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I hope people have posts in the work for bringing their characters to the Hounds' Lost Haven base. We don't want IK and Vigilante soloing the final boss.

Also, has everyone who is planning to go with Icon to take out the satellite discussed the plan of attack with @nitemare shape?

I'm currently working on a post with Fallen with some Fletch/Racheli interactions, but I'll get her moving in that direction :)



A Man Out of Time #7: The Rise of Rage #2

Location: Pacific Point, California

It had been half an hour since his first encounter with the new monsters, but The Wanderer could see no end in sight of the fight he had managed to get himself into. Much like the fire and sand-based monsters that came after his first fight, more of the monsters crawled out of the woodwork and went for him. Panting over his recent conquest, a plant-based monster, he looked around the wreck of the streets he had been fighting in. With the number of times he had been thrown through buildings, he had a gash on the top of his head, open through the left side of it. With the blood streaking down the left side of his face, his burn scars on his right and the building dust from being thrown, he looked an absolute mess. Despite it all, he was still holding strong. The anger was still evident in his fatigued face as well as the purple flames around his entire body. While he can still go on with the fight with these strong monsters, he still hasn’t recovered from his previous engagements with the Hounds.

As he was kneeling down beside the recent monster, he watched as another group of them appear. As he had now figured out that each monster had a theme based on their abilities, he could judge that the next group of monsters had the abilities of light, ice, speed (by judging by how much it twitches), wind and rust. While he was still panting, the mutant gritted his teeth as the group approached him, the twitching monster hanging back from the group. ”Just how many of these fuckers are there?” he moaned, reactivating his psionic blades on both his arms. With the inclusion of the metal monster he first faced, he had faced 7 in total, seemingly staggered in size. The group that was coming towards him was certainly the largest group he faced of them. ”At this rate, I’d rather face those Hound bastards than another large group of these things.” Getting back up to his feet, he stood his ground as the rust and ice beings charged towards him.

Suddenly, a swirling portal opened up nearby. From out of this portal, two heroes hopped out. The first was a mountain of a man. However, his height and muscle mass was not the man’s most unusual feature. That distinction belonged to his elephantine head. Behind this man, a woman exited next. She had nine fluffy fox tails, along with two ears from the same animal instead of regular human ears.

“Really? Ice? This couldn’t be any easier,” the Kitsune heroine said while her nine tails began to glow. She then held out her arm and blasted a burst of flames from her palm. With this torrent of flames, she created a fiery wall that at least caused the ice meta to think twice before charging forward. The rust meta, however, did not have the same fear of melting. Therefore, it was the elephant man’s turn to shine. He charged forward to face the charging metahuman monster. When the two collided, a contest of strength ensued as the two individual’s struggled against each other. The elephant man eventually overcame his foe, lifting him up over his head and tossed it at the ice monster, knocking both of their feet and onto the ground.

With both the ice and rust monsters taken down by the new arrivals, the wind and light monsters stood there, snarling at those that they were fighting. While both the downed monsters were still figuring out what had happened, it wouldn’t take them long before they got back to their senses. Throughout all of this, the speed monster still twitched in the back of the group. The Wanderer felt a bit uncomfortable with the monster remaining in the spot for as long as it did while its buddies were being taken down by the new arrivals. Though he had to admit, the assistance of the two people was a big help. Even if one looked like they were animal hybrids of one form or another. But for now, he had to focus on the fight at hand.

Suddenly, the twitching monster surged forth at incredulous speeds towards the kitsune woman. With the sheer strength of the monsters, the mutant had to think quickly before she got taken down by surprise. Deactivating both of his blades, he phased from his position to the ground between the charging monster and the woman. With psionic flames covering his entire body, he braced himself as he took the monster on. While they collided with brutal force, The Wanderer held on as his feet skidded across the asphalt as he slowed the monster down. He gritted his teeth once more as he struggled with the force, but somehow, he held firm as they moved to a stop a few meters from the kitsune woman.

”Thank you for the assistance,” he grunted, audible as he held onto the strength of the monster. ”If you guys are capable of using other abilities outside of heightened strength, I recommend you use them.” As his strength was about to fail him, he spun around the speed monster. During the spin, his left arm sparked to life as the deactivated psionic blade was summoned again. As the monster started to move away, The Wanderer took the opportunity and slashed at the monster’s legs. As the attack connected successfully, the monster tumbled to the ground in a heap. It was shortly rendered unconscious with a few fists to the back of the head, the sudden force bouncing the head on the road despite the resistance to the impact. Panting again, he spun his body back around and faced the monsters. His body was placed between them and the kitsune woman, the ice and rust monsters now back onto their feet. ”Not sure if you’ve already faced them, but they seem to have the ability to resist physical hits.” With the psionic blade still on his left arm, he prepared himself for the next wave.

The kitsune heroine, who was called Firefox, placed her index finger against a communicator device clipped onto her fox ears that crowned the top of her head, as if she were receiving some information from another teammate on the other side of the communicator. She then crouched down next to the speed metahuman that the Wanderer had just taken down and rolled him over so that the metahuman was laying on his back. Firefox focused her fire powers onto the tip of her finger and pressed it against the circular device that was attached to the meta’s stomach. After she scorched the device and pulled it off, the metahuman’s warped appearance returned back to normal.

“Looks like these little devices are the cause of these berserker metahumans,” Firefox stated to Gajana and the Wanderer. “If we can get those devices off them, we can neutralize them.”

The Wanderer remained poised as the kitsune woman announced a solution to stopping these monsters, who turned out to be a person with abilities under the control of a device. While his body hadn’t changed its position to face her, ready to take the others on, he thought back to the other 7 he had fought with earlier. While the first one had been defeated without the use of his blade, the other 6 had. There was a deadly weapon in his possession when fighting them. At any moment during those fights, he could have killed an innocent victim. And he hadn’t checked the bodies after each fight. The fights only bear a resemblance to his fights from his time, where each mutant he faced ended up dead.

Then, he smiled. ”It’s a good thing that I didn’t kill any of them earlier,” he answered. Luckily for him, his psionic eye saw the energies coming from each body and, in turn, saw the life force that came from them. While he was unsure of how closely linked they were, he deduced that psionic energy and life force were intertwined. That much he had observed from his 5 years in learning his trade.

His smile faded as he focused on the task at hand. ”The other seven beings I’ve fought before still have their devices,” he announced to her and her comrade. ”While I could have blasted them off with my psionics, my abilities seem to be unpredictable with me being in this time. The only thing I can do is help your friend take these 4 down while you take off the devices on the unconscious ones. Sound like a plan?”

The two Immortals agreed to the Wanderer’s plan, although they was not sure what he meant by not being in his own time. Firefox stood up and stepped away from the speed metahuman, whom she had just reverted back to normal. Gajana also took a defensive stance facing the remaining metahumans, who had been driven mad by the Hounds.

All the while, the standing monsters remained there, drawing close to the small group.


Target Locked #9: Target: The Hounds of Humanity #6

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

The gunshot wound on her leg was making the entire area sore, which in turn was forcing Fletch to adjust her stance to ease the pain. It might not be much, but it was enough for her to need to compensate for the irregular body position in her shot sequence. Fortunately for her, she wasn’t killing any of the incoming Hounds, but the regular place in their shoulder was going all over the place. So much that she was deliberately slowing the time it took between each shot to make sure the next arrow didn’t cause another fatality like earlier. With the dwindling numbers of the enemy growing smaller, she was having to use fewer arrows. Hopefully, I will have the time to collect them all before I have to leave this place, she thought. While she had the accuracy to pull off the shots she was doing now, she only has so many arrows to do them with.

After firing another shot, she turned towards the Hound Iron Knight was fighting. She was disappointed when the dust cleared to see that he was unaffected by the explosive arrow. While she didn’t see it activate during the time the arrow made its ‘impact’, the energy shield was visible to her. She gritted her teeth when he made the obvious observation that the arrow didn’t work. I definitely need to work on arrows that could cause problems to electronics, she concluded, watching as the two suited fighters exchanged words. However, when the hero announced something about breaching the firewall in the other’s suit, she smirked underneath the makeshift cowl. ”At least my toothpick did something more than damage you, asshole!” she jeered. However, when the Judicator mentioned the ‘dark side’ of the heroes, her mind went back to the dead Hound she had killed moments ago. With Iron Knight wanting to deal with the dead Hounds issue, she had to think of her explanation to him when that time came. After all, she didn’t mean to kill the Hound then. Right?

As the hero took the Hound away, Fletch turned her focus onto Blacklight. The woman began to address her after her other comments. At least she isn’t scolding me for my words to the pair of them, Kayla thought as she listened. In a sense, the woman was right. The only reason she was shot was that she wasn’t in a vantage point to rain down arrows on the Hounds. The archer nodded towards the meta, ”Good call. Just checking to see if anyone needed help. Will head to the Center to give further support.” With the last arrow fired, she began to head towards the Sherman Center, getting ready to reach one of the lower-level rooftops to start her work.

As she hobbled over, she saw something shoot up into the sky from the corner of her eye. Kayla stopped in her tracks to see what it was. She managed to catch a glimpse of Icon, the hero of Lost Haven, beginning to head towards where she assumed was the satellite’s location. She had heard the announcement Iron Knight had made about the satellite and had assumed that it was now beginning its firing sequence to decimate Lost Haven. Her mind had thought about reaching to her bike and getting the hell out of the city for when that happened. But the combination of her seeing Terra Firma making a word to the armoured hero that he (through her assumptions) that he was joining in the hunt for the satellite, noticing Voyager darting off after Icon and her heart thinking back to everyone that would get caught up in the blast. After a brief moment, she sighed. ”Well, if the city does get destroyed, I wouldn’t live with myself if I left all the innocent people behind.” With that, she carried on towards the Sherman Center.

As she drew closer to the building, she heard a machine gun go off dangerously close to where she was. Looking in the direction it came from, Fletch watched in horror as Nemesis fell to the ground. The archer certainly hadn’t forgotten the great lengths from the moment the drones destroyed the block with both Nemesis and War-Pulse to track her down. She even got some help from the mouthy mercenary himself and the plant-based meta Evergreen to track her down to Midas’s building and kitting her out with new things to help her out as a vigilante. But that would have been for nought if the woman she had tracked down ended up dead in the centre of the city due to the Hounds.

”Oh hell no,” the archer blurted out, starting a mad dash towards the fallen body. Adrenaline kicked in to make the pain in her leg disappear as she rushed headfirst towards danger. Grabbing an arrow from her back quiver, she hurriedly fired a grappling arrow towards the rooftop of one of the nearby buildings and began the winch mechanism on her arm. Her speed towards Nemesis shot up as she skidded along the tarmac. As she drew closer, she noticed one of the mechs in the huge pile started to clamber over the remaining bodies to try and finish the job. As the machine gun was aimed at the fallen woman, it began firing. However, not before Fletch managed to snatch her up off the ground. Her right glove got torn up on the back of the hand from the road rash across the ground, but it endured enough to not affect her hand. With the woman in her right arm, Kayla kicked off the ground to begin her ascent to the rooftop. All the meanwhile, the bullets from the mech’s machine guns trailed behind her as the pair of them launched safely over the top of the building.

Landing and rolling with a thud, the archer’s bow was sent skidding across the rooftop out of her finger-slinged hand. But that was the least of her worries as she began scrambling towards Nemesis’s limp form. Turning the woman over, she looked at the damage on her torso. ”Shit,” she exclaimed, looking on the rooftop for anything to help with the bleeding. Seeing bedsheets on one of the clotheslines, she dashed towards it and ripped it out of the pegs. She bundled the sheet into one huge ball in her hands and, once back by the woman’s side, pressed down hard on the torso. ”This is not good at all.” It wasn’t long before the sheet was saturated in the black blood. Kayla’s mind wasn’t on the unusual colouring of the blood. Instead, it was doing all she can without the first aid kit that was handed to Voyager earlier. ”Come on, Nemesis! Stay with me!” The adrenaline in her system was slowly going away, the pain in her leg slowly coming back. ”I’ve spent all this time trying to find you to keep a promise to Evergreen! Your friend from before the explosion. I’d be damned if you die on me now to make me fail that promise!” There was nothing much she could do now except for hoping that she wasn’t fighting a losing battle.



Target Locked #8: Target: The Hounds of Humanity #5

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

As she reached the streets below, Kayla thought back on the newly-arrived hero’s words. Try not to kill anyone… she thought, grabbing the arrows from the unconscious Hounds and placing them back into her quiver. While she thought back to those words, her sights always strayed to the location where the dead Hound was. She could see the orange-fletched arrow from where she was that remained in their skull. Even through all of the chaos that’s around her, the sight of the dead Hound was the only thing she could focus on. As the last of the arrows in her immediate area, she looked at the corpse one final time. For a while, she debated on going over there and collect the arrow, making sure that none of her arrows were left behind. As she thought that, the pit in her stomach swelled up at the images of the arrow hitting through the helmet came to the front of her mind. Fearing that she’d actually throw up when she got over there, she decided against collecting it. Besides, there’s still danger in the area. With that, she began leaving the area.

As Voyager and the lightning mete began to take on the mechs in the area, Fletch took the opportunity to strike down the Hounds that were in the immediate area of where they were fighting. At least with that, the focus from the ground troops wouldn’t be on the more powerful people that took on the more damaging weapons. Much like before, each arrow was precisely aimed and hit the non-vital areas, giving her enough time to punt them unconscious. As each Hound went down, the arrows shot were collected to be reused on their comrades. When the Hounds in the area were down, leaving just the mechs for Voyager and the meta to deal with, Kayla took the opportunity to move closer to the main bulk of the fight.

As the fight went on in the main square next to the Sherman Center, Kayla watched the aftermath of the mouthy kid finishing the destruction of one of the mechs and the two magic users finishing off their fight with the Hounds. It had just been a coincidence that Terra Firma, one of the metas she had fought with before arrived as well. It was as well as the Hounds started to focus on them and began their advance. The woman in red began casting an amber mist that covered the entire field. While the mist began its work on her bow, the metal components beginning to rust, the mechanism in order for her to draw the bow remained stable, unaffected. The stainless steel and anodized aluminium saw to that as she fired another arrow towards the advancing Hounds.

Despite the advantages the mist was having, it came to nought as a Hound in a similar suit to Iron Knight cast a counter mist to undo everything that was happening to their armour. She could only watch as Iron Knight was thrown down the street by his opponent. Thinking that this might cause an issue, Fletch reached down into her trouser pocket and pulled out two seeds. Quickly adding them to her next arrow, she took aim at the armoured enemy. ”Did S.T.R.I.K.E tell you about this, asshole?” she growled, releasing the arrow shortly before her words. If the arrow hits, much like before, an explosion with the same force as an RPG would have hit them square in the back. If not damaged, the force would have sent them flying to the ground.

Before she could marvel at the attack caused, she was instantly struck down to one knee. White-hot pain seared through her right leg as a Hound caught her by surprise with a bullet through it. Gritting her teeth, she turned to face the approaching group of Hounds. “You should have been paying attention, bitch!” one of them spat, her voice filled with venom. “Now you will suffer the same fate as our comrades in the chopper and the vans!”

Before the Hounds had the chance to fire off bullets at the downed archer, Fletch had the chance to nock another arrow onto her bow and fired at the group’s direction. The arrow missed all of the Hounds, causing them to jeer as they began to raise their rifles. By the time one of them realized that there was a cable in the flight path of the arrow, it was too late. The orange-clad archer lurched forward. The cable was attached to the windup mechanism on her arm. Kayla propped herself a little back as she skidded across the tarmac with her feet. Just before she was upon them, she jumped up. At the same time, she detached the cable from her arm. She arched her way through the air, launching her attack with her feet. The momentum of the kick sent the female Hound flying, unconscious by the force. As she landed on the ground, she began her assault.

Years of training in kickboxing has now become beneficial as she began to dance through the group, kicking and punching them with devastating grace. One by one, they fell with her ferocity. Some even got arrows stabbed into them, Kayla using them as knives in such close-quarters. Adrenaline was the only thing dulling the pain in her leg. It wasn’t long before the last of the group that one had guns pointed at her fell unconscious. Panting hard, the archer began focusing on the Hounds that the kid was fighting. She saw the spiked bat being dropped to the ground. The same woman that told her to try not kill anyone arrived as well. Whereas before had been a good time to scold the kid about actions taken, now wasn’t the best of times. Especially as the Hounds began their march towards the little group. As she hobbled forward towards them, she began her rain of arrows at the approaching Hounds, striking them down with lethal accuracy and non-lethal strikes.

As soon as she reached them, her eyes scowled at the pair of them. ”Whatever you two have to say about morality, save it for after the fight!” she bellowed, a tinge of fury behind them as she bore through the pain in her leg. ”In case you haven’t noticed, they’re still coming! As long as the threat is dealt with and no more civilians are hurt, then do with them as you’d like!” She drew up another arrow and fired at another Hound that was ready to strike at Pantheon. Shifting her weight slightly off her right leg, she drew another arrow and stood there, ready for the next Hound to come their way.


Target Locked #7: Target: The Hounds of Humanity #4

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

Kayla kept up the relentless barrage of arrows down to the Hounds below. She knew at some point that she needed to get down and retrieve the arrows she was using before she ran out and had to find another way down the building. At least going through the building, I’d avoid the sights of the helicopters, she thought, her eyes glancing away between shots to keep a look on the helicopters that were around. She had been in relative shelter from the grunts and vehicles down below. The mechs would have been a problem for most of the gathered heroes, but Icon and the mouthy kid was dealing with them from the get-go. She even caught a glimpse of the firefight of the planes above them. But if any of the heroes didn’t deal with any of the helicopters, then what they were doing wouldn’t matter as their small numbers would be whittled down until the very durable ones are left.

Just as she thought about the helicopters, lightning struck two of the helicopters that fried every electrical component inside to send them crashing down. A moment later, she saw another meta arrive from the sky, seeing the fizzling arcs of electricity coming from him as he began to work on the flying menace. A moment later, another person arrived from the sky, cleaving through the tail of another. At first, Kayla was puzzled by the sudden appearance of the two heroes into this battle. However, she shrugged it off. ”Well, at least the helicopters are covered,” she muttered to herself, thinking that she wouldn’t be surprised by anything anymore. As she carried on raining down arrows, she watched from the corner of her eye as she watched the two new arrivals starting to take down the helicopters one by one.

As she focused on getting her next shot off, the whirring sounds of a falling helicopter grew louder and louder. Not taking any chances, she shot off the arrow and turned to the origin of the sound. As she faced it, her eyes looked on in terror as the falling helicopter was heading straight for her. With the speed of the helicopter’s fall and how close it was, she concluded that there was nowhere near enough time for her to make it out without getting hit by it. Not even an escape by jumping off the building and rappelling down to safety. Is this… how I die? she thought, fear now setting in and stopping her from moving. Her thoughts turned to the loved ones she was going to leave behind. Her mother. Her childhood friend, Mia. Her work colleagues at Taylor Garage. The archery club she shot regularly at. She was going to leave them all behind with her body being crushed under the twisting metal of the aircraft. It was then that a thought back to Jason filled her mind. With his face now filling her mind, her body relaxed. A wry smile came to her covered lips as she began to accept her fate. I’ve missed you, Jason. So much. I’m coming to you. She closed her eyes as she waited for the inevitable.

Except, it never came.

An explosion rocked above the archer as the hero that came with the lightning meta shot the tail off of the helicopter. Fletch’s eyes snapped open as she witnessed the two halves of the helicopter fell from either side of her down the sides of the building. She didn’t hide her surprise when the hero landed on the rooftop. I’m… alive? she thought, her mind as surprised about the turn of events as she was. She heard the hero call out to her, her eyes still showing their surprise as her gaze turned to them. A moment ago, she figured that she wouldn’t be surprised by anything that will happen in the future. Now, she was surprised again as an alien-looking woman spoke to her, mentioning how they’ve never fought a helicopter before. Shaking herself off from the surprise, her steely focus came back. Her purpose had been renewed after a brief moment of vulnerability in the face of death.

”I’ve only fought one once, earlier today,” Kayla responded, her voice filled with an unusual warmth in it from her stony body language. ”Taking it out by blowing up the tail with one of my arrows.” By this point, Archie was curious about the person his master was talking to. He crawled out from her trouser pocket and peered at the alien-looking woman from her right shoulder. The archer nodded towards him, ”Archie here helped out with providing the explosives.”

Regaining her composure, she wandered to the edge of the building to see what was happening since the crashing helicopter. Reaching for another arrow and nocking it to the string, she aimed at another Hound. Before she could shoot it off, the weather suddenly picked up for the worse. She snapped the bow back into its resting position As she braced herself against the sudden wind and rain that ravaged the scene in front of her. Unsure of who caused the weather to suddenly pick up, she could only watch as the Hounds began to struggle to do what it was that they’re doing. Looking through the wind and the rain, she could only watch as another mech turned up to the fight. However, instead of attacking the heroes, it began fighting the ones that were known to be with the Hounds.

Kayla’s eyes focused on the lightning meta that had helped take down a few of the helicopters. She watched in amazement as he took down Hounds left and right. However, when it came down to an armoured soldier, she watched as he took a hit from one of the Hound's rounds. With the wind and rain, it was hard enough to gauge the correct place to aim. But the archer attempted anyway as she drew up her compound bow. By now, every piece of clothing was completely saturated with water and her hair clung to her frame. She aimed at the Hound that was attacking and moved her sight to where she roughly should be aiming out to compensate for the weather. From out of her focused view, she watched as three lightning bolts struck the Hound, leaving only a charred body in its wake. With the threat eliminated, she began to relax and started the motion of releasing the energy from her bow safely.

However, she snapped the energy back into place as she saw another Hound appear behind the lightning meta and began raising a pistol towards them. Making a snap judgement, she aimed at roughly the same place she was going to use and allowed the muscles in her shoulder to increase the tension. Then, like the thousands of arrows she shot before, the arrow snapped into motion as the release aid snapped open. She watched as the arrow soared through the air, arcing through the air as the wind and rain affected its course. As a sudden gust breezed passed, the archer could only watch in horror as the arrow was suddenly affected by it, appearing to be going straight for the meta’s head. By some luck, the arrow sailed merely inches from the meta as the broadhead slammed into the eye socket of the attacking Hound, killing them instantly. Despite the deadly nature of what she was using, she’d never intentionally planned to kill someone even with the explosives provided by Archie. The pit in her stomach began to well up as she watched nauseously as the limp body fell to the floor. She wanted to throw up from it, but she couldn’t. Not in front of the heroes she was near. Kayla managed to bring all of her willpower to stop her from throwing up, but it didn’t stop her from the wrenching motions as she gagged from the sight.

As she composed herself once again, Kayla carried on watching as Iron Knight began fighting a Hound wearing a similar suit. Just before that, however, she did see that the Hound fired something into the sky. Moments later, the rain turned into ice as it rained down hard on them. While weather like that wouldn’t affect her, having shot on occasion in Russia, the cold seeped through her wet clothes, sending a chill through her body. The archer shrugged it off and watched the fight unfold as two more people began firing at the helicopters above. She finally turned to the alien woman on the rooftop. ”Tend to your friend,” she spoke, the steel returning to her voice. She rifled through one of the other pockets in her trousers and placed a first aid kit onto the ground. ”He’s been hit in the shoulder. Use that to treat the wound. We’ll need to start taking out more of these mechs that are attacking the city.” Fletch turned to look at her. ”Can you and your friend do that once he’s patched up?” She then began to focus down below. She needed to retrieve her arrows and return back to the fight. Before she rappelled down, she turned to the hero. ”The name’s Fletch, by the way. Nice meeting you. Oh… and thank you.” Using the line that got her up the building, she jumped off of the building, using the mechanism on her arm to ease her descent down onto the ground.



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.”

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.”


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.
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