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By now it was night time at The Proving Ground, the regular unknowing members of South Brookside Boxing Gym had all but gone home. There were three fights planned tonight. Two new faces were coming in and testing their might against each other for the opening bit, then a couple more rookie fights would close the night out. The spotlights were on the ring welcoming in the new fighters. In the left corner, Gordon Lander. In the right corner, ... ... well Midas forgot his name. It didn't matter anyway he would only get to really know their names if they came out on top.

Midas looked upon all of it from the back office, sure he had more important things to focus on but he couldn't help but drift his attention back to the event. Back to the task at hand, Midas sat back on his chair feet kicked on top of the desk. He held a bowl full of popcorn slowly snacking on them and wore head phones wired to a device receiving transmissions from the bug. Midas's tech guy sat across of him with a less laid back posture. "Do you like the set up?" "Ya know I have to have it to you. This thing works a treat, out of such a tiny object." "Well that because of the new nano-technolo..." Midas' attention trailed of back to the fight.

But then Gugliano's voice came over the transmission and Midas was snapped back to attention. Waving the tech guy out of the room he was left alone in the back office. When Gugliano was talking about heroes being the problem and shoving that kids face in the grapes, he couldn't help but smile. It was the Vinnie he knew and the Vinnie he respected. But that smile and good will faded as he talked more and more about the Gugliano empire and a new ally?

Who could this ally be? Gugliano was the top dog of Castleburg, who would he need help from? Midas didn't like the idea of some unknown group coming in and trying to take over the place. At least Gugliano is someone people know and know his rules but giving power over to some whoever the f*** group wasn't going to fly. He flung the headphones off.

Midas was left in a room with nothing but a tape recording, likely the only one outside of the Gugliano's who know about this. A misstep with this information could cost him his life. Midas had doubts that maybe he was over blowing it, but there was no mistaking it some foreign group has influence over the Guglianos. He would need some force to resist it, but the few good pit fighters he had been recruiting just weren't going to cut it. No matter how Midas looked at it he would need to reach out to other gangs. He would sleep on it and tomorrow, if he hadn't changed his mind, Midas would make some calls.

Starbright was a bit taken a back with the suddenly appearing girl. But before he could react she went on a tangent about legal sides, paper work and publishers, as if he knew anything about that. Though, he still considered talk out his ass about it to scare her a bit he always loved doing that. 'No, not now Starbright, this is not the time or the type of person to do it to' he thought to himself. It was clear the girl was very shy, he had dealt with shy fans in the past and he knew how to deal with them.

Starbright relaxed his posture and softened his voice while heading toward the opposite side of the room, taking a seat. "Legal stuff? Oh no I don't care about that. The more I hear my songs the better if you ask me." He started leaning back on his chair. "It's nice to meet you Eliza and, of course, you know who I am already. I just had to meet the person play that viola... violin." Starbright had his fore fingers and thumbs in a rectangle and looking through them with one eye closed. As if he were sizing up camera shots. "Tell me, are you a hero here? I assume you are with that power of spontaneously appearing, but I can never be sure."

It was a rare day, when Noah had very little to do. If he was being honest with himself, he didn't have many hobbies or anything to do when it didn't involve being Starbright. Even still he kept the Starbright look everyday in case paparazzi were to ambush him.

Today, he thought about going to the park again. The one in New Athens with the good view of the pond. Again, he never really picked up a hobby. So he would just grab a snack and eat it there, out of a lack of anything better to do. The snack he was looking for was in the fridge of the common room on the fifth floor, club sandwiches always went down a treat.

Starbright strutted toward the common room with usual fashion. The music that poured from his headphones was his own song, a recent chart-topper. But something unusual happened. Starbright had listened to this song countless times but there was no violin over it. Maybe he was hearing things he stopped in his place next to a black section of wall that looked suspiciously like one way glass. Furrowing his brow he listened in, and there it was the sound of a violin over his song. What could it be? Were his headphones broken? But when he took his headphones out to inspect them the violin still played. But about 10 seconds later it stopped with a scratch.

There was no doubt about it, the music was coming from behind the one way glass. A fan of Starbright perhaps? A hero who was a fan? The only thing that was certain, and most important, was that they had the sound Starbright was looking for. He had to see who was in that room and spent very little time finding his way to the entrance.

The door swung open with a burst of light, not blinding but bright none the less. Starbright stood in the door way switching between different poses with different flashes of light. This went for a total of 6 seconds, far beyond the point where it would be surprising for a normal person. "It is me, Starbright. I must know who was playing that music in here."

Midas saw William eyeing him down for a second. But he seemed to focusing on something more specific. 'Oh that was right I forgot to plant the phone back on him' he thought to himself. A little bit of panic came in to his otherwise perfect plan.

“Nice job, Midas. The boss has already wired the money to your account” Midas spun around to see the crew already here to take the young hero away. "It's always a pleasure doing business with you all. He did put up quite the fight though, let me restrain him while you do the whole syringe thing. For good measure." This opened Midas' opportunity and he was going to take it. Restraining Will from behind he slipped the phone back in his pocket. Midas knew he should have done it after the syringe took effect but he would risk being seen doing it. Will will know his phone is planted back on him.

"I checked him for wires too, so you should be good on that front. But don't let me stop you from being thorough." But the wide grin on his face wasn't because of the quip. Instead it was because he could be confident they wouldn't find the bug, one of the perks of searching for them every other job is knowing where to hide them.

That was Midas' job done as far as he was concerned. Now time to head home and listen in on the affairs of the Guglianos.

It didn't take long before another projectile came soaring toward William. But instead of a stick, road roller or any inanimate object, it was Midas himself. The low traffic on the street allowed him to shoot between them at high velocity. But Midas stopped just before contact remembering he had to take him in alive, presumably not irreversibly injured. "Night" Midas quickly delivered a knock out blow to the head. Prolonging the fight would have caused considerable collateral damage and he didn't want to get banned from his favorite restaurant.

Making sure William was knocked out, Midas reached into his pockets. Fishing around he found William's phone. You see, Vinnie had never made a demand like this before. When Vinnie asks for a hero, he gives a name and very rarely does he care what condition they are in. It all seemed off to Midas, and maybe the top dog of Watervale had gone soft. Maybe he was going to sell everyone out for immunity from the law. Either way Midas was wanting to find out the details. Popping off the back of William's phone he planted a bug in the circuitry so he could listen in on what was happening at Vinnie's.

It wasn't long before William was off the street and into the back of Midas' car with his hands tied behind his back. Surprisingly, it was a peaceful ride one of the better ones he has had with a hostage in the back. Maybe he had gone too harsh with the blow to the head, he really wasn't waking up.

Upon arrival just outside the gates of the Gugliano mansion. Midas started shaking William awake, more gently than what would be expected of a kidnapper. "Wakey wakey. You have yourself a date with Vinnie Gugliano. For your own sake I wouldn't recommend running at this point."

Midas sat in an New Athens Italian restaurant with his accountant and two others at the table. He often took fighters that caught his eye in The Proving Grounds here to show them a taste of the good life. One that they could get if they signed up under him. The two across from him were those fighters this month.

Midas had already given his speech about glory of the fight and such, but now it was time for his accountant to sort the boring details. He begun to stare out the window as he sucked up the last strand on his fork. It was peaceful out there, little traffic, a good amount of pedestrians and a just a lone cyclist. But he just about coughed up his food when he saw who was on it. That water guy, the hero guy who uses water, yeah, what luck that a paycheck would just be going down the street on the other side of the road.

Midas spent no time handing the accountant his card to pay the bill, "hey it was great meeting you two but something urgent came up that I have to address." He turned toward the accountant "you can handle the rest I presume use that card to pay up the bill also pay them double for the damages." "What damag..." "these damages." Midas yanked a leg off of the chair taking the back support with it into a long stick, a bottle on his belt opened and a golden liquid flew out swimming like a serpent in the air before shooting into his neck and down his spine. That should give me a head start, thought Midas.

Midas exited the restaurant and yelled jokingly across the street to the heroic cyclist. "Hey! Waterboy!" at the same time as yelling Midas used the stick and threw it like a dart across the road. With some skill and a lot of luck the stick landed squarely in the spokes of the front wheel.

If he was being honest with himself, The Proving Ground was Midas' favorite place to be. What is a regular boxing gym on the south end of Brookside turned into a fighting ring by night. The fights didn't pay well here but anyone can join and hell the reputation is free. The perfect starting point for a fighter wanting to make a name for themselves. And a good place to size up the new blood. In fact, Midas liked this place so much he bought it and made the back office his center of operations. He was leaning back on his seat with feet on the table counting the money from his last hit. An A lister going by the name Hull, 'honestly what a terrible name I did him a favor by taking him out of commission if you ask me' Midas thought to himself.

Word on the street is that Vinnie Gugliano has been making moves lately and Midas always enjoyed things heating up. A turf war always meant more business for him, would Vinnie hire him? It would be good money. Would someone hire him against Vinnie? Sure Vinnie would be a good fight but Midas didn't want to end his life that quickly. Though Midas hoped he would never get the hit on Vinnie specifically, he had a reputation to keep and saying no to a hit would ruin that real quick. Either way the wanted board at Moonlight will be something to watch out for as all this heats up.

Doppel arrived at the Watervale port, a new shipment for Vinnie had just arrived and needed to be transported back to his mansion. Same old same old. Barely under the veil of twilight Doppel sat on a ship crate waiting for the van to arrive. His feet dangled over the edge as he begun to whistle. The dock workers were waiting as well, but Doppel tended not to interact with them. The business between the Guglianos and them were their business, Doppel was just there to protect the payload. Honestly he wouldn't be surprised if the dock workers themselves were part of the gang as opposed to just getting bribed. Or did he just own the docks? It wasn't Doppel's place to poke his nose in but either way a smooth operation like this speaks highly of the would be kingpin of Brookside.

The van rolled up about ten minutes after Doppel's arrival, a little later than usual but not out of the ordinary. The balding driver in casual clothing hoped out, greeted the dock workers and then proceeded to banter with them for another ten minutes. 'You just saw them like a week ago, what possibly could have changed Louis' Doppel mused to himself as he hopped off of the crate and strolled to the passenger seat of the van. Kicking his feet up on the dashboard and not bothering with the seat belt, he begun his whistle again.

Several minutes later, a great thud was heard as the van shook down. The package was in and the back doors shut soon after. "How you doin' Louis?" "Yeah I'm doing alright, Markus." Doppel didn't really expect much of a reply, despite doing this for a few months now, him and Louis never really got onto a friendly basis. Doppel did his job, Louis did his. But they continued some very light banter throughout the trip.

The job of protecting smuggled goods was surprisingly safe, you would think that people would get suspicious of a plain black van but how many times have the cops pulled someone over just because they didn't like the look of their car. This wasn't to say Doppel was sleeping on the job though, he kept his eye out. His clone however, kept an eye inside. Against the knowledge of the driver, Louis. Doppel would often have his clone in the back of the van looking at the goods. This shipment was just guns, nothing out of the ordinary. Doppel didn't do this for any grandiose goal, it was just mere curiosity.

The van arrived at Vinnie's mansion and Louis stopped the van at the entrance. Not because the package was dropped there instead this was where Doppel got out. He wasn't yet allowed in the complex and it was pretty easy to see why. It wasn't because he was a threat to Vinnie, in fact Vinnie could snap him like a twig. No, instead it was for keeping secrets if Doppel were to do anything to steal plans he would be able to get away with ease. That wasn't a risk Vinnie was willing to take and Doppel more than understood. It wasn't like he minded. The pay for this job was good he wasn't about to try pushing his luck.

Doppel stepped out of the vehicle and shook off. Despite the drive only being about a half hour it always felt like he was sitting there for eternity. "Alright I'll catch you later Louis, tell the Guglianos to contact me if they need me to do anything more. I heard he was doing some things in Brookside from Tony, I wouldn't mind doing some work on my home turf ya know." "I'll let them know." Only a short reply from Louis didn't give away much. But they had the number to Doppel's burner phone, so he could expect a call if there was work to be done.

Dweller slithered out from the surprisingly clean manhole cover. 'God they even clean their manhole covers, guess thats Kingdale for ya' he thought to himself. The street was quite populated before he arrived but his mere appearance sent them all running to the hills. Dweller hadn't even begun yet, but the state of the street didn't concern him he looked more bewildered as he saw the panic his presence created. In Brookside and the lot they just keep a bit of distance, he strokes the scaly appendages that hung from his lips as if it were a mustache of a wise sensei while in thought about this. He then carried on to the task at hand.

'Kingsdale Genetic Research Facility' he had come to the right place. Perhaps they would have some answers as to his transformation where the lab in New Athens sorely lacked. But first he needed to do stretches, the environment of a sewer does little in the way of keeping the body limber and limber is what he will need to be with the hero response times Kingsdale is so willing to brag about. With his game face on he picked up a nearby bike locked to a light post, almost taking the light post with it before the bike lock snapped apart like a piece of gum. Not long after, the bike was flung at the window with such high velocity that the window and bike itself were smashed into tiny pieces. Even Dweller had to take a step back and cover his eyes.

Screams came from inside the reception area that had just gained a new ventilation plan. Dweller spent no time at all leaping in and bringing it back to silence, mostly by knocking them out. He isn't a savage. By the time any heroes arrive the reception would be smashed up, mostly vacant and with the lights smashed. Dweller lies deeper in the lab and its now darkened corridors.
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