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The pause he had from his family was only temporary. Errol - who had verbally given as good as he got - swept by him almost immediately. The static shock that was delivered made him flinch, and was surely not an accident. Yet the older brother bit his tongue. The better he played along, the earlier he'd be able to get away from them again. Of course, that'd mean having to put up with them in an even smaller space first.

Begrudgingly, Duncan followed them to where Errol had his car parked. "Once you're home we need to have a word Clementine," Duncan said. "because I'm not going to put up with this anymore." Was he going to tell her that he was running out of money? The idea formed a knot in his stomach - there was simply nothing more humiliating than having that conversation with her. "It's for your own good." He wasn't sure who that was directed at. Himself, or her? Duncan tightened his grip on the briefcase he held under his arm. That, the content of his seemingly only piece of luggage, was his final hope.

Once in the car, Duncan moved to the other side to give Clementine the space to enter. As she sat down, he remarked "don't forget to put your seatbelt on." It came out bitterly. That was because they were apparently going for hot dogs first, without bothering to ask him at all. Karma came to his rescue though, as the girl who had asked all of them but him hit her head against the dashboard. At first he ignored that it happened to cut her some slack. That changed when she put the music on. "Is your head okay? Because I can't believe anyone in their right mind would put this on." He commented.

Duncan leaned back and grumpily stared out of the window, waiting for the group to persecute him again, when a black van obstructed his view. Cursing under his breath, Duncan shifted to stare out of the other window only to watch the same thing happen. He reached for his glasses. "I don't think they're-"

It felt as if an immense weight was thrown on him while gravity had lost it's grasp. The world spun outside the car, and a waterfall of glass came cascading down on him from behind. Or below? Then his head spun. His neck filled with sharp jolts of pain.

And the survival instinct of a battle-hardened veteran kicked in.

'Red' came to him from the blood on Clementine, the speedometer's pointer, his own red socks, and wherever else he could find it to form a vibrantly coloured orb the size of a golf ball in the palm of his hand. He slammed his hand against the car door, and the thing violently burst from its hinges. The door skidded to a halt five meters from the wreckage.

Duncan rolled out, glass crunching underneath his jacket as he did. His red blazing eyes scoured his surroundings. The collision had pushed them toward the center of the crossing. He counted five jet-black vans spread over two of the four streets. Men in black uniforms came pouring out of them. Each of them pointing an automatic rifle in their direction. He had only a heartbeat to react.

Still crouched down, Duncan drew the red of two cars he spotted in the traffic toward him immediately. The red kept the shape of the cars - he had no time to transform it into anything else - and positioned them on either side to cover the wreckage.

A storm of bullets slammed into them almost immediately, forming cracks in the haphazardly thrown-together barriers. He barely found cover behind the hood of the translucent truck to his left, and saw bullets graze the wreckage that was once Errol's yellow car.

"Couldn't you at least have gotten one in red?" Duncan yelled out to his half-brother.
While a lot of transactions were taken care of digitally, hand-written signatures were still considered the norm for bailouts as far as he could tell. That, or the officers he spoke with, had liked having his signature. Regardless of what the reasoning was, writing contact information down by hand took time. Too much time.

“You look like shit.”

Duncan closed his eyes and resigned himself to his fate with an audible sigh. “That’s what happens to you when you have to fly over because your sibling messed up.” He glanced over his shoulder with narrowed eyes. “Again.”

Of course, that wasn’t the actual reason why he had come to the States. There was a conference three days from now in Washington DC. It could attract investors, the thing his research needed most. There was a lot riding on this one too, as he had already refused a serious cash infusion from Corleone’s foundation. It had been another humiliating blow by Giovanni, as his refusal to accept that support had angered most of his colleagues. Yet Duncan had high hopes for this conference. For the future. After all, he had brought his trump card.

Just as he signed the final page, Errol expressed his impatience. The officer addressed him politely, to which Duncan added. “And I will not be doing it again.” It came out coldly, as it always did. Yet this time there was truth in it. Without funding, he had no income. At least not nearly enough to pay both Clementine’s rent and her many, many bills. He had his savings, of course, but he would not spend those on his ungrateful sister. That was a line he refused to cross.

Errol quickly offered to pay half the bill and did so before Duncan could refuse. He looked at the stack of money, then to Errol. “And where did you get all that?” He put down the pen. “Yes, I suppose I can see the resemblance.”

His remark wasn’t enough to push his half-brother away. Instead, Errol started to talk about his appearance again. “Try watching the news.” Was all Duncan returned. What else was there to tell? That someone had tried to kill him last night? He barely even knew the details of it, let alone the motive. “Why did you come here anyway Errol. You knew that I’d have this sorted.” To this day, he could never understand why Errol bothered to show up for issues like these, and not those that actually mattered. Their kind was oppressed, and Errol was one of the strongest Duncan knew. Yet he hadn’t ever used his powers responsibly, nor had he stepped up for mutantkind. No, Giovanni’s prized second son had joined a gang, just like his father. Duncan couldn’t help but wonder if that wasn’t all just part of some bigger plot to merge their two gangs into one. The idea alone was reason enough not to get attached and to keep his eyes on his half-brother. Because if he was right, then taking care of it would be his responsibility. As would be the safekeeping of his other responsibility.

The one that the brothers both had to pay a sizable sum of dollars for to see. Not that it was worth it either – the girl felt the immediate need to call him out too. Exasperated, he said “Yeah, I know.”

It was painful to watch her be more affectionate toward Errol. Not only because of his own gripes with the Acosta-side, but also because he couldn’t imagine Errol setting the right example.

With a handshake and thank you to the officer, Duncan finished his part of the transaction. Then answered Clementine. “Yes. We’re leaving as soon as I find a cab.” Duncan cautiously brushed past them toward the station’s exit.

He was reminded of why he decided against living in New York himself the second he stepped outside. The overwhelming noise, crowded streets, and many cars made it look anything but peaceful.

As his eyes darted uneasily over the many people, Duncan realized it wasn’t the city that made him uncomfortable. It was the thought of last night’s attempted assassination. She could be staring at him right now, and he wouldn’t have the faintest idea that she did.

He stood still for a moment, scanning the streets more actively than he had done before.
Duncan Fraser stared at the screen of his phone, dazed. It was a given that Clementine would stir up trouble again. Yet the timing could not have been worse.

Burying his face in his hands, Duncan let out a sigh. It was almost unbelievable how terrible the cards were that life had recently dealt him. The break-up with Alba, Corleone’s auspicious warning, the canceled funding, and – of course – Clementine. Any sane man would’ve folded. He had chosen to bluff instead.

“Doctor Fraser?” The woman sounded impatient. “We’re already live.”
With some effort, he pulled himself together. “Right, yes. Sorry”
She gestured toward the stage, where two seats stood opposite of each other. One was filled already.

“Our first guest tonight is a doctor in biochemistry and mutant genetics, but you may know him best as the former X-man Red Haze. Please welcome, Doctor Fraser!”
There were only a dozen paces between him and the chair. The thunderous applause made it feel like a hundred. With a short and awkward wave to the audience, Duncan stepped into the light and view of the cameras. Too many, in his opinion.

The chair wasn’t comfortable.

“It’s amazing to have you here on our show Doctor Fraser.” The other man was in his 40s, with blond-dyed hair in a tight ponytail. His name was Brandon Walker. One of the most popular show hosts of the last decade. And like any talk show Duncan had ever watched, Brandon began with a duel of pleasantries.
“You might, dare I say it, perhaps be the most sophisticated guest we’ve ever had on this panel.”

“Really? Well, thank you. I am glad to be here.” He faked a smile, the way his father used to do.

“Now, with this unprecedented surge of mutants making themselves known, there are so many questions I’ve been dying to ask. First off-” The man leaned forward a little, interlacing his fingers. “Doctor Fraser, do you think mutants are dangerous?”

“Not inherently, no.” Came the delayed response.

“Inherently?” Sharp blue eyes studied him. On the internet, millions more did. A single slip of the tongue could warrant a hate-crime.

“I would argue that all people are dangerous when they are afraid and misunderstood. Unfortunately, that is the reality for many minorities out there. Including us.”

“But can we really talk about us-” he gestured to Duncan and himself, “as the same people? Because Professor Louwman who we had on our show last week said, and I quote, ‘new species emerge when mutations produce individuals who can outperform the groups they came from.’ He called you a new species.” The host gave him a questioning look.

Duncan nodded. “There’s a lot of scientists who think so and personally, I agree. But-“ he raised a finger and said, “we are still of the genus ‘Homo’. That is the collective name for species that scientists consider human. Like how we define both German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers dogs, while the owners know that they act very different.”

The host chuckled. “I see, thank you for explaining that to us.” Duncan doubted that he cared. “So, you think we can coexist peacefully?” Before Duncan could answer, the host continued. “Because I did some reading and as you know, the more primitive animals tend to go extinct because the strong outcompete the weak. Us-“ he paraphrased with his fingers “-primitive humans, could be totally eliminated that way too, couldn’t we?” He paused, then added “eliminated by the strong. By the mutants.”

The host was looking for drama. For confrontation. The best Duncan could do was laugh it away.
“Those are some very Darwinian principles. Fortunately for us, our society is built on ethics instead.” Duncan retorted. “What is the saying again? The meek shall inherit the earth?”

The host smiled with perfect white teeth. “Ah yes, the meek shall inherit the earth.”

-

It took three hours to travel from the studio back to the cheap hotel room he had rented. Room 511B. Fifth-floor, 11th door on the right side of the hallway. Of course, as was always his luck, the reservation hadn’t come through and all they could offer was a room that hadn’t be cleaned yet at the end of the hallway. He wasn’t going to unpack any of his luggage there. From what he could tell, the couple that had been in this room before him had really gone to town.

Duncan sighed. The interview had went on for an hour and a half. A ‘talk show’ they called it, while most of their viewers listened to it as podcast. At least he hoped that his appearance on the show would help the rising tensions between the two groups simmer down a little. X-man or not, the feelings of responsibility were still there.

He plucked the remote from the bed and switched on the television. Perhaps he could still catch the tail end of the show. It wouldn’t do him any good to know how they had edited it to paint him in a bad light – surely it wouldn’t – but he was curious nevertheless. That was how he fell asleep twenty minutes later. In the chair he had placed in front of the tv. Bored by his own words.

Until the sounds of gunshots tore through the hallway.

Duncan leapt out of his chair, wide awake in an instant. His glasses were already off – his true sight cloaking the world in dull gray and vibrant, eager red where he could find it. The most obvious source was below him. The red pattern of the room’s carpet flowed to him like liquid fire and formed a machete in his waiting hand. He considered drawing on more but knew he couldn’t afford to utilize anything larger indoors. Then, with caution, Duncan opened the door to the hallway.

He stalked through the hotel’s hallway with urgency, phone held to his ear – calling his emergency number. Alba Rodriguez. Better known as The Heron. A celebrated X-man and coincidentally, also his ex since a week.

No wonder she didn’t pick up.

The floor was eerily quiet, save for his own heavy heartbeat. A door was kicked in. Room 511B. It dawned on him then and there. Whoever this was had come searching for him.

He silently counted to three in his head. Then barged in.

The room was identical to his own. The sheets of the double bed were pulled back to reveal the forms of two motionless men. A figure stirred beside the bed, and Duncan didn’t wait. The red-translucent machete scattered into needles and blasted in the figure’s general direction like a shotgun round.

She – he could tell the figure was a she now – danced elegantly to the side somehow evading the brunt of his attack. Not hesitating either, the woman emptied her clip on him.

The carpet dulled in an instant as its red colour leapt up to form a riot shield on his arm. The bullets slammed against it to no avail. Before he could counterattack, she leapt through the window. Duncan rushed toward it. Yet all he found below was the darkness of the night.

-

If there was one good thing to be said about any of this, then it had to be that he was supposed to be at the police department anyways. The state he arrived in, however, was anything less than desirable. He’d enjoyed a full three hours of sleep, a visit of the police, the manager’s angry tirade, and a fine for destroying the carpets. To say that it showed, well that was an understatement.

He held on tight to his take-away coffee as he mentally prepared to deal with both Clementine and the other one. If he even bothered to show up.

When his number finally flickered on the big screen and he could walk to the front desk, his cup was already halfway empty. The conversation that followed felt equally long to him. As if the officer was just trying to find an excuse to keep the conversation going.

”Listen, just tell me how much the bail is and where I should sign. I’ve had a long night, so-“ He stopped mid-sentence. The digital board hanging above the front desk vibrated in a way that made him squint to read the numbers.

That meant one of two things. Either he really shouldn’t have bought this fourth coffee, or the third of the merry band was here. Electrical devices did that when Errol was close. No one was able to tell that way. No one but him. He had theorized before that it had to do with their parentage. In truth, he wasn’t sure.

“Right.” As if the day couldn’t have gotten worse. Errol actually decided to show up. “Let’s hurry this along. I’d like to get out of here as soon as possible."
X-men: Outcasts Assembled #1


The Corleone Family


General
Name: Duncan Fraser
Alias: Red Haze
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Height: 6’1
Weight: 193 lbs
Mutant: Yes
Affiliation: X-men (formerly)

Physical Description:
Duncan is a muscular man of above average height, with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. He typically appears neat and tidy, keeping his beard well-groomed and wearing white stainless shirts. Duncan wears glasses to reduce the strain on his eyes as caused by his mutant gene.

Personality:
Duncan is a calm and intelligent individual with an unshakable determination to complete the goals he has set out for himself. While thoughtful at heart, his strained relations with his family made him appear apathetic. He is plagued by a feeling of responsibility for his younger sister Clementine but prefers to keep his distance from this source of stress in his life. Moreover, Duncan worries that both his siblings – who unlike him are omega level mutants – will come to abuse their powers. However, he doubts if these worries of his are just, or if they are borne from jealousy.

Backstory
Duncan Fraser was the first child set on this world by the infamous mutant Giovanni Corleone. Protected from his father's nefarious ambition by his mother's fiery temper and iron will, the young Duncan experienced a warm, stable, and supportive upbringing. That was, until his mutation manifested at the age of eleven. Aileen Fraser, who was very much aware of her husband's criminal activities, could not bear to see her son go down the same path. She kept his mutation a secret by lying that her son's sight had deteriorated beyond repair. Duncan, who's out of control mutation began causing migraine and partial colour-blindness, was forced by his mother's lies to feign blindness. The lies that had forced the pre-teen to live impaired could not protect him for long. At the age of fourteen, his father figured out the truth. In a last ditch effort to protect him from his father's influence, Aileen Fraser sent her son away. To the only safe-haven for mutants - Xavier's School for the Gifted. In that same year, her mother would trade her life for that of her daughter; Clementine Fraser.

Despite the grief that Duncan went through, the guidance of his experienced teachers helped him wrestle control over his mutation. More - he was able to make it a genuine part of himself. However, the beliefs of his teachers at Xavier's diametrically opposed that of his father - who he stayed with during summer holidays. With his mother no longer there to shield him, Duncan became aware of his father's true nature. While he had hoped to heal the rift between him and his father, if only for the wellbeing of his younger sister Clementine, they only grew further apart. Their strained relationship turned into a full-blown fight when Duncan at age sixteen joined the X-men's division in Europe.

It ended with a battle between the X-men and Giovanni in the streets of the French city Nice. While determined to end his father's vast criminal empire and claim guardianship of his sister, Duncan failed at both. There was not enough evidence to put Giovanni away, and neither could Duncan present a strong enough case to save his sister. Duncan Fraser - now going by his maternal surname - had won the battle, but lost the war.

Wrecked by the outcome of both trials, Duncan resigned from active duty as X-man. Believing himself unfit for the role, he instead began to pursue a career in life sciences. In the years that followed he would frequently support his former team as expert and advisor, even leading some small field missions. At twenty-nine, Duncan earned his doctor's title and took a position as head-researcher of an institute in Helsinki, Finland. There he would continue to work for the next three years, carefully watching every move of Giovanni and his siblings.

Mutation:
Mutant power level: Alpha
General description: Duncan can turn shades of the colour red that are present in his field of vision into a malleable kinetic energy. This kinetic energy can be shaped into weapons and constructs or released as powerful concussive blasts of ruby-coloured force.
Limits & Weaknesses: Duncan can only draw on the available amount of “red” that is in his field of vision. For example, the surface area of a red cup is enough to generate a dagger from, but not a shield. Additionally, once the colour red is drawn from its source by Duncan, the source desaturates to a dull grey, making his kinetic energy a finite resource. Duncan’s kinetic constructs keep existing outside of his field of vision, but to move them or change their shape, he must be able to see them.
As a side-effect of his mutation Duncan perceives shades of red as bright and vibrating, while other colours are dulled. He wears a pair of special glasses to prevent a headache from this effect.

Assets:
WIP


X-men: Outcasts Assembled


Outcasts Assembled is a casual roleplay between a group of befriended writers, based on Marvel Comic’s X-men series. The story takes place in an alternative universe with original characters. Background information such as factions, past events, and major players will be established over time with writer contributions.

Rules
1. Of course, be kind to your fellow writers
2. You may apply as mutant or regular human, using the character template displayed below.
3. No aliens, reality manipulation, godmodding, or extremely advanced technology.
4. Iterations of canon marvel characters may be referenced to or appear in the story when agreed upon but do otherwise not officially exist in this AU.




Background Information

To be added.


Major Events

To be added.


Approved characters and NPCs

To be added.
As they moved through the crowded hallway just past the coat check room, Percy wished they would've tried going backstage instead. The place wasn't supposed to be a maze, but finding the artist's entrance with all these people blocking his view made it feel like it was. Then there were also the four nefarious figures, who he had lost sight of after an older lady had almost pushed him down a small set of stairs. Accidentally - of course.

By the time he had found the hallway that led to their strange informant's dressing room, the main hall was almost clear, save for a few people who had drinks there afterwards. In the hallway and backrooms, there were also still people going about their business. Enough to make him consider that any feat of magic here was going to mean breaking magic law. It made him regret giving Nerissa her wand. That regret only deepened when they rounded the final corner.

From the opposite of the stuffy corridor came four figures, who stopped like he did. Between the two parties, on the right side, was room number 17. Topsy's room.

Percy raised his hands. "Wait!" He saw hesitance, although all four had drawn their wands. "Let's all put those down, okay?" He slowly lowered his own, hoping they'd follow suit. "Nobody'll get hurt and we can talk this out like civilized people." He made a small signal to Nerissa, hoping she would also lay down her wand like he was about to do, although he was pretty sure she wouldn't. "Now we're here just to talk with an acquaintance of ours. After that we'll-"

"So she is their informant!" Percy realized his mistake. "Get them and kill her!" A woman's voice roared. Magic sparked like fireworks through the hallway as all four of them unleashed destructive curses. He could hardly distinguish them, let alone conjure a shield in time. Fortunately, he was as fast as lightning with apparating. One moment he stood beside Nerissa, and in the next, he tackled the two dark wizards that stood in the back. Glass shattered and wood splintered where he had previously stood, the door and cheap-looking chandelier taking the hits meant for him.

The struggle on the ground didn't last as long as he had hoped. One of the two he had taken with him to the ground grabbed his shoulder with a strong, hairy arm, and hurled him further back in the corridor. Percy fired a poorly aimed stunning spell as he was thrown away, but the other wizard conjured a shield do deflect it.

He crashed into a small trophy cabinet, at the end of the corridor, and felt a dull pain in his back. He wanted nothing more than a moment to recover from that brief flight, as well as the dizziness that his apparating tackle had given him. Not that he'd get one.

Percy ducked to the side just in time to see lightning flash over his head. A silver cup above him shattered into a thousand pieces. "Nerissa! Don't let them get to the door!" He shouted - hoping she understood what was on the line here. Then, he tapped with his wand against the wall and whispered three words that made it seem as if the corridor curved. The curvature increased until Nerissa lost sight of him and the two dark wizards that he had previously tackled.

It was a simplified form of the Fidelius charm, crossed with a concealment spell. It was among one of the finer creations of the great alchemist Paracelsus, whose work Percy knew by heart. It distorted closed spaces with only two exits, tying them together so there was no way of escape. Of course here, that meant his two assailants would only have to turn around to face him from another angle.

Yet Percy was faster. He conjured a shield to stave off the next barrage of hexes and curses, then pointed his wand to his left. "Stupefy!" a white flash shot down the hallway, only to come up behind the wizards and hit the one on the left square in the chest. He stumbled forward and fell, but still moved.

Percy cursed under his breath as he scrambled up. "Of course. Of course they're not human!"
"Entertaining?" He frowned. "She supposedly knows more about your brother's operations here than the British Ministry does. Moreover," he jotted a finger in her direction, "it'll be you and I who they end up blaming for it." His other hand wrapped around the stem of his wineglass. "I'm not planning to go out that way." He finally muttered, bringing the glass to his lips. He could almost taste a reflection of his own anxiety in the wine as the show continued. The only 'relief' - if that was what you could call it - came from the equally irking remarks made by the dark witch to his right.

"I am not going to use the Imperiatus curse on her." He declared as calmly as he could. It still came out as a biting remark, however. "There is nothing I 'want' from her, except for the information we need." If she was going to be like this all the time, this whole ordeal was going to be one of his most frustrating experiences yet.

His eyes scanned the crowd once more. Most of the tables were occupied, most by small groups in casual to slightly fancy outfits who were here for an exciting night out. There were some he moved right over, and others that his gaze lingered on. There were three groups, slightly bigger than the others, that he guessed were bachelor parties. Then there was a couple at a table in the front, who were either trying to rob each other or doing things he considered quite inappropriate. Some tables back, two waiters were arguing with their voices kept low. Lastly, his gaze fell on a group of four standing to the side. Judging from their faces and hard looks, they weren't here just to ejoy the show. "Acquaintances of yours, Miss Wyrmstone?" He whispered, nudging his head slightly in their direction. "If not, then I fear that we might get to know them better before the night is over." He remarked dryly.

When the final shot was to be fired, Topsy's measuring eyes met theirs. For the brief instance that they did, Percy caught on to her look. "She knows." He felt a little more at ease, knowing that the first contact was made. Usually any plan he was a part of crashed and burned the minute he stepped in.

When the grand finale ended and the applause came, Percy looked in the direction of the four men again. Then muttered a curse. "They're gone." Had they noticed them? No, that was unlikely. Even if they stood out slightly in their attire, the audience sat tightly packed together and the lighting made it difficult to make out faces. Besides, there was an easier target. A target who's current location was marked by a door with her name etched into it. "They're going after her. We need to get there fi-" He was interrupted by the bunny girl from earlier, holding an invitation. Percy took it and studied it with a frown. "This woman's really one for theatrics, isn't she?" He commented, handing the piece of paper to Nerissa for her to study.

"Fine," that was more to himself, "let's get going then. Oh! Before I forget-" He stopped mid-turn, fishing the nefarious black wand out of his coat pocket. "you'll need this if we run into those four." He thrust it toward her. "And only if they attack first, you hear me? If." He rounded on her again a heartbeat later. "And also no more than necessary. We don't exactly have a license to kill here. Or grievously mutilate them." He sincerely hoped she understood.

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