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Welcome To The Jungle - Chapter 5: The Escape

Location: Earth-F67X New New York City, NYU Langone Health 550 1st Ave Manhattan

A mire of intrusive thoughts stifled Genesis' soul, smothering her in a bog of quicksand neck down. Turning blue, the pressure had her bulging bloodshot fish eyes protruding like blackheads between two fingers. She failed to as much as even whimper through the morass of guilt applying pressure to get ribcage. "I don't deserve to live." With so many individuals persevering, tooth and nailing their way through the cesspool which was life, her meandering existence was something Genesis wanted to change. The ebb of emotions dragging her further into the abyss felt more like a riptide, leaving one logical way to escape. Going against the way destiny set out for her only caused suffering.

"Pitty is reserved for those who succumb to the will of others. I am stronger than that."

A voice, thunderous and with conviction, echoed through the ocean, submerging her unmuffled.

"I did not erupt from the womb of a woman to be submissive and reimburse patriarchy. I am no calm waters. I am a force, rapids even…"

The voice resonated with Genesis. Through her flooding ears, the gospel spoken was what aspired to be. Someone who could take reign over and reconstruct the woeful circumstances of her life so far. It was sweet to imagine just for a moment that she could bolster the confidence to be what her daughter needs in a mother.

Nothing prepared Genesis for what she was about to hear.


Upon this epiphany, not only did Genesis bolster enough strength to swim horizontally to the current, but instead of returning to the shore, she swam further out into the sea. Nautical miles even, but now, at a leisurely pace, taking on whatever lies ahead of her.

Genesis awoke to the sound of chirping birds competing with the noise polluted city streets below. After opening her almond eyes, the night sky stared back at her, causing her to question why so many song sparrows hung by the window sill parallel to her hospital bed. The whim to let them in overtook her, and once doing so, several nested on her lap and shoulder tweeting up a storm in such a manner convincing enough to believe they were trying to communicate. Genesis couldn't quite articulate it, but it felt urgent. Like she had to leave immediately. But why?

Face to face with the open window in nothing but her hospital gown, a calm breeze ruffled her curlish fro. Looking down stories above the chaotic city streets, there wasn't a way down, but the birds urged her to. As crazy as it seemed, Genesis saw herself taking the leap.

"Ah, Cartagena, you're here. Timely as always. Seeing the patient in room 1107? Right down the hall. I wasn't aware Ms. Morant was a part of the government. When it was requested that she was placed in such a luxurious level of care, I assumed she was famous."

Not one for the small talk, Cartagena's thunderous brown steel toed boots approached from down the hall. As a leader in scientific research within the Mobius Ops, he felt the obligation to see this wonder of science for himself. In his mind brewed a plethora of ways to subvert this technology into the blueprint for the next generation of super soldiers operatives. All in the name of defending against the imminent Val'gara threat. With every inch of progress, Earth-F67X became closer to taking the offensive opposed to its perpetual state of paranoia based defense.

Out of the orifices of Cartagena's rust-colored trench coat, hundreds of thin mechanical fibers wove together, pulling up his bulky emerald plated visor. His deep, unnatural, nebulae-like eyes dilated, focusing its biological scope until the operative's spinning kaleidoscope vision made out the shape of a patient standing before a window in a far left room.

"She's awake. Perhaps I can get some answers. If not, I'll ship her off to New Roswell to deal with Tartalo." Cartagena thought sinisterly. As with just his eyes, he examined Genesis's vitals. "Unbelievable." It appeared as if her body ran with perfect efficiency. Prior to the operative's lumbering frame approaching the doorway, Genesis already felt his intimidating leer. The birds fled.

She didn't know what to think of the strange man's looks. He was a rugged, bronze-skinned individual, not too much off from her complexion, sporting a trenchcoat with an excessive number of pockets. Under was a matte-silver breastplate akin to what gladiators wore but modernized. At his waist, a bandolier of capsules and cork plugged vials of colored liquids. The operative's spiked knee pads were plagued with rust caused. His whole existence caused Genesis to question why such an individual was even approaching her. He was clearly suited for combat elsewhere. The second eye contact was made, none of that mattered. She felt like a cornered fox. Instinctively, her body tensed up.

Clearing his throat, Cartagena's voice softened a bit before he spoke.

"Ms. Morant, it's nice to meet yo–"

He paused, acknowledging the spike of adrenaline visibly pumping into her system. With his microscope eyes, he visualized the mobilizing nano machines in her system.


The light switch flip to anger in Genesis expression resembled a scowling cheetah. He examined her abromally large canines with visuble concern. Lost for words, Cartagena tried to quell the intensity of the situation.

"I'm just here to ask you a few questions."

Right foot forward, knees bent, right leading arm posed like a claw. She was dead serious. The befuddlement within the operatives head space was short-lived once realizing the Val'gara nanomachines manipulated her to a dangerous level of aggression. Though Genesis' sleeveless hospital gown, his eyes surveyed the extremity of her chiseled muscle definition. Cartagena siphoned the uncountable mechanical fibers present in his body as a response. The tension was so thick in the air that you could cut it with a knife. It was like a western showdown. Who would draw first?

The instant a single fiber left his sleeve, Genesis sprang across the bed with the grace of a cat, springboarding towards Cartagena with the conviction of a lion. Thousands of wires exploded out of his clothes, overwhelming her in a sea of threads wrapping all of her limbs. This included her downward slashing arm, which was just centimeters away from his chest. At first glance, it was easy to mistake her elongated nails as acrylics, but they were outright razor sharp claws. As they crept close to the operative's armor, the bulging vein on his forehead became pronounced. This defied logic. Cartagena could stop a speeding SUV in its tracks, and here he struggled to contain her. She was winning the tug of war, and with a vigorous slash, she shredded his body armor like cardboard, inflicting a grievous cut across his chest.

Blood stained his boots cherry like dripping chateau montrose. Autonomously operating threads performed like stitches sowing his wounds proactively.

No longer playing nice, Cartagena tightened his grip in a fit of rage, outright ragdolling her with the combined might of his bulky grappling frame and constricting threads. He suplexed her, propelling as much of her body as he possibly could through the top of the room's doorframe and into the next across the hall. The entire floor went into a frenzy as patients, nurses, and senior medical pactitioners scrambled to get out of the way, screaming hysterically.

Clenching his chest with his left glove, Cartagena couldn't believe he allowed himself to take such a blow. There wasn't much time to dawn on it, however. Through the walls, he saw the target already up, healthy, and near another open window. His threads urgently contorted themselves, rocketing around and into the next room infused with bioforce, lassoing her as she reverse dove like an olympian into the night. As soon as his rope knotted tight, her body dispursed into swarm of nanomachines, self destructing into the wind, leaving Cartagena wrangling smoke.

She was gone.

Uncharacteristically, a smirk made it onto the Mobius Operative's face. He began to record an audio log of the interaction.

"In a brief moment, she cloned herself and camouflaged traces of her real form that even these eyes couldn't notice. I counted only three blinks on my part throughout the whole exchange. I suppose this settles the debate of whether this technology is worth pursuing..."
With an entrance hidden behind a holographic projection leased out by illusionist The Reader, this club was hidden in plain sight, located just below a Long Island City underground parking garage operating currently as a relatively managing encampment. Much of this community made means by scrapping cast-off cybernetics from the canopy and other well-off areas, turning them into the next man's treasure. A few were even vendors at flea markets throughout the city, developing such a niche following that outsiders came to the lot to cut deals before their parts hit the market. It wasn't much but it allowed them to build out their tenements, which were constructed vertically out of the foundation of abandoned vehicle stackers.

Despite how seemingly successful this tight-knit community was, a very obvious observation, which was never spoken about, could be made. No matter what they collectively scavenged, there was no way this group of people could collectively pay the city and its immoral prices for the space they call home. There was a very simple answer as to why they were left alone for so long to build, though you couldn't beat it out of any of them.

Walking into the garage, a man in a navy suit and tie followed by two nearly seven-foot guards, stepped in like they were regulars. It's clear this man came from wealth and as soon as someone tried to get a look at his face, it transmogrified as unreadable to their eyes like a gaussian blur. It was almost as if everyone's neural optics collectively malfunctioned. Walking with a McMahon-esque stride, the man and his eccentric bop progressed toward the largest vendor's sector. On sight, everyone else currently in the store made a swift exit through the entrance's shell-beaded curtain. The two accompanying stoic-faced guards barely fit through the door.

The elderly man behind the counter, Jotorie lifted his metal-plated eye patch, shooting an amber ray that scanned the man briefly up and down. He lifted his fingerless, hobo gloves to reveal a cybernetic eye in the palm of his hand which he related info.

"Go on."

The elderly man put his cowboy boots on the counter, lighting a mild as the quirky suited man and his security walked, phasing right through the wall behind him. It led them into a stairwell, lit up with parading lights as pulsing music could be heard from afar. Below this garage was a basement even wider than the actual structure. Even the sound was completely suppressed from the outside by means not fully understood by the businessman. Only after being lifted from an ascending platform did Odis see the entire venue.

The arena was dimly lit currently aside from the ring bathed in a vermillion light. Low spotlights circled the crowd as hovering drones patrolled the airspace in search of suspicious activity. Kind of moot considering everyone here was suspect or corrupt in some sort of way.

Holographic, crystal-clear displays lined the walls, catching reactions to every crushing blow between the fighters as the sound of metal clanging pierced the onslaught of cheers and taunts. The current undercard fight was brutal, causing Odis to wince as both fighters used league-regulated advanced melee weapons and gadgets to bludgeon each other. The center ring was elevated on a steel platform with elements like cars for cover and sand pits spread throughout. Below the platform was a thin pool of what you could only assume was some scarlet acid to deter running away once they committed to the bout.

While spectating for this brief time, Odis couldn't help but feel like he was constantly being watched. He felt relief, however, knowing he was heading off to the suite which was very much less prone to the chaos customary of the bleachers or front row. Steeping in, he was alerted to the dangerously low and deep growls of a panther. Before he could spot them the dangerous heavyset gangster Jag greeted him.

"Odis Lyndon Gallagher. You made it, or should I say…Ferris."

Instantly, like a switch, the once nervous expression the goofy man held the entirety of his duration in the venue turned smug. With his body language alone, he confidently, implied "You know very well." Quickly unfastening his top button and pulling away at his tie until it crookedly hung, Fearis let out a sigh of relief.

"Do you know how terrible it is to let that idiot be in control sometimes?"

Shaking his head, it became unkempt enough to rid his corporate sleekness. The two guards behind him melted into a matte silver liquid, jumping off the ground and into the orifices of his navy suit, disappearing. As unsettling as it was, it didn't cause Jag to skip even a beat of his pulse.

"Take a seat."

Before Ferris Caldwell could, he noticed the once growling feline rubbing playfully against his left leg. Taking a seat across from Jag, he skipped the small talk and got right down to the reason why he was there.

"At first I was surprised when the Goldman Brothers made me aware of their little experiment out here. I even doubted anything interesting would come from it but I don't mind being proven wrong as long as the results, like in this case, are interesting."

Raising a brow, Jag hung on to any rebuttal. He was interested in what info the man was about to relay.

"Your Queen is street ready to rule."

A face, pale as retracting metal, poked through the abyss, alerting Han with echoing heel claps through the tunnel. Much of the approaching man's figure was cloaked, muddied in the darkness, but a light briefly flickered on, accompanied with an electric buzz. A relatively tall, trenchcoat-wrapped figure with a semi translucent face likening off-white fiberglass had been stalking the blonde for who knows how long. Han could look for the person she saw earlier but they were gone, as well as the entire entrance she perceived. Glancing over her shoulder, light flickered once again, revealing the top-hatted figure was closer. It wasn't the same man pursuing her. It was now the person she originally saw from a far to introduce herself to.

"I am the reader."

Words implanted into her skull, but his face never progressed from a mannequin's expression. His body phased away, revealing the cloaked individual's face mirroring early failed attempts of ai art. The Reader's towering isoscele's triangular figure stared into her cerulean eyes with a glare lacking humanity and pupiless. As Han looked through his transparent skin she could see his brain, but subsequently after, something told her internally that she was looking at her own. Perhaps into her own soul. Examining every aspect of her essence, he grew judgemental.


A loud rumbling crept towards the two from the parallel tunnel. A relic of half a century ago, an old service car, lingered into the abandoned station lacking a conductor.

"I will take you where you need to go."

The once lauded illusionist, directed the short woman to the train with one of his several outstretched mechanical limbs. The rest folded along his abdominal area. No desire existed within him to deceive her, though perhaps she had no choice to follow him as he clearly had been tampering with her locating services and senses. He was an expert on the matter. Obligated to police and surveillance the tunnels, to keep out unwanted intruders, he'd often doom them to wander the massive depths of the subway, thrown astray by tech and chemical induced misimpressions of reality.

Stepping into the car, the specialized mirage dissolved, revealing an illustrious arts décoratifs inspired interior with a golden ceiling. From various speakers an incanting sermon could be heard, accompanied by profound organs and choirs.

Welcome To The Jungle Chapter 4: Evolution

Location: Earth-F67X New New York City, Brooklyn Bridge Park

Screeching sirens neared as paramedics gracefully navigated the mounds of warped steel, cars, and rubble operating coconut crab-like transports. A potent, swaying strobe light surveyed the area for survivors as men with agile robot units leaped out with haste. Compacted like a can, Genesis' car stood out like a sore thumb, sitting vertically at the top of the pile, wedged between several hulking rods of steel. The nose of the car was completely stuffed, crushed to such a degree that it appeared Genesis' limp body was in the back seat.

Her entire lower body was crushed. The accompanying robot to the paramedic scanned the car with due diligence while several debated even attending to her.


It was a miracle. The unit's arm transmogrified into a form much larger than its initial size, employing a hard light saw to butter through the car's metal exterior. Mouths gaping, the crew of medics stood perplexed and aghast. Immediately after pulling her limp body from her wrecked vehicle, her flesh, stripped to the very bone aggressively multiplied in real-time, reforming around her matte black skeleton. It baffled them. How she was even alive let alone unharmed after this ordeal was a conundrum bordering on conspiracy. The questions only multiplied as she was ushered to the hospital. What kind of governmental tech was this? The investigation was already underway.

The answer lies in the past….

Jag had overt ways to obtain resources. Dealing with the various colored syndicates on Earth-F67X was risky but it had to be pursued to quench his insatiable lust for power. Often, lives could be seen as house money, especially in a case where they could yield miraculous results. The sample Jag received from the Goldman Brothers due to their "partnership" was not to be seen as charity by any means. They had methods and devices to track how their experiment would pan out. That would worry most men but Jag couldn't recall the last time he slept without one eye open. He was a powerful man. Ego gave him immunity to the idea of consequence. His soul darkly settled on if he couldn't have Genesis nor could the world.

Guinea-Pigging your partner was a heinous act Jag would have to atone for one day, however, he lived in the moment. Despite this, the urban chief genuinely foresaw a future with Genesis. Just not the one she envisioned for herself or Amina. In many ways, this was an investment. One to ensure that his family and tribe would become one. To gain this, in that vulnerable time for a lover even, like a hawk, Jag preyed on her will to survive, focusing on turning Genesis into an asset.

Battling leukemia, Genesis was told she was getting a bone marrow transplant. Albeit, by suspect means, she knew very well, but there was no way to know Jag would stoop as low to experiment on her. At that point, their relationship was already on rocky terms.

To keep Genesis, Jag gave her a new lease on life, healing her illness but in return, the river of life flowing throughout her veins was home to millions of Val'gara nanomachines. Subsequently, the hemocytoblasts in her marrow were charged with a permeating influx of Bioforce radiation. As a result, her physical traits began to defy human anatomy over time. First, she'd never bruise or scar. Not too long after that, she noticed how toned her body became. Genesis worked out, but not enough to yield such results. She then cut her regiment for a few months, mindful of her feminine figure, but the improvements in strength and flexibility remained. At times, looking in the mirror, it appeared she had grown a little though she recalled being 5'5 her entire adult life. With every year, her body changed slowly but surely, but it was a candle in the sun to her mental changes.

Genesis couldn't pinpoint it, but at times, she didn't feel like herself. Her emotions ran at severe highs and lows. She often repressed deep anger, blanketed by her sadness. In times of stress, she'd black out, losing her sense of time, having weird visions like dreams where she imagined committing gruesome violence to solve her daily dilemmas. When in spells, she’d forget to pick up Amina from school and gymnastics. Feeling she was losing an understanding of her body, Genesis asked for help from time to time from Natsasha. Primarily, Amina even spent most of her time at Grandmother's home, the one place Jag's personal code of conduct forbade him from entering.
Alias: Erykah "The Empress" Morant
Name: Genesis Erykah Morant
Height: 6'2
Weight: 184 lbs
Affiliation: Tribe Barrio
Home: Earth-F67X

With steel will and an uncompromising demeanor, her words resonated, never falling on deaf ears as even Tribe Barrio members acted in confidence on her whims. As a genuine empath, Erykah consumed the feelings of others only to dominate them under the sheer presence of her aura. Through this, she was able to subdue animals and command them through telepathic means.

Erykah could out-wrestle a silverback gorilla as if it were a toddler. Her flexibility and strength far exceeded human anatomy despite her relatively compact size. The gradual infusion of bio force radiation through her marrow transplant, influenced by Thane's nanomachines, fortified her bones into an element creating a pseudo dreadamantium, an element from Colossus the original Val'gara home world.

Erykah's chiseled but curvaceous figure marked the peak of humanity and evolution in Jag's eyes. She operated on the grounds of a sophisticated savagery that the gangster saw befit for a Queen of the Jungle. Years of frustration molded an alternate persona that overcompensated her lack of ability to change her circumstances. In many ways, it quelled her anxiety. It spoke to her in a manner that assured her that she now had the power to enforce her will upon others as they had done so frequently to her.

Appearance: In base, her body reflects like a satin silver with subtle plated ridges. She had a curly fro like steel wool and it was common to see her wearing cheetah and other animal prints in a style fit for an amazon complemented with feathered cape shawls.


Val'gara Nanomachines: Though nowhere as malignant and versatile as the Herald they were recovered from, the machines over time augmented her body into that of beyond a super soldier. Because her marrow operated like a factory and produced them at the frequency of white blood cells, Genesis never fell ill to disease. Within a week of them being introduced, her leukemia disappeared without a trace. It was no surprise toxins had virtually no effect on her as the nanomachines fueled by the influx of Bioforce radiation, evolved her body to withstand the trials of modern combat. This included even biological warfare. Her body is slowly but constantly improving itself to become stronger with each battle that passes. What was not slow was how accelerated her healing process was. A bullet could enter her body and be pushed out but her rapidly healing wounds in seconds.

Faux Dreadamantium Skeleton: Once liquid dreadamantium cools and hardens, it can never be manipulated again. Draedamantium is a very powerful metal that does not combust under any sort of atmospheric pressure, even in the vacuum of space. However, unlike dreadite it does not grow through solar bio-force, but it simply diffuses it, taking none for itself. The version that made up her skeletal frame and razor-sharp nails were most parts identical to the original but dreadamantium does fare much better in outer space.

Accelerated thought: As a result of the nanomachines constantly working to improve her body, it is only natural that her brain did as well. Through this, Genesis' thought process sped up exponentially. She became an excellent strategist and could read people off the slightest nuance. She tapped into the ability to manipulate her bioforce and sense it in others.

Queen's Ambition: Seeing herself as the queen of the concrete jungle, her conviction and aura naturally dominated others. With just a trance, animals yielded to her and once they tasted Genesis’ blood, she developed an empathetic bond with creatures granting her the ability to command them autonomously.

Who's who?: As a metamorph, Genesis had the ability to alter her appearance, height, and voice to match individuals she interacted with. This is entirely cosmetic and for espionage purposes. She doesn't mimic or gain the abilities.

Out of the Ordinary
> 0 Clout ::
> 1 Intellect :: Accelerated thinking
> 1 Magic :: Capable of Altering her appearance and manipulate bioforce. Empath.
> 2 Physical :: Extremely powerful/Regenerative abilities/Freakishly Nimble
> 3 Technological :: Advanced Nanomachines.

After a reptilian blink, the demon's pupils scattered like a broken rack of pool balls. Parooz's mouth foamed, leaking a malodorous miasma laced with kerosene and Eau de Parfums. To his fellow spectators displeasure, the devil's abhorrent wheezing and violent spasming distracted from the final, probably drawing Kyinon's ire. Like a marlin, the devil's straight jacket restrained body jousted into the doorstep of Daniel and Tom. Billions of electrical impulses in the depths of his twisted mind fired relentlessly, mirroring the action beyond the scope of the portals, ping-ponging through the endless labyrinth of his gyri.

The mafioso's body was too hot to touch, fatally searing if even a quick attempt to unlatch his bindings bounded by hell occurred. A demon suffering at the feet of mortals was no sad scene, so no sympathy was expected, but if anything, the bizarre sequence of events before them were a sign of something significant. What could cause a malefic entity to virtually have a seizure when he had nearly infinite pools of hell energy to siphon computing prowess from? The terrifying luxury tendons currently binding him to hell allowed for just that. What did that say about this verse in general? The straps loosened on arrival, but now Parooz felt like he was being dragged back. Their power was increasing. The boundless verse that was the nexus, deemed unscalable, impenetrable to outsiders, was vulnerable. Perhaps by the subterfuge of events masquerading as a final. Whether it was carelessness or hubris, obliviousness could lead to oblivion, which wouldn't be so bad in the demon's eyes considering what they put him through prior.

Before Parooz even came to his senses, reminiscing slightly to events not even a day ago, an explosion thrusted him like a blade into the wishmaker. His maleficent frame vibrating like a wet saw with hell sourced energies, highly adaptable to being capable of burning through arcane walls of power by the most ever-present and long living entities.
Welcome To The Jungle - Chapter 3: Refusal

Earth-F67X: New New York City, Brooklyn-Queens Expressway

Much like Genesis’ gut-wrenching emotions, the storm did not subsist. Squinting, her’ eyes barely made out the road. It was hard to see the winding snake path yet she maintained to break into the BQE safely. On this tiresome commute back, a good night’s rest was craved. However, there was no telling how much her mind would race the second her body hit the bed. Genesis’ hastening thoughts penciled what Amina’s life could become were Jag to find out. The horrific reality of her daughter being groomed to become some corrupt engineer, scientist or political pawn for Jag’s tribe tugged viciously at her sanity. The joy of her world was in Amina. For her to go down a path like her father… Stressed, she no longer could stomach the thought. To drown out those worries, Genesis turned up the radio.

“Breaking News: This is a localized alert via CitizeNN. There are dangerous disruptions in your immediate vicinity along the BQE. Depart immediately.”

With no option to turn around, Genesis rerouted to the next exit hoping the commotion was at least a few miles ahead. Mistaking the grumbling road for potholes, the pavement below this quindecuple-stacked expressway deteriorated in real time, waving like lifted bedsheets. Genesis acrylics dug deep into her palms, clenching the wheel hysterically the instant she felt weightless. Her navy sedan floated trunk side up, propelled meters forward to the point where she barely made out some makeshift mech rampaging through the highway. With legs like an emu, it leaped, crashing through the lower levels, hurling cars like hot wheels.

Its Octavian bundaloo extensions drilled through any mass of infrastructure with the audacity to be in its path. This carnage Genesis found herself in the middle of, despite seeming senseless, had some means of madness. At the helm of the mech was a man named Vernon Hayes, a member of a cult led by an environmentalist influencer gone rogue. The group, Neo Environmentalist Working, Destroying, Earth’s Ailing Liabilities (N.E.W. D.E.A.L.) took up the task of limiting carbon emissions by stringing a long series of terrorist attacks on transportation infrastructure contributing to climate change.

What was unclear to the public was how said group obtained the consistent flow of funds and tech to commit such atrocities on society regularly. There were plenty of wealthy groups and politicians secretly lobbying on their behalf. The corruption was that clear but somehow unproven. In a corporatocracy, they were a feared collective among CEOs and executives. With devoted members ready to sacrifice themselves on the regular for a cause, it was often too late when discovering who a member was.

Vernon Hayes, a statistics secretary of the Metro Transit Authority, after copious amounts of research, hand-picked the demolition of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway as a means to put a clot in the flow of traffic into Queens from Brooklyn. This easily inconvenienced millions, giving Vernon an orgasmic shot of dopamine which was particularly heinous when factoring in the complete disregard for innocent lives now in harm’s way. It was rush hour. He couldn’t have picked a worse time for such pandemonium and Genesis, like hundreds of other drivers found themselves descending to their imminent demise.

Nose diving at a corkscrewing angle, all she saw was the rubble-filled junkyard that Brooklyn Bridge Park became below. Hipster joggers and bicyclists fleed frantically, piercing the air with ear-splitting screams. Knowing this was the end, Genesis shut her eyes. The cries for help, the destruction around her, fizzled out, muffled by perhaps the acceptance of death. Consoling memories of Amina, her mother, graduating from NYU with Natasha; she experienced it all simultaneously, finding solace after many years of duress.

It was finally over…

“One’s death ushers the birth of another.”

Right before impact, the gaze of a gorgon penetrated her psyche. A voice, which sounded much like her own, more powerful and with conviction spoke to her soul. The will to see Amina. The will to survive overcame her. Genesis had no time to make sense of the jolt of heroin in her veins but before she could act it was already over.
Welcome To The Jungle - Chapter 2: Reunion

Earth-F67X: New New York City, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza

Plopped on the ground like a sack of potatoes, Natasha's bent round-eyed frames fell into the umber shag carpet preceding the full-grain leather couch Jag lounged on. The reporter felt dwarfed as if she were laying right before the Lincoln monument when looking up at his onyx-suited hulking figure veiled in the dim lighting. Natasha swallowed her heart as the tingling breath of a beefy black panther bore down on her neck. With that and the gangster's judicious leer suffocating her, the tactical transfixion of the reporter was complete. A voice cold with anger then spoke out.

"I never concern myself with gossip from those at the bottom of the food chain but your insistence on justice seemed hollow, contrived. I had to conduct some research and came across some fruitful connections between us."

The prowling panther showed restraint, sauntering back to Jag but Natasha's cold sweat persisted. Her heart thumped like the 808’s humming through the walls of the neighboring party. Right before her was Demarco "Jaguar" Lucas. A man with practically an urban militia, guilty of just about everything vice, snugly living in his small sector of the city, yet here she was, face to face with him. She made a living loathing and exposing real-life villains like him, yet none of her pieces about his jungle mafia Tribe: Barrio ever seemed to gain any traction in the media. It was clear Jag read them at least, as he sent an assailant to abduct her.

Prior to this meeting, she carried a deep personal hatred of him. Her vendetta against Jag was founded on very simple accounts of his history of abuse towards Genesis, her old college roommate, and friend.

A momentary lapse in judgment allowed the journalist to forget just how much danger she was in as she recalled their past. Scowling at him, she remembered the luxurious limos he'd often send Genesis way in the thick of the night. Peeking through the blinds, the chauffeurs in name resembled thugs of the worst caliber. Bestial cyber-enhanced goons bordering on body dysmorphia were their common theme. Natasha wrote extensively about the psychological dangers of delving too deep into cyber enhancements. In the tribe's particular case, the gradual degradation of their psyche as they obsessively sculpted their bodies caused them to emulate the behavior of their favored animal making them subhuman. To think Genesis was subjecting herself to being around such a crowd on the regular showed what kind of psychological hold he had on her. Though she and Jag were no longer together, the child they brought into the world forever entangled their lives. Natasha thought if she could just bring enough attention to his black empire through the press, the authorities would do the right thing and Genesis as the caged bird she was would be set free.

Mustering up a microgram of courage, with her eyes producing waterworks Natasha lashed out. "If you wanted to kill me over the articles I wrote, you could have done so without bringing me here!"

Inching slightly forward, a smug smirk momentarily crossed the tribe leader's face. "You should be thankful for having a purpose beyond fertilizing the soil for a near life cycle. I have some tasks for you, woman. We'll start with the most important one. I have a daughter as you know. Her birthday is coming up. I would like for you to find out what she wants. I expect through your integrity as a journalist that the info you report back will be accurate."

Natasha stared at Jag in genuine bewilderment. This couldn't possibly be what he dragged her down here kicking and screaming for. Not in the position to object, she replied "That won't be a problem," fumbling to straighten the glasses on her face after wiping her eyes.

Leaning back into the cushions of the couch, Jag lit a cigar off a peculiar spark emanating off his golden prosthetic. "Good, and as a means to safeguard your task, I’ll remind you I have many more animals camouflaged throughout this concrete jungle we call a city. Some which, won't be as delicate with you as Oringo."

He was right. Even if she tried to somehow report this, thugs just like the one who brought her here could swoop her off the streets in an instant. Natasha wasn't aware, but Oringo who watched her with hawkeyes from the corner of the room had her scent engraved into his memory. He could whiff out her location and hunt her down like the prey she was.

"I take your silence as a sign of obedience."
Are we back?
Welcome To The Jungle - Chapter 1: The Tribe

Earth-F67X: New New York City, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza

A blend of bare-throated bellbirds, electronic synths, miscellaneous roars, conga, and trap drums awaited Oringo as he neared the club. Carrying a frantic Jane over his left shoulder, the damsel repeatedly battered his back which felt more like woven steel than muscle. Desperately, she began to pull on his dreads, the pelted lion’s mane of his vest, and so on, but to no avail. The transporting warrior proceeded to clear draping fauna with his free hand, allowing her to turn ever so slightly to see around his shoulder and catch a glimpse of the two men guarding an entrance to a vault door. She caught sight of the bouncers. As much as the blaring stroboscopic lights allowed and even looked to the two for help, but as she approached, they practically ‘high-fived’ her kidnapper.

“That’s my young bull right there! Yo, look! He caught another one."

Turning around, one of the heavyset bouncers, built more like a gorilla than human, with his cybernetically enhanced arm proportions, relinquished his grip on a belligerent drunk. He bore the entire weight of the man with just his pressing forearm. The unconscious male fell several feet off the ground, folding upon himself on the Boston ivy and weed-ridden concrete as he turned his head. Simian walked over to examine the woman, identifying her as Natasha Holcomb, a reporter for the Daily Hound.

"Mans is relentless when it comes to his prey.” Haughtily laughing, his oversized gorilla-esque gold and diamond-studded canines revealed themselves, leaving the reporter terror-stricken.

"Go right to the back. Jags waiting.”

Oringo, her captor, gave a slight nod and proceeded to the back where he’d soon meet with the chief.


With the tinnitus-inducing sounds of the party, rattling the walls of the VIP section, the stocky fingers of Jag palmed and carefully caressed the top of a black jaguar’s skull. The imperfections of his vitiligo-ravaged skin stood out compared to the rosette pattern drowned in the feline’s melanistic fur. Typically, to observe them you’d have to venture into the endangered animal's habitat, which many were hesitant to do. However, the alternative was no better. Meaning, you had to get close to Jag, in his territory—a jungle hid in the metropolis at 4 Pennsylvania Plaza. Now only known as ‘The Garden,’ the world’s most famous arena and much of the vicinity around it became notorious under his thuggish tutelage, transforming it into a community of cybernetically enhanced humans living in a housing project of tribes under one umbrella.


“I’ll be frank. I can’t help but fear for Amina’s future...”

A middle-aged woman, clearly overworked, tidied her messy bun before carefully sorting through the report cards of her fourth-grade students. On this wet, thundery day, she was tasked with meeting with all the parents but she felt exasperated with the thought of a single one. Another woman sat across from her, clearly anxious in her own right, failed to even make eye contact with her. Genesis, like every other parent, awaited her child’s grades. The teacher, Mrs. Herring, slapped a sheet of paper face down in front of her. Tensely flipping the report over, it was revealed to be some sort of an IQ test to her confusion, widening her distressed brown eyes. It read the following. “The results of the administered test have determined that Amina Lucas has an approximate intelligence quotient score of 219.”

After reading the score, the woman sunk in her chair a bit, head down, plunging further into her anxiety until the teacher placed her right hand on hers. “Raise your head, sweetie. You must stay strong. Please, for her sake. Keep this a secret from him. There is no doubt in my mind that he values her as the princess of his kingdom and that is what I find so...unsettling."

With the inevitability of her daughter being involved in the vice operation Jag called a business looming over her thoughts, Genesis cried. Her cheeks resembled the drenched panes of glass soaked by the storm, running her mascara to her chin. “I’ve never been so afraid of tomorrow.”
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