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A Man Out of Time #6: The Rise of Rage #1

Location: Pacific Point, California


A dozen hours had passed since his recent encounter with the Hounds and his subsequent time passed out, The Wanderer finally stirred from his position in the alleyway. Despite the amount of exertion that was taken out of him from detonating his psionic barrier, he had managed to be in a sitting position behind the dumpster as to conceal his presence. As he looked groggily over his body to check his injuries, his right hand propped himself up so he got back on his feet. His muscles still felt sore from being in the position they were in and his injuries, but he chalked it up as the norm from his past experiences. His eyes hovered over each of his bullet wounds he obtained. While they were still severe in appearances, the sharp pain he felt before was reduced to a dull throbbing. At least they’ve stopped bleeding, he thought, his hands making light work of checking if any of the bullets remained in his body. Satisfied with all his injuries having exit wounds, he limped out of the alleyway and carried on with his search for the person known as Voyager.

As he roamed the streets, disregarding the looks and the unusual chatter of the state he was in, he listened in on some of the gossips that were starting to become common to his ears. The Hounds had struck again and this time, they were using advanced technology that The Wanderer could only dream about. From the sounds of it, the places of Philadelphia, Nautica Island and Paris, TX were either decimated or obliterated off the face of the planet. He grits his teeth. While he had caused devastation near that park, it had been worth destroying that scum that wiped off thousands of innocent men, women, and children needlessly. In his mind, his thoughts turned back to the inexcusable actions The Officer had done which caused Settlement 149 to be completely cleansed of life. ”I’ll find these bastards and show them the meaning of the pain they’re causing,” he muttered under his breath, his hands curling into fists as he carried on limping through the streets.

Suddenly, he heard screams from a nearby street. Worried about The Hounds attacking innocent people in broad daylight, The Wanderer went into a jog to where the sound came from. As he reached the street, his eyes widened in horror at the sight he was seeing. In the streets, he saw a muscular being that towered over the people in the street. While the muscular 7’5” frame was something to see, it was another to see this being engulfed in a shiny, almost metallic surface. And at this moment, it was ripping through the cars that had gathered around it in a cocoon-like structure and attacking the people in the streets. Without thinking, he began walking towards it.

”Hey asshole! Pick on someone that’ll beat your ass!”

The monster looked up from what it was doing towards The Wanderer. Its metallic body turned to square off against the approaching mutant, a gurgling growl ringing out in a metallic tone. As he drew closer, the mutant’s body began to glow purple, the flames of his aura licking the air as hot and fiery as the look of determination in his eyes. With a sudden surge, the monster went into a full sprint towards him. With his hands already in a fist, The Wanderer ran towards the beast and began to throw his fist towards it, ready to clothesline it with the strength behind his fist.

Both of them collided with each other.

The next thing he knew, the mutant was launched back from the monster, the impact of his fist doing nought to affect it. He flew tens of feet from the point of impact as he ended up being sprawled all over the road. The aura he had around him was gone, his thoughts going about processing what just happened. As his mind gathered everything that had just happened, his left ankle was grabbed. A moment later, he was sprawled through the rubble of a clothes store near where he was as he was thrown from where he laid. Groaning from the impact of the two attacks, he got back up to his feet and walked through the broken wall that he went through. He looked at the creature growled at him. Again, he walked up to it as his fist launched another attack against it. Much like before, his attack connected dead centre of the monster’s chest, but it didn’t move a budge under the weight of the attack.

With his attack stopping dead in its tracks, his body was left open as he was swiped from the front. Unlike before, he was ready for the attack. Its splayed hand impacted the barrier with the groan of its metallic limbs. The impact of its attack was enough for him to be sent skidding a dozen feet along the street. It roared at The Wanderer as it was apparent that its attack was ineffective. With the anger now filling his face, his eyebrows furrowing as he gritted his teeth, the mutant lowered the barrier and allowed the psionic flames to envelop him again. The flames raged in tune with his anger, though more fiercely around both of his arms.

”Enough of this.”

The Wanderer raised one hand towards the beast and fired a beam at the monster. Unlike the previous attacks he threw before, the beam was effective. As if hit by a freight train, the metallic monster was sent flying tens of feet down the street. As the beast slowly gathered itself to get back up, the mutant was already on top of it through his teleportation. Without any chance of reacting, he began slamming his fist down across its head. As the barrage of psionic-enhanced strikes rained down in the creature’s head, he saw it slowly get weaker and weaker. With a last almighty swing, the creature was then rendered unconscious, all of its metallic muscles seemingly relax at once.

Panting a sigh of relief, The Wanderer collapsed to a sitting position next to it. As he heard the few cheers of those that remained to see the fight, he looked at the creature and the device that was on it. ”So,” he muttered, his breath slightly ragged from his exertions. ”These beasts are highly resistant to pure strength attacks. Guess I’ll have to stick with psionics for now until I can find a permanent way of putting these guys down.” While he didn’t know if the unconscious monster’s metallic skin was resistant to his psionic blades or not, he didn’t want to test it to make sure it wasn’t a success.

As he slowly got to his feet, The Wanderer looked up as two more creatures appeared. One of them was a similar size to the one he just fought, though it was engulfed in flames. The second was much smaller and had an appearance of something being made completely out of sand. Leaving the metallic monster where it was, his right hand flicked further to his right, his psionic blade now appearing around his arm. ”I don’t know about it, but I have a feeling that this will take a while.”

 
In
 
Target Locked #6: Target: The Hounds of Humanity #3

Location: Sherman Square
Time: Evening - Day of Hound Attack

 
As she pushed the bike forward, Fletch shook her head as she concentrated on moving her bike to a safer point. She was still annoyed with the new kid fobbing off against the heroes that were here to fight the Hounds of Humanity. Unlike the majority of the heroes that have gathered, including that jackass, she was only human. This was even despite the slightly enhanced agility that she received from Evergreen. Even then, she had achieved a fair amount, including the recent fight he had with the Hounds of Humanity, taking down an attack helicopter in the process. Still, there was only one thing she needed to complete and it just so happens that the person she was looking for was here. This was despite Nemesis’s muted reaction to her nodding at her. Guess I’d have to let her know once things get underway, she thought, watching as the woman walked towards the center.
 
However, the groaning sounds of metal bending under extreme weight was audible in Kayla’s ears. And shortly after that, she stopped dead in her tracks. While she didn’t know about Nemesis’s magnetic abilities flaring up, it had affected more than just her bike. She literally just stopped dead in her tracks, her every fibre in her body not budging an inch. She tried her very best to move from her spot, but with her legs and arms frozen in place, there was nothing she could do. Not even turn her head as the woman entering the building snapped at the jackass behind her because of the comments he made. What surprised her even more was her remark to the woman that was talking to him, mentioning the fact that the jackass’s friend had spoken something about not trusting the metas to get the job done. While she refused to move, the new information that came to her made her thoughts sour. If there were people wanting to help in the city, then surely they’d rather do it themselves if they think that the metas weren’t doing a great job? Especially if they are far more capable of doing that sort of thing that they could ever do. The archer didn’t know the recent history of the woman, but she was starting to not like her at all.
 
As Nemesis finally walked back into the building, the magnetic fields stopped. Fletch almost dropped to the floor as her sudden binds were released. Luckily, she managed to steel her legs before that happened. As she managed to recover and start to push her bike again, she heard Icon speak again. She understood his frustrations as there were people arguing over a simple statement that the jackass blurted out. Before she could say anything, a new woman arrived, materializing out of nowhere. Her skin and hair made her stand out from the heroes, which the look of surprise and wonder apparent in the archer’s eyes. As the short conversation between Icon and the woman, who identified herself as Flux, concluded, Fletch took the opportunity to speak up. ”Of course. Sorry for my actions. You’d probably understand that while I’m not a metahuman, I don’t want to be brushed aside as usel...”
 
Just then, as she moved her bike to an alleyway that ran alongside the Sherman Center, Fletch heard it. It was a familiar sound that she now recognized from the recent fight she had with the Hounds of Humanity moments ago: Helicopters. Without thinking on the matter, she grabbed one of her arrows and fired it towards the roof of one of the buildings. Using the grappling mechanism on her wrist, it wasn’t long before she was hauled up to the top of the building. Detaching the cable from her glove, she drew another arrow as she readied her bow for what she was to see next. From her vantage point, she could see a large number of helicopters heading towards them. And they certainly didn’t look like they were touring the city, especially with their armaments visible to her. Guess the Hounds are coming towards us, she thought, getting the clip of her release aid clamped around the D-loop of her bow. It wasn’t just the helicopters that she saw. She vaguely saw the trucks speeding towards Sherman Square. This had been obvious as they’re forcing both motorists and pedestrians to move out of their way. But the scary thing about the incoming Hounds was the ground shaking, even from where she was standing. Her eyes finally noticed the half-dozen mech suits that were lumbering towards them. Their armaments scared Kayla, even as she was perched on top of the building and should be more worried about the helicopters coming their way. ”There’s no way that my arrows could harm them, she muttered under her breath, her nerves showing in it.
 
”Heads up!” she roared, her voice now hiding the nerves she was clearly feeling. ”We’ve got a large number of Hounds inbound!”
 
And just like that, all hell broke loose.
 
Once the Hounds had gathered their forces, their guns rattled throughout the streets of Sherman Square. Fletch took cover as the helicopters fired as well, no doubt seeing her on the rooftops. Unclipping from the D-loop, she reached into her trouser pocket and grabbed two more seeds to attach to the arrow. By now, Archie was hiding in the other pocket in fear, reacting negatively to the loud gunfire that was in the air. As the choppers ceased to fire on her and began to fire down below, she went out of cover and took aim, her sights aimed at the armoured vans down where she was. While the mechs seem to be out of her league, the helicopters, vans, and troops were fair game to her. Concentrating on her shot, she felt her shoulder muscles engage, slowly ramping up in that familiar strength as she pushed beyond the wall of her compound bow. All the meanwhile, her focus on her target zoomed in as her vision tunneled through her right eye through the scope. Snap! With such violent motion, the arrow was released from the bow at frightening speed. The arrow impacted the ground between the two vans closest to her in the streets below, the familiar explosion from the seeds deafening the air of Sherman Square as it pushed the vans apart, crushing troops in their wake. The soldiers already between the vans were dead, the explosion killing them instantly as the shockwave burst from the seeds.

When the dust settled, the Hounds finally took their chance and fired up at the archer above them. With the cover of the building, she ducked behind it. Her eyes scanned the helicopters through her yellow visor, making sure they don’t turn around and fire at her again. When the Hounds stopped firing to reload, Fletch let loose as she reigned down arrows at the fast rate that she managed to train herself to do. Once she had cleared the Hounds in the street below her, she began to move along the rooftops, jumping over venting units, walls and the gaps between the buildings to find her next target.
Meanwhile, in Little Tokyo, Lost Haven…

(See bottom of post for English translations)

The heavyweight battle between the Triads and the Yakuza kept trucking on, with many bodies littering the Chinatown-Little Tokyo areas of Lost Haven. Many the crime syndicates in the city were taken aback by the sudden start of the gang war and steered clear of the bloodbath, fortifying their own positions in case the two gangs started to focus on the contested territories. As the gang war became confused about who was the victor, The Hounds of Humanity announced their assault on non-human folk and started their attacks on Lost Haven. Few would dare to try to claim territories in the war zones and then try and solidify a position there before expanding from within. And that is exactly what the Penose expected and began to capitalize on it.

In a hotly-contested shoreline warehouse facility in Little Tokyo, the Hounds of Humanity were attempting to either seize the facility to expand their import power to bring in more soldiers and gear. They took the opportunity to claim a small warehouse facility on the docks, left untouched by the Yakuza and Triads in the war. The temptation of starting up their own shipping lanes to provide their own products to the black markets in Lost Haven proved too great for them and struck out for that reason as well. As they spent weeks setting up shop since the Hounds’ first announcement, they were finally ready for them to start their business and were about to contact their suppliers that they were good to send their goods to Lost Haven.

It was at that point that the Dutch syndicate struck with the quiet efficiency that their country of origin is known for. Several men moved from the nearby buildings, the black vans silenced for hours to wait for the right time to strike. Quickly, they approached the building, silenced variants of the HK XM8 and multi-staged frag grenades ready. Three groups opened up vans that weren’t used for personnel. What was inside and driven out of them were ground attack drones that were armed with dual-mounted M134 miniguns, fully automated with state-of-the-art targeting systems and a large drum where the belt of bullets that fed the machines. The other gangs of Lost Haven have little to no intel as to how the Penose were able to get their hands on the military-grade weaponry, with rumours suggesting that they were being sourced by another, larger organization.

The syndicate didn’t know what hit them as the Penose began to silently massacre them. Those that realized they were being attacked on the eve of them beginning operations tried to respond. Their counterattacks were proved futile as their bullets bounced off of tactical armour, a prototype steel plates that sandwiched several layers of sheer-thickening fluid between them. Those that had the common sense and began running away from the area were met with another team, ripping them apart with a hail of gunfire. The rattling of the drones’ miniguns rang out into the air as it ripped through the insides of the building. It wasn’t long before the rout was complete and the drowning sound of gunfire ceased. With the facilities cleaned of Hound personnel, the group leader emerged from one of the black vans.

The tall, blond haired man turned to the littered bodies with disgust, sneering his broken nose away from it. He walked to the open gateway to the inside of the warehouse to see his men beginning to clear the bodies out. “Iedereen! Veilig dit faciliteit! Niemand komt hier voor de nabije toekomst binnen!”1 he barked, the men snapping to the orders. Much like this facility, the Penose had struck out at key shipping facilities claimed by the Hounds throughout Lost Haven and Crown Ridge, securing them in a similar fashion as this one. As another man walked up towards the group leader, his posture giving the suggestion that he is the second-in-command, the Dutchman turned to him, “Heb je van de andere groep gehoord?”2

“Ja, zij bin succesvol met hun aanvallen,”3 the second-in-command responded. His appearance suggested that he wasn’t Dutch, but an Afro-Curaçaoan. He was dwarfed by the large man, but his build was more than enough to suggest that he could hold his own. “ De Hounden van de Mensheid zullen nooit dit vergeten, meneer.”4

“Zij zullen niet deze aanvallen vergeten,”5 another voice piped up in the warehouse. The Dutchmen turned around to see a man walking towards them, his eyes glancing around the whole building. As his eyes turned to them, his distinctive half-skull tattoo unnerving the XO, he smirked. “Als ze horen dat hun verzendfaciliteiten genomen zijn, zij zullen ze proberen te hun herwinnen. Zij zullen mislukken. Als ze horen dat hun verzendfaciliteiten worden genomen, zullen ze proberen ze te terugstellen. Zij zullen mislukken.6 Of that…” He paused briefly, allowing both men to watch as his eyes to change from brown to red to gold and then back to brown. “I am certain. Not if they don’t want to cross my employer.” And with that, he walked away, leaving the Penose to carry on with their plans.

---
1.“Everyone! Secure this facility! No one comes here in the near future!”
2.“Have you heard from the other groups?”
3.“Yes, they have been successful with their attacks."
4."The Hounds of Humanity will not forget this, sir.”
5.“We don’t want them to forget these raids,”
6.“And when they hear that their shipping facilities are taken, they will surely try to take them back. And they will fail.”


In

Target Locked #5: Target: The Hounds of Humanity #2

Location: Sherman Square
Time: Evening - Day of Hound Attack


Fletch watched as Icon paused, thinking on his response for her to join them against the scum that was The Hounds of Humanity. As she watched as the famed superhero looked at the others in the group, Archie crawled out of its hiding spot and climbed up her side, perching on her shoulder as it watched the other heroes with curiosity. Even with the others being new faces, it new that they had an air of being important people so it sat there and looked, behaving itself. The archer watched as the hero of Lost Haven looked at the others, each of them nodding with approval.

As he spoke to her, confirming that she was allowed to join them, Fletch nodded in acknowledgement of an important statement. Inside, despite her hardy appearance and stern look, she was shaking with such nervousness and surprise that someone such as Icon was accepting her into such a mission. Finally calming her nerves enough to respond to his question, she looked at him and nodded. ”I’ll gladly help,” she responded, her voice hiding the fact that she was nervous in his presence well in the face of certain danger ahead of the group. ”While I may not have been in this hero business for long, Fletch and Archie will fight in the name of Lost Haven.”

Almost relieved by stating such a commitment to the cause, Fletch heard a voice from behind her. As another person joined the group to respond to the crisis, she turned around to face the new speaker. While she kept her body language composed, her eyes gave away her surprise when she saw Nemesis standing there, leaning on a wall. While she may be an unknown to such heroes, her mind recalled the events down in Chinatown, where Nemesis traded blows with War-Pulse moments before the drones struck both of them down in a fiery conclusion. Assured that she now had a chance to let the new arrival know that she was there to help her escape from Midas’s grasp, her eyes returned to normal, nodding slightly towards her in acknowledgement that she needed to speak to her at some point.

Shortly after acknowledging Nemesis’s arrival, Fletch felt the air shift around her. While she had been wearing practical clothes that would help against such a change in the atmosphere, it didn’t help as she felt chilled at the presence. It wasn’t long before it disappeared and the woman with the staff spoke to another newcomer. The archer turned around and saw another woman, dressed in a red cloak with a cane and red heels, had arrived without making a sound. She looked at the newcomer with a slightly puzzled look. She might be new to the hero scene and had seen a lot of things during that time, but this was yet another thing that would surprise her. I guess that I should expect more things like this in the future if this is the way I should be heading, she thought to herself, finally reaching for the bow on her bike, connecting the finger sling to make sure it didn’t fall out of her hand in surprise. If only you could see me now, Jason. Acting as the tough one that you were. The sudden thought of her former fiancé saddened her, a pained look visible in her eyes. Even after all these years since then, she was still mourning for him and wished she was able to touch the side of his smooth face one more time.

The reminiscing thought Fletch had disappeared as she heard the woman with the staff shout out in exclaim. Looking up, she had seen another man arrive, though his appearance was a little bit more trivial as the woman told the new man off for his arrival. It suggested that he had either super speed or was able to fly. A moment later, though their conversation, the man disappeared and returned with two… The archer once again was surprised when two movie chairs were brought to the scene, where the two heroes carried on with their conversation as if it were normal. However, when the man seemingly shouted above and insulted the whole group. Fletch scowled at him, the thought of making them eat his words by sending an arrow close to his crown jewels to emphasize that she wasn’t to be messed with. However, not knowing the full extent of his powers deterred her, never mind how the others would react to such transgressions. She tightened her grip on her compound bow as she continued to scowl at the man. ”At least we’re here to deal with a problem we all have in common. Not spouting off bitchy comments at the slight thing that we don’t like.”

With her annoyance now cleared out of her system, she looked towards Icon, Iron Knight and Lyger. She grabbed both handles of her motorbike, ready to push it to an area close to the doors of where the heroes were meeting. ”I suppose we should discuss how to deal with this shit, right?” Slowly, she began pushing her bike towards the Sherman Center.
You know I wonder how much force would the Finger of God inflict. And of course heat. But mostly the force. Could Icon say stop the beam with his bare hands? Would Briley shield the Ageis way back in season one be able to stop it? Could Excalibur take the blast without breaking? Question questions. I'm pretty sure we don't want to find out again.


I wonder a similar sort of thing for The Wanderer's barrier psionics. Sure, it stopped multiple rounds and can more than likely stop a tank round, but the Finger of God? Things to make you go 'hmmm', I guess.


In

Target Locked #4: Target: The Hounds of Humanity #1

Location: Square of Hound engagement, Lost Haven
Time: Late afternoon - Day of Hound Attack


It didn’t take long for Kayla to scout the area she signed herself up for. Though there wasn’t much in the way of Hounds besides weapon caches for the terrorist group to return to, there were televisions in the rooms on all the news stations, as if something big was waiting to go down. As she watched in horror, the news about three places being devastated or destroyed by a weapon started to break on all of them. The people of Paris, TX; Nautican Island, MA; and Philadelphia, PA were all wiped out or outright killed as all bar Philadelphia were wiped off the face of the planet by weapons in orbit of the planet. The archer’s eyes widened in horror as the news broke out, left speechless at the thought of thousands of men, women and children were killed. Reaching for the radio on the belt, she pressed the send button. ”Guys, turn your attention to the news…” she spoke, her voice hiding little of the shock of the news. She carried on watching as all the news channels were cut out and a shadowy figure replaced them on all the screens. This was the first time that Fletch had seen a worldwide message from The Hounds:

“We warned you. We told you that compliance was non-negotiable. Yet you chose not to listen.”
“The time for talk has passed. From this moment on, you are either with us or you are against us.”
“We are coming, and you will either stand with us, or you will burn with them.”


Whatever the message’s meaning was, the pit of Fletch’s stomach began filling with anger. How dare these… these monsters! she thought to herself, gritting her teeth as the shadowy figure was replaced with the news channels that got cut off for the broadcast. Her right hand clenched into a fist, nails digging into both leather and the exposed skin to either leave their mark in the glove or draw blood. She turned and began walking out of the room, holding the radio in hand. ”I’ve got to cut my time here short. I need to help out with whatever has happened. In mind, she has one thing that she needed to do: get answers to what has happened. And she was planning on finding any of The Hounds that are still operating somewhere in Lost Haven to get them.


Location: Driving through Sherman Square
Time: Evening - Day of Hound Attack


Fletch raced through the streets to get to her destination of Little Ulster. She figured that she’d start in that area of town and slowly expand her search until she found The Hounds. And to think this was to be done with the Penose, she thought, concentrating on the road ahead of her to avoid crashing. As she raced through Sherman Square, her eyes looked over to the Sherman Center. She could only imagine that the terrorist group were planning on targeting this city next, seeing as this is the hub for all the famous meta superheroes today reside. It was only the fleeting moment that she saw Icon and Iron Knight that she realized that a response was happening in the aftermath of this attack. Without hesitation, she put her bike into a skid, stopping several meters from the group that was forming. As she took off her helmet, she was listening in to the conversation that the group were having, recognizing Lyger in the group as well.

“If you all remember back to the Pax crisis three months ago, a heroine named Archangel used orbital strikes surgically to destroy quite a few of the dome-generating devices hidden across the country. I believe that the Hounds have somehow stumbled upon one of these satellites and have repurposed it for mass destruction. I have no idea how this WMD had fallen into the Hound’s hands, although I can only guess that S.T.R.I.K.E. saved one as an insurance policy. But I do have a plan.”

”I’ve repurposed one of Archangel’s old chassis. Since they both should have the same technology built into them, we should be able to exploit the satellite’s programming. Maya here has graciously agreed to help us out by running the exoskeleton.”

“I was at the university the day it was attacked, I destroyed those towers. This is the bit of technology I fished out that they used to hurt metahumans with - a special sound frequency. Probably the same shit we’re going to run into again. If you want to dismantle that satellite you’re gonna to have to do it properly. I’m the woman for the job. I have as much at stake, Lost Haven is my home. And. . .” Fletch watched as the unknown woman was talking to the other heroes in the group, seemingly looking at each of them in the eyes. “I’m going to help whether you like it or not.”

“If you’re willing to fight, we can use all the help we can get. Maybe it’s time we took this conversation inside.” Icon responded to her. Seems that I’m in the right place to help out with this Hound shit, she thought to herself.

“I was about ready to make the same suggestion. We need to make a plan of attack so the Hounds can’t use that satellite to murder countless people in cold blood.”

”If you guys are after the bastards that caused all that damage earlier today, then count me in,” she spoke up, looking at the group on top of her bike. ”I don’t want them to target here next, not when there are lives at stake.”


In

A Man Out of Time #5: Back Against the Proverbial Wall #2

Location: Pacific Point, California


The bullets pounded the psionic barrier like torrential rain from all directions and in The Wanderer’s mind, he could feel each bullet hitting at their respective points in his head. He didn’t dare think about how strong the barrier was as he faced near-mental exhaustion. Every time he felt like the barrier was going to fail from the exhaustion, he shrunk the barrier smaller until it barely encompassed him in a human-sized cocoon. If the barrier faltered for even one second, it would be game over and history would repeat itself over again. Then how would he live with himself in his last dying thoughts that billions of people would die from the nuclear holocaust that would result?

While the thoughts were racing through his mind, the Hounds continued their relentless barrage, tactically timing their reloads as to not give him an opening. While the barrier is small, it was stronger than it had been when he first put it out. The mutant always looked around to see what his options were for an escape or a counter-attack, but most things came up with nothing. It was only when his options seemed to have run out that a voice came to him in his head. ”Do you think that is the limits of your own abilities in the aether?” It was then he thought back to the person who spoke those words.


Time: What is supposed to be Midday, 195 years in the future
Location: Near what’s supposed to be Pine Bluff, Arkansas


The wasteland had been as The Wanderer remembered; desolate and void of almost all life. He remembered this memory to be 10 years after he had been put into then exile for his transformation from human into a mutant. And it was 9 years since he met him. A flash of purple shone through the barren landscape, bringing him closer to the source. As he drew closer, he saw dead vegetation near the source and decided to hide in them to see what was going on. As he pushed through the dead bushes that stood in his way to get a better view, he got a glimpse of what was going on: one of the many sparring sessions he had with the person who trained him in a lot of the psionics that he knew now. He remembered that moment in his memory that he had just gotten the hang of his beam and combat-enhancement abilities and was practising them with everything he had back then. He watched as his younger self despite the abilities he had back then get swatted aside by a mutant he called The Scholar.

“You’ve got to stop wasting your abilities so needlessly.”

He could remember the frustrations he felt that day when he got back up to try and strike the elderly mutant at least once in the sparring session, the objective of this particular session. He watched as his younger self reactivated his combat-enhancing aura and launched himself again. Now looking back in hindsight, The Wanderer thought about how foolish he was not using the advice he received to help himself back then. He knew that he had been exiled a year ago at this point, but it was no excuse for the rage-fueled assault. He could only watch as the attempted attack was simply dodged and swatted him aside, causing the younger man to crash onto the floor. The frustrations reached a boiling point at that point, ”Why can’t I hit you?!”

“You are focusing on the direct and being blind to everything that is around you.” By then, the young Wanderer sat up and looked at his teacher. “Psionics isn’t just about seeing what is in front of you and trying to find the shortest means possible to get to that point. Do you think that is the limits of your abilities in the aether? The psionic energy is all around us, no matter how strong or weak you are and you can use that to your advantage. Consider this a quick lesson: stand up and pull up your barrier just facing towards me, using everything you have.” The young man stood up and complied, pulling up a strong, directional barrier between The Wanderer and The Scholar. “All you are concentrating on is trying to breach what is in front of you, like so.” The elder mutant raised his hand and started a barrage of psionic balls against the barrier, which crashed on the surface harmlessly. “What you need to realize is that there are many paths you can take to reach the same destination. What do you see from your barrier?”

The young man looked puzzled at first, but as he let the question sink in, he noticed that the barrier had been protecting him from the direct attack and there is a lot of things that the barrier doesn’t cover. ”There’s only one direction the barrier is protecting me.”

“Correct. If you concentrate on just using psionic abilities directly, sometimes something can be overwhelming that you won’t be able to achieve it is that you want to do. If you cannot overcome what is in front of you, you always find a way around it and exploit the weakness that is front of you.” As he finished, he launched another small psionic ball that seemed to be directed at the barrier again. However, instead of it hitting the barrier, it stopped short and shot to the left of the barrier, going around it like it was nothing. The barrier disappeared to encompass him as the ball surged towards him. A moment passed as the impact of both the lessons and the attack sank in. “I’ll conclude this session early while you think about what was mentioned just now. We’ll carry in with this at the next daybreak.”

The young man bowed and simply walked in the direction to where Settlement 149 was. A few moments later, The Scholar turned to the lone bush that was nearby. “You remembering the memory of this session?”

Taken by surprise by the eyes of the elder Mutant looking at him, The Wanderer emerged from the bush and approached closer. ”You know that I’m here?”

“I know that you are not here physically as this is only just your memory, but there are a lot of things in the realms of psionics that you still need to learn.” The Scholar sat down on the barren ground as the time-traveller did. “This had been an important memory for you as you took the words to heart and improved dramatically. You know there is much you need to learn still.” He paused for a moment. “I see you are on the defensive against these… Hounds… and are stuck on trying to find a way out. Seems it to be fitting that you thought back to this lesson.”

”I’ve done everything I can to think of a way out, but I can’t seem to think of a way out. Not while I have my barrier up to protect me.”

“I see… I would say that this lesson I taught you before you got to where you are now still applies. However…” The Wanderer looked at The Scholar as the elder mutant looked into his eyes. “I can tell you something that you’ll need to learn as well, though this is more of an observation from the hours of teachings; You are a person of absolutes. You have a tendency of either throwing an absolute defence or creating an onslaught of immense attacks. Both of those are impressive to watch, even by my standards. But, you seemingly don’t transition between the two without pausing to think about what to do next. You have a lot of things you can do with psionics, you can transition from attack to defence with them and vice versa. I won’t decide what you are to do in your situation, but I can see one way of doing it that you should be more than capable of doing. Now is the time to learn about transitioning from one state to another and develop it to your already impressive abilities.”



Location: Pacific Point, California
Time: Present day


The Wanderer snapped back to his reality. The bullets are still pounding on the small barrier. He looked around again, focusing with his psionic eye. The psionic lines were still flowing, more than they had done in the future. However, it then he noticed that the Hounds were completely surrounding him. However, this observation wasn’t new to him. It was what he could do in that situation that he now observed. None of them were moving from their spots at all. So, that’s what you could see eh, old man? he thought to himself. He chuckled as he began to focus once more. His body began to sprout the purple flames of the psionics that emanated from his ever-present aura. This aura engulfed the barrier in its fierce flames. He drew upon every ounce of his psionic aura left in his body. When he was ready, he said one thing that all of the armoured men could hear.

”My turn…”

For the Hounds that surrounded him, time went slowly as they witnessed what happened after those words. The Wanderer simply lashed out, roaring in anger as the built-up energy was unleashed. The barrier simply shattered as he began his assault. In its place, a wave of energy was unleashed similar to the wave that the world felt on that day. However, as it manifested on the planet, the energy had matter to push through. The pushed air sent a shockwave that stopped the bullets dead in their trajectories. The psionic energy itself manifested in the air molecules itself as heat is produced. All the common components of a high explosive detonation. The energy that produced the explosion ripped through the Hound lines as if they were nothing. Everyone in the immediate area was killed by the shockwave outright. The following explosion itself sent bodies and broken parts from the vehicles apart. The shockwaves even smashed out the windows in the area and caused distant cars to blare out their alarms. The buildings in the immediate area were damaged by the explosion to the point where they were structurally unsafe. Apart from the impact crater that the explosion formed, the rest of the road seemed to be untouched.

In the aftermath of the explosion, The Wanderer collapsed, his energy almost spent completely in the psionic explosion of his barrier. His breath was ragged and hard, sweat poured from his brow. After a few moments, sirens heard in the distance, the mutant got up from the center of the crater and staggered away, leaving little of him behind as he weaved past body parts and debris. As soon as he was clear and away from everything, he walked into an alleyway and collapsed once more behind a dumpster. It was only then that everything went black.
Alright, I'll throw Kayla into this. As mentioned before, Wanderer and Psion won't be in this.



In

Target Locked #3: Let Loose the Hounds of War


@Indy Cooper@Athinar@Alternax

Location: Square of Hound engagement, Lost Haven
Time: Early afternoon


To be honest, Kayla wasn’t expecting much of a response to her using a radio that belonged to law enforcement. However, after a few seconds, a response that cleared up at least what was going on here and why she had to pull away from finding Nemesis. "This conflict will not be resolved until all of the Hounds are apprehended, killed, or incapacitated. The Hinds are the biggest issue, take them down." As the person responded, the archer looked over the fight, seeing who was the one that responded to her. She did see someone out of the ordinary go into the van. Though she wasn’t able to see him clearly, the fact that he wasn’t wearing any of the clothing of the so-called Hounds and the other group with a large-ish thing on the side of his belt made her think that he was the one who responded. And whatever was in that van was probably going to be used to hit the remaining choppers that were in the air. Asking for two more seeds from the plant marsupial, Fletch did the same thing with them to the arrow and began aiming at the next closest chopper and began to aim.

She was about to release the arrow when she saw them fire. Fletch began to run to the next building to jump onto but the resulting explosion stopped her in her tracks. She looked over her parapet and saw a hole that was left in the building. Seeing that she was not the target, she began aiming again. However, as something covered in flames shot out of the hole past the helicopters, she paused and safely eased the tension in the bow. She just managed to hear what the flame-covered figure said, “I was looking forward to an easy weekend, let me help you show you what I mean!” Shortly afterwards, electricity shot out of the figure, damaging the two helicopters to the point that their rotors stopped. Two large hands rose from the earth to catch them. She thought she had seen everything when she was with War-Pulse and Evergreen, but she hadn’t caught a full glimpse of a meta using their powers. She found it rather awe-inspiring rather than scary as by now, she was just accepting the new norm with the metas around.

She turned back to the black van the man hopped in just in time to see it drive off to an alleyway. Even from this distance, the roar of the machine gun was audible. Shortly after the gun stopped firing, the same man jumped out and began scouting around. Just as he checked one area, one Hound emerged with the assault rifle and turned towards him. Thinking on her feet, she raised the bow again and shot at the man’s feet, remembering that she had the seeds attached to the arrow tip. The weight of the seeds on the end at such a long distance had caused the arrow to drop short, but the resulting explosion from the arrow had sent the Hound flying back into the alleyway where he came from. Another Hound had started to emerge from the alleyway but was met with another arrow to the leg, sending them to the floor yelping in pain. Grabbing the radio, she pressed the send button ”Not sure about you, but I think there are more of those Hounds in the alleyway that is nearby. My arrows might make it, but I think you can take care of those as you’re closer.” Putting the radio back on the belt loop on her right hip, she began drawing arrows and shot down at the Hounds below her, raining arrows down with deadly accuracy with the aim to maim them out of the fight.

----------

After all that, she had managed to come down from her perch and joined up with the rest of the people that had joined up in the fight against the Hounds. She managed to gather up all of the arrows that were used, punching the lights out of the Hounds that had them embedded in various limbs. There were some that she’d never recover, but at least they’re in a million pieces as a result of their explosions. Though now that everything was over and done with, she could get a look at the people she had been assisting. The first man was the one she spotted on the rooftops and spoke with on the radio. She simply nodded at him, attaching the compound bow to its clasp on her left hip. The other guy she assumed was the one covered in flames that took down the other two helicopters. She didn’t look at the woman that was with them simply because of the way she glowed. Over the past few hours, she had to deal with gangs warring with each other and tracking down a meta that had been taken by Richard Midas, so she was exhausted and needed some form of sleep to recuperate from the events of everything.

"Thanks again for your help, boys and lady. We're going to be sweeping for stragglers, like the Captain said, and I'd certainly feel a lot better if you stuck on for a bit. Me and Tiamat are also supposed to be talking to local heroes, either about joining the force or at least helping us out with info… Anyway, any help you kids feel like giving would be greatly appreciated."

Kayla had acknowledged the girl that had arrived in the group. She raised her right hand to her chin, her thumb and index finger grasping her chin as it curled into a fist. Her eyes though the yellow lenses appeared to be someone in thought about the proposition about joining the force or not. ”I’ll definitely help with finding the stragglers,” she finally spoke, lowering her right hand again. ”Probably be best if we start taking groups to each side of the plaza and work back a couple of blocks until we reach the police lines that would no doubt be up from this fight.” She paused for a second, thinking about the offer. ”As for joining the force, I’d need to think about it. I have a lot of things on my cards at the moment, especially with finding a certain meta and tracking down the Pe…” She stopped herself from finishing as she doesn’t know how much information the police have said about her and the possible involvement of the Penose in whatever they have against her. ”Regardless, I’d be more than happy to pass on any information that you’d require for any future investigations.”

“While we’re here, I’m Terra Firma.”

Fletch looked at the guy who took down the other two helicopters. He agreed to make a sweep of the area, given his flight capabilities. She noticed that his hands were held out to form a handshake with the others that were here. She pondered on the thought for the moment, ”While it is nice to meet you, Terra Firma, I hope you’d understand if I don’t shake. Had too many incidents in the past where trust was abused.” In her mind, she wanted to trust the heroes that were around her. But each time she thought about trusting someone, her thoughts turned back to memories of Jason and things that happened during the months after his murder. As she thought about the memories, Archie made its appearance and climbed out of her trouser pocket to her shoulder, its eyes looking at others in the group”… The name is Fletch and this little fella is Archie. Anyway, we should start that sweep to make sure there’s no pocket where the Hounds are holed up in.”


In

Target Locked #2: Objective in Sight


@Indy Cooper, @Athinar, @Alternax

Location: Financial District, Lost Haven
Time: Early afternoon


Bang.

Fletch had been waiting for hours in the alleyway across from where Richard Midas brought Racheli in. By now, Archie was curled up on the railing above her, soaking in the rays of the day. Placing her bow to one side, one of her arrows propping it up so it was ‘standing’ on one of the limbs, she sat there and waited. By now, her backside had found a comfortable position on the cardboard that was conveniently placed on the metal platform of the fire escape so to not be painful to sit down while scoping out the place.

Bang.

What had also been convenient for her was that one of the kids threw a ball up onto the same platform that she was on and hadn’t had the chance to collect it. It was certainly more entertaining for her to use than the one other thing that would possibly be used. I wonder how Archie would react to this, her thoughts wandered as she paused her ball throwing to look at the sun-bathing, plant-based sugar glider. She then pushed that thought out of her mind. Evergreen did give her Archie as a companion to give her other ideas to use for possible arrowheads, so it’d be best not to piss off the previous owner to use his creation as a makeshift ball to use in times of boredom. Maybe I’ll keep this ball with me just in case.

Bang.


That time, she threw the ball a little bit too hard. Not enough that it sailed over her head when it bounced off of the wall, but enough that it pushed over her gloved fingers and toppled off of her perch onto the ground below, landing into a pile of trash bags next to her bike. ”Shit,” she grumbled, watching helplessly as the ball landed with a plastic thud. The marsupial woke up from its sun-filled slumber and began glowering at her. She sneered back, ”At least I’m doing something instead of sleeping.” With that quip, the marsupial started to curl back up into the sun.

However, Archie bolted straight up which caught Kayla’s attention. ”What is it, Archie?” It wasn’t long before she began to hear it, although faint in the sounds of the city: gunfire. And judging from the sound of it, there seemed to be a huge gunfight. Now torn, she looked towards the building that Racheli was in. Fletch needed to get into contact with her at least for Evergreen’s sake, but she didn’t know how bad it was at the gunfight. There could be innocent people there, she thought, gritting her teeth whilst doing so. In the end, she let out a frustrated groan, slamming her left fist into the metal railing. She picked up her bow and arrow from its resting place. ”Come on, Archie. We need to go.” As the plant creature scurried off into her pocket, she jumped over the railing down to the ground. While the impact stung her legs, the concoction that Evergreen made for her had made her legs slight durable from the fall, though the big increase was her reflexes and agility. As she got onto the bike and started it up, she thought about something. ”Archie, can you create as many seeds as you can while we investigate what that noise is?” Not waiting around for too long, she throttled the bike, tyre spinning with the rapid acceleration as she sped off to the source of the sound.

-----------

Location: A square, location of the Hound’s ground assault
Time: Early afternoon


Parking her bike in an alleyway a block away from the source of the gunfight, Fletch was already up on a nearby building, watching in horror as the Hounds and whoever they were facing duked it out in the square. Despite seeing the presence of metas down below, with everything that has happened before, she wasn’t fazed by it at all. Although she wasn’t at the scene for long, she had gathered that the Hounds had at least two vehicles with LMGs and the LHPD, she assumed, had at least 2 metas. Not wasting any more time, she dropped from the roof to the ground, an arrow flying off of her bow to hit a Hound dead in the chest. She landed and rolled, grabbing another arrow from her leg quiver as she did so. Moving from damaged car to damaged car, she approached the plaza. She quickly sent arrow flying, each of the broadhead tips thudding into their intended target with deadly accuracy.

It wasn’t until she saw the water dragon that she heard it. At first, it was faint, but the cyclic thumping of helicopter propellers was recognizable. As they came into sight, they began firing at the water dragon that was wrecking havoc in the plaza. Fletch managed to catch a glimpse of the meta that was in the head of the dragon before everything went to hell. The attacks from the attack choppers had caused the meta’s creations to go into a frenzy, attacking everything within reach. She barely had noticed one of the tendrils launching a swing at her that she managed to dodge the blow. She saw Hound and LHPD getting struck with all of them that made her retreat. As she grabbed one of the grappling arrows, she swooped down and picked up a fallen soldier’s radio that belonged to the meta’s group. Before a nearby tendril had a chance to swing at her, she fired her arrow up to a nearby building, rappelling up the building with her retractor glove as the body of water slammed into the storefront below.

Standing up on the roof, Fletch snarled at the attack choppers as they continue to mow down the combatants on the ground. Grabbing another arrow from her back quiver, she turned to where her companion was. ”Archie, I need two of your seeds.” As she had asked, the sugar glider held out two of the seeds that he created for her to grab. Holding the tip of the arrow to her, she slid the seeds on either side of the arrow, careful not to cut the seed too deep. Nocking the arrow onto her bow, the archer drew the bow and carefully aimed at the closest chopper. She felt her shoulder muscles and rotator cuff engage as she pulled the string back beyond the wall of the bow. I hope to god that Evergreen is right about this, she thought just as her drawing arm snapped back, sending the arrow flying towards the chopper.

BANG!

The arrow had hit its mark, the projectile darting straight towards the tail of the chopper. The two seeds were cut in half as the arrow thudded against the centre of the propeller, causing a chemical reaction in them. Although the seeds were small in size, they packed enough chemicals in there to cause the whole tail of the chopper to explode. With no tail to help keep it in the air, the chopper span out of control as it tumbled out of the air into the ground, causing mud, grass and metal to explode into the air as parts of the propeller disintegrated itself and the ground it was cutting through. With one chopper down, she reached for the radio she had obtained and pressed the emit button. ”Now I know that I am late to the show, but what the hell is going on here? Who do I need to shoot at to get this conflict resolved?”
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