everything was going to be alright.
Smallville

Clark finished adjusting his tie, smirking to himself in the mirror. The powder blue strip of fabric contrasted nicely with the grey suit he now wore, the flower on his lapel matching. From the open window, he could hear the string quartet warming up in the backyard of the farmhouse. He was tempted to take a peak, but he knew better. Clark Kent was a man who savored the first experience of something, and he didn't want to rob himself of that.

He remember the first time, as a boy, that he had managed to fly. It wasn't for long, and he ended up crashing through half of old man Smith's corn crop. But the feeling of the air underneath him, coasting through the sky, was still one of the greatest feeling he had ever had. Something told him what was about to happen was gonna feel pretty similar.

A soft wrap on the door drew his attention, "Come in!"

From the other side came Jonathan Kent, his father. The man who had always looked like Clark's superhero growing up, now just looked like the platonic idea of a dad. His gut had started to poke up just a little, but the decades of farming still kept him looking strong. His hair was more salt than pepper, but the dark streaks were still thee. The one thing that never changed were his deep, brown eyes. They still held all the warmth and wisdom them always did.

The glisten of a teat came to those eyes as the elder Kent took a look at his son on his wedding day for the first time. He composed himself and smiled, "You made it."

"What are you talking about?" Clark did a terrible job hiding the blush that came to his face. "I've been here the entire time."

"Sure, boy," Jonathan smiled. "How many?"

Clark looked down at his feet, "Three in Metropolis. One here or there on the way home."

Pa Kent laughed warmly, "Son, this is why I'll always be proud of you. Even on a day like today you won't stop."

"Superman can't take a day off," Clark shrugged and did the final adjustments to his clothes. "You see everything going on, dad. I take a day off...and who knows what will happen."

"I know, son," Jonathan nodded. "Now let's go get you married."

"Dad, I've been waiting for this a long time."
C H A R A C T E R C O N C E P T P R O P O S A L
S U P E R M A N


K A L - E L/C L A R K K E N T R E P O R T E R M E T R O P O L I S J U S T I C E L E A G U E
C H A R A C T E R C O N C E P T:


"There is a superhero in all of us, we just need the courage to put on the cape."

Clark Kent has always been a fascinating character. The power of a god but the soul of the kindest human possible, he has always been a ball of contradiction. While he is almost always portrayed as the best of the best, I think the fascinating thing about him is that he always has to both hold himself back and strive to be better than those he battles. I want to write a fairly standard version of Clark, one whose at the prime of his career and personal life, and all the struggles there are with balancing the life of Superman and Clark Kent.

C H A R A C T E R M O T I V A T I O N S & G O A L S:

I've never really played Clark before. Sparingly in one of the older games we've tried, but never more than a few posts here or there. I'd like to try my hand at the character in a world full of challenges. SHIELD doesn't trust him, some heroes fear his power, and yet he never stops striving to do good. Our world is one that has far more problems than even he could solve, and I want to explore that, along with his growing family life.

C H A R A C T E R N O T E S:



S A M P L E P O S T:

Evelyn knew she was late, and peered nervously over her shoulder at the crying baby in the back seat. She was super late. That's all that was running through her mind as she braved the downtown Metropolis traffic. She was late and her boss was definitely going to give the promotion to Phillips if she wasn't on time for the meeting. But she had to drop the baby off at day care before she went to work. There was no way she'd be able to get someone at the office to keep an eye on her all day.

From the back seat, another wail from baby Laura drew her attention, causing her to miss the fact that the light in front of her had gone from yellow to red with surprisingly little time in between. By the time Evelyn's head came around, there was a car in front of her ready to be t-boned. Its driver too focused on their coffee to notice Evelyn's crossover SUV plowing into the intersection.

There was no time for her to swerve. This was it. She closed her eyes and thought of her baby, prayinig that at least she would be spared.

She felt the world shift under her, and was surprised that there was no sudden jolt or the sound of sheering metal. Maybe she died instantly and was on her way to the afterlife. That would be nice.

Opening her eyes, she found her vehicle drifting slowly back down to the pavement. It was a miracle. In the back seat, baby Laura gaped in amazement as a figure soared upwards away from the car.
**********

Jack's hand shook as he pointed it at the bodega clerk behind the counter, the empty bag he had thrown there still without any money in it. He didn't know if he or the small Korean teenager were more afraid. But he needed the money. If he didn't the Intergang thugs who threatened his pop's shop were gonna be mad, more mad than they'd ever been before. Might even burn the place down.

"I said put the money in the bag!" he screamed again, putting the gun even closer to the kid's head. He smelled the tell tale ammonia of the piss running down the clerk's leg.

Before anything could happen, a blur swept over his vision, just for an almost imperceptible second. He looked down, and the gun was gone, replaced by a still bubbling puddle of molten metal on the counter.

Still shaking, Jack turned and saw the tell tale blue and red. He was paralyzed with fear, "D-don't kill me man!"

"I don't do that," a calm, melodious, but powerful voice responded. Jack wasn't a religious man, but it was the kind of voice someone would have written a few things about if they heard it thousands of years ago. "Go home. Don't let me see you doing this again, or I won't be as nice."

"B-b-but Intergang is gonna-"

"You let me worry about that," the voice said, and Jack instantly knew it wasn't bluffing. He ran, never really getting a good look at the voice's owner.
*********

Joseph had decided to end it all the night before. Sitting over his measly, frozen pizza, he saw that there was little use in continuing the charade of a normal life. He was thirty-four, had been single for longer than half a decade, was stuck in a dead-end job, and could count how many friends, real friends, he had on one hand. Continuing on in this state, this joke of a life, was too much. Better a quick death than a long, slow one alone.

That's why when he woke up this morning he took a big swig of the cheap bottle of whiskey from the cabinet above the sink and made his way to the rooftop of his apartment building. If he jumped into the alley, he'd be able to do it without risking hurting anyone else. That was the last thing he wanted. He wanted to be done with all this, but he didn't want to go out hurting someone else.

He stepped up to the edge of the building and took a deep breath.

Before he could jump, however, a voice, like the most calming voice from the most calming children's television programming Joseph could ever imagine, cautioned, "Watch your step there. Wouldn't want to fall."

Joseph turned and saw the most striking image he had ever seen. There, standing on the ledge along with him, was a tall, well built man in what, if Joe didn't know better, he would have called red and blue pajamas. The man's strong, pronounced chin was cocked towards him, his kind, blue eyes transfixed on Joseph's, and a single curl of hair fell down from the well manicured cut onto his forehead and bounced in the wind. Joseph had heard the stories, and seen the news, but they did the reality of Superman no justice.

"I came up here to fall," he admitted, unable to look away from the Man of Steel.

"Yea, I kinda figured," the superhero smiled. "Doesn't seem like a great idea now, does it?"

"Best idea I've had in a while," Joseph shrugged. "No one's gonna miss me."

"Oh I very much doubt that," Superman smiled radiantly. "Someone's always gonna miss someone."

"I only got like three friends," the depressed man shook his head. "Barely any family."

"And none of them count as people who will miss you, huh?" the Man of Tomorrow smirked. "Sounds like you've got a whole bunch of folks who will miss you, to me."

"I'm just...so alone," Joseph began to cry. "And it wears on me, ya know? I just want...someone to share my life with."

He felt a big, strong arm placed around his shoulders, and Superman said, "You ever talk to those friends or family about this? I bet they'd be able to help you. That's what they're there for."

He shook his head, "Nah. Don't want to bother them with my troubles."

"I think you'll find they'd prefer hearing your troubles than hearing you threw yourself off a roof," Superman smiled sadly. "But let's make a deal, if you step back off this ledge and don't feel comfortable talking to them, I'll swing back tomorrow and we can chat. You and me."

Joseph was flabbergasted, "D-don't you have more important places to be?"

"What would be more important than helping out my new pal?" Superman smiled at him with the warmth of the sun, and Joseph felt like, for the first time in a long time, everything was going to be alright.

P O S T C A T A L O G:

A list linking to your IC posts as they're created. This can be used for a reference guide to your character or to summarize completed arcs and stories.

Usually a little bit of both. I have where I want to get, and what I want to do, but how I get to either is not set in stone.

Over the Pacific Ocean

Another hologram of the large SHIELD cargo plane was displayed in the center of Strike Team A's quinjet. While the autopilot kept the smaller, faster craft rocketing towards their target, the strike team sat ready for the final briefing before they caught up and head to execute a dangerous, mid-air mission.

"You're all familiar with the cargo planes," Steve began the walkthrough. "I don't have to give you a play by play here. We've been doing this long enough that we don't have to need one. Sam attaches the Quinjet by the top hatch, Choi gets inside and lets us in. Piotr and I lead the charge, Vivian and Joe secure the package while the rest of us secure the plane. Any objections?"

"Nah," Colossus shook his head as he began to stretch in preparation for battle.

"However many beekeepers we have to deal with, we deal with them," Steve continued. "We're professionals. We've done this before, we'll probably have to do it again. But we're not letting AIM get away with this tech. The more we starve them out, the more desperate they get. We're going to win this war, everyone. I promise you that."

As much as he believed that, it was a line that was growing stale. He saw it in the team's face when he said it. They had been fighting AIM for years. Every time they seemed to be getting the upper hand, MODOK or Arnim Zola seemed to slip through their fingers at the final moment. It was maddening, but something Steve was used to. Zola had learned a lot from his old boss, the Red Skull, who also was slippery as the devil. But the Invaders and Howling Commandos had eventually gotten that bastard, and the A-Team will get AIM. It was just a matter of time.

"You know, I forgot how much I missed those speeches," Sam chuckled. "That was shorter than your usual though. You getting tired, old man? Need to take a rest before we join the Mile High Fight Club?"

"Shut up, Sam," Steve shook his head. "There's just not a lot to say at this point. Everyone here knows what they have to do."

"Sure...but you're still Captain America," Wilson gave him a smirk. "Even if some of these guys are from places not wholly on the up-and-up, they still know you're a living legend. No reason not to give them that."

His friend was right, of course. Sometimes the unending fight wore on him, especially when his teammates weren't always agreeing with the direction of their missions.

"I guess that's why Fury really put you on the team," Steve laughed. "To be my sidekick."

"Hey, I am no one's sidekick. Partner. You got that," he jokingly pointed his finger in Steve's face.

"I can live with that," the man who was Captain America agreed.

Suddenly, an alarm went off in the cockpit and Sam took his seat, "We're coming up on the plane. I'm sure they'll have at least some countermeasures active, so you all better strap in!"

Cap took the seat next to Sam as the rest of the team followed his instructions. As the clouds parted in front of his eyes, the SHIELD cargo plane came into view. The black, hulking aircraft looked like a whale suspended in the air, somehow cutting a more awkward figure than even the Helicarriers did in flight. The cargo shuttle was at least ten times the size as the Quinjet, and moved like it. Strike Team A's craft was like a shark cutting through the air, heading towards slower prey.

But the whale was not defenseless. From below the wings popped two laser turrets that began firing a line of intense heat towards the approaching craft. With the skill he was known for, Sam Wilson threw the jet into a spiraling ascent. Through the spinning viewport at the front of the craft, Steve could barely make heads from tails, but he did manage to catch the beams barely miss the wings of the Quinjet. Without warning, Sam had the craft dive back towards the cargo plane. The speed of the maneuver was too quick for the turrets to compensate for, and with a surgeon's precision, Sam had locked the Quinjet's boarding clamps into the roof of the plane.

"Easy like Sunday morning," Wilson had a cocky smile on his face.

"You need to warn us before you do that next time," Crimson Fox responded, and Steve looked back to see her looking more green than red.

"We need to do that one again," Falsworth smiled broadly. "We're going to have a joy ride sometime, kid."

"Game faces, everyone," Steve said, standing and affixing his shield to his back. Next to him, Piotr stood and metal quickly spread over his skin as the mutant activated his power. Choi fiddled with his power belt, Union Jack checked the ammo in his guns, and Crimson Fox made sure her gloves were on snuggly. "You know the mission. You know your jobs. Now let's go pop AIM one in the jaw."

"I'll wait here incase we need to make a quick getaway," Sam nodded as the rest of the strike team made their way towards the boarding chute.

In the middle of the jet, a small opening telescoped out of the floor, revealing a top entry hatch to the plane. Atom nodded to the rest of the team, before dropping down to the other craft. The way the Quinjet was designed blocked the massive amount of wind from blowing the superhero off and into freefall, the nose pointed down in its boarding configuration. Suddenly, Choi disappeared from sight as he shrunk down to enter the inner workings of the craft.

Within moments, the hatch sprung open, and almost instantly Colossus jumped in, with Steve not far behind. Steve's feet had barely hit the deck below when the AIM soldiers inside began firing their plasma weapons at them. The shots harmlessly bounced off of Rasputin's skin, while Cap kept his shield primed to deflect any that came his way.

"Four in front of me," Colossus said clamly. "Two to my right. One in front of you."

Captain America took a peak over the shield to spot the one Beekeeper, named for the bulky, armored hazmat suits the AIM soldiers wore, in front of him, and the slanted wall next to that soldier. When the soldier dropped his weapon to reload, Steve yelled, "Now!"

In a maneuver practiced to the point of perfection, Steve threw his shield as hard as he could, striking the man in the head. The wonderous shield ricocheted off his skull, struck the wall, and pinballed between the two men to Steve's left. It flew back towards Rogers, but instead of catching it, he gave the edge a roundhouse kick towards the four that had been firing on Piotr. Giving the big man a warning, Steve yelled, "Incoming!"

Colossus, surprisingly nimble for his size, slid with his foot first, the shield missing his head by a hair on its continued journey. He popped up after it had cleared him, and continued rumbling towards his foes. The shield took out two of them before returning to Steve, and Piotr took out the other two, slamming them into the ground with one hand each.

The two men nodded to one another as Choi reemerged from his shrunken state, "Well, that was dramatic."

"Do not act as if you are not impressed," Rasputin responded bluntly.

"Well done, darlings," Vivian purred. "Now, the limey and I are off to do our jobs while you stand here and flex."

Steve nodded to them, "Good luck. We'll try and secure the cockpit."

The team split up, and Rogers's portion made their way forward toward their destination. The first new bulkhead they passed through, however, told Steve this wasn't going to be easy. There, waiting for them, were half a dozen more Beekeepers. Without hesitating, Steve flung his shield at the one closest to him. It thunked into its chest, and dropped them to their knees. But as the shield came back, he was amazed to see the Beekeeper instantly get back to their feet.

Not only that, they took off in a dead sprint towards Steve. He barely had time to catch the shield and raise it to deflect a surprisingly powerful blow from his enemy's bare hand. Steve swung out of the way as Colossus's fist slammed into the face shield of the Beekeeper's helmet. The material shattered from the blow, and what Steve saw below had his eyes wide with surprise.

"Well, that's new."

Staring back at him was a face that was modeled after a man, but was clearly mechanical.

AIM had androids doing their dirty work now.
H E L L B L A Z E R

London

As the man walked the streets of London he pulled the trenchcoat closer to his skinny body against the cold. It was early for there to be a chill in the air, but here it was nonetheless.

London had changed so much from the days of his youth, and not in the ways the bloody Tories whinged about nonstop. He didn't care if some bloke from Poland wanted to open a shop, or if some poor souls from the Middle East came as refugees. He liked a good sausage and falafel now and again. What John missed about the old London was the grit and the grime. He missed the city before it became New York of Europe. Hell, at this point New York had more grit to it. Now all London had were posh flats, posh people, and posh pubs. You really had to search out a dingy pub for a flat, cheap beer. It sickened him.

John leaned against a traffic light pole and lit up another cigarette before taking a long drag as he waited for his ride. Next to him, a woman waiting to cross the street gave him a dirty look. He couldn't even have a smoke in the city anymore in peace. He hated it here. At least in America they'd yell at him and he could get in a good screaming match. Here they were too damn polite to say anything, but not polite enough to let him know with a look.

Before long, a familiar cab pulls up, and John hops in the back. As it begins to move away, he presses his middle finger against his temple and gives the woman a nice salute as they pull away.

"Christ, John, would you put that out?" Chas Chandler grumbled from the driver's seat of the cab.

"Bollocks, Chas, not you too," John sighed and rubbed his temples.

"I'm going to have plenty of other fares tonight. And they're not going to tip if the cab smells like a bloody ash tray," Chas shot back at him. Chandler was John's best, and most likely only, friend. They had grown up together on the streets of London, crashing punk clubs when they were underage and getting in other kinds of general debauchery.

"Fine," John relented and toss the smoldering stick of carcinogens out the window. He watched longingly as it bounced off a curb and fell down a sewer grate.

"Where to?" he looked back, his round face and dull, brown eyes already looking tired at the beginning of what was sure to be a long night for the cabbie.

"The Bar," was John's only answer. He knew Chas would understand. It was the place that he had taken John the most all these years. The Bar was a place that people, and things, like John could hang out and relax in. It was a place where the people who knew how to peel back the veil of the world could congregate and talk about their work without prying eyes or judgement. Plus they had cheap beer and still let you smoke inside. What wasn't there to like?

"Just a social call? Or is this a work related visit?" Chas asked as the lights of nighttime London passed over the cab in waves.

"Don't right now, if I'm being honest," John shrugged. "Got a message that someone wanted to meet me there tonight."

"Sounds like a trap to me," Chas shook his head.

"Nah, not there. That would just be asking for trouble," Constantine waved off his friend's worry. "'sides I'd have the advantage there. Some of the people can stand to be around me there."

"Lucky you. I would hate to be up against a man and those who can barely stand the sight of him," Chas chuckled as the cab pulled off a street and into a darkened alley. Off a short, iron rod above a black door hung a little metal eye. The sign for The Bar. Some say that the wanker who wrote those wizard books visited here and got the idea for one of her own locations. John didn't know if that was true, but the bartender swears it is, and claims she stiffed him when he wanted a small taste of all that money she made. So he cursed her recently. What little John knew of the news led him to believe that part was true.

John stepped out of the cab, "Thanks, mate. Don't wait up."

"Whenever you say that, I always end up with a call at four in the bloody morning," Chas sighed.

"I'm nothing if not consistent," the warlock smiled devilishly as his friend drove off. He made his way towards the door, and when he stepped through he took a deep breath. The damp, musty air of the bar hit him like a hug, the slight whiff of sage beckoning him in further.

John headed towards the bar, passing small antechambers off the main passage ways. From inside he heard whispers, and saw the odd pair of eyes, some with some very unnatural colorings. None called out to him, or gave him trouble, but he could feel their stares as he passed.

Reaching the bar, the bartender nodded and slid a beer his way. John took a nice, deep gulp, satisfied by the, if he was being generous, cool, carbonated piss.

Before he could take another one, a voice next to him drew his attention, "John Constantine?"

He looked at her out of the corner of his eye, worried it was going to be an ex. Instead he founds someone new. A woman with chocolate skin and a tuft of frizzy hair pulled back into a bun. On her arms, bare in the vest she wore, were swirling tattoos of occult symbols. He though it was a bit much, but he did admit she fit in well here. And yet...she didn't. There was something about her energy. A stiffness to it that he couldn't place.

"Hello, love," he smiled and turned to her. "You the one that sent me the message? Because I have to admit I would not mind having a few more drinks with you."

"Yea, you're Constantine all right," she fished a bifold out of her pocket and flipped it open, the SHIELD logo flashing across his face. There it was. "Agent Pandora Peters, SHIELD."

"Christ, I don't know what someone told you, but I didn't do it," he sighed and took another sip of beer.

"I'm not here for something you did. I'm here for your help," she responded, taking a sip of her own drink, some kind of whiskey according to John's nose. "You came...well I won't say highly recommended."

"Don't you people take care of the super heroics? Not sure what you need with someone like me. Wouldn't Strange or Fate make more sense?" He was already annoyed. What the blazes did SHIELD want with him?

"They...my bosses, that is, don't believe me," Peters sighed. But it wasn't a sad sigh. It was a desperate one. "So I got your name from a friend. But I am not wrong and I am not crazy. I need someone to help me, and if it has to be you, it has to be you."

"Okay, love, enough flattery," he rolled his eyes. "What are you goin on about anyway?"

"I had a vision," she shook her head. "A few weeks ago. I have them, now and again, being psychic and all. Low level. Nothing really special, but it's there. This one was different though. It was just...darkness. Black as black can be. But the screams. The screams never stopped. Screams of pure, unadulterated terror. That's all there was...at least the only thing I could see or hear. But there was something else. A presence. Something that felt like...hunger. Hunger and malice."

John took all this in, listening, drinking, and smoking. Psychics had visions. Some of them meant something. But if what she had seen was true, it meant that something bad was on its way. It was also odd that this was the first he heard of it. Not that he was really plugged in with the psychic community, but still, something like this would cause waves.

"Let's say I believe you," John finished his beer and waved for another one. "Did whoever recommend me tell you about my fee?"

"I work for the government, money isn't an issue," she shook her head.

"Good," he nodded. "Now where do we need to go to start looking for...whatever is going on."

"New Jersey."

"Oh bloody hell."

Helicarrier Aethon. Washington DC.


The Quinjet came around and touched down on the deck of the Helicarrier Aethon, which itself hovered over the Potomac River. When he was brought out of the ice, it took him ages to adjust to the modern world. Almost eighty years of technological progress was a lot to process all at once, but there was nothing quite like when he witnessed an aircraft carrier rise effortlessly into the sky. It was both awesome and terrifying. But the truth of the matter was, whenever he walked the deck, he felt at home. SHIELD had given him a purpose and a mission, and he was going to see it through.

A blast of cold air hit him as the hatch of the Quinjet opened and he stepped on the deck of the helicarrier. It wasn't high over the river, but still the air was chilled. He took a deep breath and made his way towards the entrance of the bridge. All around him, SHIELD agents went about their duty. If he closed his eyes, he almost felt like he was back on a carrier in the Pacific.

Behind him, Piotr Rasputin plodded close by. Piotr was a "mutant", a naturally born metahuman, and Russia's representative on Cap's team. Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD, thought it would be prudent to have a Mutant on the team. While the public at large considered superpowers necessary, there were still bigots out there. Cap guessed there always would be. People scared of anything new or different. He had seen it in Nazi Germany, but it made him sick that it was still as strong in his home all these years later. His Russia heritage showed in his stoic nature. He was a cypher, though Charles Xavier vouched for him personally. He and Steve were yet to be friends, per say, but Steve knew he was good in a fight.

As they passed into the interior of the Aethon, a hard slap on the back had Steve turning quickly, only to come face-to-face with the beaming smile of Sam Wilson. Steve was flabbergasted, "Sam! What the hell are you doing here? Last I heard you were running recon over Quarac!"

Sam was the first partner Steve had as a SHIELD agent, and the person who truly helped him adjust to the modern age. Outside of Bucky, he was Cap's best friend, and a trust confidant. A former Army Ranger, Sam had signed up for an experimental flight test while in the military. Using a special flight suit, he became an indispensable one man infiltration unit. Now he flew under the codename "Falcon" for SHIELD.

"Yea, well, I got tired of getting shot at every damn day," Sam rolled his eyes. "UN Peacekeeping missions are for the birds...well other birds. I wanted to be where the real action was."

Steve's eyebrow raised at that, "You don't mean?"

"You bet, you are looking at the newest member of the A-Team...but BA Baracus ain't got nothing on me. I am way more handsome," he brushed his shoulder off. "Fury got the security council to allow another American. You better watch out or I'm gonna be on the kids' posters soon."

Flinging his arm around his friend, Rogers laughed, "I would not be surprised, buddy."

If he was being honest, Steve was relieved to have a true friend on the team. While Strike Team Alpha, affectionately nicknamed "The A-Team", worked well in the field, team bonding was generally nonexistent. Most of the international squad bristled under American leadership, even if they did begrudgingly admit Steve was the only man for the job. All of them being political appointees meant they all had agendas. Not that all of that was subversive, though there was some of that. But when each member of a team had slightly differing goals, it meant the mission could never go smoothly.

Sometimes he was jealous of the Justice League, even if he did think their freewheeling ways were dangerous. At least they didn't have to send something to a committee every time they wanted to go some place.

The three members of the strike team pass into the bridge of the Helicarrier. There, standing in the center, peering out of the large, floor to ceiling windows of the command deck, was Nick Fury, director of SHIELD. The sunlight filtering through the windows shone dully off his bald head, and he turned to face Cap, his one, good eye smiling, "Bout time you showed up. How was the geriatric support group?"

"You should show more respect to your elders, whippersnapper," Steve admonished Fury, who looked to be a good two decades Cap's elder at this point in time. "Someday you'll be old, too."

"God willing," Fury nodded. "Come on, the rest of the team is in the briefing room."

They made their way to a room off the bridge, this one devoid of windows with a long, silver table down the middle. Sitting around it were the rest of the A-Team.

Lord Joseph Falsworth, also known as Union Jack, sat closest to the door. He looked the stereotypical British lord, even in his SHIELD-made espionage getup. His dark hair was slicked back, and his face was full of sharp angles, as if he was a portrait come to life. There was a lot of his grandfather, the first agent to bear the Union Jack moniker and a former member of Cap's Invaders squad, in him. Falsworth was all business in the field, but a bit of a ladies man.

Vivian D'Aramis was next, picking at her nails absent mindedly. A French beauty with deep green eyes like emeralds and hair spun of gold, she was known as "Crimson Fox" in the field. A scientific accident had allowed her to control her pheromones' and confuse others, more easily men. She had also trained with French special forces before her time with SHIELD.

Finally, at the other end of the table was Ryan Choi, China's representative on the team, known as the Atom. The youngest member of the team had his head down, working on something on a tablet, with a wire leading to a belt laid on the table. Steve knew that was the source of his abilities. He had, according to himself and the Chinese Communist Pary, "perfected" a technology that Hank Pym had invented. His ability to shrink was more efficient and allowed for longer times altered. Some in the US believed China stole the tech he perfected, but Steve learned that this was a common occurrence.

Ryan was the team member Rogers didn't understand the most. He was brilliant beyond his years, and had the world in front of him. But he still supported a government that controlled its people with an iron fist, especially in his home of Hong Kong. Ryan claimed America could be just as cruel. Steve could admit his country seemed to have lost its ways in certain respects, but its people were still free. They didn't have the "Party" controlling them.

"Finally," Choi put down his tablet. "I was beginning to think we missed our mission window."

"Yes, now that we're all here, let's begin," Fury waved his hand and the lights in the room turned off and a holographic display sprung from the table. It showed some sort of tank attacking New York, flanked by AIM soldiers. "This, is the situation in New York. AIM's deployed a new weapon, and is threatening the city."

"So what are we waiting for?" Sam asked, obviously ready for the fight.

"Iron Man is on the scene, he can handle it," Fury waved again, and the image of the attack on New York switched to a view of an armored cargo plane with the SHIELD insignia painted on the top. "We believe the attack on New York is little more than a diversion meant to draw our gaze away from here."

"A plane?" Falsworth asked, his eyebrow raised. "Who's in it?"

"Not who, but what," Fury continued. "This cargo plane left a SHIELD covert research base in Northern Canada two hours ago. One hour ago it disappeared off of all radar communication."

"Someone take it down?" Vivian asked.

"Doubtful," Fury shook his head. "More likely AIM's taken it. Last known coordinates had it headed for..."

"Madripoor," Atom seethed. "A cesspool of disorder and criminality."

"Somewhere that AIM could make a SHIELD plane disappear for good and take what's inside it," Steve agreed. "What is in it?"

"A prototype energy source," Fury explained. "We've been working on it for a while. It's not ready for prime time, but if AIM gets ahold of it, who knows what they can do."

"Okay," Cap shrugged. "Wheels up in five. Let's go get that plane."
@HenryJonesJr I'll put it here as I'll probably miss your response in discord. I have a couple of alternates if Red Tornado takes too much away from you.

It's why I didn't wanna put it out there yet but someone invaded my safe place.


You’re good to go with Red Tornado. I can shift around some plans and we can talk more to make things work
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